Mawwal — Sight Up
(Ancient Records no#, 2011, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-04-01Mawwal, on their third release, continue the refinement of their fusion of traditional world elements with the power of the rock idiom on these eight new studio tracks. Band leader Jim Matus (laouto, laoutar, vocals) pulls Middle-Eastern, African, and Indian sounds into the robust and heady mixture, mostly either by way of his original compositions, or tasteful arrangements of traditional pieces. He is joined by a largecrew of regulars and special guests on fretted and fretless bass, balafon, djembe, dumbec, riq, violin, tablas, bansuri flute, frame drum, kalimba, shakers and more, plus several powerful male and female vocalists. Matus' newest instrument, the laoutar, is a custom made acoustic/electric altered mandocello, and together with the basses and heavy world percussive elements and complex vocal arrangements gives much of the music here its unique character. There's not a lot of other music out there to compare this to; Azigza hinted at this but was far more gypsy and violin oriented, but certainly those who enjoyed their music will find Sight Up to be to their liking. A rearrangement of Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile" in the Mawwal style is an instantly recognizable point of reference, but every one of the eight tracks here comes highly recommended.
There's No Time Like the Present – The Belgian band Present has been one of the best avant-rock bands in the world since its formation in 1979. Over the years since then, Present has released nine amazing albums, and now they're ready to start work on number ten. They're looking for some financial help from their fans around the world. » Read more
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more