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.
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more
Cathedral & Rum - The Moon Is the Lord of Twisted Trees – Cathedral & Rum is essentially LA-based singer/songwriter Chris Hartford plus a host of guest musicians, depending on the album or song. Though make no mistake: Hartford is the creative nexus... (2010) » Read more