Mawwal — This Is All There Is, There Is No Other Place
(Ancient Records no#, 2008, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2009-07-01
The first Mawwal release was one of the highlights of 2007, and here they’ve done it again for 2008, and not by simply remaking the first album. While many of the things that made Black Flies so great are still here (Jim Matus composing, playing guitar and singing, Percy Jones on bass, lots of great violin and percussion), the overall sound is more acoustic, replacing the electric guitar with a variety of stringed instruments from around the world. The surprising thing is that this does not lead to any loss of impact. These tunes kick world music butt just like the electric ones. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, whose voice graced the earlier album, is represented by two of his compositions. Matus and Co. are on a roll – this is one of those rare second albums that actually improves upon the debut. I just love to crank this and imagine a world where governments get along as well as musical styles do. Plus there’s something really infectious about tablas well played. I suppose you could raise all the old arguments about “cultural appropriation” that tend to come up when American and European musicians play in the styles of other cultures, and they are valid concerns, but this is art, and really only the quality of the result matters. Here, that quality is pretty high. But I would urge anyone who likes this and hasn’t heard some of the more “authentic” practitioners to check into them.
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more