Thinking Plague — Decline and Fall
(Cuneiform Rune 320, 2011, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2013-11-14
A new Thinking Plague album is always cause for celebration, especially when eight years elapse between them. But given the defiantly un-commercial and brutally difficult nature of the music it’s no surprise that their germination phase can be a long one. It surprised me that this is the first TP album to delve into the dysfunction and turmoil of our modern age. I always assumed this was the conceptual narrative behind every album, though the turbulent and frighteningly unsettling nature of the band’s entire catalog probably has something to do with it. The good news here is that guitarist/composer Mike Johnson and crew haven’t lost the script, despite some lineup changes since 2003’s History of Madness. Most notable is new singer Elaine Di Falco (formerly of Hughscore, and bassist Dave Willey’s partner). She might lack Deborah Perry’s winsome appeal, but I give her high marks for even hitting the notes in what have to be some of the trickiest vocal arrangements ever conceived. Another newcomer is drummer / keyboard player Kimara Sajn (since replaced by Robin Chestnut), who — along with Willey — lays down the group’s trademark muscular yet dynamic rhythmic framework, as well as performing piano, Mellotron, and synths throughout — quite an impressive contribution. Rounding out the ensemble is returning reeds player Mark Harris, whose playing imparts a chamber-rock ethos that fits in well with the overall RIO character of the material. How is the album? TP fans won’t be disappointed, and the rest of you need to get with the program.
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more