Various Artists — Medium Label Sampler
(Medium Productions MPCD11, 1999, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2000-05-01
Medium Productions is a low profile label from the UK which represents the work of three former members of Japan. The trio is alternately creative within varying contexts and combinations of personnel; their specific parameters of change focus on remixes and techno variations of rhythms and tones. Collectively, the label has released ten discs in the last five years; each with a similar mood brought by the artists themselves (which could explain why so there are so few products). The trio is represented by three pieces, the most unique of which is a live version of a rare Japan B-side, "Life Without Buildings." The track is a spirited rendition with Steve Wilson of Porcupine Tree providing some heavy guitar phrases. Steve Jansen's collaboration with Yukihiro Takahashi (Yellow Magic Orchestra) is also represented by a remix and an original track from Pulse (1998). Jansen and Barbieri's joint endeavors correspond to two tracks showing the close connection between percussion and texture they have been refining over the years. The duo also teamed up with a Japanese DJ on "Spaced," a track from Changing Hands which adds a modern remix slant on the atmospherics. "Only Forward" is a piece from Indigo Falls (Barbieri and wife) which contains the most memorable intro and performance on the disc. Overall, Medium Productions puts out remarkably good product despite poor distribution. Hopefully this problem has been rectified by their new deal with Polydor and will result in improved artist awareness.
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more