Category / album

Tradition is such a double-edge sword. In the hands of the orthodoxy, tradition can be used as a bludgeon, meant to remind you of a lineage, as a means to keep you rooted in the past. In the hands of the inspired, tradition is used as a source to actually build for the future, a […]

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The early instrumental work by German guitar duo Martin Kolbe and Ralf Illenberger is quite breathtaking. When one hears of a guitar duo, immediately one assumes the worst: verbose technicality over concise emotion, bluesy runs used as crutches to help them work together, and a general lack of understanding of what a duo is (and […]

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Deeply icy, floating music from Swedish band Vinterhjärta. Playing like a soundtrack to a particularly windswept, frozen tundra Vinterhjärta’s (which translates to winter heart) sole, self-titled affair, binds all sorts of experimental Swedish conceits — space prog, New Age, and ambient jazz— into one work (released on cassette) that looks for no quarter in the […]

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/ December 15, 2017 / Comments Off on Toshifumi Hinata: Story (1987)

Toshifumi Hinata: Story (1987)

I wish I had a great way to describe the beauty of Toshifumi Hinata’s music, more so, the beautiful music you’ll find in Story. I’ll skip over his background, which you can peruse here, in a previous post, so that we can get to the meat of the album. Though not quite as dark/moody as […]

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Mystical, otherworldly, Haitian rara and vodun funk from composer Alix Pascal. Under the group Ayizan, Alix moved away from his earlier beginnings in the mannered, rural musical style from the tropics called compas into something with far longer stretches/reaches: the music of Africa and post-slavery Hispaniola. Ayizan’s work in Dilijans (creole word for diligence) combined heavy Afro-funk […]

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/ December 8, 2017 / Comments Off on Takashi Kokubo: Get At The Wave (1987)

Takashi Kokubo: Get At The Wave (1987)

Just reading about Takashi Kokubo makes one feel decidedly less accomplished. Since the early ‘80s, Edokko Takashi has been knee-deep in the environmental music world. Outside of Japan, few would know that he is responsible for perhaps some of the most terrifying sounds you’ll ever want to hear.

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/ December 5, 2017 / Comments Off on G. B. Beckers: Walkman (1982)

G. B. Beckers: Walkman (1982)

Günther Beckers music has a perfect word for it: Gesamtkunstwerk. Gesamtkunstwerk is an interdisciplinary artistic work combining various disciplines — music, painting, poetry and design. Wagner conjured up this idea when trying to produce a work that could also wrap in artistic ideas derived from theatrical, poetic, and musical influences. Aesthetics would be the English word […]

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A personal favorite of mine, not because it’s his greatest work — I’d wager more people expect the late, great Swedish guitar maestro Thomas Almqvist’s Balearic masterpiece Nyanser to be that one — but because it’s the one that sounds the most honest to where I come from. Thomas Almqvist’s The Journey was his second […]

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There’s something about fall that makes me play Hiroshi Yoshimura’s music much more often. On prior albums like Green, A・I・R (Air In Resort), and Soundscape 1: Surround, Hiroshi perfectly seized on exactly what “environmental music” could be and how it could differ from BGM (background music). No longer mere ambient music, it was decidedly rich, melodic experimentation […]

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/ November 7, 2017 / Comments Off on New Child: Rehabilual (1990)

New Child: Rehabilual (1990)

Maybe Harry Hosuono was onto something? Mishio Ogawa, the “Trance” part of the Love, Peace, & Trance equation…and also ex-lead singer for Japanese experimental New Wave act Chakra…seemed like an odd choice to be one of the three vocalists for his eclectic and forward-thinking quasi-ambient techno group of the same name. However, judging by the […]

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