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INTERVIEWS

Daniel Lanois: I Look for Commitment and a Lot of Heart and Soul

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Whenever I'm asked to name a list of Top 10 all time favorite records, the list slightly changes and shuffles every time. However, one of the most common denominators to those diverse lists is producer/musician Daniel Lanois. Often called a “studio wizard" or “studio magician," this producer has become renowned both for his proficiency in the studio and his gift for motivating and enabling people to reach new creative heights. Armed with an intuitive combination of emotions and technical proficiency, over the last 30 years he has been involved in some of the most ambitious and progressive new music as ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tom Barton: Aspirations

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Australian vocalist Tom Barton aspires to blur the lines between genres on this debut. Electronic and acoustic thoughts merge and co-exist beautifully, improvisational elements are born around concrete expressions, and in the middle of it all sits Barton, putting his poetry in motion with beautifully clear-headed vocals. While the gist of many an album can be gleaned from a single track, Aspirations doesn't work that way. If someone were to simply stumble upon Barton's take on “Spencer The Rover," they might mistake him for a modern folk troubadour. And if Bjork fans were to encounter his slowed-down, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Daniel Lanois: Flesh and Machine

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Credit should be given where it's due. Producer/musician Daniel Lanois has never been satisfied with just keep churning out the same kind of music for the same kind of audience that swooned over his song based records or the productions he did for other artists. As a true artist he wants to evolve and continuously create something different and Flesh and Machine is a move in that direction. Lanois' work cuts a distinctive swath through the last 30 years of electronic, rock and pop music, and unlike the song based records he has been releasing, Flesh and Machine is a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

New Zealand School of Music Big Band: Awright Awright

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It's hard to believe this is a school band, no matter what the level. Music director Rodger Fox, a seasoned trombonist who leads his own play-for-pay band, must be extremely pleased and proud of what his students at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington have accomplished, as their third album, Awright Awright, is superlative from start to finish. The first five numbers, in fact, offer a textbook lesson in how big-band jazz should feel and sound. The ensemble is solid, the rhythm section sharp, the soloists aggressive and engaging. That's not to imply that things ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: CSNY 1974

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Its multi-foldout package of three CD's, DVD (or Blu-Ray) and a one-hundred eighty-eight page booklet as smartly designed as it is handsome, CSNY 1974 represents a painstaking labor of love on the part of Graham Nash, who supervised the project over a protracted period of time, in collaboration with co-producer Joel Bernstein and engineer Stanley Tajima Johnston as well as Stephen Stills, David Crosby and Neil Young. The audio and video recordings within document a much ballyhooed reunion that's been subject to retrospect and revisionism since the foursome's summer tour of largely outdoor venues occurred four decades ago.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kate Williams: Atlas & Vulcana

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Atlas and Vulcana formed a strongman and strongwoman act--Vulcana's real name was Kate Williams--whose feats of strength were renowned in Victorian and early twentieth century Britain. Pianist and composer Kate Williams (no relation, presumably) takes inspiration from the couple in titling this album and two of its tracks. Atlas & Vulcana has its own strengths--no brute force, but plenty of power and dynamism. Williams has written some stunning tunes: she's also brought together a septet of some of the finest players in the UK. The combination is a winning one.Williams' 2011 album, Made Up (Kwjazz) was also a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brad Gibson: Poontet

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Seattle drummer Brad Gibson's second release as a leader Poontet is a spicy batch of soulful grooves that belong on the soundtrack of a 1970s gritty detective film. Heavily reliant on electric instrumentation and densely atmospheric these half a dozen tracks are short on improvisational rigor without being mundane. They also allow for some soloing room for the members the sextet to showcase their individual styles. The funky “I Hope U Make It Dirty" for instance features Gibson's percolating beats paired with bassist Jason Gray deeply resonant reverberations laying down loose hypnotic, vamps. Saxophonist Bryan Smith's muscular, agile ...



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