Extended Analysis

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Emily Saunders: Outsiders Insiders

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Four years on from her debut Cotton Skies London's Emily Saunders has taken near complete control on this wonderful follow up and artistic leap forward. While she also produced her debut, this time Saunders wrote and arranged all nine tracks, not needing to augment them with covers from the likes of Airto Moreira as she did on Cotton Skies. Admirable though this undoubtedly is in these times when myriad mediocrities feel the need to inflict their interpretations of ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Steven Wilson: Hand. Cannot. Erase.

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Sometimes you never can tell. When British singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Steven Wilson released the old school progressive rock record The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) (Kscope, 2013), who knew that it would not only turn out to be his best-selling album since walking away from Porcupine Tree to begin an increasingly successful solo career with Insurgentes (Kscope, 2009), but become the most successful album in his entire career? That progressive rock has been making a resurgence ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Jakob Bro: Gefion

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Gefion, Danish guitarist Jakob Bro's ECM-debut as leader, is a fascinating reinvention of melodicism. His music leads listeners deep into the rich resonances emerging from brilliantly simple melodic motifs imbued with seductive atmospheres. Like Möbius strips his music's lines wind seemingly endlessly. Its evocative melodic nuclei very often reach the lower limits of dynamics, thereby opening up spaces in which the individual voices selflessly unfold in wave-like movements. It yields sounds of elegant ease, expressive depth, and solid perseverance.

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Soft Machine: Switzerland 1974

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Thank goodness for Cuneiform Records. Beyond releasing cutting edge new music from now-longstanding groups like The Claudia Quintet and relative newcomers like Norway's Pixel, the intrepid American label continues to unearth, restore and release wonderful archival finds like S.O.S.' Looking for the Next One (2013), and the equally impressive Flashpoint: NDR Jazz Workshop-April '69 (2011), from one of the group's reed players, John Surman. Perhaps its most important work on the archival front has, however, been in sourcing live music ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Sanguine Hum: Now We Have Light

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Sometimes things take a long time to gestate in the minds of musicians, but Sanguine Hum may well be eligible for entry in the Guinness Book of World Records-- if there was such a category (and if there isn't, perhaps now there should be)--for Longest Time to Bring a Musical Concept to Fruition. OK, it's a clunky name and someone at Guinness will have to do better, but with the double-disc concept album Now We Have Light, Sanguine Hum has ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Maurizio Minardi: Piano Ambulance

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Moving to London in September 2008 appears to have set Italian pianist Maurizio Minardi on a creative hot streak. A new name to me Piano Ambulance is the third album in which Minardi has chosen to share his love of jazz with us since 2012 and leaves the listener with an abiding impression of precision in both expression and melody. Intended to evoke his London home these tight, classically influenced compositions, gain a significant emotional pull from the contrast between ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Anouar Brahem: Souvenance

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If we are, in the final analysis, the sum total of our experiences, then it stands to reason that the work of musicians (and other artists) is a reflection of the events that touch their lives. Souvenance means “recollection," and if there is not, as oudist Anouar Brahem claims, “a direct link between my compositions and the events taking place in Tunisia," then there's little doubt that the album's cover image--taken by Nacer Talef in the Tunisian capital of Tunis ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Van der Graaf Generator: Merlin Atmos (Deluxe Edition)

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For a group that has released only three studio albums since reforming in 2005 after a quarter-century hiatus--longer when considering the “classic" lineup with singer/pianist/guitarist Peter Hammill, keyboardist Hugh Banton and drummer Guy Evans was last heard on World Record (Charisma, 1976), and forgetting about 2012's atypical ALT (Esoteric), an album of improvisation-driven instrumentals--Van der Graaf Generator sure has released a lot of live albums in the past few years. Since the spectacular Real Time (Fie!, 2007)--which documented ...



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