All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Bitch 'n' Monk: FulafalonGa

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Bitch 'n' Monk is clearly willing and able to take a few risks. It's a strategy that succeeds: the duo's debut recording and self-described "short album," the beautifully-packaged FulafalonGa, lasts barely 25 minutes but packs more ideas into that brief span than most bands manage in the full 60-minutes plus of a standard CD. What's more, the ideas are exciting, surprising and strange by turns.

The titular Bitch and Monk are vocalist/guitarist Heidi Heidelberg and flautist Mauricio Velasierra. The pair also claim joint writing credits, the creative process apparently starting with free improvisations (and a few arguments) which then develop into the songs that form FulafalonGa.

The risk-taking is both visual and musical. The cover image shows the duo sitting in what can only be described as a refuse dump, on a couple of pretty disgusting chairs, eating fruit. Such disdain for health and safety regulations, the probability of nasty tummy bugs and, crucially, the likelihood of album reviewers creating hilarious jokes about the band being "rubbish," is almost heroic.

Musically, Bitch 'n' Monk take the risk of displaying works-in-progress. Five tracks are listed on the album cover, but nine actually appear: the final five are "Seminal Ideas," snippets of early incarnations and discarded drafts. It's fascinating to hear the emergence of a song such as the striking "Did He?"—"Seminal Ideas 3" is a jaunty version, with cheerful wordless vocals: "Seminal Ideas 4" has a shuffle feel, lyrics and vocal approach still not fully formed; the 36 second "Seminal Ideas 5" sounds like a nascent dancefloor re-mix.

The strength of FulafalonGa is in its first four songs—a musically and emotionally diverse set that moves from the punk aggression of "Did He?" to the bright, upbeat, delight of "Campus." Heidelberg is no virtuoso guitarist but her style—ranging from rhythmic bass note patterns plus choppy, full, chords to subtler, brighter, flourishes—is effective. Velasierra, by contrast, adapts his flute playing to suit the varying moods and attitudes of the songs with skill.

Heidelberg is a fine vocalist: aggressive one moment, tender the next. On "Did He?" she repeatedly asks "What did you do to make him leave?" in a tone that suggests she's not empathising with a friend's loss but revelling in it—attitude in spades, a Slits for the new jazz age. Soon after, on "WYW," she's a much more sympathetic protagonist combining beatboxing, soprano choral swoops and heartfelt promises to "make it worth your while" as Velasierra's punchy flute phrases fight for space with her guitar. Flute and guitar briefly seem to echo the sound of Ian Anderson and Martin Barre on Aqualung (Chrysalis, 1971)—surely making FulafalonGa the first album ever to draw comparison with both The Slits and Jethro Tull.

Bitch 'n' Monk establishes its credentials with FulafalonGa: emotionally raw, heart-on-its-sleeve, music from a duo full of ideas and the talent to see them fulfilled—inspired and inspiring.

Track Listing: Did He?; WYW; The Eagle; Campus; Seminal Ideas.

Personnel: Heidi Heidelberg: vocals, guitar; Mauricio Velasierra: flute, vocals.

Title: FulafalonGa | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Lotus Arts Box Records


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles


Lotus Arts Box Records


Related Articles

Read This City CD/LP/Track Review
This City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 24, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2018
Read West Coast Trio CD/LP/Track Review
West Coast Trio
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Sun Embassy CD/LP/Track Review
Sun Embassy
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 24, 2018
Read The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel – Beethoven Revisited Symphonies 1-9 CD/LP/Track Review
The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983" CD/LP/Track Review In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "Moonlight Vision" CD/LP/Track Review Moonlight Vision
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 28, 2017
Read "Falling Forward" CD/LP/Track Review Falling Forward
by James Nadal
Published: July 27, 2017
Read "Live: SFJAZZ Center 2016 - Music of Miles Davis & Original Compositions" CD/LP/Track Review Live: SFJAZZ Center 2016 - Music of Miles Davis &...
by John Kelman
Published: June 13, 2017
Read "Steve Lacy’s Saxophone Special Revisited" CD/LP/Track Review Steve Lacy’s Saxophone Special Revisited
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 29, 2017
Read "Knock A Hole In It" CD/LP/Track Review Knock A Hole In It
by James Nadal
Published: April 12, 2017