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Article: Album Review

Young Pilgrims: We're Young Pilgrims

Read "We're Young Pilgrims" reviewed by Gareth Thompson


Based in Birmingham, England, the record company Stoney Lane is named after a street where soccer team West Bromwich Albion once played. Thus, each of the label's releases is numbered with a glory year from the club's past, whether a promotion or a cup win. However, so often have West Brom yo-yoed between England's top leagues ...

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Article: Album Review

Graham Costello's Strata: Second Lives

Read "Second Lives" reviewed by Gareth Thompson


A top German physiologist once compared the brain's nerve fibres to a piano's keys, on which our thoughts play or strike. Scottish drummer and composer Graham Costello might relate to this, given how well he writes for the piano, as he explores themes of mental challenges on this second album with his excellent band Strata.

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Article: Album Review

Maridalen: Maridalen

Read "Maridalen" reviewed by Gareth Thompson


The use of sacred spaces has long been a feature of jazz recordings. Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd made their classic Jazz Samba (Verve, 1962) album at All Souls Church, Washington DC, whilst a converted Greek Orthodox site played home to Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue (Columbia, 1959). Among similar stories, the Norwegian act Moskus recorded ...

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Article: Album Review

Misc: Partager l'ambulance

Read "Partager l'ambulance" reviewed by Gareth Thompson


Montreal piano-led trio Misc use their album title and artwork here to reflect on a post-Covid world. The title translates as “Sharing The Ambulance" and the cover is like an apocalyptic cartoon, showing a disused hospital truck furnished with hi-fi and easy chair floating in the sky. It could be a still from any Studio Ghibli ...

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Article: Album Review

Rogér Fakhr: Fine Anyway

Read "Fine Anyway" reviewed by Gareth Thompson


Based in Berlin, the label Habibi Funk took its name from an online comment about one of its mixes. “Habibi" is actually the Arabic word for “darling," which seems fitting for a company intent on sharing the love. Their stated aim is to reissue mostly North African musical treasures from the 1970s and '80s, ranging from ...

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Article: Multiple Reviews

Fire And Ice: Two Nordic Contrasts

Read "Fire And Ice: Two Nordic Contrasts" reviewed by Gareth Thompson


The twin forces of ice and fire have long existed in Nordic mythology. In the twenty-first century, northern European music has offered stark contrasts too, with a scene as vibrant and compelling as any on earth. Labels such as Hubro, Odin, Rune Grammofon and Jazzland have brought us many artists with a common grounding in jazz ...

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Article: Album Review

Joy On Fire: Hymn

Read "Hymn" reviewed by Gareth Thompson


The industrial anarchists Throbbing Gristle stood by their notion that noise and frequency could change states of consciousness. Listening to saxophonist Anna Meadors of Joy On Fire, with her pitch-shifting and time-stretching, might back this idea up. Certainly the audience enters many realms of awareness on the band's album Hymn . Even the cover artwork, a ...

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Article: Album Review

Irreversible Entanglements: Who Sent You?

Read "Who Sent You?" reviewed by Gareth Thompson


Irreversible Entanglements first came together to perform at a Musicians Against Police Brutality event in 2015, after the killing of Akai Gurley by the NYPD. Who Sent You? is their second album and was released in March 2020, two months before George Floyd's death at the hands of police in Minneapolis. A five-piece collective, ...

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Article: Album Review

Espen Eriksen Trio: End Of Summer

Read "End Of Summer" reviewed by Gareth Thompson


Any album recorded during the lockdown of 2020 will doubtless be scrutinised for cryptic references. As such, End Of Summer as a title might hint at something deeper (or darker) than mere seasonal flux. But amidst so much global turmoil, the Espen Eriksen Trio has held its nerve and created another poignant opus. Tranquility at the ...

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Article: Album Review

Tashi Dorji: Stateless

Read "Stateless" reviewed by Gareth Thompson


It was an ambitious move from Bhutan to Asheville, North Carolina, that helped shape Tashi Dorji's musical direction. The guitarist had previously been steeped in classic rock and hair metal, but as a foreign exchange student he soon absorbed punk and free jazz. Two saxophonists in particular, John Zorn and Albert Ayler, inspired Dorji to his ...


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