Tuesday, August 26, 2014

CD Review: 3-CD SET - Various Artists' 'Real World 25'

Various Artists
Real World 25 [3 CD]
Real World

Real World 25 is a three-CD set covering some of the best classics released from the label's two-hundred-plus recordings over the years. The third CD features music picked solely by fans. There are gems on here from groups including, Daby Toure, JuJu, Big Blue Ball, Sheila Chandra, Papa Wemba, Yungchen Lhamo, Spiro, Sevara Nazarkhan, and others. The other CD's feature music from Pape & Cheikh, Toumast, Daude, Farafina, Guo Yue, Syriana, Varttina, Mamer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Peter Gabriel, Adrian Sherwood, Ayub Ogada, Hukwe Zawose, Joji Hirota, and many others. There is music from areas as diverse as Uzbekistan, Burkina Faso, Sardinia, Zimbabwe, China, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan, Uganda, Tibet, and other adventurous places. Simply put; every song is a hit and it is on this compilation for a reason. Anyone into world music and melodic interludes from far-off places will love this collection, which includes a twenty-eight-page booklet, forty-eight total tracks, and a host of memorable tidbits. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Saulo Duarte e a Unidade's 'Quente'

Saulo Duarte e a Unidade
Tratore Music

Steeped in the traditional music of northern Brazil, Saulo Duarte e a Unidade brings us a gentle mix of energetic music with South American pizzazz and a Latin swagger that is comfortably situated between jazz, folk, and neo-fusion. The rhythms and melodies are very sweet and upbeat with a lot of percussion, keyboards, bass, guitars, and vocals. The steel-pan sounds of "Flores Pelo Ar" remind us of a Caribbean lineage. "Dos Olhos Em Diante" is a nice little funky ditty with a psychedelic appeal and a spaghetti-Western ambiance. There are eleven tracks in all, but the album finishes shy of forty-minutes. However, the thiry-some minutes are pure bliss. Anyone familiar with indigenous Brazilian music will love the regional and trans-continental influences. ~ Matthew Forss

Monday, August 25, 2014

CD Review: Various Artists' 'Peru Bravo: Funk, Soul & Psych In Peru's Radical Decade'

Various Artists
Peru Bravo: Funk, Soul & Psych In Peru's Radical Decade
Tiger's Milk Records

Peru Bravo... is an upcoming release from Tiger's Milk Records that brings us the best psych, funk, R&B, dance, soul music from Peru during the 1960's and 70's. There are fifteen tracks that bleed with energy, desire, and fun. Every note is a magical masterpiece on every track. You will hear some raw stuff here by some unknown artists, including Laghonia, Thee Image, Black Sugar, Jeriko, Los Destellos, The Mad's, Los Comandos, Cacique, Los Holy's, and many more. The driving dance beats, garage-rock sound, and wild percussion are all accented with electronic embellishments that give the music a modern edge. The licks and chords are gritty and awesome with loads of psych to play with here. The throbbing keyboards, drum beats, and fluid bass-lines are unmatched. Anyone interested in world psych music will relish its tracks. Fans of Peruvian music will love the unadulterated songs. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Kyle Carey's 'North Star'

Kyle Carey
North Star
Americelta Records

The sparkling folk and roots music of Kyle Carey spans continents and time-spans that are unimaginably magical. The incorporation of American, Celtic, Gaelic, Scottish, Irish, and Appalachian leanings are evident throughout. Kyle's vocals are akin to European songstresses, Heidi Talbot and Karine Polwart. There are fiddle, mandolin, piano, cello, banjo, bass, guitar, and percussion elements that add to the folksy roots. Some songs connote a bright, sunny day, while others touch on love, loss, immigration, seasons, dreams, and even gospel connotations. The dozen songs represent morsels of delight that are enriched by the musical traditions of North America, Scandinavia, and the U.K. Fans of folk, roots, European music, and country will be amazed by the stuff on this album. I give North Star five big ones! Try it today. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: MOA's 'Maverick'

Wild Child Music

A background in jazz and Afro-pop, Max Wild (aka MOA), is an innovative performer of contemporary dance and world fusion music with electronic beats and earthen rhythms with guest vocals from Chiwoniso and Jahaan Sweet. The industrial dance beats of "Hands In The Air" is a largely contemporary dance sound with gritty, synth-pop beats and an Afro-pop, urban style. The percolating electronic sounds of "Debo" brings an ambient, spacey tone to the mix that is not too unlike Tangerine Dream's instrumental works from the 1990's. "Barbarian" contains a spacey horn sound with laser-like embellishments and a heady beat that is new age, electronica, and experimental. Whatever the music is called or how it is defined is seemingly irrelevant. Once you hear the sounds your body will know it's great. ~ Matthew Forss

Sunday, August 24, 2014

CD Review: Chancha Via Circuito's 'Amansara'

Chancha Via Circuito
Wonderwheel Recordings 

Argentina's Chancha Via Circuito is spearheaded by Pedro Canale. The electronic meastro incorporates indigenous sounds with contemporary arrangements that are scintillating, at times urban, and Latin dub-step all the way. The instrumental, "Sueno en Paraguay," is an excellent tune with Paraguayan harp and an electronic Andean folkore sound with bits of cumbia, dance, and avant-garde that will please even the purist. There are guest artists, including Lido Pimienta, Mirian Garcia, Sara Hebe, and Barrio Lindo, which provide a well-rounded cast of influences. The percussion-heavy, "Coplita," is a great example of folkloric sounds coming together with female vocals and a South American beat. There are eleven total tracks, which are imbued with electronic, percussion, and native sounds in one easy to understand production that does not stray too far from its roots. This will satisfy cumbia, neo-indigenous, and contemporary listeners seeking music from South America. ~ Matthew Forss

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

CD Review: Ljom's 'Seterkauk'

Kirkelig Kulturverksted 

The Norwegian-based group, Ljom, releases their newest album, Seterkauk, which concentrates its energy on cow call songs from Norway's past and present. The swirling songs are steeped in romantic folk rhythms and melodies with spritely vocals and heady arrangements. The group employs a bass, guitar, cello, piano, synth, clarinet, and other instruments, but the voice is the real instrument. Kjerst Kveli is the chief vocalist with a stark ability to evoke tons of emotion packed into a single verse. There is even a sweeping piano tune, "Bennykauken," that contains a bit of a jazzy elegance. At any rate, Ljom presents us with an interesting, relaxing, and contemporary journey into the cow call songs of Norway with ever having to leave our house. Well, you might have to leave at least once to buy the album, unless you get it online. High praise for folk, jazz, and new age sounds from yet another fine release on KKV. ~ Matthew Forss