Wednesday, December 17, 2014

CD Review: Fractal Control's 'Disconnection Equals Freedom'

Fractal Control
Disconnection Equals Freedom

Links: YouTube, SoundCloud

Fractal Control is Mike Louttit's new release of instrumental rock/metal, surf psych, and avant-garde stylings that are somewhat futuristic, but never dull. The Ohio-native wrestles with technological advances leaving real humanity in a social quandary. Regardless of the message, the mostly instrumental release contains seven thought-provoking tunes. The piano-driven, "Already Ourselves," is an instrumental ode to humanity that contains brief atmospheric washes and an artificial intelligence voice that describes an introspective analysis of life. "Awakened And Aware" opens with a mind-numbing, instrumental guitar, bass and drum composition with metal aspects abounding. The instrumental tune contains glittering guitar work, punchy melodies, and a driving rhythm that is full of aggression. "Retrace" contains a drowned-out guitar or bass solo that is very improvisational or avant-garde. It does not contain any other instrumentation. It sheds the metal characteristics of other songs and it is relatively short at only one-and-a-half-minutes.  "Hidden Truth" begins with a psych, surf rock instrumental that goes into a finger-frenzied, guitar experience that is rich with sparkling guitar notes in true rock fashion. There are robotic, spoken words near the end of the song. Overall, Fractal Control does a great job awakening the human spirit with Disconnection Equals Freedom. The music is great for fans of instrumental rock, experimental, new age, improvisational, and contemporary ambient sounds. 5 Stars (out of 5). ~ Matthew Forss

Thursday, December 11, 2014

CD Review: Vasily Evhimovich's 'Hurdy Gurdy, Accordion, and Vasily Evhimovich'

Vasily Evhimovich
Hurdy Gurdy, Accordion, and Vasily Evhimovich
Sketis Music

Vasily Evhimovich is a talented vocalist, accordion player, and hurdy-gurdy specialist on his latest recording, Hurdy Gurdy, Accordion, and Vasily Evhimovich. Vasily brings in a few other vocalists for acapella singing. Most of the time, Vasily plays the accordion or hurdy-gurdy along with the vocal segments. Based on the Volga River, Vasily recorded the album in his studio workshop. The folk songs originate from the Oka River region, as well as Belgorod, Northern Russia, Siberia, and Tatarstan. The drone of the accordion or hurdy-gurdy provide contemplative and entrancing moments between purely vocal parts. Over seventy-minutes of music and nineteen songs round out the album. The song titles are translated in Russian and English on the album back. Fans of Russian vocal music, folk music, and traditional instruments will find it most satisfying. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Stranniki's 'Light Moon'

Light Moon
Sketis Music

Stranniki is a Russian folk group that resurrects Slavic folklore songs by utilizing an array of folk music instruments and ancient melodies. The vocals are often arranged like chants with several singers singing at once in a choral fashion. The result is a sound akin to Finland's Varttina. The instruments are performed in a very artistic manner by paying close attention to historic styles and folk arrangements. Besides vocals, there is a gusli, okarina, jaleika, whistle, bansuri, bawu, kalyuka, quena, kaval, gajde, guitar, bass, drums, and assorted percussion. The contemporary instruments are a great companion to the traditional instruments. Each tune is fresh and inventive. There are only forty-two minutes of music on the album, but it is never boring. Fans of folk music, Slavic and Russian vocal music, traditional instruments, and contemporary Russian music will love the history presented by Stranniki. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Baraka's Double-Disc 'Shams'

Shams [2-CD]
Sketis Music

The Latvian band, Baraka, brings us a double-disc release of music celebrating the contemporary styles of Tajikistan. However, the music incorporates the help of Latvian, Russian, Tajiki, Lebanese, Nepalese, and Afghani musicians for a truly world music result. The Farsi or Tajiki vocals are used sparingly in ballads, folk songs, and jazzy songs throughout. There is a strong element of world jazz and lounge music, but some of the songs incorporate more of a Middle Eastern vein. Nevertheless, there is something for everyone here--from hip hop vocals to swaying jazz and funky Tajiki melodies. The songs are all very solid compositions with clear vocals and instrumental splendor. There are some traditional instruments, including the iconic dutar, setor, rubab, sitar, duduk, dilraba, and saz. The contemporary sounds stem from keyboards, guitars, bass, piano, and horns. Baraka does a great job blending the past with the present by not resorting to ho-hum melodies and rhythms, but rather bringing to life various instruments and styles indigenous to the Central Asian Republics, the Middle East, and Western Europe and Russia. Nearly two-hours of music are included with liner notes. ~ Matthew Forss  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

CD Review: The Grass Harp's 2-CD Self-Release

The Grass Harp
The Grass Harp [2-CD]
Sketis Music

The folk music of Western Russia is diverse from a vocal and instrumental perspective. The Grass Harp proves music is a thing of beauty with the release of their new double-CD, self-titled album. There are Finno-Ugric leanings to to the music, as well as musical styles from Moldavian, German, Russian, and West African regions. Stefan Charisius is a teacher and composer with playing abilities on the kora, as well as Maria Korepanova on vocals, Matthia Schneider-Hollek on computer programming, Andrej Mikhajlov on percussion and wind instruments, Leonid Immenich on accordion, and Sergej Misjurev on other instruments. The blend of delicate rhythms, melodies, and instrumental interactions are beautiful, improvisational, and historic. It seems as if the music from centuries ago comes alive throughout both album discs in a very organic and trouble-free manner. There are metallic sounds, crystalline noises, and animal-like sounds that emanate from the various instruments. The vocal traditions are definitely of the folk music variety with various chants and tunes presented in a rather abrupt and solid way. Fans of Russian folk, Finno-Ugric musical styles, vocal traditions, shamanic styles, and music with a sort of fusion backbone will love The Grass Harp. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Algambra's Self-Titled Release

Sketis Music

Algambra is a Russian music group with a knack for improvisational and instrumental styles that incorporate South Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and contemporary forms of fusion in one exciting package. The primary instrument is the hang, which is a metallic idiophone in the shape of a UFO that is played with hands and it is an instrument that was invented only fifteen years ago in Switzerland. The hang sounds are multi-faceted and sound similar to the udu, ghatam, and steel pan instruments. The sounds are fluid and softer than a steel pan, but a great accompaniment for the other instruments on the album, including the harp, cello, caisa, guitar, and assorted percussion. The album is mostly instrumental; except for "Made In India." The music is sparkling, bubbling, and entrancing with new age, improvisational, and avant-garde arrangements that are very likable and a welcome addition to and world music percussion collection. If anything, buy it for the hang. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Vasily Vecher's 'Siberia Land - Russian Traditional Songs Of The Western Siberia'

Vasily Vecher
Siberia Land - Russian Traditional Songs Of The Western Siberia
Sketis Music

Named after St. Basil's Day Eve, one of the most popular Russian traditional feasts, Vasily Vecher perform and study the culture of Western Siberia's peasant culture from the 16th to 18th centuries. The music contained herein is purely vocal without any instrumental accompaniment. Anyone interested in world chants, liturgical compositions, European folk music, and Slavic singing traditions, in addition to Siberian and Russian musical styles, will love it. The entire album is nearly fifty-five minutes long. It is a mix of solo and group vocal accompaniment. The songs are sung in Russian with English title translations on the back cover. There are Cyrillic Russian notes and lyrics throughout the liner booklet. This is a great ethnomusicological recording of historic significance, since it highlights the musical and vocal traditions of a bygone-era, but it is produced in a contemporary time. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Artem Uzunov's 'Let's Do It - Darbuka Stories'

Artem Uzunov
Let's Do It - Darbuka Stories
Sketis Music

This is a percussionist's dream. Artem Uzunov brings out the best of percussion utilizing a host of instruments in his repertoire, including the darbuka, dhol, cajon, dohola, bendir, riq, sagats, duduk, brazilian percussion, and guitar. There are twenty-one tracks with heart-pounding, bellydance-moving, and toe-tapping compositions that are primarily instrumental with only a few indiscriminate vocals thrown in. Each song is typically three to four-minutes long. The combination of darbuka and assorted instruments provides a more complex and deep rhythm section that is never boring or dull.  Some tunes are more involved musically than others, but that doesn't make the others less important. Fans of darbuka percussion, Arabic music, Middle Eastern music, and instrumental tunes will love Artem Uzunov's latest release. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Carol Saboya, Antonio Adolfo, and Hendrik Meurkens' 'Copa Village'

Carol Saboya, Antonio Adolfo, and Hendrik Meurkens
Copa Village
AAM Music

With decades of Brazilian musical experiences between Carol, Antonio, and Hendrik, the group knows how to bring subtle, fresh, and original musical experiences to light with their latest release honoring classic bossa nova melodies and rhythms on Copa Village. Carol's vocals are joined by Antonio's piano skills and Hendrik's harmonica and vibraphone mastery. Of course, the bass, drums, percussion, and guitars round out the instrumental line-up. The entire album glistens with South American tones and jazzy melodies. The smooth rhythms are crystalline, infectious, and celebratory with nothing awry or amiss. There are a hint of 1950's/60's sounds; especially on "The Girl From Ipanema," "Copa Village," and "Show De Bola." The eleven track release is full of exciting grooves and compositions that are perfect for lounging, relaxing, and parties. The whole release is bubbly and addictive. Get addicted today! ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Kasse Mady Diabate's 'Kirike'

Kasse Mady Diabate
Six Degrees Records

Mali's heralded griot, Kasse Mady Diabate, comes from a very musical region of West Africa and possesses a lengthy musical resume working with the Orchestre Regional Super Mande de Kangaba, Ibrahima Sylla, Ketama, Toumani Diabate, and Taj Mahal. Kasse Mady sings in Bambara--the primary language of southern Mali. For nearly five decades, Kasse Mady has been creating music with griot praise-songs and rootsy folk idioms without resorting to shiny pop confections. Kasse Mady is joined by Makan Badje Tounkara on ngoni, Lansine Kouyate on balafon, Ballake Sissoko on kora, and Vincent Segal on cello. The entire group creates a chamber-like musical result that is poignant and intimate. At times, the instruments take turns rattling listeners into a frenzy, but in a rather reserved manner. This is a very mature recording showing great depth and knowledge of griot music and world fusion. Anyone into West African music should acquire Kirike. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: The Druids' 'Freedom'

The Druids

The Irish group, The Druids, are an energetic, Celtic folk group inspired by Irish ballads and history. The folksy leanings are ripe with characteristic melodies and rhythms inherent in Irish folk music. The male vocals are very engaging. Some of the best songs on the album are, "The Sky Over Ireland," "Why Can't I Be A Rebel," "Hey Paddy," "Martin O' Halloran," "The Rathbride Column," and "God Save Ireland." There are solo vocals, but oftentimes, the other band members chime in for a more dramatic result. The lyrical content revolves around issues of freedom in every day life that pertain not only to Ireland, but other countries, too. The liner notes offer extensive information on each song. Fans of bluegrass, old time, folk, storytelling songs, patriotic ballads, and historic songs will love The Druids' latest release. Freedom begins and ends with The Druids! ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Ali Khattab's 'Sin Pais'

Ali Khattab
Sin Pais
Nesma Music

Egyptian composer, vocalist and guitarist, Ali Khattab, brings us a rousing mix of world fusion imbibed with an African, Arabic, and Andalusian presence. The flamenco-type melodies and instrumentation are mostly instrumental throughout, but Ali adds some vocals. There are Arabic forms, tangos, rumba, Sufi trance, and other indistinct musical qualities that add a blend of intense rhythms and contemplative tones. The music is created with the oud, violin, flute, double bass, duff, darbuca, palmas, req, and cajon. The most important aspect of the album is the origins of the music are multi-factoral and heavily influenced by various world music traditions. However, the music tends to flow very well without sounding disorderly or out-of-place. Ali succeeds with Sin Pais without any complaints here. ~ Matthew Forss

Monday, December 8, 2014

CD Review: The Armory's 'Rediscover'

The Armory

Links: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, SoundCloud

The Armory is an Atlanta-based indie rock band comprised of Sean Wheeler and Marc Harris on lead vocals, Ben Harris on bass and vocals, as well as guitarists, John Patton and Ricky Free. Together, the group forms a compelling and entertaining form of rock music with a pop vein and alternative leanings led by crunchy and symphonic guitar arrangements. The static-driven rock vocals of "If I Ever" prove the band has what it takes to bring a song to life. "Stay" contains a heady mix of crunchy rock guitar arrangements and great vocals not too unlike Three Days Grace and Splender. "Peter Piper" adds a heavier mix of rock vocals and guitars that are not as cohesive and enjoyable as other tunes on the album. "Rediscover" opens with a plaintive, acoustic guitar melody and clear, emotive vocals. Half-way through the song, heavier rock arrangements and vocals take over and end the song on a solid note. The nine-track release is a solid effort with a generous dose of rock riffs and melodies that are not too dissimilar from Three Days Grace and Splender. 4.5 Stars (out of 5) ~ Matthew Forss

Thursday, December 4, 2014

CD Review: Vozvraschenie's 'Spring Land'

Spring Land 
Sketis Music

The best in contemporary Russian rock 'n' roll is alive and well in Vozvraschenie's newest release, Spring Land. The eleven-track release contains heady vocals and gorgeous rock melodies with guitars, bass, percussion, and assorted instrumentation of ocarina, igil, jaw-harp, mandolin, virtual instruments, and others. It is rare every song on an album is great, but Spring Land proves it's possible. From the opening, driving melody of "Kapel" to the Celtic-rock and punk-inspired sounds of "Skomoroshya Dolya," Vozvraschenie is comfortable in any genre and style. However, rock and pop sounds are the primary influence here. There are a few displays of rock guitar splendor, but Vozvraschenie do their best to stick to solid, catchy rock grooves that are unforgettable. "Kapel" and "Zodchy" are two of the best tracks of any artist in any genre to come out this year. The mix of guitars, flute sounds, assorted strings, and the buzzing, electric bagpipe effects of the zhaleyka aerophone on "Zodchy" are definitely worthwhile. All the songs are in Russian. However, every song is excellent irregardless of language barriers. Anyone into Russian folk/rock will love it. One of the best recordings of 2014. ~ Matthew Forss

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

CD Review: Violette's 'Falling Strong'

Falling Strong

A native, French chanteuse, Violette brings together warm song of incredible complexity and life with swirling piano melodies and somewhat bluesy, pop song creations on her latest release, Falling Strong. Now based in Brooklyn, Violette does not stray too far from her French song origins. There are classical, jazz, pop, rock, and folk elements throughout. Each song is catchy and beautifully-executed with vocals as sweet as sugar and melodies as fluid as a babbling brook. With vocals akin to Michelle Branch and Norah Jones, Violette knows how to evoke images of love, happiness, and hope with lyrical stories. Fans of piano, pop, rock, ballads, and a few French-lyric songs will love Violette's latest offering. The album is so good it should be 'falling' up the charts! ~ Matthew Forss

Digital/Vinyl Review: Nihkil P. Yerawadekar & Low Mentality's 'Reel It In'

Nikhil P. Yerawadekar & Low Mentality
Reel It In
3rd Generation

Brooklyn-based beatmeister, Nikhil P. Yerawadekar and his group, Low Mentality, release a two-song release inspired by the edgy, psych-infused beats of West Africa, the Caribbean, and East African funk. The result is a heady, beat-driven and classic, funk-laden tune, "Reel It In," which features a rollicking rhythm and North American funk beat that is jazzy, classy, and timeless. Nikhil is joined by Pavel Kogan-Liakhov on guitar, Chauncey Yearwood on percussion and vocals, Omar Little on trumpet, keyboard and samples, Timothy Allen on bass and vocals, and James Windsor-Wells on drums and vocals. The sub-five-minute track contains enough beats, sounds, and melodies to keep you on your toes...literally. The second track, "Vultures," is also sub-five-minutes in length, but it more aligned to North American funk and psych elements. Still, the same West African and East African influences are present throughout. All of the vocals are in English, but they are not too prevalent. The entire recording is under ten minutes long, but it only serves as a glimpse into the complete musical capabilities of Nikhil P. Yerawadekar and Low Mentality. Own it today on vinyl or as a digital release! ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Therianthrope's Self-Titled Release

Avaaz Records

They call it Indian surf music, which is an appropriate term after a few short listens to the new album, Therianthrope. The music is produced by a talented world music fusion quintet based in the San Diego area. The group plays guitars, tabla, and assorted percussion. The music flows effortlessly through sound and ocean waves with such ease and melancholy that every song is unforgettable. The instrumental tunes are soft and supple and frenzied in other parts. However, the result is the same: every song is amazing. The songs are even imaginatively-titled, including "Eight-Dollar Watermelon," "Wolfman Vs. You," "Canary In A Bitcoin Mine," "Am I A Merman," and "Unicorn Tranquilizer." The songs are not psychedelic with electronic embellishments and endless dance beats. Instead, the instrumentation is rather clear, dreamy, rhythmic, and fusion-inspired with a good degree of improvisational qualities. Everyone should like this one. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Susan McKeown's 'Belong'

Susan McKeown

Irish-born and North American-based, Susan McKeown presents us with indelible folk song constructions wrapped effortlessly around a poignant lyrical palette of roots and blues-inspired material for a truly remarkable release. Susan's vocals are accompanied by a few guest singers, including Declan O'Rourke and James Maddock. The instrumental accompaniment is what you would expect a laid-back folk sound to contain, including the mellotron, Hammond organ, bass, drums, guitars, Wurlitzer, percussion, strings, banjo, and others. Susan's approach to songwriting and performing is very enchanting and memorable. The musical licks, riffs, and chords stick with you long after the song ceases. It is rare every song is good on an album, but this one is an exception. Susan's voice is a combination of bluesy, Anne Weiss, the UK's Katie Melua, and alt-pop's, Leona Naess. Fans of clear vocals and various instruments in a folk, roots, and alternative pop setting will love Belong. In fact, it 'belongs' is every musical collection! ~ Matthew Forss  

Monday, December 1, 2014

CD Review: Manika Kaur's 'I Bow To You Waheguru'

Manika Kaur
I Bow To You Waheguru
United Sound

The supercharged beats of kirtan dance music are reduced here to cinematic and serene morsels of cosmic and spiritual beauty that are best categorized as new age and world music fusion. Manika Kaur's Australian and United Arab Emirates roots bring a spirited mix to the music that is inherently Sikhism with strings, light percussion, and sweeping arrangements. Manika's sweet and light vocals are a perfect addition to the music foundation. This is the first album I've observed with a cinematic appeal to kirtan music. The result is an album of seven awe-inspiring tunes that bring to light Indian, neo-classical, South Asian, and European musical arrangements in a calm and engaging package. Fans of vocal music, kirtan, Indian music, and new age tunes will love Manika Kaur's latest offering. It's guilt-free and blissful.  ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Super Hi-Fi's 'Yule Analog, Vol. 1'

Super Hi-Fi
Yule Analog, Vol. 1

Super Hi-Fi dub-masters are back and in a celebratory mood for the upcoming holiday season with the release of their latest venture, Yule Analog, Vol. 1. The instrumental release spreads a bit of holiday cheer in all the right ways. There are fluid beats, jazzy horns, dubby noises, and psych-sensibilities throughout the ten-track release, which is available as a digital release. These guys put a new spin on the Christmas season with familiar and iconic tunes reinvented, including, "We Three Kings," "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (2 versions)," "Little Drummer Boy," "Go Tell It On The Mountain (2 versions)," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Auld Lang Syne," and one of the dubbiest, horn-driven, and reggae-infectious song imaginable ("Yule Analog"). The upbeat songs are sure to drive everyone into a happy frenzy. Put this on for your holiday party and you won't need any eggnog. It's that good. ~ Matthew Forss

Monday, November 17, 2014

CD Review: Torsha Lynn's 'Inappropriate'

Torsha Lynn

Links: Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud

Dallas, Texas singer, Torsha Lynn, knows how to create edgy, urban beats and flowing verbage that does anything but stay grounded. The new album, Inappropriate, contains some 'super' hits with the dance-friendly, "Supa Badd." This is a contrast from other songs, such as, "So Wrong," "Down South," "Keep Me," "Space Age," and others. These songs are more urban, R&B beats with some dance elements, but the main gist of the songs stems from a deep, urban influence. Torsha's vocals are rather fluid and edgy with a sound akin to Rihanna, Tamia, or Aaliyah. "Super Human" begins with a little piano introduction and Torsha's emotive vocals with neo-classical string accompaniment for an urban ballad result. "Lady Sings The Blues" also begins with a piano intro, but there are some electronic dance elements that set this track apart from the previously-mentioned song. There is a dance element to the song, but the entire song flows with a slower tempo and more electronic embellishments. "Down South" is a frenzied, electronic display of dance and urban R&B elements, which provides an awe-inspiring chorus with a male, backup vocal that is a little distracting in a deep, vocal register. Still, Torsha amazes listeners with a solid and mature release. 4.5 Stars (out of 5 Stars). ~ Matthew Forss

Friday, November 14, 2014

CD Review: Amira Medunjanin's 'Silk & Stone'

Amira Medunjanin
Silk & Stone
World Village

Hailing from Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Amira Medunjanin is a sensational singer that brings a neo-operatic tone to the mix. The folk songs are punctuated by jazzy stlyings, world travels, and relaxing vocal elements. The breezy songs are emotive and full of beauty. The nine tracks contain scintillating guitars with oud, piano, kanun, and double bass for a truly delectable release. The poignant vocals are clear, powerful, and mature. The plaintive ensemble instruments are very moving with instrumental sections that abound throughout the album. Fans of Balkan opera, folk music, and European music will love Silk & Stone. The music is smooth like silk and solid as a stone without any deficiencies. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: TriBeCastan's 'Coal, Again!'

Coal, Again!
Evergreene Music

Christmastime will never be the same once this is released. The folks of TriBeCastan continue to amaze us with a world fusion of sorts, but this time it revolves around a holiday. There are some basic Christmas favorites here with some tongue-in-cheek stuff going on, including "Silver Bells," "Little Drummer Boychik," "Good King What's His Name?," "Carol Of The Bells," "Jingle Bells," and "O Little Town Of Bethlemayhem." The instrumental tunes might have a few spoken words throughout the entire album. The music is loosely based on the Christmas classics, but the main melodies and rhythms are all there. In this case, the group brings together a world presence with a multitude of gifts, including instruments as diverse as a royal benju, fujara, citera, khomak, yayli tambur, and others. The lilting melodies capture a bit of a South Pacific or Hawaiian feel on some of the tunes, while jazzy and layered elements create dizzying possibilities on others. Who knew 'coal' could be this fun? This is an excellent stocking stuffer for the eclectic music fan. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: King Ayisoba's 'Wicked Leaders'

King Ayisoba
Wicked Leaders
Makkum Records

Born in Ghana, King Ayisoba is an accomplished kologo player and vocalist. The kologo is a two-stringed lute with a very organic sound somewhat aligned with a n'goni. The ten-track release features a few guest artists, including Ayuune Sulley, Solomon Abusoro, Zea, Mbo, Banasko, and Isaac. Besides the kologo, the music incorporates other indigenous instruments, including the sinyaka, gulugo drum, doo (horn), xylophone, dondo drum, and djembe drum. The rhythmic vocals and diverse instrumentation produces an entrancing result that is akin to gnawa music. The scintillating kologo is plaintive, energetic, and emotive--all on the same recording. Some of the vocals are similar to some of the Mongolian and Siberian utterances, but that is where the similarities end. This is a distinctly African release that is refreshing and contemporary. Fans of Ghanaian music, North African tunes, and percussion instruments will love Wicked Leaders. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: The Nile Project's 'Aswan'

The Nile Project

The Nile Project brings together eighteen musicians from several countries, including Egypt, Eritrea, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, and South Sudan, that present traditional music with contemporary rhythms. The North African instrumentation is rather indigenous and vibrant, which stems from the rustic masinko, traditional drums, some strings, a sax, and numerous voices. This recording is a live album recorded at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts that captures the energy and life-force of the music in all its splendor. Heady rhythms, wild vocals, and swirling melodies entrance listeners from around the world throughout the fifteen tracks. Fans of North African, Ethiopian, Egyptian, and Middle Eastern music will love Aswan. It's accessible for young and old listeners alike. Head over to Africa with The Nile Project as your guide. You will definitely not be disappointed. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Syre & Fresko's 'Gonna See Miracles'

Syre & Fresko
Gonna See Miracles

Links: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Soundcloud

The husband and wife duo, Syre & Fresko, hail from Melbourne, Australia and present us with an excellent five-track EP, Gonna See Miracles. The contemporary release encompasses a slight rock feel with anthemic sounds of pop and alternative leanings throughout. "Broken Fragments" is a rock anthem of intelligent lyrics, great guitar hooks, and full-on vocals with bass, guitar, percussion, and electronic effects. "Gonna See Miracles" opens with spacious sounds of guitar, swishy percussion, and a classic, almost Western vocal arrangement. However, the chorus is purely rock and pop-driven with both male and female vocals. "Plastic Dreams" possesses an electronic sound with a full sound that is rock-laden with vocals that are all-encompassing and memorable. "Ruth" begins as a more laid-back guitar and vocal tune void of any percussion. The folksy melody is a bit country-esque with the whining dobro-like instrument. Syre & Fresko both lend locals on this tune. "Tightrope" begins with swishy sounds and female vocals with electronic bell tones. The airy vocals and lack of much percussion throughout the first half of the song gives way to a more robust rock sound with a stellar chorus and climax. 5 Stars (out of 5). ~ Matthew Forss

Monday, November 3, 2014

CD Review: Atlas Maior's Double Release 'Palindrome'

Atlas Maior
Palindrome [2-CD]

Texas-based, world music fusion group, Atlas Maior, releases a double-album, Palindrome, which an improvisatinoal journey on the wilder side of fusion. The band is comprised of Charlie Lockwood on oud, Joshua Thomson on alto sax and flute, and Ted Camat on percussion. The result is very complex, yet laid-back release, with loads of aural textures that weave in and out of consciousness. The entrancing release arouses North African, Middle Eastern, European, and North American musical elements on the jazz, avant-garde, and new age sides of the spectrum. There are fourteen tracks in all with names as diverse as the song elements, such as "ouduo," "Booted and Looted," "Half-pipe Blowhole," and "oodaqq." The instrumental release is perfect for fans of adventurous world music. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Emma Donovan & The Putbacks' 'Dawn'

Emma Donovan & The Putbacks
Hope Street Recordings

Australian vocalist, Emma Donovan, joins her rhythm section, The Pubacks, on her latest release of bluesy, jazzy, and funk-infused concoctions on Dawn. The opening song, Black Woman, is a punchy, funk-filled anthem that sounds like a classic American hit from the 1970's, but this is completely Australian and filled with innovative funk elements. The swaying melodies and vocals of "My Goodness" showcases Emma's talent. The musical abilities are boundless and timeless here. The entire album is full of funk, roots, and pop elements that are unforgettable and highly-recommended. Emma Donovan & The Putbacks are not something you want to 'put back' on the shelf. These musicians are not to be missed. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Spokfrevo Orquestra's 'Ninho de Vespa'

Spokfrevo Orquestra
Ninho de Vespa

The seventeen-piece, Brazilian band, Spokfrevo Orquestra, pens its name from an old carnival style of Brazilian music that includes a feverishly-played jazz foundation that is akin to New Orleans jazz and Balkan jazz. There is a tambourine, drums, and loads of brass horns on this instrumental release. Thirteen songs comprise the album and they definitely fit into a jazzy vein with South American vigor. The fluid keyboards and swishy percussion are danceable and fueled by an unmistakable and unrelenting passion for creative tunes. The music is punchy, jazzy, swing-like, and classic with loads of rhythms and melodies to satisfy everyone that is within earshot. Fans of Brazilian jazz will love it. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Ireesh Lal's 'Ethnotronica'

Ireesh Lal

Ireesh Lal is an innovative electro-fusion musician with a knack for South Asian influences, jazz infused concoctions, and electronic music that is deliciously wrapped around a world music core. The six-song EP contains lush electronic blurbs, atmospheric washes, bubbly dance elements, and punchy trumpet sounds. The diverse instrumentation and song palettes are immensely addictive and enjoyable. The programmed grooves, trip-hop percussion, and contemporary beats elicit favorable responses from all who listen or move to the music. The pulsating sounds ebb-and-flow with such ease and adventure that nothing is the same here. There are hints of 1960's and 70's spy film scores, too. At any rate, Ireesh produces a beautiful recording with cover art inspired by the sounds of the album. This is a great project that is a must-have this year. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Eleonor's 'Erros'

Music & Words

Belgium's Eleonor mixes folk, roots, jazz, neo-classical, fado, and pop and weaves it into beautiful delicacies lead by her emotive vocals. The ten-track album features a variety of instruments, including the double-bass, bass, guitar, piano, drums, oud, accordion, and cello. The soulful, "Salve," is a ballad with strong ties to French jazz and neo-classical influences. The piano adds a nostalgic ambiance to most of the songs. However, Eleonor's voice moves the songs into greater dimensions with such ease and fluidity. As a whole, there are plenty  of calming grooves here. Anyone into great music with great vocals will like it. Everything comes together in just the right proportions for it to be a highly-recommended work of musical art. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Muha's 'Reka'


With roots in British, Indian, Latvian, and Ukrainian music, Muha is an interesting folk and roots group that transcends borders and genres. The edgy folk stylings of "Kateryna" bring an essence that is unsurpassed in folk music. "Reka" is another great tune with excellent vocals and a meandering rhythm that brings to mind Russian folk elements. The percussion is really laid-back, too. Even though the group is based in the U.K., there are elements that extend far beyond the country's borders. The bluesy "Sketches" contains a little jazz and folk. "NY Talk" is actually a flamenco-tinged tune with stellar guitar work and great vocals. There are nine total tracks that are all diverse and deeply-rooted in folk music styles of Europe. Anyone interested in folk, vocal, European, and world music will find true happiness within the tracks of Reka. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Maya Kamaty's 'Santie Papang'

Maya Kamaty
Santie Papang
Sakifo Records/Atmospheriques

Reunion is an island primarily known for the music of international sensation Danyel Waro, but another Reunion-native, Maya Kamaty, who is a very beautiful and talented songstress that sings in French and Reunion Creole, makes the island known on the female side of music. The new album, Santie Papang, is a hearty mix of world music songs that incorporate a bit of French pop blends, Madagascar pop rhythms, and Brazilian melodies. The diverse cultural attributes are only fitting for a diverse island nation located off the east coast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. The breezy sounds are ripe with light rhythms that are catchy and airy. "Comme Un Refrain" is one of the best songs on the album--noted for its splendid arrangements of ukulele inclusions, sensual vocals, and sparkling percussion that connotes a light French style with a hint of Brazilian charm. "Move Rev" is a bluesy, French tune with emotive vocals in a storytelling delivery. "Veli" is a sweet, neo-classical song with plaintive guitar and evocative vocalizations. "Dernie Viraz" is a punchy, guitar tune that is a bit of French rock in a lighter setting, but the vocals are akin to Patricia Kaas. Overall, Maya Kamaty is one of the best new artists to grace this blog. Fans of great, female world music with French, Brazil, African, and pop qualities will love it. In fact, everyone will love this one. ~ Matthew Forss 

Monday, October 27, 2014

CD Review: Roxanna's 'Exotica'


Born in Iran and based in North America, Roxanna brings a classical voice to the forefront in world fusion and pop-based songs on her latest, seventeen-track release, Exotica. Roxanna's sensual voice is matched by Chris Botti's sensuous trumpet sounds backed by a fusion of pop and world music arrangements. The Latin and flamenco-tinged, "Unforgotten," is an exotic medley of sounds that evoke nothing but magic and mystery. "The Air That I Breathe" is a slow, jazzy, pop standard song with breathy vocals and swishy percussion backed by jazzy piano melodies. "Only You" begins with sparkling guitar sounds and flamenco-like rhythms. Roxanna's vocals are akin to another fellow countrywoman, Nazanin (a former Miss World). Every song is different, but they do not touch urban, dance, rock, or classical genres. Exotica is a great mix of world music styles backed with a great voice. The result is a winning combination that is highly-desirable. 5 Stars (out of 5). ~ Matthew Forss

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CD Review: Quinn DeVeaux & The Blue Beat Review's 'Originals'

Quinn DeVeaux & The Blue Beat Review
QDV Records

Delta blues, rockabilly, folk, roots, gospel, and early rock & roll influences wrap up the gist of the new album, Originals, by Quinn DeVeaux & The Blue Beat Review. Quinn grew up in Indiana, but found inspiration living in Washington and California later on. Quinn's songs are classic compositions inspired by the music of the early 1900's. There is a bluesy, jazzy, and folksy element with rustic piano, horns, and percussion that are perfectly executed throughout the entire album. Quinn's vocals and guitar work are something that should have been on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. This is not really country music, or bluegrass music, for that matter. Instead, Quinn brings together a mix of early Americana rock & roll, folk, blues, jazz, and swing music for a contemporary era. If Darius Rucker (ex-Hootie & The Blowfish) would explore the folkier side of Americana, Quinn would be the genre purveyor in that regard. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Backbeat Soundsystem's 'Together Not Apart'

Backbeat Soundsystem
Together Not Apart
Easy Star Records

Reggae from the U.K.? Yes, indeed. The eight-piece reggae-roots band, Backbeat Soundsystem, fires on all cylinders with their latest, hook-laden release, Together Not Apart. The group comprises the talents of Dean Forrest, Darren Kendall, Zac Jesus Esquela Harkavy, Jon Symons, Sam Parsons, Elf Forrest, Lawrence Willoughby, and Tom Neale. The music contains catchy, bass-laden beats with hooks that will grab everyone's attention. There are twelve tracks in all. Each song is unique and blends reggae sounds with pop, rock, and urban jazz. The fluid sounds of reggae and punchy percussion are all positive attributes that make Together Not Apart stand alone as an impressive recording. Fans of Easy Star Records will find this a necessary recording. Also, fans of reggae will love it. ~ Matthew Forss

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

CD Review: Xylouris White's 'Goats'

Xylouris White
Other Music Recording Co.

Xylouris White is a group formed from George Xylouris and Jim White. George is a very talented Greek lute player with one vocal song on the new album, Goats. Jim White is a percussionist from Australia with a penchant for creating rhythms characteristic of goats traversing rocky hill-sides. The lute adds an element of surprise to the entire album with diverse tunings, playing styles, and an unabashed ability to create diverse and engaging tunes. There are nine total tracks, but only one contains vocals and George is the vocalist. The entire album is around thirty-five minutes in length, but it should not be ignored. The triumphant silences and sounds of the opener, "Pulling The Bricks," intrigues the listener with its divergent sound. The minstrel-like lute sounds of many of the tracks suggests a Medieval presence, too. Overall, Xylouris White is a great duo that knows how to entertain humans and goats with ease. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Beautiful Mess' 'Words Getting Around'

Beautiful Mess
Words Getting Around

The Northeast-based group, Beautiful Mess, is spearheaded by Chris Ehrhart and his nephew, Tim Ehrhart who have a passion for writing, playing, arranging, and sharing songs of a heavenly side—on their latest release, Words Getting Around.  The five-track release showcases jingly pop and rock songs with a positive message about the realities of life.  The music is more than a voice, guitar, and drums, as other instruments come into play throughout.

“Alright” opens with plaintive vocals and a briskly-played, acoustic guitar with a kind of flamenco style.  The vocals are backed by light percussion through mid-song.  The vocals feel very organic and unaltered by heavy mixing or sampling.  The last half of the song incorporates a few spoken word vocals with symphonic, rock arrangements and louder vocals by the end of the song.  However, the vocals are still discernible.  The rock arrangements are a fitting end to the song that actually ends with a few acoustic guitar chords, as delicately as it started.

“Crazy” begins with clap-like percussion, a few piano notes, and swishy percussion with great vocals.  The up-tempo beat sparkles with guitar, piano, and arrangements.  After the first few verses, a punchy rock beat occurs before a vocal only line that signals the last few lines of the song with full-on percussion, guitars, piano, and vocals in a pop-rock structure.  The pop vocals at the end of the song appropriately round out the song’s best features.

“Holding On” opens with an acoustic guitar in a folksy, raw manner.  The vocals begin, as a rich, percussive sound accompanies the vocals and guitar.  After the first few lines, a symphonic chorus incorporates a little pop-rock splendor.  There are lush back-up vocals throughout amidst the jangly percussion.  The end of the song ends as charming as it begins with plaintive guitar and vocals.

“Home Forever” begins with piano notes and a heartfelt vocal line.  A percussion arrangement kicks in with an ambulating beat and delicate taps.  A swishy cymbal clang signals more dramatic vocal performances with back-up vocals during the first chorus.  The next few verses escalate with pop-rock charisma in a more majestic tone with lush guitars, symphonic washes, and rock guitar beats.  The triumphant vocals are fueled by powerful lyrics of Christian rebirth and eternal living.  After the climax of the last chorus, the song fades out with organ sounds and percussion arrangements.

“Words Getting Around” opens with a jingly acoustic guitar tune and organ sounds with swishy cymbals and drums.  The bluesy and folksy tune is jingly and full of pop-rock splendor with vocals akin to Dave Matthews.  Even the bluesy melody and guitar arrangements are akin to something by Dave Matthews.  At any rate, mid-song features back-up vocals in a bluesy or gospel context.  The vocals are manipulated in parts by back-up vocals and some programming effects.  The back-up vocals, instruments, and arrangements come together in the end for a party-like sound of indiscriminate vocals.  The mish-mash of music is a fitting end to the song.  

Beautiful Mess is a group that is inspired by things beyond this Earth and they harness that energy and turn it into great music arranged in innovative ways by incorporating a mix of instrumentation.  The music is also catchy.  Though, only five songs are included on the album. Still, the five songs are all very good without any faults.  A mix of jazzy, folk, rock, pop, Christian, and gospel elements make the music shine without any shortcomings.  Anyone with an interest in the abovementioned genres will find happiness (and meaning) in the songs.   

Review by Matthew Forss
Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)

Find them on bandcamp!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Digital Review: War Poets' 'Hot And Cold: American Relationships'

War Poets
Hot And Cold: American Relationships

Minneapolis-based duo, War Poets, is the result of Rex Haberman and Jenny Case forming a voice and guitar group with lyrically-relevant and catchy pop-rock songs. Jenny's vocals are akin to Michelle Branch and Nina Gordon (ex-Veruca Salt), while Rex's vocals are equally-intriguing and reminiscent of Springsteen, The Wallflowers, and R.E.M. The basic pop-rock structures are here on the new six-track, digital EP release, Hot And Cold: American Relationships. "Ones Who Love" is more of a rock-based song with an R.E.M.-type beat and vocalizations with a hint of Bruce Springsteen and The Wallflowers. "Perfect One" contains a classic pop-rock beat with influences from the 1960's, but Rex's voice is timeless and backed by an incredible, catchy melody. "Bits And Pieces" is the only song on the release that features Jenny's lead vocals. The melody is catchy and the vocals very similar to a cross between Michelle Branch and Nina Gordon. Overall, the new release explores some catchy songs with great lyrics and memorable hooks without sounding forced or on-the-nose. Check out Sound Cloud for more info and downloads. 5 Stars (out of 5). ~ Matthew Forss

Thursday, October 9, 2014

CD Review: Abelardo Barroso's 'Cha Cha Cha'

Abelardo Barroso
Cha Cha Cha
World Circuit

The year is 1925. Through the smoky clouds of a Havana jazz club, one can spot the unmistakable Abelardo Barroso and his Orquesta Sensacion. The classic sounds of Abelardo's voice are backed by bouncy piano, authentic strings, and airy flutes that are arranged in cha cha cha, son, and similar music styles of the era. The folksy, jazzy, and danceable grooves of the music are very indigenous and familiar to anyone with an interest in Cuban music history. The heavy percussion in parts keep the music moving along. The poignant tunes are somewhat cinematic and breezy. In the same manner, the music is ideal for relaxing, dancing, taking a cruise, or dreaming of a place sunny and warm. Whatever you call it or make it, Abelardo Barroso's great voice and backing orchestra make the music come alive (and stay alive). ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Alex Skolnick's 'Planetary Coalition'

Alex Skolnick
Planetary Coalition
Artist Share

Alex Skolnick is a true world music pioneer--coming from the worlds of metal, jazz, rock, and now ethnic--Planetary Coalition is a global album with over two-dozen artists contributing to its production. There are some great instrumentals on this album, as well as great vocals coming from only two tracks featuring Kiran Ahluwalia and Yacouba Sissoka. The instrumentals are jam-worthy, flamenco-tinged, alternative rock incarnations, and avant-garde expressions of musical tastes from far-away lands. Some of the instruments include bass, santoor, horns, several different guitars, tabla, violin, qanun, darbouka, accordion, piano, pipa, riq, oud, and more. Most of the songs are original, too. Fans of world guitar music, global tunes, and instrumental variations will love Alex's new release. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Awa Sangho's 'Ala Ta'

Awa Sangho
Ala Ta

Mali's Awa Sangho is a very talented singer with a passion for music and incorporating traditional instrumentation in a contemporary setting. The music is fresh, catchy, and full of rich textures. The melodies and rhythms are equally-astounding. There are thirteen delicacies on this album and not one of them are identical. In addition to Awa's youthful vocals, the album is graced with guitar, bass, percussion, ngoni, kora, balafon, talking flute, ndjarka, bolon, bass guitar, and djembe. "Tambin Y Tambor" is a perfect blend of international instruments coming together for a relaxing and intriguing tune. "Denko" is a jazzy, Afro-pop tune with stellar vocals and sounds, "Emama" is a gritty, guitar tune with rippling sound effects and a Congolese-like rhythm. All of the songs are easy to listen to and void of anything distracting, disruptive, or unnecessary. Anyone with an interest in contemporary Malian music will love it. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Yom's 'Le Silence de L'Exode'

Le Silence de L'Exode
Buda Musique

Yom is a composer and clarinetist with a passion for making music inspired by the Old Testament's Book of Exodus describing the forty years of Jewish people wandering in the deserts of Egypt. The result is an album of plaintive, yet powerful sounds that evoke magical feelings of hope, love, and conquest. The music is rather laid-back and poignant with all of the music created by clarinet, cello, double bass, zarb, daf, and bendir. There are no vocals. The music is very cinematic in parts and aimless in others. The rather varied tones represent a mix of emotions and feelings in the listener. As a result, the tunes are not named in order for the listener to determine his or her own exodus journey. It is a rather consistent one-hour journey that is both nostalgic and refreshing. The instruments move about in dizzying ways at times, while other times the music is very dreamy. At any rate, anyone will find Yom to be an excellent guide for those seeking salvation in music from a heavenly source. ~ Matthew Forss

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

CD Review: Jubilee Riots' 'Penny Black'

Jubilee Riots
Penny Black

Jubilee Riots (formerly Enter The Haggis) is a Canadian band that brings Celtic and Scottish jam songs to the forefront in a swirling concoction of pop songs based on fan letters and stories. There are eleven songs on the album that are all different, but very memorable. The vocal chants, European charisma, and evocative lead vocals on "Astray" highlight the power of overcoming life's cruel world. "Two Bare Hands" opens with a folksy vocal line that blossoms into a power-pop medley of ear-friendly candy that is not too unlike Mumford & Sons and Paul Simon. "Trying Times" is an alt-rock song with soul, European, and dance elements. "Unsteady" is a classic song with great melody and rhythm and male and female vocals in a folksy setting. "Porch Light" is a twenty-second, alternative piano melody in a new age context. It serves a perfect half-way point thru the album. "Traveler" is a poignant guitar, horn, and percussion song with excellent vocals. Overall, Penny Black is littered with catchy lines, melodies, and rhythms without sacrificing quality. If you want great music--this is it. Anyone interested in alternative folk, pop, and European music will love Jubilee Riots. 5 Stars (out of 5) ~ Matthew Forss

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

CD Review: Piers Faccini & Vincent Segal's 'Songs Of Time Lost'

Piers Faccini & Vincent Segal
Songs Of Time Lost
Six Degrees Records

Vincent Segal and Piers Faccini reunified after twenty-five years for an impressive duet on Songs Of Time Lost. Vincent is a cellist and Piers is a guitarist and vocalist. The thirteen songs weave a delicate array of laid-back, neo-classical, and jazzy compositions. The entire project is a mix of French, English, Italian, and Mediterranean melodies and rhythms. There are some original songs, traditional songs, and covers. Vincent's previous releases have garnered attention for successfully blending different musical cultures and directions and this new album flows the best. The poetic vocals float effortlessly along the strings of guitar and cello. The music is very relaxing and evocative at the same time without sounding too pretentious. Fans of Vincent Segal, neo-classical music, fusion, world jazz, and European music will love Songs Of Time Lost. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Lo'Jo's 2-CD '310 Lunes'

310 Lunes [2-CD]
World Village

The French group, Lo'Jo, brings us a new double-disc release of instrumental world jazz, Balkan delights, and impressionistic displays of musical ingenuity on 310 Lunes. Though, the second disc, The International Courabou, was originally released in 1989. At any rate, the music is adventurous, suspenseful, cinematic, and easy-going. There is a bit of North America, Europe, and the Middle East in the release. The music is arranged by Renaud-Gabriel Pion with guests including Magic Malik, Roswell Rudd, Erik Truffaz, and Hasan Yarimdunia. There are even neo-classical influences that mimic soundtracks and scores of America's early films from the 1940's and 50's. The second disc is more world fusion oriented with percussion and a contemporary rock beat. Still, there are neo-classical elements, but the vocals add another dimension to the music. As a set, the albums are dynamic and multi-dimensional with enough pizzazz to satisfy all world jazz aficionados. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Tanya Tagaq's 'Animism'

Tanya Tagaq 
Six Shooter Records

Hailing from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada, Tanya Tagaq is an innovative and experimental performer of throat-singing, rock, electronic, and avant-garde music inspired by the spirits of the great North. Sometimes the music is repetitive and meditative, but the wide variety of metallic, grinding, squeaking, and ancillary sounds makes it an intriguing and artistic piece of history. In addition to Tanya's sporadic vocals, there are drums, electronics, violin, viola, synths, bass, trombone, french horn, and assorted vocals throughout the eleven tracks. The combination of melodies and rhythms creates a dark and swirling masterpiece that is both chilling and exciting. Some of the sounds are quite abrasive and fairly removed from the traditional throat-singing structures, but this is contemporary music anyway. Still, Tanya succeeds with another stellar recording that has won--and will continue to win--awards. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Aurelio's 'Landini'

Real World

Garifuna singer and cultural ambassador, Aurelio Martinez, shares the music of Honduras through his Garifuna people for people everywhere. The music encompasses the traditions of Indian, African, and Caribbean roots, while English, French, and Spanish influences arrived later. Landini is an album of true authenticity devoted to Garifuna music about the life and culture of the region. The recording was actually recorded at Stonetree Records in Belize. The dozen tracks represent a musically-complex arrangement of songs that draw upon many different cultures and influences, which makes this recording a must-have. The mix of guitars, percussion, strings, and various intonations makes Landini a pivotal and recommended recording of a rare musical style. ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Olcay Bayir's 'Neva/Harmony'

Olcay Bayir
Riverboat Records

Olcay Bayir hails from Turkey, but she currently lives in London, where the sounds of the world seem to congregate with such ease. Olcay knows how to channel this world music of sorts in her own recording of Turkish, Anatolian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern-influenced music. There is an element of jazz and neo-classical, which permeates throughout the yearning tracks. The music is ripe with folk elements and evocative vocal deliveries, which present listeners with an amazing listening experience. Olcay also incorporates traditional folk songs from Albanian, Armenian, Balkan, and Sephardic sources for a truly world fusion result. However, Olcay is well-centered with a creative vision that transcends space, time, and place. The music is made possible by the baglama, classical guitar, violin, darbuka, clarinet, bass, kopuz, and numerous other instruments. There are nine tracks in all that run about forty-eight-minutes long. There is an overall nostalgic romanticism with the music that is extremely enchanting and well-worth repeated listens. Hooray for Olcay! ~ Matthew Forss

CD Review: Paulo Padilha's 'Na Lojinha De Eu Me Sinto Milionario'

Paulo Padilha
Na Lojinha De Eu Me Sinto Milionario

Brazil's Paulo Padilha is a talented musician with a knack for crafting delicate songs with a message in a fanciful format with traditional instruments. The thirteen songs feature giddy tunes with an effervescent guitar, swishy percussion, and breezy arrangements that are perfectly-suited for the oceanside shanties and bungalows or high-rise offices. Paulo permeates every facet of life with his evocative little songs. The instrumental nuances are full of life with scintillating guitar work that possesses a Portuguese influence and South American essence. The music mixes a little jazz and neo-classical influences with folk and pop to create a very intriguing and lasting recording. The vocals are rich and varied with a moderate dose of maturity. Anyone looking for easy-going, Brazilian music with roots in Portuguese and folk styles will love Paulo's new release. ~ Matthew Forss