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Midwife, "Forever"

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cover imageIt is fair to say that every Midwife release is a deeply personal one, as Madeline Johnston has never been one to mask her true feelings with ambiguously poetic language or aesthetic distance.  This second full-length is an especially heavy one though, as it was composed as a sort of letter to Johnston's late friend Colin Ward (the two were roommates at Denver's beloved former DIY art space Rhinoceropolis).  Fortunately, cathartically transforming dark emotions into powerful art has always been where Johnston shines the brightest and that remains as true as ever with Forever.  In fact, she has arguably only gotten better, as Forever's lead single "Anyone Can Play Guitar" actually gave me chills the first time I heard it.  Thankfully, the other five songs do not pack quite as much of an emotional gut punch, making this album considerably more well-suited for repeat listening than, say, Mount Eerie’s similarly inspired (and emotionally devastating) A Crow Looked at Me.  There is certainly plenty of pain and anger to be found on Forever, but that darkness is beautifully mingled with warmth, hopefulness, and a characteristically unerring instinct for great songcraft.

Last Updated on Monday, 27 April 2020 07:44

Félicia Atkinson, "Everything Evaporate"

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cover imageThis latest release from Félicia Atkinson is ostensibly a minor and somewhat transitional one, as it is a cassette intended as a sort of culminating document of a year spent traveling and performing.  As with all recent Atkinson releases, however, the reality is far more complex, enigmatic, and deeply conceptual than anything that can be easily summarized in just one sentence.  Partly inspired by the paintings of Helen Frankenthaler and partly intended as "a reassessed document of public performance with improvised studio interventions acting to break the linear stream of the live-on-stage temporality," Everything Evaporate is an intriguing and sophisticated release that seems to exist at the borderline of form and dreamlike abstraction.  As such, it is not the optimal entry point for the curious (that would be 2019's The Flower and the Vessel), but deep listening reveals this release to be every bit as absorbing as the rest of Atkinson's recent hot streak.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 April 2020 12:42

Roedelius, "Selbstportrait Wahre Liebe"

E-mail Print PDF Roedelius is better known for his work as a founding member of the bands Cluster and Harmonia, both household names for fans of 1970s krautrock. This solo album, Selbstportrait Wahre Liebe, feels like a more clinical approach to krautrock, with all of the difference and repetition and none of the bombast. Filled with stately electronic keyboards and synthesizers, this minimalist document has the hair-raising effect of a calm, deliberate tea ceremony.


Beatriz Ferreyra, "Echos+"

E-mail Print PDF Ferreyra, former pupil of Gorgy Ligeti, is an experimental music composer with many distinguished accolades. An academic who has published notable papers, she now works as a free composer taking commissions for concerts, festivals, ballets, and films. On Echos+, we hear her in peak form crafting intriguing and unique experiments in vocal manipulation. She uses the voice as base material for stereo-shifting computer music creations that arrest and delight.


Jim White and Marisa Anderson, “The Quickening”

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Jim White and Marisa Anderson, 'The Quickening'The start of the album made me think of what my grandmother would have said: “What is this twaddle?” and “Is this what you call music?” White is foremost a drummer, first founding Dirty Three with Warren Ellis and Mick Turner, and with bands as varied as Cat Power, PJ Harvey, and The Blackeyed Susans. Conversely, Marisa Anderson is a classically trained master of melancholic guitar rooted in American folk, neo-classical and African guitar styles, with an early foundation in country, jazz and even circus bands. With musicians as these at the helm, this becomes perfect jam music; not jam as in “jam band” or Grateful Dead, but a rich psychedelic tapestry woven by practiced hands that take pleasure in breaking the rules of jazz foundations and serve to transport the listener to new heights.

Last Updated on Saturday, 18 April 2020 15:58

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