Browsing All Posts published on »August, 2012«

Chattabox – They Call Me (hip-hop)

August 16, 2012


As I’ve come to expect from a Chattabox release, this one goes in hard from the start. I often go to some lengths to counter the idea that musical quality is a matter of technical skills being exploited at full stretch, but there are times when an impressive display of compositional and performance gymnastics makes a positive aesthetic contribution to the music. This is one such: the very fact that this shit is hard to do is a part of its strength, and since Chatta never takes his eye off the ball in terms of his lyrics and beats it never comes across as smart-arsed, or as empty formalism. A highly developed skill set, in areas completely unvalued by the cultural elite, is a challenge to hegemony, and an assertion of personal agency …

Various Artists – Album Roundup

August 9, 2012


The five pieces collected on Elle Avait Raison Hathor take their inspiration from five female deities, from geographically disparate mythological traditions – ancient Egyptian, Japanese, Inuit and classical Greek. To exploit mythical archetypes in a way that respects the specificities of a modern subjectivity takes a deft touch and a nuanced understanding, both of the source mythology, and the way its discourses are articulated in the here and now. There is a great deal of material already in circulation that shoehorns lived experience into a generic New Age symbolism, without adding anything to its audience’s understanding; fortunately, the experiences conveyed by Vincent Berger Rond’s compositions, both musical and poetic, are nothing if not particular.

The Blackswords: Episode 4

August 9, 2012


The cabin shutters were closed, slicing the the sunlight into a gridwork of thin lines: thicker verticals at the hinges, or where the two leaves met, and fine horizontals that passed between the boards. Ashurra’s eyes traced the lines across the wall, and abruptly out, around the lean knots and cords of her brother’s chest and arms. The swell was a nurturing, hypnotic regularity, in contrast to the chaotic chop that had carried them north up the Gulf Of Dorna, away from their destination; it helped her to lose herself, but it hindered her focus, and she realised with a small sting of frustration that she had allowed herself to be distracted by the pattern of the light. Her eyes de-focussed as she tried again to grasp the whole energy of their working …

Cutleri – We Sink Ships (avant-folk)

August 2, 2012


I never know how much to consider the visual artwork when I’m discussing a release. On the one hand, I don’t want to do the artist a disservice by basing my description on anything extraneous to the music, but then the artwork does unavoidably affect how the listener hears the music, and the visual component is often a valuable creative accomplishment in its own right. Personally I enjoy the artwork attached to the music I listen to; even if it’s only digital, it still provides a handle that I can hang my memories of the sounds off. What I’m trying to get at when I write about music is its meaning, and in the case of music, ‘meaning’ can’t really refer to anything other than the experience of hearing it; what goes on neurologically when we hear music …