Eclectic Vibes - January 2014
CD/DVD Micro Reviews by Andrew Frey
YEAR END YAHOOZNA
Here are a few vocabulary words you may wish to consider introducing into your personal lexicon for 2014. ReDabs, Gnosa, KandyVape, StickyLips, Peace Pirate, eJuice, Hydrosols, PAX, and Merkinista Twerkette.
Nahko and Medicine for The People win my top slot for both performer/performance of the year and album of the year, Dark as Night. I feel blessed to have been able to attend the landmark full moon Nahko and Medicine for the People show on 4/26 at the Majestic Theater in Madison. The crowd was hoppin, the set was phenomenal and the energy was completely off the charts! Dark as Night had just been released and we were all buzzing with the heart rending stories of love, compassion, unity that the album offers. This performance, which didn’t rely on any fancy lighting or stage show, just charisma and charm on a dizzying level, will live in my memory for many years to come. The performance in turn catapulted the release into the triple digit listening range over the next few months and has only recently slowed to less than once a day. By framing and intending their music to be medicine, Nahko and Medicine for the People are creating a ripple that will be felt by generations to come. I am so excited to see what they will do next! (nahko.com)
MORE AT THE TOP
Other noteworthy mentions to my Top of 2013 list include Danny Michel with the Garifuna Collective, GRIZ, STS9, Wookiefoot, Lotus, Earthcry, and Papadosio as well as the Boban & Marko Markovic Orchestra. How do they rank on your list?
And there was much rejoicing! Pretty Lights has received a Grammy Nomination for best Dance/Electronica Album for Color Map of the Sun. Regardless if he wins, it is quite an auspicious nod to a rebel artist who has repeatedly broken the mold by being completely independent and setting a new standard by offering free downloads of all his music and videos. In turn this adds credibility and validation to the burgeoning and blossoming electronic music scene in Colorado. To celebrate, Pretty Lights just released a remix album of Color Map of the Sun which features key players in the Pretty Lights diorama including Michal Menert, GRIZ, Break Science, and Eliot Lipp. Trending now! (prettylightsmusic.com)
SNOOP LION CARNATED
After watching the extremely entertaining documentary, Reincarnated, which tells how Snoop Dog was transformed into reggae artist Snoop Lion, I was initially skeptical and somewhat underwhelmed when I first heard the Reincarnated musical release. However, it does have that special something and it turned out to be one of the more memorable releases for me in 2013. Apparently I wasn’t the only one with that opinion as it is Grammy Nominated for best Reggae album. (snooplion.com)
Emancipator’s Dusk to Dawn was also on my top albums list of 2013 and so I was duly excited when I heard that the Emancipator Ensemble was coming to the Miramar Theater in Milwaukee on 1/29 and Majestic Theater in Madison on 1/30 (with Odeza). Dusk to Dawn is a smorgasbord of chilled electronic washes filling out a rich rhythmic instrumentation of soaring orchestrations. The thought of hearing it funneled through a live ensemble is a tantalizing and exciting proposition that I can’t wait to experience. (www.emancipatormusic.com)
BASSEKOU KOUYATE AND NGONI BA
West African sensation and master Ngoni (ancient traditional lute) player Bassekou Kouyate along with his Grammy nominated band Ngoni Ba brave January in the Midwest to appear at the Sett in the UW Union South on 1/24 and at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis on 1/25. They come in support of their most recent release, Jama Ko where Bassekou expounds upon the generations of Ngoni playing by electrifying the instrument and bringing more family members into the band. Nothing like Malian blues rock to chase the winter blues away! (bassekoukouyate.com)
Record Label: Altar Records
Review published: January 2014
Beautiful artwork and restrained melodies combine with driving bass lines on this down-tempo dance floor delectation, inspired by the Greek mountainside. Alwoods AKA John Rigas offers us 8 epic length tracks (none shorter than 7 min!) to morph, meld and find inner vision with.
Record Label: Shanti Planti/ self-published
Review published: January 2014
Oozing organic melodies and swampy beats from the quantum corners of consciousness, Quanta takes listeners on a fractal foray into futuristic psychedelic disclosures and stellar electronic mind warps. Hang on!