Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lots of listening, not a lot of blogging...

I have been listening to quite a bit of music, but being in a bit of a funk, I have been having trouble writing. Hopefully, changing the format a little bit will get me back in the swing of things. Iron and Wine consists of singer-songwriter Sam Beam and a rotating cast of backing musicians. Beam is a superb songwriter with a haunting, confessional voice and over the past decade his music had evolved from acoustic solo work to full band drawing on elements of rock and roll. This music on his new LP Ghost on Ghost skirts the sound of 1970's soft-rock, but never quite succumbs to saccharine schmaltz. I have listened to John Coltrane's Meditations many times, but it never fails to awe. With Pharoah Sanders joining Coltrane on tenor saxophone, the music becomes almost unbelievably intense. Developing into suites of music with spiritual themes, it's fascinating to juxtapose Coltrane and Sanders. The older man paces his solos and playing, with a deep and stoic nature central to his sound. Sanders, however, almost sounds desperate, sending scalding waves of torrid sound, almost like he is searching for himself musically as well as spiritually. The sense of wonder that imbues Coltrane's music also exemplifies pianist Kris Davis's music although through a much quieter manner. Capricorn Climber, her latest album, features sketches of music that allows her colleagues a great deal of freedom to fill in the music and react to each other in an organic fashion. The music never behaves quite like you think it should, with odd rests, bursts of sound, and varied colors throughout. With much hullabaloo about his most recent album in the news, David Bowie's 40th Anniversary edition of my favorite album of his album, Aladdin Sane, has gone a bit unnoticed. "Panic In Detroit" knocked me out when I first heard it, and the gritty funk of that song still resonates today. The glammy "The Jean Genie" and "Watch That Man" are also featured, sounding like a continuation of the Ziggy Stardust album. It is interesting to see that while the 30th anniversary edition of this album included an extra disc of b-sides and live performances, this new edition scales things back to the original album shorn of any additions.

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