Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thank You For the Music!

Jim got me some great CDs this Christmas, and his sister Chris gave me a $10 gift certificate for iTunes. So I went shopping today! Last year, I wrote a blog entry defending the wonderfulness of gift cards against those who assert they are not 'approptiate' gifts. Here's the link:

Since in that entry I suggest letting the person know what you you go Chris...all the wonderful stuff I was able to get with your gift card! Thank you!

Put Em Up EP - Ancient Astronauts
My purchases were pretty focused around the ESL label. Ancient Astronauts are a trip-hop outfit from Germany. I often dislike trip-hop of the kind they seem to produce (think Nightmares on Wax or Red Snapper) because the flow that most people love about this kind of music tends to bore me. The Put Em Up EP includes some sweet remixes that work better for me and get me chilled because it's a bit grittier and more melodic than the album versions.

Booty Lock - Frank Mitchell, Jr.
I heard the b-side to this single ('Body Mind') for free on ESL's website, where they make mixes of 5 to 6 tracks and then you can listen to them and buy the mix for a couple bucks. When I found the song on iTunes and saw it was the b-side, I had to check on the single. 'Booty Lock' was good enough to make me buy the whole thing.  Frank Mitchell, Jr. is a saxaphone player and vocalist who worked on Thievery Corporation's recent classic Radio Retaliation. This is his debut single and the music is funky, soulful deep house that's a bit more upbeat than most ESL stuff. Love it!

Tree Of Mystery - Kabanjak
Kabanjak is one half of the duo that makes up Ancient Astronauts (didn't know that). Picked up a few tracks off this release rather than the whole thing for the same reason I didn't buy the Ancient Astronauts full-length. Snapped up "Don't Worry", "The Man Who Spoke Flames", and a real mellow instrumental called "Rubicon". This stuff is really interesting, so I'm glad to have a few of these tracks in my collection. Will definitely see how they endure and watch for more Kabanjak in the future.

"Golden In The Gaze Of The Sun" - SW
I don't really know anything about SW but, given the global net lemongrassmusic casts to pick up talent, they could be from just about anywhere. This is a longer deep house track with a classic housey stacatto groove that is updated due to the ambience in this track. This track is from lemongrassmusic's Deep House Dreams 4 compilation, and I found it hypnotic in the samples so I was waiting for an opportunity to pick this up. Again, love the gift cards as I tend to use them in snatching one-off tracks from various artists I'm interested in trying out.

So that's what I was able to pick up thanks to Chris! But while I was shopping, I noticed French hip-hop artist MC Solaar has a release called Magnum 567 that is actually three of his albums (Cinquieme As, Mach 6, and Chapitre 7). And it looks like it's selling for the price of one CD! I have been listening to MC Solaar since the height of the acid jazz movement in the mid-90s. If you've been meaning to check him out, this is a golden opportunity! Of course, my favorite album of his remains his fourth album (I think) Paradisiaque.

As I mentioned, Jim got me some great CDs for Christmas, and here they are:

Amatorio - Federico Aubele
The latest by the Argentine guitarist and crooner. Reduced reliance on electronica and more focus on his vocals than on female singers as on hi prior two releases. Aubele is not the world's strongest voice, but his gentle delivery is a great fit for his music and guitar playing. I have all of his albums, and I'm really enjoying following him. Good to see that he's willing to alter his sound a little bit to try something a shade different!

Vieux Farka Toure Live
I was right! This was under the tree. Mississippi delta blues meets West African musical sensibilities. Can't wait to dive in, as I have snatched several free tracks over the last year from the ridiculously generous Six Degrees Global Noize blog. Link to the blog is on my list of links. You won't regret it!

Rue De Paris - Aqua Bassino
Scottish multi-instumentalist Aqua Bassino released this in 2006, but once I heard samples of this mish-mash of soul, acid-jazz, and electronica I had to have it! Haven't had a chance to dig in yet.

10th Anniversary - Kyoto Jazz Massive
This outfit of Japanese DJs are on the Compost label (Jazzanova, the Underwolves). I'd never heard of them before, but as often happens while trolling around the web and connecting from one artist to the next I stumbled on them. A double disk compilation that has more than a little acid-jazz flavoring, including their work as well as remixes done for established artists like Incognito and Da Lata.

Moon, Sun, & All Things - Ex Cathedra and Jeffrey Skidmore
And now for something completely different! This is baroque music from Latin America in the 17th and 18th Century, with lyrics sung in the Quechua language. I've been slowly amassing a lot of really old music: Renaissance lute music, Elizabethan music, etc. Stumbled on this because one of the ensembles that pitch in are the Quintessential Sackbut and Cornett Ensemble. I have both of their albums and love them both, so I guess I'm a groupie!

Lastly, due to how I am increasingly impressed with each new Thievery Corporation release, I picked up the items in their catalog that I do not have. That includes the two CDs below: The Cosmic Game and The Outernational Sound. So, in short, I'm glutted with new music for the time being!

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