Sunday, September 16, 2012

Various - Les Maitres-Tambours Du Burundi (Arion - ARN 33682)

Continuing with my recent purchases of World Music records, we are now facing a very interesting record. I will delve into detail a little later on, but also have to put a dent about Arion records. Arion is a record label which specializes in World Music and some Classical Music. It is a French label like most World Music labels like Ocora and Playa Sound. All these three are well known record labels for any collector and it is a pleasure to find their catalogues anywhere anytime.

As similar to my previous review of Congolese music, this album was also recorded live however in a different festival, "Festival Des Arts Traditionnels". The record consists of 4 tracks. The first three are comparably shorter as they are mainly songs of welcoming and offering. The 4th song is in 2 parts, the beginning in Side A and the rest completely filling Side B of the record. This is the "Suite De Danses Rituelles" which probably means dance ritual song.

The music itself is totally based on percussion. There are also motivating vocals or rather shouts during these percussion movements. The style seems quite similar to that of Kodo. The rhythmic system is also similar. This may either be due to the music being totally percussion or somehow both percussion groups have ended up sharing some ideas. However, apparently especially considering the 4th song, the musical base of both groups seem to be coinciding a great deal.

Unfortunately to a record listener, it is impossible to see the dancers accompanying the music. There is a picture on the back cover which clearly shows that dancers are also present (It probably explains on the back cover information, but my French is non-existent). Tambours seem to be drums of various sizes which the group uses to enhance the rhythmic structure and they achieve this easily. The music is moving and totally attractive. I cannot stop myself from saying that it is also resembling Minimalist Classical music as per evolving rhythms and beats with many repetitions alongside. Steve Reich's Drumming is not too far away from this apart from the extra energy put in by Burundi people. All in all it is a conceptual approach and the result is absolutely enjoying.

To buy this record:

@ Discogs
@ Ebay

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Jim O'Rourke - Eureka (Drag City - DC162)

There cannot be any doubts about the talent of Jim O'Rourke when it comes to Experimental Electronic Music and it's sub genres. However, it also needs to be clearly pointed out that he is a multi talented guy and likes to express these various sides of his from time to time.

He has had many collaborations and due to this delved into many styles, but the album in question is purely his work and reflects an absolutely different side of his. The album can be labelled as Folk/Art Rock and Indie Folk, but it appeared much before the contemporary Folk fad. The style also has touches of Jazz in it, but closer to the Free Jazz style.

Just think about the Bossa Nova rhythms in "Something Big" and the Jazzy "Through The Night Softly". If Astrud Gilberto was to sing "Something Big", I wouldn't have been surprised at all. Unfortunately the vocal Edith Frost was not creating miracles even though the music is quite lovely.

There is only one track in the album, which is naming the album, that reminds us the background of O'Rourke's present a little is "Eureka". However, even that one is more or less Folk with electronic structures in the background. Just this little tid bit had made me happy to hear.

The album's sound is excessively lenient when compared to his more known works as well as his long lasting collaboration of Fenn O'Berg with Christian Fennesz and Peter Rehberg (Interestingly these names appear in the "danke" section of the album booklet). It has a raw and naïve sound where he also does the vocals and gets support from the contemporary Jazz talents like cornetist Rob Mazurek and cellist Fred Lonbergi-Holm.

If you are expecting a classic O'Rourke album, this is surely not it. It's nowhere near it. This is just him expressing himself in a different way even though the lyrics are showing off his standard philosophy. I just hope that he starts leaving Japan again and ventures into Europe to give some concerts either alone or with Fenn O'Berg.

To buy this record:

@ Ebay (Currently only CDs available)
@ Discogs