Posts with the tag "Records Under the Radar"
Photo by Juliana Mazza
The music of Julianna Barwick is nearly wordless; it is composed almost entirely of her non-verbal vocalizations. She sings and then loops her own voice, over and over, slowly building the song from scratch. It is reminiscent of hymns, of monks chanting, of reverberations in a cave. Her voice is beautiful: it can be keening or round and clear as a bell. She often uses a variety of vocal tones, sampled and layered atop one another, to construct her compositions.
The tracks comprising Barwick’s debut EP, Florine, are not “songs” in the traditional sense. There is no verse or chorus, no hook or even a readily discernible melody. Rather, it is as though each song slowly approaches the listener, initial tendrils of sound floating languidly by, and then increasing in speed and frequency, until the layering, looping sounds become a deluge. Then, after building to a peak, the song recedes, like the tide going out.
On stage, The Ferocious Few are just that–ferocious, a barnstorming duo viciously pummeling their instruments with a fury that belies their seemingly innocuous set-up of acoustic guitar and simple drum kit.
Yet The Ferocious Few have a few secret weapons, the most startling of which is guitarist and singer Francisco Fernandez’s voice. It rasps out, snarling, having apparently traveled many a long and dusty mile. This haunting voice, which veers from a reedy, reaching tenor to a low growl, dovetails perfectly with the shredding guitar and drummer Daniel Aguilar’s galloping, relentless beats. For his part, Aguilar assaults the drum set with anything at hand: jazz brushes, a tambourine, the palm of his open hand.
Moonface is yet another brainchild of the prolific Spencer Krug. One half of indie stalwarts Wolf Parade, driving force behind Sunset Rubdown, and one third of Canadian “supergroup” Swan Lake, Krug has a seemingly endless creative well from which to draw. Dreamland EP: marimba and shit-drums, his first release under the Moonface moniker, adds yet another fascinating piece to his legacy.
This cryptic project, quietly released through a dedicated website in January of 2010, is comprised of one sprawling, 20 minute track, consisting soley of Krug’s vocals and, yes, marimba and “shit-drums” (so-called because of their fidelity). Appropriately, the lyrics to the song are surreal and dreamlike, conjuring images of specters passing through walls and guitars made of glass.
Cecil Taylor is a man apart. An uncompromisingly experimental musician from his earliest years, Taylor has pounded keyboards for more than 50 years. He has worked with such luminaries as Max Roach and Mikhail Baryshnikov, and performed at the White House for Jimmy Carter. Taylor is a pianist, composer, poet, and professor. He is widely credited, along with Ornette Coleman, of being a pioneer of so-called “free jazz.”
Now, isn’t that a cheery sentiment? That lovely title above is brought to you by the criminally under-heard British band Felt. More specifically, it comes from the silver tongue of Felt’s front man and lead singer, the rather mundanely/mysteriously named Lawrence (his last name has never been solidly confirmed). They released exactly 10 albums and 10 singles, from 1979 to 1989, at which time Felt unceremoniously disbanded.