Monday, 30 May 2011

Brazen Abbot - Bad Religion 1997

Format: ape + cue + log
Genre:Hard Rock
Release Date: 1997
Label: USG

10 Years ago the success story of Brazen Abbot under the direction of the bulgarien composer/multi-instrumentalist Nikolo Kotzev began. Kotzev formed his own group Brazen Abbot with ex-Europe musicians Ian Haughland and Mic Michaelis as instrumentalists and the two vocalists Göran Edman and Thomas Vikström (Candlemass)....

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Ibrahim Maalouf - Diasporas (2007)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre:free jazz, free music, modern jazz, folk jazz, avant-garde jazz
Release Date: 2007
Label: Mi'ster Productions


Paris-based trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf's moody mix of jazz, groove and Lebanese traditional music comes across rather like a cut-up novel by William Burroughs or a collection of short stories by Paul Bowles, or at least a shot in that direction. Partly it's the source material, in which Maalouf's east Mediterranean musical heritage replaces those authors' fascination with Morocco; partly it's the structure of the album, in which a series of relatively brief, cross-referential tracks, most lasting between two and less than five minutes, are assembled in an episodic collage. Though carefully put together over three years, the music has an attractively rough-edged feel: hot, sun baked and m'hashish, as Moroccans would say (and as the title of the fourth track confirms)....

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Azam Ali - Portals of Grace 2002

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: World, Vocals
Release Date: 2002
Label: Narada --Christina Roden
Azam Ali, who was born in Iran and raised in India, also sings lead for Vas. Given her background, her attraction to Western medieval traditions (she cites the German abbess-composer Hildegard von Bingen as a major influence) makes perfect sense. After all, European early music was largely built on the Middle Eastern sounds and instruments brought home by returning crusaders. At times, Ali's vocals recall the great Spanish mezzo Montserrat Figueras, who explored the same connection but in a more earthbound, sensual manner. By comparison, Ali is an ethereal force, soaring white-winged and untouched over pungent period strings and percussion. She is equally at home in Latin, French, Ladino (the lingua franca of the Judeo-Spanish tradition), Galician (from Northern Spain and closely resembling Portuguese), and Arabic. This eclectic set will definitely thrill fans of ambient, new age, and world music, but adventurous classical listeners might also want to give it a try.....

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Adagio - Underworld (2003)

Format: ape + cue + log
Genre: Neo-classical/Progressive Power metal
Release Date: 2003
Label: NTS

When Adagio released Sanctus Ignis a couple of years ago, the band were met with barrages of reviews calling them Symphony X clones. True progressive metal fans just looking for another quality disc released in their beloved genre found true bliss in the neo-classically driven / song-oriented style of Adagio. With neo-classical guitar wiz Stephan Forte at the helm, and vocalist David Readman of Pink Cream 69 enlisted, the disc was otherwise highly praised and accepted. Since the band was a project and pulled musicians from other highly acclaimed bands such as Elegy, many thought that this would be a one-time deal.....

Kora Jazz Trio - Part Two (2005)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Ethnic Jazz, World, Ethnic Fusion, Folk
Release Date: 2005
Label: Rue Stendhal

This is a formation of three jazz griots that provides further evidence of the musical links between the western coast of Africa and North America’s eastern shores. In the KJT, Guinean kora player Djeli Moussa Diawara (who is none other than Mory Kantй’s half-brother) joins forces with Senegalese pianist Abdoulaye Diabatй and percussion master Moussa Cissoko, also from Senegal. Their albums are the fruits of intense exchanges in the Paris studios of the Celluloпd label, and mix a Mandingo heritage with American jazz standards......

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Hadouk Trio - Live a FIP 2003

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Ethnic Jazz, World, Ethnic Fusion, Folk
Release Date: 2003
Label: Melodie

Totally superb, near faultless live double CD

I can't rate this release highly enough, the playing, recording and artwork are all near perfect. It was recorded in Paris at Radio France on 9th October '03 for a live radio broadcast. Such 'pressure' sometimes makes a band freeze a little and the resulting recording is clean, but stiff. However shear depth of musical experience and excellence in Hadouk is so immense that they rose to the occasion quite magnificently from the very first notes.....

Sade - X2 (2005)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Funk / Soul, Jazz, Pop
Release Date: 2005
Label: BMG

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Tony MacAlpine - Edge of Insanity (1986)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Rock, Instrumental rock, neo-classical metal
Release Date: 1986
Label: Shrapnel

Album Review by Andy Hinds @ AMG

After Yngwie Malmsteen set the guitar world on fire with his 1984 debut, Rising Force, it was amazing how quickly the clones came out of the woodwork. Within a couple years there were dozens of them, flooding the market with their recorded instrumental extravaganzas. Tony MacAlpine was one of the Yngwie followers, to a certain degree. His debut album, Edge of Insanity, with its all-star rhythm section of Steve Smith and Billy Sheehan (drums and bass, respectively), follows the rough blueprint of Yngwie's model. Soloing over dramatic minor key vamps, MacAlpine catalogs his impressive licks at top speed. But while his chops on the guitar are quite astounding, what is more impressive is that he is equally adept at playing the keyboard. So there's plenty of exciting guitar/keyboard interplay here, including dueling solo sections and unison or harmonized runs, that is quite dazzling. Album highlights include the laid-back album-closer, "No Place in Time," and MacAlpine's impressive unaccompanied piano performance of Chopin's "Prelude 16, Opus 28." The low point is "Quarter to Midnight," a "live solo" that sounds very suspiciously like a studio recording with (rather fake-sounding) crowd noise dubbed in. His second album, Maximum Security, is much better......

Boud Deun - Astronomy Made Easy (1997)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Fusion, jazz - rock, Prog-Rock
Release Date: 1997
Label: Cuneiform

by Glenn Astarita
The Virginia-based quartet known as Boud Deun render an amalgamation of '70s-style progressive rock along with asymmetrical doses of fusion on their inaugural release for Cuneiform Records. No doubt, this is high-octane stuff, as the musicians' surge forward with contemporary motivations while conjuring up notions of King Crimson amid some of the fireworks and pounding polyrhythms exhibited by the Mahavishnu Orchestra. On this 1997 effort, listeners are treated to guitarist Shawn Persinger and violinist Greg Hiser's blistering unison lines atop a plethora of twists, turns, and burgeoning undercurrents. However, it is not all about pyrotechnics and cutting contests, as the compositional frameworks enable the musicians to expound upon previously explored motifs via a series of tightly coordinated arrangements. One minor complaint here is that drummer Rocky Cancelose's kit may have been mixed a bit too high during the engineering process, as he inadvertently contends with the soloists, although this may be a matter of preference. Nevertheless, progressive rock needs more outfits like Boud Deun....

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Babatunde Olatunji - Drums of Passion The Invocation (1988)

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Folk, World
Release Date: 1988
Label: Rykodisc

This is the second new recording by percussion master Babatunde Olatunji for Mickey Hart's series "The World." In contrast to the preceding DRUMS OF PASSION: THE BEAT, which featured a modern rock-guitar sound lent by Carlos Santana, THE INVOCATION features eleven percussionists and seven vocalists in a work of rhythm and rapture. A review in Musician said of the album, "Its immense sound scalds you until you feel the humidity coming out of the ground....It resonates like a polyrhythmic high mass...."

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Colosseum - Live 1971

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: Progressive Rock
Release Date: 1971
Label: Castle Records

Jonas Hellborg - Bass 1987

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: jazz-rock
Release Date: 1987
Label: Day Eight Music