Sunday, October 17, 2004
So, a week in olde England, pastoral/coastal Suffolk to be precise. And the soundtrack? Of course, the songs & chants of the indigenous hill tribes of Taiwan. Mundanin Kata is one of those crossover projects - inquisitive western musician seeks out obscure folk music tradition, sits in and, frankly, jams. Always borderline-dubious in concept, cellist David Darling by and large pulls it off in his encounter with the Wulu Bunun people.
posted by SMc at 9:45 AM
There's no doubt about what's going on here: a repetitive accapella native tradition being leavened/sweetened for the foreign ear. Happily, Darling's contributions - accentuating a rhythm here, a simple chord progression there - are mostly judicious and restrained. And actually the Wulu Bunun's close harmony singing often doesn't require much sweetening at all; it's a kind of Polynesian pop, quite movingly joyous-sounding. Heck, Lugu lugu Kan-bi and Malkakiv malvanis could even be hits of a kind.
Alongside these immediately appealing worksongs are a few (slightly) more challenging pieces including the swelling contemplative drone of Pasibutbut which taps into the quasi-spiritual vein of the likes of Tavener and Gorecki, and some short original cello pieces, Darling communing with that upcountry Taiwanese vibe. We're told that most of the music was recorded in situ, right there in the clearing, with a few cello parts added later in the studio. Well there's plenty of birdsong on there. Very occasionally it gets a bit too lush, considered, incongruous; the dubious-ometer starts to flicker. But placing reservations and pleasure on the balance, the latter comfortably outweighs the former. Recommended, in fact...
Dealing in scuffed folk-pop of the choicest order, m.ward is currently out and about sharing a bill with Conor Oberst and Jim James. Consequently, there are interviews. The Willamette Week's piece last week revealed that '[new album] Transistor Radio is scheduled for release next February and includes guest spots from Vic Chesnutt, Rilo Kiley, members of My Morning Jacket, the Decemberists and the Thermals'. Earlier this month he told the Las Vegas Mercury, 'It's sort of a love letter to radio, something I really grew up cherishing, at the possible brink of it's destruction...'
And on the subject of dire circumstances, two of this blog's favourite bands appear to be at varying stages of hoisting the white flag. Despite the release of their strongest set to date in Strange seasons (just buy it) sublime roots-popsters Nadine would seem to be already lost to us. Bandleader Adam Reichmann has a familiar tale to tell: 'We tried for almost ten years to make it a viable, full band experience...nobody made any money, but we thought it might pay for itself...the writing was on the wall and in our bank account balance...so we put it on ice. However, we have four records that will live on proudly'.
Appallingly, equally estimable trio Wheat's heads are now starting to hurt from butting those brick walls: 'We're going to take five and catch our breath and figure out the next step. We realize there are places we may not have been able to get to, but touring is difficult, expensive, and there just aren't big enough crowds right now for us to keep slugging it out in our van for 10 people a night. Clubs get upset about that sort of thing, and it is difficult to justify driving 8 or 10 hours a day to play to an almost empty club, however much the people that are there may love it ( and we do appreciate you!)'. Ten people a night! What a disgrace. Give Ricky & co. some of your money now...
It's seems to have been around for ages but The Last Town Chorus' debut has now been picked up for UK release in Jan05...
A debut available right now is an EP from Suburban Kids With Biblical Names. They're on Swedish label Labrador which has been busy scooping up all the cute homegrown indie-pop it can find. They haven't got this sector's break-out act, The Concretes, though. In an interview in The Stranger last week, Concretes' drummer Lisa talks up 'CocoRosie because they're taking pop music into a new place [and] there's a new band from London who sound a bit like the Mamas & Papas called The Magic Numbers...'
Ah, The Magic Numbers, our very own little party-popper primed to bust out all over. Quite a few chances to see them before the record comes out and rest of the world catches up:
Wed 27 Oct : Koko's, Camden Palace
-Support to Ed Harcourt thru Nov then a headline residency at London's Borderline:
Tue 23 Nov
Tue 30 Nov
Tue 07 Dec
The Magic Numbers / Heavenly Records
'The only fault with the album may be that it is not as surprising as their debut, and since it is simply more of the same terrific music, it doesn't broadside the listener in the same new and fresh way. The Hem project began as an attempt to create something lasting, and Eveningland proves that their debut was no fluke' - Rabbit songs was always going to be a hard one to follow but Allmusic at least reckon they've just about pulled it off. Look for a UK tour in February...
Triple bonus points to Word magazine who feature Rilo Kiley on the covermount CD with this month's edition. Even tho' it's a track from '02's The execution of all things this actually isn't such a bad thing since With arms outstretched is oddly more representative of the superfine new one, More adventurous. Currently on tour in the US, their show on Oct 30 will be opened by a duo called..
..Smoosh. Asya's on keys/vocals, her sister Chloe drums. In the past they've opened up shows for the likes of Death Cab, Jimmy Eat World and Pearl Jam. And? you ask. So what? So, Asya's 11, Chloe's just 9. That's 9 as in nine. See/hear the alarmingly catchy original Rad performed live...
Smoosh / 'Rad' video