June 27, 2010

Eric Wallack - Stella Says

Eric Wallack has been making music for years and he has been quite prolific. He doesn’t seem to let genres hold him down, flitting from one sound to another in the course of his recording output. The most recent example of all of the above is his 12 For Nothing project where his goal is to put out one new record album a month for a year.  Oh, and for free.

And this isn’t his first foray into a self-imposed artistic flurry of production. He once worked something he called the 365 project where he wrote a song a day for a year. Wow, that’s just nutty! And awesome!

Stella Says is the debut of the series back in April, so I’m already a release behind!

Wallack feels it definitely falls into the American Primitive style and I have to agree with him. He describes it as "a bit raw but honest and spontaneous."  Wallack performs and records a lot of improvisational music and this effort is no different.  Since it’s free there’s no reason for you not to give it a listen.

All I know is that any guy that starts off a CD with slapin’ and poppin’ on a de-tuned Stella (that cost him a mere $30) has got my attention.

“Angst and the Small Aquarium” is one of those beautiful and simple tunes that captures the listener.  As is “Waltz in F# Purple,” with simply lovely melodies.

The tunes are about half standard tuning and half open D.  All dropped just a bit from concert pitch.

I love the simple feel of this effort. If you liked the C. Joynes that I posted I think you will like this as well. This has become one of my favorite listens lately.

Wrapping with “Get in the Graveyard” is a song that is a great closing tune that just leaves me wanting more.  Love the creepy title.

Download Stella Says

Visit Eric Wallack for the latest project updates.

Also be sure to check out his last FM site for other delights for the ear.

June 22, 2010

M. Mucci – "Time Lost"

Ontario guitarist M. Mucci has recently released his second full length release “Time Lost,” recorded between Dec 2009 and Feb 2010.

The CD kicks off with a couple tracks where Mucci sets the tone and tempo with his thumb. The first, “Small Triumphs” with just solid time keeping and the second, “The View From Here” with a great driving feel. This tune and the following, “The Culprits” are fantastic works in the modern Takoma tradition. What I like best about cuts two and three is how aggressive Mucci is with the thumb, just hammering out the rhythm.

“The Culprits” has the added surprises that it starts off with some weird noises and suddenly pops into the strong finger picking, once you are grooving on that he slams into slide playing to wrap the song. Really a strong piece.

The calm interludes “Apri L’occhi” parts 1 and 2 appear at the end of each side of the LP, though that distinction is lessened by the fact that I am listening to the CD version. But part 2 at the end of the CD is indeed a nice ending to the CD. The first, “Apri L’occhi” works on the CD as an excellent transition from a solo guitar piece to a full band piece, “Chase Down Alice St.”

Mucci’s use of percussion through out this effort is judicious and never gets in the way of the guitar playing. No, in fact I think it is a nice addition to the feel of the recording as a whole resulting in a lush feel throughout the experience.

One of my favorite aspects of the music is how closely together Mucci has put the tracks. The time between is barely a beat and it binds the music into a whole. That and the fact that the songs flow well from one to the other. Though they are clearly different, the effort feels like one large composition.

This is a limited quantity release on LP with a download included. The digital only price is great. Go visit MMucci.com and check out all the tracks.

June 13, 2010

Will Ackerman - Live video at the Wolf Trap, 1986

Oh no!  More Ackerman?  What is wrong with this guy?  Hehehe...

This is a PBS concert that was recently making the rounds on the bootleg sites, so I thought I would chop a couple Ackerman tunes out of it and post them. BUY William Ackerman from EMUSIC icon

June 10, 2010

Quonset - Excursions in the Career of Ragtime Ralph

Ragtime Ralph recently sent me a recording of one of his other musical efforts.  Quonset was a bass/scrap metal percussion duo based on Savage Republic.

Here's what Ralph said about this recording. 
Quonset is my personal favorite of anything I've done: acoustic or electric...it's me on 3 string drone bass and Ed Frey on drums and scrap metal percussion...similar to very early Savage Republic...in fact we do a Savage Republic cover (Exodus)...performing rights graciously worked out with Savage Republics lawyer before release...and all it cost me were 6 copies of the CD!  I'm planning on re-releasing this CD (with extra cuts) on Empty Square at some point in the future.
So this obviously is not the kind of stuff I normally post but since Ralph's music has been prominent in this blog I think it is relevant to present his other work.  I think it is one of those things that remind me that all of us are very multi-faceted individuals and it is easy to form perceptions about artists when you know them for only one aspect of their artistry. 

I know there is a strong connection between the American Primitive audience and the experimental genres.  So many of you may find this interesting.  I hope so.  

Thanks again Ralph!

Download Quonset


June 8, 2010

Beyond Berkeley Guitar

This release is the follow up to the 2006 Tompkins Square release of Berkeley Guitar. This time Sean Smith expands the concept with more guitarists from a wider region geographically as well as musically.

I have to admit that I wasn’t too impressed with this disc the first time I gave it a spin. Or the second or third. But the compositions have grown on me. I suppose that I was taken a bit off-guard by the expansion of styles and Smith notes the danger of such an endeavor. I’m very partial to the Takoma style and I don’t have the background that many of these artists have in electronic music. They are obviously coming from a different place than I am musically. And I’m sure that affects what I hear. To me, the electronic/solo acoustic connection is a mystery.

Anyway, the CD starts off great with the promising young Aaron Sheppard. I found Sheppard on MySpace some time ago and was reminded of him by Mike Fekete recently. They met during Fekete’s latest tour through the area. Sheppard is a guy I will be keeping my eye on and I’m looking forward to a Gnome Life release.

“Dream of a Distant Summer” starts as a quiet piece that builds in intensity until the notes are like the blinding Sun as it shimmers on a rippled pond. Richard Osborn has great chops, but the improvised composition begins to fall apart near the end. Nonetheless I’ve come to enjoy this piece.

Trevor Healy deftly veers the feel back toward Takoma-country with his 12 string work. This one is strong on melody and Healy takes his time. Like I said, merely veering towards Takoma, this isn’t Kottke.

Chuck Johnson completes the return with a very nice Takoma-style performance full of pertinent pauses and nuances that really make this piece work.  Tompkins is offering this as a free mp3 downlod.  "A Struggle, Not A Thought"

Sean Smith checks in with cut #5. As is usual with Smith, he doesn’t disappoint. Modern American Primitive as I have come to expect from Smith. This one lasts eleven plus minutes but you don’t notice it.

Lucas Boilon’s “Studies Of The Oak As Pertaining To Drudic Rites Of Passage” is almost longer in title than the piece itself. However, Boilon’s playing turns out to be a rather compelling performance recorded in his living room.

And wrapping things up is Ava Mendoza. I applaud the intention by Smith but I just don’t see how this piece of music fits into this concept. It’s jazz. Now, before anyone gets bent out of shape that I’m not gushing over Mendoza’s inclusion in this project (as many are) and suggests something foul: I have taken lessons from three very good guitarists over the last few years. Two of them women, specifically: Mary Flower. So don’t even…ok? I just don’t think it fits into the concept, no reflection on her playing or style.

That wraps it. If you are looking for old-school Takoma playing, look elsewhere. If you want to expand your listening and discover some new musicians, look no further.
I highly suggest that you pop over to Work and Worry this week. They have scored an interview with each and every one of these artists and will be running one a day all week.

June 3, 2010

Juan Martin - BBC

Here is an excellent little BBC performance and interview with Juan Martin.

This is not strictly solo.  We have here a singer, dancer and a clarinet.  Clarinet?  Er...well, not bad actually.  Certainly better than the experiments I've heard with the flute in Flamenco music.  Don't care much for those.

The Flamenco guitar method mentioned in the interview can be found HERE on Amazon.  As a beginner in Flamenco I have found it to be a good purchase.  Tons of music to learn and all of played by Martin on the included CD, full speed and slowly.  The only issue with it is his rasgueo.  I don't know if it is the exaggerated effort of playing them so that the beginner can better hear what is happening with the technique or what.  But it is terrible.  Oh well.  As you will hear here, there is nothing wrong with his performance technique.  The book covers all the beginner topics including the care of the nails.  Here's a passage from the book.  
"It is vitally important not to expose nails to the drying action of detergents and soaps.  Washing up is out of the question."  
Hilarious!  I would love to meet the man but will probably refrain from shaking hands.  Well, Boulder saw a very successful show with Paco Pena, I sure would enjoy hearing Juan Martin.  Come on out Mr. Martin!

Get the show HERE!
Hmmm...doctored picture or has someone been "washing up?" 
Mighty clean looking hands for, what, 50 years of dirt?

June 1, 2010

Terry Robb - "Muddy Vishnu"

Robb & Salgado
Well folks, I've been off on vacation and I've turned into a real slacker.  So to get myself back into the swing here's a post that isn't going to tax me much! 

The Oregon Music News has story about Robb's new CD that he is shopping around.  So there is no knowing when it will be out.


They have two tracks from that unreleased work posted in the article.

It's primarily an electric effort but it is also mostly instrumental. 

Curtis Salgado is mentioned in the article...so...you all ought to Hit it 'n Quit It right now because this is a limited time d/l. 

FYI - While searching Amazon UK for this title they asked me, "Did you mean: Hit it 'n Quilt it?"  Quilt it?  Seriously, what is going on over there?  That is just sick!