By Ramón Fernández Escobar
Just Like Moby Dick Terry Allen Paradise of Bachelors / Popstock!
How many plastic artists see their work exhibited in the Met or MoMA and are both heroes of country? There will be difficulties in finding one that is not called Terry Allen. And although he ironic about any label attributed to his music, collaborate with David Byrne or compose for a ballet (in March it is first published on vinyl Steal pedal, along with four unpublished radio sessions), its roots in Lubbock’s (iconoclastic) cowboy scene always emerge, especially in the extraordinary discs of songs that the Texan mercilessly doses to those who revere him.
Seven years have passed since Bottom Of The World to this Just Like Moby Dick, and that one had already waited almost three decades. For the new advent Allen opts for a wide angle if one compares the sound, for example, with the minimalism (piano and guitar) that sustained character studies of Juarez. This premium opera preluded in 1975 the later call country alternative, in which Allen continues to exercise free verse. The new album connects with its second work, Lubbock (On Everything): The Panhandle Mystery Band’s ridge debuted there, now with new members, but always supported by the steel pedal of Lloyd Maines and the fiddle by Richard Bowden, in addition to Allen’s keyboard. And this produces with guitarist Charlie Sexton, whose extensive militancy among Dylan’s lieutenants redoubled the sound wisdom of the album.
Just Like Moby Dick It offers a tapestry where the rapporteur and portraitist Allen demonstrates the smoothness of his verb after five decades of activity. His lyrics move, shake or provoke laughter, but never get in profile. The Texan based in New Mexico sets sail for the historic Houdini crusade against the spiritualists: the magician is distressed, deep down, wanting to believe in them. The rhythm is stirred with satire over an alleged epidemic of the feeling of abandonment (‘Abandonitis’), while loneliness to death stars ‘Death Of The Last Stripper’, co-written with Jo Harvey Allen (his partner) and Dave Alvin , leader of The Blasters. And one has not yet recovered from his final desolate when the rubble of a certain relationship asks for passage and devastates everything (That All That’s Left Is Fare-Thee-Well ’) except a slit of hope. The same one that Allen projects in the closing (‘Sailin’ On Through ’) inviting to toast while our existence lasts and to continue with the navigation like the captain that persecuted the whale.
For the first time, the poet and theatrical author gives the vocal reins in several courts for the show off of a new collaborator, Shannon McNally, alone in two cases and in another duet with Sexton. In the others, she puts a beautiful counterpoint to the chief’s grave throat, Allen musite certain vampire story or practice the spoken word by conceiving a “Pirate Jenny” that is not that of Weill and Brecht. And the buccaneer violence seems comedy next to the Child American Childhood Trilogy ’suite where the teacher laments the eternal war return, from the Cold War to that of Afghanistan.
Memories of Africa
By Javier Losilla
Kinshasa 1978. Originals and Reconstructions. Various Artists. Crammed Discs
Mogadisk Dancing Mogadishu Somalia 1972-1991. Various Artists. Analog Africa
The world was abducted by the sharp noise and distortion story of Konono No. 1 in 2004 when the Kinshasa formation published the album Congotronics. But the adventure of the Likembés (thumb pianos) amplified rudimentary and the Konono scrap percussions had begun years ago. Before even in 1978 Bernard Treson, producer of Radio France, recorded live four street trance groups. Part of those records were published in 1986 by the Ocora label on the album Zaïre: Musiques Urbaines à Kinshasa. There were Orkastre Sankaï, Orchester Bambala, Orchester Bana Luya and the then called Orchester Tout Puissant Likembé Konono Nº 1.
Now, in the elepé Kinshasa 1978. Originals and Reconstructions, unpublished material is recovered from the Treson sessions, with pieces from the same bands: the bazombo music of Konono Nº 1, the Luba rhythms of Orchester Bana Luya, the Kasaian agitations of Sankayi and the Mbala feast, with the accordion in the foreground, from Orchester Bambala. These are the originals; the reconstructions, made on other creations of the same groups, make up a CD signed by Martin Meissonnier, producer of a whole universe of African stars (from Fela Kuti to Ray Lema), who has remixed the original tapes thus bringing the tremor of the seventies asphalt to the dance floors of the 21st century.
And speaking of dances: there was a time, between the seventies and the nineties of the twentieth century, before the civil war, in which the music scene of the capital of Somalia was a hotbed in clubs, hotels and bars. The memory of that time, extracted from the full archives of Radio Mogadishu, is included in the album Mogadisk Dancing Mogadishu-Somalia 1972-1991. Combos such as Dur-Dur Band, Mukhtar Ramadan Idii and Bakaka Band, among others, show here a sound fan that entangles native music with the funk, the reggae (or the local rhythm dhaanto), the tarab, the Latin, the soul, the beat beat and the psychedelic effluviums. Today Somalia is a powder magazine, synonymous with suffering, instability and exile, but yesterday, as he says, he enjoyed the sun of music.
The return of an ‘instant classic’
By Laura Fernandez
Been Around To Girl Called Eddy. Anti / Elefant Records
In 2004, Erin Moran, better known as A Girld Called Eddy, an American based in the United Kingdom, signed a qualified debut album of instant classic that made people as disparate and admirable as Robert Smith, Tracey Thorn and Jane Birkin lose their heads. He turned with some of them, in addition to Richard Hawley, who was behind the controls of the album, and then disappeared. Hence, his return, 16 years later, is an event. His velvety folk-soul, at times of a carpenterian languor, at times of an abysmal and rainy depth related to that of Margo Guryan, has grown. The color palette is now wider and brighter (gospel choirs, wind instruments), and perhaps less painful and brightly intense.
Epiphany about a ‘beat’
By Álex Sánchez
Suite For Max Brown. Jeff Parker International Anthem / Nonesuch
Account guitarist and composer Jeff Parker (Tortoise) who had an epiphany serving as disc jockey years ago while mixing John Coltrane with Nobukazu Takemura, and that much of his subsequent work has to do with that revelation: improvisation on a beat sequenced On this axis pivots his new album, which also has some familiar saga: The new breed (2016, dedicated to his father) ended with the voices of Ruby Parker – daughter of Jeff -, who also opened this new work (dedicated to his mother). Starting from a jazz of progressive dyes – half written, half improvised – elegant calls to hip hop, the soul and the funk With knowledge of cause. ‘Max Brown’ perfectly illustrates the epiphany that opened this text.
Evan Stephens Hall returns sorry
By Xavi Sancho
Marigold Pinegrove Rough Trade / Popstock!
After a second album almost great (Cardinal, 2016), worshiped by the press and by enough public to be able to demand whiskey from the good in the dressing room, Evan Stephens Hall, leader of Pinegrove, was involved in a case of sexual coercion. His reputation, to the fret; and the band, fallow. Now in Marigold, his long room, becomes sorry Hall, trying to make his mistakes and his misunderstandings make his band of indie folk and of country emo sound mature and, above all, that nobody can think, listening to the album, that having fun is an option. Neither for Hall nor for the listener. That spark that made Pinegrove as close as the Yankees have had some Hefner has been lost. Now, we simply find another band led by another sad lord who expects us to empathize with his circumstances. To the tail
Waste of stylistic wisdom
By Luis Gago
Bach: Concerts for violin. Isabelle Faust (violin). Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin. Harmonia Mundi, HMM 902335.36. 2 CD
The cover photo, which shows Isabelle Faust with her arms wide open, cannot be more symbolic: it is as if she wanted to cover everything, which is exactly what she does. Behind his Sonatas and partitas for Bach’s only violin, or its magnificent Violin and Key Sonatas with Kristian Bezuidenhout, now she goes to concerts for her instrument, not only in the three canonical ones, but also in others that we usually hear in her harpsichordistic version, in two of the organ trio sonatas or even in the famous Suite No. two for orchestra, the role of the solo flute is being added. More than two and a half hours of music always played with verve, perfect balance between soloist (-s) and instrumental group, and with a waste of stylistic wisdom.