Friday, 5 June 2009

Dose 19...Darwinian Music: An Evolution in Sound

1)My British Tour Diary by Of Montreal

Perhaps it's the nostalgia of having just left the UK, or the sheer fractalized bliss this album emotes, but recently I haven't been able to get enough of Satanic Panic In The Attic (2004). Though the album's sound is a dramatic divergence from their previous works, this seems to indicate an evolution in the band's method of production. Rather than working with his entire ensemble, Kevin Barnes took the reins on this project and saw it as testing ground for new sounds and arguably his most eccentric, though introspective, lyricism (at least until 'Alter Eagle Whoa'). The result harnesses the same psychedelic cheerful exuberance the band was always known for, but limits it to specific tracks, thus varying the sound throughout the album and intensifying the kaleidoscopic euphoria on particular songs.

Satanic Panic In The Attic should really come with an advisory sticker...Beware: This album is a drug that causes addiction!

Satanic Panic in the Attic

2)Harlem Country Girl by Olu Dara

It is a grave injustice that Olu Dara's fame should have been eclipsed by that of his son Nasir (who appears on 'Jungle Jay'). Prior to 1994, and the released of Nas' Illmatic (still, in my opinion, the best hip-hop album ever created), Dara was primarily renowned for his skill on the cornet. His proficiency was vindicated by the illustrious jazz musicians he kept as colleagues. He recorded several albums with saxophonist David Murray, drummer Art Blakely, The Henry Threadgill Sextet, and even pianist Don Pullen. That said, although Dara was in good company, he yearned to leave the avant-garde jazz scene in search of a more bluesy sound.

In 1998, he took hold of this opportunity, recording and producing In The World: From Natchez to New York. The title was meant to reflect the growth of this creole boy from Natchez, Mississippi (right off Highway 61, on the border of Louisiana) into a man, and illustrate that as we age, we bring with us our lifetime of experiences. As such, the sound on the album is deeply steeped in African roots (because, after all, we are a manifestation of our ancestory) while maintaining the tradition of folksy-blues so integral to creole culture. Precocious as ever, Dara adds the ingredients of his newly found fluency on guitar, as well as his raspy but endearing voice, to prepare his own particular southern gumbo (Highway 61 Revisited, if you will). Thus the evolution of Olu Dara, from backing group member to band leader, was completed.

This is a rare one.

If you want it, get it from...

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