Review: Jazzy Couscous founder Alixkun comes back with a 2nd volume of "Kumo No Muko", 12 Japanese music gems from the 80s exploring Ambient & Synth-Pop atmospheres. It opens with Miwako Saito's "12 No Garnet", a soft, slow paced and dreamy piece of synth-pop. Following are Yoshio Suzuki's "Touch Of Rain" and Ayuo Takahashi's "Mizu Iro No Kagami", both flirting with Jazz, Ambient & New Age influences. Traces of YMO members can be found with Hosono produced Tomoko Yasuno's "Sur La Terra" & Flat Face's "Hibi No Awa", released on Sakamoto's related label. While going through more exotic vibes with Shi-Shonen's "Harvest (Long Size)", Alixkun doesn't forget more chill out ambiances: Toru Hatano's "Kanki" is a singular mind trip led by a guitar solo a la Pink Floyd. The project closes with Mio Fou's "Picasso No Ao", a moody track illustrated by a combination of acoustic guitar and solo piano.
Review: Master of ambient spaces and far out places, long-time Finnish producer Sasu Ripatti (aka Vladislav Delay) blesses us once again with another release, this from his 'Visa' period of unreleased tracks.
The first track out of the gate is a recognizable Vladislav Delay piece, but instead of gently flowing rivers of sound, instead we have a series of stiff, machine-like rhythms applied to his classic infinitely deep pads and ambient environmental sounds. It just continues to pile in more elements until becoming almost indistinguishable from his natural, organic flow. From there we move into somewhat more familiar territory but still unusually stripped down and mechanical for a Vladislav Delay joint. It's fascinating to see such an intricate songwriting process laid bare in such a way, often exposing each individual, nearly bottomless sound in isolation.
Deeper into the album, things veer into decidedly more abrasive and synthetic territory, at times becoming an almost unrecognizable artist for a moment, only to be eventually subsumed under layers of shifting ambience that could only be Sasu.
This austere minimalism makes these tracks some of the most hypnotic since the early 90s excursions, but at the same time seems to have left its organic, analog roots and melded with the harsh gridlocked modern sequencer. ~Clint Anderson
Review: Emotional Rescue is delighted to present a collection of works by the founding father of the modern drum movement, Glen Velez. Collated from his first 3 solo albums from 1985 to 1989, Sweet Season is a snapshot in to the pioneering composing and performance of this four-time Grammy winner. Born in 1949, of Mexican American ancestry, Velez grew up in Texas before moving to New York in 1967. Playing jazz on the drums he soon gravitated to hand drums from around the world (frame drums in particular), seeking out teachers from many different musical traditions.
Among the many instruments Velez favours are the Irish bodhran, the Brazilian pandeiro, the Arabic riq, the North African bendir and the Azerbaijani ghaval. Although these instruments are similar in construction they have their own playing techniques that open new possibilities.
Sweet Season highlights this vocabulary, mixing and adapting techniques from various cultures to develop new ones. The music, often composed as cross-cultural ensembles, has a particular fondness for polyrhythms - superimposing different meters simultaneously - while incorporating Stepping Split-tone and Central Asian Overtone singing to complete the global horizons.
This new genre of contemporary drumming has been hugely influential and seen Velez work with the likes of John Cage and Steve Reich, as well as teaching his virtuosic combinations of hand movements and finger techniques to many emerging players.