Music reviews

The week's new releases to try and the ones to dodge...

Music feature
Music feature
Shady Lane

Here We Go, Down the Black Hole

Jordy Lane’s music, much like the Pavement song from which he derived his moniker, is best absorbed through headphones while meandering through the suburbs on a cool, sunny winter’s afternoon.

If you enjoyed Bibio’s recent release, Ambivalence Avenue (again with the street references!), chances are you’ll love this. It, too, is a sweet mix of folk and beats, with sampled sounds of chattering children thrown in for good measure. Channelling both Lou Barlow and Thom Yorke, ‘Who is the Host?’ is a clinky, lo-fi number à la Bubble and Scrape-era Sebadoh, while ‘Oh, Reality’ could be mistaken for Radiohead’s ‘Idioteque’. Instrumental track ‘Here We Go, Down the Black Hole’ is jam-packed with tasty, looped electronica goodness.

Fans of Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service are also accounted for – they will appreciate the upbeat synth pop tempo of the album and Jordy’s wistful, boyish vocals. But whereas Death Cab’s Ben Gibbard
has a tendency to slap on the saccharine, Jordy isn’t lamenting relationships gone wrong and loves lost. It’s not a broken heart that he is suffering from, but existential angst. Scientific innovation, the existence
of God and the meaning of life? All up Shady Lane’s alley.
Joanna Lowry
Available to buy online.

Mark Weinstein and Omar Sosa

Tales from the Earth

Omar Sosa (pictured), a Cuban pianist from New York, is all long robes and candles as he pursues a modern fusion that is informed by jazz, Afro-Latin roots and hip-hop culture. Brooklyn flautist Mark Weinstein has focused on post-bop and Brazilian jazz on recent discs. Tales from the Earth is a new collaboration from the two that exudes the mystery and authentic street energy of Afro-Cuban music, while reconciling the idiosyncrasies of both co-leaders.

In 1967, when Sosa was two, Weinstein (then a trombonist) recorded Cuban Roots, an influential session with Chick Corea. Soon after his mid-’90s comeback as a flautist, Weinstein offered Cuban Roots Revisited, featuring Sosa. Tales is a reunion, but here, in a first, Sosa plays mallets. He locks in layered marimba patterns to complement Aly Keita’s balafon, and uses vibraphone and minimal piano for harmonic colour and subtle solo inflection. Drummer Marque Gilmore (of Sosa’s Afreecanos Quartet) builds a bridge from traditional rhythm to splintery, cutting-edge beat-making, and bassist Stanislou Michalak keeps his lines fittingly sparse.

Weinstein’s entrancing alto and bass flute work adds a sonorous darkness on several tracks, balancing the lively percussion and vocal incantations of Aho Luc Nicaise and Mathias Agbokou. Tales is also stamped with the earthy, stinging guitar of co-producer Jean Paul Bourelly, whose riffing on ‘Children at Play’ sounds straight out of Africa.
David R Adler
Available to buy online.

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