|Te Necesito||William Rivera||3:53|
|Busco un Amor||William Rivera||4:27|
|La Historia de Los Dos||William Rivera||4:38|
|Dejame Soñar||William Rivera||4:22|
|Primavera Eterna||William Rivera||5:21|
|No Quiero Dejarte Atras||William Rivera||3:14|
|No Vuelvas Mas||William Rivera||3:38|
|Amor Platonico||William Rivera||3:52|
Handel's L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato was composed in 1740, and musically it shares much with Messiah, from a couple of years later. It has been comparatively neglected because, in several ways, it does not hang together as well as the later work. Based on a pair of poems by John Milton, L'Allegro (The Joyful One) and Il Penseroso (The Thoughtful One), with a third middle-of-the-road type added by Messiah librettist Charles Jennens (whom one satirist dubbed "Il Moderatissimo"), the work has been called an oratorio, a semi-oratorio, a pastoral ode, and more. It has no plot to speak of, and Handel kept revising the work to suit new performance demands, with the result that its performance tradition has accumulated a large number of random arias. This performance by conductor Paul McCreesh and his Gabrieli Consort & Players represents an attempt to reconstruct what Handel intended for the original performance, and far from being an exercise, this results in a concise work with a persuasive alternation of big, Messiah-like choruses and arias that embody the qualities depicted in the poems. For those who love Messiah and have never heard this work, sample the opening chorus-and-bass number on CD 2, "Populous cities please me then," with its big musical spaces. McCreesh introduces each of the work's three sections with an instrumental concerto, something well attested to in the original sources, and he benefits from an exceptionally strong group of soloists who capture the moods essential to what logic the work has. Strongly recommended for anyone interested in going beyond the Handelian basics.
"Buben" means, basically, "mischievous lad," and that's what Carl is plus one more in Reichel. These wild rhythmic games, played on concertina, accordion, daxophone, and violin, are based in strange traditions -- those of Irish and English traditional music, and those of South African jive music, though God knows how. The concertina was invented simply because it would sound good when paired with the violin. There are hints of spooky melodies that come out of the ether of time itself, expired songs from forgotten times and irreverent baudy hymns that belong only in the hallways of free improvisation. The daxophone complements these other instruments beautifully because it is not reigned in by tonality.
The sections are to be divided by even and odd numbers, and that may have indeed been a strategy employed by Carl and Reichel, but it hardly matters. This is free improvising that leans heavily on the structure of song for its musicality, but nothing here could be called a song in any sense of the word. Perhaps this is what makes Buben...Plus such a joy; the goodwill and wildly inventive expression inherent in these pieces are positively infectious. Both men had a rowdy time playing together -- as Reichel and Carl usually do ---but this is perhaps the weirdest and yet most accessible collaboration they've released to date.
Compared to the nocturnal New York cool of the Strokes, Albert Hammond, Jr.'s solo album Yours to Keep is a sunny California afternoon. It's not quite as radical a departure as, say, James Iha's solo album Let It Come Down was from his work with the Smashing Pumpkins, but Hammond's endearing pop miniatures have their own identity without feeling too self-consciously different from the Strokes. Even the songs that were adapted from his music for the Strokes' fan club tour DVD, like the chugging "In Transit," aren't as hard-edged as his day job's music, and Hammond's sweet, unaffected voice gives lyrics like "Everyone Gets a Star"'s "I know it gets so confusing/Sometimes it all seems to drag me down" a much different feel than they would coming out of Julian Casablancas' world-weary mouth. Actually, two of the most notable influences on Yours to Keep are the Beach Boys and Buddy Holly, artists both far removed in time and sound from the Strokes and the main inspirations on their music. The opening track "Cartoon Music for Superheroes" sounds like a lullaby version of Brian Wilson and company's take on "The Sloop John B." and "Holiday" rhymes "Jamaica" and "take ya," conjuring up "Kokomo." The affectionate covers of Holly's "Well...All Right" and Guided by Voices' "Postal Blowfish" which appear on the U.S. version of the album, give further insight into its friendly, unpretentious vibe and immediate melodies.
Yours to Keep's eclectic feel adds to its unassuming charm, with whimsical tracks like "Call an Ambulance" and the folky "Blue Skies" sounding natural but not predictable next to "101" and "Bright Young Thing," which both have surprisingly bittersweet passages that come on like sudden rain showers. And while most of the album's songs are to the point -- which only adds to their appeal -- "Hard to Live in the City"'s lengthy, brassy coda makes it feel like an impromptu party breaks out at the end of the song. A small-scale project with big results, Yours to Keep is a very enjoyable musical sketchbook. In its own concise, unassuming way, it could even charm those who aren't fans of the Strokes.