|Bells & Birds||Anthony DaCosta||3:10|
|If You Want It||Anthony DaCosta||2:51|
|Love Is Not Enough||Anthony DaCosta||1:54|
|Big Brother||Anthony DaCosta||2:47|
|Maybe I Should Lie||Anthony DaCosta||3:00|
|I Am Way Too Much||Anthony DaCosta||3:12|
|Leave You Lonely||Anthony DaCosta||2:22|
|For a While||Anthony DaCosta||2:00|
|Matters of the Heart||Anthony DaCosta||3:02|
|Heart Without a Home||Anthony DaCosta||2:32|
|Sleeping on the Couch||Anthony DaCosta||4:08|
It only took guitarist Chris Poland a full decade to follow up his 1990 solo debut, Return to Metalopolis, with the arrival of 2000's Chasing the Sun. While the album contains quite a few traces of Poland's metal past (after all, he was the guitar player in Megadeth on such classic albums as 1985's Killing Is My Business...and Business Is Good! and 1986's Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?), Chasing the Sun turns out to be a mixed bag of tricks. Picture one of Joe Satriani or Steve Vai's early instrumental solo albums with a focus on jazzier sounds, and you're not far off from Chasing the Sun. Poland's fusion leanings shouldn't come as a surprise, though, as he's been vocal for years about how he was a jazzhead before joining forces with Dave Mustaine and company during the early '80s.
Right from the beginning, you know you're not in for your standard straight-ahead six-string shredfest, as the album-opening title title track takes an abrupt detour into trippy psychedelia. You'll also find funk sounds ("Hip Hop Karma"), fusion ("Robo Stomp"), King Crimson-like weirdness ("Straight Jacket"), and excursions into melodic territory ("Salvador"). Fans of early Megadeth expecting bone-crunching thrash metal may be let down, but for metalheads willing to open their minds a bit stylistically, Chasing the Sun will be a pleasant surprise -- and further proof that Chris Poland is one of hard rock's most underrated guitarists.
This volume of Mingus material brings together three sessions from 1952 and 1953, all of which emphasize vocal material. The first set of arrangements leans towards a cooler side of Mingus, with careful brushwork from Al Levitt, airy alto lines from Lee Konitz, and the inclusion of a cellist. Max Roach handles the drums on the second session.
While there is no record of how the musicians felt about working with lyrics like "If you make believe with all the fine chicks/Then you're sure to get some crazy way-out kicks," presumably everyone was more enthused about "Paris in Blue," which features a relaxed and spare Jackie Paris vocal in a more distinctly Mingus-like setting. The third session runs straight down the middle, 1950s-style, neither overly cool nor anywhere near avant. Honey Gordon holds forth in a husky, Sarah Vaughan-influenced alto. She is joined by the rest of her singing family on "You and Me" and "Bebopper," a de rigeur vocal tribute to jazz hipster style.
Japanese improvisational power trio Altered States -- along with turntablist/guitarist Otomo Yoshihide -- stormed through the Baltic republics of Lithuania and Estonia in October 1993, and this CD documents the sonic shredding that ensued. The foursome wails away on rock-based jams that flow organically, constrict into tight and chunky rhythms, and sometimes stop in a millisecond, leaving one to wonder how long a few of these improvisations had been rehearsed beforehand. (Given the aimlessness of much rock improvisation, that's not intended as a criticism.) Guitarist Uchihashi Kazuhisa, bassist Nasuno Mitsuru, and drummer Yoshigaki Yasuhiro are often relentless, locking into propulsive rhythms that push along at a manic pace, but the open-eared improvisations are indeed the most amazing parts of Lithuania and Estonia Live, as the musicians anticipate one another's moves and react in a flash to whatever ideas might be tossed into the mix. And plenty of ideas are tossed in, particularly with Yoshihide and Kazuhisa sharing the front line. As for Yoshihide, although his work would become far more minimal in subsequent years, the turntablism practiced here features musique concrète experimentation while also possessing the swagger and pyrotechnic spirit of a rock guitar god.
As Altered States churns out a pounding accompaniment, Yoshihide is in full-throttle mode, and his contributions sound like skittering violin lines, mutated free jazz saxophone solos, the high-pitched clarion call of an unidentified horn, fevered individual and group political chants, and other mysterious vocalizations. (Given the language barrier, few Westerners would fully understand the plundered vocals and chants, but they remain powerful and startlingly appropriate to the music on the basis of their sonic properties alone.) Recorded by Estonian radio on October 6, "Motif B" and "Chain Reaction" are concise and well-recorded avant rockers that get the CD off to a high-energy start. The album then moves into a handful of the previously referenced improvisations, recorded with a somewhat rougher sound quality during the band's appearance at the Tallinn International Festival the following day. The musicians are clearly at the top of their game as they experiment with new approaches and place earlier elements in new contexts (for example, "Motif B" reappears as the entry point for "Improvisation #3"). The eighth track melds performances from Tallinn on October 7 and the Vilnius Jazz Festival on October 9 into a single piece; Yoshihide's recordings of chants and singing unify two segments that otherwise stand in stark contrast: a lengthy near-ambient sound collage and a brief rolling up-tempo unison vamp. Clocking in at over 15 minutes in length, the ambitious final track, "Lithuania Mix," is a stunning blend of avant jazz-rock, improvisation, and turntablism. Here, the musicians appear to have taken the jazz festival surroundings of their Vilnius gig to heart, although of course with a completely skewed approach. Yoshihide reaches into his grab-bag of discs and finds some particularly apropos gems, transforming an apparent solo saxophone recording into a mutant free jazz escapade and spinning a big-band platter as the proceedings draw to a close. Of course, this adheres to the tradition of jazz artists quoting standards in their solos, which Yoshihide just took a step further: He didn't only recontextualize melodies in new bop settings, but tossed entire LPs -- music, instruments played, musicians who played them, and even album surface scratches -- into Altered States' maelstrom of sounds.
This stuff would likely cause audience members at a typical U.S. jazz fest to rush pellmell for the exits, hollering about travesties, heresies, and how this couldn't possibly be jazz.
So here is a CD that documents not only some great performances by four of Japan's top avant improvisers, but also the sense of open-mindedness at music festivals in a pair of tiny Baltic nations. One airline ticket to Vilnius, please.
There are DJs and then there are selectors -- individuals whose ability to choose what records people want to hear overtakes the need for turntable skills. Just having the stamp of approval on a record is enough to qualify it as good. Often, these gifted ears find their way onto the radio, as did Colin Dale. An original Kiss FM DJ when it was still a pirate station illegally broadcasting across London, Dale made it his mission to deliver the best in techno and house to the masses. Much like DJs Giles Peterson did for acid jazz and Fabio did for jungle, Dale was distinctly influential in carving out the taste of London technoheads in the '90s.
This compilation showcases Dale's leaning toward the smooth side of techno and house. Featuring subdued tracks by Kenny Larkin, David Alvarado, and Kevin Yost, it is futuristic music for home listening. Only King Britt's "Supernatural" really approaches a dancefloor pace. Dale's fixation on the Detroit blueprint for jazzy techno is openly declared on Ian O'Brien's "Mad Mike Disease."There are two problems with this compilation. The first: As usual, many of these loop-based tracks start to get stale after the third minute of play. Much of this music still sounds better when mixed. The second: You suspect that Dale might have made completely different selections in another month. Hence the purpose of a weekly radio program showcasing the newest in techno gets lost in the unchanging CD format.