Tarantel - Ghetto Beats on the Surface of the Sun (Temporary Residence)
This one really turned my head around, like the Machinefabriek set, another stellar 2cd set of attention-holding cracked This Heat/Dead C-inspired soundscapes. Lots of brittle, often melodic, often flamethrower-sounding electronics acting to paint rather than disrupt, though there's plenty of that held together by some fantastic immediate-and-live sounding drumming. Like another fave, Supersilent, this San Francisco-based outfit tends to make robotic, circular sounding repetition human and rich in acoustics, as if the battle itself is to dismantle the machines. One can say that for a lot of bands, I suppose, but not everyone can make it coalesce into such a massive sound and somehow make all of the elements that feasibly shouldn't sound right together work in harmonious disharmony. Real Audio: "Everybody Fucks With Somebody."
Nawal - Aman (Nawali.com)
The juxtaposition of the terms "fusion" "rebellious" and "world music" can be pretty scary at times in the hands of a marketing department, but truth be told Nawal is going to be the recipient of such a shrinkwrap sticker no matter what. Luckily the music speaks for itself. Springing from the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean, the crosscurrent of African and Middle Eastern influences fall together perfectly in acoustic-based, melodic and meditative instrumentation, and Nawal's great, Sufi-inspired vocals. Apparently coming from a conservative family and region, Nawali voice sounds very much like someone addressing some kind of newfound spiritual realm; there's a lot of organization in these songs, which makes it all the more liberating when she breaks into some extended trance-out areas. Mbira, finger-cymbals, and some exotic stringed instruments get applied in a dreamy way, the assorted repetition and ringings kind of swirl around each other punctuated by those great vocals. Real Audio: "Meditation".
Weasel Walter - Early Recordings 1988-91 (Savage Land)
Weasel's timeline found in the booklet for this disc is mighty entertaining within itself: "Born 1972...1977 Kiss...1984 into Adam and the Ants/Split Enz...1985 MTV, Night Flight, saw Urgh A Music War. Then came all the No Wave/Xenakis/free skronk/damaged punk that led him into his 1991 foundation of death-jazzers Flying Luttenbachers and the rest is even more history. This disc is somewhat a companion piece of that path of exploration and discovery, Weasel Walter finding his zipcode so to speak between 1988-91. Experimental vocal stabs done after seeing Roger Turner and Phil Minton perform in Chicago, some casio attempts at some ideas learned from hearing Xenakis's Electroacoustic Music LP taken out of a library, a harmolodic improvisation involving Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke"s melody. Years later, metal bands would follow, the great-but-short-lived Lake of Dracula, falling into and out of and into To Live and Shave in L.A. as well. Maybe my fave Weasel project involves groups playing along to classic rock covers of Aldo Nova and Foreigner ("The Chicago Sound", we need proper release documentation!), but here is a nice snapshot of the pre-Luttenbachers Chicago years and so private and semi-public moments preserved. Real Audio: "Neutron."