Michael Fremer  |  Dec 01, 2003  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  1 comments

He didn't play an instrument and he didn't sing, but Brian Eno was in the band, and the band was Roxy Music. So what exactly did Eno (full name Brian Peter George St. John de Baptiste de la Salle Eno-wouldn't you shorten it?) do for Roxy Music, which he co-founded in London with Bryan Ferry back in 1972? Listen to Stranded the first Eno-free Roxy album and you'll hear something missing. Or, listen to pre-Eno U2 albums, and then to The Unforgettable Fire the first Eno produced U2 album, and you'll hear something added.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 01, 2003  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

A year after Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) and world's apart from it, Eno released what many consider to be his most innovative and evocative album, Another Green World. It took two months to produce-twice as long as each of the previous two albums. Though synthesizer based, the album sounds organic and almost leafy. The set of mostly short, prehistoric and tropical sounding instrumental collages marked a distinct turning point for Eno, a change that would eventually come to dominate his solo recorded efforts and profoundly affect his collaborations with other.

Before recording began, Eno and artist Peter Schmidt created a deck of cards that they called "Oblique Strategies". The cards, each of which contained a specific instruction, were like a more sophisticated version of the old "Magic Eight Ball,” which only answered "yes" or "no". The cards were more about exploring possibilities and choosing directions. Eno used them to help guide him in the production of the record.

Steve Taylor  |  Dec 01, 2003  |  2 comments

Born in 1997, this ensemble of Silk Road artists entered a series of albums for Shanachie Records over three subsequent years that merged Persian and Hindustani concert music ideas into a new stream of classical balladry and improvisation. As satisfying as the studio recordings proved, none of these equal the pinnacle of beauty or concentrated metaphysic disclosed in The Rain, a live recital from May 28, 2001 in Bern, Switzerland. Released by ECM Records, international watchdog for established top-end performers breaking from tradition, it was perhaps only a matter of time before Ghazal received the opportunity to have their experimental sound captured in palatial acoustic splendor.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 30, 2003  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments
Long before the Swedes at Ikea did it, the singular Scotsman Ivor Tiefenbrun began giving his products funny-sounding names. For some reason positively phobic about the letter c, he banned its use in any of those names. Someone once told me his real last name is Tiefencrun, but since it wouldn't sound any different with a k, he settled for a b. "I could have been Ivor Tiefendrun, or Tiefenfrun, or Tiefengrun, for that matter," he's quoted as having said once while krunching a krakker.
Michael Fremer  |  Nov 03, 2003  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  3 comments

Late breaking news (11/6): an individual who works for CBS News has emailed Musicangle to plead his network's case. The individual claims that CBS head and "staunch Democrat" Les Moonves pulled the series not because of pressure but because after having seen the rough cuts, he decided he was not getting the movie he'd ordered, and that it was not sufficiently strong to be aired during the crucial November sweeps (ratings). "This is business, baby," our correspondent avers. We'll take him at his word, though given how much crap ends up on the networks, the reason is still suspect.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 02, 2003  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  1 comments

Rush Limbaugh, the Republican Party shill and pathological liar who is addicted to blaming Bill Clinton for everything that he thinks has gone wrong in America, showed his hand on ESPN last week by claiming that Philadelphia Eagle quarterback Donovan McNabb has been given "preferential treatment," by the press because he is black and that his performance on the field is "overrated."

Blowhard Limbaugh was supposedly fired (he was allowed to resign), though the ratings that night were ESPN's highest for a game in that time slot, proving while a large number of Americans are also idiots, even more took the time to bitch-slap Disney, which owns ESPN, into reality.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 01, 2003  |  1 comments

Hard to believe, but the legendary Rastapunkspeedmetal band Bad Brains began life in the late 1970’s as a Washington, D.C. based jazz/funk group called Mind Power. Then one of them heard The Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks and the first black punk-rock group was born. You’ll hear the influence of The Clash and maybe The Stooges, but these guys invented their own sound, adding a fluidity and precision to the genre’s usual breakneck speed that no other band that I’ve heard managed to duplicate. The Sex Pistols may have inspired them, but Bad Brains demonstrated punk’s micro-groove musical possibilities because they could really play.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 01, 2003  |  1 comments

The Welsh group’s latest album is a sprawling, densely packed ambitious affair, filled with bouncy/sludgy ‘60’s pop melodic vistas that often sink into mysterious, dark, twisted musical and violent lyrical undergrowth. Lead singer Gruff Rhys’s chocolate-coated vocals are the perfect foil for the fatalistic, slyly rendered subject matter: the war in Iraq, war in general, pollution, petro-chemical mayhem, and even a song seemingly about two pet turtles named Venus and Serena (“Flushing meadows down the stream/Living life as though it’s a dream”). All of it is delivered lightly dusted with tuneful confectioner’s sugar.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 01, 2003  |  0 comments

My first live encounter with Dianne Reeves was at a Town Hall jazz benefit concert honoring “heroes and victims” of September 11th held that December. The array of talent included Jason Moran, Brad Mehldau, Kenny Barron, Ron Carter, Béla Fleck, Benny Golson, Joe Lovano and many others, but the appearance that stayed with me was Ms. Reeves’s. She literally lit up the stage with both positive energy and a big voice that was stunning for its clarity, phrasing precision and tonal purity. Forget the technical perfection though, Reeves connected with a directed force that no other performer that evening matched. It’s a force you will feel on every track on this effervescent disc.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 01, 2003  |  0 comments

Aimee Mann’s pensive, surreal walk through a littered landscape of love gone wrong, double dealings, temptations (drugs and otherwise) and painful breakups (not hers— she’s still married to Michael Penn last time I checked) owes a great deal conceptually and lyrically to Elvis Costello’s Imperial Bedroom—at least to my ears. You can almost hear El singing “Guys Like Me” and “Invisible Ink.”