Under the name Travesía, the trio of Estela Magnone, Mariana Ingold, and Mayra Hugo graced a handful of albums that defined the direction of Uruguay’s music coming out from under a dictatorship in the early 1980s. In the trio’s short lifespan, though, they released only one album–1983’s Ni un minuto más de dolor, the first Uruguayan record performed and arranged entirely by an all-female group.
Taste the whip. Captured in January 1972, a year and half following Lou Reed’s hard exit from the Velvet Underground, we find ourselves at Le Bataclan theatre, Paris, France. The occasion marked a semi-impromptu reunion of the former VU bandmates. For a night, anyway.
The past few years have seen Neal Francis carve out his name with an incendiary live show and a refreshingly well-schooled, analog-obsessed interpretation of 70s soul. His dry tenor has been compared to that of Allen Toussaint, and the late maestro would certainly approve of Francis’ keyboard stylings, as well as his affinity for billowing grooves and charged arrangements.
A celestial nocturne, Estrela Acesa is the sophomore stunner from Sessa. It’s been three years since the São Paulo-born singer-songwriter dropped his perennially stellar debut, Grandeza—a jubilant, sun-dappled LP embodying a confluence of Brazil’s rich past and musical traditions. But where Grandeza was an ode to temporal pleasures, Estrela Acesa is a humble meditation on the nature of love, eternity, and the point of intersection between music and spirit.
’70s dub/reggae especial. Via satellite, transmitting from northeast Los Angeles — the Aquarium Drunkard Show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35. 7pm California time, Wednesdays.
34.1090° N, 118.2334° W
The awareness of our own mortality is a blessing and a curse. This isn’t a new idea, and it’s one that we’ve seen reflected time and again in art. While catalysts vary, for Kevin Morby it was witnessing the sudden collapse of his father at a dinner. Thankfully his dad survived the incident, but much in the same way that just seeing parents, or ourselves, get older can send us down that spiral staircase of mortality, Morby turned his thoughts inward.
“He was looking forward to playing Israel,” writes Leonard Cohen’s biographer Sylvie Simmons of the songwriter’s first tour of the Holy Land in 1972. “He was terrified of playing Israel.”
A folk singer, a dreamer, a soul. On his newly released sophomore album, Mil Coisas Invisíveis, São Paulo’s Tim Bernardes brings his diaristic existentialism to vibrant sonic life. Whether accompanied with just his guitar, or surrounded by handclap percussion, swelling string arrangements, and muted woodwinds, he stakes his claim as a graceful and earnest chanteur, joining the ranks of fellow countrymen Jorge Ben, Caetaneo Veloso, and Clube da Esquina.
This week on Transmissions, a post-punk roundtable with Mark Stewart of The Pop Group, Stephen Mallinder of Cabaret Voltaire, Eric Random (The Buzzcocks, Nico). On Mark’s latest album, VS, they team up for “Cast No Shadow.” How did post-punk hit their respective places? What role did regionalism play in the music’s development? These three join us for a freewheeling hour of discussion and deconstruction—talking about the VU, German cosmic music, black magic, and more.
Recorded during 2020-2021, these freak outs from MC Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger and Cameron Ralston of Spacebomb, offer avant-funk and gospel grooves, heady minimalism, Kosmische Muzik, and dubby ambiance in apocalyptic times.
Over the past half decade the Paris based label WeWantSounds has released some of our most favorite reissues in a number of genres: Spiritual Jazz, Soul, Japanese Experimental Pop, Japanese Free Improvisation and Arabic Music. The label’s two most recent reissues (Ennio Morricone’s Sans Mobile Apparent (Bande Originale du Film), and Freddie Hubbard’s Music Is Here – Live at Maison de la Radio, Paris 1973) maintain the high quality record collectors have come to respect and expect.
All mouths will be fed. Twenty years ago next month saw the release of Laika Come Home, a complete and total transfiguration of Gorillaz s/t debut as remixed in dub. Spacemonkeyz (dj Darren Galea) is the controller, and the results are nothing short of sublime. At times haunting, at times ethereal, the dozen tracks absolutely float featuring limber contributions from the likes of U Brown, Tina Weymouth and Terry Hall. Not unlike Bill Laswell’s ambient-dub interpretation of the Bob Marley catalog, Laika is the rare instance of a remix album feeling as essential as the core material its culled from.
The Art Ensemble of Chicago’s expression, “Great Black Music: Ancient to the future,” is a program for life and not a mere slogan. It reminds us that we cannot move forward without reference to the past; that we must respect and respond to our elders. On their duo album Beyond, released under the moniker I AM, saxophonist Isaiah Collier and drummer Michael Shekwoaga Ode invoke two of the heaviest albums in the Free Jazz canon: Interstellar Space, by John Coltrane and Rashied Ali, and Duo Exchange, by Rashied Ali and Frank Lowe.
While it echoes the past, Beyond is not an imitation or an attempt to recreate history. It is an album bursting with spiritual energy that will give joy and inspiration to both old heads and new Free Jazz acolytes alike.