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Monthly Archives: December 2013

The beauty of music all around you

The pub and the television – two of the greatest inventions of all time? Perhaps. Aside from the obvious drinking and watching capabilities they respectively possess, they also usually provide a wealth of music I have yet to hear, filling me with glee and childish excitement.

akronfamily

First up is the glorious track Everyone Is Guilty by Akron/Family, the opening track from their 2009 album Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free.

I chanced upon this track at my local watering hole, The Lamb, not too long ago, and have constantly had the album on the burner ever since. The band’s music is mainly rooted in harmonized math folk, but there is so much more to explore throughout the album. This track has it all however – the brilliant, jarring funk riff which opens proceedings; the contrasting vocal lines that skit between tuneful yelling and soothing harmonies; the heavy breakdown with Rolling Stones-esque ‘woo wooos’. I love this track and I owe it all to my thirst for delicious porter.

And as for my other example? Breaking Bad is the show which I have to thank for introducing me to Vince Guaraldi.

vince

I am going to rashly assume that most people have watched Breaking Bad and therefore will have heard this tune, but that can only be a good thing. Taken from the album From All Sides, recorded with guitarist Bola Sete, Ginza Samba has a piano melody which will not leave your brain at any point in the near future. Extremely tidy and tasteful playing combined with a feeling of pure bliss marks this track out, with the rest of the album providing similar joys.

As if we needed any more excuses to go to the pub or sit in front of the box………enjoy!

Keeping it local

It’s not everyday you come home to find a brand spanking new EP lying on your front doorstep, the shiny circular produce of an old classmate who you haven’t seen in donkeys years. I need more friends like these, I must say.

Their first release, the self titled EP by the Adam Green Continuum is predominantly a jazz cut, but with a darker and certainly more rocky feel to it. It is available now through iTunes.

adamgreencontinuum

Keeping things to a trim twenty-six minutes, the band play through Adam’s carefully crafted compositions with an accomplished flow. With hints of the style of a group such as Partisans, though written with a far more relaxed feel, the songs are ambitious but calculated, maintaining discernible motifs while allowing the guitar and sax to branch off in all directions. Nothing becomes overly cluttered, and with the space that is given for the songs to breathe, greater clarity and attack is given to the solos with some consummate playing.

Opener ‘The Road’ is delicately somber, with a sprawling melody matched by what could be coined as jazz drum and bass. ‘Denial Cycles’ is of a similar vein, albeit with a more driven rhythm section. What shines through on each number however is the ease with which each musician commands their instrument and how they feed off each other. This is solid jazz.

A small qualm of the EP might be that the overall tempo never shifts too drastically, or stretches itself too far beyond its musical capabilities, thus feeling a little formulaic at times. It would be interesting to hear how Adam’s compositions become more refined over time, or whether the feel of the music alters. But, as a first batch of tunes, they each stand up in their own right and are counted for.

The last track from the EP, this video of ‘When It’s Over’ gives a glimpse into the world of the Adam Green Continuum. On 18th December, the group play at Charlie Wright’s International Bar in Hoxton for the paltry sum of £4. Have at it!

It should not be this cold in May, jesus.

The scourge of the Christmas pinch, how I detest thee. As the pulling of the purse strings is diverted to the matter of gifts, food and booze, my outgoings toward music have rather shrivelled some what. Not that I am a regular old Scrooge about it. No siree.

Boris Gacquere - the man's finger do not bow to the cold.

Boris Gacquere – the man’s fingers do not bow to the cold.

In light of this, I thought I would draw upon a band I witnessed last year at the Festival Django Reinhardt in Liberchies, Belgium. Cacamba are not the kind of group you would necessarily expect to see at a strictly gypsy jazz event, but they turned out to be one of the main highlights of the festival.

To set the scene – it was May, though it was inexplicably freezing cold and dreary. Liberchies is a tiny town with one main street, which the festival took up entirely. Laura and myself were struggling to deal with the chill in all the layers that we had brought with us, my toes were numb and the strong Belgian beer had yet to make me stop caring (good God it was delicious though).

The music so far had been fairly standard, upon which Cacamba hit the stage and captivated my attention. Their music was happy, warm and layered, with flowing melodies that were performed with panache. The mix of Brazilian, Mexican and European influences is clear and thus creates a weird hybrid of world music that has an almost homely feel to it. The below track, Cabra da Peste, captures them perfectly – it’s simply nice and comfortable music excellently executed, with strong jazz and samba overtones.

Cacamba’s album Dito Cujo can be purchased here. Enjoy.