27 September 2007

Gotan Project, and Other Recent Musical Finds

New rule: for every negative post I put up from now on, I must write one positive one. OK, it is likely to last about as long as the intention to keep myself clean shaven once I've cleared the month's growth off for the umpteenth time, but it's not a bad idea. This counteracts tonight's earlier effort.

Gotan Project: I picked up their album La Revancha del Tango this week on a whim, knowing sod all about them except for hints of style (downtempo, loungesque, world not a million miles away from some of Thievery Corporation's work). I'm damn glad I did; its a fine collection of music, and I'll certainly be looking to pick up later releases (La Revancha... was 2001). In fact in lieu of writing more here back when I started it (a week ago) I went shopping for LunĂ¡tico. If anything the latter is better - all in my opinion of course; it is more polished, more accomplished: hallmarks of the group having played together longer, perhaps. I'm left not entirely sure how to describe it - the name comes from a syllable basesd spoonerism of Tango, but the music is, to my ears, more than that. Loungesque, jazzy, cool and fucking excellent.

Fucking excellent actually fits for a description of all the music I've ended up acquiring in the past week. An unfortunate accident meant I damaged some CDs Garry had passed me when I was in Dundee in June/July; on discovering this I did what I should have done much earlier and rushed out to not only replace them, but acquire more of the artists concerned; so I now have three Mogwai albums and two Beta Band CDs to enjoy. Happy music to make you grin, uplifting or chilled dependent on the frame of mind when putting them on. Great stuff.

I was also enchanted by my only listen so far of PJ Harvey's White Chalk; I cannot expand on that description for now - hey, I had 10 new discs to get through! - but it was a work that left a firm first impression and I look forward to giving it the time it deserves.

I also picked up Thievery Corporation's Versions - in the end not so much because I like their stuff (I do; The Mirror Conspiracy ranks amongst my favourite albums), but because one of the mixes is of an old Ben Folds (well, Fear of Pop, but that was a 'Five era Folds side project) tune. Yes, I do rate Folds that highly, why? I found Versions disappointing in the end - too same-y and left little impression beyond being background music. TC's work normally encompasses a little more, and maybe I was expecting too much from what is a disc of remixes, but though it will get play it will not likely get many listens.

That said, for Versions to be the worst of the buys was lucky enough - the slight gamble on Daddy G's DJ Kicks album and an old Kristin Hersh title paid off well enough, but the biggest unknown of the bunch, And she Closed her eyes by Stina Nordenstam, has ended up enchanting me the most. Timid, almost muffled, vocals, and soft arrangements drawing ear, mind and mood alike to a thoroughly calm place. Quirky for certain and by no means everyone's cup of tea it has definite jazz and even *gasp* easy listening vibes at times if the elements are taken alone, but as a whole it transcends its limitations to reward on a fundamental level. Great late-night music (or last-thing, anyway; it's only 11 but I'm off to bed and to read Making Money) to boot, and a fitting accompaniment to an attempt to be a little brighter.

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