Thursday, January 11, 2007

Abstract Index playlist - January 3/07

Still mopping up '06, I'm afraid. I received a whack of discs at the end of the year from a wide variety of Canadian artists, and I've been panning for gold. Among the nuggets is New Frontiers by the Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble.

The VCME are one of Canada's oldest Chinese music groups, founded in 1989. New Frontiers definitely represents the "contemporary" side to their repertoire. It's wildly aggressive at times, like an onslaught of strings across the stereo spectrum, as if mixing three Zeena Parkins discs together at once. 'Ling' features waves of hammered (guzheng) and plucked (pipa) strings cascading up and down each channel, then joining together into massive riffs. There are a few moments of calm provided by flute and vocal passages, but then the fabric rips apart again. Harry Partch came to mind more than once, probably due to the use of extended techniques on each instrument creating some detuned and double-plucked effects. Or perhaps it's all in the composition? Not every track on the disc is up to the same standard but the good far outweighs the pedestrian. Listen loud.

ling - vancouver chinese music ensemble (vcme)
universal band silhouette - jan jelinek (scape)
insolvent - mini system (noise factory)
crime - the eternals (aesthetics)
heavy traffic - autorickshaw (tala-wallah)
quiet - sex mob (thirsty ear)
games - dorothy ashby (cadet)
el casabe - alfredo de la fe (LP) totally crazy story in this interview about missing an gig playing for the Pope because he was too fucked up on coke...
sagoo - africando (sterns)
who can I turn to - reveries (rat drifting)
wedding night - modern egyptian dance band (jazzman)
chake noechako - thomas mapfumo & blacks unlimited (zimbob)
n'fa quartet - seckou keita quartet (arc)
my little sandra - leo graham (trojan)
the reminder - manasseh (select cuts)
smoke ganja hard - little john (vp)
marijuana - big joe (trojan)
kunte kinte dub - mad professor (ariwa)
declaration dub - dub specialist (heartbeat)
love is the key - viceroys (discograph)
the way - augustus pablo (pressure sounds)

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