Amoeblog

Best of a Rapid Decade: One per year plus a few too good to not mention...

Posted by J. Mark Beaver, January 6, 2010 04:00pm | Post a Comment

In recently trying to fill in a friend on what I'd spent the last year or two listening to, I realized that my personal taste tends to gravitate towards some element of either Folk form (any hint of hill-folk finger-pickin' or Ozark/Appalachian melancholy and I'm in), Psychedelia or the tendency to extend a theme for a good long jam (a category in which I include a lot of the Jazz that I like), or just a great, funky groove.

With those qualifiers in place, the following is a year by year review of the last decade which somehow got past me with out noticing it. I mean, really?!! 2010?!!!  I didn't see it coming: 

2000: Album of the Year

Air's enjoyable and wacky Moon Safari had been on the decks for a couple years before they contracted for the soundtrack to Sofia Coppolla's Virgin Suicides. The resultant score is absolutely sublime and marked the French electronauts as contenders to watch.

For myself, it was the defining sound of the millennium's new year.
















Shelby Lynne released a killer country-soul gem, I Am Shelby Lynne, that echoed early material from the likes of Bonnie Raitt. Thinking that it was a brilliant debut from a talented 32yo unknown, I was eventually shocked to find that it was her 6th album. I listened to it for months.

Continue reading...

Get Your Medieval Rocks Off with Helena Espvall and Masaki Batoh's Overloaded Ark

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, September 29, 2009 08:00am | Post a Comment
 Helena Espvall and Masaki Batoh second album overloaded ark on drag city
The last time Helena Espvall (of Espers) and Masaki Batoh (of Ghost) got together to create an album the end result resembled the kind of sound-tapestry two people of like-minded musical musings might weave over an ocean of space and time. Their first record (self-titled on Drag City) generated a quiet excitement from those of us at Amoeba familiar with the "new folk" weirdness of Espers and the psych-rock wyrdness of Ghost and seemed a sound-marriage of sorts where faded-about-the-edges Scandinavian tunes and other haunting works, both borrowed and original, mingled freely on relic-esque instruments. Nothing there suggests the kind of epic, blast-from-the-distant-past sonic onslaught of Overloaded Ark, Espvall and Batoh's second release on Drag City and the latest source of a new take on a very, very old favorite song. 
overloaded ark helena epsvall masaki batoh second album drag city
Overloaded Ark's opening track, titled "Little Blue Dragon," is a better known by the name of the merry dance it was originally composed for way back in 14th century Naples: the saltarello. It is played in a very fast triple-meter and named after its leading leap-step, in Italian, saltare. Of course, the composer credit for this song goes to the ubiquitous Anoymous who rules the bulk of any Early Music bin selections, but a version of the song, aptly titled "Saltarello," was made famous by that eclectic, neoclassical Australian band better known as Dead Can Dance (and if you've ever been to a Renaissance Faire or a Goth gathering where "dark" world music fits the rotation then I'll bet you a flagon of mead you've heard it before). Another version of the song, performed by Corvus Corax --- an outrageously outfitted German band who champion medieval music and authentic instruments, seems to share the same vein Espvall and Batoh tapped to give their "Little Blue Dragon" life. Espvall and Batoh's take on the Black Death era romp pounds out a feverish pace with traditional instrumentation at the forefront and electrified psychedelic meanderings fleshing out the background. It's really the perfect sort of aural "pants-ing" I felt I needed as a listener expecting to hear an extension of Espvall and Batoh's past works, only to be blown away with their new attitude. 

Continue reading...

New 12" Electronic Releases at Amoeba Hollywood - 05/23/09

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, May 17, 2009 07:21pm | Post a Comment
 

New Electro/Techno 12"s Coming this Weekend:
 
Ghost - FREEDOM OF THOUGHT EP #1 12" BNB046
UK hip hop producer GHOST drops this dope as hell 5 track EP mixing 2 rap tracks and 3 beat driven instrumental head nodders that fans of NINJA TUNE, DJ SHADOW, RJD2 and the like will dig. One rap cut is a brand new remix of DJ IQ's "ELEVATE" feat JEHST on vocals. Don't sleep.
 
Tiga - SHOES 12" DIFB1216T 
First single from his forthcoming LP is a delicious slice of non conformist pop feat a mystery female guest and prod by SOULWAX! Killer mixes from MR OIZO and GREEN VELVET take this superstar DJ / fashion icon into the pop stratosphere. Not to be missed indeed.
 
Deborah Jordan - NOTHING LASTS 7" FM013
 
Future Beat Investigators - LOUDER 12" RAF048
 
Ghost - BASIC INSTINCT (NATURAL SELF) 12" BNB027
 
Ghost - LET EM KNOW 12" BNB017
 
Ghost - SELDOM SEEN OFTEN HEARD DLP BNB025LP
 
Kazahaya - REMEMBER HIP HOP 12" BNB047
 
Medusa Edits - REFLECTION SERIES #4 12" ME004
 
Linkwood - PRIME NUMBERS 3 12" PN03
 
Arcadion - FLY VISION 12" DC104
 
Castle Of Freaks - BEEN A LONG TIME 12" WMR004
 
Busta Rhymes Vs J Credible - REMIXES 12" WMR003 
 
Coolhurst - BAMBA GAS COIN 12" NANA001
 
Depeche Mode - WRONG - CASPA RMX 12" 12BONG40
 
Ebony Bones - THE MUZIK 7" SBESTSX72
 
Emperor Machine - KANANANA 12" DC96
 
Evil Nine - ICICLES 12" MAPA049
 
Exile - STAY TUNED EP 12" PLG81
 
Feature Cast - ONE STEP RE-EDIT 7" DP004
 
Friendly Fires - JUMP IN THE POOL RMX 12" XLT439
 
Jazzanova - I CAN SEE (TELEPATICOS) 12" WPBH001
 
Lily Allen - NOT FAIR (PIC DISC) 7" REG153
 
Little Dragon - TWICE REMIX EP 12" PFG123
 
Parallels - ULTRALIGHT EP 12" TINAE017
 
Phoenix - LISTZOMANIA 12" VVR703076
 
TV On The Radio - DANCING CHOOSE RMXS 12" BAD2837
 
Telonius - LIKE WHAT (GLIMMERS RMX) 12" GOMMADT001
 
Various - KUNG FU SUPER SOUNDS LP DWVR002
 
Acid Circus - V SNARES 12” TTT23

Something Old, Something New: Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh's self-titled CD/LP out now on Drag City!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, September 18, 2008 12:39pm | Post a Comment

Helena Espvall and Masaki Batoh

 

When I first learned that Masaki Batoh, enigmatic frontman of the wondrously magical avant-psych band Ghost, and Swedish-born Helena Espvall, vocalist, guitarist and cellist of the equally magical folk-rock outfit Espers, were to release a record of their collaborative efforts, a wave of excitement swept me out of my shoes and into a frenzy of inspired musings that lead to an impulse purchase of a bottle of Framboise Lambic. After many repeat listenings of Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh, their simply self-titled releaseI can safely say that not only does the record pair well with the sweet, frothy drink, but also complements those early Halloween  decoration displays that are beginning to pop up all over town. The record and the drink spurred a flip through my battered old D&D Monster’s Compendium which led me to conjure a mental picture of a romantic tapestry woven by two modern day minstrels who, after recognizing their great esteem for one another, slipped away from their bands’ respective gypsy caravans silently in the night, running away together to the far reaches of the northern wilderness, making beautiful music together all the way.