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Céu - Caravana Sereia Bloom

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, April 2, 2012 07:30am | Post a Comment
Céu - Caravana Sereia BloomCéu has been the darling of the farmers' market-shopping, Starbuck-drinking, Tom Schnabel-listening set since 2007. Despite that, I always liked her work. Céu’s music has been a guilty pleasure of mine. Her latest release, Caravana Sereia Bloom,  is her best work to date. In just over forty-minutes (the ideal length of an album, in my opinion), Céu pulls all her influences together into a cohesive, short-but-sweet collection of songs. Bits of nostalgia bring to mind some of the great Brazilian artists over the years, such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Jorge Ben, and Os Mutantes. Yet what I like about Caravana Sereia Bloom is that Céu also recalls her lesser-known Brazilian contemporaries such as Nação Zumbi and DJ Dolores who, much like her, use their Jamaican influences as a base. The result is that the Tropicalia- influenced “Falta De Ar” and 70’s groovy Samba “Contravento” feel right at home with the Jaimaican Rocksteady of “You Won’t Regret It” and “Asfalto E Sal.”

I’m not sure to what extent producer Gui Amabis influences Céu’s music, but he seems to give her room for her imagination to run. The instrumentation is organic and there is less of that laid-back, Electro-Brazilian fusion that people living in Los Angeles have dubbed “The KCRW sound” (although there are a few moments). Caravana Sereia Bloom has exposed everything that I loved about Céu’s voice and music, and guilt-free.

La Santa Cecilia's El Valor & Selena's Enamorada De Ti

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 26, 2012 07:51am | Post a Comment
La Santa CeciliaIf you couldn’t make it to La Santa Cecilia’s record release party at the La Fonda over the weekend (especially those under 21) you have another chance. La Santa Cecilia will be doing an in-store performance at Amoeba Records Hollywood on Monday, March 26th at 7pm in celebration of their latest release, El Valor.

El Valor finds the band interpreting songs by such artists as Caifanes, U2, Lhasa De Sela, and Soft Cell. Each song is given the La Santa Cecilia treatment: part Cumbia, Mariachi, Bolero, Ranchera, and Latin Pop. Much like one of my favorite cover albums, Café Tacuba’s classic Avalancha De Exitos, El Valor is sincere without the trappings of being ironic. Each song is an attempt not only at reinterpretation, but a challenge to top the original.

La Santa Cecilia musicianship is sublime, without a doubt. Still, it would be hard not to single out their lead singer, La Marisol. She is often quoted as being the soul of the group. Her sound is unique in that one can hear generations of influences yet she manages not to sound derivative. When I hear her voice, I feel like a cook trying to guess the ingredients of a great dish only to come to the conclusion that the food is great.

Selena Enamorada De Ti On Tuesday, April 3rd, a new collection of reinvented Selena will be released to commemorate what would have been her 40th birthday. The songs that make the Enamorada De Ti album are some of her biggest hits redone with modern pop artists, including Samo from the group Camila, Don Omar, and Selena Gomez. According to the producer, Selena’s brother and main songwriter A.B. Quintanilla III, it was a way to imagine what Selena would be doing musically if she were alive.

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Surrealist Women, Martha Gonzalez & Quetzal's Imaginaries & The Politics Of The World Diva

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 12, 2012 08:46am | Post a Comment
Frida Kahlo Surealist PaintersI couldn’t help but think while viewing LACMA’s new exhibit, In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States, How many people spent more time at the paintings made by Frida Kahlo than any of the dozens of excellent surrealist artists featured at the exhibit. Certainly, Frida is the rock star. Her artwork is used in advertisements for the exhibit that are plastered all over Los Angeles. So much so that I heard at least a dozen people refer to the exhibit as “The Frida Kahlo Exhibit” and were disappointed over the fact that there were only seven pieces of her work in the show. Still, it didn’t stop the multitude of women in rebozos wearing ethnic jewelry and posing for pictures in front of Kahlo’s artwork, sharing in Frida’s pain and heartbreak.

I don’t want to sound like a hater, because I do appreciate Kahlo’s artwork and to not acknowledge what she has meant for women artist and the art world in general would be unjust. Not only was she a great artist but also her artwork was superior to many of her male counterparts. Her art forced the inclusion of her and many other great female artists that weren’t given much respect beforehand. But as I continued through the exhibit, marveling over the great surrealist art of Maria Izquierdo, Remedios Varo, Dorothea Tanning, Gertrude Abercrombie and Francesca Woodman, it was evident that people for the most part, were more hung up on Frida’s biography than the art.

This is who we are as a society. We love our icons. We like our revolutionaries handsome and strong and we like our suffering artists to be tragic. You can’t be a multifaceted. You can’t be a tragic icon who met someone nice and settled down. You can’t be a revolutionary that decided, “Eh, I rather get a steady job” We admire them because unlike many of us, they are all or none and they are who they are until their death. Even if it is a perceived notion, we want our icons to make us think they are not like us. Nothing speaks volumes than modern pop music. Was 2Pac really a thug or a very talented rapper/actor who made us believe he was harder than he was?

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Jende Ri Palenge, A Recording & Documentary on The Afro-Colombian Community of Palenque, Out Now

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 4, 2012 11:05pm | Post a Comment
Jende Ri PalengeI’m a fan of the group, Bomba Estereo. Recently, I have become even more of a fan for how they represent their home country of Colombia through their art. Their Electro-Dub influences mesh well their Cumbia, Champeta and Colombia Salsa references. Along with such artists as Frente Cumbiero, also from Colombia, Bomba Estereo brings a fresh take on Colombian music to the rest of the world.

I was happy to read about a project that a couple of members of Bomba Estero, Santiago Posada and Simon Mejía, were a part of. Jende Ri Palenge is the result their three month stay in San Basilio De Palenque. Not only is San Basilio De Palenque the birthplace of Afro-Colombian music but also it’s a town famous as being the first free slave community in Colombia. During their stay, Santiago and Simon built a studio in the town of San Basilio De Palenque and recorded the various artists that live and work there. At the end of their stay, Santiago and Mejia left the studio for the people so that they can continue to record themselves.

The culmination of their stay is a 3 disc/5LP + DVD box set, released by Soul Jazz Records. Jende Ri Palenge features the music recorded with the Palenque community, as well as remixes of their original compositions by some of South America’s best remixers. Each version includes a documentary film of the recording process, also made by Mejia and Posada

According to the Soul Jazz website, Posada and Mejía chose to focus on three artists: Panamá, León, and Sikito, who put together various line-ups to play music typical of the region. The Afro-Colombian sound that the musicians of Palenque recorded for Jende Ri Palenge is the origins of Colombian music and quite frankly, of many Latin America musical styles today.

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This Moment's Glory With ECM Records

Posted by Rick Frystak, March 4, 2012 05:56pm | Post a Comment
ECM Records has always been one of my favorite labels, peerlessly rich in variety and deeply honest with it's mission and intent of quality. I remember my first ECM LP was an unplayed white-label promo copy of Terje Rypdal's What Comes After, which really set me up to fall in love and get on board with the vision of Manfred Eicher, the label's owner and director. The sound on that record, with it's reverberant, creamy echo and crystal clear, dissonant music and the impression it made on me shall never be forgotten (and I can revisit it at will). Was this Jazz music? Rock? Classical? I didn't care at all to label it, only to consume as much as possible of this new sound, and start down the path to discovery of each title I could find in my town and towns around Los Angeles.

Of course, I didn't love everything that the label released, but I always listened with very open ears. Just the cover art direction alone still fascinates me and is the subject of multiple design books. Manfred has also become the preeminant Classical music producer since I've been a listener, not an easy coup, resulting in a perfect fit with his sound and the composer's vision. It still applies that ECM is a creative energy second to none with no cliches, no boundries, and no borders as to what can be done within it's domain, Year after year, which totals over 40 now, the ECM label has been there for me, re-igniting my passion for music, and with a quality like no other.

Here, fellow travellers, are some of my favorties of this moment's newest CD releases form this wonderful treasure. Click on the titles to see if they are available for purchase at Amoeba.com.

And what's your favorite ECM release?

Visit www.ecmrecords.com

Boris Yoffe 
Boris Yoffe
Song of Songs
ECM 2174

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