Stark Reality: "Now"

Music | HIGH NOTES Jun 18, 2003

Stark Reality: "Now"

It's a good thing the guardians of our children's tender morality are mainly obsessed with vexing lyrics and not intensely trippy jams. Otherwise, "Now" would have a big sticker across the front: WARNING -- The psychedelic children's music on this album will scramble your ...

Mamai Keita and Marc Minelli: "Electro Bamako"

Music | HIGH NOTES Jun 11, 2003

Mamai Keita and Marc Minelli: "Electro Bamako"

According to the liner notes of "Electro Bamako," a collaboration between Mamai Keita, a former singer in Salif Keita's band (no relation), and French producer Marc Minelli, this album presents "Malian songs mixed with electro jazz on pop structures but with a rock sound." ...

Music | HIGH NOTES May 28, 2003

Spacek: "Vintage Hi-Tech"

With just a few beats, some blips and moist, high-pitched vocals, "Vintage Hi-Tech" explores the promising territory of futuristic soul music. As a group, Spacek has a sweetly extraterrestrial vibe, but here on earth they hail from South London. The band's pilot and vocalist, Steve ...

King Sunny Ade: "Syncro Series"

Music | HIGH NOTES May 21, 2003

King Sunny Ade: "Syncro Series"

King Sunny Ade of Nigeria came and went as a star of African music, and these days makes only sporadic appearances. At his peak, in the early '80s, he had a deal with Island Records, which was then hoping he would fill the shoes ...

Music | HIGH NOTES May 7, 2003

Koby Israelite: "Dance of Idiots"

'Dance of the Idiots" takes the thrust of heavy metal and slams it together with a Balkan restlessness while maintaining a strong Jewish spiritedness. If you've grown up in a musical or cultural blender, this record will make perfect sense to you. If you ...

Gigi: "Illuminated Audio"

Music | HIGH NOTES Apr 23, 2003

Gigi: "Illuminated Audio"

Most remixes are done for a quick buck -- slap on a bunch of reverb, stretch things with some delay, maybe drive the whole mess with a new drum track. Whatever. "Illuminated Audio," however, an ambient remix of Ethiopian-born singer Gigi Shababaw's self-titled 2001 ...

She's got them blues good

Music Apr 16, 2003

She's got them blues good

When Natsuko Miura puts one hand on her hip, holds the other in the air and belts out, "I got my mo-jo wor-kin'!" you'd have a hard time imagining this young powerhouse ever had any doubts about what she was doing -- the voice, ...

Taking it all back

Music Apr 9, 2003

Taking it all back

Developing a "voice" of one's own is perhaps the ultimate achievement in music. As anyone who's ever touched an instrument or opened their mouth with the intention of expressing a musical idea knows, developing a voice is difficult to the point of being overwhelming. ...

Jon Madof: "Rashinim" -- oud is in Webby --

Music | HIGH NOTES Apr 2, 2003

Jon Madof: "Rashinim" -- oud is in Webby --

Jewish music is as varied as the people that make up the diaspora. Depending on where you're tuning in, the music might be traditional or it might lean toward funk, jazz, metal, punk, orchestral or even spaghetti western. The Jewish guitar power trio, though, ...

Ibrahim Ferrer: "Buenos Hermanos"

Music | HIGH NOTES Mar 26, 2003

Ibrahim Ferrer: "Buenos Hermanos"

"Buenos Hermanos" is yet another great album of Cuban music. But it's worth noting some of the other reasons why this album is such an achievement. As most people now know, Ibrahim Ferrer had quit music and was selling lottery tickets and shining shoes ...