Thursday, January 15, 2009

Casual Listening -- Monkey, Late of the Pier, Blue Note 7

Casual Listening

a review of cool new music

by Jeff Pinzino

January 16, 2009

! Monkey: Journey to the West and Monkey Bee Remixes (world)

Sadly, I missed Monkey: Journey to the West when it came out last year – possibly the most interesting opera of the new Millennium. Damon Albarn (of Blur and Gorillaz) and Chen Shi-Zheng have drawn on Chinese classical and pop music as well as Western orchestrations and electronica to create a soundscape that bridges eras and continents. Monkey Bee Remixes is new this week, with two tracks from the original, and two remixes – enough to get a taste of what this project is about.

Listen to “Heavenly Peach Banquet” from Monkey: Journey to the West

* Late of the Pier – Fantasy Black Channel (rock)

Late of the Pier worships at the altar of 1980’s new wave, bringing vintage synthesizer sounds together with driving disco-rock that’s impossible to ignore. You’re going to hear this band compared to a crazy mismatch of acts that emerged from those years: Prince, The Cars, Duran Duran, Devo, Simple Minds, and Thomas Dolby for starters. Name-dropping doesn’t do justice to the energy and atmosphere that this group conjures.

Listen to Late of the Pier “Space and the Woods

The Blue Note 7 – Mosaic: A Celebration of Blue Note Records

An all-star jam session put together for the record label’s 70th anniversary. Nicholas Payton and Ravi Coltrane are among the more prominent players who dig into a set of substantial but lesser-known Blue Note classics. It’s a treat to hear these giants come together as an ensemble.

Listen to The Blue Note 7 “Outlaw

* highly recommended

! highest recommendation

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