a review of cool new music
by Jeff Pinzino
! 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