Thursday, August 10, 2006

Albums I'm listening to

Putumayo presents Mali (various)

This album contains some of the weirdest and most beautiful music I have ever heard--vocally and instrumentally. There is a sort of French hip-hop/African traditional fusion going on, something that's not too unexpected. But what you wouldn't expect at all is the way the harmonica and accordion are used. This is groundbreaking stuff, and frankly I think some of these musicians from Mali are putting blues and polka players to shame. Props go to my Dad, who turned us on to this CD. I recommend buying it at 10,000 Villages, but it's on, too.

The best of Van Morrison (Van Morrison)

Few singers have experimented with so many types of music, throughout so many eras, and still managed to stay afloat. I'm not saying Van's for everyone, but you just can't say that "Domino" is any less than a timeless classic that rocks the casbah. Given Van's colorful (and lengthy) career, it may be a little on the eclectic side (to the point of giving some people musical whiplash) but I just can't get enough of his Beatles-esque "Gloria" juxtaposed against his later "Bright side of the road."

Speak for yourself (Imogen Heap)

Ahh, you didn't see this one coming, now did you? Apparently, as of sometime last winter, I am into electronic music. I guess, when it really comes down to it, I believe deeply that anything can be used as a musical instrument; it's just that very often, when people experiment, pretty bad things happen (remember the electronic experiments of the 70s and 80s?). But Imogen Heap is a master of this genre, and she knows how to combine the natural, raw tones of her voice with the otherworldly synthesized sounds she creates and produces herself. It's bizarre, but brilliant.

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