Album Reviews

Review: Patricia Brennan – Maquishti

It gives me great pleasure listening to any vibraphonist and marimbist, and though I’ve written about them a few times in my career, I feel that the quality of what I am learning in this new digital age is only getting stronger in terms of searching out new and rarely spoken about musicians. As someone

Year in Review: 2020 Unplug

More than likely it’ll be January of 2021 by the time you read this. And while all of us have struggled to find ways to cope with the virus, loss of work, countless deaths, being stuck at home, breathing through masks, continued racial and gender-based violence, and the general feeling of impending doom, it must

Review: Angel Bat Dawid LIVE

South African artist and academic, Selby Mvusi, reflecting on the performance of sub-Saharan Africa bushmen, argued that there is a degree of precision inherent to natural vision and perception is something that can be learned. Put differently, our visualisation can be trained and by extension here, our visual sense in so far as it relates to sound can be precisioned. If sound is understood as a concrete visual sense, then we can begin to think infinitely about what we hear

Review: The Wretched

Through the broader lens of sounds coming out of South Africa, the Wretched sit at the periphery. But when listening to the rage emanating through their debut album, they’re situated right at the centre of the chaos and contradiction of daily life in the country. The album captures the feeling of a generation dealing with

Je’Raf – Throw Neck

With members rooted in Chicago and New York’s underground music scenes, Je’Raf is a wildly diverse and idiosyncratic ensemble fusing Hip Hop, Punk and improvisational sounds. With Brianna Tong on vocals, PT Bell on vocals and bass, Wills McKenna and David Fletcher on tenor saxophone and trombone respectively, the band is rounded out by Ishmael

Hugh Masekela – Live in Lesotho (1980, reissued 2019)

Hugh Masekela’s Live in Lesotho is a great album of celebratory music intertwined with a beautiful story of homecomings of Miriam Makeba and himself. The region of southern Africa has deep meaning to me, so while I won’t go into super detail about the history of the record, I will talk about my relationship with

Review: Afro Yaqui Music Collective – Mirror Butterfly: The Migrant Liberation Movement Suite

Guest Reviewer: John Pietaro Composer: Benjamin Barson, Librettist: Ruth Margraff (Nejma Nefertiti, tracks 7-8) From its opening notes, US composer-baritone saxophonist Ben Barson’s suite for this “epic jazz opera” speaks of the revolutionary politics from which it is derived. With a firm grasp on the canon of liberation music before him, Barson (a student of

Review: Aron Namenwirth – Hurricane

Aron Namenwirth’s Hurricane begins with a quiet storm gaining momentum. As sound unfolds the images on the album cover are imbued with meaning. The dark painted spirals suggest a kind of “fun house” trip to come; one where sounds bend and contort until traditional bass, percussion, and piano sounds abstractly familiar. The opening chord of

Review: SPAZA Debut Release

Mushroom Hour Half Hour is a Johannesburg, South Africa-based experimental music label. A quote from South African musicologist Dr. Sazi Diamini gives a look into the label’s philosophical approach to music-making, “There is no formal process as such ….. it’s an experiment that relies on the sensitivities between the players …..” MHHH outfit SPAZA is