Today we’re surveying the front lines of musical sensibilities. Avant garde singer, pianist, composer, and painter Diamanda Galás isn’t your everyday rom-com soprano. With a voice that’s been known to induce fear in a single note, bolstered by a three-and-a-half octave range, Diamanda’s followers range from fringe jazz cats to left field metalheads. Let’s let the work speak for itself; in this case, the work consists of peculiar re-workings of traditional jazz tunes… with a couple of surprises as well. The album is called All the Way, borrowed from its titular track, a cover of the familiar Frank Sinatra tune. Follow the originals with the provided playlist! We’ll explain them as we go. Also stick around for a discussion on the necessity of surveying all sides of the spectrum—good/bad, ugly/beautiful, moral/immoral—for only then do we have sufficient context for passing judgement.
At the behest of listener (and former guest Devin Jackson Mullen of Anxious Kids Make Good People), today we’re taking on Drunk, the latest project by Thundercat, the stage name of grammy-award winning bassist Stephen Bruner. Composed by Bruner, but with the help of long-time collaborator Flying Lotus and a myriad of guest artists, Drunk is a 23-track wormhole that explores the inventive and demented mind of the talented bassist — under any and all of life’s circumstances. Let’s explore the album together before broadcasting a monster monologue [@2:19:21 – @2:40:24] covering the ethics of criticism, a response to an artist, and some changes to the format of the series.
The groundhog has seen its shadow… and in that shadow… lurks CORIMA. If you’ve never heard of the ‘Zeuhl’ genre, then—just for the moment—spare yourself from culling through the 11-album discography of Magma (the genre’s progenitor), and instead dive into Amaterasu, the third album by a vibrant and imaginative group based out of L.A. Taking after the jazz/prog leanings of its Zeuhl predecessors and the fully-enabled “anything goes” attitude of the RIO (Rock in Opposition) movement, Corima is all about fusion, yet also free of inhibition. The result: a two-piece, multi-movement concept work called Amaterasu. In this episode, we begin with an overview of Zeuhl before taking off on a roller coaster of an album analysis.
Time to put on your computer & electronic music caps. Fusing the instincts of two overseas composers, Beatrice Dillon & Rupert Clervaux, Two Changes (an album released through Paralaxe Editions) is a two-track experience like no other. From techno, to ambient, to industrial, to the jazz noir finishings of pocket trumpetist Eben Bull, Two Changes offers a little bit of everything with no shortage of spectacle, and occasionally, stupefaction. And so, after another pre-album preamble, concerning electronica and track length, @0:18:42 we explore and assess the inner-workings of Two Changes‘ only pieces, “The Same River Twice” and “A Different River Once.” Join along!
A “prog” band named Progger — oy, now we’ve heard everything! Indeed, after hearing the Austin-based band’s latest project Scattering (an album that sprung from a collaboration with the band’s newest New York-based members) our horizons have been markedly broadened. Incorporating elements of jazz, prog, funk, and a hefty dose of name-your-poison, Scattering is no aperitif; it’s the full meal. So join us for an in-depth analysis of this gripping work and also for a brief preview on some New Year’s homework: the ultimate mystery genre game. Let’s dig deep and ring in 2017 with shock & awe.
This week, our project is an album called Stranger Things Have Happened by English singer/songwriter Clare Maguire—on the face of it, an album that’s split in tone, and potentially in theme. Can we wrestle our hearts with an album like this? We hope you will, because the gems are without a doubt, a reward in themselves. Partially influenced by jazz, lounge, soul, and dreampop, we encourage you to experience this album with us and join us in pondering its many distinctive flavors. Afterwards: film soundtracks and the power to save the film in question. A pipe dream? Are soundtracks tethered at the hip, or fiercely independent?
There’s nothing quite like Yugen that we can find. An Italian avant-prog chamber ensemble that derived influence from the RIO movement (Rock in Opposition) of the 70s/80s, Yugen’s latest endeavor is an LP called Death by Water. With a lust for chaos and a penchant for carefully cloaking its oddball leitmotifs, Death by Water can’t be judged by its cover. Check out the album in the Spotify link and just let it happen, folks. And then, we implore you… let us happen as well. Invite Crash Chords into your lives as we reason out this behemoth of an album, from its pinnacles to its perils. And then, in our topic, hear us reason out the disparity between the terms “avant-garde” and “experimental”… if any.
This week we wrestle with the latest project by Ben Folds, this time a solo work (as a follow-up to our much earlier review of the same artist, then with the re-formed Ben Folds Five). In his latest album, So There, the famed pianist is working in two new arenas: the chamber ensemble and the orchestra. Join us in an analysis of the first eight tracks, where he supplements his pop stylings with the incredible talents of yMusic—a New York-based ensemble known for their intensive composer collaborations—and then for the final three tracks, each one a movement from Ben Folds’ much-awaited piano concerto (recorded with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra). Afterwards, stick around for a recap of the vinyl resurgence, as discussed in CC: Autographs Ep. #28…. but this time with Jon!
A special album and a special guest, today we welcome Joe Benjamin (from Joe Benjamin and a Mighty Handful). Steeped in the larger-than-life sounds of big band & swing, the 11-piece ensemble performs the work of the German-born singer, composer, and conductor Joe Benjamin. Listen for some samples of his work, an exclusive interview with the man himself, and finally for the album he brought to place under our microscope (starting at 37:22). That album is called Amour t’es là?, the 2013 release by another massive ensemble, Banda Magda (fronted by Greek native and French speaker Magda Giannikou). More samples from Joe and a Mighty Handful throughout, so listen through!
Feelin’ jazzy? Today we look at the duo formed by Stuart Matthewman and Vanessa Bley, and their self-titled debut, Twin Danger. Also joined by an entourage of other prominant jazz figures, Twin Danger hearkens back to jazz’s golden age, pursuing themes of desire, conflict, love… and, well, all that jazz! Afterwards, stick around for a discussion on aesthetic aversions and genre connotations, true or false.