Posts Tagged ‘Album Review


Album Review: Clive Tanaka y su orquesta, “Jet Set Siempre No. 1”

That’s actually a cassette cover you’re seeing up there: Hokkaido, Japan artist Clive Tanaka chose to issue his debut album in the antiquated format first, months before even a digital release. The idea behind this (and I’m assuming here… the elusive Tanaka has yet to show his face to the blog world, let alone announce a SXSW showcase) is to resurrect the spirit of the mixtape – that old piece of lovingly prepared plastic exchanged between friends and would-be lovers.

Listening as I write to an actual mixtape of vintage world music created by Tanaka (it’s posted to the cassette-friendly site International Tapes), I’m definitely feeling the revival. In contrast to mp3 playlists, you don’t always know what you’re going to get with a mixtape. Song names, artists, and (most crucially) running times are all privileged information, dispensed by the curator at his or her pleasure.

So it goes with Jet Set Siempre No.1, an album of eight original disco and slow jam tracks by Tanaka. To reduce fast-forwarding, the songs are neatly divided into uptempo Side A (“For Dance”) and chillaxed Side B (“For Romance”). And like the meticulous mixtaper, Tanaka’s production is seamless, blending samples and live instruments into a warm wash of sound.

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Album Review: Lia Ices, “Grown Unknown”

Lia Ices’ stunning new album opens with the Brooklyn artist’s principle strengths: a soft crush of piano; a light, swooping melody; and Ices’ delicate mezzo-soprano, calling from an emotional space beyond the letter of the lyrics: Oh you know I need / your mystic mind.

The song, called “Love Is Won”, proceeds to layer additional instrumentation gradually – another key feature on nearly all of Grown Unknown’s nine tracks. In this case, it’s the sparest of drum and bass, some pulsing organ, and a collection of harmonies overlaid by Ices herself.

Continue reading ‘Album Review: Lia Ices, “Grown Unknown”’



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