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POP / ROCK
Sun Palace: Gossamer Folk-Rock
Angel-voiced Andriette Redmann teams up with Smithereens frontman John Rokosny to make a luxuriant, yet lighter than air, pop-rock creation. Give Me A Perfect World is an impressive demonstration of Redmann's talents, which have been compared to Sarah McLachlan and The Sundays. Highlights include the idyllic title track, the courtly and fateful "Round and Round," as well as the deeply dreamy "Familiar Voices." This album features legendary drummer Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel/Paul McCartney/Elvis Costello) and cellist Jane Scarpantoni (Springsteen/Lou Reed/REM). Highly expressive, highly listenable.
Wildcat Viols: Viola da Gamba Girls Gone Wild
The San Francisco ensemble Wildcat Viols mines the richest vein of the viol da gamba consort repertoire. On Fairest Isle you'll hear the astounding music of Henry Purcell and Matthew Locke, the last great masters of English viol music. In this, their debut recording, the three women of Wildcat Viols, occasionally joining forces with the delicious soprano voice of Catherine Webster, luxuriate in the daring and passionate sound-world of 17th-century England. By turns quirky, languid, exuberant, sensuous, virtuosic, and always sublime, this music represents the final flowering of England's remarkable viol ensemble repertoire, in which finely-crafted Renaissance equanimity gives way to the dramatic volatility of the Baroque - with a distinctively British accent.
Osamu Kitajima and Chris Mancinelli : Pan Pacific Ambient Dance Masters
The pulse of captivating and ear-catching dance rhythms forms the foundation for these hauntingly melodic and evocative soundscapes. The compositions are expertly balanced by an intricate interlacing of ancient Japanese instruments and singing. Beyond the Circle is a masterful melding of the latest electronic textures with the most spiritual of Asian musical history. This upbeat music features vocalist Nanako Mikado singing traditional Geisha songs, the expressive playing of shakuhachi master Masakazu Yoshizawa, and WILCO guitar legend Nels Cline.
Anamar: Songs with a Latin & Afro mood, blended with Tango, Milonga, Morna, Rumba, Habanera
Transfado comes from a cult figure in the Portuguese music scene. Simple acoustic accompaniment on piano, double bass and Portuguese guitar puts Anamar's smoky, passionate voice in the best possible light, in songs that are vibrant, sultry, emotive, and cathartic. Fado songs are defined by their feeling of "saudade," a Portuguese term best translated as a genuine and intense yearning. Transfado has yearning to burn, but it's also a deeply sophisticated work with unexpected melodies and profound warmth.
Harlan Williams : Beautiful Dark and Airy Guitar
The compositions on The Glass Desert are instrumental and range in moods from ambient and celestial to darkened and tragic, always with a layering of harmonies and an intricate structure. The writings are usually in minor key and can sometimes end up gothic sounding. The style is very unlike traditional classical guitar music, using multiple instrument parts, elaborate arrangements, and unusual timings. All of the song titles on this recording are found somewhere in the scope of Christian history or directly in the Bible itself. For example, "In Nomine Domini" is Latin for "In the Name of the Lord", "Gregory IX" was the pope who instituted the inquisition, and "The Limb of the Fiend" is a 16th century reference to "The Arm of Satan".