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CLASSICAL / PIANO
Ivan Ilić: Dazzling Classical Piano
American pianist Ivan Ilić has recorded his 7th album for Magnatune, entitled Godowsky and Ecstasy, 22 Chopin Studies. Godowsky was a celebrity in his day. Artur Rubinstein said that "it would take him 500 years" to acquire Godowsky's technique. Rachmaninoff wrote that "Godowsky is the only musician of this age who has given a real, lasting contribution to the development of the piano". Following Godowsky's death in 1938, his compositions were largely ignored until the year 2000, when super-virtuoso pianists such as Marc-André Hamelin and Boris Berezovsky began to record and perform his works in concert. Ivan Ilić is the latest pianist to rise to the formidable challenge. His album focuses on the 22 Studies for the left hand alone, considered among the most difficult pieces ever written for the instrument. This album is a tour de force of virtuosity and musicianship.
ALT ROCK / PUNK
Midway Still: Sensitive and Loud, Punk with a Pop Center
Noise and melody working together to make a pop-punk gem. Midway Still packed this album full of songs that equal or surpass the band's earlier efforts, with plenty of Hüsker Dü-like pathos and flashes of Byrdsian vocal harmony adding a joyous innocence to proceedings. As in their earlier work, there's the gruff vocals, aggressive yet melodic guitar, Keith Moon-style power drumming and the catchiest hooks since, well, the last Midway Still album. After releasing their second album, "Life's Too Long", into the post-grunge world of 1993, Midway Still returned to the studio after a mere 17 year gap to record "Note To Self".
Kitka: Eastern European Women's Vocal Music
Mysterious, yet joyful and celebratory as well, the close harmonies of the Eastern European women's vocal music ensemble, Kitka, provide a moving and deeply satisfying listening experience. The album, Nectar, features eighteen earthy and ethereal Balkan and Slavic folksongs including Kitka fan favorites such as "Shto Mi E Milo," "Dumai Zlato," "Tsintsharo," and "Hopp Ide Tiszt-n."
JAZZ / EXPERIMENTAL
Maurice and the Beejays: Music for Imaginary Films and Television Shows
Music of Maurice and the Beejays features jazz harmony, shifting time signatures, real and programmed instruments and found sounds. Influences range from Charles Mingus to Brian Eno and 60's and 70's British television shows such as "Randall and Hopkirk deceased".
The original idea for this album, Last of the Species, was to write songs about aspects of criminality:
Part 1 (Tracks 1-7) - Based on Shaft and set in the 23rd Century. Mr. Sex Millions controls the multi planet "prawnography" trade. Our hero doesn't make it.
Part 2 (Tracks 8 - 14) - Relaxed and jazzy with some vocal harmonies. Soundtrack for a day in the life of Alain Delon who is visiting the south coast of England to see his friend Hercule Poirot. A bright winters day in Bexhill on sea when something happens. Only the events have been changed to protect the guilty.
AMBIENT / ELECTRONIC
Sampson-Carroll: Lush and Minimal; Melodic and Drone-Like; Pastoral and Edgy
Mind-bending, relaxing, soothing, inner-peace inducing, meditative, endorphins for one's imagination -- they all apply to this collection of thoughtful and mature compositions. Your journey over the hill and far, far away from life's rough segments is only a listen away. Following gracefully in the sonic footprints left by their previous three albums, Sampson - Carroll's Ease brings the listener to a pinnacle point of ethereal loveliness.