Thursday, August 6, 2009

Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra, Blues Control and Ruby Ruby Ruby

Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra
Take Off!
(2009, Alien Transistor)
RIYL = Leonard Bernstein, Lawrence Welk, Steve Reich

Composed by Berlin compositionalist Daniel Glatzel for a 20 piece orchestra, Take Off! is a melting pot of retro styles that have been chopped up, reassembled and invigorated with a hyperactive youthfulness that has taken a lot of music listeners by storm. This isn’t really the music you’d expect to be blasting through your average college aged hipster’s headphones as they’re bobbing down 3rd South in SLC, but after indulging myself, I can’t really think of anything better. It's simply cool stuff. The part that kills me is that Glatzel is 25 years old (my age!) and he has pulled off one of the most adventurous orchestral compositions of this decade. Combining orchestral jazz, film, classical and, well, lots of other stuff, the Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra touches just about everything on this astounding debut. I’m not going to be surprised to see this on plenty of year end lists this year (I’ve already noted it on a lot of pre-emptive ones), it is just too refreshing, too exciting, too smile-inducing and too much fun.

Blues Control
Local Flavor
(2009, Siltbreeze)
RIYL = Peaking Lights, Wet Hair, Oneohtrix Point Never

I’m having difficulty comparing and describing Blues Control’s music at the moment. I have been listening to Local Flavor for a couple weeks and can’t seem to pin any descriptors or RIYLs to it that feel right. And I'm pretty sure this has always been the case ever since they debuted with Puff. Of course that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to make an unwieldy stab at it for this blurb. Combining guitar, piano/keys and a variety of processing methods, Local Flavor finds Blues Control at their milkiest, murkiest, weirdest and, as a whole, their best (I just love that first track off of their self titled album on Holy Mountain). This is really delicious stuff. Not quite noise, not quite not noise; just some beautifully bizarre psych “blues” and loopy swamp drone that is sure to leave you waterlogged and floating dead down the Amazon. And who wouldn’t subscribe to that?! I wish I could present something more cohesive because I’m liking Local Flavor enough to think its deserving of it, but alas, my words fail and all I can leave you with is a healthy, fragmentated description/recommendation: good mucky forward pedaling crocodile rock to die to(?).

Ruby Ruby Ruby
The Shadow of Your Smile
(2009, Zarek)
RIYL = Billie Holiday, The Magic I.D.

Ruby Ruby Ruby is the result of an offhand suggestion that was unexpectedly taken in to consideration and then blissfully realized. Margareth Kammerer of The Magic I.D., along with a troupe of class gentlemen (when you listen to the album you’ll realize that they could only be classy), rework ten gorgeous jazz standards in a classic smoky way that makes everything turn to black and white when it’s playing. There is nothing groundbreaking here, but Kammerer’s voice is just so pleasing and her guitar along with the rest of the instrumentation (bass, drums, sax, organ) just oozes a simplistic majesty that is far too fleeting in music being released in this era of electronic polishes and auto-tune (I hear you Jay-Z). For youngsters like myself who haven’t been fully immersed in these type of tunes, The Shadow of Your Smile is a gateway drug. Looks like I am going to be doing some heavy digging for more of this ancient bluesy, swingin’ jazz in this vein. Loverly.

Ruby Ruby Ruby on MySpace

-Mister Thistle

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