Steve Reich-Daniel Variations

Steve Reich Daniel Variations:

A beautiful piece that transcends the term minimalism. Though the drones and repetition, of minimalism are present Reich toys with them adding subtle changes that eventually evolve into completely different patterns. Reich utilizes a fascinating harmonic language particularly during the first track. He uses dissonant chords to at times create tension, and at others to present beauty. One of Reich’s true strengths is his ability to weave seamless transitions that don’t feel forced or unnatural, and there are plenty of occurrences like that to be found on this album.  I can’t say enough about how rewarding of a listen this album truly is.

Rating: 15/15 tragic events spawning beautiful music

Philip Glass-Glass Works

Philip Glass Glass Works:

Two fast pieces with really cool horn parts that change subtly over the course of the piece, combined with four slow songs that basically play the same phrase to death.  I usually just listen to the faster tracks. If I want slow repetitive piano music I’ll take Arvo Part any day over the ones contained on this album.

Rating: 9/15 Boring phrases

The Dead Boys-Young Loud and Snotty

The Dead Boys Young Loud and Snotty:

If you like you rock and roll loud anthemic, and filled with sex and drugs, than this is the album for you. Musically focused on catchy attitude laden riffs. Vocalist Stiv Bators snarls and yells his anthems of debauchery with an abandon that most singers can’t muster. I just wish most punk was as good as this album

Rating: 14/15 rates of diminishing returns

Death-Live in L.A.: Death and Raw

Death Live in L.A.: Death and Raw:

A killer set from the true architects of death metal. Other than the recording quality theres nothing here that isn’t exactly what I want from death metal. Vicious screaming, intricate but catchy riffs, fast solos, a strong multi-faceted rhythm section, and great lyrics. One of the best live metal albums I’ve ever come across.

Rating: 15/15 forgotten classics

Throbbing Gristle-Part Two: Endless Not

Throbbing Gristle Part Two: Endless Not:

Musically passable, dark ambient drifts keyboards drift around while muted percussion and jarring noise break up the monotony. Lyrically, Genesis really misses the mark. These might be his blandest lyrics and worst vocal delivery on an album to date. The tracks s/h e is credited with writing also rank as the worst on the album. Perhaps s/he should focus on Psychic TV as, poppier material seems to be coming easier to he/r these days.

Rating: 9/15 mild irritants of civilization

Angus MacLise-Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda

Angus MacLise Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda:

Equal parts avant-garde drone, indian classical, and psychedelic. MacLise and his collaborators create trance inducing music with eerie chanted vocals and random explosions of sound and intense percussion. The poor recording quality, negatively effects the music in a big way. On many tracks several instruments will barely be audible. An interesting listen, when you can actually hear whats going on.

Rating: 10/15 electric shamans

Ikue Mori-Myrninerest

Ikue Mori Myrninerest:

Short phrases produced by acoustic instruments, and be Mori’s laptop computer flit in and out of silence. An interesting collection of her works that held my interest for the most part, but theres no real distinguishing features between most of the tracks. For better or worse its an albums worth of cool sounds which bubble up from nowhere and disappear almost as suddenly.

Rating: 11/15 songs about paintings

Faust-Patchwork

Faust Patchwork:

A seemingly randomly edited together mash up of unreleased material ranging from dissonant noise to folk songs. The random editing works for a few tracks, but for an album, it takes away from the potential of an archival Faust release. If there were a couple of tunes that got from the beginning to end without interruption, it would make this release infinitely better.

Rating: 10/15 try not being so weird points

…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead-The Century of Self

…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead The Century of Self:

Not my favorite album ever, but you can’t knock these guys for lack of passion or ambition. Every track has epic riffing impassioned vocals and lyrics which take no prisoner. A strong disk overall but the singularity of their musical attack, which probably makes them amazing live, makes it hard to get through the whole album in one go.

Rating: 13/15 tone it down once in awhile points

Gerald Cleaver/William Parker/Craig Taborn-Farmers by Nature

Gerald Cleaver/William Parker/Craig Taborn Farmers by Nature:

Mellow, almost organic free jazz. A good disk to sit down and study, but one can’t help notice the absence of a leading voice. Nowhere does on instrument soar above the rest, theres no climaxes here. While thats an interesting concept in practice it takes away from the listening experience. Good and interesting overall, but it could have been a fuller listen.

Rating: 11/15 egalitarian free jazz pieces.

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