Monday, 9 January 2017

Winter Round Up

Another dust disturbance in the darkest corners of the virtual music shelf reveals these three collections of zeros and ones, and finds me wondering why I've not as yet had anything to say about these albums, and in the last instance how I even came across the album in the first place.

Ukandanz - AWO
Three years after the joyous romp of Yetchalal, their debut album, Ukandanz, purveyors of "Ethiopian Crunch Music" - see my review of Yetchalal for more info - return with AWO, which carries on the party in fine fashion.

A thumping mix of almost Zeuhl-like heavy rock and African stlyings, with a jazz topping, AWO is an even heavier beast than Yetchalal, and opener Tchuhetén Betsèmu will shake the neighbours awake with its Afro-Crimsoid jazz menace. Singer Asnaké Gèbrèyès goes for the jugular throughout in a style reminiscent of Skin from Skunk Anansie, as he also has a similar register to the aggressive follically challenged chanteuse.



Willie Oteri - Spiral Out
Finally given a digital release last year, this is an album I've long been after, featuring as it does Tony Levin (bass), Pat Mastelotto (drums), and Mike Keneally (keys) amongst its contributors. Originally released on CD in 2003, the album is, as you would expect given its line up, a scorching seat-of-pants rollercoaster ride through heavy prog and fusion. As well as the three illustrious sidemen mentioned, Ephraim Owens' trumpet joins the fray, along with another Crimson contributor Ronan Chris Murphy on keyboards, who also plays the role of producer.

Willie Oteri is a much travelled guitarist who has played with or supported artists as diverse as Chaka Khan and Neil Young, but here he sticks to eclectic heavy prog-jazz fusion, occasionally straying into David Torn-like avant teritory. Oh, and there's a fantastic 20-minute plus trip on here too! What's not to like?


The Silver Reserve - The Silver Reserve
I cannot recall how I got hold of this...was it sent unbidden or did I ask for it? Whatever, it seems that this band are from Otley, and were once known as Rusty Bear.

They proclaim themselves purveyors of "Alternative Existential Folk", which is fair enough, although buried in this quiet, reflective and contemplative album are some neat songs. I can hear Kevin Ayers in Track Record, and elsewhere snatches of Marr-like guitar jangle inevitably invite Smiths comparisons, but really this is a dream-like confection of winsome pop for daydreamers, and there ain't nothing wrong with that at all.

Oddly, I can't seem to find a link to buy the album, the Bandcamp page only has two tracks on it, and although there are samples on the band website, that seems to be it. It seems they like hiding under the radar. If any of the band read this, please do enlighten me so I can post a link!




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