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 V.20 No.38 | September 22 - 28, 2011 

Sonic Reducer

Miguel Zenón Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook (Marsalis Music)

Though not yet 35 years old, saxophonist Miguel Zenón has already built an impressive, mature body of work that explores the music of his native Puerto Rico through the jazz lens. The latest in this growing oeuvre, Alma Adentro focuses on the Puerto Rican songbook, proffering a breathtaking homage to popular tunes from Tite Curet Alonso, Bobby Capó, Pedro Flores, Rafael Hernández and Sylvia Rexach. The absolute command and freedom of Zenón’s performances, and his perfectly articulated arrangements for his masterful quartet and a backing woodwind ensemble, deftly orchestrated by Guillermo Klein, capture the music’s lyrical urgency and supple romance. (MM)

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“G.T.W.S.,” the first track of the album, opens with what sounds like a ship creaking and ends with some clicks and beeps, possibly from a spacecraft. This is a perfect parallel for Warm Ghost’s sound—simultaneously futuristic and historic, a mixing of nature and machine. The electro dream pop outfit manages to stay melodic and listenable even when experimenting: The Narrows is noisy and beautiful, like a thunderstorm. Loops, layers and echoing voices all surge and froth against one another. The album is like a soundtrack to that movie scene where someone gets drugged and the room is whirling around him. (SO)

Tropical Popsicle "The Age of Attraction EP" (Volar Records)

This three-song release from San Diego “beach goth” three-piece Tropical Popsicle sounds like a long-lost recording from the Flying Nun catalogue. The pulsing, synth-infused, psychedelic, lo-fi shoegaze recalls the distinct, haunted minimalism of obscure early ’80s New Zealand bands. Sonic excellence. Cool album art / band imagery too. (JCC)

(MM) Mel Minter, (SO) Summer Olsson, (JCC) Jessica Cassyle Carr

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