In most fields of study there are systems of classification. Taxonomy, originally applied to organisms, helps differentiate between, say, an oak and a maple and an elm. Similar schemes can be applied to the humanities; hierarchies can be created within language, religion, movements in art, anything. This kind of classification is necessary because it helps those engaged in the study of a specialized area to communicate about that topic.
Nii Otoo Annan and friends beguile with old styles in a new setting
By Mel Minter
Famed Ghanaian percussionist Nii (Mr.) Otoo Annan has wowed audiences in the States with a polyrhythmic mastery that has earned him the moniker “the Elvin Jones of West Africa,” after the late great jazz drummer. But Annan has kept a secret from his U.S. fans: He is also a master guitarist whose music—as unassuming as it is mesmerizing—draws on the West African highlife and palm wine styles.
On the morning of Sept. 18, Mantis Fist guitarist Steve “Oki” Nance passed away, leaving behind a wife and two small boys, and an empty space in Albuquerque's hip-hop community. Pay your respects at the Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Saturday, Oct. 9, when Myka 9, The Big Spank, New Mex.Icon, Ntox, Clout, Shakedown, Zoology, The Emphericans and Mic Deli come together to raise money for Nance’s family. The 21-and-over show begins at 6 p.m. Don't be surprised if you see a few grown men cry. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
If anyone needed further proof that pianist/composer Danilo Pérez represents a beacon for the future of jazz, Providencia should do the trick. Embracing classical, jazz and folkloric traditions, Pérez roots his multifaceted compositions—whether through-composed or freely improvised—in the human experience. It’s tragic love, the wonder of a child, the will to a better future that animate him—never music for music’s sake. Nine original tunes and two standards are performed by a variety of combos, from a small chamber group to a sax/piano duet. Alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, whose angular, urgent playing fills every note, deserves special mention. (MM)
Levi Eleven is a local musician and fashioner of band paraphernalia with his merch operation I Heart Machine (iheartmachine.com). He used to write “Retrospeculative” reviews of movies he saw as a kid for the Alibi’s blog. He also plays guitar in some bands that don’t yet have names. You might have seen him around. Here are five random songs from his collection.
Crystal Castles • electropunk, synth pop, witch house
By August March
Remember the thing called Witch House? How about darkwave? The constant bifurcation of artistic paths in the field of electronic music can be damnably confusing and irritating, as well as rewarding and helluva lot of fun too—as long as you pick the right band. When adherents of these sorts of genres aren't busy sorting their rainbow-colored toe socks and looking for tubes of Vick's Vaporub to snatch up at the local Walmart, then it's a pretty fair bet that they are listening to the likes of Crystal Castles, a duo of Canuck electro-arhats who've made their mark in the music world with a febrile and spooky glitchiness that has outlasted any names critics might apply in favor of an honestly, intimidatingly pure exploration of sounds that make humans dance and rejoice as they swirl around the very noisy and icy maelstrom of life and death. Ethan Kath and Edith Frances, AKA Crystal Castles, perform live in Burque on Thursday, Oct. 19. Viewed as an opportunity to joyfully and ferociously embrace the void, this ought to be a damn good show, but don't blame me if you can't remember your name afterwards.
Here's a brief on a band with three names, but unlike Eliot's bunch, these dudes are not a coterie of cats. At home across the pond, they're known as the Beat. In the land down under, kindly refer to them as the British Beat. Here in 'Merica, we call them the English Beat. But no matter what you call them, this estimable ensemble that still includes founder and guitarist Dave Wakeling—but not vocalist Ranking Roger—was partially responsible for the upsurge in popularity that two-tone ska saw on both sides of the Atlantic during the '80s and '90s. With a retinue of classic, upbeat jams like “Monkey Murders,” “Spar Wid Me” and “Save It for Later,” the band's touring the states again, impressing OG ska lovers as well as the next generation of horn-crazy youth with their combination of crazy stage antics and terrific tuneage. You can catch the outfit live here at the Duke City on Sunday, Oct. 22, at the Historic El Rey Theatre, but don't worry you don't need checkerboard pants or a smart little hat to enjoy this gig—just make sure those great big feet of yours are rested and ready to dance.