Alibi V.29 No.7 • Feb 13-19, 2020

Sonic Reducer

Olivia Nowadays How to Be Okay With the Everyday (Self-released)

The Beatles made a record called “You Know My Name (Look Up The Number).” When they did that, field recordings on magnetic tape were a big deal; experimenting with such esoteric sources was too, too hip. In that song people talk in the background and have conversations; occasionally, the band lapses into a languid sort of club jazz. At the end, Brian Jones dives in with his saxophone. It’s fun—and telling—because we’re familiar the characters. Flash forward nearly 50 years later and you’ll hear a band from Albuquerque on the same track; except listeners aren’t really familiar with them or their story at this point. Olivia Nowadays takes the still somewhat experimental conceit to its distracting ends. Dinner parties, band practice, et cetera: It’s all here and occasionally the band slips into a sort of languid and effortless electro-folk rock. The melodies on songs like “I’m Gonna Eat Your House” and “With Your Flowers” are beautiful and luxuriously arranged. But this album would have been much more listenable sans all the seemingly random recordings featuring friends and colleagues. The final track, “Ageist,” shows what the duo, comprised of Kent Carson and Evan King, are capable of when they turn the tape off and really start playing. They’re on the cusp of something good, even great. And now your know their name; look up this album.

Ras Elijah Tafari Selassie Run The Earth (Self-released)

The Rastafarian religion—at least its fundamentalist adherents—say that the former emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, is the messiah. In fact he did much for the anti-colonialist movement in Africa and in Jamaica too. The music of the religion, reggae, is filled with tunes that praise and pay homage to the man. One of Bob Marley’s biggest hits was “Iron Lion Zion,” a tune which specifically refers to Selassie’s divine status. Now comes a local and praiseful album by local hip-hop reggae artist Ras Elijah Tafari that follows the path taken by those same reggae elders. The album opens with the title track—which simmers with sunshine and solidly upbeat riches. The rapper’s roots-style vocal flow has an authenticity to it and the simple music that accompanies his smoky words are groovy and deeply reverent. The second track continues this heartfelt style, full of keyboard sparkle and a syncopated rhythm section that encourages slow and sensual body moves. “Jah Is I Rock” closes out this Postmodern take on an ancient practice with a deep trip through the funk. Breathe deeply and continue to sing, “Every day, I get up and pray to Jah!”