Sonic Reducer: J.d. Robb, Song Burds

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There were giants here. Among them: John Donald Robb an ethnomusicologist stationed at UNM, who, with his trusted crew, recorded the vital and eternal sounds of New Mexican folk music in the ’50s through the ’60s. A composer by trade who had studied with Boulanger, he was one of the modernists that landed in Burque during or after WWII, becoming one of the city’s deep cultural reservoirs—founding orchestras, leading the College of Fine Arts and influencing generations of artists and musicians in the area. Robb was also a contributor in the nascent field of electronic music. Late in his career, he turned his attention to the work of Robert Moog and then began composing again. The results of Robb’s subsequent experimentalism formed the groundwork for much of what followed—academically and even in popular culture—as electronic music began to take root in musical canons from rock to classical in the late ’60s. Essentially speaking, this recording is essential listening for anyone interested in electronic music, and specifically those who marvel at the tremendous influence Burqueños have had in the development and propagation of electronica. Difficult yet totally def, 60 years on, here is the root of it all, a relic of the transistor age that presages and perhaps announces the digital future, all bundled together with wires and fires, ese.

Song Burds Lemon x Lime (Self-Released)

After getting all academic on your asses, I am gonna kick back, grab a pint of ice cold Tejas tea and spark a lenjo magnifico while I listen to the the summertime jam of the year, Lemon x Lime by local rap duo Song Burds. I’ll happily take the groove straight into this collection of funky daydreams and hip-hop animal hangouts as long as the sunny weather permits. As for the musicality rendered here in fecund fragments: you are totally going to dig the trumpet on “Must Be Art”—it’s dreamy and deluxe and if that horn was really played and not sampled then damn, what intonation! Ahem. The truth about these two, that they can play and flow like super fine sultans of swing—with chops that give instant cred to internet tags that read “jazz” and “experimental”—developed though expertly executed tuneage like “Give em tha FUNK,” “Refill” and “Somethin.” The turntableism here comes out like a playful ghost and the arrangements are alluring; damn does this album do it. Plus, Def-i on “Never Enough.” Go get this now and play it loud until Labor Day, kids.

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