Sonic Reducer: Micro Album Reviews

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This lively collection of O’Connell compositions, plus one each from Thelonious Monk and Kurt Weill, offers an innovative twist on the jazz trio. Instead of a traditional drummer, the veteran pianist—whose creds stretch from Mongo Santamaría to Sonny Rollins—uses conguero Richie Flores on percussion. In place of a bassist, three guests—Paquito D’Rivera (clarinet), Dave Samuels (vibes) and Dave Valentin (flute)—take turns in the third chair. The material ranges from densely chorded jazz to dance-worthy Latin numbers, all delivered with energy and enthusiasm. The interplay between O’Connell and Flores is particularly noteworthy, especially on the one duo track, Weill’s “Speak Low.” (Mel Minter)

Tim Foljahn Songs for an Age of Extinction (Kiam Records)

Sitar, theremin and a Wurlitzer piano are among the instruments featured on this spare and postapocalyptic-sounding record by former Cat Power guitarist, Psychic Hearts member and Two Dollar Guitar player Tim Foljahn. Dreary as the overall sound is, listening to these songs is a relaxing experience, sort of like not getting out of bed on a cold, cloudy day. Foljahn’s poetry is personal and pretty without being overly emotive, just like the music on this album. Refreshingly unpretentious. Foljahn used to live in Albuquerque, so here’s hoping he’ll come through and perform. (Geoffrey Plant)

Secret Colours ÒEP3Ó (Group Tightener)

The sounds on this new Secret Colours release are reminiscent of a not-so-bittersweet or strung-out Spacemen 3. The track “Tender Pretender” has the exuberance of Thee Oh Sees’ brand of psychedelic rock and roll, making this EP downright danceable at times. The guitarists riff off each other with confidence and panache, a winning combination that goes great with tambourine and the sometimes distorted vocals—although the lyrics are fairly forgettable. I must say, the world really didn’t need a Secret Colours cover of The Kinks’ “Sunny Afternoon,” either. (Geoffrey Plant)

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