Sonic Reducer: Micro Music Reviews

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In his first outing as a leader, bassist Josh Ginsburg has assembled a collection of original compositions whose intelligent architecture incorporates several engagingly quirky elements—odd meters, tricky rhythms, polytonal flirtations. He’s also assembled an impressive cast—Eli Degibri (saxes), George Colligan (piano), Rudy Royston (drums)—whose fiery intelligence and superior listening skills allow them to blow these compositions up and put them back together while telling a story. Ginsburg’s fine playing exhibits an uncanny rhythmic sensibility. Colligan’s adventurous harmonic palette and devil-may-care risk taking, in particular, help clothe the lovely bones of Ginsburg’s pieces with luminous, seductive flesh. (MM)

AIR Le Voyage Dans La Lune (Astralwerks)

Georges Méliès’ “Le Voyage Dans la Lune” (A Trip to the Moon) was the first sci-fi film ever made. Black-and-white and hand-painted color versions were produced, but the latter was considered lost until a badly decomposed print was found in Spain in the early ’90s. In restoration for more than a decade, the 1902 film premiered anew at Cannes last spring. French indie/electro pop duo AIR was commissioned to create a modern score for the 14-minute film. The result, running at just more than 30 minutes, is an expansive, celestial album full of pulsing Mellotron and dramatic space grooves fully worthy of Méliès’ incredible film. (JCC)

Royal Trux Singles, Live, Unreleased (Drag City)

Fucked up and beautiful; noisy, irritating and groovy beyond measure. Here’s a compilation of Royal Trux recordings from 1988 to 1995, all of which would be correctly described as “drug music.” Suitable for substances from mushrooms to beer, hashish to speedballs, this reissued box set from ’97 is a nicely priced sample of Royal Trux tuneage—a welcome sight since you’ll never find the out-of-print old records for less than a Benjamin at this point. In my opinion, guitarist Neil Hagerty walks all over Keith Richards’ face in terms of rock and roll riffage. (GP)

Luis Perdomo Universal Mind (RKM Music)

With his fourth release as a leader, Venezuelan pianist Luis Perdomo takes a giant step forward in establishing himself as a player and composer of unique insight, having already won renown as a sideman with Ravi Coltrane, Miguel Zenón and others. Backed by the dazzlingly sympathetic Drew Gress (bass) and Jack DeJohnette (drums), Perdomo explores a variety of scenarios, from the heady to the romantic to the conceptual. Even at his headiest, Perdomo plays with a muscular soulfulness that keeps him well connected to the listener. He never gets ahead of the music, and the trio achieves weightlessness several times. (MM)


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U.K. electronic duo Orbital hasn’t released an album in eight years, which makes its forthcoming (on April 3) Mark “Flood” Ellis-produced full-length Wonky all the more exciting. The band is previewing the album via the satisfying ambient techno track “New France,” which features the soaring, cathartic vocals of Zola Jesus. Listen to this and other pieces of Wonky at (JCC)

Ty Segall Singles: 2007-2010 (Goner)

I can listen to Ty Segall all day. (Except his last record, which just didn’t have the usual hand-clapping, tambourine-shaking, single-note-piano-playing bodaciousness.) Pick up this low-budget compilation of his singles and you’ll have either a great introduction to the man or two records full of the same songs you already have. These recordings are generally more lo-fi with muddier production, but who cares? They rock steady throughout and it’s another hour of Ty Segall to blast in rotation with his other albums. Great version of “The Drag” with drum machine. (GP)

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