Thursday, March 17, 2016

February/March Roundup: Spring Cleaning

Where did February go? It seemed like just yesterday that I was pledging to get caught up on my blog and maintain it consistently. Now look where we are. A month and a half has gone by and despite best intentions, I haven’t posted a word. It’s not because nothing has happened – in fact, quite the contrary! Life has been astoundingly complex since that last post in January, and many episodes have attached themselves to music both new and old:

I took my band to Pre-UIL concert and sightreading contest with less than desirable results. I went on leave and became the father of two. My MS band subsequently went to UIL in my absence and got greatly improved marks. I’ve wrestled with lack of sleep and keeping my eldest entertained. I played a great gig with Ethnos. Keith Emerson died. Previously mentioned eldest daughter broke her collarbone in a freak chair-spinning accident. Plus, there’s that Star Wars soundtrack project I have been mapping out since last Fall.

It’s no wonder that I have felt overwhelmed with documenting all that. Seriously, any free time I have had has been spent fighting to stay awake while I watch samurai movies and John Oliver clips. I am going to try to make a push in the coming days, however, to try to get caught up. For the time being, however, here’s a roundup of the post-birthday stuff that has passed through the player in the past month and a half:

ToeHear You: Hear You is significantly more mellow and jazzy than I have heard previously from Toe. It retains the band’s signature mathy undercurrents, though.

John Williams – The Force Awakens OST: The recording quality and performances on The Force Awakens breathes new life into familiar themes. There is also some standout new material, as well.

RiversideLove, Fear, and the Time Machine: Despite identifying as a prog rock fan and liking a broad range of music within the genre, I also have a myopic aspect that is pretty critical of contemporary prog. Riverside has evolved into a band that balances all of the variables in just the right way for my tastes.

Jean-Michel JarreEquinoxe:  Jarre was around a lot when I was growing up, and I could have sworn that somewhere along the line I got acquainted with Equinoxe. When I recently got ahold of a used copy, however, it seemed gloriously unfamiliar and quite captivating.

Esperanza SpaldingEmily’s D+Evolution: It’s comforting to know that albums like this are still being made. Spalding’s experimental side recalls the heyday of 70s jazz, rock, and prog crossovers and brings it into startling relevancy.

MuteMathVitals: I have come to accept that none of MuteMath’s releases will ever touch me like their self-titled debut did. Vitals, however, is a bit of a departure and as such, it favorably resists comparison to that excellent album.

Field Music Commontime: With several album titles that harbor musical double meanings, it’s clear that Field Music wears their musicianship on their sleeve. The potential for pretentiousness is high if they were unable to back it up, but their incredible musical skills always stand in service to their amazing songs and compositions.

Pink FloydSaucerful of Secrets: The final Pink Floyd studio album that has been missing in my collection finally finds its way in. It’s a necessary document of the group at its most unstable as they headed away from Barrett’s psychedelic pop towards the cerebral soundscapes Pink Floyd would later perfect.

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