Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Reviewing the reviewers

We've talked podcasts and "best of" lists, but week in and week out, where do you go to find out what's new in the global roots scene? Here are a few ideas. Some of these I've mentioned in prior posts, but here they are all in one place, in no particular order. This one is also an audience participation post (well, they all are, but really, comment and share the sites you like, OK?)

Global Rhythm
It's a print magazine, and it's a website with more interviews, reviews, a podcast, the OurStage listening feature that is updated every couple of weeks...lots to do here. They pick and review their top ten new releases every month, and have an archive of older reviews sorted by region/style.

As in FOLK Roots, so there is plenty of folkie, and old time and Celtic reviewed in here with the world stuff, so you may have to occasionally put forth the question, "Yeah, but does it ROCK?!". They are sent hundred of discs each month and pick a handful to review. They tend to really like the African stuff. You have to subscribe to read the whole thing, but there is plenty to look at for free.

Not so much reviews as an online cd shop with descriptions. Goes much deeper into genres such as Nordic and Middle Eastern than about anybody else. Often there are sound samples to check out, but not always. Yes, they are connected in some way to the mag RootsWorld, and some of the reviews/descriptions appear in both places.

Calabash music is another site that exists to sell downloads, but they put together playlists with various themes to which you can give a listen. They also have free downloads available every week. The call themselves a fair trade download site, so it seems like the artist get a bigger share of the money than with say, ITunes. Calabash is not about being right up to the minute. They won't have the hottest sounds that came out yesterday, but they do have a back catalog of stuff from all over the place.

I've written before about the European World Music charts, in which a panel of djs picks their top 20 for the month. You can click on each selection for a brief description, sound samples and links to record company sites. I signed up for the email newsletter so I get the updated list like clockwork on the first of every month.

So, there is a little selection of some of the sites that sample a broader range of music and include some world music. I certainly don't feel like I have found a site or reviewers yet with whom I really resonate and have that "OMG I have to go out and buy all these discs today!" sort of feeling, but read a review here, follow a link there and you can end up at some pretty cool places.

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Traipsing across Europe (Germany to Poland to France via email) I have tracked down the makers of the amazing "Yezza remix" of the Warsaw Village track "Grey Horse" that I was raving about last week. I like it even better this week; it just slays me every time that cello comes creeping back in under the industrial beats! [It's right up there as most played with "Circle No. 1," the "Slavic Raga" mentioned in last week's review of Infinity. So beautiful it hurts!]

The boys behind the beats are the Paris-based industrial-ish techno-guys in Recycler. Their Myspace seems to be a troublemaker ...not uploading right, but here is one of their other sites, with some sample tracks. [We just switched our internet provider and nothing is coming in as fast today. I am grumpy about it, too.] Here is a live video medley , too.

So cool, they wrote me right back and told me about what they do, why they named the remix that, where to download or listen to their remixes and how they would like to tour the U.S.
so we are a french live band from paris.this remix we ve done is called "yezza
remix" but sadly it means nothing! we ve seen that somewhere, had an arabic
sounding and was sounding great! no one could explain us it's meaning....hope you
are not too disappointed!

Thanks also to Miroslaw 'Maken' Dzieciolowski, the producer of Upmixing, for passing on their info!

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One last thought. What do you say about the news from the Macworld Expo that ITunes is taking the protection coding of their downloads so you can copy the files, play them on other computers, etc. I read in the the New York Times today that for a one time fee, they will take that coding off all your old downloads, too. Like 30 cents a song. Pretty sleazy since we've already PAID FOR the file once, huh? (Apologies if the NYTimes link doesn't stay up for long. You know how they are.)

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