Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Crossed Over into Summer

In just a few short days this past week, my entire external reality has changed. No more fast internet, no more long commutes to listen intently to the latest downloads and podcasts ...yep, I've moved to the farm for the summer. My IPod is getting dusty and my hands are getting callused. No more life in the south Minneapolis fast lane; it's all about the lush green world of western Wisconsin. It's time to rusticate.

This move, by necessity, means that some of my blogging for the next little while will be a bit less based on the latest online updates and bit more based on ....hmm... imagination? Wishful thinking? We'll see.

So in the Hey, Don't We Know These Guys Department, dj Blanche from KFAI's Fubar Omniverse tipped me off that some folks familiar to Nordic Roots Fest fans are coming over next month to play at the Nisswa Stammen, up north there in Nisswa, which is somewhere past Brainerd. Do these faces look familiar?
It's Esko and Tuomas from Frigg, along with their pal Sara Puljula, who actually plays on most of the Frigg albums as well as about a million other projects, but played at the Cedar with Gjallarhorn way back about five or six festivals ago. Their group for Nisswa is called Esko, Tuomas & Sara. Who thought of that catchy name, Esko??? Anyway, it's to be a fiddle/guitar/bass thing up there in Nisswa.

Front Porch Listening

Several months ago, I picked up Terakaft's ("The Caravan") album Akh Issudar ("Milk is Survival"), just because of the cover photo. Anything with Tuareg-looking guys standing in the desert with Stratocasters, I'm there. On first listen, I thought, "Not as rocking as Tinariwen, hooks aren't good as Toumast," and set it aside for a while. Picking it up again, I'm really appreciating the understated charm of this disc. While it does share some writing credits with some members of Tinariwen, the sound is more spare. The male vocal harmonies are sure and confident, and the guitars rock when they need to, then hold back to show off intricate fingerwork. Tunes like the closer "Tahra a Issasnanane" are just elegant in their simplicity. Cranking it in the earbuds while watering plants outside in the wind today, I decided this would make some really nice front porch listening. Sounds like summer, and you should be relaxing somewhere cool and comfy to enjoy the subtleness.

Pitchfork gave it a 7.8 and you can listen to some samples there. Rootsworld says it will hypnotize you. The Independent gave it 4 out of 5 stars. Glad I came back for a listen. Just goes to show, you should never really review a disc until you've listened to it carefully at least three times. Hey hey, and look, they have a live recording available for download next week! (Details on their MySpace at the link above.)

See you at Rachael Unthank on Monday! (Talk about subtle and there such a thing as minimalist North of England folk music?)

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