Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together...

Like chocolate and peanut butter? (Who's old enough to remember those millions of Reese's commercials that used the same joke over and over?)

Like Shen and Zhou - - or Pang Qing and Tong Jian for that matter. As an aside, DAMN people, why do they even let the Americans and Canadians on the same ice as these guys? They are SO not in the same league. What a thing of beauty; I feel very privileged to have caught Cheng & Zhou's short program and Pang & Tong's free skate. Extremely fine. Especially considering I am always the one going "Figure skating?! BOR-ing! When is the snow board cross coming back on?"

When people have worked so hard for years and they get it EXACTLY RIGHT at the moment it counts and you can see that little bit of swagger creep in when they know they've stuck it which makes it even better...sounds a lot like a great music show. Hmmmmmm.

Enough Olympic name dropping, though. I really wanted to talk about the tastiness that happens when you combine Martin Perna and Adrian Quesada. That would be the bari sax player from Antibalas (Afrobeat Orchestra) and the main composer from Tex-Mex funk brass big band Grupo Fantasma. A match made in heaven? This ultra-yummy combo plate is Ocote Soul Sounds.

I was doing the Veronica Fever system and just threw 330 new tracks into a pile and left it on random for several days running. I am really getting to like that method. Sure, you can't help playing the guessing game, but it's also a way to just see what catches the ear without prejudgement. I find myself listening to individual tracks more intensely because they are not mixed well or slickly segued.

In such a random pile you run the gamut from "skip ahead to the next track within sixty seconds" to "pull the pod out of your pocket to check who this is when I'm supposed to be working" to "I need to Google this band ASAP!"

When two tracks from Coconut Rock caused the pod to be dug out of the pocket before lunch time it was a sign. Especially considering this is rather mid tempo stuff with lots of flute solos and doesn't feature the big band sound of either of the collaborator's main bands. What it does feature is grooves for days. That, and percussion tracks a mile deep, so thick and chewy. (Fever alert: occasional cowbell.)

There are tracks that would sound at home on a Budos Band disc ("Revolt of the Cockroach People") or a Curumin album ("Vendendo Saude e Fel" featuring sultry vocals from Brazilian singer Tito lima.) Fine company, I'd say.

"Tu Fin, Mi Gomienzo" hints at a reggae sound with the first few organ licks, then a big fat cumbia rhythm kicks in, led by a juicy organ line. I would love to see this tune live; they could ride that riff for a week! (There is a seven-piece live version of the project. Wouldn't that be fine?) Another one I'd so love to see live for about 20 minutes is "El Diablo y El Nau Nau." I don't know what the devil and the boogyman are talking about in this song, but I've been humming it all week.

If you'd told me two weeks ago that a midtempo Latin funk disc with flute solos would be in heavy rotation now, I would've seriously doubted you. Now it's the middle of winter and the warm sounds of Ocote Soul are making me a believer.

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Cruised through the SXSW list to see what Main Fig. and Angel of Rock have before them next month. Sure are a lot of smart-ass band names. Nice to see a little metal and bluegrass in there with all that indie stuff.

Would love to see my favorite Balkan surf & tuba band from Tel Aviv tear it up down there...go get 'em, Boom Pam!

So does The Unthanks at SXSW sound like a weird idea? On the surface, yes.

You know what, I'll bet those Geordie girls in their best frocks will have a legion of new fans by the end of the week. I expect they'll take in some bands and down a few pints themselves as well.

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Strange image #2. The Bill T. Jones-choreographed Fela musical on Broadway. Reviews say the guy who plays Fela is a really good dancer... So is he wearing the jumpsuit -- or the purple Speedos? (Anybody else remember Fela's First Ave. show in the late '80's? It was a purple Speedos night.)

And how often do Jay-Z and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith team up to present a musical?

Seriously though, if more people get turned on to Fela's music and his legacy, that can only be good thing.

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Regarding Main Fig.'s recent earworm comments, what about the classic Nordic earworm: the nonsense section of Loituma's Ievan Polka that was made into the leek spin viral vid?

Just because we can, why not watch Loituma dance and sing to one of the techno versions of the tunes. Plus the comments on the video are really funny if you follow it back to You Tube.

And that's all for me this week; half pipe's coming up!

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