This week I had the opportunity to listen to Branford Marsalis’ newest release, Four Mfs Playin’ Tunes. This album is the first of his to feature 21 year old drummer Justin Faulkner who in the last 5 years has replaced the seemingly irreplaceable Jeff “Tain” Watts. Tain is one of the most powerfully aggressive modern drummers out there who helped change the face of modern jazz in the 1980′s, but now is busy with his own projects which is why Faulkner has taken over since 2009 (when he was 18). Branford Marsalis’ quartet has a very nostalgic sound to it, as it really hasn’t changed much since 1984. The same hard driving swing that characterized the young lions from the late 80s/early 90s is still there, but so is the more relaxed and fluid songs that seem to lack time whatsoever: another Branford specialty. All in all, the album is what I expected, which doesn’t mean it’s bad at all, it’s your classic Branford, none of the guitar and drums heavy pretentious stuff you might hear at a Berkelee College of Music jazz senior recital, this is just four MFs playin’ tunes.
In this latest addition of new Loud Rock stuff ‘n’ things, the whole world is subject to the awesome instrumentation of Pomegranate Tiger, an instrumental outfit not unlike that of Scale the Summit or Animals as Leaders. However, they’re original enough to garner some well deserved critical acclaim. And for those of you wondering, they just so happen to be named after Salvador Dali, my personal favorite artist. Bonus points for them.
Also adding are The Beards, who are as amazing (and manly, if I might add) as their band name suggests.
1 POMEGRANATE TIGER Entities
2 HATE Solarflesh
3 BEARDS Having A Beard Is The New Not Having A Beard Self-Released
4 PISSED JEANS Honeys Sub Pop
5 LORD WEIRD SLOUGH FEG Traveller
1 CULT OF LUNA Vertikal Density
2 VOIVOD Target Earth Century Media
3 HOLY GRAIL Ride The Void Prosthetic
4 CORSAIR Corsair Shadow Kingdom
5 HELLOWEEN Straight Out Of Hell The End
6 GLORIA MORTI Lateral Constraint
7 ANCIENT VVISDOM Deathlike Prosthetic
8 LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH Baphometic Chaosivm Metal Blade
9 FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND Conduit The End
10 INCITE All Out War Minus Head
Hello, hope everyone is having a good week and looking forward to the weekend. Here are the KZSC Jazz charts and adds for the week:
KZSC Jazz Charts
1 MIMI FOX Standards, Old And New
2 JACKIE RYAN Listen Here OPEN ART
3 AARON NEVILLE My True Story Blue Note
4 JOE LOVANO Cross Culture Blue Note
5 JOSE JAMES No Beginning No End Blue Note
6 LAUREN DESBERG Sideways [EP]
7 LISA FORKISH Bridges Self-Released
8 MADELINE EASTMAN A Quiet Thing Mad-Kat
9 WOODY HERMAN AND HIS HERD Ready, Get Set, Jump
10 ANAT COHEN Claroscuro Anzic
KZSC Jazz Adds
1 NICK FINZER Exposition Outside In Music
2 PETE ESCOVEDO Live At Stern Grove Festival Concord Picante
3 STOCKTON HELBING Crazy Aquarius Armored
4 ASUKA KAKITANI JAZZ ORCHESTRA Bloom Nineteen-Eight
5 TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON Money Jungle Concord
The week of January 29th brings upon us a very heavy slew of metal. Arguably the best record to drop so far, Vertikal sees Cult of Luna further themselves as the leaders in the post metal genre. I thought it was pretty darn tootin’ too.
Also brutalize our eardrums is Maelstrom’s newest record It Was Predestined and Ancient VVisdom’s (yep, that’s two V’s) Deathlike, who are actually playing at Slim’s in San Francisco on February 9th. If you like good music, which I’m sure you do since you’re reading this, why not check them out? I promise your ears will only bleed a little bit.
1 CULT OF LUNA Vertikal Density
2 MAELSTROM It Was Predestined Itchy Metal
3 ANCIENT VVISDOM Deathlike Prosthetic
4 GLORIA MORTI Lateral Constraint
5 FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND Conduit The End
1 VOIVOD Target Earth Century Media
2 HOLY GRAIL Ride The Void Prosthetic
3 CORSAIR Corsair Shadow Kingdom
4 LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH Baphometic Chaosivm Metal Blade
5 SLAM ONE DOWN Who Really Wants To Live Forever Pour One Out
6 GAMMA RAY Skeletons And Majesties Eagle Rock
7 INCITE All Out War Minus Head
8 HELLOWEEN Straight Out Of Hell The End
9 NIGHTFALL Cassiopeia Metal Blade
10 CRASHDIET The Savage Playground Frontiers
This week has been a little off in regards to the mail, so I’ve decided to do the charting early to get into a new flow of things. Additionally this week, I’m welcoming the Jazz Director intern Jared Frazier (Jamfrazi) into the circle. He will be gradually taking over the department by early April. I’m looking forward to another week of music. Here’s this week’s charts.
Top Ten Jazz Charts
1 JOSE JAMES No Beginning No End Blue Note
2 KURT ROSENWINKEL NEW QUARTET Star Of Jupiter Wommusic
3 LAUREN DESBERG Sideways [EP]
4 LAKECIA BENJAMIN Retox
5 BRANFORD MARSALIS QUARTET Four MFs Playin Tunes
6 JEFF HAMILTON TRIO Red Sparkle Capri
7 MYRIAD 3 Tell Alma
8 JOE LOVANO Cross Culture Blue Note
9 ARTURO STABLE Cuban Crosshatching Origen
10 ROBERT GLASPER Black Radio Recovered/The Remix [EP] EMI
KZSC Jazz Adds
1 ARTURO STABLE Cuban Crosshatching Origen
2 DAFNIS PRIETO PROVERB TRIO Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio Dafnison
3 JEFF HAMILTON TRIO Red Sparkle Capri
4 LUCE TRIO Pieces, Vol. I
5 JAMES SANDERS Blue Violin Amadeo
I’m embarrassed to say it, but my time with Cult of Luna has been a relatively short one. I only discovered them about a year ago through a friend, and even then their music didn’t engage me to the extreme that it did for most others. That all changed about 4 months ago, when I entered this bizarre post metal funk that I still, admittedly, am in. I quickly blew the dust off of Salvation, Somewhere Along the Highway and Eternal Kingdom, which only furthered the extent of my moody dwelling. Therefore, it almost seemed like fate when, after fully engorging myself on their previous efforts, Cult of Luna announced the coming of Vertikal, their first album in 5 years.
1. The One
2. I: The Weapon
3. Vicarious Redemption
4. The Sweep
6. Mute Departure
8. In Awe Of
9. Passing Through
Vertikal sees Cult of Luna return to their thematic roots of overarching authority and corruption in high places. Based off of the 1927 movie Metropolis, Vertikal is Cult of Luna’s take on a dystopian universe, and while the movie was made over 80 years ago, it’s message is still just as relevant today. With the recent scares from SOPA, PIPA, and the Patriot Act, it’s not hard to see why the band chose the material that they did. However, it can be difficult to convey a message through a different media while still successfully conveying the same intended meaning. Cult of Luna seem to be aware of this, though, for they have created a work of art that not only keeps itself true to its origin’s content, but transcends it as well. From the album cover’s abstract illustration of desolate skyscrapers to the raw emotion that is employed dexterously, Cult of Luna can consider Vertikal a remarkable achievement regarding the communication between the listener and it’s social commentary.
An album with a clear and engaging concept behind it accounts for nothing if it’s not supported by a strong musical force. Fortunately, Vertikal sees Cult of Luna further their trademark sound even more, letting songs naturally evolve as opposed to rushing head first into a melody or theme. This time around, though, the band utilizes much more atmospheric and electronic sounds, contrasting some of the immediacy apparent in their last album, Eternal Kingdom. While Cult of Luna has always exercised some electronic influences into their sound, it’s never been as prominent before as it is in Vertikal. Dubstep comparisons aside, the new style gives the album a mechanical air to it, as if the audience itself was placed in an industrial environment. This dark manufactured sound meshes incredibly well with the concept of the record, thus creating an enthralling experience that delivers one dismal blow after another.
It’s worth noting just how remarkable each and every track is, and the important role each one plays. While “I: The Weapon” lays the groundwork for the rest of the record, “Vicarious Redemption” builds upon that infrastructure, which in turn helps to elevate the following two tracks to an experience greater than the sum of their parts. However, “Mute Departure” utterly ravages the metropolitan that had been carefully and painstakingly constructed and compounded upon, while the last three tracks allow the listener to traverse through the wasteland that once contained this thriving city. Overall, Vertikal is one of the best structured albums in recent memory, not just in song arrangement, but in concept as well.
Have you ever listened to music for the sole purpose of deconstructing your very being? Do you curl up all alone on your disheveled bed whilst concentrating on instrumentals that entrap your psyche? If not, Vertikal may not quite be your brew of choice. However, if through discomfort and adversity you can truly find yourself, this record will reverberate and ripple throughout your anatomy, your constitution, your mortality. With Vertikal, Cult of Luna realize their full potential, and in doing so help us all realize our own. It is made to thrash our true essences, for the betterment of mankind. It is made to challenge our individuality, to broaden our freedom. It is made to teach a lesson, one that we will never forget in our meager lifetimes.
- Rock Charts – 1st Week of September!September 2, 2014 - 11:13 am
- RPM Charts – Beginning of September!September 2, 2014 - 10:05 am
- Groundation’s Harrison Stafford interviewed by DJ TiffanyAugust 28, 2014 - 6:02 pm
- Rock Charts – Last Week of August!August 28, 2014 - 10:40 am
- Students! Join our Environmental News teamAugust 27, 2014 - 3:41 pm