The Clientele’s Alasdair Maclean has been seduced by the precious 60’s west coast soft pop of Curt Boettcher, The Association, Brian Wilson, Boyce-Hart, Papa John Philips and even Arthur Lee, though like his fellow seductee Sean O’Hagan of High Llamas, he hails from the UK.
Wilco’s return to intimately drawn electro-acoustic folk and away from electronic experimentation gives the latest outing a comforting organic coherence and an intensely direct sense of musical purpose. The more tightly constrained concept yields greater discipline and a compelling concentration of useful ideas, tune after tune.
Dept. of Corrections: Due to a miscommunication between myself and Speakers Corner's Kai Seeman, I was led to believe this lush, yet detailed reissue was the first to be mastered by Maarten DeBoer, after the retirement of Willem Makkee at the newly refurbished Berliner Mastering facility in Hanover, Germany.
The almost apologetic liner notes let you know that the music on this album, and indeed Mr. Hawkins himself, was essentially out of favor, except as an exercise in nostalgia and that Prestige’s “Moodsville” series, if not meant as background “mood music,” could serve that purpose, though it was perfectly suited for actual listening should the buyer so desire. Montovani is even mentioned in the notes!
I don’t know about you, but back in the winter of 1969, big band music was not exactly my “go to” musical genre. At 22 I was listening to Abbey Road which had just come out, and Tommy and Simon and Garfunkel and The Kinks, and Frank Zappa, not Duke Ellington, though I was into Monk, Coltrane, Miles and Cannonball. I drew the line at big band music.
Slinky “world music” with a distinctly American desert underpinning, yet incorporating Arabic tonal modes, Another Green World Eno-esque rhythms and an eclectic, dizzying array of instruments, acoustic and electronic, Califone’s latest album will literally leave you gasping for air as you vainly attempt to absorb even a pathetically small percentage of what’s thrown at you musically and sonically on what is a stupendous production and an even more remarkable recording.
Low’s latest begins on a somber, fatalistic note with the dirge-like “Pretty People,” in which we’re reminded that along with the soldiers fighting today, and all the little babies, and all the lions and “..all the pretty people…,” we’re all gonna die.