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SE­BASTIÁN

DURÓN Salir el Amor del

Mundo (Do­rian Sono Lu­mi­nus) Apart from works for solo gui­tar or key­board, the mu­sic of the Span­ish Baroque re­mains ob­scure to mod­ern lis­ten­ers. This en­tranc­ing CD by the crack­er­jack early-mu­sic en­sem­ble El Mundo, di­rected by gui­tarist and lutenist Richard Savino, sug­gests that an El Do­rado of riches lies within reach of mu­si­cal ex­plor­ers. Se­bastián Durón was mu­sic di­rec­tor of the Span­ish court from 1691 to 1706, at which point he left to live in France as a po­lit­i­cal ex­ile. In Madrid he was par­tic­u­larly ap­plauded for his zarzue­las, an­ces­tors of the fa­mous skirt-flap­ping ex­trav­a­gan­zas of the early 20th cen­tury. Com­posed for the birth­day cel­e­bra­tion of King Car­los II in 1696, his zarzuela Salir el Amor del Mundo (Love Leaves the World) is a light­hearted romp: Cu­pid makes mis­chief in the for­est of the chaste hun­tress Diana, but (as­sisted by Apollo, Mars, and Jupiter) she man­ages to get the amorous trou­ble­maker ban­ished to a cave. The mu­si­cal lan­guage is con­ser­va­tive for its time, hav­ing much in com­mon with Ital­ian opera of a half-cen­tury ear­lier by Mon­teverdi or Cavalli, though with­out the recita­tives. Baroque zarzue­las were per­formed by all-fe­male casts — for pur­poses of tit­il­la­tion, schol­ars ex­plain. The women in this cast all de­light the ear, and when they join to­gether in en­sem­bles, they are ir­re­sistible. Par­tic­u­lar ap­plause goes to the so­prano Jen­nifer El­lis Kam­pani, whose gor­geously floated tone makes this de­feated Cu­pid win our hearts. — James M. Keller

HEALTH Disco2 (Lovepump United) It’s ex­tremely rare for a remix al­bum to turn out bet­ter than the orig­i­nal work that in­spired it, but here is the rare ex­cep­tion. Health’s 2009 al­bum Get Color was, well, in­ter­est­ing. Promis­ing, even. How­ever, out­side of some choice cuts, it was the kind of noisy thrash-disco that made you think, I’m sure the live show is some­thing to ex­pe­ri­ence, but when am I ever go­ing to lis­ten to this record? Disco2 brings in a bevy of hot in­die pro­duc­ers to sand down the rough edges of Health’s stu­dio sound and trans­form it into some­thing more palat­able. The re­sults are a touch sweet while re­tain­ing a nice kick. De­spite the fact that the al­bum has a uni­form vibe through­out, the pro­duc­ers man­age to make each track dis­tinct, even when tack­ling the same song. To­bacco’s remix of “Die Slow” show­cases its psy­che­delic stomp, for ex­am­ple, while Santa Fe na­tive Pic­ture­plane’s take on the song re­flects his dense, smoky aes­thetic. “Nice Girls” seems to bring out the best in artists, whether on the ex­tended club ver­sion ex­e­cuted by Blon­des or the sunkissed disco of Lit­tle Loud. The re­laxed, psy­che­delic vibe suits Health’s songs. That the lone orig­i­nal cut, “USA Boys,” fits in nicely with ev­ery­thing else points to a promis­ing fu­ture for the

band. — Robert B. Ker

BILL CHAR­LAP & RE­NEE ROSNESS Dou­ble

Por­trait (Blue Note) Pi­anists Re­nee Rosnes and Bill Char­lap both lead their own groups and do side­man du­ties in oth­ers’ bands, but the mar­ried cou­ple have also played two-pi­ano duets for years. This is their first four­hand record­ing. Rosnes, a Cana­dian, has a slight edge in ex­pe­ri­ence over her New York-raised hus­band — in­clud­ing six years with the SFJAZZ Col­lec­tive, of which she was a found­ing mem­ber. “He in­spires me,” she said in an in­ter­view for NPR. “So when we play to­gether, I au­to­mat­i­cally have a sense of in­spi­ra­tion, which is great, be­cause it helps make the mu­sic jell and have spon­tane­ity and feel good.” This whole al­bum feels good, and it’s a glo­ri­ous col­lec­tion. The opener, “Chor­inho” by Lyle Mays, has a clas­si­cal Brazil­ian fla­vor, and the Latin char­ac­ter con­tin­ues with a del­i­cate cover of Jo­bim’s “Dou­ble Rain­bow.” Rosnes’ own “The Saros Cy­cle” is a beauty, both edgy and ethe­real, and builds to a more declar­a­tive mood. The cou­ple digs back to the 1930s with “My Man’s Gone Now” from Porgy and Bess and “Danc­ing in the Dark” from The Band Wagon, but they also pay trib­ute to mod­ern jazz stars with Wayne Shorter’s “Ana Maria,” Joe Hen­der­son’s “In­ner Urge,” and Gerry Mul­li­gan’s rarely cov­ered “Lit­tle Glory.” All the way through Dou­ble

Por­trait, Char­lap and Rosnes show a per­fectly, won­der­fully sim­patico abil­ity to make good mu­sic.— Paul Wei­de­man

VER­TIGO VENUS S.O.S.: Suc­cess or Sui­cide (Self

re­leased) Al­bu­querque’s Ver­tigo Venus has been dish­ing out its clever mix of in­dus­trial, metal, syn­th­punk, and glam since 2002. The band’s first al­bum, 2004’s Sing Pretty, wasn’t ground­break­ing for its time; but it was still a de­cent ex­er­cise in drum-ma­chine-as­sisted glitch-twitch weird­ness. Orig­i­nally a duo con­sist­ing of broth­ers Chris and Jeff Can­non, the band ex­panded on 2007’s Run for Your Lives (adding drum­mer Brian Botkiller, aka Brian Lorelle, bassist Ken Cor­nell, and synth god­dess Jes­sica Crock­ett). This led to a broader au­di­ence and a more pol­ished sound, and with S.O.S., that sound is glis­ten­ing like a moon­lit saw blade jut­ting from a bloody torso. That’s a good thing. The seven-track S.O.S. con­tains plenty of re­treads from past al­bums, but the pro­duc­tion value is so high that it’s like hear­ing them for the first time. Gui­tars and bass are crunchier, keys are tweakier, and vo­cals are fi­nally given the stu­dio at­ten­tion they pre­vi­ously lacked. The open­ing track, “Spy vs. Spy,” is a fre­netic ear-bleeder à la Mind­less Self In­dul­gence (Ver­tigo Venus opened for the band in 2008), and its lyrical blunt­ness in lines like “even if you get a knife I’m gonna get a gun” cuts through ev­ery track that fol­lows it — with the ex­cep­tion of a metal-tinged makeover of Cyndi Lau­per’s 1984 Bill­board Hot 100 ode to self-plea­sure, “She-Bop.” — Rob DeWalt

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