‘Warp Rid­ers’ is a bone-in fuzz-bass shank on a six-string buf­fet with a side of chugga-chugga gui­tar grits and fist-pounding per­cus­sion pud­ding.

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

THE SWORD Warp Rid­ers (Kemado

Records) Metal out­fit The Sword takes a lot of heat from mu­sic crit­ics, hip­sters, and snobs for be­ing too throw­back or too main­stream. Some may ar­gue that this Austin four-piece sim­ply bor­rows from songs by more rec­og­nized bands, in­clud­ing Led Zep­pelin, Tool, and Black Sab­bath. Sure, the group of­ten sounds a lot like Ozzy-era Sab­bath. But tell me, my head-bang­ing brethren: Since when is that a bad thing? The Sword’s 2008 al­bum, Gods of the Earth, is an ear­hole-pum­mel­ing work of stoner-doom-metal wizardry. This fol­low-up — a bone-in fuzzbass shank on a six-string riff buf­fet with a side of chugga-chugga gui­tar grits and fist-pounding per­cus­sion pud­ding — is The Sword’s first con­cept al­bum. Stick with me here: an archer named Ereth is forced into ex­ile from his home planet of Acheron, and then there’s some­thing about space pi­rates, an orb, witches, and an in­ter­ga­lac­tic babe named As­traea. Time to update your Spinal Tap vo­cab­u­lary primers. Let’s just say The Sword is might­ier than its own pen, which prob­a­bly dou­bles as a roach clip. In al­bum closer “(The Night Sky Cried) Tears of Fire,” lead vo­cal­ist and song­writer John D. Cro­nise sings, “It was a relic of an­other time, plun­dered from an an­cient tomb, wrought by for­got­ten arts, in­scribed with cryp­tic runes.” Thank­fully, Warp Rid­ers is in­stru­men­tally gen­er­ous. Austin might be more fa­mous for its Amer­i­cana, but I’d rather fall on its Sword any day. — Rob DeWalt CIAFRICA DJ Rup­ture Presents CIAfrica (Dutty Artz) DJ Rup­ture re­mains best known for Gold Teeth Thief, a 2002 globe­span­ning mix­tape that de­con­structed Missy El­liott’s rap hit “Get Ur Freak On” to its roots in Ja­maican dance­hall, Al­ge­rian raï, and In­dian tabla mu­sic. Show­cas­ing sim­i­lar global am­bi­tions on his new­est col­lab­o­ra­tion, Rup­ture teams up with CIAfrica, a col­lec­tive of rap­pers from Abid­jan, Ivory Coast. The tracks on this raw al­bum are largely Fran­co­phone trunk rum­blers — full of tur­bu­lent bass and provoca­tive slo­gan shout­ing. Tak­ing their cues from Caribbean dance­hall, U.K. grime, and some heav­ily dis­torted South­ern crunk, West African su­per­star rap­pers Manusa and Nasty tear their way through some of the al­bum’s dis­cor­dant tracks. Un­for­tu­nately, their yell-happy rap­ping is dif­fi­cult to dis­tin­guish from that of other mem­bers of the crew who are overly fond of the “bark and growl” school of rap­ping worn out by Amer­i­can hip-hop­per DMX in the 1990s. Rap prow­ess aside, what’s most mov­ing about this al­bum is how it blends dis­parate styles of hip-hop and R&B beats. This is def­i­nitely not a Pu­tu­mayo com­pi­la­tion, and the al­bum is a wel­come, if chaotic, al­ter­na­tive to happy-go-lucky African mu­sic that is of­ten sold to Amer­i­can lis­ten­ers on pub­lic-ra­dio and world-mu­sic com­pi­la­tions. — Casey Sanchez

ARP The Soft Wave (Small­town Su­per­sound)

The Soft Wave is a pa­tient al­bum. It’s in no hurry to get you to like it. In fact, it’s not in much of a hurry, pe­riod. The open­ing track, “Pas­toral Sym­phony: I. Domi­noes II. In­fin­ity Room,” bil­lows out over the course of nine min­utes, draw­ing melodies from warm bass tones and wash­ing over you with what sounds like heli­copter drones — all the while evok­ing the med­i­ta­tive qual­i­ties of Brian Eno’s am­bi­ent work and the dreamier bits of Pink Floyd’s cat­a­log. Though the al­bum ini­tially seems like pleas­ant back­ground mu­sic that rolls out at a gen­tle tempo, it’s a sur­pris­ingly eclec­tic work, re­veal­ing sub­tle shifts and new in­stru­men­ta­tion ev­ery few min­utes. In “Alfa (Dusted),” an elec­tric gui­tar pro­vides a lengthy psy­che­delic solo be­fore sim­ply run­ning up and down the scales for the last half of the song. “Grape­fruit” un­folds like a Kabuki theater piece, us­ing min­i­mal in­stru­men­ta­tion to make grand ges­tures be­fore in­tro­duc­ing a firm bass line that’s slightly rem­i­nis­cent of the mu­sic used in 1980s hand­held elec­tronic games. On “From a Bal­cony Over­look­ing the Sea,” ARP mas­ter­mind Alexis Ge­or­gopou­los does the un­think­able: he sings. I usu­ally growl about ex­cel­lent in­stru­men­tal artists pick­ing up the mi­cro­phone, but he pulls it off. The song is a lovely bit of slow-mo­tion folk-pop staged to elo­quent pi­ano chords and syn­the­sizer flights. It’s one of the many mo­ments where pa­tience is re­warded ten­fold.

— Robert B. Ker DANILO PÉREZ Prov­i­den­cia (Mack Av­enue) For eight years, Danilo Pérez has worked as the key­board force be­hind Wayne Shorter’s quar­tet, but Pérez also has 10 al­bums on his own with side­men like Jack DeJohnette, Cassandra Wil­son, and Joe Lo­vano.

Prov­i­den­cia is his de­but on the Mack Av­enue la­bel. Its 11 songs were in­spired by his daugh­ters and are through­com­posed and gor­geously eclec­tic-feel­ing. “Daniela’s Chron­i­cles” be­gins qui­etly, but the five-part piece flow­ers with dy­namism. Pérez’s pi­ano work is ad­ven­tur­ous, as is the play­ing by drum­mer Adam Cruz and bassist Ben Street. “Galac­tic Panama” has a jagged vamp up front, and in comes the al­ways-in­tense alto sax­o­phon­ist Ru­dresh Ma­han­thappa. Such an alive mix here! The liner notes say Prov­i­den­cia is, in part, about be­ing pre­pared for the fu­ture and for the un­known. “For starters,” Pérez writes, “we must get out of our com­fort zone.” This song is good prac­tice for that. An­other col­lab­o­ra­tor, vo­cal­ist Sara Serpa, shows up on the ti­tle track. My fa­vorite is “Co­billa,” an an­gu­lar and to­tally ex­hil­a­rat­ing piece with Pérez on Fender Rhodes and Ma­han­thappa and Serpa wildly en­gaged. The al­bum is rounded out with two clas­sic boleros and a pair of works fea­tur­ing im­pro­vi­sa­tions by five clas­si­cal mu­si­cians (on oboe, flute, French horn, clar­inet, and bas­soon). Also con­tribut­ing on some songs are per­cus­sion­ist Jamey Had­dad and conguero Ernesto Diaz. This is one of the best of 2010. — Paul Wei­de­man

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.