rtr: we the common

thao & the get down stay down
this was one of those cheap album lures that amazon threw up on their mp3 page, twisting enticingly in front of me while subliminally whispering “sink your teeth into this and, while you’re here, one-click your way to a hundred bucks-worth of stuff you think you need”.  the samples sounded great.  i like that there is a body of work from which to draw, and her association with the creative fountain that is radiolab.  plus, the name of the supporting group is out of sight, on par with ornette & prime time and bruce hornsby & the range.
me and this paper abe lincoln took the plunge. 

thao is sitting around my right ear.  i assume that ‘the get down stay down’ is hanging out moreso in my western aural hemisphere.  is this a conscious decision to present them as two entities through the panning, or do I mistakenly have the right channel goosed?  i really dig her voice and i’m not afraid to admit that i am probably missing the lyrical poignancy.  i usually do.  this first tune is in bite size pieces, which fits my attention capacity like a glove. 

i like the funky intonation in the loose call & response backs around the 1:50 mark of age of ice.  it reminds me of how some treat the lyric on that gershwin tune the same way – “the way you sing off key”.  i’m in favor of the effects on the vocals, treating them same as the instrumentalists tweak & tweez their weapons.  and i'm feeling thao's unison backing tracks, preserving that human element while letting you know this is not some studio project.  close but no cigar. 

holy roller sounds great.  what a hook!!!  i appreciate not getting beat over the head with repeated emphasis of the chorus.   if you let me digest the music on my own, i can come back up in due time and tell you if I like it or not.  all of these tunes weigh in under four minutes.  i like the compositional efficiency and look forward to hearing this material live.   this album reminds me of the fiery furnaces.  when I saw them in concert (thank you joel), some of the tunes stuck to their brevity while others opened up for both the musicians and the audience. 

this interchangeability should be used more liberally in the jazz world.  just because the form rolls over every 32 bars and you didn’t get it all out on six whacks doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to budge back in line for a seventh.  some blame aebersold playalongs for this.  they play a bunch of choruses of a standard, and folks practice ideas and improvising strategies along with the rhythm section recording.  fine - but playing live ought to consider the flow of the set and the kickback of the listeners and the awareness to what the music bubble surrounding the musician needs.  pretty sure it’s not another selfish chorus of retribution.

“you are good at what you do, you are bad at what you are”

i love the trumpet fallout in move, and now the bowed bass - supa dupa low vibe of clouds for brains.  cheers to going for an effect instead some brilliant orchestral execution.  there are times and places for all wonderful things in the world of art, and that balance gets out of whack without quirky and technical and systematic and heartfelt abstracts firing on all cylinders.  this is a great record for my head.

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