mon 22/04/2024

New Music Reviews

Mama Rosin, St Moritz Club

howard Male

What do you imagine a Swiss Cajun/Zydeco trio would sound like? It’s not a question that’s easy to navigate without slipping into the politically incorrect quicksand of racial or cultural stereotyping. So it gives me great pleasure to report that any narrow-minded assumptions I may have had in that department were instantly confounded by the reality of the life-affirming racket made by these three young men from Geneva as they rocked the basement bar of the St Moritz Club in Wardour Street...

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Karine Polwart, Roxy Art House, Edinburgh

graeme Thomson

If ever there was a classic case of artist and audience meeting on terribly comfortable ground, Karine Polwart's performance at last night’s fundraiser for the Green Party was it. Held in a beautiful converted church, there was more than a trace of the Vicar of Dibley lurking around the edge of the proceedings.

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John Cale, RFH

David Cheal

It was Brian Wilson who started it. Eight years ago he toured Britain with a show that had at its heart a triumphant performance of his classic Beach Boys album, Pet Sounds, played – in a phrase that has become de rigueur when describing such events – in its entirety.

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Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa, Vortex

Peter Culshaw Dynamic duo mix Indian, Classical and Jazz elements

I was promised a night of free jazz. This was more a threat than a promise, having spent some of the worst nights of my life listening to the stuff - the strange thing about this most liberating sounding form is how everyone sounds more or less the same. Anyway, this wasn’t a night of wibbly-wobbly squeaky-gate music, but a fully realised, if sometimes chilly, vision. It was spontaneous architecture and interesting structures and lyricism. It was original without being self-conscious about it....

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Nitin Sawhney and LSO, Yogoto No Yume, Barbican

Peter Culshaw

When I last met Nitin Sawhney, I’d heard that he was a whizz at mental arithmetic. I asked him, perhaps impertinently, what was 91 times 94? “8,827,” he relied, quick as a flash. Several hours later, I worked out he was probably right. “Vedic mathematics,” he said. What I can say about last night’s performance was there was some interesting mathematics going on. Some time signatures rubbed friskily against others in certain scenes in ways a mathematician would love.

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Hot Chip, Brixton O2 Academy

Bruce Dessau

The past might be a foreign country but sometimes they don't do things so differently there. Two decades ago I found myself backstage at Wembley Arena discussing music with one of MC Hammer's rubber-limbed dancers, nicknamed No Bones. Who was his favourite band? A bunch of geeky white Brits called Depeche Mode, who, I discovered, were a huge influence on the Detroit Techno scene. Twenty years on it is payback time.

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African Soul Rebels, Barbican Hall

howard Male

Here’s a deceptively simple question. What is African music? Does a band make African music simply by dint of the fact they come from Africa? One of last night’s three African Soul Rebels acts was South Africa’s Kalahari Surfers. Ensconced behind a table’s worth of laptops and other gismos, they made subtly menacing, dubby rock with an early '80s slant. And in fact they did it rather well, conjuring memories of Gang of Four and their ilk.

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First Aid Kit, Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh

graeme Thomson

There is something eternally refreshing about catching a band on the first show of their first tour after the release of their first album. Banter remains untarnished by overuse; smiles appear spontaneous and gratitude genuine; mistakes are swatted away with a giggle and a sly curse. Hope – that most intoxicating of emotions – fills the air like the scent of fresh cut grass.

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Vampire Weekend, Brixton O2 Academy

Bruce Dessau

The death at the weekend of Doug Fieger, the co-founder of The Knack, meant that melodic US pop had lost a fine exponent. But more than 30 years on from the eternal über-hit "My Sharona" the appeal of infectious hook-lined music lives on in the work of preppy foursome Vampire Weekend, who have made their name by mixing new wave revivalism with African beats, dubbing their style “...

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Gilad Atzmon’s Orient House Ensemble, Vortex

Anonymous (not Verified) Atzmon:

The force of Israeli-born Gilad Atzmon’s world view – his anti-Zionism, but also what Robert Wyatt, a self-confessed “Gilad groupie”, calls the “intrinsically non-racialist philosophy that's implicit in jazz” – comes through loud and clear in his stage banter. Not many jazzers namecheck the Chilcot Inquiry or dedicate tunes to “the biggest arseholes on the planet”: ie a good handful of (named) British and Israeli politicians.

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