The NBT Review 122

Send Me Home – Jaspar Lepak (Independent Release)

This Review by Helge Janssen

The voice opens and draws you in, it soars and takes you with it, it dips and saddens, lilts and widens…..and you suddenly find yourself on the Jaspar Lepak flight:
an inspirational wing across a world landscape as broad as it is deep, as beautiful as it is dark, as light as it is sorrowful. It twists and turns, swings and rhythms, rocks you shakes you….but the beauty never leaves you: a mesmerising combination of the utterly
angelic with the tender pique of hard earned experience. This integration gives a weight to her being, to her presence, with a gravitas that is yet born with ease and is deceptively uncomplicated.
Jaspar is thus immediately accessible to a wide range of listeners, and while her genre is firmly rooted in ‘country and western’
there are elements of folk, rock and blues.

And her words paint fluid pictures –

send me home:

“…I lost my
light, I lost my light
don’t know when I let it go dim
my spirit cries out
my spirit cries loud
I’m sadder in any church
I feel better in any crowd….”

clouds:

“…and you carry your dreams on a million pots of coffee
and your hands can’t find nothing more to hold….”

to pieces:

“…every night we prayed to Jesus
while we told each other lies..”

america the beautiful: this is Jaspar’s foray into a view of her country that looks through the veil of the american dream extremely
poignantly and, in my view, most accurately yet with compassion – and it appropriately takes the form of a lullaby –

“Is their dark inside your spirit?
Are you far down in the well?
Don’t you worry little darling
Love will come and break the spell…
But love won’t come on a white horse
little darling love will come
not just for you but for the masses
who have faces everyone…”

Every track holds a memory in a sacred place and is indelible.

In sum “Send Me Home” while originating/germinating within everyday experience, crosses into the metaphorical – searching, discovering, and claiming the inner journey towards ‘self’. In this sense Jaspar carries the cresset of an established musical tradition that bears the flame of wakefulness. Thus it is that new discoveries of meaning await with each replaying.

And replay it I do!

The production of this album is excellent. The harmonies within the backing vocals (Andy Thompson, Rachel Van Scoy, Kale Lepak, Mother Banjo and Kim Bahmer on specific tracks) are always inventive with an intuitive spontaneity that lends an immediacy that never fades no matter how many times you hear them. The wonderful use of the accordion (Kale Lepak) and the array of backing instruments (Andy Thompson) lends subtlety and distinction.

“Send Me Home” has been expertly produced, recorded and mixed by Andy Thompson at his home in Minneapolis. The track “Minneapolis’ was recorded by Jaspar at her Durban home!

“Send me home” is an exceptional album. Get it. Listen to it. Be amazed.
You can buy the album from Jaspar herself as she performs in and around Durban at regular intervals. Avail yourself of this opportunity to hear her live before she returns to Minneapolis. And be amazed.

http://www.myspace.com/jasparlepak

You will be able to hear trax from this album within next weeks Podcast and spread around the NBTMusic Radio as well !

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/

Advertisements

Of Covers and Colours

25th May 2011 NBT

(to download right click on this link and ‘save as’ or simply stream by hitting the arrow ‘play’ button on the cassette above!)

Or Click on the Picture Below to get to the NBT Player/Channel !

youcan SUBSCRIBE to the NBT Podcast audio HERE

Music manipulated

inspired and inspiring

the independent way

 Read Reviews on these Artists on the NBT Blog

Giulia Millanta

LadyTown and Jebediah Goodthrust

AaronEnglish

 also featured on this show

KimmieRhodes

 Spread the cultural virus go and ‘like’

the New facebook page for the NBT streaming Radio

http://www.facebook.com/NBTMusicRadio

Our
blog
https://nbtmusic.wordpress.com
The
24hr streaming NBT Radio
http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/

Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/NBTmusicproject
The
NBT
Portal/homepage
http://nbtmusic.de
Electronic/experimental/darker
http://nbtdarkelectric.podbean.com
NBT
Top Ten
http://nbttopten.podbean.com

The NBT Review 121

Darling  – Ladytown (Independent Release )

 A songwriter deals(mostly) with the darkness that dwells just inside the edge of life, they are there to document the blur, to transcribe in slow motion the daily stories that most of us would take for granted.

 So to open this short set with a ‘simple’ love song/thank you, a tune that says ‘the battle is done and because of your existence  I can carry on this fight.’ This is most welcome, it offers up that rich redemption and hallowed hope straight away and in these troubled times that is a gift indeed.

 Having given this gift, the singer can explore the darkness a little now, the melancholy that most love, even the best love, often comes wrapped in. She  watches as a writer writes, knowing that her thoughts and requests may be ignored by the one person she
desperately needs to read what she puts down into words.

 In ‘Bombs’ she makes the observation that at times, not doing anything maybe the most pure form of escape after all, a kinda whisper into your ear, that the ‘giving up’ is the only way to keep on. This song is drug like in it’s shading and temptations, a song that seems to say, just for today stop fighting, all the fighting all the pushing in the world will not stop the bomb from falling,

 And yet (and this is the beauty here) this song never feels like a song of defeat. Rather a touching song of acceptance.

Just when we think that this will be a testament to the Internal , a set of lullabies if you will, Ladytown throws a few country rocking tunes full of wit and vigour worthy of a Neko Case or an even more rootsy Jenny Lewis. Showcasing the way the band slips into her songs like forever friends. There is musical telepathy at work here and its wonderful.

In the most touching song here,’Coins’, the fierce glow of an affair is watched as it fades into the passage of time, the finely sketched characters choosing either that escape spoken about earlier, or the heartbreak of not quite letting go.

And then you realise just how well these songs fit together as a whole, that this set has to be listened to and savoured in one setting

Find out for yourself

http://www.ladytownmusic.com

Hear Plenty of tracks from this collection on the NBTMusic Radio

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/

The NBT Review 120

Dropping Down – Giulia Millanta (Ugly Cat Music)

It’s a brave thing indeed to start of a set with a song that has, as its main focus, Anger. It could set us up for angst perhaps or that
shouty kinda righteousness that some protest singers favour. But ‘Right Between The Eyes’ balances the singers (rage) disappointment with a restrained sort of energy, holding back when it needs to, letting a gentle folk even reggae mood drift though, but keeping the bite, the tension perfectly.

It’s because its personal. And that’s the album’s defining core, these songs come from the heart and the mind, what takes place is seen through the singers eyes, what is felt is what she feels, and oh she is curious, feisty, humorous, yet introspective. And she manages somehow to make that introspection blossom outwards so that we become emotionally attached to the words and music.

She sets the scene, and often that scene is surreal, yet with a few words you catch on to all the characters, and where they fit, if only for a few seconds before they slip slide away, melt, fade into each other as she tumbles us gently into another chapter.

On the cover we see the artist seconds after taking the great leap off, down, into..where exactly? and we wonder if she will be able to
illustrate through her songwriter this ambiguous fear or joy or that satisfying mix of both.

Wonder no more, this free-fall is seductive, delicious even strangely comforting.

Her arrangements too fit this slow dive, never fussy, the instruments shift around the voice like the wind against the body falling,
special mention must be made though about Lorenzo Forti’s bass which slinks and curls around the songs, sly and provocative.

Millanta takes us on a quirky sideshow reading of Paranoid, which displays a subtle theatrical pose, before ending the set with ‘Floating’ which is placed perfectly as it seems to be an answer of sorts to all the questions raised within the previous stories, an acceptance of love, of self and finally of life.

Find out more

http://www.giuliamillanta.com

Look At The Sound – Jebediah Goodthrust (Independent Release)

 Holy Banjo Batman!  The Country superhero brings us another slice of home cooked rock n roll, or maybe its moonshine, He sure does strut across the speakers like a good old young man all dressed up fine for a Saturday night adventure.

Mr Heise plays about 85% of what goes on here, but weirdly this is the most BAND sounding album of his long curved career.

This is the Breakthrough collection the one that could shove those that merely admire into something resembling pure love. And I for one will rejoice mightily when that happens.

It even boasts a bona fide classic rock single in ‘Go’ which is a gloopy mix of Sweet Jane Velvets and Paul Westerberg  all applied with a big brush onto that unmistakable Heise Brothers structure.

But the fun doesn’t stop there!

There are ungainly waltzes (cowboys learning to love and dance, their minds half on that pretty face half on the hassles and weight of the world outside), and even that peculiar kinda post punk ballad type thing that only a certain type of deviant American really understands or gets right.. again though its the Heise twist that defines them, so its Pixies or Pavement (depending on the hour and the song) but with that  smudge on the windscreen perspective.

Personal favourite  for me, (let it be said that this collection is FULL of faves)  is ‘So Tired’ a song that builds and falls , builds and falls and  contains a delicate tension that bodes well for future releases and also gets that difficult creature that is Nelson’s voice just
right.

Look, they are never really gonna be mainstream, but this one flirts with the possibility, and is perhaps the brothers finest achievement thus far.

And if this ‘solo’ outing makes you , gentle listener want to explore the back roads that the Hit and Mrs and The Heise Brothers travelled, then that’s a damn good thing.

Http://thehitandmrs.bandcamp.com

 Tracks from BOTH these fine recordings can be found on the NBTMusic Radio

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/

 and they
will also be featured on the NBT Flagship Podcast going out tomorrow
on this very set of pages 🙂

The NBT Review 118

BoneDome review by Martin Smit

Phyllis Sinclair review by Guest writer Beth Wimmer

Thintankubator – BoneDome (SummerBreak)

This is one jumpy jived up Sandman that takes us on our journey, maybe not the most serene of dreams perhaps but full of sparkling intrigue and that kind of refined chaos that the best sweet nightmares should have.

Now imagine this, that in an alternate universe, Bowie actually succeeded with Tin Machine, that instead of white suits and an 80s sheen, he found a Tv on the Radio and shoved it into a grunge house party, called all the punks, stole that nervous twitch right from under the Hold Steady and OH you are about half way there.

Because in spite of the uncanny thin white duke voice and other much talked about influences/inspirations this band carries their own weight, their own soul baggage, their own fire, anger and hatfulls of hope.

‘he ain’theavy, but he is fat and American, but the girls still love him’

well…

The band doesn’t’ sound fat and their love is complicated, one layer of tough flirting folded into another layer of wry observation, mixed well with a spoonful of desire.

Catch the´essence of mid afternoon FM and late evening AM radio waves and you have the beginnings of the knowledge that makes these songs shine.

 There are elements of self destruction within the stories, and even the most fragile of the tunes that could be, would be, ballads have something dirty and shifting and raw at their core.

Perhaps´these are cowboy songs for men going to war, maybe these are space epics for the illusive alternative office worker..

 All I know is that the band skips defining and that is a very good thing indeed

 http://www.bonedome.net/

Dreams of the Washerwomen -Phyllis Sinclair

I just listened to Canadian Singer/Songwriter Phyllis Sinclair’s “Dreams of the Washerwomen”, and I now feel inspired and sad: in touch with my childhood and my joy and empathy for it.

Like Phyllis, my siblings and I are the children of a hard working, single mother. So Phyllis Sinclair’s clear, precise, plaintive voice combined with her intimate observations on growing up and finding strength really hit home for me.

The clean, pure, simple yet rich-sounding 10-song album opens with “Washerwoman’s Lament”, an ode to anyone who works
hard, repeatedly, doing “simple” work for a living. The song reminds us that simple chores, done daily, are gruelingly exhausting.
Yet Sinclair’s solid acoustic guitar and light-hearted, sweet voice spur us through “just another day to carry my load”, bringing to heart deep respect for those who work so physically hard, day in and out.

Throughout “Dreams of the Washerwomen” lovely mandolin voicing and sparse yet precise background harmonies add
agreement and sometimes levity to Sinclair’s poignant observations.
The uncomplicated production, by Canada’s Stew Kirkwood, enhances the important messages of life and struggle and appreciation that Phyllis Sinclair so graciously and intimately shares with us all.

“Morning Laughter” is a melodic, kind reminder of the small blessings in life that get us all through. In “Our Side of the Line” a joyful, celebratory homage to home sweet home, the comforting, joyful violin leaves the listener with the smell of fresh
cut grass and a grateful appreciation for home. The messages are universal.

On “Sunday Best” the sublime accordion solo accompanies perfectly the innocence and questions of a child, remembering how simple and special Sundays always were.

The beautiful, electric guitar solo in “Finding Ontario”, along with the slow, steady-train-home feel, really sold me on every reason I could think of to return “home”. With Sinclair’s meditative lyric “little baby bunting it’s time to go a-hunting for home”,
I was moved to make my pilgrimage home too.

The song that clinched things for me, emotionally, was “Latchkey”. Sinclair’s plaintive, empathetic yet comforting ode to a lost, hurt, young soul, in the form of a scared baby bird, brought to mind the sad and frightening uncertainty of being alone, without parents or guidance.
The beautiful string section enrobed and heightened Sinclair’s inspiring plea of understanding and encouragement. “Latchkey”
brought tears to my eyes.

Phyllis Sinclair’s third album, “Dreams of the Washerwomen”, conveys a powerful and appreciative tribute to small town pleasures, accomplishments, struggles, and acceptance for our lot in life, while time both drags and flies by.

http://www.phyllissinclair.com/

Tracks from Both albums
are being played on the NBTMusic Radio

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/

and have been featured
on several NBT Flagship Podcasts recently.

The NBT Review 117

Evi Vine reviewed by Martin Smit

Muffled Shine reviewed by Cobus Rossouw

 And So The Morning Comes – Evi Vine (independent release)

 This is before sunrise music, those eternal minutes where the darkness fools you that It’s never gonna leave, but somehow the lamplight is losing it’s power to soothe or distort (was it ever comforting really?)

This is music floating in that waiting world, where hope is not quiet born and sister despair is not as charming as she was just a few hours ago.

This is intimate, just you and the singer, the music the cool air you breathe as you conduct this personal conversation. You cannot imagine studio or electrics, cables and buttons and mixing desks, you cannot imagine close ups of strings and bows and microphones. You’re too busy being IN the song and the singer and her music is too busy being IN you.

And yet.

That said, it is also music that makes you want to betray that privacy, the second it is done, and tell others, so that they too can be lost, just them and the singer.

So tell us about the music, you plead, well its stripped down Mazzy Star, its the most fragile blues, its those thoughts you had when you fell in love and you knew you would one day fall out of love.

It can make all the beauty in the world a lonely frightening thing but it can also softly urge you to keep dreaming to dare not wake up right now.

I had this vision that as the music drifted into a bus full of noise and chaos, one by one those that heard it closed their eyes, warped slightly out of focus, let go.

Stops were missed, timetables forgotten, the future became flexible.

It really was that simple.

http://www.evivine.com/

 Muffled Shine – Just (Independent Release)

 In 2003 Frédéric Chaubin began a journey to document some of the Soviet Union’s incredible architecture. I stumbled onto the story of this adventure together with a sample of some of the photographs (click on Frédéric’s name above) and was immediately struck by how the architecture somehow conveyed a sense of the Cold War era while being very distinct from what was created in the US. The buildings have a close, claustrophobic feeling; even as they stretch creativity far further than the West did (well, mostly).

When I first heard this EP from Muffled Shine it immediately brought back the images of those buildings. Landscapes of graceful emptiness filled with architectural displays that are brutal, yet harmonic and somehow triumphant. This is a personal reflection though, and while I am sure that we cannot escape the effects of our environment I am also sure that Muffled Shine intends far more with this EP than to depict a fascinating past.

Gregory Khanin & Dmitry Gubin create music that falls within the “Industrial”, genre but it would sell their EP, “Just”, short if you tried categorise it that strictly. The reason for this is that “Industrial” so often conjures up the idea of grinding discomfort, agitation, angst, whereas Muffled Shine have produced something that is reflective and meditative without being mawkish or overtly spiritual. This album will not make it into a Tibetan monastery, but if it did they’d learn something.

The music is so evocative that it transforms your local landscape. With autumn fast approaching in South Africa it metamorphosed afternoon traffic into an epic adventure, a slow progress to some homecoming, some imminent arrival. It is such a familiar feeling that I listened to the album three times in succession without once feeling like I’ve heard it before. (I knew I couldn’t find the words to describe this feeling, so I’ll settle for “nostalgia”).

Since receiving the album for review I have probably listened to it more than twenty times, and I could listen to it again, right now and I know I’ll be moved. I also know that I’ll be moved in a different way, and that it will provoke an emotional response. This is my album for contemplation, for deepening the world, for delving inside.

 http://muffledshine.bandcamp.com/

  Both Muffled Shine and Evi Vine will be featured on the NBT DarkElectric and Flagship Podcasts going out on the 29th and 30th March respectively

 and both are playlisted on the NBTMusic 24hour Radio

 http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/

 

The NBT Review 116

  Aftermath – Alozeau & Jean Montag (Independent Release)

 the best music is a soundtrack to a movie in our imagination.

 Scene 1.

 the monster wakes up, the technical thing, the mechanical thing shakes off its sleep and pity and compassion coils into itself, throbs, then shoots up.

 We are flying now.

 The world..even as a stark map, negative photo, smudged photostat, is (in it’s final moments) serene beautiful.

 We are the soul of the bomb, this is the music that explains how it soars, these are the seconds before release. This is the coldest sensual. The prettiest brutal.

 If you were a man. Watching it fall from the pale sky. This would be the intake of your breath, slowed down, slowed down in a vain attempt to straighten out those insane jumbled thoughts, those terminal thoughts.

 And if you survive, this is now your music too.

 Scene 2.

 the seconds before. The seconds after. Ghosts inherit the landscape. The panic, the crowd frenzy, the voyeuristic vipers of TV land are silent. And what price this calm?

 Scene 3.

 switch focus now.

The soul

the journey into heaven, hell or where exactly? Does it really matter? But oh it is scary, dangerous, so now we know, we can still be frightened, still be thrilled, the tension is unbearable, but orgasmic. We do not want this imploding to end. Forget the hush, bring the noise.

 Scene 4.

 and in the electro darkness, the deep green deep, the murk, sparks slink out timid, search for mother, search for lover. Rebirth almost happens, sighs, fades, then almost happens again. The composer’s compassion interferes, flickers into the fluid. Hope can be such an ambiguous thing.

 Scene 5.

 and then we are born again.. into the bright bright new world.

 Find your own movies within this incredible music

http://jeanmontag.bandcamp.com

Several tracks from Jean Montag and his Collaborators appear on the NBTdarkElectric Podcast and

the NBTMusic24Hr Radio

 http://nbtdarkelectric.podbean.com

 http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/