With a penchant for varying her production style at each stage of her career, Fiona Apple once again sets out for new sonic terrain on her fourth album, The Idler Wheel. A partial return to the acoustic-based instrumentation of her 1996 debut, Tidal, Apple’s new material nonetheless rarely revisits that album’s courtly brand of jazz pop. Instead, The Idler Wheel veers much closer to what Apple might sound like if she landed somewhere between modern experimental theater, the unabashed pomp of Broadway, and the bustle of a frontier saloon or Prohibition-era speakeasy.
Dosh: “Subtractions”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/dosh-subtractions.mp3|titles=Dosh: “Subtractions”]
Percussionist and multi-instrumentalist Martin Dosh, better known as simply Dosh, is known both for his electronic-based solo venture as well as his work with Andrew Bird, with whom he’s toured and recorded. The instrumental track is Dosh’s specialty; “Simple Exercises,” which first appeared on Dosh’s 2004 release, Pure Trash, reappeared on Bird’s Armchair Apocrypha in 2007 as “Simple X” with an addition of lyrics. In the piece below, Dosh explains what drew him to instrumental music and how a few classic, lyric-less tracks continue to inspire his own music.
The Alchemy of Instrumental Music
I think my interest in music and sound really began when i was around nine or 10 years old; that is to say, that is when I really began LISTENING to music, to the ways instruments and voices worked together, trying to separate the sounds in my mind, trying to understand which sounds were being made by which instruments, and even what the people that played the music may have looked like. I can’t recall what the first song that really captured my imagination was, but it was likely by Devo or The Cars, maybe Billy Squier. I’ve always listened to the music first and digested the vocals and lyrics later. When I first discovered Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, I found the vocals to be distracting. I couldn’t understand why they were there; they seemed like an afterthought.
Once I started playing drums, when i was 15, that was all I really heard when I would listen to a song: the drums. And I played a little bit with some friends, but I didn’t truly discover the joy of volume until I went to college two years later. I spent more time listening to music in my first two years than I spent doing anything else — usually as loud as possible. I was lucky enough to have a few friends who had massive record collections, and I listened to everything.
Boxcutter: The Dissolve (Planet Mu, 4/25/11)
Boxcutter: “TV Troubles”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Boxcutter_TV_Troubles.mp3|titles=Boxcutter: “TV Troubles”]
Morrow: The Dissolve is the fourth full-length album by Boxcutter, a dubstep/IDM musician from Northern Ireland and a regular of the Planet Mu roster. Also known as Barry Lynn, he often takes a dance-influenced approach to his music, enabling an entry point for those who can’t handle thornier artists like Aphex Twin.
On The Dissolve, some of the dark dance elements remain, but by and large, this is a shift in a much funkier direction, with retro electronic sounds providing a much lighter and old-school feel.
On a weekly basis, The Groove Seeker goes in search of killer grooves across rock, funk, hip hop, soul, electronic music, jazz, fusion, and more.
Austin Peralta: “Capricornus”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/02-austin_peralta-capricornus.mp3|titles=Austin Peralta: “Capricornus”]
Austin Peralta is a 20-year-old jazz pianist. A former child prodigy, Peralta has already led two record releases abroad for Sony Japan. He recorded his first album, Maiden Voyage, at age 15 with a trio that included legendary bassist Ron Carter. And his sophomore effort, Mantra, was recorded mere months later with a quintet including Buster Williams. If that’s not enough to convince you of Peralta’s skill level, a stage shared with Chick Corea and Hank Jones at the 2007 Tokyo Jazz Festival will. Add in a number of prestigious awards and it’s clear that the young LA native has chops, to say the least.
For his third album, and first US release, Endless Planets, Peralta joined the Flying Lotus-run Brainfeeder label. It’s a progressive step forward in Brainfeeder’s legacy, one that seems natural, given Flying Lotus’ (a.k.a. Steven Ellison) great-nephew relation to jazz icon Alice Coltrane. It’s a label that’s home to artists who have been using jazz sounds and textures to create some of today’s most genre-forging music.
Konono No.1‘s music stems from Congolese history and the heritage of its members’ families, which is reflected in the band’s makeshift equipment and unifying practice. Difficult and minimalistic, its music is not immediately accessible but eventually understood and appreciated, no matter what one’s background may be.
Bongripper: Satan Worshipping Doom 2xLP (August 13, 2010)
[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Bongripper-Satan-Worshipping-Doom-01-Hail.mp3|titles=Bongripper: “Satan Worshipping Doom”]
Morrow: Chicago’s Bongripper makes the type of music that you might glean from its name — bleak, crushing doom metal that’s built on stoner riffs and down-tuned guitars. I will preface this by saying that I’m not a huge fan of the genre, but the band already has two strikes in my book for the lame pot-related name and the (presumably tongue-in-cheek) Satanism.