The 19th installment in John Zorn’s Masada Book 2: The Book of Angels is a doozy. As with the rest of the series, these are Zorn pieces given to an extraordinary talent (or set of talents) to perform, re-imagine, or demolish, and acoustic/electric bassist and oudist Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz has done all three with his batch of songs.
A dynamic DC duo versed in the East, the West, and the rest, Janel & Anthony is cellist Janel Leppin and guitarist Anthony Pirog. Together, they’ve studied and performed everything from surf rock to jazz, modern classical, and Hindustani ragas, and those assorted influences mesh into one beautiful, indecipherable whole on Where is Home, their second full-length album.
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Morrow: Using a banjo and upright bass as key instruments in a math-prog power trio, Seabrook Power Plant offers one hell of an alternative to the “nuclear family” of the traditional rock lineup.
Electric guitar, electric bass, and assorted effects each play major roles, and at times, the group comes closer to the shredding avant-rock of “regular” experimental bands. But even when not using the twangy instrument for rapid, arpeggiated leads or going acoustic with the rhythm section, something unusual is happening — whether it’s weird operatic vocals, furious and echoing violin riffs, moments of sludge rock, or distorted drum fills.
Dividing his formative years between England and India, Ranjit Barot falls at the crossroads of two cultures, with an aesthetic that draws heavily on Indian harmonic and rhythmic accents and R&B and jazz-rock fusions. In addition to having dozens of film scores credited to his name, Barot is also known as one of the most versatile drummers in the world, and most recently a part of the impressive roster of contemporary Indian musicians on John McLaughlin’s Floating Points.
But now Barot is finally taking a break from the film scripts and featured spots to make his debut as a leader. Bada Boom is Barot’s long-overdue solo debut, an album showcasing a musical approach crafted and shaped from a long career of session playing and film scoring. As a bilingual play on the Big Bang theory (“bada” is Hindi for “big”), Bada Boom is an epic in concept with a cast of players following suit, including John McLaughlin (Mahavishnu Orhestra) and legendary Indian tabla player and close family friend Zakir Hussain.
Masters of Reality has been creating art and music for nearly 20 years, with plenty of musical accomplishments collected along the way. The duo has worked with Rick Rubin, Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, and collaborated with Stone Temple Pilots, Twiggy Ramirez, SOULWAX, and many others.
Straying from the emphasized improvisation and rhythm of its previous albums, Masters of Reality’s new full-length album, Pine/Cross Dover (out September 14 on Cool Green Recordings), combines elements similar to the punk-rock playfulness of Public Image Limited and the technical mastery of Mahavishnu Orchestra.