Thursday, December 31, 2009

Herbie Hancock - Gershwin's World (1998)

ARTIST`````Herbie Hancock
From Bleep To Bleep
GENRE`````Jazz, Post Bop


ALBUM REVIEW by Jim Newsom: Gershwin's World is a tour de force for Herbie Hancock, transcending genre and label, and ranking among the finest recordings of his lengthy career. Released to coincide with the 100th anniversary of George Gershwin's birth, this disc features jazzman Hancock with a classy collection of special guests. The most surprising of Hancock's guest stars is Joni Mitchell, who delivers a gorgeously sensual vocal on "The Man I Love," then provides an airy, worldly take on "Summertime." On these two tracks, she shows she has come a long way from her folksinger beginnings to become a first-class jazz singer in her own right. Stevie Wonder's unmistakable harmonica complements Mitchell's singing on "Summertime" and shares lead instrument space with his own voice on the W.C. Handy classic "St. Louis Blues." Jazzman extraordinaire Wayne Shorter smokes a solo spot on Duke Ellington's "Cotton Tail" and carves out some space for his soprano saxophone in the midst of "Summertime." A number of the young lions of jazz are featured on various cuts, and Herbie's old pal Chick Corea joins the leader for a piano duet of James P. Johnson's "Blueberry Rhyme." Gershwin's wonderful, extended "Lullaby" finds Hancock teamed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, as does an attractive arrangement of a "Concerto for Piano and Orchestra" by Maurice Ravel, whose jazz influence can be heard on the piece. In addition, one of the most beautiful tracks on the album places star soprano Kathleen Battle's voice at the forefront of Gershwin's own "Prelude in C# Minor." Yet with all the fine performances by his guests, Gershwin's World remains Hancock's show, and he plays magnificently throughout. From beautiful to funky, percussive to melodic, improvisational to tightly arranged, Hancock and cohorts take a wondrous journey through the music and world of Gershwin.


The Micronauts - From Bleep to Bleep (2000)

ARTIST`````The Micronauts
From Bleep To Bleep
GENRE`````Techno, House


I've heard this album a week ago for the first time and was blown away. This is one of the rawest, fearless tech-house albums ever. For the fullest effect listen on some bigass headphones.

ALBUM REVIEW: The title of the Micronauts' (mini-)LP debut is just as good as any, considering all but one of the songs feature "bleep" in the title, and there's a four-part series entitled "Baby Wants to Bleep." It's also completely in keeping with the duo's aesthetic, which injects a sense of humor and off-hand charm into the often sterile and increasingly academic field of acid techno. They function as a near-perfect incarnation of classic acid acts like Altern-8 or the KLF, both of whom produced great music but also recognized and exploited, for comic effect, Britain's acid revolution during the early '90s. With all the mayhem and track-to-track flow of the best hip-hop DJs (even though they're performing on 303s and 909s instead of turntables), the Micronauts tear their way through squelchy acid hysteria and continually test the upper limits of the frequency range. Though most of the humor is inherent in the track titles, the music is so kinetic that it's easy to envision Monier and Issakidis smirking behind their boxes even as they were programming the album. Except for the heavily processed freeform-electronics piece ("Bleeper 0+2") that cuts the album in two, Bleep to Bleep offers plenty of tweaked acid patterns and quite a few trips through heavy reverb.

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