New Music for New Times

11th of April 2020

Minyo CrusadersEchoes of Japan
released April 26, 2019
Mais Um label

Minyo Crusaders rework historic Japanese folk songs (min’yō) with Latin, African, Caribbean and Asian rhythms on their debut album “Echoes of Japan”.
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Japan’s min’yo is an example of how vibrant folk music can ossify into formal ritual, transformed from its original role as workers’ songs, there for distraction and complaint, into art music performed mainly by divas in fancy kimonos. It’s as if Scarborough Fair and Seven Gypsies were reserved for operatic soloists. The mission of the Minyo Crusaders, a 10-piece big band, is to rescue min’yo from its highbrow status and return it to everyday life by setting its songs to assorted world styles. This debut opens with a blast of loping Colombian cumbia before moving on to Afrobeat, reggae, salsa and more. It’s an unlikely fusion, but the Crusaders come armed with a precision horn section drawn from assorted ska and jazz bands, and the often wistful melodies are skilfully woven into upbeat moods. Akita Nikata Bushi, a slow lament, is wound into a sinuous Ethiopian rhythm, with added surf guitar from group founder Katsumi Tanaka, who came to min’yo after discovering 20th-century hybrids such as the Tokyo Cuban Boys. The vocals are unwaveringly authentic, as a brace of untreated songs prove, but the focus is on great grooves and fine playing. A festival band to seek out.
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Bill LaswellAgainst Empire
released April 10, 2020
self produced

Bill Laswell: bass, effects / Pharoah Sanders: saxophone / Peter Apfelbaum: saxophone, flute, keyboards / Herbie Hancock: electric piano / Jerry Marotta: drums / Chad Smith: drums / Hideo Yamaki: drums / Satoyasu Shomura: drums / Adam Rudolph: percussion

AGAINST EMPIRE, a new catagory of magical, electro/acoustic technology. Further research may shed a most revealing light on thr development of sound storage in material culture.

AGAINST EMPIRE projects a hybrid activity, constantly evolving texture crashes against smooth, unfolding rhythms built around the solid and elastic drum foundations of four iconic drummers – Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Hideo Yamaki (Japan’s top dummer) and Satoyasu Shomura (Japanese pop phenomenon). The legendary saxophoniost Pharoah Sanders, especially known for his radical collaborations with John Coltrane, versatile multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum, minimal contributions from the great Herbie Hancock on electric piano and the unmistakable touch of master percussionist Adam Rudolph.

AGAINST EMPIRE, an iconoclast offering of multi-directional movements …. avant-jazz, rock, dub, experimental, ambient, sub-bass and on and on …. a dream colonization, a bizarre image of paradise, an imagined quality of elsewhere, constucts of the imagination, essense of difference.

Nothing is True, Everything Is Permitted

AGAINST the EMPIRE of LIES

AGAINST the ANTI-MUSIC of MEDIOCRITY

AGAINST COMPLACENCY and COMPROMISE

AGAINST SHAMELESS and UNINFORMED PRIVILEGE

AGAINST INHERENT RACISM DIRECT or INDIRECT, KNOWN or UNKNOWN

AGAINST EMPIRE