Tzadik’s Artist for Artist page

I just followed a link to the Tzadik website – John Zorn’s avant garde/experimental music label – and they’ve helpfully added a page called Artist for Artist, where people associated with the label recommend certain works on the site to help us navigate through the impenetrable swamp of the deeply weird.

Sadly, the site doesn’t seem to have any MP3 stream clips so you can’t preview the albums, but I found most of the acts easily enough on YouTube, even if they didn’t have a wide selection of songs. It was worth the effort, since I like to take little detours from time to time just to check out acts that would otherwise pass me by.

The first one to catch my attention was Ni Hao!, who made me think immediately that if Everett True doesn’t already own this then someone needs to tell him about them. They’re from the same part of Southern Japan as OOIOO and The Boredoms, and are another one of those percussion-heavy all-girl bands who sound a bit like you’d expect them to – lots of clattering and shouting and then, just as you’re thinking they’re just tuneless noise, they switch into unexpected harmonies. Not really my thing, but there’s something about them that made me want to mention them.

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By contrast, La Mar Enfortuna are beautifully tuneful. JG Thirlwell’s glowing – and surprisingly well-written – review of Conviviencia is what drew my eye, but I still had to be convinced after I realised this was an Elysian Fields side project. I was never particularly bowled over by that band, and certainly wouldn’t have decided to buy it after just 30 seconds of the first clip I heard. La Mar Enfortuna are strikingly different, and remind me a lot of Stellamara’s Seven Valleys and Aylin Aslim’s Gülyabani. Again, it’s a blend of Middle Eastern (this time traditional Sephardic) and Western influences in one rich melting pot, with some welcome surprises along the way.

It really didn’t take much to persuade me to buy the album, and only the realisation that I’m flat broke until payday to dissuade me from checking out. Luckily I found it on Amazon, and have added it to my wishlist. I even took off my Snuggie request in the hopes that someone will bite.

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Finally, Arnold Dreyblatt’s Animal Magnetism merits a mention. It’s a mix of just-intoned electric guitar, bass violin, cimbalon, percussion and horns. The music is minimalism in a lively, almost punky sort of way where there’s plenty of variety but the repetition is typically hypnotic. It sounds more like walking into a live concert during the encore where they do some giant twelve-minute finale and you just catch the instrumental section.

As an “outsider” to this type of music, I find it quite fascinating how your brain just fills in where it thinks the melodies should go, though of course dance music’s been doing that for decades, too. It’s the musical equivalent of the triple egg, cheese and chutney sandwich from Red Dwarf. It should be bloody awful, but somehow it works.

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One comment on “Tzadik’s Artist for Artist page

  1. Pingback: #musicmonday: La Mar Enfortuna – Pali Mou Kanis To Vari « Reinspired

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