Judgmentcitos: Very short reviews

By popular demand, in less than 100 words, but words with just one or two letters don’t count. This time, we range over more than just record albums.

isolee

We Are Monster, Isolée (Playhouse, 2005)
Nearly a decade ago, Isolée (Rajko Müller) found success with his mega house hit “Beau Mot Plage” which turned up on various mixes by popular DJs. Following his success came the well-received Rest in 2000 and We Are Monster in 2005 on the German electronic label Playhouse. Now, Isolée is not quite your dad’s minimal electronica and it’s not quite your older brother’s (or mom’s, or sister’s, or hamster’s). With We Are Monster, it never hits as hard as Boards of Canada and never pops as hard as Depeche Mode, but finds a middle ground with … Boards of Stockhausen Mode? It could be a workout album or a relaxation album, a sex album or a Sunday morning album, or even a relaxing Sunday morning sex workout album. Check it out.
Nathan Waterman

Green Arrow

4-Track Recording Sessions, The Green Arrows (Alula Records, 2006)
Thomas Mapfumo is usually the first name mentioned when referring to music from Zimbabwe, but beyond Mapfumo is the lesser known world of the Green Arrows. Although similar to Mapfumo (busy high-treble guitars and repetitive percussion), a main difference can be found in the Green Arrows’ influences. They were familiar with the traditional mbira of their ancestors — but it’s the Arrows’ love of psychedelia (“Bambo Mwakatila”) and reggae (“Towering Inferno”) that set them apart from other Rhodesian musicians. The Green Arrows are soft and warm, have a sweet fuzzy distortion, and their African harmonies will blow you away. Alula Records recently re-released their 4-Track Recording Sessions from the ’70s. Highly recommended.
Nathan Waterman

hawley.jpg

Coles Corner, Richard Hawley (Mute, 2005)
Remember my bit about Sunday morning albums? This one’s been in heavy rotation since last fall. Don’t be fooled by his Pulp associations: here’s the lushest crooner LP since Nick Lowe’s The Convincer. From the opening track, where Hawley heads “downtown, where there’s music” (over Rogers and Hammerstein strings), to the echoing sound sculpture that closes, the album revives and revises twentieth-century popular sounds: Presley, Orbison, Sinatra, Hazelwood. A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll. On “The Ocean,” lulling bass and soaring strings wash in and out like the tide, a gradual crescendo, until you’re pulled to sea, sleeping, unawares.
Bryan Waterman

Thursdays on WFMU
The Thursday day shift on the “Freeform Station of the Nation” is
especially good. Trouble begins the day with the 9 to 12 slot. She
favors female vocalists and French. The true genius of the program,
however, is in Trouble’s giggle. Her announcements give the
impression of being a little overwhelmed, but she just can’t help
laughing at it all.

Scott Williams follows from 12 to 3. This is true avant-garde radio.
Both repulsive and tuneful, this is my favorite three hours of the
week. The coolest thing about Scott’s show is the use of a sonic
motif introduced up front and then repeated through the show, making the program sound as a piece. Singular!

And lastly, Diane, 3 to 6. I don’t know how many death metal fans we
have here at TGW. Give Diane’s show a try — perhaps we’ll have more.
Lane Twitchell

Old Joy, directed by Kelly Reichardt
Have you ever had a friendship that aged badly, that cracked and faded even though you wanted to keep it up? In Old Joy, two old friends go for a weekend trip to a hot spring in the Pacific Northwest mountains. Mark (Daniel London) has a girlfriend/wife expecting a baby and is ambivalent about settling down and settling in; Kurt (Will Oldham — yes, the musician) is a carefree slacker who, when stoned, believes he understands superstring theory on an intuitive level but is in danger of drifting out of the world entirely. This liquid little film flows through gorgeous green cinematography and a warm, restrained score by Yo La Tengo. But can Mark and Kurt dissolve the emotional barriers that have grown up between them?
Dave B

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