Friday, June 13, 2008

Music I've been listening to (instrumental version): Daedelus, Uri Caine, Mouse on Mars, The Bad Plus

In this blog's second Music Friday, I'm going to tell you about the instrumental music I've been listening to lately — some jazz, some electronic. A lot of this music will appeal to a more twisted palate than last week's. Definitely not for everyone.

Daedelus (photo to the left) — He's in the same vein as people like Mouse on Mars (see below) and Amon Tobin, but with samples from a quaint, bygone era. You can hear his more old-timey side on his first two albums, Invention and Of Snowdonia.

The song that's stayed with me the most is the startling "Something Bells," which doesn't sound like any other music I've ever heard by anyone (included Daedelus himself). You can listen to it by going here and clicking the PLAY button in the middle of the window:
[last.fm]
(As with everything on last.fm, you're limited to three listens of the full song before you'll be prompted to buy it.)

More recently, he's deemphasized the old-fashioned stuff and has gotten heavily into tropical beats, but he's still just as bizarre:
[youtube]
(Both of those songs have singing, but Daedelus is mostly instrumental.)

Uri Caine — A___ and I saw his "Uri Caine Trio" play a mesmerizing double set at the Village Vanguard a couple summers ago. In a tangentially related vein, his "Uri Caine Ensemble" recently came out with an album of jazz performances based on various Mozart movements. It's much better than you'd think a jazz-Mozart album would be. You can hear a sample by going here and clicking on the blue album ("2006"):
[website]
The guy is staggeringly inventive. He goes back and forth between jagged, dissonant jazz (the stuff we heard him play live) to jazz-infused reworkings of classical music, with a new concept for each new CD. In addition to the Mozart album, he's put out a CD of his bizarre take on the single most bizarre Beethoven composition, the Diabelli Variations (if you're particularly interested in it, you can hear a brief sample by going to the above link and clicking on the "2002" album). There's also a CD of Klezmer versions of Mahler, the common thread being Jewishness. I haven't heard his Klezmer Mahler, but I have his Diabelli Variations, and they're addictive.


Mouse on Mars — Interesting electronic group. I've had their most recent album, Varcharz, for a while, and that's supposed to be some of their most challenging stuff. It's difficult listening, but I like it. More recently, I've been listening to an early album of theirs, Autoditacker. It's very different, much more accessible -- and some of the best instrumental electronic music I've heard in a while. Here's a representative song from Autoditacker:
[youtube]

The Bad Plus (photo to the right) — I got into them after seeing the pianist, Ethan Iverson (the guy in the light-colored suit), play with Charlie Haden at the Village Vanguard. (I blogged about the show here in light of the Burma cyclone.) They're exactly my kind of jazz: innovative and new without being contrived, and not focused on virtuosity or trading solos. Their myspace has some good samples from their recent album Prog:
[myspace]

[youtube]

2 comments:

Sid said...

JAC- check out a not so well known known jazz pianist from the Seattle area named Bob Nell. His first album is titled "Why I Like Coffee". He hasnt moved to the NYC area and become famous, but his music is GREAT!!!! Check him out.

Trevor Jackson said...

Thanks for more recommendations. I like The Bad Plus. I'll pay you another back: The Budos Band.

Heavy horns, 70's Afro-Soul. Two records, both terrific. Here's a cut off the first one with a killer video to boot.