Saturday, June 25, 2005

New Aquarius Wishlist

#216 is out if you are counting... some highlights:

album cover V/A Thai Beat A Go-Go Volume 3 (Subliminal Sounds)
It's beginning to appear as though Subliminal Sounds' well of amazing undiscovered Thai Beat music might be bottomless! We were a bit surprised when they managed to pull off a second excellent collection of Thai bubblegum psych tunes from yesteryear, but now a *third*?? "Is it just as good", you ask? Well, heck yeah, it is! It doesn't seem as though they culled the best for the first, or even the second, collection. This third volume may in fact be the best -- though it's hard to choose. This one has about the same ratio of purely weird and inimitably Thai "pop" to off-kilter covers of your favorites from the golden era of rock (including "Hang On Sloopy" and another Elvis number "Heartbreak Hotel"), but add into that mix a great deal of seventies funk & disco and even some Santana-esque rock, all with a Thai twist and lots of fun. But the real gems on this collection are two tracks -- "Thai Boxing" and "Siamese Boxing" -- by Jiraphand Ong-Ard which nearly bookend the anthology and completely fill their own void of strange rock. Both tracks pay homage to Muay Thai boxing and raam muay -- the traditional music that accompanies boxing events. The music of raam muay features a Thai reed instrument that sounds like a kazoo run through a Marshall amp. Both the tracks use this music as an odd bridge mixed in to them -- almost arbitrarily -- in such a way that they sound bi-polar. In addition to all the cool music on this collection is album's cover, which looks as though it were taken from a 70's Thai B-grade horror film. A "scary" looking dude in blue slacks, red sweater, and dracula fangs is lightly held back (or is he dancing with?) two sexy Thai girls wearing matching green skirts and white knee high boots. WOW! is our reaction to that, and the whole disc as well!

album cover WHITE, JIM Jim White Presents Music From Searching For The Wrong-Eyed Jesus
Wow, this is fantastic! All on its own (i.e, even without the film for which it was made) Jim White's soundtrack to Searching For The Wrong-Eyed Jesus is one helluva stunning, evocative collection. The odd thing is, the film itself (by British filmmaker Andrew Douglas) was inspired by one of Jim White's previous albums. Funny how things come full circle, innit? Anyways, this will surely appeal to fans of Calexico and Giant Sand. The artists certainly weave similar musical tapestries, but whereas those Arizonans' music is drenched with Southwestern desert sunsets, Jim White's is conjured from the humid Deeep South. In addition to his own material, this cd includes songs by many AQ faves such as David Eugene Edwards of Sixteen Horsepower, Cat Power, Johnny Dowd, Maggie Brown, Handsome Family, Clarence Ashley, Doc Watson, Lee Sexton, Trailer Bride's Melissa Swingle, David Johansen, Larry Saltzman, and spoken word from Harry Crews (one of Andee's favortie authors EVER!). Steeped in rich imagery with plenty of soul searching and haunting gothic chills, each individual artist's contribution converges magically with the rest, making for a deeply moving and cohesive aural journey. Really, if this soundtrack's impact is even a fraction of that of the film, we're gonna totally love it. Recommended!

album cover COLLEEN Golden Morning Breaks (Leaf)
Golden Morning Breaks is the second album from Parisian electronic-folk abstractionist Colleen (alias Ms. Ceclie Schott). Her first record -- Everyone Alive Wants Answers -- made use of a plethora of keyboards, music boxes, glockenspiels and guitars, astounding many a listener with her playful if occasionally dark constructions of post-Harold Budd / Brian Eno ambience. Golden Morning Breaks picks up where that earlier album left off with gentle music box-y electronica that depending on your state of mind can be thought of as light'n'summery or creepily unsettling a la '70s Italian horror movie soundtracks. Regardless, this is lovely stuff.


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