Good Math, Bad Math

Friday Random Ten, 12/18

  1. Naftule’s Dream, “Speed Klez”: Naftule’s Dream is a
    brilliant progressive klezmer band. I happen to love klezmer,
    but I think that anyone into jazzy prog rock would also enjoy
    them. They’re terrific.
  2. Oregon, “Celeste”: Oregon is a band that I can’t make
    up my mind about. They’re a jazz trio, with most melodies played by
    a wonderful oboist. They tend to really push the boundaries -
    playing with unusual tonalities, really pushing the edge of
    the envelope with their improvisation. It’s quite impressive. And yet,
    they frequently leave me feeling cold, like there’s nothing under
    the technique.
  3. The Flower Kings, “The rainmaker”: Ok, you’ve heard me
    babble about the Flower Kings before. They’re the best prog band in
    the world today, and quite possibly the best ever. They’re wonderful,
    and I’ve yet to hear anything by them that I didn’t absolutely love. Go
    buy their recordings.
  4. Parallel or 90 degrees, “Jitters”: Po90 has a new album! Po90
    is Andy Tillison’s original band. Tillison is the co-founder, with Roine
    Stolte from the Flower Kings, of The Tangent, another wonderful band.
    Po90 has been mostly inactive for quite a while – but they just came
    back with a new album, and it’s absolutely terrific. It’s interesting
    how different it is from the Tangent – Tillison is the primary composer
    for both, but they manage to have very different sounds. Highly
    recommended.
  5. Do Make Say Think, “In Mind”: fantastic post-rock. DMSY is one
    of the best at what they do. If you like Godspeed or Mt. Zion, you should
    enjoy DMST.
  6. Isis, “False Light”: More fantastic post-rock, but from a very
    different style. Where DMST is post-alternative, Isis is sort of
    post-metal. The vocals take a bit of getting used to, but the overall
    quality of the music makes it worth the effort.
  7. The Clogs, “Tides of Washington Bridge”: Still more fantastic
    post-rock, from still another style. As you can tell, I’m a very big
    post-rock fan. Part of what I love about it is the breadth of the
    genre – it ranges from almost classical like the Clogs, to almost
    thrash, like Isis – and yet, it also manages to have a common form
    that makes it post-rock. The Clogs are one of my two favorites from
    the classical side of the genre. (The other being “Rachel’s”.)
  8. Red Sparrowes, “Buildings Began to Stretch Wide Across the Sky”:
    iTunes seems to be in a post-rock mood. Red Sparrowes are another
    terrific group, from the same stylistic family as DMST.
  9. Bach, “Wiewohl Mein Herz in Traenen Schwimmt”, from the St. Matthew Passion:
    In my opinion, Bach is quite simply the finest composer who ever lived.
    And the St. Matthew Passion is probably my favorite of his compositions.
    It’s a work of sheer musical perfection. Music just doesn’t get
    any better than this. If you can listen to this and not be moved,
    then you have no heart.
  10. Thinking Plague, “Consolamentum”: Every time Thinking Plague
    comes up in a FRT, I manage to get something about them wrong. Their
    guitarist either has a Google alert set up, or he reads my blog, because
    he shows up and patiently corrects my errors. I think of
    Thinking Plague as a very unusual post-rock group; lot’s of people try
    to categorize them differently, because exactly what they are is a bit
    hard to pin down. They’ve got a very unique style that really isn’t
    much like anything else I’ve ever heard. They work with odd tonalities,
    sometimes verging on atonal; they’ve got vocals, but the voice isn’t
    a lead, it’s treated as just another instrument in the mix. It’s not
    the easiest thing to listen to – but if you like interesting,
    complex, beautiful music that doesn’t stick with conventional
    tonality, then these guys are amazing. I found a couple of youtube clips to
    include below the fold to give you a taste.

Comments

  1. #1 Dave M
    December 18, 2009

    I remember Thinking Plague from their first LP (although I think it was *A* Thinking Plague then). It was very RIO, but looser somehow; I liked it a lot. I haven’t kept up with them though. Good to see they’re still at it. (Maybe the guitarist is really into Cantor.)

    W/r/t the Flower Kings, I have to say, as a prog fan from way back, whenever you say that some neoprog band is as good as, some, you know, *actual* prog band, I simply can’t believe it. It’s like saying Joshua Redman is as good as Coltrane – it’s just not believable. If somebody likes prog but is tired of Yes and Genesis and King Crimson, my first impulse is not to send them to Porcupine Tree or whoever (although I do like PT), but to other ’70s bands like Heldon or Ashra or Franco Battiato or Jade Warrior. But then again I’ve never heard the Flower Kings. So maybe someday I will report back and say you were right all along.

  2. #2 Moopheus
    December 18, 2009

    Naftule’s Dream is one of my favorite bands! Them and Klezmer Madness–I could listen to David Krakauer more or less endlessly, though Glenn Dickson is no slouch on the clarinet. My wife, sadly, does not completely get my thing for klez, especially at the more avante-garde end of the spectrum.

  3. #3 Gilbert Bernstein
    December 19, 2009

    That clogs album, Lantern, is one of my all time favorites. Really, really great!

  4. #4 jayinbmore
    December 19, 2009

    If you like Isis you might check out Pelican. Similar sound but all instrumental.