As his starting point for a brand new recording of the music from the polychoral Renaissance and the “monumental Baroque”, with Alessandro Striggio’s 40 and 60-part Missa sopra Ecco sì beato giorno leading the way, Hervé Niquet turns to the musical celebrations for a feast day occasion in the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence in honour of St John the Baptist, adding a trio of works by Orazio Benevoli, another specialist in multi-parted choral works, and Striggio’s motet Ecce beatem lucem, also scored for 40 voices.
There are a number of arguments to be made for and against Maria Muldaur's 2008 antiwar statement Yes We Can! on Telarc (before actually listening to it; remember, we live in a cynical culture). The "perceived" negatives all relate to the intent of the recording and who it's supposed to reach (no doubt an expression of the same set of beliefs rooted in Muldaur's 1960s music), and the fact that it's loaded with guests (in all fairness, these star-studded affairs seldom work). On Yes We Can!, her guests include Muldaur's old friends (Joan Baez, Bonnie Raitt, Phoebe Snow, Jane Fonda, and Holly Near) and influences (Odetta) and new pals (writers/spiritual gurus Anne Lamott and Marianne Williamson, and Indian spiritual teacher Amma). Does it read as if it is yet another exercise in self-referential backslapping? Yep. But don't believe everything you read on the back of a CD jacket. The positives are all musical.
Guided By Voices’ August By Cake is the one hundredth studio album that Robert Pollard has released since 1986’s Forever Since Breakfast. To put that in perspective, Bob Dylan has released roughly thirty nine studio albums since 1959. And that includes the Traveling Wilburys. This is a highly anticipated record, which includes the new line-up (returning GBV veterans Doug Gillard and Kevin March, virgins Bobby Bare Jr and Mark Shue) that has been wowing audience in clubs and festivals throughout 2016. It’s the most musically adept and versatile line-up Pollard has ever assembled.
This vocal quartet originally started life as an extension of jazz band the Hi-Lo’s. From that prominent '50s band came Don Shelton, who decided to form Singers Unlimited after the Hi-Lo’s broke up in 1964. After retreating to Chicago, Illinois, where he worked on a series of television commercials, he enlisted fellow Hi-Lo’s veteran Gene Puerling of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to join him in the city in 1967. The group was formed along with Len Dresslar and Bonnie Herman, with the express intention of recording commercials in the doo wop/vocal group idiom. Shelton’s connections in the industry ensured the group was able to exploit the market successfully, and lucrative work rolled in. However, the 30-second snatches of songs hardly satisfied their artistic ambitions, and when they found themselves with studio time left over after one session, they recorded a take on the Beatles' "The Fool on the Hill." Through visiting jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, the demo of the a cappella recording was passed to MPS Records in Germany.
Voices is a deep and engaging album from an e-music legend, Vangelis. This CD predates his regular use of symphony orchestras to augment his synths. His synths are, however, very symphonic. He creates broad atmospheres and dramatic soundscapes with synth hooks, chant vocals, and samples. Vangelis also adds some experimental textures and smooth melodies to cap his soundscapes. This is an exciting CD. Vangelis is in a league with few peers. In terms of stature and emotional response, this disc will appeal to fans of Enya and Yanni.