Miklos Rózsa arrived in Hollywood in 1940 after study in Leipzig and a stint in Paris where Arthur Honegger encouraged him to compose music for films. In California he found a strong community of expatriate composers including Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Korngold, and some of the finest instrumental soloists then active, including Heifetz, Rubinstein and Piatigorsky.
Although Jimmy Campbell's 1969 LP Son of Anastasia was his first full-length release, he'd been on the Liverpool rock scene since the mid-'60s as part of the Merseybeat band the Kirkbys, and then the more psychedelic outfit 23rd Turnoff. While Son of Anastasia contained a few songs he'd recorded in released and unreleased versions in the 23rd Turnoff days in 1967, it was a marked change in direction for Campbell, in his style if not his songwriting. For Son of Anastasia is largely a folky, acoustic album, occasionally venturing into orchestrated folk-pop, even if Campbell is more a pop/rock songwriter than a folk one. Campbell's slightly moody yet catchy melodies, as well as his drolly understated lyrics, mark him as perhaps the best '60s Liverpool rock songwriter never to have a chart record; his likably fragile voice can sound like a cross between Robin Gibb and Cat Stevens, with perhaps a pinch of post-'60s Marianne Faithfull scratchiness.
This release by Russian-Finnish pianist Anastasia Injushina and the Hamburger Camerata under Ralf Gothóni doesn't fit into any of the usual pigeonholes, and it thus has a fresh, bracing quality. Injushina plays a modern piano, but she neither gives it a consistent, harpsichord-like sound nor plays the music with the full capabilities of the modern piano in mind. Gothóni likewise his small group of Hamburgers in accompaniments that are neither Baroque nor modern. What this enables the musicians to do is depict with uncommon accuracy the musical commonalities and differences among J.S. Bach and his sons.
If you were wondering why Slash, one of the greatest guitarists of his generation, chose to throw in his lot with Myles Kennedy, one of the greatly undistinguished hard rock vocalists of his generation, consider this: if you spent your life battling temperaments like Axl Rose and Scott Weiland, you'd choose somebody who's easy to get along with too. Touring and playing with Kennedy clearly is easier on Slash's soul, and the music on Apocalyptic Love, his second solo album and first to feature Myles on vocals throughout, reflects this ease. It may be hard and heavy but it sounds relaxed, Slash and company doing the music they do best: namely, L.A. sleaze rock basics, thickly layered with guitars. There are absolutely no surprises here – it opens with a cascade of wah-wahs and quickly settles into grinding boogie derived from Aerosmith – but unlike either Slash's Snakepit or the 2010 Slash, Apocalyptic Love never tries too hard, so it winds up satisfying on its own limited scale.
Orchestra Nazionale della Luna has quickly become one of the most important orchestras on the Moon. Its diverse and highly original repertoire, as well as its inventive and energetic way of playing are fascinating lunatics and jazz lovers all over the universe.