Monday, August 29, 2005

The Weekly, Volume Fourteen

Apologies for the length (short) and wit (lack of) in this week's entry. Haven't been feeling too creative over the last few days.

Album:
East/West (Bill Frisell)
It should not be a secret that Bill Frisell is perhaps my all-time favourite musician, so I was rather pleasantly surprised to walk into HMV last week and discover that this living human treasure had released a new two-disc live album, with tracks culled from performances in Los Angeles and New York (hence the album's title). The two discs also offer a contrast in styles: the LA set features Frisell plugged in and "loopy," whereas the NYC performance is made up mostly of standard tunes with just-the-other-side-of-standard arrangements. While both discs exemplify the guitarist's seemingly effortless mastery of his instrument and the interplay Frisell achieves with his bandmates, the "East" performances might be a little tame for some tastes. On the other hand, the interpretations of "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" and "Blues for Los Angeles" alone are worth the cost of the whole record.

Album #2:
In the Mood for Love ~ Soundtrack (various artists)
Another unsurprising pick, I suppose, since I definitely dig the film from which this music is compiled. The string ensemble pieces are haunting and the Nat King Cole tracks smooth as silk. However, what really makes this an interesting record is the inclusion of the film's various Chinese traditional and popular songs. The original (and in some cases quite old) recordings were used for many of these tracks, turning what might have been an ordinary soundtrack compilation into something of a ethnomusicological preserve.

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