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Daniel Elms, Islandia | The Vinyl Anachronist

by Marc Phillips in The Vinyl Anachronist

The new album from British composer Daniel Elms, Islandia, takes its name from an Austen Tappen Wright’s utopian novel, and includes five separate pieces that evoke both folk traditions and some of the repetitive yet hypnotic phrasing from minimalist composers of the late 20th century. Elms uses a distinct ensemble for each composition, and at any given moment you might hear a string quartet, or synthesizers, or a horn section, or voices. You might even hear Elms playing an electric [...]

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The Vinyl Anachronist

  • While researching the Ian Wardenski Quintet and their new album, Collective Thoughts, I came across a curious news article titled “Prof Takes Break, Works on Recording His Music.” This was from the Anne Arundel Community College’s [...]
  • Singer and guitarist Billy Brandt‘s new album, City Noir, sounds almost exactly as you might expect from the title. Brandt, who hails from Seattle, has filled these tributes to film noir with rain, slick streets and a steady palette of grays [...]
  • Just last year I picked David Hillyard and the Rocksteady Seven‘s The Giver as my favorite album of 2018. This LP released by ORG Music introduced me to a completely new genre, rocksteady, which was the bridge between ska and reggae back in [...]
  • There’s an obvious connection between the Tierney Sutton Band and Hollywood–Clint Eastwood used the quintet in the soundtrack for the 2016 film Sully. ScreenPlay seems to be the beginning of a comprehensive project where singer/arranger [...]
  • It only takes a few seconds of listening to pianist Ernest Turner before you realize he has it, that feeling you get in the world of jazz that’s known as “the truth.” That’s Turner’s mantra, according to the liner [...]
  • Judy Wexler, Judy Wexler. Where do I know that name? Turns out we’ve been friends on Facebook for quite a long time, a mutual friend of both audiophiles, audio reviewers and other musicians/performers, people most of you know, too. [...]
  • Beata Pater, Tet | The Vinyl Anachronist

    July 6, 2019 // 1 Comment

    There’s a huge pile of recordings of female vocalists on the coffee table in my listening room right now, and Beata Pater‘s Tet has been sitting there for months, unnoticed. That was a mistake since this Polish-born singer, also a [...]
  • 1969 was a hell of a year, something’s that quite obvious from all of the 50th anniversary celebrations going on right now. What you probably didn’t realize is that 2019 is also the 50th anniversary of Stax Records’ Soul Explosion, [...]
  • The Matt Skellenger Group sounds like no other jazz ensemble I’ve heard, and for a couple of reasons. First, the choice of instruments here is truly novel, which gives this music an otherworldly feel that’s truly exhilarating. Bassist [...]
  • What kind of music do you play when you’re looking for a little romance? When I was much younger, my choice was usually The Beatles because if you didn’t like them, well, there’s the door. This just isn’t going to work out. [...]
  • “The first time I heard Shirley Horn sing, I fell in love with her groove and her elegance…I always carry her sound in my heart.” Coniece Washington is one of those jazz singers who can channel the spirit of many who came before [...]
  • Blues guitarist and singer Ric Harris has one of those gruff, weather-beaten voices that exemplify the genre. He sounds like he’s been on the road forever and a day, and that it probably takes him a long time to wake up in the morning because [...]
  • Joanna Duda, Keen | The Vinyl Anachronist

    June 25, 2019 // 1 Comment

    Pianist Joanna Duda’s Keen (CD on Amazon) is described as “an electro-acoustic collage composed of long-maturing layers of prepared acoustics,” and that might prepare you somewhat for the sounds you are about to hear. I went in [...]
  • There’s a common theme among the last few jazz reviews I’ve written, and that’s geography–Peter Lin‘s Taiwan, Tuomo Uusitalo’s Finland, Marton Juhasz’s Hungary and Aikra Tana’s Japan. Guitarist Luca di [...]
  • “Before recording the music, the eight musicians on the record spent a year rehearsing and playing together under the tutelage of some of the most respected names in jazz.” I read that sentence on the liner notes of drummer/composer [...]
  • Over the last couple of weeks I’ve listened to a lot of jazz that employs folk music from other cultures, most notably Peter Lin’s New Age Old Ways which borrows themes from Lin’s Taiwanese heritage to bring another compelling [...]
  • I’ve tackled the issue of bassist/leaders in jazz before, something that can be expanded to include drummers as well. My idea is that a leader who comes from the rhythm section pays more attention to the creation of foundations and [...]
  • If music is the universal language of mankind, then jazz is especially cogent since so many musicians from so many other countries are mesmerized by it–enough to devote their lives to this American art form. I’m particularly attracted to [...]
  • “All the world’s a stage.” The blending of jazz and William Shakespeare’s prose seems both logical and a little daft, especially when you think of all those cool jazz tropes that are based on a looseness, a casual demeanor [...]
  • Trombonist Peter Lin seems to have his finger on the pulse of a jazz from a certain time, not so much the late ’50s as the early ’60s. He’s more Impulse! than Blue Note, less exploratory and more celebratory of the fences that have [...]


  • Thin White Rope LP Remasters

    March 24, 2019 // 1 Comment

    Thin White Rope As an expatriate of the People’s Republic of Davis, CA [1984-1993], I must first acknowledge the appearance, at least, of a conflict of interest in [...]
  • “You’ve never heard of Haruomi Hosono?” With every music review I write, I try to learn something new. It can be anything–something about the artist, something [...]
  • Newvelle Records | The Deep End

    December 14, 2018 // 1 Comment

    If you’re a music lover who is older than 35 or 40, you’ve probably joined the Columbia House Record Club at some point in your life. I joined for the first time back in [...]
  • by Paul Ashby It’s okay to feel nostalgia for the period that produced the Beatles’ White Album. (isn’t it?) Or maybe I’m searching for a word other [...]
  • Eniid and the Timeless Music of Joni Mitchell

    October 27, 2018 // 1 Comment

    by Angel Haggar I first met singer-songwriter Eniid Goodman four years ago at the “Writing a Song That Matters with Dar Williams” songwriter’s retreat in Garrison, NY. [...]

Joe Surdna’s Monthly Spins

  • Monthly Spins: June 2019

    June 30, 2019 // 2 Comments

    I guess you could call my quest for new music an obsession. I’ve had it since I was ten and often feel transported outside of myself by certain albums. It is a never ending [...]
  • Monthly Spins: May 2019

    May 26, 2019 // 2 Comments

    An extraordinary month for new releases. I’d be more honest if I said all of these are my favorites of the month, because I’ve played each of them many times, often with [...]
  • Monthly Spins: April 2019

    April 15, 2019 // 0 Comments

    Finally winter leaves us. I did enjoy one epic day of shoveling and I stayed up late one night to watch when a storm began coming down. I like the way snow obliterates and [...]
  • Monthly Spins: March 2019

    March 23, 2019 // 1 Comment

    The in-between month with a steady bunch of tasty releases. I’m hearing all these Trout Mask Replica influences and this is a welcome development. Perhaps we’ll agree, or [...]
  • Monthly Spins: February 2019

    February 24, 2019 // 1 Comment

    Lots of late December and January stuff and some from Feb. The reissues are especially noteworthy this month. I hope you discover something that moves you. Please leave [...]
  • Monthly Spins: January 2019

    January 28, 2019 // 0 Comments

    Another year dissolves and we find ourselves delving deep into late November and December releases, as well as a few I just discovered. New Year’s resolutions include [...]
  • Monthly Spins Best Of 2018

    Best Albums of 2018 | Monthly Spins

    December 31, 2018 // 2 Comments

    I would be lying if I said that the order these albums are in has nothing to do with how many dalmes I played each one. It’s a strange year in music. Take a look at [...]
  • Monthly Spins: December 2018

    December 8, 2018 // 0 Comments

    Music The Glands: The Glands File Under: Athens Indie rock reissues Released a couple of weeks ago this self-titled album is originally from 2000 and finds a fully-formed [...]
  • Monthly Spins: November 2018

    November 22, 2018 // 0 Comments

    Music Harmony Rockets with Special Guest Peter Walker: Lachesis / Clotho / Atropos File Under: psyche, American raga Peter Walker has been playing guitar for 70 years, is a [...]
  • Monthly Spins: October 2018

    October 21, 2018 // 1 Comment

    New Stuff September dissolved so quickly it feels like only last week that I turned in the last column. I’m grateful that I have this digital gig in order to concentrate my [...]
  • Monthly Spins: September 2018

    September 9, 2018 // 1 Comment

    Hamish Kilgour: Finkelstein File Under: barn owls, pudding and other tidbits Of course I’m kidding about this album being all about various puddings. Remember The Clean? [...]
  • Monthly Spins: August

    August 12, 2018 // 4 Comments

    July slipped by rather quickly and here we are with a new edition of Monthly Spins for August 2018. A rather light month compared to those recently. Still, a great deal of [...]
  • Monthly Spins: July

    July 8, 2018 // 2 Comments

    A lot of rock this month, in various forms. I have to admit that finding new music each month has been something of a relief, given the relentless onslaught of obfuscation [...]
  • Monthly Spins: June

    June 2, 2018 // 3 Comments

    by Joe Surdna Quite a list for June. There is just so much amazing new music being made and recorded that it really makes me grateful because I can concentrate on listening [...]
  • Monthly Spins: May

    May 5, 2018 // 13 Comments

    I want to thank Scot for bringing me onboard after having written for Audiostream for a year and a half. I have a simple set-up with a pair of AudioQuest Nightowl headphones [...]
  • Cecil Taylor Silent Tongues
  • Monthly Spins Best Of 2018