Known Johnson

January 22, 2007

Overlooked Alternatives: Exploding Star Orchestra, Sonny Rollins, The Shins

Filed under: Music,News,Overlooked Alternatives — Tom @ 9:55 pm

Exploding Star Orchestra – We Are All From Somewhere Else: This one is just intriguing as hell: Tortoise band-member Rob Mazurek heads up a big ensemble of avant-garde musicians attempting to tell a musical story about . . . you know what? I’m just going to lift some text right off the Thrill Jockey site for this one because I can’t even begin to make sense of this:

We Are All From Somewhere Else is comprised of 3 distinct sections, and corresponds to a story involving an exploding star, cosmic transformation, a sting ray, the travels of the sting ray, intelligent conversations with electric eels, the destructive power of humans, the death and ascension of sting ray, the transformation of sting ray ghost to flying bird, and the transformation of bird to phoenix to rocket to flying burning matter to a new-born star.

Mmm-hmm. Well, whatever it means, it sounds damned interesting because among the many instruments and sound-makers for this one is the sound of electric eels. Not that electric eels themselves make it interesting, but the fact that someone was creative enough to make electric eels musical – THAT is interesting.

Sonny Rollins – Sonny, Please: Well, now we can find out what the hubbub is all about – it’s already been nominated for a Grammy (since it was technically available on Rollins’ website until now, but at a ridiculously high price.) I’m sure it’s a good album – this is Rollins we’re talking about, afterall, the Saxophone Colossus, but I still have a hard time thinking that it beat out the many other really wonderful releases last year.

The Shins – Wincing The Night Away: Come on – it’ll change your life! Blessing or curse Garden State may have been, one thing’s for sure: The Shins are on everyone’s minds lately. And why not? It’s only taken them some 3+ years to turn out this third album, a move that is almost career suicide for most bands. Will it live up to the hype? No – most fans seem to have already decided that if it doesn’t immediately provide the hooks and choruses that Chutes Too Narrow did for them, the band has obviously lost it, and that’s too bad because this album is a much more mature glimpse into the band’s psyche, and therefore it’s a much more slow-grower than their previous two albums. Maybe not as immediately satisfying, but it seems to work on a deeper, different level. Give it some time, that’s all I ask.

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