ali helnwein - pterodactyl

Ali Helnwein: Pterodactyl (2017)

My first cassette review!  Supposedly this $25 Wikoo portable cassette player has Mega Bass™ and that weird warping noise I heard five minutes into “Side A” of Pterodactyl, the odds and ends compilation from composer Ali Helnwein was part of the charm!  I’m kidding (a little bit); I know there are much better cassette players out there that probably do this tape a lot more justice than my rinky-dink player is, but I can still see the nostalgic charm of the wonderful uniformity of the cassettes, and the music – regardless of media type or file size – is fantastic, a collection of unused film cues and smaller pieces that highlight the whimsical and intimate genius of Helnwein’s music.  Continue reading “Ali Helnwein: Pterodactyl (2017)”

alfonso lovo - la gigantona

Alfonso Lovo: La Gigantona (1976)

And so we come to the first album I own but have never listened to.  La Gigantona, an obscure album from Nicaraguan guitarist Alfonso Lovo was a blind buy, part of a binge of records from the Numero Group when they had a killer $5 sale on compact discs.  And I’m happy to report that the compilation is fantastic, offering a wide range of tracks from solo classical tracks to straight up funk explorations and extended latin jazz jams that cross the universe and back again.  All that plus a fat booklet of liner notes that flesh out the extraordinary life of Lovo and the music contained on the disc. Continue reading “Alfonso Lovo: La Gigantona (1976)”

alexi murdoch - time without consequence

Alexi Murdoch: Time Without Consequence (2006)

I’m guessing I picked up Time Without Consequence after seeing the film Away We Go with my wife.  Alexi Murdoch embodies that soft folk vibe Nick Drake chased throughout his career and became huge again thanks to that Volkswagen commercial.  So sure, Murdoch is part of a larger movement that for better or worse spearheaded a massive amount of wispy bearded men plucking acoustic guitars and getting record deals, but there’s still a few gems to be had from Time Without Consequence that  I can turn to without cringing.  Continue reading “Alexi Murdoch: Time Without Consequence (2006)”

Alcest: Écailles de lune (2010)

Considering how much I love music, the memories I can remember around the first time I heard something are few and far between.  Maybe it’s age, my poor addled brain taken up with too many other bits to properly remember where I was the first time I heard a band.  Point being, I can’t recall the exact moment I first heard Alcest, but I can recall the exact feeling I had, because it hits every time I put on Écailles de luneContinue reading “Alcest: Écailles de lune (2010)”

al green - the absolute best

Al Green: The Absolute Best (2004)

If there are better songs in the discography of Al Green I’m unaware of them.  That’s not because I think The Absolute Best, a 2-disc compilation ranging the entirety of Green’s stay with Willie Mitchell at Hi Records contains all that is the pinnacle of the man’s career.  It’s really (and sadly) because it’s the only music I have from Al Green and everything I’ve heard elsewhere can be found on this compilation. Continue reading “Al Green: The Absolute Best (2004)”

al di meola, john mclaughlin and paco de lucia - friday night in san francisco

Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin & Paco De Lucia: Friday Night in San Francisco (1981)

Oh man…almost 30 years since first hearing this and it sounds just as fresh, just as vibrant, just as alive as the first time I heard it.  Friday Night in San Francisco is more than just a live document of three guitar virtuosos at the top of their game; it’s a seminal work of music, astounding in its passion, technicality, and execution, and a high water mark for Al Di Meola, John McLaughin, and Paco De Lucia.  It’s bar none one of my favorite records of all time, and remains for me the apex of what you can do with a guitar, unadorned, armed with only your love of making music. Continue reading “Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin & Paco De Lucia: Friday Night in San Francisco (1981)”