Area — La Mela di Odessa
(Black Hole BH001/2, 1977/1998, 2CD)
by Steve Robey, Published 2000-05-01First off: to the best of my knowledge, this is a bootleg recording, of dubious legal origin, and the sound quality is marginal at best. If that scares you away, no need to read on further. Area fanatics, however, may be able to look past these shortcomings and successfully ingest this double CD taken from two Area concerts recorded in Italy in 1976 and 1977. The set lists from the two shows are nearly identical, and heavily feature tracks from their Maledetti album, which I've always felt was their most avant-garde, difficult outing (and unsurprisingly, one of my favorites). The song structure on these tracks ("Il Massacro di Brandenburgo Numero Tre en Sol Maggiore," "Gerontocrazia," "Scum," "Giro, Giro, Tondo") is quite abstract, even by Area's standards, and I believe the bootleg level sound fails to bring out the best in these already-weird pieces. The sets also contain older favorites like "Cometa Rossa," "La Mela di Odessa," and "Luglio, Agosto, Settembre," but as Area fans know, fine live recordings of these seminal works appear elsewhere on legit releases. If you listen carefully, the peculiar magic of Area's avant-jazzy instrumental attack and the heretofore unmatched skill of Demetrios Stratos's vocals are here in abundance, but this set is recommended to completists only.
Related artist(s): Area
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more