Crystal Jacqueline — Rainflower
(Mega Dodo DODOCD 8 / DODOLP 8, 2015, CD/LP)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2015-07-08
Each new release from Crystal Jacqueline shows an artist who continues to grow and mature. And it has been a joy to witness this through her various Fruits de Mer and Mega Dodo albums. This May saw the release of Jacqueline’s latest solo effort, Rainflower. I first thought "rainflower" was a made-up psychedelic flower-power word, but in fact a rainflower is a tropical plant in the Amaryllis family, AKA fairy lily or magic lily, an apropos name for this new album of gothic / psych / acid folk music. Jacqueline’s fellow Honey Pot band mate Icarus Peel once again wrote and produced this new solo album. The songs are darker and stronger, and there is a subtle theme here as four of the eleven songs refer to flowers: “Water Hyacinth,” “Daisy Chain,” “Strange Bloom,” and the title track. These songs also tie into an overall blissful bucolic psychedelic ambiance finding roots in Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma and More. Icarus Peel does not really capture David Gilmour, but the feeling is there. The stand-out songs for me are the ghostly and mysterious “Dress of White Lace,” where Jacqueline’s voice is more like an added layer of instrumentation; “Daisy Chain,” that is one of the upbeat songs with some tasteful sitar lending a raga rock flavor; Jacqueline’s beautiful reinterpretation of the classic “Grantchester Meadows” that appeared on Fruits de Mer’s 2014 Pink Floyd tribute A Momentary Lapse of Vinyl; “Rainflower”; and the closer “Again… Dragonfly” evoking comparison’s to Amon Düül II’s “Surrounded by the Stars.” Quite an excellent release.
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
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more