Manooghi Hi — Manooghi Hi
((Not on label) no#, 2009, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2010-07-01Full disclosure: the members of this band are friends of mine. So it's fortunate I can honestly and wholeheartedly say it's a great CD. If I didn't think so, I'd probably keep quiet about it. Anyway... There have been many East-West fusions over the decades since the Beatles and others first introduced rock audiences to the possibilities of combining Middle Eastern or Indian music with rock, but none of them quite like this one. By a series of steps too complicated to go into here, Indian pop singer Mehnaz Hoosein ended up visiting Seattle, where she teamed up with a group of veterans of the local rock scene. Their one-off performance went so well that they ended up recording a full album. The resulting music is at times pretty heavy rock, dreamy fantasy, clever comedy, catchy grooves, and melodic invention, all delivered with a casual virtuosity borne of years of experience. Lyrics switch between various languages, featuring Mehnaz in the lead role but with three of the others providing solid backup, including some powerful group arrangements. Part of the strong appeal of the album lies in its variety, its refusal to simply fulfill expectations. You might expect rock music with tablas and exotic scales, but here those are tempered with all sorts of other sounds like proggy keyboards, string arrangements, funky bass, and complex chord progressions. Add to that the sparkling production and you have one of the year's outstanding releases.
Related artist(s): Manooghi Hi
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
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