The worst CD of any genre I've ever heard. What is it? Why is it? People pay money for this? Even drugged-up you'd complain to turn it off!
Kline (b. 1953) makes almost unimaginable sounds with orchestras consisting of dozens or even hundreds of boombox tape players. Massive waves of sliding tone clusters, voices and bells inhabit "The Holy City of Ashtabula" and the circle of fifths extends into infinity in the ominous "Premonition." "Chant" uses a dozen tape loops and a Robert Plant riff to emulate the sound world of Steve Reich's "It's Gonna Rain" gone mad in live performance, while the harmonica-crazed "Bachman's Warbler" is simply one of the 1990s post-minimalist classics.
Proving that 2002's appropriately titled Return of a Legend was no one-off fluke, semi-legendary Chicago guitarist Jody Williams cements his comeback with this invigorating follow-up. Producer Dick Shurman, who worked on the previous disc, frames Williams' expressive voice and clean, jazzy guitar in a subtle, frills-free environment that brings out his best. The album's 13 originals (and one Sam Cooke cover) showcase Williams' talents as a fluid, understated, yet soulful guitarist; witty songwriter; and, more importantly, a singer of surprising passion. Esteemed horn arranger Willie Henderson also returns from the last album to add his arrangements to four tracks, highlighted by the simmering, staccato touches on a remake of Williams' "Hideout," originally recorded in 1962. Part Freddie King's "Hideaway," part Earl King's "Come On," it's an accurate, updated example of Williams' six-string prowess. Although the majority of the tracks are straightforward Chicago shuffles and slow blues, the guitarist infuses his upbeat personality to the proceedings, which makes the album so consistently refreshing.
With Lights in the Dark, Hector Zazou set out to create accessible versions of the ominous, sacred music of Ireland. Utilizing a talented cast of vocalists, Breda Mayock, Katie McMahon, and Lasairfhiona Ni Chonaola, Zazou keeps the music relatively quiet. Shimmering bells, plaintive flutes, and Mark Isham's mournful trumpet serve mostly as background noises to the passionate, female vocals. There are moments of great power, such as "Song of the Passion" and "In the Name of the Father May We Gain Victory," and other songs where there's just a few too many hallelujahs for most modern listeners. The title of the album is telling.