The last rites were read, the coffin was lowered deep, and a legend was buried eight years ago. In 2005, that very legend smashed open its grave and stormed back out. Morgana Lefay finally surface again with heaving might and a fist to the teeth (with the proper name, full line-up and the legal rights etc). Musically, it is as usual very difficult to describe as these boys don't follow any prescriptions and pretty much play their own style. It is really a surreal album that manages to keep your interest from beginning to end.
In his 90th year, Elliott Carter is doing something few nonagenarians ever do: he's premiering a striking new string quartet, his fifth. And it's an awe-inspiring piece. The Arditti String Quartet takes up the short phrases that run with and then against one another with sureness, plucking and scraping and making their bows sing. They then delve into each of the five interludes that interrogate the quartet's six sections and play through the disparate splinters of tone and flushes of midrange color as if they were perfectly logical developments. Which they're not. Carter has again brilliantly scripted a chatter of stringed voices–à la the second quartet–that converse quickly, sometimes mournfully, but never straightforwardly. This complexity of conversation is a constant for Carter, coming sharply to light in "90+" and then in Rohan de Saram and Ursula Oppens's heaving read of the 1948 Sonata for Cello and Piano, as well as in virtually all these pieces. This is a monumental recording, extending the documented work of a lamentably underappreciated American composer.
Heart was pretty much considered washed up when they released Heart in 1985. They learned a few important things while they had taken a short sabbatical – they knew that hooks were important and they knew they could play up their looks for MTV. So, they delivered both with Heart, giving their audience anthemic hooks and tightly corseted bosoms, leading to the most popular album they ever had. This doesn't mean it's the best, since its calculated mainstream bent may disarm some long-term fans, but it is true that they do this better than many of their peers, not just because they have good polished material from professional songwriters but because they can deliver this material professionally themselves…
American eccentric Scott Walker's latest collection of scary stories to sing in the dark is technically a collaboration with the sludgiest band on the planet, but it plays like any of his recent solo albums: flighty, operatic melodies, minimalist circles of percussion, and brittle stabs of noise. SunnO))), the cloaked duo known for foundation-rattling electric guitar drones, provides triumphant punctuation and proper atmosphere, covering his compositions with a layer of tar. With humming menace comes tracks like "Brando" and "Herod 2014," which have the blood-in-the-desert vibe of Cormac McCarthy, with shockingly vivid lyrics ("the nurseries and crèches are heaving with lush lice") and snapping bullwhip from circus performer Peter Gamble. This teaming of a gifted poet and bruising metalheads is like Lou Reed and Metallica's Lulu – but about half as long, and about twice as heavy.