Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 34

When putting this Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 34 together we have become very aware that the year is starting to come to a close.  The releases have become fast and furious, and while we can cover them all, we still want to maintain a great mix of albums.  This Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode is definitely accomplishing that!  We start with a post humous record from a country-island legend who leaves a marvelous musical bookend!  We dip into stoner fuzz from Japan for a great rock ride, and we finish it up with an instrumentalist of extraordinary talent that we’ve mentioned in our Unknown Sundays Archives whose latest record is a remarkable challenge and unique addition to its growing catalog.  So, music multiverse listeners, shall we?!

 

Here’s the link to our YouTube Show (Version)
[Watch! Get 3 additional album reviews + discussion from panelists on Jimmy Buffett album]

 

Jimmy BuffettEqual Strain On All Parts

When we did our “Thank You Forever – Jimmy Buffett” show, we knew there was an album in the works at some point, but in our sadness and devotion to producing the show and doing the best we could on short notice, we really didn’t come to grips with what that record might be like.  When we saw its release and the album cover, we were fairly certain it was probably going to be right in the casual wheelhouse.  That assumption proved to be slightly wrong, and in a very good way!

Equal Strain On All Parts is an astounding bookend (if it is to become the last studio album).  From the minute the album begins, featuring The Preservation Hall Jazz Band from the small mystical cataclysm of music creativity of New Orleans (where I truly believe Mr Buffett really learned to mold and blend his craft), the listener should be very aware there is no going through the usual moments here.  While he still definitely taking you around the stories of his life and or others he had been in contact with, he is really taking great care in the song writing to place you within his age and appreciation for everything he’s experienced in his life and career.  It’s just so present and so cool.  ‘University of Bourbon Street’ he’s basically busting ass and busking everywhere, ‘Bubbles Up’ is a toasting to life and all it’s pursuits coming from the diving term (which is just really freakin’ clever), ‘Audience of One’ that leaves the positivity of knowing what you do you have to love and appreciate.  And that we all do, Mr Buffett!  We really do!

There is something for every kind of Buffett fan, musical genre attachment, and some great surprise guests like Paul McCartney playing bass on a song that was actually originally conceived in his presence about a certain weed “gummie” that started to kick in on McCartney’s wife (apparently).  You just can’t help falling in love with his song-writing here, as it’s truly the best he’s had in quiet some time on a full album, and this is album number thirty-two!  While the musicianship is not tackling anything new or trying to reinvent the country-rock-island wheel, it is played pure and beautiful in each track and showcases the lyrics and undertones within from the start to the brilliant finish with Emmylou Harris.  This record will certainly be one we will reach for, possibly over the greatest hits, so you can really understand how great this album is within the career.  The only shame here is that Parrot Heads will not get to experience these songs live from the legend who left them to us.  Ear buds up!

The Band

  • Jimmy Buffet – Vocals, guitar
  • The Coral Reefer Band – instrumentation
  • The Preservation Hall Jazz Band
  • Paul McCartney – bass guitar on “My Gummie Just Kicked In”
  • Emmylou Harris – vocals on “Mozambique”
  • Angelique Kidjo – vocals on “Ti Punch Cafe”

Equal Strain On All Parts Tracklisting

  1. University Of Bourbon Street (feat. Preservation Hall Jazz Band)
  2. Bubbles Up
  3. Audience Of One
  4. My Gummie Just Kicked In
  5. Close Calls
  6. Equal Strain On All Parts
  7. Like My Dog
  8. Ti Punch Cafe (feat. Angélique Kidjo)
  9. Portugal Or PEI (feat. Lennie Gallant)
  10. Nobody Works On Friday
  11. Fish Porn
  12. Johnny’s Rhum
  13. Columbus
  14. Mozambique (feat. Emmylou Harris)

 

BahboonThunder Ape

Music is just so damn worldly now, and that’s an enormous thing!  Speaking of enormous, let’s talk about the listening experience on the latest from Bahboon, Thunder Ape.  This Japanese, basically four piece, although there are keyboards in the mix as well her, is aggressively pushing their guitar fuzz will on all sides and all angels!  From the opener’s appropriately titled ‘Rampage’ we are thrown powerfully into thunderous fuzz guitar against equally ferocious riffs.  The treatment is not only a great opener, attention grabber, it is positive assurance that the band knows exactly what it’s doing, and you’re going to get swung into this like Mowgli (Jungle Book).  Awesome and slightly unpredictable!

When the vocal arrives, I’m slightly surprised that it seems to be produced along the same volume as the guitar fuzz track(s), but as I’m listening I am definitely surprised by it being dominant enough to ride along side.  I liken the vocal to a subdued, consistent Ozzy Osborne.  It’s obvious that the vocal is not the epicenter, but it does move fearlessly when called upon, and it does the overall record and band big justice in my ear.  When the band is in the instrumental side, it’s truly a great stoner rock experience with an element of proto-metal and progressive rock nature, especially on the all instrumental ‘Briefed.’

The record is concise in it’s timing, and not overly repetitious while maintaining its dominance, which is really the sign of experience (although this is only my second album I have ever heard from them).  The mix feels like Black Sabbath and Monster Magnet, as it has all the markings of that stoner, fuzz and hints of doom, while giving you broken down spacey applications as well from the band’s considerable tightness and the addition of that M5 keyboard.  There is a lot of meat on the Bahboon bone, and is definitely one of October’s standouts in the genre.  I can’t wait to hear what might come next!

The Band

  • Shohey Suyama – Vocal, guitar
  • Masaki Takai – Guitar
  • Yasuhiro Shimizu – Bass
  • Jun Saito – Drums
  • Iroha – Keyboard

Thunder Ape Tracklisting

  1. Rampage
  2. Thunder Ape
  3. Cosmic Drive
  4. Briefed
  5. Pillar Man In The Sun
  6. Growler

 

 

 

HauschkaPhilanthropy

When it comes to experimental instrumentalists that truly push the envelope of modern classical and minimalism, while maintaining a true connection to the classical arrangement, Hauschka (Voelker Bertelmann), who recently one an Oscar for the original score to All Quiet On the Western Front, makes another marvelous statement in a genre where he might be the ultimate maestro in.  While it caught me off guard at the beginning with it’s almost playful Alexandre Desplat tone, Philanthropy does leave a distinct mark and add to the incredible, deep compositions that thrive in his electronica meets classical piano world, Hauschka.

The sparse piano and almost playful optimism plays out in the first part of the record, but the album is building, and you can feel it (especially if you have heard works prior) ready to engulf and engage the listener further and further with each track, as the titles begin to take musical shape.  All the elements and dimension of Hauschka that have always driven me to love putting these types of albums on start to become more noticeable, rising within the once playful tones.  This is where the non soundtrack-ian soundtrack work and musicianship kicks in, if you can understand where I’m coming from, considering he is a soundtrack composer.  The ability to convey so much, and deliver it with the start and simple element of a piano, and then gradually incorporate so much more with electronics, and this in and out of Cello playing varieties (plucked, played and maybe even tortured), it really becomes a behemoth of a recording even in considerable minimalistic arrangements.  The additional composition of Samuli Kosminen, Finnish drummer and composer really picks up the pace, too, and you start to feel the rhythm of it, especially on ‘Altruism.’

When it comes to the final track, ‘Noise,’ you are taken back to the ambient side, which is fitting and formidable in what appears to be reflection over what has possibly transpired or left in the wake of this Philanthropy (or really the titles that have come before it).  I could be completely wrong, too, but it’s my interpretation of it.  Supposedly, ‘Noise’ was left behind from the All Quiet On the Western Front soundtrack (which I can hear for sure), but the placement at the end here is fitting closure to another remarkable album in a catalog that could very well be one of kind.  I always highly recommend the catalog, if you are truly looking for a modern classical approach to instrumental with gorgeous, meaningful texture added by clever composed ambient.

The Band

  • Hauschka – Primary Artist (Voelker Bertelmann) piano, composer
  • Samuli Kosminen – Drums,electronics, additional composer
  • Laura Wiek – Cello

Philanthropy Tracklisting

  1. Diversity
  2. Searching
  3. Inventions
  4. Detached
  5. Limitation of Lifetime
  6. Nature
  7. Science
  8. Loved Ones
  9. Generosity
  10. Magnanimity
  11. Altruism
  12. Noise
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