Monthly Archives: April 2007

365 Days, 365 Files: DJ Krush featuring Angelina Esparza – Alepheuo (Truthspeaking)

Shinsou ~Message from the Depth~ is perhaps DJ Krush’s angriest album. Created in the wake of 9/11 and the beginning of the Iraq War, Shinsou makes its agitation and nervousness known from the start.

But it’s "Alepheuo (Truthspeaking)" that delivers the album’s most explicit criticism of US foreign policy. "Cause we don’t clean up our own shit/And when refused we throw a fit/As we scream I don-wanna-hear-it I don-wanna-hear-it’/Don-wanna-hear-it" sings Angelina Esparza, who makes her debut on the song. She really captures the petulance of the Bush administration with those lines.

"Alepheuo" doesn’t disguise its radio friendliness, and the CD included a video of the song. It’s probably not the most adventurous track on Shinsou, but the lyrics had a message that needed a pop hook to go with them.

[File expired.]

365 Days, 365 Files: DJ Krush featuring ACO, Twigy – Tragicomic

On both Dragon Ash’s "Grateful Days" and DJ Krush’s "Tragicomic", ACO plays the same role — deliver the chorus. Once in a while, she’ll contribute a flourish behind the rappers, but for the most part, she stays out of the way till the focus needs to be on her.

And that was a wise decision on both Krush’s and Dragon Ash’s parts.

ACO’s soulful voice would have drawn too much attention away from the rhymes, making them a distraction. Her presence becomes all that more powerful when she does emerge from the background.

On "Tragicomic", Twigy is the interchangeable part — anyone could fill the role of the rapper. But Krush’s dark backdrop and ACO’s eerie interjections — she looks possessed in the video — are immovable. This song was released as a single in Japan and appears on the compilation Japan for Sale.

[File expired.]

365 Days, 365 Files: Dead Can Dance – Song of the Dispossessed

According to, my friend Ryan and I have a "Very Low" musical compatibility score. Back when we were editors at the University of Hawaiʻi student newspaper, we would also try to "out-exotic" each other when it came to monopolizing the office stereo.

As divergent as our music tastes are, a few things from his music collection seeped into my own. It took me a few years to come around to Björk’s Post, which he would have on all the time. I wouldn’t have really considered Pizzicato Five’s Made in USA without Ryan’s help. But the one album that really struck me was Dead Can Dance’s Spiritchaser.

I would play that disc quite a bit when we were in the office, and when I moved to Austin, I snatched up a used copy of the album the moment I saw one available. It’s the only Dead Can Dance album I own, and I’m told it’s not even their best one. Perhaps I’ll delve more into their work in the future, but for now, I’m content with what I have.

[File expired.]

James William Hindle: Town Feeling

There are too many gay folk musicians. One listen to the Rainbow World Radio November 2006 Top 40 Show is all it takes to realize that.

James William Hindle is a British queer folkie. Does the world really need another, British or otherwise? If his third album Town Feeling is any indication, the answer is yes.

Two things set Hindle apart — good songwriting and a grizzled voice. Hindle’s music is actually more country than folk, with pedal steel guitars and brushed snares setting the sonic backdrop.

You can picture the clichéd tumbleweeds tossing in the wind on "Birthday Candle", while the finger-picking on "Love You More" and "Sleeping Still" is far more rural than what Garrin Benfield or Dudley Saunders offer. The waltz meter of "Dog and Boy" is pure country, as are the twangy guitars on "Dark is Coming".

Continue reading »

Steve Reich: Phases (A Nonesuch Retrospective)

Five discs of Steve Reich works for roughly $40 comes out to $8 per disc. That alone is reason enough to get the "specially-priced" boxed set Phases: A Nonesuch Retrospective.

Sure, you could squabble over what was included or excluded — no Clapping Music? — but Nonesuch had already released a comprehensive set of Reich recordings in 2005. The composer celebrated his 70th birthday in 2006, and the label compiled Phases to commemorate the occasion. It serves more as an introduction to the composer for new listeners, and for the bargain-minded, it’s a real deal.

I’ve admired Reich for years, and I own some of the recordings included in Phases. But I can’t say I’ve explored his works as thoroughly as I would have liked. This set gave me the opportunity to fill in some gaps.

Continue reading »