Part two of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new or reissued wax presently in stores for August, 2016. Part one is here.
NEW RELEASE PICK: Ariana Delawari, Entelechy I & II (She King) The long-awaited second release from this socially engaged Afghan American multimedia artist (musician, film director, actress, photographer) offers an electronically based album in collaboration with Butchy Fuego and an accompanying disc of the same songs performed in tandem with tabla player Salar Nader. Impressive: Entelechy I’s rich warmth and lack of gimmickry, the non-quaint immediacy of its counterpart, the high standard of songwriting throughout, and the sturdy beauty of Delawari’s voice, particularly on Entelechy II. A
REISSUE PICK: Anthony Braxton, Three Compositions of New Jazz (Delmark) He debuted nine months prior on pianist Muhal Richard Abrams’ Levels and Degrees of Light (also for Delmark), but this ’68 LP was multi-instrumentalist Braxton’s first as “leader,” though that post-bop notion doesn’t really apply here; the thrill is in soaking up his unique vision from an early vantage point as Abrams, violinist Leroy Jenkins, and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith complete the group and everybody plays numerous instruments along the way. Braxton’s next one For Alto is an absolute beast, but this is still amazing. A
Aktion, Groove the Funk (PMG) The opening title track landed on the first volume of Wake Up You, the Now Again label’s superb pair of Nigerian rock retrospectives released earlier this summer, and this reissue of a ’75 LP originally on Clover Sound makes abundantly clear that Uchenna Ikonne didn’t just cherry pick the finest moment. The name on the sleeve provides an accurate description of Aktion’s modus operandi, but in their favor the contents aren’t overly slick and neither are they instrumental showoffs, instead maintaining a consistent ambiance with fuzz guitar and keyboard. B+
Atmosphere, Fishing Blues (Rhymesayers) Eight albums strong, the latest from rapper Slug and DJ-producer Ant is a whopping dose of cerebral but polished hip-hop, in fact a bit too polished; other than recurring explicitness the ride is quite accessible, and at nearly 70 minutes (and spread across six sides of vinyl) more than a little too long. However, the excessive length stops short of inflicting fatal damage; there are enough ideas, though many are derived from a string of guest appearances (DOOM, Kool Keith, Aesop Rock etc.), to keep this one afloat. B-