One of the tasks I’ve laid out for myself is to write about more world music this year. (Well, really write about more music in general, but I read somewhere you should set small tasks and move on to big ones.) I listened to two records that have possibilities. The first was one I asked for, The Rough Guide to Senegal. It’s one of those records that really shouldn’t work – jumps around from style to style, doesn’t really cohere as a record per se, but the tracks are strong. I can see going at least a high HM. The second record, which I played as a lark, pissed me off because it began by knocking me out – a world music fusion group called Monoswezi. If I remember correctly from the notes, they combine Scandinavian jazz and Zimbabwe folk music influences – the leaders of the band are a white saxophone player and a black African lead vocalist (female) who also plays mbira. The first few tracks were absolutely spellbinding, getting by on not just song but atmosphere and presence, with some looped beat putting some real hypnotic feel in there. Then it just lost focus, which was a royal disappointment.
I’m intrigued by the Solange Knowles record everyone likes, but I don’t quite understand it yet. On the other hand, I’m slightly repelled by the Dawn Richard record Gubbels touted for Spin – when he told me the accent of “Richard” was on the second syllable, her prog leanings made so much more sense. I have to admit, prog leanings on an R&B record are pretty audacious, but these days I kind of dig something even rarer – you know, R&B leanings. Does Ahmir Thompson really like this kind of stuff? I wonder.
The soundtrack to that West Memphis Three movie is some kind of bullshit. These guys get locked up for twenty odd years for a crime DNA evidence says they didn’t commit, ostensibly because their love of Marilyn Manson had the Arkansas town folk seeing the oogie boogies. So how does Manson repay them? With a fucking Carly Simon cover. What a fucking douche.