On 2016's Goodbye to Language, veteran producer Daniel Lanois and frequent collaborator Rocco DeLuca team up for an album of shifting experimental soundscapes created with lapsteel guitars. The album is far closer to Lanois' pioneering ambient works with Brian Eno, Harold Budd, and Michael Brook from the 1980s than his subsequent, more rootsy singer/songwriter albums. As the album's title suggests, there are no lyrics here, and the feelings evoked by this music can't accurately be expressed by words anyway. As simple as the idea of an ambient steel guitar album sounds, there's a lot going on here, and it never feels like mere background music.
Bad As Me is Tom Waits’ first studio album of all new music in seven years. This pivotal work refines the music that has come before and signals a new direction. Waits, in possibly the finest voice of his career, worked with a veteran team of gifted musicians and longtime co-writer/producer Kathleen Brennan. From the opening horn-fueled chug of “Chicago,” to the closing barroom chorale of “New Year’s Eve,” Bad As Me displays the full career range of Waits’ songwriting, from beautiful ballads like “Last Leaf,” to the avant cinematic soundscape of “Hell Broke Luce,” a battlefront dispatch.
A European recording date for Brooklyn-based Preminger, hailed across the pond as a distinctive tenor stylist with a gift for composition. Joined by the sensitive accompaniment of both fellow Brooklynite Garcia and Barcelona resident Kamaguchi, Preminger tackles a varied set of tunes. Theres a sweet (but never cloying) version of Try A Little Tenderness and a minimal Moonlight In Vermont (with a nicely understated drum solo). They step out a little further to pleasing effect on Ornettes Law Years and Monks Four In One and on the one original, Garcias Prairie Dance, but this disc never loses sight of lyricism and melody. Which is undoubtedly why Preminger is receiving such praise his playing is cool (the title track is a Warne Marsh tune), inventive, unexpected but never jarring or dissonant. In a world where innovative and edgy often means grating in a new way, Preminger is a rising star for those who like a little sugar in their coffee.