A decade after they delivered Okie Dokie It's the Orb on Kompakt on…Kompakt, Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann return to the stalwart Cologne label with an album bearing a less sportive title and it sounds like serious sci-fi business. The standard edition consists of four tracks, each one between nine and 15 minutes in length. Not one of them is humorously titled "Captain Korma" or "Komplikation," unless "God's Mirrorball" triggers a recollection of the first Tad album. Unlike Okie Dokie, this is all new, not an amalgamation of tweaked, previously released tracks and new material. Lest this be seen as the Orb's "most mature work to date," within seconds of the opener, a mild-mannered voice from a colorful documentary about Sumerian gods intones, "If you believe in evil, then you probably need a whack on the back of the neck with a big fucking stick." After four-and-a-half minutes of ambience that intensifies in gradual fashion, a fluid, sturdy beat and light chime-like accents enter to set the tone for the remainder of the 50-minute program. Both "God's Mirrorball" and "Moon Scapes" contain several sections that tug and drift with a calm but steady flow (one of Fehlmann's favorite terms). The latter is heavier and more propulsive than the former, trucking dub techno filled with thrumming and thwacking drums and sections highlighted by electric keyboard fillips and string-sample flickers.
Although the musical Oliver! was a successful musical (both in London and the U.S.), pianist Bob Dorough was one of the few (maybe only) jazz musicians who saw the possibilities to improvise upon its music. Omitting vocals on this occasion, Dorough examines both the dramatic nature of the 11 songs as well as finding humor within some of them. "Boy for Sale" is very moody, featuring Al Schackman on bouzoukee (not exactly an instrument heard on the common jazz date), while he switches to classical guitar for a bossa nova arrangement of the normally plaintive ballad "Where Is Love?" and sticks to electric guitar on the rest of the date…
Here's Love is an album by American jazz pianist Hank Jones featuring interpretations of music from Meredith Willson's Broadway musical Here's Love recorded in 1963 for the Argo label. The artistry of Milt Hilton on bass, Elvin Jones on drums, and Kenny Burrell on guitar, welded cohesively by the remarkable ingenuity of Hank Jones, makes for many minutes of easy listening.
Always aware of the import of even their slightest movement, Manic Street Preachers place a lot of weight on their album titles and 2014's Futurology is designed as a conscious counterpoint to 2013's Rewind the Film. That record wound up closing an era where the Manics looked back toward their own history as a way of moving forward, but Futurology definitively opens a new chapter for the Welsh trio, one where they're pushing into uncharted territory. Never mind that, by most standards this charge toward the future is also predicated on the past, with the group finding fuel within the robotic rhythms of Krautrock and the arty fallout of punk; within the context of the Manics, this is a bracing, necessary shift in direction. All the death disco, free-range electronics, Low homages, and Teutonic grooves, suit the situational politics of the Manics, perhaps even better than the AOR-inspired anthems that have been their stock in trade, but the words – crafted, as ever, by Nicky Wire, who remains obsessed with self-recriminations, injustice and rallying cries – aren't the focus here. Unique among Manics albums, Futurology is primarily about the music, with the surging synthesizers and jagged arrangements providing not an emotional blood-letting or call to arms, but rather an internal journey.