Sunday, May 25, 2014

CD Review – God of Drum, by Get Tribal

If you're looking for a dynamic showcase of powerful, pulse-pounding drumming that's not simply just one long extended drum solo, then this is the album for you.

Kari Hohne, the primary force behind the persona of Get Tribal, is a master of world mythology whose scholarship of ancient global cultural traditions gives her unique insight and ability to tap into the primal power of percussion.

While the focus of the album is clearly the various styles of ethnic drumming from around the planet, Hohne utilizes her electronic music expertise to synthesize textures and layers that accentuate the percussion with extra flavors and seasonings.

The result is a visceral sound experience that will keep your senses alert and your heart alive to the vibrant beats that moved the world in the past and will continue to propel it into the future.

--Raj Manoharan

Sunday, May 18, 2014

CD Review – Illumination: A Healing Journey, by Peter Kater

Even though Peter Kater's been at it for over 30 years, he still manages to express something new and relevant with each endeavor, and his latest release is no exception.

In accordance with the title and theme of this Grammy-nominated CD, the composer-keyboardist keeps things appropriately subtle, quiet, and tranquil. The tunes have a somber reverence without eschewing appealing melodies and edgy, lush textures.

In addition to his Native American flute, percussion, piano, synthesizer, and vocals, Kater builds up the layered sound mix with Todd Boston on guitar, Michael Fitzpatrick on cello, Bob Rebholz on saxophone, and album executive producer Trisha Bowden on vocals.

Kater once again presents an impeccable audio experience as only he can.

--Raj Manoharan

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

TV – Godzilla Versus Godzilla on Chiller Marathon

As Godzilla makes his second attempt at legitimate Hollywood blockbuster stardom this weekend, see how the Big G stacks up against himself with a marathon of Godzilla movies on Chiller.

The lineup consists mostly of Zilla's Japanese Toho movies from the 1990s and 2000s, along with his first Hollywood movie from 1998, costarring Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Maria Pitillo, Hank Azaria, and Harry Shearer.

The marathon runs from Thursday evening, May 15, through Friday morning, May 16, and then picks up again on Saturday morning, May 17, and continues through Sunday morning, May 18.

--Raj Manoharan

Sunday, May 4, 2014

CD (Fan) Review – Circus Hero, by Circa Zero

Where was this Andy Summers 27 years earlier? This is organic, living, breathing rock music. The Andy Summers of 1987 and the Andy Summers of 2014 sound like two completely different musicians.

On the debut album from his new rock group, the 71-year-old Summers shows the young’uns how it’s done – and how it should have been done for the last couple of decades, since the guitar master was busy doing things that most rock musicians couldn’t dream or hope of doing.

This time, Summers lays it on really thick with his guitars and wisely leaves the singing to his new songwriting partner Rob Giles, a singer and multi-instrumentalist in the indie rock band The Rescues. Not only does Giles provide dynamite, powerhouse vocals, but he also does a standout job on bass and drums, sometimes sounding like Sting and Stewart Copeland on those instruments on certain songs. Dan Epand also handles the sticks masterfully on three tracks.

The resulting sound is an exhilarating mix of musical styles (The Police, Yes, U2, ‘80s rock, modern rock, even Eric Johnson) that make up a compelling package, and Summers has the chords, licks, and riffs and Giles has the voice to really sell it, especially on numbers such as "Levitation," "Underground," "No Highway," and "Whenever You Hear the Rain." Other highlights include "Say Goodnight," "Gamma Ray," "Summer Lies," and "Light the Fuse & Run." My personal favorites aside, the whole album is flawless from beginning to end.

There’s no telling how long Summers can keep going (based on now, he can seemingly go on forever). Hopefully, he can get at least three to five records out of this deal.

As for Giles, based on this album, he deserves a long-lasting and successful high-profile career.

Although I had considered The Police to be my favorite rock band since 1983, I find that Circa Zero's debut album is tighter, more focused, more consistent, and ultimately more satisfying than any one of The Police's albums and that's not at all a knock on The Police. In fact, this is what The Police might have sounded like if they had continued in the hard rock vein of Outlandos d'Amour, but with the elements of sophistication of their later repertoire.

In his discovery of and chemistry with Giles, Summers has managed the rare feat of capturing lightning in a bottle for the second time, with this lightning strike making a direct impact.

--Raj Manoharan

CD Review – Perfect Imperfection, by Tom Carleno

Denver, Colorado-based guitar player and instructor Tom Carleno ventures out on his first solo recording, and it's quite the auspicious debut.

This is not your standard solo acoustic finger style guitar album, as many of the compositions are written and performed with alternate tunings. Carleno's creativity displays his ear for unusual and stirring tunes, and his dexterity on the guitar is masterful. Carleno is also joined on one track by his wife Josie Quick, who provides unique percussion by way of spoons.

This is a fine album that should appeal to fans of solo acoustic finger style guitar as well as anyone who enjoys original captivating music.

--Raj Manoharan