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Random Stabbings 5

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Corvus Corax “The Best of Corvus Corax” (Pica Records)
A great idea whose time… well, came about 500 years ago, but you can’t keep a good pack of leather-toga-draped medieval minstrels down.  Historically correct in every aspect, Corvus Corax has been a fixture at German ren fairs and the like for twenty years, playing extinct music on painstakingly researched hand-made instruments.  Whereas bagpipes are the weapon of choice for the front quintet, fearsome kettle drums hold down the percussive fort in the primal tradition of Stomp, Blue Man Group or like concepts geared more toward mass hypnosis than intricacy – the included 9-minute video is indisputable evidence that this is one Godzilla of a live show.  Hyper-retro Latin prayers serve as lyrics, although even the boldest 2nd-century friar would prostrate himself for impending death at the hands of such a spectacle.

Semaphore “Make” (Laughing Shadow Productions)
Subtly ambient, often brilliant electro instrumentals excreted by Kirby Clements. Notwithstanding their vigorous breakbeats, the tracks lean toward a more dated sound on the whole, with scads of primitive synth rarely heard nowadays outside of Heart’s “Magic Man” (put less delicately, let’s leave it at Robert Moog Has Risen From the Grave). This isn’t to wave the whole thing off as anachronistic swill – the layers of Chemical Brothers/Haujobb snap-crackle-poppage are many and not un-creative – but both goth-fashionistas and couch-gangstas will be repelled by the choices in vibe and hurrying back to their chat rooms in no time.  Opening gambit “Slipping South” catches Big Ben playing Tetris while striking midnight; the darkwave modulations of “Drone” bear a faint resemblance to vintage Wumpscut (or, more precisely, Diary of Dreams), eventually sliding into theta tones, muted clanging and psychedelic collisions.  Thereon it’s mainly an all-noise scratch-ticket with some good picks – hardy explorers will discover man-made ocean waves and army-chopper whirr (“Gel”), a walk through menacing desert canyons (“Push”), stun-guitar-washed rasta-riddims (“Veggie”), and a humorous poke at prog-rock (“Death to Me”). (no website)

Angela Fischetti “Enter the Light” (self-released)
Yoga-centric New Age self-release emboldened by Bhakti-practitioner Fischetti’s admiration for common Sanskrit shibboleths, all contents clocked for radio in the manner of Deva Premal (Toni Braxton is a more analogous front-chick).  Fischetti’s heart, soul and attitude are in the right places – the whole schmeer is very pretty.  Only thing amiss is a decidedly inelegant “Amazing Grace” that isn’t of much use until the lines are hummed rather than sung.  The Premal vein is sweetly tapped for a sensuous cover of meditation-class favorite “Yemaya Assessu” that follows the classy Lindsay Buckingham-like patter of “Maitri Interlude.”

Leaf “Made Into Itself” (Suspicious/Hive Records)
Skulls against headboards rather than mood-noise feedback spikes are the only things sure to go bump in the night while partaking of these droid-love rhapsodies.  Forged out of haunting, gawking-out-the-window-at-the-rain trip-hop, “Made Into Itself” is deeply personal, but there’s something Spike Lee about it all that harnesses big-city isolation and makes it somehow less apocalyptic. In terms of sequencer prowess this falls somewhere between Front Line Assembly’s lighter side and anything in the Warp Records stable that has a few loose ends.  “Cut the Leash” comprises a rippled lagoon of summery guitar straight out of the Robbie Blunt School of Come-Hither Smolder as it tees up the Moroccan accents of “Light Blue Morning”.  Later, under the quiet, psychedelic-breakbeat protection of “Lounge Dwellers”, Wick explores his Jello Biafra (actually Prince) side in a rant about artificial intelligence and God.  Not that Wick is the only perpetrator of such things, but a little less Bruckheimer flash and more coherence of slant is called for here – if techno is the new underground rock, there isn’t time to spare deciphering Purple Rain babbling dressed as eggheadism.  On the lighter side, “Coffee Drinker” fully embodies the subject content, Dido-esque acoustic guitars creating a relaxed drive-time ambience, while “Song of Trees” lays in a hammock of unhurried piano for its first half (since it’s the closing song, there’s the requisite 1.3 minutes of silence before a hidden trip-hop track sneaks in).

Indie label releases, spaghetti sauce recipes and silly questions are always welcome.  Email

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