Thursday, September 23, 2004


I didn't always like Shadows Fall, but now I do.

Yesterday, I bought UA's Sun. (Credit where credit's due: I downloaded the first track from Fluxblog.)

I didn't order it from Amazon Japan; I went and bought it at Kinokuniya, because I work in Manhattan and certain perks are available - that's one of 'em.

Anyway, it's one of the craziest, most inexplicably beautiful records I've heard in quite a while. UA is a female singer of indeterminate age, and her voice is somewhere between Björk and Natalia Lafourcade, but the music sounds like neither of those folks. UA has chosen to collaborate with a live jazz group, playing "out" stuff in the neighborhood of, say, Don Cherry's Eternal Rhythm.

There's other stuff in there, too, though, demonstrating that UA doesn't have her head entirely in the late 1960s; one track uses various cell phone ringtones as melodic counterpoints, another features a dog barking throughout. And the album's final track, "Ua Ua Rai Rai," brings Balinese gamelan players into the mix. I'm not a big gamelan fan - I never really understood why all that clattering became a vital hipster soundcheck around the time David Toop put out Ocean Of Sound - but it works in this context, even if I do prefer the more "traditional" free jazz tracks.

There's a cool interview with UA here. Based on the description provided, it looks like I'm gonna have to pick up her 2002 CD, Dorobou, also. I'm gonna call Kinokuniya next week, when I've got another $35 (Japanese import CDs are pricey), and see if they've got a copy.

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