Monday, April 13, 2009

Way Out

Currently, the favourite long playing record in this house is Exit by the esoteric Japanese musical magician Shugo Tokumaru. This is a short recording that combines quirky and multi-layered instrumentals with more traditional – yet, at the same time, whimsical and textured – popular songs. The numbers are sung in the artist’s native tongue but the delectable melodies, twisting and innovative, are emphatically universal. The tenderly proffered lyrical content remains, of course, incomprehensible but the charm and beauty, both implied and palpable, renders each moment a tangible treasure. This is a sumptuous record that is recommended highly.

I purchased Exit in Other Music, a fabulous record store just off the lower end of Broadway in, I guess, what is New York’s East Village. It’s my kind of place. There are racks and racks of fascinating product and kindly, knowledgeable yet unpretentious staff who offer sage advice and friendly chitterchat. Each salesperson seems to have chosen a personal and up-to-date top ten list of favoured CDs which is displayed above the counter and this non-corporate and individual touch appeals greatly. I also purchased Harmonic 313’s splendidly titled When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence and Martial Canterel’s Refuge Underneath at Other Music. The former is a recent release on Warp, a bewitching electronic and funky belter heavily influenced by the Detroit techno sound. The latter is a terse, slightly Teutonic, dark slice or twenty of minimal and contemplative melancholia overseen by Brooklyn’s Sean McBride. Both long players are compelling and challenging.

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