New CD reviews for Eagle County |

New CD reviews for Eagle County

Daily Staff Report
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

“The Black Ghosts,” IAMSOUND

Theo Keating and Simon Lord, the creative electronic-dance duo from the United Kingdom that is The Black Ghosts, have finally found their way to American soil thanks to the IAMSOUND record label. Their newest album, simply called “The Black Ghosts,” is proof of what talented musicians can do with electronic music when backed by artistic vision and appreciation for different styles and genres.

“It’s Your Touch” sounds like an elegantly simple Jamiroquai ode but before that, the Ghosts hit the listener with rushing violins and slow-paced bass drums on the album’s opener “Some Way Through This,” followed by the made-for-the-dancefloor “Anyway You Choose To Give It.”

For all the up-tempo, tight arrangements and harmonies on songs like “Repetition Kills You,” “Until It Comes Again” and “I Want Nothing,” there’s still an underlying moroseness in the lyrics that makes listening all the more interesting.

“It’s all the voices in my head/These conversations with the dead/Her footsteps chase my every move/ Tell me why do I try to believe in a life with you” from the song “I Don’t Know” tells a haunting tale of loneliness in a song that sounds like it belongs on the “Breakfast Club” soundtrack.

That simple contrast of music that makes you want to move, imbedded with lyrics that make you think, keeps “The Black Ghosts” from falling into electronic music cliches. It also makes it a very good album.

Charlie Owen, High Life Writer

“Big Love: Hymnal,” Todo Mundo

With “Big Love: Hymnal,” David Byrne pens a batch of clean but knowing paeans to the polygamist lifestyle featured on the HBO show starting its third season in January.

Many of Byrne’s short but articulated songs grapple with the mysterious, confounding nature of faith and the suspicion that underlies the Henrickson household at the center of the series.

“Great Desolations” is a sliver of unease with suspended reefs of guitar and xylophone that folds into the tight-lipped Christian cha cha of “A House on Sand.”

Salvation Army marching band instrumentation (baritone horn, fluegelhorn) lines a handful of tracks with solemn or joyful reserve.

Nothing on the album applies to the outer edges of religious experience, no loss of faith or nirvana or shivering redemption.

Instead, Byrne concerns himself with austere, private expressions of pride or wonder, feelings a religious person frequently might have ” but not share.

Todd Martens and Margaret Wappler, L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service

“Defiance,” Sony Classics

James Newton Howard already has had a hand in one of the most acclaimed scores of the year, providing the softer moments of “The Dark Knight,” a collaboration with Hans Zimmer. On “Defiance,” the score for director Ed Zwick’s World War II drama, Howard has another star artistic partner: acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell, who contributed to the Oscar-winning score for “The Red Violin.”

What the two create here is a quiet, often minimalist piece. It flirts with classical stylings ” the violin is a standard yet admirable accompaniment for almost any film dealing with the Holocaust ” but Howard’s score drifts into more atmospheric terrain.

The best tracks are a showcase for Bell’s unassuming but respectful performance.

See “Exodus,” in which Bell’s elegance is surrounded by only the barest of notes.

There are few recurring themes, but there are rhythmic bursts that give way to a romantic swing in “Police Station,” and some mournfully lovely counter melodies in “Tuvia Kisses Lilka.” There’s also a fair amount of ambience, most notably in “Make Them Count.” It’s brief but striking, with a stalking bass drum erupting into an anxious violin frenzy. Perhaps Howard’s experiences on “The Dark Knight” stuck with him.

Todd Martens and Margaret Wappler, L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service

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