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2006 ISSUE #89
Ethnomusicologists' Cookbook Routledge / Taylor & Francis Group
192 Pages, Softcover
To answer your first question: an ethnomusicologist
is one who studies music in a cultural context. This fact should
put the title of this cookbook into clearer perspective. The meals
that Sean Williams presents in this collection aren't just exotic
or ethnic in nature, they are also attached to specific cultures
which can be explored beyond the dietary, namely through music.
Willams uses the connection of music and food within
culture to transcend mere tastes and sounds. Her goal is to introduce
his audience to various cultures around the world by giving specific
instructions on preparing dishes and providing musical selections
to go along with them. There are also local essays from recipe
contributors, linking the cultural ties together. In effect, the
participants will not only be enjoying a meal, but they will be
getting a small sample of culture at the same time.
The menus Williams has gathered come from around
the world, including Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast
Asia, the Middle East, South and Central America, North America,
Oceania, and Europe. She wants to make the experience as authentic
as possible, while giving the reader an opportunity to seek out
further exploration. In other words, the meal and music would
be very much like what you would encounter if you were actually
in country. From there, she gives you a starting point to delve
further into research. If you like a particular dish or a particular
song, perhaps you will find out more on your own.
Care has been taken to make sure the ingredients
are fairly easy to find in the West, keeping the dishes from being
too exotic. There are just some things you cannot find at the
corner store in Everytown, USA, and Williams takes this into account.
Also, there are considerations for vegetarians and those who have
other dietary concerns.
This one is for the more adventurous cooks and dinner
hosts who are looking for something far beyond the usual fare.
Make your next gathering a trip to another part of the world.
MISH MASH Mandate: Global Gastronomy
Routledge / Taylor & Francis Group Website
- Ruf Records
- 15 Song CD
When this one first came to my attention, I
honestly wasn't expecting much. I mean, putting together a
compilation of instrumentals from various incarnations of
Canned Heat didn't seem like it would be at the top of anyone's
priority list when it comes to reissues. Man, was I surprised
when I found myself listening to it over and over again.
The first 9 songs were all recorded between
1967 and 1972 when the band was at its creative peak, and
the first 6 tunes include the original lineup. These are by
far the best tracks on the album, featuring a raw and somewhat
unpolished sound, lending more creedence to the overall blues
feel. Yet, the more recent tracks stand well enough on their
own, eschewing polished production for an edgier feel.
The disc begins with an epic suite, the 20 minute
monster named "Parthenogenesis", which comes across
as a wandering, psychedelic-tinged master opus that is hit-and-miss
in its grandeur. It is certainly a product of the times, and
it stands as a staggering testament to the drug-induced haze
in which it was likely created.
From there, the album goes into a decidedly
more traditional electric blues direction, focusing more on
guitar riffs and harp-blowing. The playing is pretty tight,
and the musicianship is top notch from beginning to end. The
only problem would be the inconsistency in overall sound,
most likely arising from the culling of tunes from almost
three decades, recorded with varying amounts of quality in
production. Otherwise, this is blues as strong as it gets.
MISH MASH Mandate: How Blue Can You Get?
Ruf Records Website
HEY BANDS! OPEN YOUR ONLINE T-SHIRT
SHOP FOR FREE!
Dark Southern Hearts
12 song CD
TRACK = PICTURE
American Gun's album lives up to its namesake, Dark Southern Hearts,
as it is surely a rough-and-tumble romp through the shady woods
of Southern roots rock. The South Carolina-based group's songs are
founded mainly in classic guitar riffs and beer-swilling vocals,
at times drifting off into quieter moments of alt country.
The driving force here is pure attitude, a Southern disposition
steeped in a steady diet of renegade country artists like Johnny
Cash and Hank Williams, while keeping one foot firmly set in the
mire of big guitar classic rock. It's a heady combination, one which
isn't easy to pull off with this much grace. American Gun has it
all figured out, and they execute it with a passion.
MISH MASH Mandate: Stick To Your Guns
American Gun Website
The Wide Wide World And All We Know
Now Here Records
16 song CD
TRACK = THEY SAY IT
As the duo Safe Home, Esther Sprikkelman and Harry Otten wrap beautifully
subtle and dark musical lines with their understated Euro pop. Their
Holland roots shine through in the sleek and modern design of their
songs, leaving not one sound to go to waste. The music is a strange
mix of acoustic guitars and synthesizers, melding together a somewhat
traditional folk style with European electronica.
Sprikkelman's vocals are fragile and quivering, cold and stark
in this basic soundscape. They are left naked and in the open, not
hidden in the mix, with a delicate modesty hardly rising above a
whisper. The result is dreamy and otherworldly, not quite sounding
like anything you've heard before, yet still retaining a slight
connection to pop.
MISH MASH Mandate: Sub Pop
Now Here Records Website
15 song CD
TRACK = LADIDA
As a transplant to LA from The Netherlands, Edie Pijpers brought
with here a European sensiblity which shines through brightly in
her music. Her pop is a smart and clean pop---creative yet direct
in its approach.
At times she borrows from the highly structured world of 80s New
Wave, and at others she delves into quiet French ballads. Or perhaps
she rambles into the eccentric songwriting styles of Kate Bush and
Tori Amos, or takes a headlong dive into drum-n-bass trip hop.
While the styles are all over the place, the good news is that
Edie is able to pull it off without much trouble. At times the lack
of focus can be a distraction, but her sheer audacity keeps it interesting
from beginning to end.
MISH MASH Mandate: Nu Waves
The Bad Hand
This No Time For Modesty
10 song LP
TRACK = EN ATTENANT DE BAISER
The Bad Hand takes the term "do it yourself" to a whole
new level. Their brand of indie garage rock has a heartfelt analog
honesty which seems to be missing from today's slick crop of computer
savvy bedroom musicians. Not only is it on vinyl (thank goodness),
it actually sounds like it was recorded in the garage with the
cheapest roll of tape they could find. Maybe they really pinched
pennies and recycled some tape by recording over something else.
Hallelujah! This is my kind of band!
So how does the music fare? It's mostly instrumental, and it's
all over the place. A touch of jazz fusion, a smattering of fuzzy
guitar, meandering drum lines, and all kinds of assorted noises
thrown in for good measure. It's an indie treasure trove of unfettered
musical bliss, just like from the good old days.
MISH MASH Mandate: Waxing Poetic
The Bad Hand Website
Star Like A Swallow
6 song CD
There's a gentle and mysterious spirit running through the music
of Chris Corbell. He blends acoustic folk with a slight Eastern
flair, creating an exotic sound that defies general categorization.
Corbell's voice is sincere and slightly unpolished, giving texture
to the smooth and flowing sounds created by the acoustic instrumentation.
Corbell's approach is almost hypnotic, quietly drawing you into
his songs, allowing you to drift into the flow without force. Before
you know it, you're riding right along with him without resistance.
The best thing is that he doesn't overstay his welcome. With only
six songs rounding out this EP, you're left wanting to hear a little
more, and that's always a good thing.
MISH MASH Mandate: Eastern Star
Chris Corbell Website
14 song CD
In their press kit, the Sneaky Thieves describe their music as being
"unsettling, moody, and introspective." I would concur,
as they meet each qualification in earnest. The Thieves have mastered
the quiet slow-burn that has been the weapon of choice by a number
of indie artists in the past few years.
While innumerable comparisons could be made, it would do this
group a disservice, as they certainly can hold their own with the
depressed crowd. They skillfully weave each song with exact amounts
of beautiful angst-filled woe, searing the sounds of understated
vocals with biting lyrics deep into your subconscious: "I need
you like I need a sharp stick in the eye." Indeed!
MISH MASH Mandate: Great Depression
Sneaky Thieves Website
And This Army
6 song CD
Dissonance, dissonance, and a little more dissonance. That is the
name of the game with And This Army. The guitars are laid on thick
and hazy, layered in stacks upon stacks. The vocals ride in the
midst of this jumble of noise, juxtaposing the confusion with just
the slightest touch of pop sensibility.
The whole thing seems to lumber along in slow motion, while
somehow maintaining an awesome amount of momentum. It's almost
like a strange clash of Black Sabbath with Fugazi, only with a
singer who can actually sing. It's an interesting and intriguing
collision of sound, one that never settles into a comfortable
position. The album is on edge from beginning to end, presenting
a challenging listen, but one that surely is rewarding.
MISH MASH Mandate: Purple Hazed
And This Army Website
© 2006 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved