Leo Brouwer: Bandurria and Guitar Music

This does what it says on the label: Cuban Leo Brouwer is acknowledged as one of the most challenging and innovative of contemporary composers, and this is his music for bandurria — a lute-type instrument dating back to the c16th — and guitar. The former is perennially popular in South America, says the Press notes. […]

Jonathan Ostlund Lunaris

  Trying to describe this double CD in a short review is like condensing War And Peace into 25 words. There’s just too much going on to do it justice. The sleeve does a good job, suggestive as it is of dreamy, other-worldly soundscapes featuring unicorns and maidens in ponds. The CD opens with a […]

Lo’Jo: 310 Lunes

We love Lo’Jo in the Review Corner. We came across them on a compilation we had to review about the new wave of French music (Cuisine Non-Stop: Introduction to the French Nouvelle Generation, 2008, Luaka Bop), which was opened by Lo’Jo’s Baji Larabat. Lo’Jo is a kind of collective, formed in 1982 and blending French […]

Boreas Quartet: Tye, In Nomine

You’ve all heard the work of Christopher Tye, even though he died before 1573 — he wrote the hymn Winchester Old, the basis for one of those songs we all love around December, While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks. We meant to review this album for Christmas but hey ho (ho ho ho) we never did, […]

Reto Kuppel: Vieuxtemps, Solo Violin Works

Henri Vieuxtemps was born nearly 200 years ago (1820), and was a Belgian composer and violinist, a towering figure in his field (says Wikipedia). He was the son of a weaver, from Verviers (now twinned with Bradford). Despite the age of this music, and the fact that it’s a lone violin for the best part […]

Kill Your Friends OST

November and tells the story of a music industry exec during Brit Pop’s heyday. Steven Stelfox is a horrendous individual by the sound of it, manipulative, off his head and cheating and stealing: “lies, betrayal murder: just another day in the music industry” as the sleeve says. This is music “inspired by” the film so […]

Bingham String Quartet: Bridge/Scott Piano Quintets

Frank Bridge (1879–1941) was an English composer, violist and conductor, while Cheshire-born Cyril Scott (1879–1970) was a composer, writer, and poet. Bridge was a pacifist and Bridge friends with a Christian Scientist, later becoming interested in metaphysics, and spending many of his latter years living with a clairvoyant. Both the compositions on here — Bridge’s […]

They Might Be Giants: Why?

If TMBG had been alive a few hundred years ago, they’d have been Europe’s most famous court jesters. They write catchy tunes with the cleverest lyrics you ever stumbled across. The problem is that once you’ve heard a song once or twice, it’s played out. The lyrics are the thing, and when you’ve smirked a […]

Stephanie Kirkham: Tiny Spark

We’re highly impressed with this album, though its slickness might put people off: it makes Mumford and Sons sound like a grim underground black metal band. In a nutshell, she’s written the soundtrack to a rom-com (not starring Jennifer Aniston — it would be really good) with songs that are often jauntier than the Andrex […]