Claudio Monteverdi: Vespro Della Beata Vergine

There are reportedly many recordings of Monteverdi’s Vespers of the Blessed Virgin, but the unique thing about this new album is that it was produced following the performances of “a scenic interpretation” with the Spanish stage director Calixto Bieito.We’ve got no idea what “a scenic interpretation” is, mind, unless it involves dressing up the musicians […]

Mirian Conti: Tangorama, An Anthology of 20th Century Tango, Vol.1

Conti writes in the sleeve notes that when she studied at the conservatory in Buenos Aires in the 1970s, she did not analyse a tango let alone play one; she herself dismissed tango orchestras and singers as “those old tango guys”. It was only when she moved to the US that she discovered her home […]

Still Corners: The Last Exit

Still Corners are, as they say, a dreamy pop duo who tweak their sound with every album, from pop to a more synthy sound to this, more Americana and even Tex Mex: half of Still Corners, Greg Hughes, grew up Arizona and Texas so perhaps not surprising. Tessa Murray is English, and the two met […]

Chelys Consort of Viols: Amavi, Music for Viols and Voices

We keep writing this is as Cheryl’s Consort, so apologies if we slip; the album was actually recorded jointly with Fieri Consort and is work by Michael East, who sounds modern but died in 1648, before the (20th century) name Cheryl was even invented. East (or Easte, Est, Este) was an English organist and composer, […]

Neil Young: Way Down In The Rust Bucket

Young is now 75 and more likely bang out a well-meaning but average political album or release an archivally relevant but otherwise pedestrian live album, but this was recorded way back in 1990 at what sounds like a warm-up gig for the Ragged Glory tour, his 18th studio album. If you’re a Young fan and […]

More Soma: Hondendodendans

This is jazz for those of you like the experimental, free composition, improvisation and the downright weird. The More Soma trio comprises a saxophone, alternately alto or baritone, double bass and drums; a couple of the players featured on the more tuneful _Unk album we reviewed recently. This is the debut More Soma album and […]

Ilya Gringolts: Pietro Locatelli, Il Labirinto Armonico: Three Violin Concertos

Pietro Antonio Locatelli (1695-1764) was an Italian Baroque composer and violinist. Locatelli possibly studied under Arcangelo Corelli, the famous Baroque composer. He was apparently known as the “Paganini of the 18th century”. It’s a wonderful album, the playing fine and the sound warm and approachable. Gringolts, a Russian is marvellous, and the Finnish Baroque Orchestra […]

The Heliocentrics: Infinity of Now

The Heliocentrics bill themselves as psychedelic-funk which is about right: it’s a hybrid of jam music (Goat or Holy F—sprang to mind) mixed in with Portishead and some Can / krautrock. They claim to sound like the funk of James Brown and “the disorienting asymmetry” of Sun Ra (psychedelic jazz player) It’s all very cool, […]

Ben Bedford: Portraits

This is Bedford’s sixth album; his last, Hermit’s Spyglass, was excellent and this is even better. Perhaps not surprising, as he has picked songs from his first three albums to create a collection of songs, the intention’s clear from the album title. Hermit’s Spyglass told some good tales – it mapped daily life on a […]

Beans On Toast: Knee Deep In Nostalgia / The Unforeseeable Future

Beans (aka Jay McAllister) normally drops one album a year but clearly lockdown has left him with little else on his plate and we get two. They’re both self-explanatory in their titles. Knee Deep In Nostalgia sees man-of-the-people poet and guitarist Beans looking back fondly at his past and his likes, from memories of favourite […]