CD Shorts

Reviewed this week: Lady Lamb the Beekeeper; Nils Petter Molvaer; and Jonathan Kreisberg

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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper

Ripley Pine

(Ba Da Bing)

On her first album recorded in a professional studio, singer and songwriter Aly Spaltro (aka Lady Lamb the Beekeeper) cashes in on the potential of her bedroom recordings and demos. It’s a fully realized disc created by a defiant, singular artist.Everything listeners hear on the disc is Spaltro’s creation—every song, every arrangement. Opening track “Hair To The Ferris Wheel” starts with a gentle guitar progression that lasts for over two minutes before erupting into an indie rock jam complete with a squealing, distorted solo. And elsewhere, previously released tracks like “Bird Balloons” and “Crane Your Neck,” are heard in their definitive incarnations, augmented now by drums and backing vocals. Some thanks for the finished product belongs to producer Nadim Issa, who worked with Spaltro for nine months to compile Ripley Pine, but it’s still Spaltro’s world of raw, unhinged soul. —Michael Cimaomo


Nils Petter Molvaer

Baboon Moon

(Thirsty Ear)

Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer probably wasn’t inspired by the sarcastic suggestion, made by Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly character in The Devil Wears Prada, to “move at a glacial pace.” Nonetheless, that is exactly the effect he accomplishes with his latest meditative effort, Baboon Moon. “Blue Fandango,” for example, consists largely of Molvaer’s muted trumpet playing over a bleak musical background cthat’s mostly a singing saw. Critics have long classified Molvaer’s music as jazz, but that simplistic description does him and his art a disservice. The fusion sensibilities of Miles Davis crossed with the scattered Scandinavian beats of Bjork, enhanced by hearty helpings of zenned-out monochord keyboard and distorted guitar would, perhaps, be closer—even if the results are far more pleasant than that description would suggest. Molvaer’s latest effort may not mix those ingredients as successfully as earlier albums Streamer and Solid Ether. But for those craving his unique blend of distorted jazz and ambient techno, Baboon Moon will more than suffice. —Pete Redington


Jonathan Kreisberg


One is the solo debut of jazz guitarist Kreisberg, and on it he explores standards and other tunes, and includes a composition of his own as the album-closer. The placement of his original is, in one way, unfortunate; it is the most unusual piece on the album. It’s also the one that trades in standard jazz tones for something much odder, an organ-like, overdriven sound that avoids pick attack by swelling in and out via volume. That piece, “Escape from Lower Formant Shift,” doesn’t last long, however, and therefore doesn’t offer a big payoff. All the same, its distinctive, unusual voice offers a glimpse into Kreisberg’s mind in a less fettered way than his standard interpretations. Often, his standards do depart the norm for unusual rhythmic tropes, or, more often, passages in which he delivers fast-paced runs, like a solo without band backup. Still, it’s hard to capture listeners any more with overdone tunes like “Summertime” or “My Favorite Things,” no matter how they’re played. In his best moments, Kreisberg verges on classical style, fingerpicking to offer melody and counter-melody, or the kind of sophisticated tangle that sounds too complex to be a single guitar, though everything here is just that. —James Heflin




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