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Echo and Reverb

The cover of Peter Doyle’s Echo and Reverb is promising as hell—a red-rock mesa (New Mexico?) into which intrudes a vintage Shure microphone, next to an intriguing subtitle: “Fabricating Space in Popular Music Recording, 1900–1960.” I’m a sucker for such oblique, scholarly tomes; I mean, now that the Beatles’ story has been told a hundred times over, what’s left? Auspicously, there’s a university-press logo on the spine and, of course, no illustrations. Plus, very small type.

Glam with Fangs: Bowie’s Diamond Dogs Reissued

1974 was the year Bowie got into Burroughs, dyed his hair red, and recorded Diamond Dogs. He’d initially wanted to turn George Orwell’s dystopic novel 1984 into a musical, but when Orwell’s widow refused him the rights Bowie decided to scrap the idea (thank god). Still, the theme of coercive televisual propaganda fits nicely enough into our current political climate to make this reissue’s link with Orwell queasily appropriate.

Dimensions in Music: From Mambo to Salsa, Part Five, IP Hilton Ruiz—Learning with los Grandes—Plying New Terrain

On June 6, pianist and bandleader Hilton Ruiz settled the debt we all attend. Ruiz studied with Mary Lou Williams, then worked with Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Jackie McLean, and Tito Puente; his originals graced the soundtracks of Crimes and Misdemeanors and American Beauty, and his chops dazzled at April’s Sábado de Gloria all-star jam in Brooklyn.

Ze Cat’s Meow: Pamela Z: “ New Strategies with DJ Spooky” at Symphony Space, the Cutting Room, and the Stone

Sporting spiky, orange-tipped dreads, and gesticulating like a rainmaker; conjuring invisible forces with her impeccable bel canto voice, feedback loops, and a MIDI-controlled device called the BodySynth, Pamela Z recently parachuted into town from San Francisco.

Tropicalia Retriumphant: Os Mutantes Come to New York

On a recent Friday night at Webster Hall, Os Mutantes made their first-ever appearance on a U.S. stage. Thirty years after the Brazilian band’s original lineup split, they were back in remarkable form with a ten-piece band that literally entranced the crowd, while showing the Beck fans in the audience who it was that paved the way to his postmodern sound.

Sounds, Paths, Radios: Notes on Stars Like Fleas

“Sometimes it sounds like you’re being attacked by seagulls, sometimes it sounds like a dog that was left out back and wants to come inside, and sometimes it sounds like a stomach that wants food.” Jazz musician Matt Lavelle, on the phone at the Rail office, is talking about the cuica, the Brazilian friction drum first used in Africa to attract and hunt lions. He brought one to Stars Like Fleas, a band to which an instrument like this is no stranger.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2006

All Issues