Archive for the ‘Member CD REVIEWS’ Category

Fists of Righteous Harmony by PerceptualVortex

Friday, July 11th, 2008

FORH cover art

Fists of Righteous Harmony
2008 / The Lost Records
1o tracks; 39:10 minutes
Reviewed by Tobin Mueller

Macjammers know Fists of Righteous Harmony as perceptualvortex (David Thomas), rock drummer and audio producer. In FORH he is joined by guitarist Steve Vaccariello. The combination is seamless and synergetic. David never gets in the way of Steve’s great playing.

The duo’s self-titled debut album features heavy funk and hard rock grooves layered with crunchy, varied guitar leads and inventive arrangements. Steve plays the guitar and bass tracks and David provides all percussion and backing music/sounds. They create songs that range from heavy funk to rockabilly to progressive rock. The playing is sophisticated yet not complex, extremely catchy and groove ladened. (more…)

AUDIOCRACY: Revolution’s Son

Monday, July 7th, 2008


AUDIOCRACY: Revolution’s Son
2008 / The Lost Records (purchase from CDBaby)
7 tracks / 45:51 minutes

This post includes 6 published reviews, several additional observations, band information and links on where to buy or find out more information… (more…)

Cantor Erik Contzius: Teach My Lips A Blessing

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Cantor Erik Contzius cover art

Cantor Erik Contzius: Teach My Lips A Blessing
2008 / self-produced, featuring the Amor Artis Chamber Choir
20 tracks; 56:49 minutes
Reviewed by Tobin Mueller

Teach My Lips A Blessing is a marvelous collection of spiritually affecting songs by Erik Contzius. Although these are mostly religious Hebrew texts, the music and performances are accessible to everyone. I recommend this CD to any fan of choral works.

Erik Contzius is known to Macjammers simply as “the Cantor.” I imagine he is known to many in New Rochelle as the same. That is where he currently serves as the Cantor (Temple Israel). When I asked Erik to provide some biographical material, he replied with characteristic wit and humility, “My synagogue underwrote the project, so all proceeds go to the Temple. I’m a nice Jewish boy.”

Much of Erik’s music on Macjams employs a similar self-deprecating sense of humor. Although the music on Teach My Lips A Blessing is far more serious, as well it should be, it surpasses anything Erik has shared with us to date, owing to its depth of spiritual power, its sweetly bold writing, and nearly perfect production.

Teach My Lips A Blessing was recorded with the Amor Artis Chamber Choir, conducted by Johannes Somary (who has also conducted London’s Royal Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, among other prestigious groups). There are a few a cappella pieces scattered among the collection, adding to the variety, but most pieces are accompanied by pipe organ, flawlessly played by Christopher Creaghan. The balance between soloists, ensemble and organ is excellent. Recorded at St. Ignatus of Antioch (NYC) and produced by Jon Altschiller (who normally works with people like Ben Folds, Dave Matthews, etc.), the sound achieved captures all the natural ambience of a church/temple setting without ever sacrificing immediacy. The warmth of spirit surrounds, envelopes, comes to the edge of saturation, searing certain emotions to the bone. It’s as if you are there. (more…)


Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

A Stately Affair cover art

A Stately Affair
2008 / CDBaby
13 tracks; 67:27 minutes
Reviewed by Tobin Mueller

We all know Paul F. Page is a marvelous pianist. What Macjams’ members may not know is that he is also a wonderful arranger. Paul follows his solo piano album, A Corner Of My World, with an equally soothing album of orchestrated instrumental songs.

Paul’s melodies are always singable, lyrically floating chromatic and balanced lines that cry out to be wedded with the human voice. A Stately Affair uses warm and simple orchestrations, mostly employing well chosen MIDI strings and solo woodwinds. (more…)

Neil Porter: jiguma dreaming

Friday, May 16th, 2008

Jiguma Dreaming - cover

jiguma dreaming by Neil Porter
2008 / The Lost Records
61.3 minutes
Reviewed by Tobin Mueller (Also, see my interview with Neil: The Jiguma Is Up: Neil Porter)

Reviewed by Tobin Mueller:

“jiguma dreaming” is an excellent example of self-produced home-made recording. Neil’s music has a signature sound, a result of his hypnotic acoustic guitar grooves and almost Island sense of ease and dreaminess. His vocals, layered and EQ’d in his unique way, float through each track like a buzzing didjeridu, saying things far more complex than his well-crafted short lines can hold. Lyrics from Gulaga Dreaming come to mind: (more…)

Peter Greenstone: SOMETHING

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Something - cover

SOMETHING by Peter Greenstone
2005 / SiMig Media Records
44:45 minutes

From the opening moments, when it fades from a radio broadcast into the genre-defying Schrodinger’s Cat, you know your are in for a unique musical ride, something you can’t find on mainstream radio. (more…)

Tobin Mueller: 13 Masks

Monday, May 5th, 2008

13 Masks - cover

13 Masks by Tobin Mueller
2007 / SiMig Media Records (100% of proceeds from purchases made on the SiMig website go to Macjams)
60:06 minutes

Review by Kathy Parsons (Solo Piano Publications/Ambient Visions): (more…)

Tobin Mueller: Morning Whispers

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Morning Whispers - cover

Morning Whispers by Tobin Mueller
2005 / SiMig Media Records (100% of proceeds from purchases made direct from SiMig website go to Macjams)
53.2 minutes

Reviewed by Kathy Parsons (Solo Piano Publications/Ambient Visions): (more…)