The Round-up: When the city sleeps, it dreams of you


Here is some very good new music.


Mikkel Ploug – Alleviation (Songlines Recordings)

Mikkel Ploug has a remarkable talent for creating music that is highly conversant, yet still casts a palpable serenity.  The guitarist attains this balance flawlessly when matched against the vocal harmonics & electronics of Sissel Vera Pettersen and clarinetist Joachim Badenhorst with the trio Equilibrium, and it’s no different with his trio of bassist Jeppe Skovbakke and drummer Sean Carpio.  So, it comes as no surprise that the same potent combination of activity and tranquility is present when Ploug offers up a solo session recording.  As far as influence goes, Alleviation has an ephemeral nature, not owing itself to any one allegiance or school.  But this is the kind of album where the only thing worth doing is sitting transfixed by its sheer beauty and just allowing that to become the atmosphere you breathe for as long as the album continues.  Music from Copenhagen, Denmark.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon


Holophonor – Light Magnet (World Galaxy Records)

An enjoyable straight-ahead set from the septet Holophonor.  The complementary melodic interactions between vibraphone and the wind instruments goes a long way to getting to the heart of this album’s success.  Equally effective are how the ensemble coalesces around the various soloists, adding strength to those moments that call for intensity and providing nuance when softer voices are the course of action.  Good stuff.  The album is produced by Wayne Shorter, which can’t hurt to know.  Music from L.A. & NYC.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon


Sjøvaag/Seglem/Hole – West Wind Drift (Shipwreckords)

This album may well be a cloud… ephemeral and hazy and a tendency to drift.  But every now and then, the album suddenly darkens, the music gains a presence that wasn’t there before, and then suddenly the rains come pouring down.  That’s the fallout of this live, improvised performance by the trio of drummer Jonas Sjøvaag, saxophonist Karl Seglem and bassist Sigurd Hole… an album that doesn’t ask anything of your attention until it suddenly grabs it tight and won’t let go.  Music from Oslo, Norway.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon


Jim Hart & Alfred VogelCome Rain, Come Shine (Boomslang Records)

This interesting little duo collaboration between vibraphonist Jim Hart and drummer-percussionist Alfred Vogel certainly casts its charm via a diverse rhythmic display, but it’s how they shape melodic fragments between one another, as if passing an idea back and forth in quick succession, is where the real intrigue lies.  That said, the twitchy rhythms and elastic tempos go a long way to supplying the fun, too.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp


Bruno Delucchi Grupo – Las Meninas (Kuai Music)

There’s a lighthearted nature to this lovely album from pianist Bruno Delucchi, and it balances nicely with its deeply felt melodicism.  Delucchi’s quintet hits the right balance between dedication to the composition and freedom to deviate from the preordained path.  The influence of Argentinean folk is prominent, and how it brings out the album’s lyricism is a welcome effect.  Very easy to fall for this one.  Unfussy and gets right to the point.  Music from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp – Amazon