Today’s Bandcamp List: Tak!, Natalie Lande, Motion Complex, Rodriguez/Castillo, and Harry Wilson


I listen to a lot of music.  I make lists of what I like.  I’m not able to write about everything, not nearly as much as the music deserves.  This new List column series will attempt to squeeze in some extra recommendations of stuff that I typically wouldn’t find time to write about on this site or my various other spots.

Here’s some quick hits of interesting stuff I found on Bandcamp today.


Tak! – free-can-do (FlatTown Records)

tak-free-can-doThis late 2015 release from the quartet Tak! is all kinds of wonderful.  The thing is, free-can-do doesn’t have any kind of distinct personality to point to.  This is simply an instance of musicians wielding the collective efforts of their collaboration in a way that every melody shines like a diamond, every burst of percussion influences motion in the most dynamic and varied ways, and where every note and nuance coalesces into a dramatic, singular piece that resonates with life.  For all intents and purposes, this is a modern straight-ahead recording, but the little details perpetually shift the context just enough that nothing is quite as it seems… a sort of dreamstate that has nothing to do with serenity or sleepiness.  Plenty of edge to complement some gorgeous melodies, and some arresting balladeering to balance out the fiery passages of deconstruction.  Outstanding music.

Your album personnel:  Roger Martínez (alto & soprano saxes), Joan Solana (piano), Manel Fortià (double bass) and Marc Bódalo (drums).

More listening and for sale on Bandcamp.


Natalie Lande – Learning How To Fly (Self-Produced)

natalie-lande-learning-how-to-flySolid post-bop session from saxophonist Natalie Lande.  Her quintet (plus some guest vocals) deliver a nice mix of melodic warmth and rhythmic intensity to her 2015 release Learning How To Fly.  In particular, it’s the swings between moments where the melody is like a soft kiss and those where the rhythmic attack is like a corrosive element.  Those contrasts in tone are plenty likable, but it’s the way the group winds its way between those extremes that seals the deal.  The tracks with vocals leave some cracks in the album’s cohesion, but the alluring presence of “Things Aren’t Right” isn’t likely to raise any objections as far as that goes.

Your album personnel:  Natalie Lande (saxophones), Sam Hasting (guitar), Dan Pierson (piano, organ), John Sims (bass), Peter Manheim (drums) and guest: Sarah Marie Young (vocals).

More listening and for sale on Bandcamp.


Motion Complex – Against the Tide (Self-Produced)

motion-complex-against-the-tidePleasant contemporary piano trio session.  The trio Motion Complex keeps the melodies simple, with an emphasis on making the connection between music and listener as easy as possible.  For the most part, they keep things peaceful, and that’s when they’re at their strongest on their debut Against the Tide.  There’s a few surges of intensity, and while there’s nothing wrong with those passages, you’ll probably welcome a return to something closer to tranquility.  Good stuff.

Your album personnel:  Robert Sudall (piano), Grant Russell (bass) and David Lande-Sudall (drums).

More listening and for sale on Bandcamp.


Rodríguez/Castillo – Nuevas Oposiciones (Self-Produced)

rodriguez_castillo-nuevas-oposicionesA strangely enchanting session from Julián Rodríguez on tenor ukulele and Nacho Castillo on acoustic guitar.  Their Rodríguez/Castillo project brings together influences of folk, tango and free jazz, and its most endearing quality is how uneven and misshapen its constructs of influences become.  A lazy seaside ambiance suddenly scatters like marbles inside a hurricane, and when the resulting disassemblage unexpectedly coalesces into a fluid line of warped melody, the results of Nuevas Oposiciones can be as startling as they are subtle.

Your album personnel:  Julián Rodríguez (tenor ukulele) and Nacho Castillo (acoustic guitar).

More listening and for sale on Bandcamp.  FYI, it’s offered as NYP (Name Your Price).


Harry Wilson – Harry Wilson (Self-Produced)

harry-wilson-harry-wilsonThis self-titled album from vibraphonist Harry Wilson is plenty cheerful.  It’s got a sharp pop music attitude to shape its swing, and so even when the tunes speed right on by, they’re easy to grab hold of and go along for the ride.  The addition of ukulele and the way it helps vibes shape the flow of lyricism is a nice wrinkle; it also leads to some irresistible passages.  A real easy-to-like session.  Noteworthy:  Wilson was a member of the Sun Ra Arkestra on their 1979 recording Sleeping Beauty… an album that’s always owned a soft spot in my heart.

Your album personnel:  Harry Wilson (vibraphone), John Buck (bass), Brian Barbre (drums), Steve Rabson (piano), Larry Hinkle (ukulele) and guests:  Karen Young, Mark D (vocals).

More listening and for sale on Bandcamp.