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Bassist Matt Ulery, Sifting Stars

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Sifting Starsthe eighth album from Matt Ulery, finds the prolific bassist in the company of a large ensemble, aptly named the Sifting Stars Studio Orchestra.

Anchored by pianist Rob Clearfield, a significant voice in Ulery’s music over the past decade (and labelmate; his “Wherever You’re Starting From” was released on Woolgathering earlier this year), Sifting Stars is an art-song epic of long form song structures that is at once beautiful and haunting. Says Ulery of Sifting Stars:

“I tend to write emotionally. That is to say, when I reach in to the abstract space of musical possibilities, the tiny bit I can capture, I tend to let these transient melodies/rhythms and subsequent harmonies, increasingly familiar somehow, guide me through the most natural dynamic and flow of energy from event to event. These fragile moments, subtle and monumental, occupy long form song structures in Sifting Stars.

This music and lyrics are concerned with fantasy and redemption, and Ulery, in his own words, exploited every opportunity to coax the most lush and expressive motion.

“While this collection of music is perhaps stylistically furthest away from my jazz informed roots than in previous work, with this classical instrumentation and atmosphere, brimming with romantic gestures, and it’s mostly through-composed nature, I feel that much of the harmonic and rhythmic palettes still reflects my relationship with jazz and new music through a certain rhythmic aesthetic, emotional intent, and vibe,” he says.

The opening piece, “The Remanent of Everything,” was originally commissioned and performed by the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra in 2017. Using this opportunity to his advantage, he created a series of more music- the orchestral art songs “Pictures in Grey,” “I’m So Shallow,” and “The Prairie is a Rolling Ocean.” The first two tracks, scored for full symphonic orchestra, include members of the Grammy-award winning ensemble Eighth Blackbird as well as singing by Grazyna Auguscik, one of Ulery’s long-time collaborators. For the following two, Ulery leaves out the strings, adds more brass to the orchestra and features singing by Katie Ernst (bassist/composer/vocalist of Twin Talk). Clearfield is featured here in his usual brilliance, especially on “The Prairie…” where he performs a particularly thoughtful and elegant improvised piano solo woven into the orchestration. The finale of Sifting Stars is “Ida,” a multi-movement work for brass quintet inspired by the Ivan Albright paintingInto the World There Came a Soul Called Ida, on view at the Art Institute in Chicago. “Ida” was originally commissioned and performed by Axiom Brass (also heard now on this recording) in 2017. “Brass is a deep breath. In this fantasy score, I imagined what Ida was thinking and feeling,” says Ulery, “The painting, extremely detailed and grotesque, inspired me to explore some of the emotions in the subject rather than to try and emulate the scrupulousness.”

In writing for these ensembles of established instrumentation, Ulery experimented with new idioms and sonic possibilities.

“And as usual, I’m utilizing the album medium to produce this music for studio orchestra in Sifting Stars, attempting to put something beautiful and fanciful out into the world.”

To celebrate the release of Sifting Stars, Ulery will be performing at Chicago’s Green Mill on October 19th and 20th.

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Album Review: Mark Egan, Cross Currents

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Album Review: Mark Egan, Cross Currents

Mark Egan, Cross Currents…

It is exciting every time I get a new album from Mark Egan as he is such an amazingly versatile player and I never know what to expect (except for excellent artistry!) In his latest release, Mark has teamed up with Shawn Peyton on drums and Shane Theriot on guitar to bring us “Cross Currents”.

This collection of eleven tracks transports me to the Gulf Coast (New Orleans specifically). Mark’s fretless basses lay down a solid groove and lots of juicy solo work for this rootsy collection of funk, ambient, swamp-rock, second line, ballads, Cajun and even Indian Raga.

This trio is super-tight and the musicianship is flawless as each member has ample opportunity to shine. Even though each player is very talented in their own right, I feel that the collective energy is greater than just the sum of the players on this album. Each musician contributed to composing music for this project but the lion’s share are Mark’s original pieces.

I spent the summer of 1981 in New Orleans and this wonderful music takes me back to those fond memories. I participated in a wacky raft race on Lake Ponchatrain and this opening track elicits images of fun, sunshine, music, and great food.

This is another superb album that everyone will enjoy. Get your copy today! Cross Currents is available online at Amazon.com. Visit Mark online at markegan.com.

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New Project: NEMESIS CALL Announce “Kingdom of Shred” Album

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New Project: NEMESIS CALL Announce "Kingdom of Shred" Album

ALBERTO RIGONI’s New Project NEMESIS CALL Announce “Kingdom of Shred” Album, Feat. Super Talented Guests Such as Mike Terrana, Alexandra Zerner + Many Others

Worldwide known Italian bassist and composer ALBERTO RIGONI (soloist, BAD As, Kim Bingham, Vivaldi Metal Project, etc.) announces the new album “Kingdom of Shred” of his new project NEMESIS CALL. 

Alberto says: 
“Even if my latest album “Unexpected Lullabies”, dedicated to my newborn Vittoria Parini Rigoni, was released on June 4th 2024, I felt the need to compose new music (yes, I really can’t stop!). This time will be quite challenging because I’m willing to release an instrumental shred/prog/rock/metal/melodic album, that will feature many talented top-notch musicians such as drummer Mike Terrana, Alexandra Zerner, Alexandra Lioness, Aanika Pai (11 years old!), Keiji by Zero (19 years old!), SAKI and many others TBA/TBC). It won’t be easy to manage all such great musicians but I will make it! Are you ready to face a new prog experience? The album will be released in Digipack CD and in high-quality digital format approximately at the beginning of 2025 or maybe for Christmas!.”

As an independent artist, Alberto Rigoni has launched a fundraising campaign to support the project. Support at www.albertorigoni.net/nemesiscall. 20% of the income will be donated to Lega del Filo d’Oro (www.legadelfilodoro.it/it), an Italian association that helps deaf and blind children!

Visit online at www.albertorigoni.net | albertorigoni.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/albertorigonimusic | www.badas.rocks

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New Album: Los Lonely Boys first new album in 11 years, Resurrection

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New Album: Los Lonely Boys first new album in 11 years, Resurrection

Today, Los Lonely Boys announce the release of their first new album in 11 years.

Out August 2nd via BMG, Resurrection marks a return to form for the GRAMMY-winning, multi-platinum trio of Texican brothers, who have performed everywhere from the GRAMMYs telecast to the World Series to recent tours with The Who. Lead single “Wish You Would” conjures the group’s classic sound, combining breezy guitar leads with hard-earned doses of wisdom.

“It’s something we think people need to hear—especially the youth,” says bassist/vocalist Jojo Garza, speaking on “Wish You Would” and Resurrection. “When we’re young, we think we have it figured out. When you get older, you start to see things differently. Having kids of our own, we see their ambitions and ideas of what they want to be, so we want to be good parents. The message is, ‘Be careful what you wish for. There could be a false light, and we don’t want you to get hurt’.”

After an extended break from recording, Los Lonely Boys are making a triumphant return with Resurrection. Rejuvenated and more cosmically attuned than ever before, the album rekindles the sonic fire that bonds the Los Lonely Boys brotherhood, while also paying respects to Texas legends like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Freddy Fender, among others. The album was recorded at guitarist/vocalist Henry Garza’s home studio in St. Angelo, TX, and El Paso’s Sonic Ranch (Fiona Apple, Bon Iver, Snarky Puppy etc), and mixed live in Chicago by Chris Gelin at Opus Audio Labs. 

This year Los Lonely Boys will also celebrate the 20th Anniversary of their self-titled debut, which reached double-platinum status and yielded the gold-certified, generational smash “Heaven,” which earned them a GRAMMY Award for Best Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and performance on the awards telecast. The brothers’ follow-up Sacred bowed at #2 on the Billboard 200, paving the way for fan favorites ForgivenRockpango, and Revelation. Along the way, Los Lonely Boys collaborated with legends such as Santana, Willie Nelson, and Dr. John. 

Even as they’ve been away from the studio, Los Lonely Boys have continued to tour tirelessly for decades, and this year they’ve hit the road again for an extensive, months-long run across the US. They will also perform on select shows alongside long time friends Los Lobos. Find tickets here. Pre-order Resurrection

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New Album: Alberto Rigoni, Unexpected Lullabies

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New Album: Alberto Rigoni, Unexpected Lullabies

Alberto Rigoni, Unexpected Lullabies…

ALBERTO RIGONI Springs Surprises on “Unexpected Lullabies” Album, Out Today!

Today, Italian bassist and composer ALBERTO RIGONI has released his new solo album “Unexpected Lullabies” via Sliptrick Records, containing songs that are half-sweet and half rock-metal. The album is produced and partially composed by Alberto Rigoni and it’s dedicated to Vittoria Parini Rigoni and all newborn babies. 

Alberto shared: “There are no just tragedies in this world, life is going on!”

Album Design and Artwork created by Mark Barrett at elmtreecreative.co.uk

Among the various bass used one belonged to Randy Coven for the recording of Ark – Burn The Sun. Alberto searched it for years since he’s a great fan of Randy (Rest in Peace and Power)!

Tracklist:
01. Vittoria
02. Fly Me To The Moon
03. Azzurra
04. Dancing With Tears In My Eyes
05. Out Of Fear
06. Veni Laetitia
07. Nenia
08. Slap Lullaby
09. Saga
10. Vicky
11. Ocean Traveler
12. Strangers In The Night
13. Peaceful
14. Un uomo che voga

Order the album at deadpulse.com/product/alberto-rigoni-unexpected-lullabies/

This album promises to be a collection of auditory wonders, each track a testament to Rigoni’s genius and his ability to transcend musical boundaries. Featuring a symphony of guest musicians alongside Rigoni’s virtuosic bass, Unexpected Lullabies is poised to be a beacon for lovers of music, an invitation to explore the depths of creativity and emotion. What makes ‘Unexpected Lullabies’ even more exciting is the assembly of musical titans. The album features the legendary bassist Michael Manring, the keyboard wizardry of Alessandro Bertoni (of the Graham Bonnet Band) and Vitalij Kuprij (known for Artension and Trans-Siberian Orchestra), and many more yet-to-be-revealed guest artists.

Alberto Rigoni is:
Alberto Rigoni – Bass | Plus various guest musicians

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New Album: Ben Mortiz, MORENO

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New Album: Ben Mortiz, MORENO

The Chilean bassist, producer and sociologist, Ben Mortiz, celebrates the launch of his latest studio work, “MORENO” an album that mixes jazz, soul, and funk following the characteristic Latin style of  Mortiz. The artist completely produced the album under the label “Fallen Lab Records” in the south of Chile.

“MORENO” brings deep and smooth sounds, expressing a sophisticated and elegant Latin vibe. You will find meditative harmonies and joyful melodic voices. The record’s core is the human vibration that Mortiz feels from the Latin American music. The Caribbean rhythms and strong Latin percussions are the musical glue in every song that emerges with the force of the electric bass.

“MORENO” creates a real connection between corporal reactions and mind sensations, always in reference to the originality of Mortiz to fuse modern and classic Latin sounds.

For more information, visit online at danielbenmortiz.com/

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