Life is Now:
The Art and Music
of Michael Alan
by Mark McCawley
“Mostly figurative, and based on the performances, the drawings here suggest an artist enthralled by improvisation. Alan’s thread-like lines are manically impulsive; they barely go an inch without detouring. Short, jagged strokes, tiny loops, and quick arcs make jittery, skeletal outlines of distorted human forms. Hasty daubs of blues and pinks wrap the frames with translucent skin while also conveying the blur of movement. Alan loves motion…”
–Robert Shuster, The Village Voice, Tuesday, July 20, 2010
a musical overview
by Mark McCawley
Danny Kolm, Gregory Kolm and Max Kostaras are three twentysomethings who’ve lived their whole lives in Queens, NYC. Danny and Greg are brothers who started playing music together in 2003 under the name Arklight, releasing dozens of cassettes and Cdrs on small independent labels. Their early sound was a harsh mix of no wave noise, free jazz energy and punk psychedelia. Various friends filled in the lineup, with Danny playing guitar and Greg manning the drums, until 2013 when Max, a childhood friend and sometimes collaborator, became a permanent member on lead guitar. It was then that their sound shifted to reflect a burgeoning interest in songwriting, structure and improved musicianship. For inspiration, Arklight looked to the music they grew up on and loved, including Neil Young, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Velvet Underground, Nick Cave and Beat Happening. They hope to continue their development and follow the muse wherever it may lead them.
of Rick Miller
review by Mark McCawley
Self-taught Canadian multi-instrumentalist, Rick Miller has released thirteen individual albums since his 1984 debut release, Starsong, moving from ambient, techno electronic synthesizer based music (Paradox-Electro Leftovers) in the mid to late 1980s and 1990s (Interstellar Passage) towards more progressive rock oriented music (Dreamtigers, The End of Days) around 2000 and beyond.
Yugen and Aparecidos — New Releases From AltrOck
Review by Mark McCawley
With the arrival of each new AltrOck release, I find myself increasingly impressed by the quality of the label, and the consistent world-class virtuosity of the musicians involved. The most recent AltrOck CD releases from the groups Yugen and Aparecidos only serve to solidify my opinion that AltrOck is the major alternative label “from experimental to avant-jazz, from RIO’s heritage to classical progressive rock” and “open to old and new artists from symphonic prog, folk-prog and Canterbury” — a music which looks ahead and doesn’t “clone” big names from the past.
A string-heavy CD, Aparecidos’ Palito Bombon Helado preserves the memory of times when ice for the ice cream was only imported from England and United States of America, when the typical shout of “heladeros” rang out in the streets of Buenos Aires and South America — “Palito, Bombon, Heladooooo!”
More AltrOck Label Releases — 2011/2012
Born in 2005 from an idea by Marcello Marinone, who organized the first edition of the AltrOck Festival devoted to experimental and «on the borders» music, and, together with Francesco Zago, established the homonym label, whose first release was Yugen’s Labirinto d’acqua. The aim both of the festival and label was to produce, promote and propose in various forms the best of what actual underground musical italian (but not only) scene offered, from experimental to avant-jazz, from RIO’s heritage to contemporary classical and progressive rock.
Of course, for those raised on mainstream music in North America, releases from AltrOck might come as something of a shock. A very pleasant shock, I might add. Like all great underground art, AltrOck consistently gathers together and releases albums from bands and groups from as far and wide geographically as they are eclectic, experimental and avant-garde. On the same disc, you’ll discover influences as disparate as prog, RIO, proto-punk, and neo classical. This is not music for the lazy listener. Every track requires the listener’s full attention. There are no cheap hooks or quick gimmicks in these releases. To the attentive listener, the rewards are as myriad and as varied as the music itself.