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20 April 2009

Air - 'Air Lore' (Arista Novus)

Source: Ross. Honestly, I didn't get all of my records from one source, just a lot of the A's.

Can you hear the 80s on the horizon? For their sixth album, these innovators decided to 'explore not only the roots of American black music, but their roots as well', conincidentally making a very commercial record of standards just before the dawn of an era when avant-garde jazz went into remission. Well, Roots was big in '78, I guess. I don't mean to knock the effort - you can't deny that a musician might want to convey soul and feeling and not just write obtuse weird shit their whole career - but there's something a bit heartless in the Scott Joplin pieces here. They take on Jelly Roll Morton with a bit more life, though it's still missing something. Or maybe my ears are slightly occluded by the cover art, which is actually pretty incredible and maybe the best cover yet in this project. It's not the sepiatone aspect that I love the most, nor is is the suits, shoes, or glasses of white wine. It's the plants - and it's a shame the florist isn't credited on the back (since the shoe outfitter and stylist were) because I've love to spruce up the piano at Vinyl Underbite HQ with a similar species, but I don't know who to call. Anyway, side 2 is more Jelly Roll and then a Threadgill composition right in the middle that's all flute and bowed bass and McCall stepping lightly on clouds, and then it's more Joplin to close out on a high, or at least upbeat, note. Weird to kill the momentum with the Threadgill jam and it's also weird to spoil the conceptual purity of your "back to the roots" record but, hey, that's how the Air blows.

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