Album review overview: Daryll Hall, Demon, Kaelin Ellis and more

Photo (c) Jorge Fakhouri Filho

Dozens of new albums arrive at Maxazine’s editorial staff every week. There are way too many to listen to them all, let alone review them. It ensures that too many albums are left behind. And that’s a shame. That is why today we post an overview of albums that arrive at the editors in short reviews.

Leon Alvarado – The Changing Tide

Multi-instrumentalist Leon Alvarado is also an award-winning designer of album covers and tour posters (for Yes, Genesis, and others). “The Changing Tide” includes two Pink Floyd covers. Their influences can also be heard in Leon’s songs. In the background of “The Equilibrium Of Time,” time ticks, and in the foreground, a clock strikes. There are interactions between atmospheric music and rock, as well as string versus keyboard instruments. The heartbeat recurs several times. The long-sustained tones give “A Day Of A Different Sort” a calm atmosphere. The beautiful guitar playing gradually gains more power. The sounds of an accident come unexpectedly. Most transitions in “A View From A Different Room” (with beautiful saxophone playing) flow into each other. “Dance Of The Pink Elephants” is an intriguing cover; the blend between high and low tones is excellent. The sound of rippling water matches the atmosphere of the title track. The sounds and repetitions give “Brain Damage” a unique sound. This interpretation is daring but successful. Tip: listen to this special album (with minimalist details) with a headset. (Esther Kessel-Tamerus) (8/10) (Melodic Revolution Records)

Charlie Kohlhase & The Explorers Club – A Second Life

The renowned Boston improviser and composer Charlie Kohlhase proudly presents his new album “A Second Life” with his Explorers Club. The album, inspired by Kohlhase’s personal survival story following his HIV diagnosis in 2015, honours the 40 million people who died of AIDS without modern treatments. Kohlhase’s octet combines saxophones (Kohlhase, Seth Meicht), brass (Jeb Bishop, Dan Rosenthal, Josiah Reibstein), guitar (Eric Hofbauer), bass (Tony Leva), and drums (Curt Newton) into a classic jazz ensemble. The opener “Character-Building Blues” begins slowly with baritone sax and guitar, while “No Such Explorer” is inspired by Burundian inganga music. “Lennette” blends the styles of Ornette Coleman and Lennie Tristano. The swinging “No Dog, No Bike” and the rhythmic “Airport Station” showcase the band’s versatility. “Eyes So Beautiful As Yours” and “Berlin Ballad” add emotional depth. “Man On The Moon” and “Tetractys” close the album with energy and harmony. “A Second Life” is an inspiring jazz album, rich in improvisation and emotion. (Tobias Braun) (7/10) (Mandorla Music)

Demon – Invincible

Demon, the band with the very heavy band name and album covers from the early 80s, has always been associated with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. However, their sound is more hard rock than metal, unlike bands like Saxon. This hasn’t made them any less beloved, and their first two albums are considered cult classics. Eight years after their last studio album, the group recently released their fourteenth album, “Invincible.” This coincided with the band’s 45th anniversary. Singer and band leader Dave Hill, now 76, still sounds powerful. Thankfully, it’s not overly evident to the point of distraction. At nearly an hour, the album is somewhat lengthy. While the new album doesn’t match their glory days, Demon has a cult following. With such a name, it’s almost inevitable. For the fans, it’s a nice addition, but it won’t make much of an impact otherwise. (Rik Moors) (6/10) (Frontiers Music s.r.l.)

Daryll Hall – D

Daryl Hall, one of the best ‘blue-eyed soul’ songwriters of his generation, proves with his new solo album “D” that he is still at the top of his game. Under the masterful production of Dave Stewart of Eurythmics, “D” is a delightful album that effortlessly captivates the listener. Hall’s distinctive vocal style remains as engaging as ever, with a relaxed presentation and an irresistible groove that gets you moving. Songs like “Too Much Information” demonstrate Hall’s timeless appeal, showing how he effortlessly maintains the high standards of his past work. Even the ballads, such as “Rather Be A Fool,” showcase his enduring ability to move us with his unmistakable voice. With “D,” Daryl Hall makes a triumphant return, reminding us that he never really left. This album is a celebration of his enduring talent and a treat for both old and new fans. (Elodie Renard) (8/10) (United Artist Productions)

Kaelin Ellis – You Are Here, Start

I put on the new album “You Are Here, Start” by Kaelin Ellis without any preparation, and within five minutes, I was completely hooked by the kick this album brings. It’s like listening to the male version of Little Simz, who doesn’t need a producer like Inflo because he is the definition of innovation and sound evolution. This album is fantastic. Jazz, rap, and hip-hop are blended into a delightful mix. The tracks introduce you to numerous other top artists. This album broadens your musical horizon. Kaelin Ellis, raised with a mix of homegrown gospel, Madlib, J Dilla, Flying Lotus, and various other influences, brings a unique sound that combines funk, hip-hop, electronic music, and space-age jazz. As a multi-instrumentalist and producer from Lakeland, FL, he has already collaborated with greats like Lupe Fiasco, Joyce Wrice, Virgil Abloh, Logic, Jazmine Sullivan, and K-Pop superstars EXO. With an impressive resume, including an NAACP Image Award nomination and support from big names like USA Today, Okayplayer, NPR Music, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and Complex Magazine, the future looks bright for Ellis. “You Are Here, Start” is undoubtedly one of the best albums of the year. It shows that Kaelin Ellis is not only a master of creating sound but also of reinventing genres. Delightful! (Jan Vranken) (9/10) (Fool’s Gold Records)

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