Masao Yamamoto

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Pray for Sound ~ Dreamer

a closer listen

coverBoston’s Pray for Sound began as a solo act in 2011.  After releasing an EP, a single and a live set, the solo act has developed into a quintet.  The name refers to frontman Bruce Malley’s struggle with hearing loss and subsequent surgery; he prays for sound not only to be heard, but to be heard clearly.  And so it is no small coincidence that Pray for Sound’s debut album is sharply mastered by Nick Zampiello, who has also worked with Caspian and Pelican.  The result is a an answered prayer.

The shift to a larger set of performers makes for a much larger sound.  Throw in a couple extra players on three tracks and the stage becomes packed.  These guests contribute violin, viola and light wordless vocals, adding nuance to an already complex equation.

As may be gleaned from the cover image, Dreamer is a concept album, with each…

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Sima Kim ~ Freudvoll und Leidvoll / Tobias Hellkvist ~ Cay

a closer listen

Sima KimThe latest two releases from the Dronarivm label are sent in little gift boxes, which include the CD3″s plus assorted ephemera.  Sima Kim‘s box contains dried flowers and a small booklet; Tobias Hellkvist‘s box contains sea creature cards and tiny colored stones.  (Be careful opening that last one!)  It’s always nice to get a little something extra along with a recording ~ a sign that a label or artist is putting in some extra effort.

Kim’s two tracks are slow-growing drones that ripple and undulate before sinking into slow silence.  The title Freudvoll und Leidvoll (“joyful and sorrowful) is found in the Goethe play Egmont, and was later adopted by Beethoven.  Listeners should not expect flourishes and operatic tones, however; Kim’s version echoes Beethoven’s opening notes, but remains sedate.  Looped piano notes are buried deep in the “joyful” track, and all but disappear as an ominous cloud…

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