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Liner Notes: CD reviews

 published on Thursday, March 30, 2006


The Ecclesia
Birdsong Over the Interior Castle
(Arena Rock Recording Company)
Three and a half out of four stars

The Ecclesia's first release evokes memories of ambient instrumental bands like The Album Leaf or Mono, minus any of the climaxes notable in Mono's songs. The album is an exercise in understatement, with subtle changes in mood and tempo throughout the course of 48 minutes. Songs feature a wealth of instruments (some of which the band claims were recorded after sneaking into a church), including a piano, guitars, xylophones, flute and plenty of electronic effects. Imagine Godspeed! You Black Emperor without the jarring use of noise or insanely complex thematic elements, and you might begin to get an idea of what a pleasantly relaxing listen this is. --

Ghostface Killah
(Def Jam)
Four out of five stars

The weirdest of the Wu Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah, has made one dense classic. The breathy, rushing rapper with heady rhymes and an aptitude for the odd detail (SpongeBob drives a Bentley?) likes his china white ("Whoever got the kilos got the candy") yet can turn and tell his woman to get off the pipe ("Big Girl") without preaching. Ghostface digs a catchy melody, whether in a a flashy headcharger like "Be Easy" or in ballads about bad blood like "Back Like That." But mostly Ghost loves the old days. While "Whip You With a Strap" and "The Champ" deal with childhood beatings and Pro-Keds, a raging "9 Milli Brothers," featuring a reunited Wu, the late ODB included, talks up their usual daffy nihilism like it's nobody's business. 'Cause it ain't. -- A.D. Amorosi, courtesy of KRT Campus

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