Elvin keeps the cornpone good-ole-boy schtick down to an acceptable level on this, perhaps his most serious solo album to date. Although Bishop's good-time approach is still evident on tunes like "I'm Gone," "Right Now Is the Hour," the acoustic "Radio Boogie" (with a guest shot from Charlie Musselwhite) and "Country Blues," the playing and lyrics get much deeper and more serious with "Shady Lane," "The Skin They're In," "Middle Aged Man" and "Long Shadows." Perhaps the most cohesive album he's made to date, revealing an artist coming to grips with his muse, his age and his art, all at once.
The soundtrack from the acclaimed 2011 Pedro Almodóvar film features instrumental music by internationally renowned film composer – and longtime Almodóvar collaborator – Alberto Iglesias, inspired by Bernard Herrmann's classic scores for Alfred Hitchcock's thrillers. Besides Iglesias' compositions, La Piel Que Habito includes four other selections: "Por el Amor de Amar" (the film's main song) and "Se Me Hizo Fácil," both sung by the exquisite flamenco fusion vocalist Concha Buika; a cover of Elliott Smith's "Between the Bars" by Chris Garneau; and "Shades of Marble" by Danish electronic artist Trentemøller.
British hard rock supergroup Snakecharmer was formed in 2013 by former members of Whitesnake, Wishbone Ash, and Thunder, among others. Guitar wiz Micky Moody had enjoyed a long and storied career in blues-rock dating all the way back to his work with Tramline in the '60s. After his acrimonious departure from Whitesnake in 1983, he formed the Snakes and the Company of Snakes in a bid to re-create the original blues-rock sound of Whitesnake before they became a hair metal band. After a chance meeting with his old Whitesnake bandmate, bassist Neil Murray, the pair decided to make some music for old times' sake and set about putting a band together…
Nitin Sawhney's Beyond Skin works on at least two levels. First, it's a plea against racism and war, relating, as Sawhney writes in the liner notes, that one's identity is defined only by oneself – that identity is "beyond skin." Second, the music is an extremely accomplished blend of classical, drum'n'bass, jazz, hip-hop, and Indian elements. The album's political statements are seen most clearly in the samples imbedded in the beginning and ending of most tracks. Dealing with nuclear testing and identity, the samples are effective in setting the tone for the songs. The music is quite lush, featuring among other instruments, tablas, pianos, and cellos to equally beautiful effect. The production brings a crystal-clear polish to nearly every element in the mix, whether it's the passionate, intense vocals of the Rizwan Qawwali Group on "Homelands" or the stunning, impossibly gorgeous voice of Swati Natekar on "Nadia." The entire album is bathed in eclectic touches which never fail to maintain a poetic, accessible sense of charm and wonder. Rarely has electronic music been crafted with as much substance and style as it has on Beyond Skin. Sawhney travels back and forth between genres quite effortlessly. The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.