For several years now, Amsterdam's Konkurrent has given visiting bands the opportunity to make EP-length discs as part of an experimental live-in-the-studio series dubbed "In the Fishtank." American "sad-core" trio Low and the Australian-bred, Gypsy-minded instrumental trio the Dirty Three came together in Konkurrent's fishtank while on tour in Holland last year, and the impromptu sextet yielded this six-track, 30-minute set of spartan poetics.
For her fifth album (her first in the U.S.), Finnish singer/songwriter Janita has created a sensuous, rhythmic musical mosaic that, at times, recalls the recordings of Basia, Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai, and Swing Out Sister.
The Mahotella Queens—Mildred Mangxola, Nobesuthu Mbadu, and Hilda Tloubatla—combined with Mahlathini (the Lion of Soweto) and West Nkosi to create mbanqanga, the happening sound of the apartheid-afflicted South Africa of the '60s.
"Opera with an attitude" goes the promo line for soccer-arena tenor Russell Watson's debut disc; it should rather be "Opera without aptitude." The young Brit indeed has a voice, one perhaps better than Michael Bolton's.
As principal writer and producer of the first major motion-picture soundtrack of all-new gospel material, gospel golden-boy Kirk Franklin rises to the occasion in glorious fashion, delivering nine new songs (with a 10th by labelmate Kurt Carr) that dazzle.