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WCBN FM's 50th Anniversary

WCBN FM is celebrating our 50th anniversary of being on the air! Our student-run station survived the pandemic! Many radio hosts are back at the station doing live radio, along with other hosts who are live streaming and airing pre-recorded shows from their home studios, so listeners can continue to tune in 24/7 to freeform radio. Celebrate this milestone with us by showing your support for the station you can’t live without! 

Adobi On The Gobi - Michael Nastos and friends

It has been my dream to produce this recording. Adobe On The Gobi, and as the title implies, it is a  multi-cultural project, combining music from the Middle East, the Subcontinent, Latin America and Africa with  creative improvised music, electronics and jazz. These  recordings feature musicians I have known and  collaborated with, based in my longtime hometown and native Ann Arbor, Michigan. It reflects influential figures in my cultural development. Specifically it is made with high art  musicians in mind, such as the ECM label artists, Brian Eno,Jon Hassell, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Sun Ra, Steve Reich,  Jumma Santos and M'Boom/Max Roach & Roy Brooks in particular, and the music of the sixties TV shows “The Prisoner” and the AMC  reimagined mini-series.

 

We are all societal prisoners.

 

The beautiful art work is by Margaret Ann Squires, who teaches in the West Bloomfield school district, and works in many media formats, including pottery, photography, painting, and the graphic design you see here. She is so gifted, and shares her talent with her students, family and friends every day. Additional artwork is mine, done through my own professional 

photography.

 

This (eventually) four CD set is the culmination of many years primarily listening to and playing recorded musicfor people. My appreciation for live music in performance is also very important, and sounds  offered in the moment are the most telling aspect of anyone’s emotional and spiritual existence.

 

So I hope this effort will hold a place in your heart. It reflects influential figures in my musical development, but is in all respects music as shared with other like minded individuals. It combines my love for all pianists, drummers and percussionists no matter the discipline. Specifically it is made with high art musicians in mind, such as the ECM label artists, Brian Eno, Jon Hassell, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Sun Ra, Steve Reich and M'Boom in particular. And the music of the TV shows “The Prisoner”.

Zvonimir Tot’s Jazz Stringtet: Sarabande Blue (album review by Christa V.)

Zvonimir Tot is a very accomplished classical and jazz guitarist. Here he combines these two talents by getting together a string quartet to play with him on guitar. Most pieces are composed, but some is improvised as well in jazz style! The result is a fascinating new sound that brings together the gorgeous sound of classical strings with all the fun and swing of a jazz tune. The opening track sounds exploratory with the sweeping strings complemented by the rich guitar work. In contrast, “Fuga Longa, Vita Brevis” has a more stately, classical feel to it. Track 7, “Blue Quest,” along with the closing number, “Brother Nicolau,” both blend together jazz and classical sounds in a dazzling way that makes you want to dance. And also wonder how Tot managed to pull this delicious meld of styles off! Favorite tracks: 1, 4, 7, 10

Broken Baby - Late Stage Optimism (album review by Laura T.)

LA-based Broken Baby injects rage, humor, and expletives into their second album, Late Stage Optimism. Full of screams and slamming guitars, Late Stage Optimism is unabashedly a look into frontwoman Amber Bollinger’s frustrations with Hollywood and the patriarchy at large. Their self-described genre of disco-glam-protest-punk takes center stage in their lyrics and punching bass lines that back up Bollinger’s larger-than-life stage presence in each of their performances. Bollinger's vocal quirks and lyrics against their polished production make for good music to add to your life's soundtrack.

Fav tracks: 4, 9, 11

Dancing Mice: Acme (album review by Christa V.)

“Acme” is the eighth album from Dancing Mice, a UK based band who write (self-described) “quirky songs.” Their sound has a really interesting blend of indie folk and electropop. Nearly all of their songs have stunning guitar and strings work, but they know when to incorporate a horn or two when needed! The lyrics definitely confirm that the group has an excellent sense of humor when it comes to making music. The opening track is terrific and is a bop, plus it includes some sweet horn lines as well. The other stand out song is the closer of the album, track 12, and it also is a fast-paced song you can easily dance to. Several of the songs in the middle tend to drag a little, but there are gems to be found there as well! Favorite tracks: 1, 7, 12

Warp Trio: Warp Trio’s Pandemic Disco Fantasy (album review by Christa V.)

This album and collaboration was born from the pandemic. Warp Trio had an instrumental album all ready to go, but unable to tour with it, they reached out to vocalist friends and other collaborators to make an album together. Each track has a video that goes along with it, but the songs stand amazingly alone as well. “Captivity” is the opening number that brings you in soothingly, and then escalates to the instrumental craziness that characterizes the rest of the album. The whole project is worth listening to in whole after that, but “The Well” might be my favorite as it hits a great balance of instrumental ambiance with melodic vocals floating on top. “Dragon Dance” brings it back down with soaring strings and percussion sprinkled in to complement it. Many pandemic projects have been incredible to watch, and this is no exception! Favorite tracks: 1, 3, 5

Design a WCBN T-Shirt!

The annual fundraiser is just around the corner! WCBN’s 50th anniversary is also coming up (official date January 23, 2022). To celebrate we are accepting submissions for a 50th anniversary themed shirt!

 

If you are interested, please review this document for more information and important design guidelines.

 

Designs are due on January 24, 2022. One of the submissions will be chosen for the t-shirt. Designs can be submitted by anyone through this form. If you don’t have a Google account or are having issues with the form, please email me with your submission, t-shirt color, and design title.

 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions. My email is brona (at) umich (dot) edu.

 

Happy designing!

 

Throttle Elevator Music: Final Floor (album review by Christa V.)

As implied in the title, this is the final album from Throttle Elevator Music. The sextet consists features Kamasi Washington on saxophone, and Erik Jekabson on trumpet, among others. While staying true to their jazz roots, this album brings in elements of rock and funk like electric guitar solos and synthesizers to introduce an edge to their sound. Overall, it’s incredibly upbeat and energizing to listen to, while still managing to function as smooth listening for the audience. The best tracks keep this energy going over the course of the piece and manage to blend the genres of jazz and rock together perfectly. Aspects like the electric guitar undercurrent to saxophone solos are unique and integrate perfectly within the composition. It is too bad that this is the last of Throttle Elevator Music! Favorite tracks: 5, 7, 8, 9

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