Leni Stern
Mining Company Review:
Dateline: 01/14/99

Recollection is the newest CD from Leni Stern, and one I truly enjoy leaving in my CD player for extended periods of time. That is the most important thing I could say about any CD.

I remember, during my Bruford fascination days, I could listen to Feels Good to Me and One of a Kind over and over again. Hundreds of times. Or Heavy Weather. Bright Size Life. A great recording just keeps on sounding better the more you listen to it. It's the "magnet" factor. I like being drawn to certain music. Recollection does have a strong pull for me, and it moves me.

One thing I like about what Stern is doing is that she's not busy trying to be the ultimate jazz guitarist. She's not out to impress me, which is just fine. She did anyway. Rather, she blends in nicely, and sounds pretty, and hires great sounding tasteful players to accompany her. This CD has only 5 new tracks, though. The other 11 tracks are selections from previous recordings she has made starting from 1986. So, if you have yet to hear Leni Stern, this CD gives a good bit of new music while introducing you to some of her other work.

Many of the tunes include her in a singer/songwriter role, which she handles wonderfully. The CD jacket is a wonderful collage of lyrics, musician credits, stories, quotes, and even a foreword by Bill Milkowski. As I was reading one story in particular, about Mary Ellen, a friend from a cancer support group (Stern is a cancer survivor herself), I appreciated the intimacy of the story, and the fact that out of 25 people that got together that day, she is one of seven "still around to tell the story." "I wish I had travelled more, and eaten more ice cream" Mary Ellen had said, in her last days. "So I took off to the Himalayas" Stern writes. "That's where I wrote 'Shooting Star' and 'Blue Cloud.'"

"Shooting Star," from her 1992 release Ten Songs includes Badal Roy playing a nice tabla accompaniment. Other instrumentalists featured are Bill Frisell, on "Someday My Prince Will Come," Wayne Krantz, Paul Motian, Dennis Chambers, Alain Caron, Lincoln Goines. The new material uses Kenny Wolleson on drums, Dave Binney on alto sax and bass clarinet, and Don Falzone on bass, plus a trio of backup vocalists.
---Blaine Fallis

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List of Tunes:

  1. Love Is Real
  2. Ritchie
  3. Shooting Star
  4. Someday My Prince Will Come
  5. Monica
  6. Something Is Wrong
  7. Spanish Harlem
  8. Mary Ellen
  9. Love Lightly
  10. Wondering Why
  11. Love and Everything
  12. Lights Out
  13. Blue Cloud (Intro)
  14. Jessie's Song
  15. More Trouble
  16. Talk To Me
Catalog # lsr042 CD $12.00
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Ripley Caine

The core of Ripley Caine (the band) is lead singer / guitarist Ripley Caine (the person) and bassist Erik Vaveris, who regularly perform as an "unplugged" duo. With guitarist Aaron Weistrop and drummer Justin Kramer, Ripley Caine recorded their debut CD Thrift Store Sweater, which was released with a performance in September 1998, at the Morseland in Chicago. The group has also performed in Chicago at places like Gunther Murphy's, Uncommon Ground, The Beat Kitchen, The Heartland, and The Cubby Bear. Thrift Store Sweater is being played on college radio throughout the country, and the group is planning more performances in Chicago and across the US.

Ripley Caine - singer, songwriter, storyteller, sometimes freak show - was born and raised in Chicago, IL. Originally wanting a drum set, with the folks stating "ney, ney poor dear," Ripley received the guitar instead. Joining her first band at age 15 was a challenge. She was the youngest and the only female. Ages in the band ranged from 18-30 (a challenge to say the least). She was picked from an audition so she must have done something right. After about a year the band split up, and Ripley's tastes started to change. She started to jam with acoustic guitars. "The beautiful rawness that can be heard from an acoustic guitar challenged me to come up with a different sound, different from folk or folk-rock." She has been influenced by the likes of PJ Harvey, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Tracy Chapman, and Joni Mitchell. Ripley continued performing after moving to San Diego, where she developed a pretty good fan base and was making a name for herself. Yet after deciding that San Diego wasn't the place for her, Ripley returned home to Chicago, where she met Erik and the whole thing began.

Erik Vaveris started playing the bass when he was 14, and was the bassist and/or lead singer and/or songwriter in a parade of terrible high school bands that played a wide variety of music ranging from really bad heavy metal to even worse classic rock. Afterwards, he mellowed out a little bit and played and sang in a two-man coffeehouse-type act that never actually played at a coffeehouse, but frequently took advantage of venues that offered unlimited, free alcohol to underage performers. He was also a member of the ska band so concerned with trying to have some skauthenticiy that they use the work ska not once but twice in their name - Skaboodah and the Skalaktites. Erik also has composed some music in the classical vein and created a number of electro-acoustic works. In addition to co-producing, recording, and mixing Ripley Caine's first CD, Erik is spending some time writing digital audio software.

"Caine and her band come off like the Cowboy Junkies or 10,000 Maniacs in their late-eighties' college radio sweetheart heydays. And fortunately, the second half of the record offers a more complex blend as jazzier, ethereal arrangements are explored on "Nine Out Of Nine," "Ant In The Rain" and especially on the layered, Jeff Buckley-ish "Pack Rat," with its lilting strumming and vocal excursions." Marty Behm Chicago Metromix

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Catalog # rccd-100 CD $NA
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select ORDER FORM:
or Call Toll Free: (800) 611-4698
or: e-mail: hrmusic@rahul.net

Thrift Store Sweater
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  1. Young Cat
  2. Thrift Store Sweater
  3. Ernie
  4. Make The Paint Dry
  5. Nine Out Of Nine
  6. Paper Ride
  7. Ant in the Rain
  8. Pack Rat
  9. Final Kiss

Catalog # 64997 CD $12.00
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select ORDER FORM:
or Call Toll Free: (800) 611-4698
or: e-mail: hrmusic@rahul.net
Check Ripley's Web Site


Katheleen Michaels
Muse's Muse (12/8/98)

Im a sucker for a good vocalist. Katheleen Michaels is definitely one of those. She also has a real way with mournful songs. Her CD, Faces, Traces & Timelines has a wealth of mournful and unusual melodies (as well as some more upbeat numbers but it's the mournful tunes that touched me the most) that caught me up and didn't let me go until the very end. I was also very impressed with the way the music was crafted to create a 'wall of sound' effect that was so powerful, my tiny computer CD player made it sound like I was in an amphitheatre. The song I've chosen to highlight here is an example of that but there's lots of great stuff on this CD. For more info, you can check out Katheleen's web site at http://www.kmichaels.com.
---Jodi Krangle

Russell Elliot (free-lance reviewer from the UK)

The debut album by internet award winning Bay Area independent singer-songwriter Katheleen Michaels, Faces, Traces & Timelines (KMWM Productions, 1998), contains eleven heartfelt vocally rich folk-rock tunes backed principally by guitarist and co-writer Bill Mazur. With keyboards by Ken Ruppel, further instrumental contributions include Nathan DeMello on bass and Patrick Ward and Dennis Briggs playing drums.

The album is dominated by Katheleen's vocal work. She also plays 12-string acoustic guitar. The album is easy to listen to with catchy bluesy or bright folk-like melodies balanced amongst the supporting guitar and keyboard instrumentation. Other songs have a bluesy feel. Although the style of her music is different, Katheleen's mid-range vocals could be best compared to those of Frances Black or even Chrissie Hynde at times.

The typically bluesy "My Old Friend" is quite popular amongst internet audiences sharing a similar feel to "Where Did He Go" and "How Long" which follow. Katheleen demonstrates that she is equally adept at ballads in "Outside My Window" and "Father Joe". Several of the album's songs are more bright and airy with "Forever" and "If I Could" being the most stunning examples. "Save Me" is an epic-like track combining Katheleen's different styles into one song with powerful instrumentals and is therefore a high spot of the album.

The work of independent artists is becoming more prevalent and well known with the internet's growth. Katheleen Michaels' debut album, largely distributed through internet audiences, is certainly one example of what is being done today. It contains good cross section of music demonstrating the range of her vocal and songwriting ability. A nice listen.

Faces, Traces And Timelines
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  1. DON'T CRY
  3. NO NEED TO QUESTION (Part of the Chain)
  10. SAVE ME
  11. MESSAGE OF LOVE (The Lullaby)
Catalog # kmcd-100 CD $14.99
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Land Of The Blind

Dead Can Dance meets Souxie and The Banshees, Kate Bush fronts The Doors, Laurie Anderson conducts The Womens Bulgarian Choir, Pink Floyd dates Tori Amos, Peter Gabriel has a baby with Jane Siberry, Transglobal Underground, Sky Cries Mary & Portishead all decide to go acoustic, Laurie Freelove sits in with Bel Canto, add the angst and poetry of The The, mix the tribal of Outback plus the chutzba of Lights In A Fat City...

(If you like to categorize)

who am I?
Cyoakha started singing in church choir but was always in trouble for making up her own words. She recorded her first album in high school and can't seem to stop. Her unusual and nervous singing debut was in a punk-rock gay musical singing acapella, a lovely little ditty about incest. Cy's strange on-stage body language comes from performing in a travelling De Cruix mime troupe/circus. A few years in film and stage work helps bring the theatrical element into performances. Her lyrics come from dreams and poems and visions (waking dreams?). Her idea of a tribal unit, instead of a band, creating happenings and community, rather than money and fame, comes from a deep-seated need to find and connect with others on a soul and music level.

"I would like continue creating those magical moments between artist and audience, where one is neither or both, those moments of pure trance, where you are lost and yet connected, the listeners also, those seconds of grace where a piece ends and the silence of wonder fills the room, then we fall back to earth, breath and sigh together, then remember who and where we are before clapping. That is pure prayer, sound becoming holy, that is what I live for."

She has recieved the 1998 & 1999 American Society of Composers and Performers award/grant for Young American Composers for the self-produced CD 'OUT OF CHAOS". SOUNDTRACKS She is working on soundtracks for film, has a Blind song in the indie poetry movie 'Slamnation' which premiered at SXSW, is currently working on a soundtrack for a Seattle sci-fi movie called 'Being in the Nik of Time, has the song 'CHURCH OF THE HOLY TREES', a song she wrote for Julia Butterfly will be in the new movie about Julia called "Treesit", and a tune from the third album on the indie art movie from Spain/SF "Skyunderground".

Critics and fans have said about Cyoakha's voice such holy names as KATE, JIM MORRISON, LAURIE ANDERSON, DEAD CAN DANCE, JANE and TORI, but she is humbled before such crazy praise, & thinks she sounds like a irish banchee howling across the fields instead.

The Blind

CYOAKHA GRACE vocals, percussion, lyrics, toys...Azigza/Black Orchid/Pig On Fire/Echolalia
MELO CADY flutes, percussion, chants...Baba Yaga, The Cady Band
REGINA LAROCCA bass, chants....The Oily Bloodmen, M99
KRYSTOV didgeridoos, sitar, chants
MARK BROWN keyboards, chants...BlackOrchid, Equinox

1996 ONE EYE, LAND OF THE BLIND, rainforest records
1997 OUT OF CHAOS, LAND OF THE BLIND, spiral eye records
1998 EPISODIC DREAMS OF FALLING, BLACK ORCHID, live tape available thru cy
1998 CHURCH OF THE HOLY TREES, LAND OF THE BLIND, spiral eye records
1998 MONSTERMOTHERTREE, LAND OF THE BLIND, CDR only, lanblind@teleport.com
1999 FALLING UP WALLS, ECHOLALIA, o'manion music
1999 CYOAKHA GRACE, demo, CDR only, o'manion music, lanblind@teleport.com
2000 ORDINARY MAGIC, LAND OF THE BLIND, advance order now, available May, thru band only at this point
2000 AZIGZA, AZIGZA, available now, thru cy or Pangea Music


"Pop Music For Druids"
...The Journal

"Like exploring the dangerously enticing corridors of an off-kilter carnival at night while opiumed-up"
---Anodyne Magazine

"Like Dead Can Dance they explore unconventional sounds, experiment with Middle east-like scales & cryptically poet lyrics for a bizarre but intriguing Laurie Anderson meets the Woman's Bulgarian Choir. Genuine & unpretentious."
---WXFN, Boston

Out Of Chaos

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  1. Ice Blue
  2. Walking In A Whirlwind
  3. Hungarian Blue
  4. Swim For The Shore
  5. Wedding Song
  6. Michael II
  7. Sadaway Says
  8. Flubug
  9. Albino Luciani
  10. NationalAcrobat
  11. The Cross That You Bear
  12. The Edge Of Chaos
Catalog #rr00 CD $13.99
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One Eye

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  1. Pulling The Walls Down
  2. Maitreya
  3. Seeing Blind
  4. Coming On Strong
  5. Dream Secrets
  6. Roll Away The Stone
  7. Michael
  8. Calling All Angels
  9. Pulling The Walls Down (Radio Version)
  10. Seeing Blind
  11. Calling All Angels (Radio Version)
Catalog # rr021 CD $13.99
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Land Of The Blind Web Site
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copyright 1999