I just want to take a moment to pay tribute to my father-in-law, Thomas Morganelli, who suddenly left this planet on Memorial Day. Although I only knew him for a few years, I came to genuinely love and admire this gentle dreamer who openly advocated for the existence of aliens and would regale everyone with the tale of how they came to visit him and his ray gun as a young boy. He was a child of the 60s and kept that spirit alive in his actions and the free-thinking manner in which he raised his three daughters. He idealized the time when he attended the 1965 Newport Folk Festival and saw history being made as Dylan went electric for the first time, and this moment in music history electrified him as well. Idealism is a funny thing. It’s easy to use it to glorify a particular moment in our lives, but his idealism of the 60s defined him; and he kept that flame alive until the day he died. He believed in being a compassionate individual, closely involved in the betterment of the apathetic and jaded world surrounding him. He was a true character whose favorite movie was Forbidden Planet because it represented his innate belief in the endless possibilities and alternate pathways that surround us- if only we open our eyes and embrace them in all their unpredictable glory.  So let’s all raise a flying saucer and let our freak flag fly in honor of Thomas J. Morganelli.  I trust that he’s now in a place where he has been reunited with his beloved ray gun and is well aware of his prolific impact upon all of those who orbited his wayward planet.  May you stay forever young and keep Bethlehem weird for eternity.

Jonas Reinhardt

Powers of Audition (Kranky 2010)


Sometimes we are far too eager to dismiss the new simply because it too closely resembles what came before it. That’s a shame because it’s rewarding and occasionally eye-opening if we clear our minds of the canon and embrace an album for what it is, not the artists that laid the groundwork for it to come to fruition. Therefore, cleanse your mind of attachments to Cluster, Tangerine Dream, Moebius, Roedelius, Can and countless other geniuses who planted the seeds from which krautrock sprung and take a close listen to Jonas Reinhardt’s Powers of Audition and you can imagine a world in which it comfortably lies in the same stratosphere as his idols. Despite a few minor missteps, it possesses the same otherworldly grandeur as the classic albums that inspired them. Powers of Audition is absolutely oceanic and slowly unfurls itself into concentric coils of hazy mists of synthesizer drones and stoic melodies that straddle the line between comforting warmth and frigid isolation. My only complaint is that the band should have embraced the epic nature of these compositions and gave them room to breathe beyond the six or seven minute that limits their power and impact here. Next time, they should let their freak flag fly high and aim for the dawn instead of quitting at dusk because there is a primordial power to these compositions that deserve to be stretched to infinity.

Ironically, there is no Jonas Reinhardt in the band and it simply serves as a studious sounding moniker for this four-piece from San Francisco, California. Since Jesse Reiner’s synthesizer work is the focal point of Jonas Reinhardt’s ode to the electronic exploration of 70s Germany, it’s not surprising that he is the leader of this outfit. He has a real knack for layering sounds upon another to build an intricate foundation that allows the other players to let loose and inject the album with an almost driving and playful swagger that serves as an excellent counterpoint to the more cosmic and ethereal hazes that feel like enveloping smears of sound. In particular, the guitar playing of Phil Manley of Trans Am and drumming of Mi Ami’s Damon Palermo is what lends Powers of Audition a cosmic swagger as they take advantage of the opportunity to indulge their longstanding desire to indulge their inner desire to emulate Michael Karoli of Can and Mani Neumeier of Guru Guru. Their contributions shock the album out of its narcotic passivity and they rumble headfirst into almost punky crescendos that make the mellow moments all the more poignant. If you’re going to make an album full of slowly falling and drifting music, it helps to do so after the music has raced into the heavens first. Powers of Audition may lack the pedigree and historical context of its inspirations, but it is one of the few modern albums that pays tribute to the storied past of krautrock while standing on equal footing with what laid the groundwork for its creation.

Magicistragic Mix Five

June 15, 2012


Magicistragic Mix Five 


Mellow sounds and peaceful sentiments are what the doctor ordered.


Beta Band-Dry the Rain

Arnold-Fleas Don’t Fly


Peaking Lights-Synthy

Here We Go Magic-Make up Your Mind

Pisces-Motley Mary Ann

Robert Lester Folsom-April Suzanne

Pink Floyd-Fat Old Sun

Numbers Band-Jimmy Bell’s Back in Town

Novicat de Souers Missionaries-Yesu Ka Mkwebaze

The Horrors-Skying

Supergrass-Evening of the Day

Leonard Kwan-Opihi Momona Nui

Paul Simon-Peace Like a River

Smokey Hogg-It;s Raining Here

Spur-Eight Days a Week

Kawika-Sunday Manoa


The Kinks-I Go to Sleep