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CD Reviews

New releases from Danila Gaji and Nancy McKeen Bluz Machine

Danila Gaji

(Broke Whore Records)

Russian transplant and adopted Pittsburgher Danila Gaji's most recent album is dark yet danceable, sometimes minimal but never dull. On the whole it is tech-house with bits of ambient that remain serious, but not so much so as to lack playfulness.  

Whether gleaned from the title or found somewhere lying deep in the bassline, each track is packed with multiple emotions. "Minitune" creates swaths of synths that envelop a throbbing low end and push a bright computer melody to the front of your aural cavities. "Lonely Hours" is one of the most genre-bending gems on the album, featuring aquatic sounds that frame a melodic flurry of high-pitched tings.

You could put Maybe somewhere in the IDM realm, but not in a pretentious way.  Going between dark and light, recreated bubble sounds and natural guitar riffs, it's charming, intricate techno.

-Kate Magoc

The Nancy McKeen Bluz Machine
Three Jacks and a Jill


Monongahela's Nancy McKeen is an unusually young entry into the local blues scene; she's quite a capable vocalist with a mature voice. This five-song EP is a showcase of mostly Chicago-style, 12-bar blues tunes written by Bluz Machine bassist Bob Giacometti -- though the final track, "Slow Burn," with its polyrhythms and minimalist instrumentation, proves different from the rest of the album, and more interesting. 

Chicago blues is an idiom that's been done time and again, and is especially popular locally -- leading most bands tackling it to be unremarkable. Songs that show the creativity of that last track, though, could be this band's ticket to making a name for itself.

-Andy Mulkerin