Think of all the wonderful gifts Long Beach California has given us: Snoop Doggy Dogg, No Doubt, Alyssa Milano. Add to that list Ginger Leigh: an eclectic musician straight outta South California. Many compare Ginger to Musimgause; I would add Steroid Maximus, Foetus, Praxis, Brian Eno and Tom Waits. Ginger draws from a rich pallet of musical flavors: from Middle-eastern and Arabic sounds, to low-fidelity hardcore techno. And best of all, his music sounds nothing like Skinny Puppy*.
The balance of the songs on From Artesia with Love share an exotic (because I live in New Jersey) Middle-eastern flavor (and forgive my cultural ignorance) - from the rich rhythms and vibrant melodies of Taxicab ride through the city and From Artesia with Love to the minimalist drones of saffron, you'll find it hard to believe these songs originate from a bare-bones studio in California. Listening to these tracks, and others like STAR MAPS and little angles, can be a truly transcendental experience - close your eyes and you'll find yourself speeding through a Moroccan marketplace or staring at the stars while lying on a blanket of sand.
From Artesia With Love isn't limited to the exotic. Passing trains is a low-fidelity techno/Zoth Ommog type piece that takes me back to the late 80's/early 90's Industrial sound - very basic and low-fidelity, yet the type of song that would set the tone for a night of dance floor drunkenness and debauchery.
Ginger scrapes the noise genre with force it!, and convincingly enters the soundtrack genre with Red River and darkness. A real surprise on the album is the lone vocal track God is in the mountain that could easily slip onto one of Tom Waits' recent albums without anyone noticing.
Fans of the bands mentioned in the introduction paragraph should be pleased to discover an up and coming entrant into the diverse ambient genre. Ginger has a long way to go - mostly in the production department - before he can take the stage with the big boys. With plenty of effort and some more time spent on the finished product, Ginger could find a place amongst the greats.
Post: P.O. Box 683, Artesia, CA, 90702-0683
* If I have to review one more Skinny Puppy clone band, I'm going to quit reviewing music forever. Better yet, if you're a Puppy clone band I'll smash your CD, burn it, take a picture of the remains and then submit the picture as my review. Don't misunderstand me: I love Skinny Puppy, but I can't stand the fact that so few people are able to create original music.