Friday Five: Mark Kirschenmann, Estar Cohen, Isaac Levine, Rod Johnson, Mark Jewett


Friday Five 08-20-2021

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features experimental trumpet by Mark Kirschenmann, jazz vocals by Estar Cohen, an indie-waltz by Isaac Levine, and Americana from Rod Johnson and Mark Jewett.


Mark Kirschenmann, Cybersonic Outreach
Trumpeter and University of Michigan music professor Mark Kirschenmann spent the pandemic recording this collection of improvisations at home using his electronically processed horn. The first single, "Long Walk," is what it would sound like if you recorded all the nighttime noises around a pond and fed them through a bevvy of effects. For a more considered interpretation of Kirschenmann's music, Dan Lippel wrote a treatise over on the album's Bandcamp page. If you want to see how Kirschenmann makes all these amazing sounds in a live setting, in 2017 he came into AADL and recorded a video of improvised jams using effects pedals from the library's Music Tools collection.


Estar Cohen, "A Prayer, for Tad"
Ypsilanti jazz vocalist and songwriter Estar Cohen was mentored by the late local pianist Tad Weed who died from cancer in 2018. This single is a lovely tribute to the man whose music meant so much to so many.


Isaac Levine, "Our Motel"
While he's moved to California, for many years Isaac Levine was a vibrant presence on the Washtenaw County DIY music scene. He's not been as prolific since relocating to Pasedena, but his label, fishpeoplebirds, continues to release music by other artists, and a new Levine album, Long Con Gone, is on its way. The slow-motion waltz "Our Motel" is the album's first single and video. 


Rod Johnson, Looking for a Perfect Trip
"Lafayette," the first single from Ann Arbor singer-songwriter Rod Johnson's new album, is a really nice mixture of roots rock and power-pop. Can't ever go wrong with handclaps in a chorus.


Mark Jewett, The Lucky One
Ann Arbor's Mark Jewett makes the kind of music you immediately associate with The Ark: earnest and literate folk-country Americana. One song is called "Warren Zevon's Birthday" so you know the bag from which this singer-songwriter plucks his influences.

Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.