January 31, 2008

David Darling - Cycles

David Darling (born March 3, 1941) is a cellist and composer. He has performed and recorded with artists such as Bobby McFerrin and Spyro Gyra in addition to putting out several solo and small ensemble albums as well as albums of his compositions. Born in Elkhart, Indiana, Darling began studying cello at 10 and continued on to earn bachelor's and master's degrees in music education from Indiana University. He took a position as elementary and secondary school instrumental ensemble director in Evansville, Indiana in 1966, and in 1969 joined the faculty of Western Kentucky University teaching music education and directing the community college orchestra. He joined the Paul Winter Consort in 1970, as well as taking a position with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and remained a member until 1987, when he left to pursue a solo career. In 1986 Darling joined Young Audiences, Inc., an organization that seeks to educate children about music and the arts through in-school programs. In the same year, he founded Music for People, which seeks to encourage self-expression through musical improvisation. In 2000 he recorded an unusual collaboration with the Wulu Bunun, a group of Taiwanese aborigines.Darling's performance and composition draw on a wide range of styles, including classical, jazz, Brazilian, African, and Indian musics. He currently lives in Goshen, Connecticut where he continues his active composing, teaching, and performing career. In addition to his work as a solo and collaborative musician, he has written and performed music for more than a dozen major motion pictures, including Wim Wenders's 1991 film "Bis ans Ende der Welt" (Until the End of the World), Michael Mann's 1995 film Heat (film) and the 1985 killer-doll horror film Child's Play. The popular Until the End of the World (soundtrack) features Darling's performance of Graeme Revell compositions alongside major acts like U2, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Talking Heads, R.E.M. (band), Lou Reed, and Elvis Costello. In 2002 David was nominated for a Grammy award for his album 'Cello Blue'. Darling is a tremendously gifted teacher of music improvisation and is a passionate believer in the ability of every human to learn to express themselves musically. He co-founded Music for People , an organization which runs "music for everyone" workshops that are inspiring everyone from musical novices to professionals. All musical styles are honored, from Bach to boogie woogie. In 2007 he recorded a 3-CD set with Julie Weber discussing his music philosophy.

Recorded November 1981
David Darling: cello, 8-string electric cello
Collin Walcott: sitar, tabla, percussion
Steve Kuhn :piano
Jan Garbarek: tenor and soprano saxophones
Arild Andersen: bass
Oscar Castro-Neves :guitar

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David Darling-Cello
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January 28, 2008

Robotobibok - Instytut Las (2003)

Robotobibok (a blend of two Polish words for robot and skiver) was formed in 1998 in Wrocław, Poland. From the very beginning, their music has seemed to combine modern electronic music with the energy of improvised jazz. Strong and acoustic drums, double bass and trumpet intertwine with dreamy vibraphone, electric guitar and characteristic 70's analogue electronica.
The result evokes the atmosphere of 70's electric jazz and early electroacoustic experiments. The core of Robotobibok's music is their post-jazz rhythm section, ostensibly inspired by the newest electronica, but going further and building more intricate structures. Robotobibok also try to develop their own language in improvisation; individual instruments sometimes do solo, but none of them dominates in the end.


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January 25, 2008

Oystein Sevag - Caravan


“Øystein Sevåg is back where he has almost always been – in my ears. With a brew of sometimes amazing beauty, inspired by New Age, jazz, classical, and God knows what, he once again leads us into the essence of beauty.This is music that is full of space: space to reflect on what we are listening to and space to go on our own journeys. Øystein Sevåg’s music often has a touch of the religious about it. It is, without exception, extremely beautiful and appealing. There is every reason to be pleased that Øystein Sevåg has returned from his self-imposed exile…
People who liked Sevåg before will definitely like him again now.”- Puls (music magazine)


Blog archive
Oystein Sevag - Bridge

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January 22, 2008

Nguyên Lê Duos - Homescape (2006)

Where does jazz stop and world music start? The boundaries are getting more blurred by the minute. We're all postmodernists now, and many musicians under fifty reflect a range of influences beyond those traditionally associated with their own core style. Some, like French-Vietnamese guitarist Nguyen Le, are so polyglot as to be practically beyond category.
Le started out down the cultural miscenegation road with his first band, the multi-ethnic Ultramarine, whose 1989 album, De, was named World Music Album of the Year by the radical French newspaper Liberation. He's continued to mix it up ever since—prominent genre-benders he's worked with include Miroslav Vitous, Trilok Gurtu, David Liebman, Paul McCandless, Peter Erskine and Mino Cinelu. In the late 1990s Le became increasingly interested in Maghrebi music, working with Algerian singers Safy Boutella and Cheb Mami, and in 1998 he brought Maghrebi and Vietnamese musicians together on the album Maghrebi & Friends.
None of this, however, can prepare you for the galaxy of sound sources on Homescape, a series of alternating duets with Sardinian trumpeter Paolo Fresu and Tunisian oud player Dhafer Youssef. Some of these sources are developed and explored, others are referred to only in passing, and they include—but aren't limited to—post-Hendrix rock, Milesian harmon-mute free improv, Maghrebi trance music, Ellingtonia, ambient, a Papua New Guinea vocal choir (sampled and replayed backwards), Delta blues, Vietnamese folk tunes, flamenco, Iranian modes, a Sardinian choir, Australian aboriginal ritual music, French chanson, Gregorian chant, and Indonesian gamelan/gong music.
Guitars, trumpet/flugelhorn and oud aside, the music is generated by loops, samples and overdubs, and the entire heavily post-produced album was recorded and mixed in Le's Paris apartment - since 2003, his friends and neighbours Fresu and Youssef have been dropping by to home-record. The duets with Fresu are typically in free-improv mode (the exception being Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn's lovely “Chelsea Bridge”), while the Youssef duets tend to be song or structure-based.
In the main sunny and joyful, though not without some darker and more abrasive moments, the fifteen tracks—average length three minutes, a handful six or seven—resemble a series of round-the-world postcards sent by Le, who mixed and post-produced everything solo, to his collaborators. As a soundtrack to an evening communing with the big bamboo, the exotic and the very exotic drifting in and out of the mix, it's rich, colourful and beguiling.
Chris May"allaboutjazz.com"

Nguyen Lê: acoustic, fretless, synthesiser, e-bow and Vietnamese guitars, computer programming and electronics.
Paolo Fresu: trumpet, flugelhorn and electronics.
Dhafer Youssef: oud, vocals and electronics.
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January 18, 2008

Eivind Aarset - Sonic Codex (2007)

"Sonic Codex", the forth Jazzland album by Eivind Aarset, is perhaps the strongest album he has produced so far. This is no mean achievement, considering his debut as a bandleader, "Electronique Noire" was hailed by The New York Times as "one of the best Post-Miles electric jazz albums". That album's successors, "Light Extracts" and "Connected", also met with equally effusive comments from critics of many backgrounds, not just jazz. The album "Connected" gave the first clue to Aarset’s long-term goal of creating a truly unified body of work. "Sonic Codex" takes that concept, restates, elaborates, and then amplifies it to create a true masterwork that may well be a defining moment in both Aarset's career and the history of Jazzland.
Beginning with "Sign of Seven", Aarset ventures along a primitive melodic path laid out on log drum, before primordial forest breaks open into urban jungle, full of glitches and all manner of guitars and layers of Hans Ulrik's clarinets.
Ulrik follows through to "Quicksilver Dream", a track that shimmers with an ambient trippiness, yet also has a very clear intention to move to somewhere, not pace in repetitive circles.
"Drøbak Saray" is a soundtrack for a hot day in a space age Souk, like Terje Rypdal's guitar lost in William S. Burrough's Tangiers, both languid and tense in its movement.
"Cameo" presents a very different kind of music, more obviously adhering to a compositional form than the previous tracks, yet retaining a feeling of spontaneity that is common to the best jazz.
"Still Changing" presents further experimentation by Aarset on the genetics originally grown on Light Extract's "Empathic Guitar", and then spliced and recomposed on "Connected" as "Changing Waltz", this time with the addition of Tor Egil Kreken's banjo. The music becomes increasingly vast in its scope as the track progresses, before retuning to its original theme.
"Black Noise/White Silence" erupts, hissing and spitting, kicking and biting, like a series of spasms, before seizing control of itself, like a caged lion that has never been tamed.
"Family Pictures III" is yet another deliberate throwback, this time directly to "Connected," and with the two namesake pieces from that album makes a perfect triptych of three different views of a single sonic landscape.
"Sleeps with Fishes" uses the musical vocabulary found on tracks such as "The String Thing", but this time that twang that might accompany a James Bond or a nameless spaghetti western gunslinger has taken root in an aquatic world of sleeping, dreaming night.
"Return of Black Noise" is an echo from within the album itself, coming as a more direct, abbreviated version of "Black Noise/White Silence" - like a postmodern "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)". It merges seamlessly with "Murky Lambada", which stands at the end of the album like a colossus. Initially sounding like a not-too-distant cousin of "Sign of Seven" with its tribal percussion, the lambada blurrily refocuses to reveal a deep and misty soundscape with its own textures, peaks and valleys, before exiting behind through veil of ambient hum and plinking kalimba, bringing the album cyclically to its beginning.
Throughout the varied textures and structures, Aarset's guitar provides constant interest, sometimes behaving as a narrator helping through densely layered textural structures, sometimes behaving like a carefully camouflaged animal, barely perceptible against a driving backbeat. As with the rest of his work, he demonstrates how the electronic and the acoustic can co-exist, each integrating and absorbing the other, not merely occupying the same space. He has created his own sonic world, and he continues not just to explore it, but also to chronicle it with an unerring ear for the right details, and a full understanding of how those details make up a much larger whole.
The album's title is a perfect summary of its hour-long contents: it is a Sonic Codex. It puts forward Aarset's rules of engagement with the listener, and very deliberately quotes and redefines the musicality that made up his previous three albums, "Electronique Noire", "Light Extracts", and "Connected", yet also points his way forward; it is an innovative present that simultaneously summarises the past, and predicts the future.
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January 14, 2008

Josh Roseman - Treats For The Nightwalker

The biggest rising star on trombone (Down Beat Poll Winner 2003), Josh Roseman has been celebrated for his multi-stylistic musicianship and his powerful command of the instrument. His debut album "Cherry" earned highest critical acclaim, was voted among the 10 CDs of 2001 in German Rolling Stone, CD of the week in the London Guardian and Jazz Album of the Year in Ink 19 magazine. Wired Magazine read: "Thirteen eccentric players clash beautifully on one blindingly day-glow rant after another."
Where "Cherry" gave us multi-angled views of the tears of a clown, the follower "Treats For The Nightwalker" is a bit of funk genius from on high. From the textured, epic sprawl of "Sedate 2.0" to the M-Base-tinged futuristic drive of "Are You There," the disc is orchestral in scope, hard driving, an ambitious milestone for a journeyman hornplayer and notice for the progressive groove scene at large. Drawing on a huge range of influences, from Hermeto Pascoal to Squarepusher, King Tubby to Threadgill, Josh's new album was scored electronically for horns, strings and a very dangerous rhythm section in late 2001 with exacting detail. But the results reflect a turntablist's viewpoint as much as a composer's. Themes are teased until they break. Styles collide fabulously. The grooves sweat, having been pushed well over the edge in long preproduction and mix sessions. And in the midst of all this, you hear the holler of an extravagantly talented live working ensemble: The band is given free reign to paint broadly, fearlessly, in a very physical fashion. Roseman planned and executed the basic tracks for this second disc in between sideman tours with Charlie Hunter, Soulive, Dave Douglas and Dave Holland, and the range of his musical agenda translates clearly here. There are rhythmic elements designed to light up a room, compositional motives that are crystalline, fractal-like, insoluble and fascinating to the inquiring ear, and wild, organic solo work from a bunch of masters.
Link (mpc)
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January 9, 2008

Dino Saluzzi - Responsorium

" Like his "Cité de la Musique" (1995), Responsorium finds Saluzzi in an intimate trio with the mellow guitar of his son, José, and the expert pulsating bass of jazzer Palle Danielsson. Thoughtful and exploratory, the nine tracks recall both the audacious "tango nuevo" of minimalist Eduardo Rovira and the sadder side of "criollo" roots music. Though often regarded as abstract and cerebral, Saluzzi is led by feeling. ... Saluzzi's tangos are sequences of perfect fragments held together by a bandoneon closer to the church organ than the barrel organs of proto-tango. For some he is the officiating high priest of new tango, but while arguably the best act around, this still sounds more like a gorgeous preamble than the final word.
Chris Moss, Songlines"
Songlines, Top of the world
Jazzman, Choc du mois
Le Monde de la Musique, Choc du mois
Audio, Jazz CD des Monats
Part1 & Part2
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January 4, 2008

Dead Hollywood Stars

Gone West
Go WEEEST! No. Gay propaganda as disco-pop this is not. Dead Hollywood Stars play country & western from the other side. The saloon is deserted, the dried bushes roll along Main Street, a door slowly creaks in the dry wind. There--a hesitant banjo riff. The echo of an automatic piano. The dead are waking up in the ghost town.
Dead Hollywood Stars succeed well at making dark ambient music based on elements from country & western music. Sometimes it's reminiscent of Neil Youngs soundtrack to Dead Man, other tracks lean more towards industrial ambient, and some tunes distort country music-sounds into melodic techno. Not only is Gone West based on an interesting concept, the result is really good
Note: Limited edition of 500 copies, sold with Junctions. Gone West is identical to the 2000 release, except for the last two bonus tracks. The titles of tracks 11 and 12 are inverted on the sleeve; the above track-listing is correct.

"Gone West", Dead Hollywood Stars' first album released in 2000, had intrigued and seduced with its audacious mix of electronica and folk music. Unfairly under-promoted, this subtle UFO, who's got two already available tracks on the "Wagon Of Miracles" maxi, is reissued in a CD bonus format of a limited "Junctions" edition, the new fascinating release of the magical trio, Dead Hollywood Stars. Under this curious name are three exceptional people: John N. Sellekaers (Xingu Hill, Urawa, Ambre, Snog), Hervé Thomas (Fragile, Hint) and C-Drick Fermont (Ambre, Ammo). "Junctions" follows the "Gone West" line with more sound experimentation and textures' mix. Unprecedented crossover of blues (The Pure Voice and Back From Exile), of a deceptively groovy Black Lung (In The Abbey of the Psalms), of Megaptera (Noctuary) and of Front Line Assembly (Last Train To Aldebaran), we could easily classify this future classic with an Amon Tobin's or imagine it as the next Lynch's soundtrack, one of the track, Suburban Mystery, reminding us of the Twin Peaks soundtrack. Even if this album has an easy approach, it'll be better to let oneself carried by numerous colours of "Junctions" (you can easily go on a same track from a happy or tribal ambience -Singapore Sling- to colder spheres -Triangulating the Deamon or The Crying Indian-) and discover the richness of these fussy compositions that make of "Junctions" a precious and necessary album.
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