May 28, 2008

Jon Balke - Statements

This is international, border-crossing jazz in full effect. … Statements has a distinctly elemental tonality, a graphic sense of ancestral cry. Adding greatly to this is the vocal/recitation of Miki N’Doye, Sidsel Endresen and Solveig Slettahjel whose minimal musings on the closing ambient invocation “Unknown” are arresting to say the least." Kevin Le Gendre, Echoes"
Part1 & Part2

Frode Nymo: alto saxophone
Kenneth Ekornes :percussion
Harald Skullerud :percussion
Helge Andreas Norbakken: percussion
Ingar Zach :percussion
Jon Balke :keyboards, percussion, vocals, sound processing
Arve Henriksen :trumpet
Sidsel Endresen: text recitals in English
Miki N´Doye: text recital in Wolof
Solveig Slettahjell: vocals
Jocely Sete Camara Silva voice
Jennifer Myskja Balke :voice

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May 23, 2008

Kudsi Erguner -Islam Blues

With Islam Blues the Ney (reed flute) virtuoso Kudsi Erguner has expanded the dimensions of the impressively successful Ottomania. It can be a new milestone in Erguner’s remarkable career. He has written film music for, among others, Martin Scorsese (together with Peter Gabriel) and Peter Brook, produced ballet music for the great choreographer Maurice Béjart and, in an acclaimed Salzburger Festspiele production, brought out the oriental influence in Mozart’s "The Abduction from the Seraglio". The son of Ney master Ulvi Erguner, Kudsi was born in Turkey in 1952. As musician, musicologist, teacher, author, and translator he has involved himself in the stimulation and revival of Turkish tradition, and again and again crossed musical borders with exciting results - which is natural for someone who has lived abroad (Paris) since his student days (from 1975 on).
In Islam Blues Sufism, the teachings of the wisdom and mysticism of Islam, plays an even greater roll than in Ottomania. Erguner has been involved in Sufism since his childhood. He visited Sufi brotherhoods and thus absorbed its teachings and music. By 1988 he had recorded Sufi music - "The Mystic Flutes of Sufi", a prelude to the dancing dervish ceremonies. This time the music is not only played - it is also sung; for Islam Blues two singers were added to the ensemble. Hymns of praise to the Prophet Mohammed, maxims, and love poems by authors from the time of the Prophet compose the literary texts of this album. Erguner leans on the practice of the "Zikr" rites: in these meetings the dervishes invoke the name of the Prophet while the music accentuates the ceremonially induced feelings of ecstasy. With his compositions Erguner translates the atmosphere of these ceremonies into the universal language of music, a music which remains very near to the source, and yet flows into the endless ocean of sound.
Besides Mark Nauseef, Erguner’s jazz guests this time are the great contra-bass artist Renaud Garcia-Fons and the exceptional guitarist Nguyen Lé. Lé is the son of Vietnamese parents and grew up in Paris. He is a masterful wanderer between disparate musical worlds. The Algerian multi-instrumentalist Karim Ziad, who took a "North-African trip through Paris" on his impressive CD Ifrika , takes over the drum part on the piece "Twins". There is a real symbiosis between the jazz musicians and the Turkish ensemble: while the immensely soft and tender sounding Turkish violin comfortably modulates almost like a jazz instrument, Nguyen Lé’s guitar and Renaud Garcia-Fons’ bass can almost pass as Oriental instruments. And Erguner’s flute, this story-telling reed flute - has long since been at home in both houses.
Line Up:
Kudsi Erguner - ney (reed flute)
Yunus Balcioglu - vocals
Halil Neciboglu - vocals
Bruno Caillat - double bass, percussion
Derya Turkan - kemençe (turkish violin)
Hakan Güngor - kanun (sitar)
Nguyên Lê - guitar
Renaud Garcia-Fons - doublebass
Mark Nauseef - drums
Karim Ziad - drums on track #7
Part1 & Part2
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May 19, 2008

Frode Haltli - Passing Images (2007)

Frode Haltli, acknowledged as one of the most outstanding accordion soloists in contemporary music, is also an exceptional improviser and an authority on folk music. His second ECM recording under his own name brings all of these aspects of his musical character together. Repertoire includes a psalm from the western fjords, a lyrical waltz from Haltli‘s home village near the Swedish border, a Roma traveller tune that suggests Albert Ayler‘s sound-world... With a supporting cast including Irish-Scottish classical viola player Garth Knox (ex-Arditti Quartet) as well as Norwegian partners composer/singer Maja Ratkje and trumpeter Arve Henriksen, Haltli offers a radical new look at music from traditional sources.
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May 15, 2008

Michael Brook & U. Srinivas - Dream

U. Srinivas earned early renown in his native India as a child prodigy musician, performing Carnatic ragas on an amplified mandolin. During Real World’s Recording Week, Srinivas first recorded an album of South Indian classical music, Rama Sreerama (released by Real World Records), which Michael Brook produced. Moving forward from the success of that recording, Brook and Srinivas embarked on a joint ambient project based on sketches previously recorded by Michael. The resulting album, Dream, led several years later to a concert involving Srinivas, Brook and an international cast of supporting musicians staged in Srinivas’ hometown of Madras.
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May 11, 2008

Sinikka Langeland - Starflowers (2007)

“Starflowers” is a fascinating ECM debut for Norwegian vocalist and kantele player Sinikka Langeland. A folk singer from the forest lands near the Swedish border, Langeland explores in her work the relationship between man and nature. On this disc she sets verse of lumberjack-poet Hans Børli (1918-89), with help from an outstanding ensemble including trumpeter Arve Henriksen, saxophonist Trygve Seim, bassist Anders Jormin and percussionist Markku Ounaskari. Altogether: a marvellous confluence of folk music, sung poetry and Nordic improvisation brilliantly marshalled in Manfred Eicher’s production.
Part1 & Part2

Sinikka Langeland: vocal, kantele
Arve Henriksen: trumpet
Trygve Seim: tenor and soprano saxophones
Anders Jormin: double-bass
Markku Ounaskari: percussion

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May 7, 2008

Ornament - Bleu

Australian dance label Psy Harmonics occasionally takes welcome detours into the ambient zone. The debut album Bleu from Melbourne duo Ornament (Simon Polinski and Joe Creighton) is one such release and is an absolute gem. It's warm, spacious and alive, with fully-fleshed arrangements and seductive textures. Neither is it the sound of ambient-downtempo you might expect from a psy-trance label. It's less bleepy and synthetic and often less busy too. The mastering seems to have deliberately softened the top-end sounds, creating the aural perception of bigger spaces and more rounded surfaces rather than sharp, well-defined edges. In places there's a classical logic to the album's flow. Two pieces have their own separate "overtures" which give you a main theme before going on to a more extended development of the same idea. Highlights include "The Jesse Tree", a slow and sexy 4/4 rock jam with guitar soloing that's extended but restrained. "To Love Is To Laugh" is based around an oddly touching narrative sampled from a documentary about Eskimos. Best of all is the breathtaking choral-based piece "Yehuvaroom". Its looped, chiming melody establishes a powerful sense expectancy and mystery to which string sounds and other melody lines are added, all bathed in carefully timed choral swells of exquisite beauty.
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May 3, 2008

Lars Danielsson

Mélange Bleu

The gentle attraction of beauty
“Mélange Bleu” by bass player, cellist and composer Lars Danielsson - the art of subtly blended colours
Lars Danielsson ACT-debut “Libera me“ left no doubts about his creative versatility. And yet: the bass player, cellist and composer continues to surprise. His latest ACT-release “Mélange Bleu” shows up a completely new dimension to this musician with enormous potential. Danielsson has surrounded himself with partners like pianist Bugge Wesseltoft, trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer und guitarist Eivind Aarset, all of them specialists for mood music that often develops in before a backdrop of ambient inspired sounds, samples and programmed beats. Danielsson takes the same route on this recording, but adds a very personal touch, blending the electronic parts subtly with acoustic instruments and orchestral arrangements. Each musical ingredient is quietly and subtly integrated into a thoughtful and carefully crafted composition, Danielsson’s “Mélange Bleu” develops a gentle attraction through its lyrical beauty and finely honed details

Libera Me

Line Up:
Lars Danielsson - acoustic bass, cello, piano, guitar
Jon Christensen - drums, percussion
Nils Petter Molvaer – trumpet
Xavier Desandre Navarre – percussion
David Liebman – soprano saxophone
Anders Kjellberg – cymbals
Jan Bang – samples
Carsten Dahl – piano
Tobias Sjögren - guitar
DR Danish Radio Concert Orchestra conducted by Frans Rasmussen
Part1 & Part2

Like what you hear, buy it! And support the artists that really need it.