Posts Tagged ‘Berlin School’

Dreams and Machines, Autoharps and Sequencers tonight on Echoes.

October 10, 2013

Tonight on Echoes you can hear a singer-songwriter who could’ve been recording 50 years ago and another who is strickly 21st century.  And I have electronic music that could’ve been made forty years ago and another born from contemporary aesthetics.

Basia-Bulat-Tall-Tall-ShadowBasia Bulat is a singer who has just released her third album, Tall Tall Shadow.  She’s got a fragile, slightly aged voice, although he’s not quite 30 yet and she plays an instrument that hasn’t been in popular music much since John Sebastian played one with The Lovin’ Spoonful: the autoharp.  But she writes some beautiful heartbreaking songs with lovely atmospheres.

HumanJuliette Commagere, on the other hand is a singer who is surrounded by roots music but goes completely electronic on her new album, Human.  Commagere is married to Joachim Cooder, the son of Ry Cooder and she’s sung on several of Ry Cooder’s albums.  While Ry is known for his roots music, Commagere, plugs in with vintage analog synths sounds and creates an album of moody electro-pop that perfectly frames her coolly sexual voice.  In an Echoes Blindfold test, I played Jon Hassell a track by Ry Cooder called “El UFO Cayó.” With just a couple of notes from the singer he just said, “Ahhh, Juliette.”

Solar MaxMajeure signals its roots in its name, drawn from Tangerine Dream’s album, Force Majeure.  Their 2012 album, Solar Maximum is one of those CDs that sounds like the band sneaked into the Berlin studio of Tangerine Dream circa 1974, just after they’d finished recording Phaedra.  It’s sequencers on stun for this band.  Majeure is touring this fall with Mono.

indexThe Orb is a creation of 1990s ambient music, although the influence of Tangerine Dream isn’t far behind on a 2007 album called The Dream.  Neither is early Pink Floyd and Gong on the track we’ll hear, “Codes,” which features glissando guitar from Gong’s Steve Hillage, who we’ve also been hearing a lot on Echoes lately with his System 7 group.  The Orb is touring the US this fall including an appearance at the Mountain Oasis Music Summit.

It’s all a dream tonight on Echoes.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

WorldsBeyondSign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.   CD of the Month Club members will be getting Akara’s The World Beyond.  Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club and see what you’ve been missing.

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Living Room Concert: Radio Massacre International

August 7, 2013

Hear Radio Massacre International in a Living Room Concert on Echoes tonight.

It’s a trip into deep space when the English electronic trio Radio Massacre International comes into the Echoes living room and elevates us into the cosmos with a live performance.

Radio Massacre International At Echoes

Radio Massacre International At Echoes

Below, watch the electronic music video of Radio Massacre International’s “Small Frozen North” from their 1995 album Frozen North.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))
Echoes On Line

WavesSign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club. With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs like Melorman’s Waves. Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club and see what you’ve been missing.

Now you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line. Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind when Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours or Brian Eno drops a new iPad album. Or Follow us on Twitter@echoesradio

Living Room Concert: Radio Massacre International

July 2, 2013

It’s a trip into deep space when the English electronic trio Radio Massacre International comes into the Echoes living room and elevates us into the cosmos with a live performance.

Radio Massacre International At Echoes

Radio Massacre International At Echoes

Below, watch the electronic music video of Radio Massacre International’s “Small Frozen North” from their 1995 album Frozen North.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))
UNQOTSASign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club. With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs like Olivier Libauxs Uncovered Queens of the Stone Age. Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club and see what you’ve been missing.

Echoes On LineNow you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line. Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind when Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours or Brian Eno drops a new iPad album. Or Follow us on Twitter@echoesradio

A Meeting of Icons: Klaus Schulze & Lisa Gerrard

July 22, 2008

It’s difficult when you fall out of love with an artist. We all have musicians whose work has been central to our lives, who we’ve followed from the beginning of their careers and absorbed everything they’ve released as if it were a gift from heaven. Klaus Schulze and Lisa Gerrard are like that for me. I’ve followed Klaus since Dan Kelly played me Picture Music in 1975. I remember the phone lines lit solid for all 25 minutes of “Mindphaser” when I played the Moondawn album on WXPN‘s Diaspar in 1976. MoondawnMirage and X  remain among my favorite albums. But since the mid-1980s, Klaus’s music has seemed less important, less relevant and often, just not very well crafted. In an era of tighter time constraints and shorter attention spans, he persists in creating epic works spanning 30 minutes to hours, often improvising aimlessly and endlessly on relentless sequencer patterns or glacial chords.  Klaus does not subscribe to the “less is more” concept.

  The Silver Tree Lisa Gerrard has been a true love since the second Dead an Dance album, Spleen & Ideal.  Her singing remains singular and transcendent, despite so many imitators. I’ve written reams of praises to her, but in recent years, Gerrard has become more turgid as well. As early as The Mirror Pool and as recently as The Silver Tree  there are many transcendent moments, but I often feel like I’m sitting in church dusty and musty litanies shrouded in suffocating portent.   Lisa has abandoned the dramatic arc that marks her best work, often devolving into mood and mysticism that is often, but not always salvaged by her supralingua dialects and siren angel of a voice.

Farscape

 When I heard these two musicians were getting together on a double CD called Farscape, I hoped they’d bring out the best in each other.  The opening 22 minute opus, “Liquid Coincidence (1)” drops you into the space cathedral of their sound with Klaus laying down those big sweeping synth chords while Lisa channels Abbess Hildegard von Bingen.   It’s an auspicious start, but the gambit gets tiring at about 30 minutes into the CD,  when I realized that Klaus and Lisa were reinforcing each other’s worst tendencies, heading down the rabbit hole of unfocussed abstraction that has sucked the life out of them both in recent years. As it wears on,  Farscape begins sounding less like inspired collaboration and more like a John Cagian Indeterminacy experiment, with both musicians playing in separate rooms,  rather than a holy communion of sound.   According to Klaus’s liner notes, he created the basic tracks and Lisa came in and sang for several days.  Her performances were all reputedly one-take improvisations which isn’t necessarily bad, except they sound like it.  His synth tracks are sometimes gorgeous, occasionally rhythmic, always sweeping, yet never quite ascending to a compositional level, more like soundscapes that ebb and flow. Lisa sings across them, sending out chants and incantations, and though I can hear she’s dialed into the moment, there’s no sense of construction or flow, only a string of isolated, unmediated, unedited fragments.  Klaus lays down the big synth chords to nowhere while Lisa deploys her Gothic muse.

I could make a case for this being an enveloping soundscape that takes you deep into an immersive world of sound where Klaus Schulze navigates a roadmap of the inner mind while Lisa Gerrard negotiates the darkest reaches of the soul, each staring into the abyss and jumping in head first. But the portentousness of it all is as lugubrious as Jabba the Hutt on Quaaludes, just prettier.

I feel like I’ve just turned my back on the church, but the fact is, I remain a loyal fan, because I can still hear the elements of genius and soul that attracted me to both artists, I’ll be trying to edit out some choice chunks to play on Echoes, because they are there.  Meanwhile, Klaus’s early catalog has been reissued in beautiful packaging, although the decision to not remaster the recordings was Ill-advised.

You can hear a profile of Lisa Gerrard here.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Deep Space Electronica from Ultimae label: Aes Dana & Solar Fields

July 14, 2008

The French Ultimae label produces high gloss electronic music and high gloss packaging, with sounds that head into deep ambient space.

Echoes listeners will hear an interview with Aes Dana and Solar Fields a.k.a. Vincent Villuis and Magnus Birgesson on Monday, July 14. They produce a brand of ambient music that has its roots in the 1970s space music made by Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and Jean-Michel Jarre. Unlike many artists that fit that description, Aes Dana and Solar Fields aren’t making retro-space music that sounds like it could’ve been synthesized 30 years ago, about the time they were all toddlers. Instead, their music is suffused with contemporary electronica, laptop composing and glitch edges.

They all record for the Ultimae label, run by Villuis and his wife, Sandrine Gryson, also known as Sunny, Sunbeam and when she DJ’s, Mahiane. They’ve got a lot of CDs out. Here’s a few I’d recommend.

AES DANA
Memory Shell is the latest full-length disc from Aes Dana and it’s a nonstop journey of down-tempo kinetic grooves that moves as relentlessly as a train while environmental sounds, undulating synth pads and pulsing bass-lines carry you through these imaginary landscapes.

I’d also recommend Season 5, an enveloping journey with a mix of dark, stalking rhythms that suggest danger around every corner even as they propel you towards it, and bright, major key pads and melodic shards that reveal the wonders beyond.

SOLAR FIELDS
Solar Fields can create totally free-floating ambient music as he did on Extended or head into dancey, techno terrain, which he does on Earth Shine, a new CD of pure techno trance. But he’s best when he poises himself between the two poles. Solar Field’s earlier music, heard on Blue Moon Station and Reflective Frequencies actually sounds like recent Ulrich Schnauss, with haunting, major key synth pads and sounds run through the electro-distortion mill. But for starters, I’d head to his most recent album, Leaving Home. Leaving Home is more melodic, less dissonant and songs like “Time Slide” are almost heroic, with organic touches like the vina and acoustic guitar.

H.U.V.A Network
This is a collaboration between Aes Dana and Solar Fields. It merges both sides of these artists with Aes Dana’s laptop sound design mixed with Solar Field’s more organic, hands on approach.  On their only album to date, Distances, they work, slow, ominous grooves on “Rain Geometries” and “Symmetric Lifes” and head into the electronic swamps on “Time Circles.”

Fahrenheit Project
They’ve released 6 albums in the Fahrenheit Project series, anthologies with all original music that defines the contours of Ultimae’s down-tempo ambient space approach. Part Five might be the best one to leap into with great tracks from Jaia, Cell and Carbon Based Lifeforms.

For the complete Ultimae experience, go to their website.

John Diliberto
(((echoes)))


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