Posts Tagged ‘Acoustic Guitar’

May Top 25 Echoes CDs

June 4, 2014

World Fusion, Dream Pop and Ambient Americana in Echoes Top 25 for May

Hidden Treasures-225The Echoes Top 25 for May continues a trend towards chilled out vocal music but the top three slots are held by three CD of the Month picks, one vocal, two instrumental.  Lyla Foy is a relatively new artist who used to record as Wall.  Her Mirrors the Sky album, the first under her own name, was a CD of the Month in March.  But surrounding her are two veteran Echoes artists, one of who goes back even further than the show.  Carl Weingarten’s beautiful chamber Americana journey, Life Under Stars is our current CD of the Month in June.   And leading the pack is Hans Christian’s Hidden Treasures, our May CD of the Month selection, an album of cross-cultural ecstasy.  You can read about all of those and hear tracks by following the links above.

Newcomers to the Echoes Top 25 include Stumbeleine, 9Bach, Phox, Hauschka, Ben Cosgrove and Michael Barry-Rec.  Here’s thecomplete list.


  1. Hans ChristianHidden Treasures (Allemande Music) iTunes
  2. Lyla Foy Mirrors the Sky (Subpop Records) iTunes
  3. Carl WeingartenLife Under Stars (Mutiphase Records)
  4. Tori AmosUnrepentant Geraldines (Mercury Classics) iTunes
  5. S. CareyRange of Light (Jagjaguwar) iTunes
  6. Eno & HydeSomeday World (Warp Records) iTunes
  7. 9BachTincian (Real World) iTunes
  8. BeckMorning Phase (Capital) iTUnes
  9. v/aPassages – Framed by Nova (Ultimae)
  10. StumbleineDissolver (Monotreme Records) iTUnes
  11. Ian Boddy & Erik WolloEC12 (DiN) iTunes
  12. Thus OwlsTurning Rocks (Secret City Records) iTunes
  13. Marissa Nadler July (Sacred Bones) Uncovered: Queens of the Stone Age - Olivier Libaux
  14. Tom Kerstens’ G Plus EnsembleUtopia – (Real World) iTUnes
  15. Phox Phox (Partisan Records) iTUnes
  16. Erik Scott And the Earth Bleeds (Erik Scott) iTUnes
  17. HauschkaAbandoned City (Temporary Residence) iTUnes
  18. Michael Barry-RecContinuum (Michael Barry-Rec) iTUnes
  19. Ben CosgroveField Studies (Ben Cosgrove) iTUnes
  20. DeepernetImpossible Landscape (Spotted Peccary) iTUnes
  21. Ludovico EinaudiIn a Time Lapse (The Remixes) (Ponderosa Music & Art) iTUnes
  22. Jennifer ZulliGoddess Rising (Jennifer Zulli) iTunes
  23. Cinema 12 Cinema 12 (Cinema 12) iTUnes
  24. BluetechCosmic Dubs (Native State Records) iTUnes
  25. Sylvan EssoSylvan Esso (Partisan) iTUnes


An Echoes Celtic Sonic Seasonings

December 16, 2013

Christmas begins today with An Echoes Celtic Sonic Seasonings
Moya Brennan
Jeff Johnson, Brian Dunning and Wendy Goodwin

Aisling Jarvis, Moya Brennan, Cormac De Barra in Echoes Living Room

Aisling Jarvis, Moya Brennan, Cormac De Barra in Echoes Living Room

I don’t know how Celtic music came to signify winter, but  slow aires and Celtic harps seem to exemplify a quieter and more atmospheric side of the Winter season.  We’ve dipped into that sound on Sonic Seasonings several times over the years and we’re doing it again.

Last week we recorded our seasonal live performance show, recording two concerts in 24 hours on opposite coasts.  You can hear them tonight on an Echoes Celtic Sonic Seasonings.

IrishChristmasThis year we have two artists returning.  On Monday afternoon, December 9, with fresh fallen snow on the ground, Moya Brennan came to the Echoes living room with her long time partner, harpist Cormac De Barra and her daughter Aisling Jarvis.  In a testament to time, I first interviewed Moya backstage at the TLA Theater in Philadelphia in 1993 when she was pregnant with Aisling.  And at the time, Moya spelled her name Máire Ní Bhraonáin.

Moya is acclaimed as the singer of Clannad, the Irish band that was part of the Celtic renaissance that began in the 1970s.  That band reformed this year for the album, Nadur, but Moya has been solo for the last 15 years.  This past year she released the album, Affinity with Cormac De Barra under the banner of Voices & Harps.  She also re-released her album, An Irish Christmas with bonus tracks.  We’ll hear this trio in a weave of harp strings and heart-rending harmonies when they play live on An Echoes Celtic Sonic Seasonings.

Jeff Johnson, Wendy Goodwin, Brian Dunning recording Echoes Celtic Sonic Seasonings

Jeff Johnson, Wendy Goodwin, Brian Dunning recording Echoes Celtic Sonic Seasonings

Immediately following Moya’s show in our southeastern Pennsylvania living room, Jeff Towne and I hopped on a flight to Seattle and the next day, December 10, we were in the home studio of keyboardist Jeff Johnson where he’d gathered his Celtic trio of flutist Brian Dunning and violinist Wendy Goodwin.
Jeff Johnson is a veteran of Celtic cross-over and devotional albums with dozens of CDs out on his own Ark Music label as well as Windham Hill and Hearts of Space Records.  Brian Dunning has been with him on many of those

Goodwin, Johnson, Dunning, Diliberto

Goodwin, Johnson, Dunning, Diliberto

recordings.  He has a connection to the early Celtic renaisance as a member of the band Nightnoise which included guitarist Mícheál Ó Domhnaill and his sister, singer and keyboardist Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill.  Mícheál, who died in 2006 had been a member of the legendary and influential Bothy Band.  They are joined by Portland-based violinist Wendy Goodwin who released her solo debut, Place of Refuge last year. Collectively, the trio released a gorgeous CD, of pastoral, ambient winter chamber works called Winterfold this past fall and it’s in the Echoes Top 25 for 2013
WinterfoldThe trio crammed into Johnson’s studio and played beautiful arrangements of music from this album and drew from tracks that have appeared on Johnson & Dunning’s A Quiet Knowing albums and a few Windham Hill collections.

So sit back tonight and enjoy the best Christmas music you’ll hear this year; a sound that will take you out of the shopping malls and into your heart on An Echoes Celtic Sonic Seasonings

John Diliberto (((echoes)))


FoundJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club now and you can put David Helping and Jon Jenkins’ Found under somebodies Christmas tree.  It’s our December  CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.



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.

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.

25 Essential Echoes CDs for 2013

December 13, 2013

Some years are better than others and 2013 was much better than most.  Right now, you can Vote in the Best of Echoes 2013 Listener Poll.   But, this list is different.  This is compiled by the brain trust of Echoes.  These are the CDs we played on the show in 2013 that we thought represented the best, and most innovative aspects of the Echoes soundscape in this past year.  If your favorites aren’t on here, I’m not surprised.  This was one of the most outstanding years ever for Echoes music.  A lot of the albums left off could just as well have been put on.  But we had to pick 25 so here they are. You can see a straight list at the end.


TimeLapseLudovico Einaudi  In a Time Lapse
Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi is a giant in Europe but still just lapping at America’s shores.  But he swept over Echoes years ago. The Echoes CD of the Month in March, In a Time Lapse is a defining album on which Einaudi pulled out all the stops, synthesizing a 21st century classicism that is all-embracing in its musical influences, and all-enveloping in its emotional sweep.

StoriesRhian Sheehan   Stories from Elsewhere
New Zealand composer Rhian Sheehan may have created one of the most sublime shadings of ambient chamber music on his 7th album, Stories from Elsewhere.  It’s a magical CD of soaring strings, surging rhythms, childlike music boxes and ambient expanses that sounds both familiar and timeless. It was a CD of the Month in May.

UNQOTSA-500Olivier Libaux  Uncovered Queens of the Stone Age
Why this album wasn’t more popular is one of the mysteries of 2013.  I suspect that confusing branding, poor distribution and limited marketing kept this CD under the radar.  Olivier Libaux is part of the New Wave/Punk cover band Nouvelle Vague but he stepped out on his own to record an entire CD of tunes by Queens of the Stone Age.  All the high priests of hip at Pitchfork, Stereogum and Popmatters completely missed this album where Libaux, accompanied by singers including Emilianna Torinni and Inara George, accomplishes a sublime re-imagining of this alt-metal band’s music. It was a CD of the Month in July.

Innocents-250Moby   Innocents
The hipsters missed Libaux, but many called this Moby’s best album since Play.  I think it’s just a continuation of his atmospheric, introspective trilogy that began with Wait for Me and Destroyed.  A CD of the Month in NovemberInnocents is the most soothing melancholy.

Olafur-Arnalds-For-Now-I-Am-Winter-2505 Ólafur Arnalds   For Now I Am Winter
Both sophisticated and edgy, Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds inhabits his own sonic universe, balancing emotions and mood on a laser’s edge of strings echoing out of frozen skies and electronics trawling the substrata.  For Now I Am Winter is his most mature work to date and a CD of the Month in April.

Scenes from a train6  Jeff Greinke Scenes from a Train
Ambient music veteran Jeff Greinke reveals a grasp of orchestration never evident in his music before in this album of exotic chamber music with acoustic horns and strings.

AnomicJah Wobble & Marconi Union Anomic
Although Anomic only came out in early 2013, I feel like I’ve been listening to it for years.  It has that sense of the classic about it. Bassist Jah Wobble brings his deep dub bass lines to Marconi Unions haunting electronic themes.

Oblivion-cvr8 Hammock Oblivion Hymns
Following up their 2012 CD of the Year, Departure Songs, Hammock goes deeper into their ambient chamber music with children’s choirs emerging out of swirling deeply processed guitars.  It will be the first CD of the Month of 2014.

Tales9 Bombay Dub Orchestra  Tales from the Grand Bazaar
Despite the presence of reggae rhyhm legends Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare on some tracks,  this is actually the most serene and melodically driven album yet of BDO’s merging of eastern music, electronic grooves and Bollywood strings.

lamentation10 Azam Ali & Loga Torkian   Lamentation of Swans-A Journey Towards Silence
The leaders of Niyaz released a deeply intimate and personal album with Azam Ali returning to her wordless vocals in this album of slow, sensual rhythms and darkly arabesque melodies.

Long Way To Fall11 Ulrich Schnauss A Long Way To Fall
A wonderfully melodic, groove driven album of synthesizer wonder as Ulrich Schnauss explores childhood memories with electronic dreams.

Aventine12 Agnes Obel Aventine
For her sophomore album, Danish singer Agnes Obel turns in another gem of haunting chamber pop.

Zefira-Deserters13 Rachel Zeffira  The Deserters
And speaking of chamber pop, Rachel Zeffira turns her opera-trained soprano into a caressing hush; mixes circus organ with a song about suicide; and uses oboe arrangements that sound like The Left Banke’s “Pretty Ballerina.” The Deserters was the CD of the Month in June.

kveikur14 Sigur Ros  Kveikur
Sigur Ros kick out the jams on this album of delirious, roiling textures and Jonsi’s falsetto melodies of prayer.

1Impossible5 William Tyler   Impossible Truth
Tyler takes John Fahey into the 21st century, weaving fingerstyle guitar melodies that are like long epic tapes.  He’s known as an acoustic player but has lots of electric on Impossible Truth.

WorldsBeyond16 Akara  The World Beyond
With the heaven sent voice of Femke Weidema and the elaborate orchestrations of Joshua Penman, Akara creates a transglobal progressive sound that is out of this world on The World Beyond, the Echoes CD of the Month in October.

WInterwell17 Mree   Winterwell
Serene dream pop from a 19 year old singer who comes from a singer-songwriter tradition but creates Enya like choirs with her voice on this lush and powerful album.

Burnt-Belief18 Colin Edwin & Jon Durant  Burnt Belief
Timed for release on December 21, the day after the Mayan calendar stopped and the world ended, Porcupine Tree bassist Colin Edwin and prog guitarist Jon Durant unleashed this album of post progressive rock moods.  We’re still here and thankfully, so is Burnt Belief.

19 David Helpling & Jon Jenkins   Found
David Helpling and Jon Jenkins’ bring an orchestral approach to electronic music, where the orchestra is completely plugged-in, the timbres otherworldly, and the percussion tracks swept in on storms.  It was a great CD of the Month to end 2013.

Winterfold20 Jeff Johnson, Brian Dunning & Wendy Goodwin  Winterfold
This trio of keyboards, flutes and violin creates a music full of snow brushed melodies and lush arrangements with a hint of Celtic aire.

Syriana21 Syriana    Road to Damascus
This record came in under the radar from Real World.  It’s an exuberant mix of music from the Middle East to Ireland with musicians from Algeria, Ireland, Jordan, UK, Palestine but with hints of surf guitar and film noir scores.

Human22 Juliette Commagere   Human
Singer Juliette Commagere creates a beautiful and introspective electronic song cycle framing her sonorous soprano with a sound that recalls 80’s synth-pop but darker.

Traces of You23 Anoushka Shankar Traces of You
With sister Norah Jones and producer/instrumentalist Nitin Sawhney, sitarist Anoushka Shankar creates a tribute to her father Ravi Shankar that continues his eclectic approach to east-west fusion.

130521_HEM24 HEM   Departure & Farewell
When you’re contemplating loss, betrayal and redemption, put on Hem’s introspective album about their own break-up and reunion with the caressing voice of Sally Ellyson.

TonightSky25 Tonight Sky Tonight Sky
Tonight Sky is Jason Holstrom and he’s taken The Beach Boys’ harmonies and sent them into electronica space on this album of songs that manage to make you feel good while still being full of dark atmospheres.  Surf’s up again.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))
See below for a Spotify playlist of songs from all 25 albums save one.


  1. Ludovico EinaudiIn a Time Lapse (Ponderosa Music & Art) iTunes
  2. Rhian SheehanStories from Elsewhere (Darla Records) iTunes
  3. Olivier LibauxUncovered Queens of the Stone Age (Music for Music Lovers) Uncovered: Queens of the Stone Age - Olivier Libaux
  4. MobyInnocents (Mute) iTunes
  5. Ólafur ArnaldsFor Now I Am Winter (Mercury Classics) iTunes
  6. Jeff GreinkeScenes From A Train (Infectious Music)
  7. Jah Wobble & Marconi UnionAnomic (30 Hertz) Anomic - Jah Wobble & Marconi Union
  8. HammockOblivion Hymns (Hammock Music)
  9. Bombay Dub OrchestraTales from the Grand Bazaar (Six Degrees) iTunes
  10. Azam Ali and Loga R TorkianLamentation of Swans (Terrestrial Lane Productions) iTunes
  11. Ulrich SchnaussA Long Way to Fall (Domino Records)
  12. Agnes ObelAventine (Pias America)
  13. Rachel Zeffira The Deserters (Paper Bag) The Deserters - Rachel Zeffira
  14. Sigur RosKveikur (XL Recordings) Kveikur - Sigur RÛs
  15. William TylerImpossible Truth (Merge Records) iTunes
  16. Akara – The World Beyond (Merkaba Music) iTunes
  17. MreeWinterwell (Mree Music) iTunes
  18. Jon Durant and Colin EdwinBurnt Belief (Alchemy Records) iTunes
  19. David Helpling & Jon JenkinsFound (Spotted Peccary) iTunes
  20. Jeff Johnson Brian Dunning & Wendy Goodwin Winterfold (Ark Records) iTunes
  21. SyrianaThe Road to Damascus (Real World) iTunes
  22. Juliette CommagereHuman (Aeronaut Records) iTunes
  23. Anoushka ShankarTraces of You (Deutsche Grammophon) iTunes
  24. HemDeparture and Farewell (Redeye)
  25. Tonight SkyTonight Sky (Tonight Sky)

John Diliberto (((echoes)))


FoundNine of the CDs in this list were Echoes CDs of the Month, and the other three could’ve been on this list. Join the Echoes CD of the Month Club now and you can put David Helping and Jon Jenkins’ Found under somebodies Christmas tree.  It’s our December  CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.



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.

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.

Here’s a Spotify Playlist of tracks from all 25 CDs.  Jeff Johnson, Brian Dunning & Wendy Goodwin’s Winterfold isn’t on it, so I put a previous recording by Jeff Johnson in as a placeholder.

Transmissions: Echoes Living Room Concerts V19

November 11, 2013



LRC19-360pxTRANSMISSIONS is a collection of live Echoes performances that shows Echoes moving into the future in our 25th year.  It’s a merging of electronic, new acoustic, dream pop and ambient chamber music.  This is the center of Echoes. In Transmissions, you’ll hear the atmosphere laden songs of Azure Ray, Julia Holter, Still Corners and Una.

There are haunting singer-songwriters with Hem and SHEL, and virtuoso guitarists Jesse Cook and Kaki King.  Ambient chamber music is heard in the illuminating performances of Ólafur Arnalds, Ludovico Einaudi and Helen Jane Long.  Electronica plugs in with  the sound of Tycho and Ulrich Schnauss and space music orbits with Ian Boddy, Radio Massacre International and Vic Hennegan.

Tycho's Scott Hansen on EchoesTYCHO launches the album with one of his best known tracks, “A Walking” from his 2011 CD, Dive. He brought a bassist and drummer into Echoes to realize the slightly off-centered and buoyant groove of this track which has Tycho’s Scott Hansen playing synths and guitar.

Ulrich Schnauss on Echoes

Ulrich Schnauss on Echoes

Tycho is a cousin in musical ways to ULRICH SCHNAUSS.  This is Ulrich’s second appearance on an Echoes CD and he surprises us with this complete makeover of “A Long Way to Fall,” the title piece to his latest album, which was an Echoes CD of the Month.  I actually pulled this segment out of a 28 minute continuous set he performed as he reconfigured the melancholy themes of this song, rendering it almost completely new.

Azure Ray on Echoes

Azure Ray on Echoes

We’ve been loving the new wave of Dream Pop artists on the show and several of them came through this year.  AZURE RAY, the duo of Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor were as entrancing live as they are on their CDs.  These mavens of melancholy can bring you to tears and they do with this darkly hued, electronically throbbing song, “Scattered Like Leaves” from their EP, As Above So Below.   I love the Moog bass accent on it.

Tessa Murray & Greg Hughes of Still Corners on Echoes

Tessa Murray & Greg Hughes of Still Corners on Echoes

STILL CORNERS has a lighter, more exuberant touch with singer Tessa Murray voicing the romantic theme of guitarist Greg Hughes.  “Fireflies” in particular, from their album Strange Pleasures, is a buoyant track even though Tessa has never seen fireflies.

Una on Echoes

Una on Echoes

UNA are an LA trio that brings a bit more of a jazz and trip-hop sound to their music.  They were scheduled to perform in my living room, but on a 95 degree summer day, the air conditioning failed an hour before their arrival.  We scrambled to my girlfriend’s house where the band assembled their turntables, effects and Wurlitzer electric piano to play songs from their The Laughing Man EP.  They played a beautiful version of “We Are the Lonely” with Jennifer Nice’s coolly arch  vocal and  Eddie Barajas’ live turntable samples and manipulations.

Julia Holter on Echoes

Julia Holter on Echoes

JULIA HOLTER is a singer-songwriter with ambient moods and an avant-gardists heart.  Her albums, including Ekstasis and the recent Loud City Song, feature heavily layered vocals, so we thought she’d come in with backing tracks.  But Holter decided to do it all live with herself on keyboards, a cellist and drummer. The wistful themes of “In the Same Room” were beautifully served by this approach. She created a version as melodically beguiling as the album track, but different, live and present.

On the acoustic singer-songwriter side, we have two bands that follow the unconventional path.

Hem on Echoes

Hem on Echoes

HEM is a band from New York who almost broke up under the weight of one member’s drug addiction.  But pianist and composer Don Messé got clean and wrote several beautiful, heartbreaking songs for their album, Departure and Farewell.  It started as a swansong but became something bigger.  We took their performance of the title track for Transmissions with that amazing vocal from Sally Ellyson.

Shel: Eva, Hannah, Sarah and Liza on Echoes

Shel: Eva, Hannah, Sarah and Liza on Echoes

While the member of Hem are hovering around the 40 year old mark, the members of SHEL hover around 20.  They are four sisters from Colorado, Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza Holbrook and they play violin, piano, mandolin and percussion and also have beautiful, sisterly harmonies when they sing.  “Paint My Life” from their debut album is full of melancholic, youthful reflections but also has a sense of whimsy.

Two great guitarists appear on this CD, Jesse Cook and Kaki King.  Both have been on previous Echoes collections.

Jesse Cook on Echoes

Jesse Cook on Echoes

JESSE COOK came stripped down this time, just him and another guitarist as they played music from across Cook’s career.  But we really wanted to hear him play music from his latest album, The Blue Guitar Sessions and “Broken Moon” is one of them.

KAKI KING has been on Echoes many times, and every time, it’s different.  On the heels of her album, Glow, she came in with her acoustic guitar and koto guitar and proceeded to show why she’s one of the most highly regarded finger-style guitarists of our time.

Kaki King on Echoes

Kaki King on Echoes

Ambient chamber music, that meeting ground of classical and ambient electronics, has been an important part of Echoes for years. In fact, we coined the term.  We have two of the leading figures in the genre, Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi and Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds.

Ludovico Einaudi on Echoes.

Ludovico Einaudi on Echoes.

LUDOVICO EINAUDI is the more traditional of the two, coming from a traditional classical background.  His music is marked by its soaring melodicism.   He’s been on four previous Echoes CDs, but this is the best example of his work, playing with a small chamber ensemble he performed music from his CD of the Month, In a Time Lapse.  This performance of the title piece is a trance-like excursion of minimalist modalities.

Ólafur Arnalds on Echoes

Ólafur Arnalds on Echoes

ÓLAFUR ARNALDS is much younger by half, than Einaudi and his music is more deeply embedded in an ambient sound.  His 2013 album, For Now I Am Winter was an Echoes CD of the Month, but perhaps ironically, this track, “Near Light”, originally appeared on his Living Room Songs album.  He composed a song every day, played it in his living room and uploaded it to the web.  Recording with just a piano, electronics, violin and cello, it’s a work of pensive moods suspended in space.  It was recorded at The Oven Studio in New York, which is owned by Alicia Keys and he played her Yamaha grand piano.

English composer HELEN JANE LONG isn’t quite ambient chamber music since she doesn’t employ electronics, but she composes in that mode with serenely sculpted melodies that sound like that came from an earlier, more elegant time.  She brought a string quartet into Echoes to play music from her albums and we picked this beautiful rendition of “To Dust” originally from her Embers album.  She recently rerecorded tracks from her Porcelain album at Air Studios in London.  The Music Centre where this was recorded isn’t Air, but it still sounds pretty good.

Transmissions may have the most space music selections of any previous CD.

Radio Massacre International At Echoes

Radio Massacre International At Echoes

RADIO MASSACRE INTERNATIONAL is the only performance on this disc recorded in the actual Echoes Living Room.  Duncan Goddard, Steve Dinsdale and Gary Houghton gathered, literally on the floor, surrounded by synthesizers, computers, effects pedals and cables and spun out this rendition of an older track called , “Organ Harvest” the title piece to a long out-of-print album.  Note the Pink Floyd “Echoes” homage at the end from Houghton’s guitar. Their latest album is The Clouds of Titan.

Ian Boddy on Echoes

Ian Boddy on Echoes

IAN BODDY has been on a few previous Echoes CDs, but only once before as a solo artist.  He stepped into Echoes’ black booth and surrounded himself in a cockpit of synthesizers to play this piece “Open Door” from his album, Liverdelphia, which, coincidentally was also a live recording.  Ian actually cut two takes of this piece.  He played a beautiful lead line on the first version, but he intentionally buried it in his mix.  Since it was a two track, direct to stereo recording, I asked him to do a second take with the lead more prominent, which he reluctantly consented to do.  I like it.  It’s a classic space music track, replete with Mellotron vocal choirs.

Vic Hennegan on Echoes.

Vic Hennegan on Echoes.

Finally, VIC HENNEGAN.  The only reason he’s the last track is because “Desert Vortex”is the longest, clocking in at over 9 minutes.  Vic has not only a great sense of sequencing and sound design, but he also has a talent for musical structure as he builds this track to a momentous climax.  This piece was originally supposed to be on a compilation album, but that never happened, so this is the only version of this “Desert Vortex.”

Transmissions is dedicated to Ravi Shankar 1920-2012

As we move through our 25th year, I can’ think of a better way to launch than with Transmissions.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

LRC19-250pxPick up you copy of Transmissions in the Echoes Store.  Current members of the Echoes CD of the Month Club will be getting Transmissions with their next CD.  You can join them in getting a great CD every month by signing up for the Echoes CD of the Month InnocentsClub.  New members will get Moby’s Innocents album, our November CD of the Month and a BONUS CD of Bombay Dub Orchestra’s Tales from the Grand Bazaar.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.  You can do it all right here.

TalesEchoes 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.

The Reinvention of Kaki King – Echoes Podcast

December 14, 2012

Hear the Podcast of Kaki King’s Echoes Interview

Kaki King in Echoes BLack Box

Kaki King in Echoes BLack Box

There’s little doubt that Kaki King has been the most high profile acoustic guitar player of the last decade.  Since her 2003 debut she’s recorded several albums, collaborated with musicians like The Goo Goo Dolls, scored films like Into the Wild with Eddie Vedder and Michael Brook and generally left most musicians gasping for breath in her wake.  She recently released her album Glow, and it’s yet another new direction for the peripatetic guitarist.

Kaki King has been in a buoyant mood lately.  The beyond petite guitarist smiles gently with her boyish brown haircut, holding her Ovation guitar. She’s had one of those life changes that seem pretty good.

“Yeah, I got married,” she reveals. “I met her after same sex marriage was legal in New York State.  And it changed a lot of things for me.  It  changed what I was looking for and what I thought was possible for me as far as stability and making, and protecting a family, and a lot of things.  And I didn’t know that would happen.  And it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

617-AkrLI0L._SL500_AA300_You might be able to hear that change on Kaki King’s Glow.

“I was engaged when I made Glow and I didn’t know what stability would do for me because I was thriving on chaos for years and years,” she says.  “And I wrote a lot of songs.  And I didn’t know what would happen and it turns out that I’m doing even better work.”

Kaki King has come a long way since she was playing in New York City Subways.

“I miss playing in the subways,” she says wistfully.  “It’s been too long, about five years.”

Since her 2003 solo debut, Everybody Loves You, she’s rejected the roll of solo fingerstyle guitarist.  She played with her sound, adding vocals here, different musicians there.  Her experiments culminated in her 2010 album, Junior, made with a full rock band and often raging distortion.

“Sure I mean they’ve all been kind of sharp changes in direction,” she says.  “This record for me was partially about reconnecting with being a solo acoustic player and again, trying to push the envelope and see what was possible.”

There was a point where Kaki King was contemplating divorce.  Not from her new spouse, but from her guitar.

“It’s like being with a partner, I mean, for 29 years at this point,” she confesses.  “I played guitar and I was just evaluating my marriage to it.  I didn’t want to play.  That’s the truth; I just didn’t want to pick it up.  I just didn’t have that feeling anymore.  And I had to reestablish my relationship with it.

“How did you do that?” I asked.

“I played,” she quickly responds.  “I forced myself.  I went on tour with a bunch of weird guitarists.  We did this “Guitar Freak Show”, so I created an environment in which if I wanted to, if we wanted to reconcile we could.  And it worked and I do love playing guitar.  I love it.”

Hear more of Kaki King’s interview including talking about her koto guitar and playing with the string quartet, Ethel, in the Echoes Podcast.

~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

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Slack-Key & Tapping Guitar Lead Echoes Top 25

February 27, 2012

Acoustic Guitars Dominate Echoes February Soundscape

It’s been an electronic year so far, but for February, an acoustic guitar album by Pino Forastiere and a soundtrack dominated by Hawaiian Slack-Key guitar were all over Echoes Top 25 for February .

Forastiere’s From 1-8 was the Echoes CD of the Month for February and it remains one of the highlights among many acoustic guitar albums in the last year.   Following right behind him is the soundtrack for The Descendants which features music from Hawaii, most of it slack-key guitarists from Gabby Pahanui to Keola Beamer.  In fact, acoustic guitar dominates the Top Ten.  There’s One Alternative’s acoustic fusion on Air Sculpture which has two acoustic guitars. And then there is Sergio Altamura.  He plays with Forastiere in the trio, Guitar Republic and he’s joined by Will Ackerman on the album, Blu.    Toss in the acoustic guitar ambiences of Low Roar and the acoustic based ambient Americana of Eric Tingstad’s Badlands and it’s a guitar strummin’, finger-picking Echoes for February.

But watch out! Tucked in there is Air’s Le Voyage Dans La Lune and it will be the CD of the Month in March.

The unexpected highlight on the list is Geigertek.  His album, Soundtrack for City Living is a CD of post-Berlin school electronics, but tucked in there is an unexpected cover of John Foxx’s “Underpass.”  He takes this electro-pop anthem from the late 1970s and slows it down into a gorgeous ambient hymn.

You can go here to see the complete Echoes Top 25 for February.

~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

You get great CDs like Forastiere’s  From 1 to 8 or Airs Le Voyage Dans La Lune (with a DVD of the George Melies film) by becoming a member of the Echoes CD of the Month Club.

Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news.

Guitar Scientist: Forastiere’s From 1 to 8

February 1, 2012

Pino Forastiere Gives a Guitar class From 1 to 8 with Echoes February CD of the Month

Hear Forastiere‘s  From 1 to 8  featured on Echoes Monday February 6

Most instrumental  musicians name their songs after they’re written, but on his new CD, From 1 to 8, Italian guitarist Pino Forastiere skips that exercise entirely. The compositions’ names are simply “Studio n.1,” through “Studio n.8.” But you won’t need the names to tell them apart.  Each composition is a unique journey of impeccable technique and melodic invention.

Pino Forastiere is a scientist of the guitar, but a scientist with soul. Even though he gives his compositions generic names, the music itself is full of melodic exploration and emotional turns.

“Studio n.1” is a delicate pastoral reverie, a walk through trellised gardens and dappled shadows as Forastiere does his finger dance on the guitar. While there’s no doubt that Forastiere is influenced by American finger-style guitarists from John Fahey to Michael Hedges, his sound is also deeply embedded in his own Italian heritage.  There is a signature lilt and passionate depth to his music, as heard on introspective songs like “Studio n. 2.” It deserves a far more evocative title, it could be a song of loss or just reflection.

Forastiere’s playing isn’t all pretty filigree. He whips it out on tracks like “Studio n.3,” aggressively tapping his instrument, creating  percussive effects and rhythmic accents on this road song.  Then he explores his classical side on the multi-themed “Studio n.5,” although there are few nods to jazz as well, as the tune romps like a gazelle.   On the third movement of his mini-epic, “Studio n.8” he creates a kinetic, circular theme that’s rooted in the repetition of minimalism, but with playful melodies spinning like gyroscopes, perfectly balanced but just on the edge of spinning out of control. .

Having watched Forastiere perform in the Echoes living room a few times, it’s easy for me to imagine him hunched over his guitar, bending into notes, arching his thick Groucho Marx eyebrows as if the music was bouncing them on a trampoline.

There are many great acoustic guitar players these days, but Pino Forastiere is one of the few who can match impeccable technique with evocative compositions.   From 1 to 8 is a study in guitar invention.

~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Hear Forastiere’s  From 1 to 8  featured on Echoes Monday February 6

You get great CDs like Forastiere’s  From 1 to 8 by becoming a member of the Echoes CD of the Month Club.

Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news.



Echoes Audio Goes Video with Jimmy Wahlsteen

January 21, 2011

See pictures put to Echoes audio in this video of Jimmy Wahlsteen.   His album,  181st Songs was an Echoes CD of the Month in January of 2010 and it made the 25 Essential Echoes CDs for 2010.

Candyrat Records put up a video where they took the complete audio from the Echoes review heard on our Echo Location segment, and cut pictures and live performance, perfectly synchronized with the original Echoes audio.


John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Todd Boston Alive-Echoes October CD of the Month.

October 1, 2010

World Fusion in a Pastoral Mode from Urban Nature Guitarist

Todd Boston is a child of Windham Hill records and Shakti and you can hear that with his world fusion duo, Urban Nature and on Alive, his solo debut.  Although to call it solo might be a misnomer.  Boston plays acoustic guitar as well as flute, bass and percussion and he’s joined on many tracks by his Urban Nature partner, Ramesh Kannan on tabla.

Listen to Todd Boston’s “Twilight”

He’s also doing live looping.  He’ll lay a guitar line down and just as you’re getting lost in the melody, a new theme comes in, played in real time while the original melody continues in a loop.

Urban Nature with John Diliberto in Echoes Concert

That makes Alive a lot more than your standard finger-style solo guitar album.  Boston creates deep meditative pieces that swirl with melody, from the refined strains of “Harmony” with Boston weaving flute melodies through his guitar filigree to the gentle sound of “The Brightest Night,” where he plays a simple solo line, plucking harmonics against a back drop of bass and crickets. “Midnight Dreaming,” is a caravan crossing, with Kannan’s tabla groove loping underneath Boston who first plays guitar and then brings in the bansuri flute.

Calling this album meditative might be misleading.  Much of it is buoyant, like “Just The Beginning” with its Celtic trilling once Boston hits the solo run.  The folk-like refrains of “Skipping” sound like an Appalachian folk song with Indian percussion.  Boston isn’t afraid to toss anything into the mix, including some country slide guitar on “3AM.”

Listen to Todd Boston’s “Skipping.”

Todd Boston is getting into a different sound on Alive. You can hear his roots, but he has a more pastoral feel than Shakti, especially when cellist Matthew Schoening guests on the luxurious expanse of “Twilight.”   There’s also a more expansive approach to melody than you’ll find on most Windham Hill records.

Todd Boston is now working with Windham Hill founder/guitarist Will Ackerman, but I’m not sure how much that can improve upon Alive,  an auspicious debut from a soulful musician.

We’ll be featuring Todd Boston’s Alive,  on Monday’s Echoes, 10/04/10, as well as on our weekend stations that following Saturday and Sunday.

Hear an interview with Todd Boston’s duo, Urban Nature:

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

The Best of Michael Hedges-1 of 20 Icons of Echoes

May 20, 2010

The Man Who Revolutionized Finger-style Guitar.

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Tonight, May 20, 2010, we feature Michael Hedges, #12 among 20 Icons of Echoes. All of his instrumental albums set the standard for modern acoustic guitar playing. Here are my favorites.

Five  Best Michael Hedges CDs, Plus One

1 Taproot

This is a middle period Hedges album and a conceptual work. It’s a musical biography, inspired by the symbology of the famed late mythologist, Joseph Campbell. The music is wide-ranging and features one of Hedges’ signature songs, the stroming assualt of “Ritual Path” as well as the sweetness of “Chava’s Song.”


I know purists might place this later on the list, but I always thought it was Hedges’ most perfectly conceived album. In addition to his wonderful guitar playing on tunes like “Ignition” it also has some beautiful arrangements, including Hedges playing flute and harmonica and Michael Manring on electric bass, that highlight him as a composer as much as a guitarist.

3- Aerial Boundaries

His second solo album, it has classic Hedges tracks like “Rickover’s Dream.” It also includes an experiment from his Peabody  Conservatory of Music days, “Spare Change.” You can be astounded by the complexity of “Menage a Trois” or the sweetness of his cover of Neil Young’s “After the Goldrush.”

4-Breakfast in the Field

This is the kind of debut that makes a musician a favorite for life.  It’s hard to believe Breakfast in the Field came out in 1981, nearly 30 years ago.  Breakfast in the Field was a shot across the bow of acoustic guitar albums with songs like “The Happy Couple,” and “Silent Anticipations.”

5-Live on the Double Planet

This album gives an inkling of the power Michael Hedges brought to his live performances. It features many of his best known tunes in definitive performances as well as covers of songs by Hendrix and The Beatles.  Yes, Michael sings on this one, but that wasn’t always such a bad thing.

PLUS ONE: Beyond Boundaries

I usually don’t put anthologies in these lists, but if I wanted to introduce somebody to the Hedge’s oeuvre, I’d probably go with Beyond Boundaries. And not because I wrote the liner notes. It’s all instrumental and features his best songs from across his first 4 studio albums as well as some live tracks recorded on Echoes. And I’m not recommending it for that reason either.

You can hear an interview with Michael Hedges tonight , May 20, on Echoes and see the complete list of 20 Icons of Echoes.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

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