Posts Tagged ‘Avant-garde’

Thus Owls in Echoes Podcast

May 23, 2014

The Canadian-Swedish Band Thus Owls Talk about Turning Rocks on Echoes Podcast.

 

Thus Owls Parker Shper, Simon Angell, Erika Angell live on Echoes

Thus Owls Parker Shper, Simon Angell, Erika Angell live on Echoes

Thus Owls’ Erika Angell is a singer who isn’t afraid to cut loose.  Like Kate Bush and Tori Amos, she takes unexpected vocal flights, but unlike them, her voice is throatier, earthier giving her vocal turns a depth of knowing.  She can exude the declamatory sound of Siouxsie Sioux and the poignant refrains of Joni Mitchell. It’s the perfect voice for a band that brings a theatrical feel to Turning Rocks, their song-cycle of life on a Swedish island that is sometimes pastoral but often dark and haunted.  Thus-Owls_Turning-Rocks_cover With husband Simon Angell on guitar, Thus Owls conjures dramatic musical structures that range from gentle autoharp refrains to screaming 60’s style rave-ups replete with Farfisa organ and Wurlitzer electric piano.    They played live on Echoes a few weeks ago.  Now hear the story of this band whose influences range from Japanese surf guitar to Alice Coltrane organ; from Abba to Meredith Monk.  You can hear them talk about it in the Echoes Podcast.

Hear Thus Owls Powerful Live Performance at Echoes On Line

You can stream it on-demand from Echoes On-line, our streaming subscription service.  You can sign up for a 1 week trial of unlimited streaming for $2.99 here.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Join the Echoes CD of the Month Club. and get Hans Christian’s Hidden Treasures, the May CD of the Month. You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time. You can do it all right here.
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OR
Pick Up 
TRANSMISSIONS:
THE ECHOES LIVING ROOM CONCERTS VOLUME 19

LRC19-250pxJoin 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.

 

 

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10 Sun Ra Albums to Blow Your Mind

May 22, 2014

Calling Planet Earth: Sun Ra, the Original Space Musician:
The 100th Centenary on Echoes Tonight

StarburstTonight on Echoes, we take a side trip to a different kind of space music to celebrate the Centenary of Sun Ra.

Upon hearing Sun Ra’s “Constellation” in a blindfold test Brian Eno said, “I wish I had done it myself. I’m extremely envious that somebody else did it. I’d give that five [stars] actually.”

Guitarist Syd Barrett reputedly blew his mind to The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra before launching Pink Floyd.

Guitarist Daevid Allen was inspired by Sun Ra when he formed the Daevid Allen Trio and went on to found The Soft Machine and his long-lived space band, Gong.

SUN RA was the original space musician, although when most people think of space music, he’s probably not the artist who comes to mind. A quick list of cosmic artists might include Tangerine Dream, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and Gong. But probably not Sun Ra. Music from the Hearts of Space has never played him, but Sun Ra was creating cosmic fantasies since at least 1956 when he released his first album, Jazz by Sun Ra (later called Sun Song). But, Sun Ra wasn’t “chill” or “contemplative.” He didn’t float through space, he screamed. But he was also funny, funky, and free floating.

Szwed BookSun Ra was born this day, May 22, 1914, a date which wasn’t known until the mid-1990s when author John Szwed dug it up for his excellent book, Space is the Place: The Lives & Times of Sun Ra.   Tonight on Echoes, we’ll delve into the more contemplative side of Sun Ra, on his centenary. He left the planet in 1993.

Thirty Sun Ra albums have just been released on iTunes this week so there’s a great opportunity to catch up on these masterworks. Some of the albums below are in that release.

TEN SUN RA ALBUMS TO BLOW YOUR MIND

Space is the place 1 Space Is The Place
This is a middle period Sun Ra album from 1972 and it’s related to the film of the same name, but it’s not the soundtrack. The album is centered by the side-long title track, a chanting excursion with an insistent funk groove with Danny Thompson playing the baritone riff that anchors you in a series of free blowing excursions from saxophonist John Gilmore, altoist Marshall Allen and Sun Ra while singer June Tyson chants the lyrics of freedom in space.

Heliocentric-12 The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra Volume 1
This is the chamber jazz side of Sun Ra, a music that works with space of the musical kind. Using instruments like the bass marimba, Ra carves out an abstract world that’s about as serene as he gets.
Astro-Black3 Astro Black
This is probably the best example of Sun Ra’s Afrofuturism. The title track is another of Ra’s groove centered songs with heavy synthesizer washes while June Tyson unfolds Ra’s mythology

Astro Black Mythology
Astro Timeless Immortality
Astro Thought in Mystic Sound
Astro Black of Outer Space
Astro Natural of Darkest Stars
Astro Reach Beyond the Stars

It’s intoxicating music.

Solar-Myth V14 The Solar Myth Approach Volume 1
This is another one that uses a lot of space in the music, broken up by mind-fracturing improvisations. The first piece is a prototypical space work with Ra playing a trance pulse while horns drone in long sustained tones creating a mood of mystery and menace. For the flip side of sonic density, get the second volume.

End of the World5 It’s After the End of the World
If you have never seen Sun Ra live, then you really haven’t experienced him in full effect. Released in 1970, this combines two live performances from Europe and features the Arkestra at a peak of tightness and innovation.

Lanquidity6 Lanquidity
This is one of Sun Ra’s best produced albums and also his funkiest and spaciest in a more conventional sense. Among the usual Ra regulars was guest trumpeter Eddie Gale. Ra adopts a space age bachelor pad approach on tracks like “Lanquidity” and “Twin Stars of Thence” and gets downright spooky spacey on “There are Other Worlds They Have not Told your of)”

Montreux 7 Live at Montreux
This album might be overlooked, but it’s a transitional album where Sun Ra began reincorporating swing music into his repertoire. Along with tracks like “On Sound Infinity Spheres” he also plays a roaring version of “Take the ‘A’ Train.”

ra_space_soundtrack8 Soundtrack to the Film Space is the Place
This is a great place to start with Sun Ra. It’s the soundtrack to a science fiction film (what else?) he produced in the early 1970s. It features more muted versions of the title piece and “It’s After the End of the World” as well as Sun Ra themes like “We Travel the Spaceways” and “Outer Spaceways Incorporated.” This is as close as Ra gets to bite-sized.


Media Dreams9 Media Dreams
I cite this album, which I have on an original Sun Ra El Saturn Records pressing with hand-drawn artwork, for one track, the aforementioned “Constellation.” It’s one of the few times where Ra uses a drum machine, in this case a primitive one like you’d find on a home organ, but Ra amps up that groove, doubling it with baritone horns and leads it into a free-funk improvisation with a John Gilmore tenor solo that will rip your gut out.

Patch of Blue10 Impressions of a Patch of Blue by Walt Dickerson
This isn’t a Sun Ra album, proper. He’s a sideman to vibraphonist Walt Dickerson and it’s remarkable to hear him in a more restrained and supportive role, playing celeste and harpsichord against Dickerson’s melodic vibe inventions.

I’ve had a more personal relationship with Sun Ra than with most other musicians. Ra came to Philadelphia in 1968. I arrived in 1972. I saw Sun Ra dozens of times live and when I worked at WXPN I saw him in many studio performances and interviews, some of which I conducted. I produced a radio documentary on him in 1982 and in 1997 I produced another one for NPR’s Jazz Profiles, Sun Ra’s Cosmic Swing.

I’ve written liner notes for a few Sun Ra albums, including the reissue of Lanquidity on the Evidence label. In reading over those notes, I realized a lot of it was about my own personal journey with Sun Ra and probably the reason I felt compelled to do an Echoes show on Sun Ra, even though it’s not quite the sound we have on the program.

 Lanquidity Liner Notes

In the Germantown section of Philadelphia, there’s an anonymous stone rowhouse with little to distinguish it from the other rundown buildings on the block. But for 25 years, this home had an interior glow powered by a seismic engine of big band jazz, cosmic space music and intergalactic tribalism. This was the home of Sun Ra and his Arkestra.

It was an unlikely location for this “band from outer space,” but then, as Sun Ra confessed to me, “Earth is an unlikely place for me to be in the first place.”

SunRaPosterPhiladelphia is often known as a spawning ground for innovative jazz musicians, but it’s also known as a city that musicians eventually leave. John Coltrane, Philly Joe Jones, The Heath Brothers and countless others headed up the New Jersey Turnpike to New York as soon as they garnered any reputation at all. As far as I know, Sun Ra is the only musician to reverse that course of jazz migration, moving to Philadelphia in 1968 and remaining there until he left the planet in 1993.

Lanquidity is one result of this often overlooked chapter in the cosmic annals of Sun Ra. His Arkestra’s gestation in Chicago and pilgrimage to New York City in the glory days of the 60s avant garde are the stuff of legend, but once Ra traveled south to Philadelphia, he might as well have taken a left turn into his hallowed home of Saturn. With long stays in Europe and the west coast and constant touring, he seemed to become a musician of the world rather than a local hero.

Sun Ra arrived in Philadelphia without ceremony, taking up residence at 5626 Morton Street in the declining Germantown section of the city. He said he came because “Philadelphia was the most evil place in the country,” but likely it was because the home was rented to the Arkestra by altoist Marshall Allen’s father. It looked like all the other rowhouses in the neighborhood, except they didn’t have windows covered with tin foil and psychedelic swirls on the door. But then, in the late sixties, that kind of decor hardly warranted a second glance.

Inside the darkened living room, Sun Ra’s electronic keyboards were stacked at one end while the Arkestra piled amongst the frayed furniture and surreal paintings of aliens and Egyptian symbology. Tucked amidst this clutter was an array of cosmic and spiritual paraphernalia. Ra would pull books off the shelf and floor, usually weighty philosophical-mystical tomes like “Book of Urantia.” A garish psychedelic oil painting of Ra, done by a fan, stared from the walls while the aroma of Ra’s vegetarian “Moon Stew” wafted from the kitchen in back.   Several members of the Arkestra lived a communal existence in the house, including tenor sax giant John Gilmore and most of the reed section.

You’d think they’d create a scene with the neighbors, but aside from around-the-clock rehearsals, no one was taken aback by Ra and the multi-hued raiment of his band members. Sonny would sit on the front stoop of the house, bantering with neighbors as they walked by on a hot Philly summer afternoon. And he was listed in the Philadelphia phone book just like them, under Ra, Sun.

Across the street from the house was an empty, wooded lot. When a tree there was felled by a lightning strike, Sun Ra had James Jacson get a piece of it to create the “Thunder Drum,” a centerpiece of Ra’s performances thereafter.

If you were on the Philadelphia jazz scene from 1968 to his passing in 1993, you couldn’t miss Sun Ra’s presence. Ra played concerts on a consistently irregular basis. In the early days, you might catch the Arkestra literally falling off the stage of Geno’s Empty Foxhole, their 18 plus musicians and dancers finding scant room on a minuscule proscenium accustomed to trios. Located in the parish hall basement of St. Mary’s Church, the Empty Foxhole, gave new meaning to the term “underground.” The first two rows were ripped out bus seats, the next few were old church pews and the rest were a motley collection of folding chairs. Yet, this was the Philly stop for The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Pharoah Sanders, Anthony Braxton, Sam Rivers and other luminaries of the seventies avant-garde.

Sun Ra quickly outgrew the parish hall basement of the Foxhole and moved up to the actual church itself. St. Mary’s was one of many religious venues in which Ra performed in Philadelphia and although his music may have been sanctified, these churches never had an experience like this before or after. Playing a Halloween eve show at United Calvary Methodist Church in West Philadelphia, the altar/stage was bathed in a classic 60s liquid light show from Michel Polizzi’s Quasar Lights, while the Arkestra danced through the pews in a cosmic conga line. Ra would pull unsuspecting audience members out of their seats and shout in their faces, “Will you give up your death for me?”
But Sun Ra didn’t need churches or light shows for atmosphere. He transformed every place he played into a carnival, whether it was the cramped club Grendel’s Lair on South Street, the Painted Bride Art Center in Old City or the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Michel Polizzi's Quasar Lights

Michel Polizzi’s Quasar Lights

Because of Sun Ra’s residence in Philadelphia, it became the place to pick up his obscure, self-produced El Saturn sides. At Third Street Jazz & Rock, a record store at Third and Market Streets in Center City, Ra held a hallowed spot. The entire back wall was covered with John Coltrane albums, but the wall on the left was filled with the hand-painted covers of Sun Ra’s El Saturn label. Every few weeks or so, Ra baritone saxophonist and foreman Danny Thompson, would walk into the store, an armful of Sun Ra’s latest opus or two under his arms and negotiate a C.O.D. deal with store owner Jerry Gordon. Philadelphia fans heard Ra odysseys like Media Dreams and Disco 3000 that are rarities elsewhere, and classics like Live At Montreux debuted in Philadelphia on El Saturn years before they were released on “regular” commercial labels.

Ra probably never got as much radio exposure as he did in Philadelphia at this time. He appeared frequently on Temple University’s jazz station, WRTI and until the mid-1980s, Sun Ra sides were de rigeur on Blue Genesis, the nightly jazz show on the University of Pennsylvania’s WXPN. Sonny himself was a frequent guest, expounding on the universe as college DJs sat with a mixture of fear and confusion. I know. I was one of them.

“When you interviewed Ra, the questions that you asked really didn’t matter much,” remembers Russell Woessner, a DJ on WXPN and WRTI. “He’d respond with his own answers. He told me once he was an angel and that stopped me in my tracks.”

Often, Ra would bring up his books of poetry and read them on the air, as the DJ mixed in music from his albums.

I can remember more than one occasion with sixteen Arkestra members cramming into WXPN’s minuscule studio, Ra pounding on a creaky upright piano, the horns blasting and Ra dancers cavorting in the hallway while DJ/engineers Woessner, Jules Epstein and Kimberly Haas tried to wrestle the sound onto the air. After the last note had bleated away, Danny Thompson walked in the control booth and took the tapes, some eventually surfacing as Sun Ra albums like My Favorite Things.

bumperstickerAt one point, Ra tried to convince WXPN’s program director, Jules Epstein, to marshal 144,000 musicians to perform a sacred concert related to the coming biblical Armageddon. Epstein wasn’t quite persuaded, but Ra succeeded in convincing WXPN chief engineer Tom Buchler to record him for Buchler’s own fledgling Philly Jazz label, which you now hold in your hands.

Ra occasionally broke the surface of the jazz underground in Philadelphia. He performed on Philadelphia’s public TV station, WHYY and he was documented in local filmmaker Bob Mugge’s Sun Ra: Make A Joyful Noise.   Mugge couldn’t afford to bring Sun Ra to the great pyramids, so he filmed him in the Egyptian rooms of the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania.
The Mellon Jazz Festival was dedicated to Sun Ra in the year 2000, although I suspect Sonny, who always liked science fiction, would’ve preferred being honored in 2001, in keeping with Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. He certainly took Philadelphia on a trip.

Although he left the planet from his childhood home in Birmingham, Alabama, Sun Ra’s life effectively ended in Philadelphia after he suffered a series of increasingly debilitating strokes.

The house at 5626 Morton is a bit quieter now and other Arkestra members, including John Gilmore and James Jacson have also moved on to other worlds. Yet, the band continues on, now under the direction of Marshall Allen. Members of the Arkestra still live in Sun Ra’s home, and if you drive by you might still catch an echo of the music created there.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

WHERE & HOW TO LISTEN TO ECHOES

Echoes is on different stations, on different days and different times.
You can listen locally or stream-live from our many stations’ websites.
You can also stream it on-demand from Echoes On-line, our streaming subscription service.  You can sign up for a 1 week trial of unlimited streaming for $2.99 here.

Join the Echoes CD of the Month Club. and get Hans Christian’s Hidden Treasures, the May CD of the Month. You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time. You can do it all right here.
Hidden Treasures-225

OR
Pick Up 
TRANSMISSIONS:
THE ECHOES LIVING ROOM CONCERTS VOLUME 19

LRC19-250pxJoin 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.

 

 

Thus Owls Interview on Echoes

May 20, 2014

The Canadian-Swedish Band Thus Owls Talk about Turning Rocks tonight on Echoes.

Thus Owl's Erika Angel on Echoes

Thus Owl’s Erika Angel on Echoes

Thus Owls’ Erika Angell is a singer who isn’t afraid to cut loose.  Like Kate Bush and Tori Amos, she takes unexpected vocal flights, but unlike them, her voice is throatier, earthier giving her vocal turns a depth of knowing.  She can exude the declamatory sound of Siouxsie Sioux and the poignant refrains of Joni Mitchell. It’s the perfect voice for a band that brings a theatrical feel to Turning Rocks, their song-cycle of life on a Swedish island that is sometimes pastoral but often dark and haunted.  Thus-Owls_Turning-Rocks_cover With husband Simon Angell on guitar, Thus Owls conjures dramatic musical structures that range from gentle autoharp refrains to screaming 60’s style rave-ups replete with Farfisa organ and Wurlitzer electric piano.    They played live on Echoes a few weeks ago.  Now hear the story of this band whose influences range from Japanese surf guitar to Alice Coltrane organ; from Abba to Meredith Monk.

WHERE & HOW TO LISTEN TO ECHOES

Echoes is on different stations, on different days and different times.
You can listen locally or stream-live from our many stations’ websites.
You can also stream it on-demand from Echoes On-line, our streaming subscription service.  You can sign up for a 1 week trial of unlimited streaming for $2.99 here.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Join the Echoes CD of the Month Club. and get Hans Christian’s Hidden Treasures, the May CD of the Month. You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time. You can do it all right here.
Hidden Treasures-225

OR
Pick Up 
TRANSMISSIONS:
THE ECHOES LIVING ROOM CONCERTS VOLUME 19

LRC19-250pxJoin 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.

 

 

Women of Echoes

March 6, 2014

A Celebration of Women in Music from the Echoes Spectrum for International Women’s Day

Laurie Anderson in Echoes Interview

Laurie Anderson in Echoes Interview

This Saturday, March 8 is International Women’s Day and as we do each year, we focus this show on the sounds of women musicians.  These days, that doesn’t seem as necessary as it did many years ago.  Even 20 years back, finding enough women musicians creating progressive, ambient and electronic music to fill this show wasn’t easy, but today, women are a big part of Echoes, if not in outright domination of the music you hear.  So this is more a show about celebrating how far we’ve come with women in music.  Today, we’ll hear women artists from pioneers like Laurie Anderson and Kate Bush  to a new generation like Norah Jones and London Grammar.

Frankie Rose Live on Echoes

Frankie Rose Live on Echoes

Laurie Anderson is the Grand Dame of new music. She defined the independent women composer and artist for the late 20th century with a personal vision that is unparalleled . She’s still creating great music and performance works today although she suffered a terrible loss this past year when her husband, Lou Reed, passed away.  You can hear Anderson’s influence on other contemporary composers like Julia Holter, a musician who probably wouldn’t have been possible without Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman.”

You can hear them all tonight on Women of EchoesPlaylist here.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Mark-McGuire-Along-The-WayJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Mark McGuire’s Along the Way is our March CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.

OR
Pick Up 
TRANSMISSIONS:
THE ECHOES LIVING ROOM CONCERTS VOLUME 19

LRC19-250pxJoin 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.

Robert Ashley’s Perfect Life Ends

March 4, 2014

ROBERT ASHLEY PASSES AT 83

ashley-at-WTC2.1975Well, it may not have been so perfect, but Perfect Lives, Private Parts was the name of Robert Ashley’s multi-part meditation on life.  It was loosely called an opera, in the way that his contemporary, Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach was an opera, but less so.  Robert Ashley was ambient before Eno, composed avant-garde opera’s years before Philip Glass and did a form of rapping before rapping.  Check out Perfect Lives, Private Parts: The Bar below.  Ashley is from that post-John Cage generation that included David Behrman, Alvin Lucier and LaMonte YoungPerfectLivesBookAshley worked in the regions of the subconscious, those inner murmurings that bubble to the surface between sleep and waking.  Pieces like Automatic Writing created an ambient scrawl of his spoken word, including his uncontrolled murmurings from his Tourette’s Syndrome.  I interviewed Robert Ashley in the late 1980s for the radio series, Totally Wired.  You can hear it here: (Ignore the playlist and address spiel at the end)

Here’s a couple of Ashley’s signature tune.  My favorite remains Perfect Lives, Private Parts: The Bar with it’s psychotic boogie woogie piano from Blue Gene Tyranny and drunken ruminations making brilliant connections.  Unlike a lot of avant-garde composers, Ashley had a wry sense of humor in his work.  Robert Ashley was an American maverick’s who musicians and art cognoscenti knew, but who never rose about the avant-garde surface.  Explore his body of work and you might wonder why.  Robert Ashley had been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and died on 3 March at approximately 1:30pm.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Mark-McGuire-Along-The-WayJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Mark McGuire’s Along the Way is our March CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.

OR
Pick Up 
TRANSMISSIONS:
THE ECHOES LIVING ROOM CONCERTS VOLUME 19

LRC19-250pxJoin 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.

John Diliberto’s Top 10 CDs 2013

December 30, 2013

This was one of the hardest lists ever to compile.  It’s different from 25 Essential Echoes CDs of 2013, which is our picks of the best music played on Echoes.  And it’s also different from The Best of Echoes 2013 Listener Poll results.   These are my picks from all the music I heard in what turned out to be an epic year for new music.  And in an epic year, these are the albums that rose to the top of the top for me.

Metheny-Tap-Tzadik-cvr1- Pat MethenyTap: John Zorn’s The Book of Angels, Vol. 20
Metheny takes fragmentary themes from composer John Zorn’s “Book of Angels” series and orchestrates them into expansive, electro-symphonic works.  The fact that it features some of Metheny’s most unbridled and psychedelic guitar playing in years is just a bonus.

Stories2- Rhian Sheehan –  Stories from Elsewhere
On his 7th album, Stories from Elsewhere Rhian Sheehan created one of the most sublime shadings of ambient chamber music since Harold Budd’s Pavillion of Dreams.  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-5003 – Olivier Libaux Uncovered Queens of the Stone Age
I don’t know if I could’ve gotten behind an album more than I did Olivier Libaux’s sublime covers of music by alt-metal band Queen’s of the Stone Age.  Part of the New Wave/Punk cover band Nouvelle Vague.  Libaux stepped out on his own to record the albums with singers including Emilianna Torinni and Inara George. He accomplished a melancholy re-imagining of this alt-metal band’s music. It was a CD of the Month in July.

TimeLapse4 – Ludovico Einaudi –  In a Time Lapse
In a Time Lapse is a defining album on which pianist/composer Ludovico 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. It was Echoes CD of the Month in March,

Innocents-2505 – Moby   Innocents
Moby completes a trilogy of atmospheric, introspective songs 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-2506 – 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.

Long Way To Fall7 – 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.  The title track will leave you breathless.  It was an Echoes CD of the Month in February.

WInterwell8 – Mree   Winterwell
Serene dream pop from a 19 year old musician who comes from a singer-songwriter tradition but creates Enya like choirs with her voice on this lush and powerful album.

Bleeding-Raainbow-Yeah-Right CVR9 – Bleeding Rainbow   Yeah, Right
This Philadelphia based band created a garage-rock psychedelic ecstacy that often attained the epic mixing shoegaze guitars with motoric grooves and heroic girl-group choruses from singer Sarah Everton.  I’m still trying to figure out why Savages got so much hipster attention and this album slipped away.  Play it loud and you’ll wonder why as well.

kveikur10- Sigur Ros  Kveikur
Sigur Ros kick out the jams on this album of delirious, roiling textures and Jonsi’s falsetto melodies of prayer.  This is one of the Icelandic groups more aggressive outings which is saying a lot for a band that has no restraints in their electric storm.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

GIVE THE GIFT OF THE ECHOES CD OF THE MONTH CLUB

FoundJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  David Helping and Jon Jenkins’ Found is 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.

OR

LRC19-250pxGIVE THEM THE GIFT OF TRANSMISSIONS:
THE ECHOES LIVING ROOM CONCERTS VOLUME 19

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.

Transmissions: Echoes Living Room Concerts V19

November 11, 2013

INCOMING MESSAGE:

TRANSMISSIONS: THE ECHOES LIVING ROOM CONCERTS VOLUME 19
buyit

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.
buyit

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.

Heavenly Choirs from Julianna Barwick on Echoes

November 5, 2013
Julianna Barwick & Scott Bell on Echoes

Julianna Barwick & Scott Bell on Echoes

Enya may not be putting out any new music but there are many artists who are taking that layered vocal sound in different directions.  One of them is Julianna Barwick.  The Louisiana born, Missouri raised and of course, Brooklyn based artist does something Enya doesn’t dare do, perform live, layering her voice in real time choirs.  Earlier this year Barwick released Nepenthe, an album of vocal music that seems to rise out of cemetery fog, a ghostly, amorphous sound ascending toward the heavens.  It’s a very rarefied released coming from the alt-rock heavy Dead Oceans label.

doc069.11183v4A very rarefied released coming from the alt-rock heavy Dead Oceans label, Nepenthe is ambient music for voice, with Barwick creating her vocal choirs in real time using looping and lots of delays and reverb.   It’s like Enya with the sweetness strained out through Joan La Barbara and looped in Frippertronics.     Joined by ambient guitarist Scott Bell, we’re going to hear Julianna Barwick do it live tonight on Echoes.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

InnocentsSign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.  This month,  CD of the Month Club members will be getting Moby’s  Innocents. 

                                                              SPECIAL FOR THIS MONTH
TalesNew and Renewing Echoes CD of the Month Club members will also got Bombay Dub Orchestra’s magnificent new album, Tales from the Grand Bazaar.

Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club and hear what you’ve been missing.
Echoes On Line

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.

Ascend the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit on Echoes.

October 17, 2013

Tonight on Echoes we talk to Ashley Capps,
Producer of the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit

logoThere are many electronic music festivals out there from the Detroit Music Festival to the Ultra Music Festival.  But none have the breadth of acts you’ll find at the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit, the successor to Moogfest in Asheville, North Carolina.  (Moogfest is slated to relaunch the end of April, 2014) The music ranges from the ambient sounds of The Orb to the new wave electronics of Gary Numan to the dark obsessions of Nine Inch Nails.  Tonight, I plug in with Ashley Capps, the festivals promoter and talk about ukeleles, Silver Apples and Halloween darkness.

Ashley Capps of Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit.

Ashley Capps of Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit.

There’s a lot of great Echoes acts at MOEMS including Ulrich Schnauss, The Orb, Jherek Bischoff, Gary Numan, Darkside, and Bass Nectar and a lot of bands I expect to blow my mind like Nine Inch Nails, Godspeed you! Black Emperor and Animal Collective.  I’ll be covering it all for Echoes, so check it out in the Echoes Blog, on Twitter @EchoesRadio, on Instagram @EchoesRadio and on Facebook @EchoesFans.

Find out about Mountain Oasis tonight on Echoes.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))
Support Echoes by becoming a member of the Echoes Sound Circle.

Choose either a one time $1000 or on-going $84 Monthly PaymentThink of the great artists you love on Echoes. Think of the informative interviews and exclusive live performances. Then, think of a world without Echoes. You can make sure that never happens by becoming a member of the Echoes Sound Circle.

Echoes is a non-profit 501(c3) organization just like your local public radio station. And all donations are tax deductible. You can support Echoes with a monthly donation that will barely disturb your credit card.

Join the Echoes Sound Circle and keep the soundscapes of Echoes flowing!

WorldsBeyondSign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.
This month,  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 hear what you’ve been missing.

130528_Echoes

Pat Metheny Meets John Zorn in Heaven On Echoes

October 16, 2013

Hear Pat Metheny talk about Tap: John Zorn’s Book of Angels Tonight on Echoes

Tap=cvrYou never know quite where guitarist Pat Metheny is going to land.  In just the last three years he’s recorded a album with his mechanical orchestra called The Orchestrion, released a solo guitar album of 60 pop cover tunes and now, like an elastic band stretched to one extreme, he’s snapped back to another.  In this case it’s a recording of music by iconoclastic avant-garde composer John Zorn, a denizen of New York’s downtown scene for more than three decades.  It’s called The Book of Angels.  John Zorn doesn’t do interviews, but Pat Metheny does and we talked to him about this surprisingly beautiful CD.

Here’s some of the highlights:

Pat Metheny on John Zorn: He’s also just a really good kind of you know, for lack of a better word, modern classical composer.  You know, he writes great notes.

Pat Metheny on Book of Angels: I mean it is I think a burst of inspiration that he wrote 300 pieces of music in a very short period of time.  And he’s gotten various musicians of different types to play those pieces.  And he calls it the book of angels.

Pat Metheny on the Orchestrion: I mean the Orchestrion for me is now a viable part of everything that I’ll do from now on.  And to me it’s a significant development in the set of possibilities that I think exist.  You can hear that there’s tons of Orchestion on the record. It was floor to ceiling of those kinds of instruments and deafening.

Hear more about Pat Metheny’s Tap: John Zorn’s Book of Angels Volume 20 tonight on Echoes.

For further reading, see a review of Tap: John Zorn’s Book of Angels Volume 20

Further Listening: Pat Metheny’s Mechanical Orchestra
                                   Pat Metheny on What’s It All About

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

WorldsBeyondSign up for Echoes CD of the Month ClubLast months picks was Darshan Ambient’s Little ThingsThis month,  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.

Choose either a one time $1000 or on-going $84 Monthly PaymentSupport Echoes by becoming a member of the Echoes Sound Circle.

Think of the great artists you love on Echoes. Think of the informative interviews and exclusive live performances. Then, think of a world without Echoes. You can make sure that never happens by becoming a member of the Echoes Sound Circle.

Echoes is a non-profit 501(c3) organization just like your local public radio station. And all donations are tax deductible. You can support 130528_EchoesEchoes with a monthly donation that will barely disturb your credit card.

Join the Echoes Sound Circle and keep the soundscapes of Echoes flowing!


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