Posts Tagged ‘Echo Location’

ECHO LOCATION-A Live CD from Echoes

November 28, 2011

ECHO LOCATION-The Latest CD of Exclusive Echoes Live Performances

That ping you hear is the sound of Echo Location, our 17th volume of Echoes Living Room Concerts.  Like the previous albums, it’s a remarkable selection from across the Echoes spectrum of live performances, recorded in locales that range from the Echoes Black Box to a 19th century gothic revival synagogue.

And what is the range of music?  One edge is the electronic side of Echoes.  Vic Hennegan makes his second Echoes CD appearance with a retro-space opus called “Patagonian Rain” that calls up the spirit of Tangerine Dream but houses it in his own modern electronica sensibility.  Erik Wollo makes his third Living Room Concert CD

Erik Wollo in Echoes Black Box

appearance with the longest track on the album: “The Crossing.”  It’s an epic piece with a slow build into Erik’s soaring guitar wailing melodies.  Living Room Concert veterans seem to abound on Echo LocationRobert Rich makes his fifth appearance on an Echoes CD.  I guess we must like his music.  You can hear why on his track, “Moth Wings,” a piece that’s a bit more purely electronic than Robert’s techno-tribal work. All of the electronic sets were recorded live in the Echoes living room, better known these days as the Black Box.

Ludovico Einaudi at Angel Orensantz Foundation Hall

Emerging out of the electronic side of things are several works of ambient chamber music, a trend Echoes has followed from the beginning.  Leading off the CD is Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi.  He’s been on our CDs twice before.  This performance was recorded in the late fall of 2010 at the Angel Orensantz Foundation Hall, a 19th century gothic revival cathedral in the heart of Manhattan.  After falling into disrepair, the synagogue has been renovated, leaving much of the decayed portions intact, but mixed with modern touches and electric blue lighting that provided the perfect setting for Ludovico’s ecstatic performances of one of his best known works, “Divenire.”

Ryuichi Sakamoto is probably the biggest “name” on the album. We got the iconic eclectic Japanese musician to play a lovely and romantic set of music at the Yamaha Piano Salon in Manhattan. Sakamoto can be cerebral and ironic, but he dug into several mostly nostalgic themes with an interior passion, including this rendition of “The Sheltering Sky,” his theme for the movie of the same name.

Less well-known but no less imposing was Balmorhea, the chamber rock group from Austin, Texas.  The rock part of their sound is pretty absent these days, and in a 19th century farmhouse in Chester County, PA, they played their quietly epic music accompanied by a string trio.  “Truth” is a track that evokes Arvo Pärt’s most serenely spiritual sound, but with a sweeping crescendo that emerges right out of the American heartland.

Iceland’s Ólafur Arnalds brought his string quartet, electronics and piano into the studios of Echoes affiliate WITF in Harrisburg for a gorgeous session that truly lived up to the Ambient Chamber Music tag. We picked a track originally from his concept album, …And they have Escaped the Weight of Darkness.

Agnes Obel at Rockwood Music Hall

Agnes Obel could also fit into the ambient chamber music mold.  Her album, Philharmonics was an Echoes CD of the Month in January of 2011.  She composes introspective songs with melodic hooks that don’t let go.  One of them is “Riverside,” which she played live in a private session at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City.

Agnes joins a growing legion of singers on Echoes. Also  among them is Lia Ices, whose album, Grown Unknown was a personal expedition into love and loss. “Little Marriage” is a haunting song featuring mellotron strings and Lia’s vulnerable voice.  And it’s the only song on Echoes that includes fingersnaps.

With all of the acoustic guitarists that appear on Echoes, we could do an entire CD just compiling them.  But we have to observe some limitations, and the two players who crossed the threshold for Echo Location were Andy McKee and Gareth Pearson. Andy is a YouTubephenomenon with over 42 million views of his song, “Drifting.”  He’s got incredible technique that merges finger style

Andy McKee at Echoes

guitar with the two-handed tapping approach of Michael Hedges and his own, beautifully wistful melodies. He’s represented by his song, “My Life as a C.P.A.”  Gareth Pearson is an incredible finger-style player from Wales.  He performs inventive covers of Michael Jackson songs, but I love his original tunes, including the playful ”Chinese Whispers.”

When I hear Echo Location, it’s not just a collection of tunes from the radio show, it’s a soundscape that defines a musical aesthetic probing, immersive music that takes you places you’ve never gone before.  And you’ll want to go back.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echoes On-Line subscribers can hear all of Echo Location on Program 1148A

Many of the original albums for these songs were  Echoes CD’s of the Month.   Members of the CD of the Month Club already have them in their collections.  You can join them in getting great Echoes music each month by going here: Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Join NOW and you’ll also get a copy of Echo Location and a bonus CD.

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Time For Three: A Different Kind of String Trio

April 15, 2010

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Time for Three @ Echoes

We had the pleasure of hosting Time for Three, the string trio of violinists Zach De Pue and Nick Kendall and double-bassist Ranaan Meyer, in the Echoes Living Room a while back.  They gave a performance of almost frightening virtuosity and intuitive interplay, tapping into their more serene and contemplative side with renditions of Imogen Heap‘s “Hide & Seek,” Leonard Cohen‘s “Hallelujah” and their own originals, “Of Time & Three Rivers” and the quiet rapture of “Sundays.”  It was the first time they’d ever played “Sundays” live since they recorded it last July on their latest CD, Three Fervent Travelers.  Next week we’ll have a complete Echoes interview with T43, but here’s a taste from this week’s Echo Location.

You can hear an audio version of this with music from Time for Three.


When you think of string trios, you probably don’t think of improvisation, Bluegrass, Imogen Heap or Classical Jam Band Camp. You also wouldn’t think a classical string trio would be called “the heartthrobs of many teenage girl musicians throughout the country.”

Zach De Pue: I’ve never heard that one
Nick Kendall: I’ve never heard that either.
Ranaan Meyer: I swear by it.

That’s violinists Zach De Pue and Nick Kendall and double bassist Ranaan Meyer.  Here’s a few they have heard.

Nick Kendall: We are classically trained garageband
Zach De Pue: Three benevolent monsters.

Time for Three is a string trio, all of whom were born in the late 1970s.  They mostly come from classical music families and they met at Philadelphia’s acclaimed Curtis Institute of Music.  But there were a few other things in their background, like jazz.

Ranaan Meyer:  Well, I grew up not knowing anything about jazz, and when I was 15 I got into it and it was pretty much like straight ahead, you know and Be-Bop at that point, but to tell you the truth now, like I am into all jazz and I grew up playing all jazz, you know after that point.

Then there’s Bluegrass.

Zach De Pue: That would be me.  Just growing up, four fiddle playing brothers, studying classically all year round, in the summer time going around to area fiddle contest in Bowling Green, Ohio, and then actually later on the surrounding countryside, we would camp, and basically learning Appalachian style fiddling, northern style fiddling and lot of fiddle tunes.

Time for Three takes these influences and more and fuses them into a sound that can have the flow of improvised music. In concert they don’t use written scores.

Nick Kendall:  Well this is a different of approach I think.  It is completely based by ear and by concept building. However the vibe is going, we can diverge from the actual part to accommodate the moment, so it is completely flexible and I think a lot of times that’s why it comes off as so improvised.  We weren’t learning it from an external source, we are actually ingesting it as we play it.

Time for Three compose most of their own music and don’t play much from the Masters, unless you consider the Masters Leonard Cohen or Imogen Heap, both of whom they cover. Their latest album is Three Fervent Travelers.  We’ll talk with them some more next Tuesday, April 19, 2010, on Echoes.  This has been an Echo Location, Soundings for New Music.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echo Location: Mono

June 4, 2009

Hymn to the Immortal Wind Japanese post-rockers Mono, attain symphonic dimensions.

You can hear an audio version of this blog with Mono’s music.

Most composers would take offense if the orchestra playing their music was wearing ear plugs.  That was the case with the Wordless Music Orchestra when they performed with the Japanese band Mono in New York City in May.  But Mono founder, Takaakira Goto wasn’t insulted.

Takaakira Goto: Yeah, yeah, yeah. especially my guitar sound, guitar volume is totally crazy.

Mono is nothing if not loud as Takaakira Goto and Yoda bend down on their low stools, feeding their guitars through a distorted wall of sound.  When Taka formed Mono, his conception of an instrumental rock band was born as much from necessity as desire.

Takaakira Goto: I had a band, which always had a singer but the singer always hated my guitar sound because I’m always so big. [laughs]

Mono isn’t a noise band.  Over the last decade, they’ve been performing a minimalist symphonic brand of instrumental guitar rock, with a sound that has electric storms, but also delicate modal reveries.  Their latest album, Hymn to the Immortal Wind, was made with Steve Albini who produced Nirvana, The Pixies and Flogging Molly.  It’s a soundtrack for a fable-like story that’s scored for a full orchestra.  Taka had been listening to classical music, especially the sacred minimalists like Arvo Pärt and Henryck Gorecki.

Takaakira Goto: For me, good sounds always shake in the air.

Strings don’t sound like strings.  They sound like…

TG: Human choir

And he experiences the same choral effect with his guitars.

Takaakira Goto: Two electric guitars combined, it’s a more beautiful voice of the human.

The name Mono isn’t a nostalgic plea to bring back the Mono audio format.  Taka says he chose it for two reasons.  One was pronunciation.

Takaakira Goto: At first, the pronunciation of Mono was very easy.

But the real reason was for the commitment to a single purpose.

TG: Mono means kind of a single.

Mono is focused on their aspirations towards a symphonic rock.
Their Hymn to the Immortal Wind is released on Temporary Residence.  I’ve got a more extensive interview with Mono next Monday including comments from Steve Albini.  This has been an Echo Location.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echo Location: Leo Abrahams May CD of the Month

April 29, 2009

A Brian Eno accomplice looks to the pastoral past on The Grape and the Grain.

You can hear an audio version of this blog with Leo Abrahams’ music here.

grage-cvrLeo Abrahams is one of those musicians, you may not know, but you have heard him.  He’s performed with singer Imogen Heap, alternative folk artist Ed Harcourt, played on the film score to Ocean’s 11 and appears on the latest Paul Simon CD, Surprise.  That last one comes from a fortuitous meeting with ambient pioneer and producer, Brian Eno.

BRIAN ENO:    I like him and his playing very much.  I spotted him in a guitar shop trying out a guitar, the first guitar player I’ve ever seen in a guitar shop who wasn’t playing “Stairway to Heaven,” so I thought he must be good.

honeytrap-cvrEno invited Abrahams to his studio and he played on the album, Drawn from Life.  They’ve worked together ever since, including a forthcoming collaboration with Herbie Hancock.  But Abrahams also has his own music vision.  Inspired by his work on the 2003 film score to Code 46 he created his own album, Honey Trap.   Leo Abrahams can be an earbending experimenter as he is on the album, Scene Memory, but much of his music has a wistful charm.  Abrahams, the ultimate modernist, says that comes from folk music.

LEO ABRAHAMS:    I really love folk music.  I love the honesty of it and the fact that it’s not really affected by fashion too much and that it’s not about the ego, you know, it’s more, it’s reaching out to something else which is, in popular music, I think quite a rare thing.

Leo Abrahams

Leo Abrahams

You can hear that sound on Leo Abrahams new CD, The Grape and the Grain.  It’s a blissfully nostalgic album from a musician who has pushed the electric edges of his guitar.  With hurdy-gurdy,  cello and a medieval lute called the bandura,  it sounds like pastoral music from another age.  The Grape and the Grain is a quaint album, except for that electric guitar.

The Grape and the Grain is on the Just Music label.  It’s  the May CD of the Month on Echoes and we’ll be featuring that CD next week on the show. This has been an Echo Location, Soundings for new Music. You can read a complete review of The Grape and the Grain here.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echo Location Podcast-Michael Whelan & Atomic Skunk

April 22, 2009

Podcast of Echo Location with Michael Whelan and Atomic Skunk

Listen Here.

I usually create blogs out of Echo Location features, but this week I reversed direction and created an Echo Location out of the blog posting:

Michael Whalen & Atomic Skunk: Free Music that Doesn’t Stink

Follow link to original blog post which has links to two free download albums of electronic music.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echo Location: Kaya Project’s And So It Goes

January 7, 2009

So It Goes Global ecstacy in a digital world from Kaya Project

You can hear an audio version of this blog with music. Echo Location: Kaya Project

Seb Taylor started out as a Death Metal and Thrash guitarist, but you’d never know that from his many recording personas, among them, Shakta, Digitalis, Angel Tears, Hibernation and Kaya Project. Ever since he got digital, Taylor has been dancing through variations on trance, downtempo and especially, ethno-electronica.

He was recording Techno-trance music when he formed Kaya Project with keyboardist and singer Natasha Chamberlain. Like a bunch of other English outfits, including Loop Guru, Trans-Global Underground and Bombay Dub Orchestra, Kaya Project takes world music elements and mixes them in electronica landscapes.

The third Kaya Project release is called And So It Goes. The title may suggest a certain resigned attitude or a nod to Billy Joel. Speaking from his London studio, Seb Taylor says that neither was the case. 

Seb Taylor: And So It Goes is actually a tribute to Kurt Vonnegut. That’s something he used to mention in some of his books. Later on I also found out it was a song by Billy Joel, so, I may not have called the album that if I’d known at the time.

ElixirThe music of Kaya Project is constructed as much as it’s composed. A song like “The Source,” comes from different sessions, different times and different parts of the world as well as both physical and virtual realities.

Seb Taylor: That track originally started by somebody getting in touch from mypace, an amazing singer named Deeyah. That finger-picked sound was a friend playing mandolin in the studio that day. The violin I recorded in India a couple of years ago at some really fantastic Bollywood sessions. So they are all completely disparate elements brought together in one space.

Walking Through For Seb Taylor, even Americana is world music. His guitar playing draws deeply on American blues and folk.

Seb Taylor: I’ve been really getting into slide guitar, Americana folk. That’s definitely where I’m at moment.

And So It Goes, by Kaya Project is the Echoes January CD of the Month. Seb Taylor also recently released an album under his Hibernation guise, Some Things Never Change on the AlephZero label. That CD is an album of swampy electronics and mysterious voices from the edge. This has been an Echo Location, Soundings for New Music.

You can read a more extensive review of And So It Goes here.

Echo Location: A Synthesist turns Singer-Dean De Benedictis

December 3, 2008

Electronic explorer Dean De Benedictis finds Ambient music in his voice

(You can hear an audio version of this blog, with music.)

Dean De Benedictis @ Echoes

Dean De Benedictis @ Echoes

If you’re a fan of 80s and 90s TV crime dramas, you might recognize the theme from Matlock, the crime series starring Andy Griffith. It’s written by Dick de Benedictis, who also scored sexagenarian TV series like Perry Mason Returns and Diagnosis Murder. Dick De Benedictis had a son named Dean, and he’s followed in his father’s musical footsteps, but, the music is different.

Dean De Benedictis did write some source music for his father’s shows. He could turn around a country tune for a bar scene or a heavy metal tune for club on a moments notice. But Dean De Benedictis is an electronic musician at heart. Surface, Vol. 10 He was inspired by rap and break-dance music in the 1980s and then got turned on to Tangerine Dream. His first album, released as Surface 10 in 1996, was pretty much an homage to German space music via Steve Roach and his Empetus-period.

Dean De Benedictis has alternated recording as Surface 10 and under his own name over the last decade, but whether playing techno tribal music or full-on electronica, he was always plugged in. Recently, however, Dean has been shutting down synthesizers and opening up his mouth. He isn’t singing pop tunes. He’s creating ambient music for the voice that he calls “A cambient.”

Dean De Benedictis: A Cambient? A Cambient is going to be what this type of music is referred to if that phrase catches. The intention was to just kind of create a name for this type of music since there is none and it is basically combining the word acappella and ambient. So it is almost kind of hokey in a sense.

Dean De Benedictis's A Cambient Variations

Dean De Benedictis

All of the music in Dean’s album, A Cambient Variations, begins with his voice. It’s follows in a tradition of David Hykes, Joan La Barbara, and Björk, not to mention beatbox vocalists. You can hear him imitating the sound of percussion or a string bass occasionally, but usually, he’s creating an electronic landscape with his voice.

Dean De Benedictis: I specifically imitate electronic music in a sense. I imitate the limitless possibilities of tonal ranges that we have at our disposal as electronic musicians.

Dean De Benedictis says he’s still going to make electronic music, but for now, he can’t keep from singing. His album is called A Cambient Variations. We’ll be featuring an interview with Dean De Benedictis on Tuesday December 9. This has been an Echo Location, soundings   for new music.  

(You can also hear an audio version of this blog, with music from A Cambient Variations.)

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echo Location: Saul Stokes

November 12, 2008

In another time, say the 1950s or 60s, Saul Stokes might have been considered an experimental composer, constructing his own instruments, creating random events, bypassing conventional musical form. But rarely has an experimental composer made music as haunting and soulful as that heard on his new CD, Villa Galaxia.   

You can hear an audio version of this blog, with music. listen-icons-28x28

Villa Galaxia Based in Oakland, California, Saul Stokes doesn’t use pre-packaged sounds or samples of conventional instruments. His timbres exist purely in the world of circuitry, diodes and computer chips. He even invents his own instruments out of cheap circuitry and instead of keyboards, creates original control interfaces. They’re elegant looking, but cranky devices, that you won’t find at your local Sam Ash Store. They often generate unpredictable sounds and Saul Stokes likes that.

Saul Stokes has certainly recorded his share of abstract electronic music.  He even has an album called AbstractionAbstraction But on albums like his new CD, Villa Galaxia, he reins in his sonic experiments, welding them together with his controllers and computers, building structure out of chaos, and resolving it all in music that shares a Mobyesque sense of melancholy.

Along with Brian Eno, Saul Stokes composed music for the video game Spore. Spore (PC Games) As you listen to Villa Galaxia you might feel like you’re inside one of those games in a kinetic ride of pings and zings, surging chords and exploding timbres that carry you through each scene. It’s a sound that expands beyond the confines of the computer screen into a cinema of the mind.

Fans of William Orbit, Ulrich Schnauss and Boards of Canada should find resonance in the music of Saul Stokes. His latest album is Villa Galaxia.  This has been an Echo Location, Soundings for New Music.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echo Location: Vic Hennegan, Tangerine Dream’s Space Child

November 5, 2008

Artists like Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze  did have musical children and among them is a musician named Vic Hennegan. He makes a music born of technology and reveling in spacious rhythms and layered timbres.

(You can hear an audio version of this blog, with music.)

Vic Hennegan in Echoes LRC 2006

Vic Hennegan in Echoes LRC 2006

Vic Hennegan is an imposing figure, tall, athletically built with a dark brown complexion and a shaved head covered by a bandana.  He grew up in a black community in Philadelphia, but even as a child, his mother took him to psychedelic ballrooms like the Electric Factory and his very first concert was the Beatles in 1966 at JFK Stadium.

That might explain why Vic Hennegan had a problem connecting with black culture. He tried getting into the soul sounds that his sister and friends enjoyed.

Vic Hennegan at Echoes Living Room 2008

Vic Hennegan at Echoes Living Room 2008

Vic Hennegan: I decided, I guess I was about 12 years old, I was going to be into black music. Because you know I’m black, I should be into black music, you know, so I was watching Soul Train, I was learning how to do the Soul Train dances and I was listening to the O’Jays and everybody, because that’s where I should be right? And it just didn’t work for me.

He realized the Beatles turned him on more than the O’Jays and he started playing guitar. But his musical direction was launched when he heard the space music put out by Philadelphia radio station WXPN. He actually listened to me spinning records there in the 1970s and 80s.

Vic Hennegan: I’ve always loved electronic music, it’s, just been a part of me since I discovered in like the mid to late 70s, thanks to you. You and the shows you produced were my biggest influences. I listened to Star’s End and Diaspar and it changed my life.

You can hear that influence on his latest album, Aqua Vista. Although it’s composed on computer with virtual synthesizers, the sound is vintage space music, but updated. You can hear homages to his music roots on songs like “Seascapes.”

Vic Hennegan - Aqua Vista

Vic Hennegan - Aqua Vista

Vic Hennegan: You can definitely hear my Berlin influence coming in on that one and that was done on purpose, sort of my way of going back to my roots, you know, like Eric Clapton going back and doing a blues album, sort of like me going back to my roots and saying “Thank you guys.”

Vic Hennegan’s latest space music opus is called Aqua Vista. It’s named for the street he lives on in LA, but it takes a trip into oceanic space. This has been an Echo Location, Soundings for New Musicaudio version

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echo Location: Bombay Dub Orchestra

October 29, 2008

A journey into exotica with Bombay Dub Orchestra

You can hear an audio version of this blog with music.

East-west fusions have been going on since at least the early 1960s when Indian sitarist Ravi Shankar sat down with musicians like jazz saxophonist Bud Shank and classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin That cross-legged crossover hasn’t stopped and one of the latest iterations comes from the Bombay Dub Orchestra.

Bombay Dub Orchestra Bombay Dub Orchestra put out their first album in 2006, and it redefined the east west landscape. It was created by two veteran English musicians. Garry Hughes and Andrew T. Mackay. Hughes had put out a pair of solo electronic CDs in the 1980s and went on to work with Björk and helped launch the band, Euphoria. Mackay was a journeyman musician playing keyboards and doing orchestral scoring. They got together on a session that took them to Mumbai, India and the idea of Bombay Dub Orchestra, to combine Bollywood string orchestras, Indian solists and electroni3 Citiescs, was born.

There are a lot of acts sampling world music, but Bombay Dub Orchestra’s compositions are played  by live musicians, 70 or so on their new CD, 3 Cities. Bansuri flutes, sitars, and santoors float through a landscape of lush Bollywood string orchestras arranged by Andrew T. Mackay.   Bombay Dub Orchestra set these acoustic instruments in an electronically percolating backdrop mostly provided by Garry Hughes’ from his collection of vintage synthesizers. Garry creates the soundpool where east and west, ancient and modern converge.

The new album by The Bombay Dub Orchestra is called 3 Cities.  The name is a reference to their travels to London, Mumbai and Chennai to record the album and it has a cinematic expanse, like one of those exotic 1950’s road movies transferred to the 21st century.

Bombay Dub Orchestras 3 Cities is the Echoes CD of the Month for November and I’ll be featuring it next Monday, November 3 and we’ll hear an interview with Bombay Dub Orchestra the following Monday, November 10 on Echoes. This has been an Echo Location, Soundings for New Music.  You can hear an audio version of this Echo Location with music.  You can also read a full review of 3 Cities.
John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

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