Posts Tagged ‘electronic music’

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.

ECHOES TOP 25 FOR MAY 2014

  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

 

Guitar Splendor in Echoes Top 25

February 26, 2014

Erik Wøllo and Mark McGuire bring guitars back to Echoes Top 25

TimelinesCDcoverErik Wøllo’s February CD of the MonthTimelines,  leads Echoes Top 25It’s a brilliant recording of layered guitar dreamscapes.  Following close behind is our soon-to-be March CD of the Month, Mark McGuire’s Progressive Rock epic, Along the Way.  You’ll be hearing more about this album soon.  No fewer than seven vocal albums populate the top ten slots including Priscilla Ahn’s This is Where We Are; Warpaint‘s self-titled album; Linnea Olsson’s cello songs, Ah!; the return of Aurah with  Summon the Sky; Gem Club’s hazy In Roses and Simon Emmerson’s Fresh Handmade Sound reinvention of The Beatles on A Hard Day’s Night Treatment.  That last one, sadly, is not actually out yet.  The rebroadcast of Pure Bathing Culture’s live set boosted their return to the top 25.  See the complete list below.

ECHOES FEBRUARY TOP 25

  1. Erik WolloTimelines (Projekt Records) iTUnes
  2. Priscilla AhnThis is Where We Are (SQE Music) iTUnes
  3. Linnea OlssonAh! (Universal UK) iTUnes
  4. Mark McGuireAlong the Way (Dead Oceans) iTUnes
  5. Fresh Handmade Collective – Fresh Handmade Sound: A Hard Day’s Night Treatment (Lush)
  6. KrusseldorfFractal World (Krusseldorf) iTUnes
  7. AurahSummon the Sky (Very Music) iTUnes
  8. WarpaintWarpaint (Rough Trade Us) iTUnes
  9. Gem ClubIn Roses (Hardly Art) iTUnes
  10. Pure Bathing CultureMoon Tide (Partisan Records) iTUnes
  11. Lost in the TreesPast Life (ANTI Records) iTUnes
  12. Blow Up HollywoodBlue Sky Blond (Blow Up Hollywood) iTUnes
  13. All India RadioFall Remixes (All India Radio) iTUnes
  14. LarkenlyreMusic of the Extraordinary Voyages (Cynelic Gast Music) iTUnes
  15. Kristin HoffmannThe Human Compass (Starr Records) iTUnes
  16. Olivier LibauxUncovered Queens of the Stone Age (Music For Music Lovers) iTUnes
  17. DarksidePsychic (Matador Records) iTunes
  18. Tonight SkyTonight Sky (Tonight Sky) iTunes
  19. Juliette CommagereHuman (Aeronaut Records) iTunes
  20. Muriel AndersonNightlight Daylight (Muriel Anderson)
  21. David Helpling & Jon JenkinsFound (Spotted Peccary) iTunes
  22. BluetechSpacehop Chronicles Vol. 1 (Native State Records) iTunes
  23. James HoodCeremony (Edible Sounds) iTunes
  24. Banco de GaiaMaya (Disco Gecko Recordings) iTunes
  25. Divine MatrixHydrosphere (AD Music) iTunes

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

TimelinesCDcoverJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Erik Wøllo’s Timelines is our February CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.

LRC19-250pxTRANSMISSIONS: 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.

 

“Phaedra” at 40 in Echoes Podcast

February 21, 2014

Hear an Homage to Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra in the Echoes Podcast

Tangerine Dream circa 1974

Tangerine Dream circa 1974

On February 20th, 1974, Tangerine Dream released the album that changed electronic music for the next 40 years.  It takes its name from Greek mythology and its sound from the imaginations of Edgar Froese, Peter Baumann and Christoph Franke, the three members of Tangerine Dream at the time.  Phaedra was their fifth album, coming on the heals of Atem in 1973 and Zeit in 1972.  Both of those albums were abstract improvisations of floating sound fields.  Zeit in particular was a minimalist, Ligeti-like exploration in texture and sustain with a mixture of electronics and a cello quartet.   Phaedra had some of those elements, but on the side-long title track they were linked to sequencer grooves like rubber bands being twanged in space.  It’s the sound you hear in every retro-space band, a lot of techno and dance hits like Donna Summers’I Feel Love.”

PhaedraOn the Echoes Podcast, we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Phaedra with commentary from several artists influenced by this recording.  Moby, Ulrich Schnauss, Mark Shreeve, Ian Boddy, Robert Rich, Steve Roach, and Alan Howarth sing Phaedra’s praises and Edgar Froese reveals the thought behind the introduction of sequencers into the band.  We’ll also hear two tracks off the album and a set of music from Tangerine Dream influenced artists.  You can trip into space on Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra in the Echoes Podcast

Five  years ago, I compiled a list of the 10 Best Tangerine Dream albums.  Phaedra is at the top of that list.  Here’s the rest.

10 Best Tangerine Dream Albums From Number Six of 20 Icons of Echoes
Bookmark and Share
On the air I said I’d pick five, but I decided to go with ten.

1-Phaedra
2-Rubycon
Phaedra and Rubycon have always been a pair for me and  that pair is half of a quartet with Ricochet and Stratosfear.   These are the signature Dream albums, the blueprint for every retro-space artist out there, the sound that influenced ambient, techno, and more.   The classic trio of Edgar Froese, Christoph Franke and Peter Baumann found the secret of rubber band sequencer patterns discovered by Tonto’s Expanding Headband 2 years earlier.  The Dream   bound them in  interlocking patterns, mellotron chords and synthesizer textures.    Phaedra is transitional, retaining some of the avant-garde Ligeti-esque texturalism from Zeit on the mellotron drenched “Mysterious Semblance at the Strands of Nightmare,” but the title track and Rubycon, an album length composition were definitive journeys into inner space.

3-Logos
Tangerine Dream was an exciting live band in the 70s and half of the 80s.  Listening to Logos, from 1982, you can hear why.  This was the Dream working with a precision and structure that earlier works didn’t have, but they were still creating in long-form with a fair amount of improvisation.  Johannes Schmoelling had been in the group for a while at this point and his influence is felt in gorgeous melodies and rhythms that have you ricocheting off your seat and between your headphone cups.  This was really the truly last live recording from the group.  Subsequent live albums would be more pre-programmed performances.

4-Zeit
It’s been called their most experimental CD, but I think it’s their most thoughtful, controlled and uncontrived album.  Playing with a cello quartet, it’s a journey of interwoven tones phasing through each other from acoustic to electric to something entirely new.  Ambient before ambient, but owing much to Gyorgy Ligeti pieces like “Atmospheres,” synths, gliss guitar, organ and “noise generators” unfold in undulating, slow motion patterns across what was a double LP.  This 1972 recording is a drone zone manifesto, and a beautifully enveloping work free of melody, rhythm and just about any other conventional music signpost.

5-Tangram
This is one of the last long-form Dream recordings.  Originally a two sided work, Tangram is a  multi-movement opus sometimes sabotaged by episodic writing, but still with some haunting themes amidst the pounding sequencers and more melodic invention than most prior Dream albums.

6-Stratosfear
Part of the classic quartet of albums, this was their most commercial release to date and the first album with real melodies.

7-Ricochet
The other album in the classic quartet.  Ricochet was their first live album, although it was all new materiel and sounds like a studio recording.  Another two-sided excursion that moves from the quietest solo piano spot to thundering sequencers from the heavens.

8-Goblins’ Club
Goblins’ Club recalls the 80’s sound of Tangerine Dream when they were just adding more aggressive rhythms and clearly defined melodies to their fanciful spacescapes.  But unlike so many of their post-Virgin releases, this 1996 albums doesn’t bludgeon you with canned synthesizer bombast.  There seems to be more exploratory fun and a more personal sound   as they drop in surreal free falls in the midst of their dramatic compositions.

9-Force Majeure
Something of an anomaly in that it features a drummer, Klaus Krieger, and gives the Dream a more fluid and aggressive sound, especially in the screaming side long title track.

10-Optical Race
I know that consensus opinion has it that the Private Music years sucked, and they did, except for Optical Race the first album they made for the label, owned by former Tangerine Dreamer, Peter Bauman.  With just Froese and Paul Haslinger, they create dense, rhythmically charged excursions that stand up to some of their best works and hold up better than albums like Le Parc.

Finally an album that should be on the list, Epsilon in Malaysian Pale, the third solo album from Edgar Froese and a Dream album by any other measure.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

TimelinesCDcoverJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Erik Wøllo’s Timelines is our February CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.

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.

 

 

Tangerine Dream’s “Phaedra” at 40

February 20, 2014

PhaedraOn February 20th, 1974, Tangerine Dream released the album that changed electronic music for the next 40 years.  It takes its name from Greek mythology and its sound from the imaginations of Edgar Froese, Peter Baumann and Christoph Franke, the three members of Tangerine Dream at the time.  Phaedra was their fifth album, coming on the heals of Atem in 1973 and Zeit in 1972.  Both of those albums were abstract improvisations of floating sound fields.  Zeit in particular was a minimalist, Ligeti-like exploration in texture and sustain with a mixture of electronics and a cello quartet.   Phaedra had some of those elements, but on the side-long title track they were linked to sequencer grooves like rubber bands being twanged in space.  It’s the sound you hear in every retro-space band, a lot of techno and dance hits like Donna Summers’I Feel Love.”

Tonight on Echoes, we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Phaedra with commentary from several artists influenced by this recording.  Moby, Ulrich Schnauss, Mark Shreeve, Ian Boddy, Robert Rich, Steve Roach, and Alan Howarth sing Phaedra’s praises and Edgar Froese reveals the thought behind the introduction of sequencers into the band.  We’ll also hear two tracks off the album and a set of music from Tangerine Dream influenced artists.  You can trip into space on Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra tonight on Echoes

Five  years ago, I compiled a list of the 10 Best Tangerine Dream albums.  Phaedra is at the top of that list.  Here’s the rest.

10 Best Tangerine Dream Albums From Number Six of 20 Icons of Echoes
Bookmark and Share
On the air I said I’d pick five, but I decided to go with ten.

1-Phaedra
2-Rubycon
Phaedra and Rubycon have always been a pair for me and  that pair is half of a quartet with Ricochet and Stratosfear.   These are the signature Dream albums, the blueprint for every retro-space artist out there, the sound that influenced ambient, techno, and more.   The classic trio of Edgar Froese, Christoph Franke and Peter Baumann found the secret of rubber band sequencer patterns discovered by Tonto’s Expanding Headband 2 years earlier.  The Dream   bound them in  interlocking patterns, mellotron chords and synthesizer textures.    Phaedra is transitional, retaining some of the avant-garde Ligeti-esque texturalism from Zeit on the mellotron drenched “Mysterious Semblance at the Strands of Nightmare,” but the title track and Rubycon, an album length composition were definitive journeys into inner space.

3-Logos
Tangerine Dream was an exciting live band in the 70s and half of the 80s.  Listening to Logos, from 1982, you can hear why.  This was the Dream working with a precision and structure that earlier works didn’t have, but they were still creating in long-form with a fair amount of improvisation.  Johannes Schmoelling had been in the group for a while at this point and his influence is felt in gorgeous melodies and rhythms that have you ricocheting off your seat and between your headphone cups.  This was really the truly last live recording from the group.  Subsequent live albums would be more pre-programmed performances.

4-Zeit
It’s been called their most experimental CD, but I think it’s their most thoughtful, controlled and uncontrived album.  Playing with a cello quartet, it’s a journey of interwoven tones phasing through each other from acoustic to electric to something entirely new.  Ambient before ambient, but owing much to Gyorgy Ligeti pieces like “Atmospheres,” synths, gliss guitar, organ and “noise generators” unfold in undulating, slow motion patterns across what was a double LP.  This 1972 recording is a drone zone manifesto, and a beautifully enveloping work free of melody, rhythm and just about any other conventional music signpost.

5-Tangram
This is one of the last long-form Dream recordings.  Originally a two sided work, Tangram is a  multi-movement opus sometimes sabotaged by episodic writing, but still with some haunting themes amidst the pounding sequencers and more melodic invention than most prior Dream albums.

6-Stratosfear
Part of the classic quartet of albums, this was their most commercial release to date and the first album with real melodies.

7-Ricochet
The other album in the classic quartet.  Ricochet was their first live album, although it was all new materiel and sounds like a studio recording.  Another two-sided excursion that moves from the quietest solo piano spot to thundering sequencers from the heavens.

8-Goblins’ Club
Goblins’ Club recalls the 80’s sound of Tangerine Dream when they were just adding more aggressive rhythms and clearly defined melodies to their fanciful spacescapes.  But unlike so many of their post-Virgin releases, this 1996 albums doesn’t bludgeon you with canned synthesizer bombast.  There seems to be more exploratory fun and a more personal sound   as they drop in surreal free falls in the midst of their dramatic compositions.

9-Force Majeure
Something of an anomaly in that it features a drummer, Klaus Krieger, and gives the Dream a more fluid and aggressive sound, especially in the screaming side long title track.

10-Optical Race
I know that consensus opinion has it that the Private Music years sucked, and they did, except for Optical Race the first album they made for the label, owned by former Tangerine Dreamer, Peter Bauman.  With just Froese and Paul Haslinger, they create dense, rhythmically charged excursions that stand up to some of their best works and hold up better than albums like Le Parc.

Finally an album that should be on the list, Epsilon in Malaysian Pale, the third solo album from Edgar Froese and a Dream album by any other measure.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

TimelinesCDcoverJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Erik Wøllo’s Timelines is our February CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.

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.

 

 

Electronic Bliss at Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit.

November 3, 2013

logoThree nights of electronic music blazed forth the weekend of October 25-27 at the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit in Asheville, North Carolina.  Scattered across Asheville’s compact downtown in five different venues ranging from a bar to an arena, musicians plugged in with a range of electronic dreams.  One musician was 77 years old with sounds that date back to 1968 while others dialed up computerized grooves from the future.  And a few of them weren’t really electronic at all.

MOEMS Halloween revelers Photo: Criss Images.

MOEMS Halloween revelers Photo: Criss Images.

The Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit is the child of Moogfest who was kicked out of the house after three successful years.  The Moog Corporation took back the licensing of their name for their own festival scheduled to be held in April.  But original producers of Moogfest, picked up right where they left off in 2012 without missing a step and only making a name change.

The festival was never a “Moog” festival to start with but with MOEMS the range expanded considerable to embrace music from across music frontiers.  The range of the music could be triangulated in three acts, Jherek Bischoff, Silver Apples and Bassnectar.

Bass Nectar in Space Photo: Crissimages

Bass Nectar in Space+
Photo: Crissimages

Bassnectar was the revelation of the festival for me.  It’s one guy, Lorin Ashton, who stood on stage flanked by two laptops with a mélange of electronics in the middle.  I got there a few moments late and as I approached the Exploreasheville.com Arena (one of the silliest venue names ever), you could hear the building shuddering from the bass inside.  Entering from the back of the hall to a throng of bobbing people in full Halloween regalia on the floor, I felt like I was literally sucked into the crowd by Bassnectar’s hypnotic, throbbing beat.  As I threaded my way to the middle of the arena, Ashton bounced around onstage, long hair flailing as he moved from computer to computer, stopping in the middle to twist knobs, tap pads and swirl around on a Kaos Pad or two.   In fact, he didn’t seem to be on stage at all, but dissolved into a three dimensional landscape of shifting images projected front, back and sides.  Giant butterflies, rotating diagrams, digital noise and landscapes all moved in a constant flow.  Electronic rhythms pounded out of the speakers, as Ashton created drama and movement not through conventional melody but a collection of sound effects, electronic glitches and crushing grooves that dissolved before the inevitable bass drop.  He rebuilt tracks from his albums, including his remix of Nina Simone’s classic “Feeling Good.” I wondered if anyone in the audience recognized the jazz artists who were projected in distorted imagery during that track.  It could be argued that Bird, Diz and Max were the rave artists of their day, although I doubt few there knew who they were, let alone realized that none of them were on that 1965 Simone cut.

I’m still from the “If it’s too loud, you’re too old” school.  But as ecstatic as Bassnectar’s performance was, by the end of his set,  the deep bass and the volume, over 112 decibels, became physically nauseating.

Silver Apples' Simeon @ MOEMS Photo: Diliberto

Silver Apples’ Simeon @ MOEMS Photo: Diliberto

After Bassnectar’s arena filling audio-visual spectacle, Silver Apples seemed….. quaint.  Silver Apples was a drum and electronics duo from 1968.  Simeon Coxe made all his electronic sounds from an array of audio oscillators triggered with telegraph keys. They released two cult albums before breaking up, but they were unarguably the first electronic pop band.

Silver Apples Oscillations

Silver Apples Oscillations

Now 77 years old, a little frail and bespectacled with short, thin white hair, Simeon is the only surviving member of the group. His technology has been updated, but the sound remains almost exactly the same.  He even uses a trio of audio oscillators on which he plays his lead melodies and noises.  He performed music from those first two albums spinning oscillator melodies with the ghost of Danny Taylor’s drums.  Singing in a reedy voice against psychedelic projections, he intoned the largely trippy psychedelic lyrics of the band earnestly, but also with a bit of humor.  It was a charming performance.

Jherek Bischoff Ukelele Unplugged @ MOEMS

Jherek Bischoff Ukelele Unplugged @ MOEMS

And then there’s Jherek Bischoff.  Ironically, he was the opening act of the festival, the irony being, he wasn’t electronic at all, launching this “Electronic” Music Summit with a ukelele.  But then, there’s a lot of arch irony in this young musician. Standing at 6’3” he seemed even taller with a light brown pompadour and wearing a skinny tuxedo.  He was like a cross between Buster Poindexter and Pee Wee Herman with the overbite of Kenneth from 30 Rock.

Other than his electric bass, which was a hollow-bodied violin-style Paul McCartney model, he was all acoustic, playing with a local string quartet. Bischoff makes a quirky instrumental sound that’s part chamber music, part easy-listening and part bossa nova with a pop sensibility.  His set was mostly instrumental except for a couple of songs where he was joined by singer Jen Goma from People Get Ready. Playing music from his twin albums, Composed and Scores: Composed Instrumentals, Bischoff charmed the crowd with his aww-shucks manner and compositions that suggested a more elegant time.  He also performed a couple of songs from a forthcoming ambient album, one of which ended his set with tremulous strings while small bells rang out from the back of the theatre creating an ethereal 3D soundscape. Performing in the lovely Diana Wortham Theater with its plush seats and vaguely Art Deco décor, it was a long way, in every regard, from Bassnectar’s sweating arena assault

God Speed You! Black Emperor Hide & Seek @ MOEMS Photo: Diliberto

God Speed You! Black Emperor Hide & Seek @ MOEMS Photo: Diliberto

You could find this contrast all over Mountain Oasis.  Godspeed You! Black Emperor is a post-rock who were more guitar metal and noise than electronic although they certainly spent a lot of time adjusting their many signal processors.  They played the big arena but shrunk their stage plot to a small semi-circle barricaded by guitar amps where all the guitarists sat down, staring at their foot pedals or kneeled down on the floor.   Two percussionists were in shadows while the violinist and upright bassist stood impassively.  In the dark, with only their black & white  post-apocalypse urban landscapes and noise projections giving them any light, they unleashed a one hour assault of overdrive guitar glory, occasionally breaking the fog of distortion for some sweet violin melodies or glissando guitar and glockenspiel in the midst of the storm.

Trent Reznor With Nine Inch Nails @MOEMS

Trent Reznor With Nine Inch Nails @MOEMS

Trent Reznor of NIN Ready to Rumble @MOEMS Photo: Criss Images

Trent Reznor of NIN Ready to Rumble @MOEMS Photo: Criss Images

In certain ways, Godspeed is the avant-garde edge of the full frontal assault brought by Nine Inch Nails. Founder Trent Reznor, in biceps baring muscle shirt, fronted his musically muscular band illuminated by an elaborate light array. They played a lot of music from their latest album, Hesitation Marks, grinding out unyielding grooves to back up Reznor’s songs of anguish and angst.   There was little let-up in intensity except for a clunky Reznor keyboard solo and some inexplicable kamencheh, a middle eastern violin.  Other than that it was all slabs of distorted guitar, relentless drumming and electronic screams.

NIN can become plodding at times, but that wasn’t the case with a musician who influenced Trent Reznor: Gary Numan. This isn’t the robotic Numan of the “Cars” era.  He hasn’t been that way for a while.  With his jet black dyed hair, black t-shirt and black jeans, Numan was a Jesus of angst, flinging his arms out like Christ on the cross and jerking his body in tune to the music, often pouring water on his head and shaking it out like he’s just emerged from a baptismal bath.

Gary Numan Croonin' @ MOEMS Photo: Diliberto

Gary Numan Croonin’ @ MOEMS Photo: Diliberto

Numan’s voice is better than it has ever been. He’s lost that nasally whine and replaced it with an aggressive snarl.  He played several tracks from his latest album, Splinter (Songs of a Broken Mind) and several songs from his later period which mixes electronics and metal.  During a public interview session with journalist Geary Yelton earlier in the day, Numan lamented that people still only remember him for “Cars” (and in England “Are Friends Electric?”), but he pulled it out during his concert and played it with passion, albeit with a bit of a heavier edge.  But he didn’t have to.  This wasn’t a nostalgia audience.  They were as ready for Splinter’s “I Am Dust” as they were for “Down in the Park” from Replicas.  Gary Numan has been back for a while.  It’s time people caught up with him.

It was impossible to catch every act at the festival which featured five venues spread across 15 minutes walking distance with overlapping shows.  But except for two regrettable instances, I went nonstop music sets from 7 until 2 AM 3 nights in a row.

Darkside in Darkness @ MOEMS Photo: Diliberto

Darkside in Darkness @ MOEMS Photo: Diliberto

They were all highlights.  The duo called Darkside played before an impressively large audience in the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, considering they only have one album out, Psychic.  Like Godspeed, they favored shadows, standing in twin cones of low, smoke filled light, delivering snarling guitar leads over throbbing electronic drums and sequences like a pong game on acid. They recalled the little known French band Heldon circa 1978 and shared their dystopian vision.  It was like we were all in a bunker with bombs going off outside.

Ron & Russell Mael of Sparks - Life is a Cabaret @ MOEMS

Ron & Russell Mael of Sparks – Life is a Cabaret @ MOEMS

The long-lived band, Sparks,  was more in line with Bischoff than anything else at the festival. The brothers Ron & Russel Mael took the large Diana Wortham stage and planted Ron far left at a single Roland keyboard (which he had renamed Ronald)  while Russell roamed around the otherwise empty stage. They call it their “Two Hands, One Mouth” tour. Apply sexual innuendo here.  Ron has traded in his Hitler mustache for a pencil look.  With his trousers hiked up above his waist, short hair slicked back and scowling eyes behind round hornrimmed glasses, he was like the cranky old geezer down the street.  Russell looked discomfortingly like a Hitler youth which is a good trick since he’s 65.  He had his black hair swept across his forehead Adolf-style, wearing black shirt, black tie and black shorts.  That image was intentionally undermined, however, by his black tights and black and white patent leather saddle shoes with the toes curved up in elfin fashion.

SantasElves-blcphotography11Their show was a cross between Joel Grey’s Cabaret and a Broadway tryout as they romped through their catalog with no accompaniment or backing tracks.  It was an arch performance to say the least with Russell Mael still able to summon that calliope voice.  It highlighted the fact that Sparks aren’t really rock musicians, but performance artists closer to Laurie Anderson than Mick Jagger.  You could easily imagine Anderson singing “Your Call’s Very Important To Us, Please Hold.”  They seemed thrown off early on by monitor sound issues.  At one point both musicians heatedly stormed the offstage mixing board.  But they settled in for an entertaining, if austere set.  And no one loved it more than Jherek Bishoff who sported a happy lunatic grin throughout the show.

Alan Howarth Trick or Death @ MOEMS Photo: Diliberto

Alan Howarth Trick or Death @ MOEMS Photo: Diliberto

On the same stage, Alan Howarth played his film music.  Best known for his work scoring John Carpenter films, he was accompanied by a manipulated video collage of movie clips including Escape from New York, Halloween II-infinity and They Live.  He assayed his scores with backing tracks while he played electric keyboard and synth-guitar.  It was an engaging medley that harkened back to an older electronic sound.

King Britt Getting Digable @ MOEMS Photo: Diliberto

King Britt Getting Digable @ MOEMS
Photo: Diliberto

Philadelphia’s King Britt made his second festival appearance with his latest project, Fhloston Paradigm, named for Fhloston Paradise, the resort spaceship in The Fifth Element. Joined on stage by singer Pia Ercole and live visuals from Mike Todd, they created some deep space music that had EDM edges but was more redolent of 70s German space music.  Ercole sang wordless vocals that were looped, relying a bit too much on long oohs and aahs, while Britt played keyboards and computer creating deep throb ostinato rhythms and swirling textures.

Purity Ring's Megan James @ MOEMS  Photo: Diliberto

Purity Ring’s Megan James @ MOEMS
Photo: Diliberto

I only caught a few songs from Animal Collective and Purity Ring, both of which seemed to have lively sets going. AC sat inside what looked like a abstract cartoon gap toothed mouth with projections on the teeth and roof of the mouth.  Purity Ring, a duo called in at the last minute to sub for Tricky, had no staging but diminutive vocalist Megan James held the audience, confidently singing their bright synth-pop.  Corin Roddick held down the electronic side, surrounded by what looked like small Chinese lanterns that the two would strike with drum sticks although their effect was somewhat ambiguous.

Animal Collective Open WInd @ MOEMS Photo: Diliberto

Animal Collective Open WInd @ MOEMS Photo: Diliberto

I regretfully missed Ulrich Schnauss and William Basinski and I wanted to see them both.  And after hearing Bassnectar, I would’ve liked to have seen Pretty Lights with a full band.  Bands like Deltron 3030 gave massive shows to the rap side of the spectrum.

Alex Patterson & Thomas  Fehlman of The Orb @ MOEMS Photo: Diliberto

Alex Patterson & Thomas Fehlman of The Orb @ MOEMS Photo: Diliberto

The festival ended with the now venerable ambient avatars, The Orb.  Celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, The Orb is essentially the bald-headed Alex Paterson and whoever he can rope in with him.  For MOEMS it was electronic artist Thomas Fehlmann.  On the medium sized club stage of The Orange Peel, The Orb instantly set the mood with an abstract collage opening of found sounds, music snippets, disembodied spoken word, all swirling in a beat-free swirl.  The full house stood patiently waiting, letting their minds rove free in Orb space.  Then the rhythm kicked in and everyone went crazy.

Alex Patterson of The Orb at the controls @ MOEMS Photo: Diliberto

Alex Patterson of The Orb at the controls @ MOEMS
Photo: Diliberto

This was classic Orb as Patterson picked up vinyl LPs, slotted in CDs and mixed and matched his sounds against the beats of Fehlman and the live mixed video projections which were by turns abstract, surreal and deliriously funny.  The Orb dropped in Miles Davis organ, Easy Listening strings, cartoon music, lots of dub, random announcements, old instruction records and a collage of noise. He didn’t play “Little Fluffy Clouds” but he did slip in the sequencer riff.

Like Silver Apples, there was quaintness to The Orb.  Their techniques harken back to early musique concrète of Pierre Henry and Pierre Schaeffer, only with a beat.  And unlike acts such as Bassnectar, they are avant-gardists at heart.  But they kept the room enthralled with the least amount of audience churn I experienced at the festival and proved a satisfying conclusion to a festival that looks backwards and forwards, sometimes simultaneously.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))WorldsBeyond

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New Music: The Boards of Canada & Sigur Rós

August 15, 2013

Hear New Music from the Boards of Canada and Sigur Ros on Echoes tonight.

https://i2.wp.com/2a56b976980e0793ddee-5cc5435fcbc367bb03f9a415e7067a97.r91.cf2.rackcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Boards-of-Canada-Tomorrows-Harvest-1024x1024.jpgTonight on Echoes, new music by downtempo electronic denizens, Boards of Canada, from their highly anticipated and hyped Tomorrow’s Harvest, and the latest by Sigur Rós off their new album Kveikur (Candlewick).

Below, watch Boards of Canada with “Reach for the Dead” from from Tomorrow’s Harvest.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

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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.

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New Music: The Boards of Canada & Sigur Rós

June 19, 2013

https://i2.wp.com/2a56b976980e0793ddee-5cc5435fcbc367bb03f9a415e7067a97.r91.cf2.rackcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Boards-of-Canada-Tomorrows-Harvest-1024x1024.jpgNew music by downtempo electronic denizens, The Boards of Canada, from their highly anticipated and hyped Tomorrow’s Harvest, and the latest by Sigur Rós off their new album Kveikur (Candlewick).

Below, watch Sigur Rós’ “Hoppipolla” from their 2005 album, Takk.


John Diliberto (((echoes)))

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Rachel Zefirra - The Deserters

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Seven Saturdays Echoes Podcast

June 12, 2013

Hear the Echoes Interview with Seven Saturdays in the Echoes Podcast

Seven Saturdays-cvrWhat do you do when you’ve been weened on Brian Eno, Zero 7 and Pink Floyd, but you’re only in your mid-30s?  There’s a good chance you might make music like Seven Saturdays.  That’s the recording project from Jonathan D. Haskell who began making music under that name a few years ago.  On his latest album he moves from ambient instrumentals to dream pop.  It’s called Seven Saturdays, not to be confused with their debut EP, Seven Saturdays.

HIGHLIGHTS

On Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon, like every other kid we wore that out and I remember we used to go to the Griffith Park Observatory and they did a laser show in high school.  And we’d go there and totally zone out to Dark Side.

On vocals:  The minute I added a vocalist, any kind of a vocal, I felt a more human connection to each song.  Just having that human voice in there, a girl singing oohs and ahhs or whatever, makes me feel more connected to it in a way.

On Electronic Music:  It’s not electronic music….Pretty much everything is recorded with a microphone or a person playing it, you know.  There’s just not a lot of electronics going on and it’s very analog in a way.

Here’s a video of one of the tunes:

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

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Rachel Zefirra - The DesertersSign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club. With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs like Rachel Zeffira’s The DesertersFollow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club and see what you’ve been missing.

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Echoes Interviewed on Public Television.

January 7, 2013

Echoes on TV:

Chuck Van Zyl from Star's End & John Diliberto from Echoes.

Chuck Van Zyl from Star’s End & John Diliberto from Echoes.

Friday Arts, a program on Philadelphia PBS station WHYY,  did a piece on Philly space music and interviewed Echoes John Diliberto & Jeff Towne as well as Chuck Van Zyl from Star’s End and electronic musician Jason Sloan. The feature ran Friday, 1/4/2012, but you can see it online here: http://video.whyy.org/video/2323750666  The Echoes/Star’s End Segment is the first on in the show.

~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echoes On LineAmbient ZoneSign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.  With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs like The Ambient Zone – Just Music Café Volume 4 coming to you each month.  Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club  and see what you’ve been missing.

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Moogfest Gone? Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit Here?

December 10, 2012

A press release was just issued notifying us about a change at Moogfest, namely that it will no longer be called Moogfest, but the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit (MOEMS?)  I could be wrong, but if I’m to read between the lines of the release, I suspect that they couldn’t come to an amenable financial arrangement regarding the licensing of the Moog name.  Apparently it will still be held in Asheville, NC although the time of year may change.

Press Release Below.

KNOXVILLE, TN – AC Entertainment announced today that it will rename its multi-day electronic music festival in Asheville, NC, as the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit for 2013, continuing to build on the success of the past three years when the event has been produced as Moogfest.

“The fans have embraced the festival with overwhelming enthusiasm during the past three years. They love the music, they love Asheville, and we are committed to continuing to evolve with them to create the very best festival experience that we can imagine, ” says AC Entertainment CEO, Ashley Capps.

From 2010 through 2012, Moogfest presented some of the greatest names in electronic music, hosting such artists as Massive Attack, Thievery Corporation, Orbital, Tangerine Dream, Jonsi, Richie Hawtin, Carl Craig, Brian Eno, and dozens of others. The event has featured educational panels, workshops, talks, installations, and art exhibitions in addition to numerous musical performances. Along the way the festival has received international acclaim from many publications, including NPR Music, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

The re-naming of the festival comes in the wake of Moog Music Inc. electing not to re-license the Moogfest name to AC Entertainment. “We received a letter from them following this year’s festival, so we have no choice really but to re-name it. We have enjoyed booking, marketing and producing our event for our fans and want to continue with them on this creative journey,” explains Capps.”We’re taking this opportunity to rethink the event a bit and challenge ourselves. While we are still focused on Halloween weekend, that time of year has its difficulties and we’ve been encouraged to consider other options. This part of the world is a very special place – hence the name, Mountain Oasis. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, and there’s so much more to explore.”

Details about Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit will be released in 2013.

AND don’t forget to vote in the Best of Echoes 2012 Poll NOW!

~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

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