Posts Tagged ‘guitar’

Start at Zero: Matt Borghi & Michael Teager on Echoes

January 8, 2014
Matt Borghi & Michael Teager on Echoes

Matt Borghi & Michael Teager on Echoes

These days in contemporary music, most musicians don’t leave much to chance when they play live. They either adhere to note-for-note recreations of their recorded work or they just have it all in a computer, hit play and have a perfect, if frozen performance.  Ambient guitarist Matt Borghi and saxophonist Michael Teager don’t work that way.  They create their music in the moment, improvising on mood and texture.  Borghi has been at the ambient thing for years with several recordings of barely-there ambient guitar out.  Teager comes from more of a jazz tradition. The two musicians talk about the genesis of their music from a lounge act and jam band into their free form excursions tonight on Echoesborghi-convocation

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Oblivion-cvrJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Hammock’s Oblivion Hymns is our January   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

LRC19-250pxPick Up  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.

Shambhu Brings Windham Hill Sound to Echoes Tonight

January 7, 2014

Guitarist Shambhu Plays Live on Echoes Tonight.

Shambhu, Premik Tubbs, Eugene Friesen on Echoes

Shambhu, Premik Tubbs, Eugene Friesen on Echoes

Windham Hill Records hasn’t been around for many years, but their influence remains strong.  Today, we’ll hear from another guitar player whose music was shaped by the recordings of Will Ackerman and Alex De GrassiShambhu is one of those musicians. In fact, Windham Hill founder Will Ackerman produced his album, Dreaming of Now.  His actual name is Neil Vineberg but he uses Shambhu as his stage name, which was given to him by spiritual Dreaming of Nowleader Sri Chinmoy.  He comes into the Echoes Living Room with famed cellist Eugene Friesen from the Paul Winter Consort and windplayer Premik Tubbs.  They’ll play live tonight on Echoes.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Oblivion-cvrJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Hammock’s Oblivion Hymns is our January   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

LRC19-250pxPick Up  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.

25 Essential Echoes CDs for 2013

December 13, 2013

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

25 ESSENTIAL ECHOES CDS FOR 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25 ESSENTIAL ECHOES CDs FOR 2013

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

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

GIVE THE GIFT OF THE ECHOES CD OF THE MONTH CLUB

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

ORLRC19-250px

GIVE 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.

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

Improvisations in Ambience: Borghi & Teager Live on Echoes

November 6, 2013
Matt Borghi & Michael Teager on Echoes

Matt Borghi & Michael Teager on Echoes

Jazz goes Ambient with Matt Borghi & Michael Teager on Echoes Tonight.

These days in contemporary music, most musicians don’t leave much to chance when they play live. They either adhere to note-for-note recreations of their recorded work or they just have it all in a computer, hit play and have a perfect, if frozen performance.  Ambient guitarist Matt Borghi and saxophonist Michael Teager don’t work that way.  They create their music in the moment, improvising on mood and texture.  Working on themes from their album, Convocation, we’re going to hear them do it live tonight on Echoes when Matt Borghi and Michael Teager head into space, untethered on Echoesborghi-convocation

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.

Re-Genesis – Steve Hackett Live.

October 13, 2013

Steve Hackett Goes Back to Beginning at Keswick Theatre

With Yestival this past summer, gearing up for Hawkwind’s sadly postponed tour,  and now Steve Hackett revisiting his work with Genesis, it’s been a year for Progressive Rock nostalgia.  Guitarist Steve Hackett was with Genesis for their glory years and then stuck around for two post-Peter Gabriel Genesis albums before striking out on his own. He’s never really ignored his Genesis heritage, but for years, he never cashed in on it either, instead concentrating on his own compositions and occasional forays into classical guitar.

Steve Hackett Live at Keswick Theatre

Steve Hackett Live at Keswick Theatre

But in 1996 he released Watcher of the Skies: Genesis Revisited (re-issued as Genesis Revisited) and iin 2012 he followed it up with Genesis Revisited II.  Both albums were dominated by Genesis materiel from the Hackett era with a few originals tossed in.  And all featured singers that sounded nothing like Peter Gabriel. But when Hackett hit the road, he remedied that with singer Nad Sylvan from the group Agents of Mercy. With mascaraed eyes and long, curling straw-like hair, he looked like the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz only in a pirate suit. Given the context, you might be fooled by his voice in a blindfold test as being Peter Gabriel except on the post-Gabriel songs where he sounded like Phil Collins.  But there is a difference in authenticity between an artist’s original statement and his replicant and you could hear it here.

While Gabriel’s Genesis was always theatrical, Hackett eschewed the costumed recreations of tribute bands like The Music Box.  But given that, Sylvan was overly theatrical for the occasion: peering through a spyglass on “Watcher of the Skies,” banging an illuminated tambourine and generally playing the portentous rock star.  That may have worked in 1975 but for many in this audience  of 50-somethings, it came off as unnecessarily histrionic in 2013.

Steve Hackett at Keswick Theatre

Steve Hackett at Keswick Theatre

The band played flawless renditions of Genesis tunes, but it always took off when Hackett stepped up and blazed on guitar solos.  He’s far better at 63 than he was at 23 with Genesis and every piece was elevated by his performance. “The Musical Box” was sweetly performed, until Hackett swooped in like an avenging angel with a solo full of wailing sustains and serpentine bends, every note squeezed with impassioned emotion. Likewise, “Return of the Giant Hogweed” was feeling lugubrious until Hackett stormed the ramparts with some wild contrapuntal two-handed tapping.  Hackett is one of those wizard guitarists who make it look easy.

The audience in this first of two sold-out nights at the Keswick,  was totally engaged, singing along with many tunes, whacking tomahawk chops in the air to the “Touch me now” crescendo of “The Musical Box,” shouting out “A Flower?” at the appropriate moment on “Supper’s Ready.”

Genesis RevisitedThat Genesis epic was the climax of the set and the band nailed it, especially the “Willow Farm” segment with its tongue twister lyrics.  Sylvan captured the nuance, drama and humor of the song better than anything else that evening.  But once again, it was a Steve Hackett solo that built with volcanic intensity and exploded in a delirious climax.

This past summer I was put off by the performance of The Music Box at Yestival.  Their recreation, from Gabriel’s’ elaborate costumes right down to hair-styles and stage demeanor, seemed morbid, like a puppet rendering of the real thing.  Hackett could’ve fallen into that trap, and getting a Gabriel sound-alike was dangerously close, but Hackett himself, and a fine band, made this music come alive.  It was an exercise in nostalgia, but there was nothing nostalgic Hackett’s dizzying forays of electric guitar magic.  Hopefully, he’s gotten his history out of his system and can return to making music for this century.

The last date on the US leg of of Steve Hackett’s Genesis Revisited Tour is tonight at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, NJ.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

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

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!

Echoes in Video-Hillage & Foxx

August 9, 2013

Some really great videos have been coming our way in the last two days.

hinotoriFirst up, Steve Hillage, a member of the psychedelic progressive band, Gong, and a prolific solo artist in various guises including this one as System 7.  I love Hillage’s electronic music but when he plays live, I like him better with a guitar in his hands and a band and he’s found a great one here in Rovo, a Japanese psychedelic progressive jam-band With some driving dual drummer grooves, violin and Miquette Giraudy’s electronics, they fly on this piece from the forthcoming album, Phoenix Rising.  But as good as that is, the visuals on this track, “Hinotori”  are their equal with a mix of live performance interpolated with some gorgeous Japanese animation based on images from the Manga animation pioneer Osamu Tezuka and his Phoenix series.   The entire project is a merging of live performance and programmed electronics.

image002The other video is by John Foxx, formerly the lead singer of Ultravox, but now a solo artist resolutely devoted to electronic pop with occasional forays into ambient music.  He has a new collaboration with house producer Jori Hilkkonen called European Splendour, that’s coming out in Europe on August 19.  Ahead of it, they’ve released a beautiful video by Gabriel Pulecio and Lorena Kraus of light imagery, but with an antique feel for the song, “Evangeline.”  I’m not sure what the video has to do with it, but it fits the brooding, seductive song of swampy, reverse rhythms and Foxx’s filtered vocals.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Find your local Echoes station or streaming options here.

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 Echoes with a monthly donation that will barely disturb your credit card. 130528_Echoes

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

An Angel Taps Pat Metheny & John Zorn.

May 13, 2013

A Review of Pat Metheny’s Tap: John Zorn’s Book of Angels Volume 20

Hear Pat Metheny talk about John Zorn’s Book of Angels Volume 20 on the Echoes Podcast

Tap=cvrPat Metheny and John Zorn were born within a year of each other and share many of the same musical influences.  But in their professional lives, they’ve traveled in different, barely over-lapping circles.  In fact, though they both live in New York, they’ve only recently met.

Guitarist Pat Metheny is still best known for his fusion records and his long running Pat Metheny Group, but you only have to listen to albums like Song X with Ornette Coleman, Zero Tolerance for Silence or The Orchestrion to get the full measure of his musical dimensions. He doesn’t get credit for being as completely far out as he really is.

Likewise, there is a consensus perception of avant-garde iconoclast John Zorn.  This view would assert that Zorn is completely far out as a downtown renegade bouncing from the Ornette-Coleman meets 50s rock sound of Naked City, the elliptical chaos of his game theory pieces and the Coltrane meets klezmer improvisations of Masada.  But those elements don’t take into account the sublimely beautiful melodies and deep sense of introspection that turn up on Zorn’s Filmworks series, The Masada String Trio or The Book of Angels.

Pat Metheny in Old Echoes Living ROom

Pat Metheny in old Echoes Living Room

The Book of Angels is a project that Zorn has been working on for about eight years now.  He wrote over 300 compositions, each one named for an angel. Artists like Uri Caine, Marc Ribot, Erik Friedlander, Medeski, Martin and Wood, and Joe Lovano, have already recorded some of these works. The latest to take on this task is Pat Metheny on Tap: John Zorn’s Book of Angels Volume 20.

Released on both the Nonesuch label and Zorn’s Tzadik label, I think Metheny fans would spot him right away in this work, drawing influences from across his career.  Zorn fans, however, might have a harder time picking out the saxophonists impact, especially since he doesn’t play on the album.  But it’s there with the Hebraic modes and melodic flourishes that have dominated his music for the last two decades or so.

Pat Metheny & Orchestrion

Pat Metheny & Orchestrion

The opening “Mastema” could almost be a Pat Metheny Group track with the electric sitar and insistent rhythm, but then you notice the rhythm is a little mechanized because it’s coming from Metheny’s Orchestrion, his mechanical orchestra, and the guitar is running through glitched out distortions

John Zorn

John Zorn

“Sariel” starts out like Klezmer ballad with Metheny overdubbed on several stringed instruments, like some exotic Middle Eastern oud orchestra.  Metheny solos over a percussion and oud-like groove that sounds like it could’ve wandered in off the kibbutz.  But no oud orchestra would ever whip out the snarling acid blues that Metheny brings in as the percussion drives him into solo of ecstatic arabesques of intertwined feedback.  It concludes in a sprawl of distortion, riff fragments and Antonio Sanchez’s free drumming, like a meeting of Hendrix’s “1983” and Coltrane’s Interstellar Space.

That leads into “Phanuel” the most Zorn like track, if you follow the conventional conception of Zorn, a free form work of acoustic guitar and industrial electronics with radio signals bleeding through like Stockhausen’s “Hymnen.” But as a Zorn track it morphs into something else, in this case a beautiful ballad for two acoustic guitars, bass and percussion.

“Albim” will sound familiar to Metheny fans opening with an acoustic guitar solo that could’ve been off his One Quiet Night album before segueing into a jazz suffused track that could be his recent trio, except all the backing is Orchestrion.

John Zorn's Book of Angels Volume 20 Tzadik Cover

John Zorn’s Book of Angels Volume 20 Tzadik Cover

You can hear elements of Metheny’s Orchestrion Project, the expansive writing of The Way Up, the lyricism of One Quiet Night and the flow of the Pat Metheny Group.  There’s even some Zero Tolerance for Silence ear-bleeding guitar distortion, something you might expect from Zorn, but which you may have forgotten was part of Metheny’s sonic stash as well. Metheny brings it all to bear on compositions are sometimes just sketches, a head or a chord sequence.  But instead of just jamming on these themes, Metheny has orchestrated 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.

Tap: John Zorn’s Book of Angels Volume 20 is an exhilarating ride. After hearing it the only real surprise is why hadn’t this happened before?

~John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Echoes On LineStoriesSign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club. With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs like Rhian Sheehan’s Stories from Elsewhere Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club and see what you’ve been missing.

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

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

Janel & Anthony Echoes Podcast.

December 21, 2012

The Avant-garde is Made Beautiful by This Washington D.C. Ambient Chamber Music Duo

Hear their Echoes Interview Podcast on iTunes.

Where Is HomeJanel Leppin and Anthony Pirog are two musicians living between worlds and sometimes states.  The couple are associated with the avant-garde music scene in Washington D.C.  The only thing is, their music tends to be melodic and often serene; an ambient chamber music but with some sharp edges.  In 2012 they released their second album,  Where Is Home, and the title operates on several levels like a Zen Koan.

Janel Leppin and Anthony Pirog met in high school and became a couple in college, but their real relationship began with music that they would play at Leppin’s home on an isolated estate of cottages in Wederburn, Virginia.

“This was seven acres in the middle of the forest,” says Pirog.

“Like virgin forests from the 1800s, you know,” Leppin wistfully recalls.  “It was exactly the way it used to be, except for these tiny structures, a village.  People thought midgets lived there actually; they called it Midgetville and it’s like a suburban legend there.”

Janel & Anthony in Echoes Living Room

Janel & Anthony in Echoes Living Room

One of the songs they wrote there was “Little Cottage In The Woods.”   Their youthful idyll came to a modern development end and that’s how they came to the title and the themes of their second album, Where Is Home.

“There’s definitely a sense of rootlessness in the record and also in our lives,” explains  Leppin. But it also comes from my back ground of my family living in a forest of my family ancestry for five generations, and then having that destroyed by bulldozers five years ago.  So for many years Anthony and I would spend time there together and then experiencing that destruction and like moving on, hence, Where Is Home.

Janel & Anthony look like the quintessential bohemian couple.  Janel is petite, a brown streak running through her long brown hair.  She’s wearing blue nylons and a sweater and skirt that look like they were striped in gelato colors.  Wearing an untucked shirt and horn-rimmed glasses, Anthony Pirog has long brown hair as well, covered by a Dutch boy cap.

The couple embody a cluster of influences struggling to fit together.  Pirog plays guitar and lots of electronics.  He comes from a family of musicians.

“My dad played in a surf band in New Jersey in the ’60s,” he recalls, not looking very far removed form that era himself. “ I got to hear all that at a really young age.  So it’s there, it’s definitely there, it’s not going away.”

Anthony Braxton” leaps from Janel’s mouth, citing the acclaimed and cerebral avant-garde saxophonist.

Janel & Anthony FX pedals

Janel & Anthony FX pedals

“I was really interested in that downtown scene,” says Pirog. “Fred Frith, Derek Bailey, players like Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, people like that.”

Those avant-garde influences were tempered by rock and things like The Byrds.  Pirog nods to the 60s rock group’s song “Eight Miles High” on his tune, “Big Sur.”

“I used to listen to that over and over maybe 12 years ago,” he enthuses, “just the great hits album.  I love 12 string jangling sounds, so I’m really glad that that comes through.

You can hear more of Janel & Anthony’s interview and some of their beautiful music in the free Echoes Podcast.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B007JZFXEW/echoes

~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echoes On LineNow that you’ve survived the apocalypse,  make sure the rest of your life is filled with good music. Get ECHOES ON-LINE for 37% OFF until Christmas.

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Sign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.

With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs like Hammock’s Departure Songs 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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Hammock Swings Out 2012 with CD of the Month

November 29, 2012

Ambient Post-Rock Avatars Transcend their Roots

Hear Hammock interviewed on Echoes Tonight 03/06/2013.

In an immersive experience where time loses meaning and there is no up nor down, it takes a quantum physicist’s sense of time and an astronaut’s sense of space to navigate.  Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson are neither scientists nor pilots, but as Hammock they negotiate similar terrain in their sea of deep ambient guitar, enveloping washes of echoes, and intricate, shifting melodies.

On the double CD of Departure Songs, Hammock finds the center in the swirl whether it’s in the ambient expanse of “Cold Front” with its arpeggiated guitar balanced on forlorn cellos and reverb swirl or the following “Ten Thousand Years Won’t Save your Life”  with its pounding drums and echoing female chorus.  Each track on Departure Songs is an epic excursion, with languidly arcing strings merged into shimmering reverb, and delay-dipped guitars that contrast with charging drums and reverb-drenched screaming guitars.  Beneath all that, listen for the uplifting brass on some tracks, the layered cellos of Matt Slocum on others and the angel-in-a-storm vocal choruses of Marc Byrd’s wife, Christina Glass Byrd. This is an album whose subtleties unfold with each loud listen.

Hammock emerged seven years ago out of a rock group called Common Children, who, if they hadn’t been marketed as a Christian rock group, they would’ve fit snugly between bands like Slowdive and The Cocteau Twins.  When they formed Hammock, they shed the Christian imagery in favor of instrumental landscapes, sometimes purely ambient on Maybe They Will Sing for Us Tomorrow;  often bringing in a rock energy on their 2010 Echoes CD of the Month pick, Chasing After Shadows… Living With Ghosts.  Departure Songs is the most aggressive Hammock release to date with hellbent forays like “(Let’s Kiss) While All The Stars Are Falling Down” with its driving bass ostinato and swooping slides underpinning a chaos of guitars and whirlwind drums..  Yet, even here, there is still beauty and melancholy in their music.

Departure Songs is a meditation on the brevity of life.  You may not be able to glean that from the reverb soaked and submerged  vocals on the six vocal songs, but it becomes clearer when reading the printed lyrics included with the CD.   “Tonight We Burn Like Stars That Never Die,” contemplates our existence against the stars that outlast us while “Words You Said… I’ll Never Forget You Now” is one of three songs exploring the pain of suicide.

Yet, rather than an album full of sadness and loss, Departure Songs is more about embracing the life you have now.  And it’s done in symphonic dimensions, just with a lot of electric guitars in place of orchestral strings.  Hammock has pulled out all the stops, along with every stomp box  you can imagine, to create a definitive album.

Echoes will interview Hammock about Departure Songs Wednesday night, March 6.

~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echoes On LineSign up for the Echoes CD of the Month Club and get Tangents as a bonus for your membership now! 

Sign up forEchoes CD of the Month Club get great CDs like Hammock’s Departure Songs  With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs like this coming to you each month.  Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club  and see what you’ve been missing.

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

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

Nels Cline Singers Scream

July 8, 2010

The Nels Cline Singers, who don’t really sing, ignite Johnny Brenda’s

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Nels Cline @ Johnny Brenda's Philly

On a day when Philadelphia hit 103 degrees, the guitar of Nels Cline often sounded like it had been left to bake on the sun heated sidewalk, emitting the squawks, squeals and crunch of fried circuits and melted strings screaming in agony.  Nels Cline, erstwhile guitarist for Wilco, turned in a tour de force performance with his trio, The Nels Cline Singers that started with a 35 minute excursion that moved through moments of tranquility, hard-edged groove and raga-like melodicism, all of which emerged from a sea of distortion.  It was like speeding down the highway at night, one station dissolving into static as another moved into range.

Megamouth

Nels Cline likes to make noise.  His guitars are processed through a myriad of effects that he tweaks obsessively at times.  He flails at his strings with all kinds of objects and on one piece, he sings into  a Megamouth, a small disc-shaped electronic megaphone which he projects that into the pick-ups on his guitar.

But moments of Stockhausen-like cacophony transitioned into power groove tracks and delicate reveries.  A song that recalled the pointilism of Paul Bley segues into a raging, Latin-tinged rocker.  “Forge” was a driving piece with a slo-mo ostinato guitar riff setting the stage for a solo by  Scott Amendola that recalled Rashied Ali.  “B86” was the soundtrack for a spaceship landing.

The Nels Cline Singers are an intuitive unit that knows all their moves no matter how far out they get.   Devin Hoff spent most of the night on double-bass, trying to hold the maelstrom together while Scott Amendola deployed polyrhythmic fury and hard edged grooves.  They drew much of their materiel from their latest album, Initiate, a half studio/half live double CD.  But they also pulled out older works and covered “And Now the Queen” by Carla Bley.

“King Queen” was a psychedelic jam with Yuka Honda of the band Cibo Matto, augmenting the trio, laying down a a two chord Farfisa organ-like vamp against Devin Hoff’s ostinato electric bass while Cline whipped out an acid drenched raga solo of screaming sustain, bent notes and whiplash effects.  Honda slowed the momentum on her static solo but Cline whipped it up again for the closer.  It was like being at the Fillmore West circa 1968.

Nels Cline is an extraordinary guitarist who had his own career going a long time before he hooked up with Wilco.  He plays the guitar with such reckless abandon that it’s sometimes hard to believe that anything coherent could come out of it.  But whether deploying circuit-bent, mutated loops and sonic bombs or articulating a delicate ballad, he’s a musician immersed in sound, and at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia a packed house was immersed with him.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))



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