Posts Tagged ‘Krautrock’

21st Century Progressive Rock Opus from Mark McGuire

March 3, 2014

Mark McGuire Creates 21st Century Progressive Rock Opus for Echoes CD of the Month

Mark-McGuire-Along-The-WayOld fans of progressive rock and space music might be forgiven if listening to Mark McGuire’s Along the Way takes them back to about 1975, calling up music like Ash Ra Tempel’s Inventions for Electric Guitar, Popol Vuh’s Seligpreisung or Can’s Soon Over Babaluma. McGuire’s heavily layered guitars with delay-driven riffs, burning solos and expansive themes would have fit perfectly in those heady times.

McGuire was in a band called Emeralds, an electronic retro-space music trio who sound like stowaways in Tangerine Dream’s Berlin studio circa 1975. But Along the Way is something different and more personal.  McGuire has hinted at this in a series of little-heard solo recordings like Get Lost and A Young Person’s Guide, but Along the Way is the culmination of these  explorations: it’s a beautifully crafted album that shifts in mood and motion.

The intricate opening suite begins as a new age meditation of acoustic guitar, meandering synthesizer, chimes, and some Asian stringed instrument sounding like a koto or pipa. Those instruments are joined by a delayed electric guitar and before you know it, you’re washed into “Wonderland of Living Things.”  It’s a Mike Oldfield-like confluence of insistent groove, cycling melodies and increasingly insistent delayed guitar riffs.

References abound on the album, like the Popol Vuh-inspired guitar picking on “Arrival Begins the Next Departure” with a trio of guitar lines that spiral up into the ether like vapor trail minarets.  Many of McGuire’s songs are built on looping delay patterns similar to those Manuel Göttsching created on  Inventions for Electric Guitar in 1975. His intricate riffs shift subtly through a song in a minimalist sleight of hand.

PlayingIn the best progressive rock tradition, McGuire has grouped his compositions into a series of suites with titles like “To All Present in the Hall of Learning” and “The Age of Revealing.”  There’s an 11-page densely-packed existential treatise that goes along with the record, and each track of this primarily instrumental album has philosophical concepts to go along with them.  The guitarist has said:

“This story is an odyssey through the vast, unknown regions of the mind…the endless unfolding of psychological landscapes, leading to perpetual discoveries and expansions, in a genuinely emergent and infinite world of worlds.”

You may not be thinking of that during the intricate, pastoral weave of “In Search of the Miraculous” or the brain-searing crescendo of “The Instinct,” which forms like the isokinetic structure of a Hoberman sphere, slowly expanding until it explodes in a five minute electric guitar meltdown.

Playing all the instruments himself, including several kinds of guitars, mandolin, synthesizers, percussion, piano and more, McGuire’s opus recalls Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells in its ambitions.  McGuire brings that concept into the 21st century and like that album some 40 years ago, Along the Way left me breathless.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))
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Tonight on Echoes, Connections from 1967 to 2013.

October 9, 2013

60’s Psych-Progressions, 70’s Krautrock, New World Fusion
and Ambient Chamber music Tonight on Echoes.

Donovan-SunshineI must be feeling a bit nostalgic today.  I find myself going back to some of my earliest musical influences and to the early days of Echoes.  From the 1960s, I’ve got a song by Donovan, an artist who I think is an underrated influence on contemporary singer-songwriters.  His Sunshine Superman, is, song-for-song, a beautiful document of 60s tripped out psychedelia and optimism.  We’ll hear a tune from that album that looks to the darkside.  Then it’s up to 1969 and the debut from King Crimson, In the Court of the Crimson King.  Unlike the contemporary editions of this band, early Krimson could knock out a few ballads, especially when Greg Lake was singing the words of Pete Sinfield.   Moving up a decade, I’ll be dialing up some krautrock by Michael Rother from his second album, Sterntaler, with that beautiful guitar sound, the motoric drumming of Jaki Liebezeit and production from the late-Conny Plank.

FamiliarFrom the early days of Echoes, look for music by Patrick O’Hearn, a musician who has remained a signature artist on the show from day one.   Then there’s an album by Roger Eno & Kate St. John. Roger is Brian’s younger piano playing brother.  St. John played oboe in The Dream Academy.  They made an early album of ambient chamber music called The Familiar before going on to form the chamber rock group, Channel Light Vessel with Bill Nelson.  We’ll hear one of many haunting tracks from The Familiar.

MORCHEEBA-Head-Up-High-300x277But of course, this is Echoes and I have lots of new music for you.  We’ll hear from the new album by Bombay Dub Orchestra, Tales from the Grand Bazaar as they continue to be masters of eastern fusion.  Morcheeba returns with a new album,  Head Up High  featuring singer Skye Edwards,  and I have new music by Pieter Nooten.  You may remember him from Clan of Xymox, an 80s new wave band on 4AD.  He went on to record a much loved album, Sleeps with Fishes with Michael Brook.  Now he returns with a double CD of ambient chamber music, Haven.

It’s all there and more tonight on Echoes.

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!

New Moby, Tired Pony, Cranium Fizz

September 25, 2013

The Mind Bubbles Tonight on Echoes

InnocentsMoby has a new CD out called Innocents that finds him pursuing the more personal style of song-writing he’s explored on albums like Destroyed  and Wait for Me.  He collaborates with several singers including UK singer, Cold Specks who we’ll hear tonight.  Tired Pony is the semi-supergroup headed up by Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol and including Peter Buck from REMTired PonyTheir debut album, The Ghost of the Mountain, manages to be a rootsy singer-songwriter album with atmospheric edges and one inexplicable foray into Krautrock.  Krautrock is a definite influence on Richard Bone’s Cranium Fizz.  It’s a 12″ vinyl  EP that comes with a download option from this veteran electronic artist that taps into a different side of retro-space music.  CraniumThe sound hear is more reminiscent of German electronic instrumental pop of La Dusseldorf, Mythos, mid-period Cluster and Kraftwerk as well as 1980s electro-punk of Cabaret Voltaire, The Normal and The Human League.  Tune in to Echoes tonight and get your cranium fizzed.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Little_Things_CoverSign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.   CD of the Month Club members will be getting Darshan Ambient’s Little Things 10 days before its released.  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 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!

Progressive Reverberations in Echoes Top 25

February 28, 2013

Ulrich Schnauss Falls to the Top of Echoes Top 25

Ulrich Schnauss - A Long Way to FallMusic with Progressive Rock roots dominates the Echoes Top 25 for FebruaryUlrich Schnauss’ A Long Way to Fall was the Echoes CD of the Month. His inspirations are in 70s German space music and Krautrock as are all the musicians on the Manikin Records Second Decade 2002-2012  collection as well as Ian Boddy and Bertrand LoreauBrian Reitzel, the soundtrack composer  looks to Pink Floyd for adapting “Moonlight Sonata” to a post-rock sound on his score to Boss, while Jon Durant & Colin Edwin are the children of Genesis, King Crimson and the Mahavisnu Orchestra, not to mention that Edwin is a member of the progrock band, Porcupine Tree.   Check out the rest of the Progressive evolution in the Echoes Top 25 for February.

ECHOES FEBRUARY TOP 25

    1. Ulrich Schnauss – A Long Way to Fall (Domino)
    2. Brian Reitzel – Boss (OST) (Lakeshore)
    3. v/a – Manikin Records Second Decade 2002-2012 (Manikin)
    4. Jon Durant and Colin Edwin – Burnt Belief (Alchemy) iTunes
    5. Scott August – Hidden Journey (Cedar Mesa Music)
    6. Jesse Cook – The Blue Guitar Sessions (Entertainment One) The Blue Guitar Sessions (Deluxe Edition) - Jesse Cook
    7. Tom Griesgraber & Bert Lams – Unnamed Lands (Inner Knot)
    8. v/a – Focus Features 10th Anniversary – A Collection of Film Score (Focus Features)
    9. Ludovico Einaudi – In a Time Lapse (Ponderosa Music & Art)
    10. Anawaty/Russell – Analog Universe (Anawaty/Russel) iTunes
    11. Banco de Gaia – Apollo (Disco Gecko Recordings)
    12. Koan – Argonautica (Section Records) iTunes
    13. Ian Boddy – Sepulchre (DiN)
    14. Ric Hordinski – Arthur’s Garden (Ol Kentuck Recordings)
    15. Ballake Sissoko – At Peace (Six Degrees)
    16. Gandalf – Dreamweaver (Real Music)
    17. Helen Jane Long – Intervention (BLE Records)
    18. Spiro – Kaleidophonica (Real World)
    19. Jean Baudin – Mechanisms (Jean Baudin) Just to Feel Anything - Emeralds
    20. Orenda Blu – Sacred Chants (Paradise Music)
    21. Sumner McKane – Select Visual History (Sumner McKane)
    22. Tina Malia – The Lost Frontier (Tina Malia)
    23. Kaki King – Glow (Velour) Glow - Kaki King
    24. Chronotope Project – Chrysalis (Relaxed Machinery)
    25. Bertrand Loreau – Journey Through the Past (Spheric Music)

~John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echoes On LineSiUlrich Schnauss - A Long Way to Fallgn up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.  With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs like A Long Way to Fall.  Club members will get this album 10 days before release.  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.

Bleeding Rainbow’s Psychedelic Garage Ectasy .

February 4, 2013

From Nuggets to Neu, Philadelphia’s Bleeding Rainbow Channels the Psychedelic Storm

Bleeding-Raainbow-Yeah-Right CVRBleeding Rainbow isn’t the kind of band you’ll hear on Echoes, but every now and then a new rock album catches my ear, and takes me into a different space that I don’t visit as often as I’d like, mainly because I don’t dig standing in rock clubs.  But after listening to Yeah Right,  I’d stand in one to hear Bleeding Rainbow.

The conundrum of the contemporary rock group is figuring out just what they’re going to pick from 60 years of rock history to inform their music.  Bleeding Rainbow, like The Dandy Warhols,  are scholars of rock and they draw from across the spectrum for their kinetic third album, Yeah Right.

The band has cited My Bloody Valentine and the distortion overtone guitar orchestras of Glenn Branca as influences.   You can also hear Velvet Underground drones on the opening “Go Ahead” with choked sustained feedback run that threatens to burst out and finally does on the chorus in a roar of Neu!– like fuzz.   Krautrock may be another inspiration, from the often motoric drumming from Greg Frantz (who recently left the group)  to the joy of guitar noise redolent of Neu! and Faust.  This is, after all,  a band who listened to The Can Tapes on a cross country tour.

But Bleeding Rainbow makes these sounds their own on their  third album, (the first two released under the name Reading Rainbow).  Kinetic songs like “Pink Ruff” with roiling overdriven guitar.  And that lurches right into the Jesus and Mary Chain cross-cut groove of “You’re Not Alone” with Rob Garcia and Sarah Everton’s chorused and distant vocals extolling a schizophrenic state of isolation.

For all their garage rock/punk conciseness, Bleeding Rainbow can attain the epic and they do that on both “Shades of Eternal Night” and “Fall Into Your Eyes.” The former is a minimalist haiku love song set against a storming rhythm and razor guitar chords.  “Fall Into Your Eyes” is a lament of love and transcendence lost with a grinding, shredded guitar riff and one of the more interesting drum grooves of the album.

The psychedelic trip of “Waking Dream” references The Kink’s “Tired of Waiting” in the guitar riff of the verse and then rips into a New Wave chorus that tears you out of your seat, adopting the quiet-loud approach of Nirvana.  It’s another song that makes good use of close vocal harmonies layered up in multi-tracked girl group-style choruses by the husband and wife founders of the group, Everton and Garcia.

Yeah Rightt is the kind of advance you’d expect from a group that’s maturing and finding more nuance in their sound.  The stripped down, lo-fi-to-a-fault production of their earlier work gives way to a more anthemic, body-shaking sound.  Instead of peering at the music through the haze of a washed out Polaroid, instruments are shredding like shattered glass and frayed fabric before your eyes.  My Bloody Valentine is an influence, but I know I’ll be listening to this a lot more than the new MBV release.  Yeah Right, along with Ulrich Schnauss’ A Long Way to Fall, is one of the few albums that I not only listen to repeatedly, but when it’s over I often go back to the top of the slide again.
~John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echoes On LineSiUlrich Schnauss - A Long Way to Fallgn up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.  With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs like A Long Way to Fall.  Club members will get this album 10 days before release.  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.

All is Neu Again- Michael Rother & Hallogallo Live

August 9, 2010

NEU! MARCHES BACK

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UPDATE: Hear a live performance and the Echoes Interview with Michael Rother at end.

It was a mesmerizing evening of non-stop driving groove and ecstatic electric guitar when Michael Rother brought in his Hallogallo 2010 group to Philadelphia last night at International House.

Michael Rother @ International House

Michael Rother was a founding member of the German electro-groove duo called Neu! With drummer Klaus Dinger.  He went on to co-found Harmonia with Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius of Cluster.  Founded in 1971 after the two musicians departed a short-lived edition of Kraftwerk, Neu was known for their non-stop, monster mantra  grooves provided by Dinger, whose drumming presaged drum machines.   Atop his forward motion metronome, Rother layered soaring melodies and dive-bomber distortions, but with an economy of sound that relied more on timbre than notes.  With Harmonia, the music was no less driving,although prettier, more ambient sounds began to emerge in his music.  On his own. Rother has released a steady stream of albums since his landmark and still gorgeous solo debut, Flammende Herzen.  He maintains the motoric grooves, provided early on by Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit, but his melodies tended to be more symphonic, melancholic and often triumphal.

Michael Rother Laptop

Rother is experiencing a renaissance as yet another music generation is discovering the sound of Neu, Harmonia and Rother himself.  He can cite Brian Eno, who actually recorded with Harmonia, John Lydon and Ultravox, Sonic Youth and more recently, Radiohead and The Album Leaf among those his music has influenced.

With Steve Shelley, drummer from Sonic Youth and Aaron Mullan, from Tall Firs, on bass, a youthful looking Rother, appearing at least a decade younger than his 60 years, re-created landmark works from Neu, Harmonia and his solo output. They call themselves Hallogallo after a Neu track from the first album and that song,  now titled “Hallogallo 2010” in a heavier version, summed up the sound of the show.  After an ambient opening, Shelley kicked in to the unrelenting groove while Mullan layed down a sparse but deep bass line.  Rother, standing stoically behind a table laden with a computer,  mixer and a pair of Kaos pads, ripped out the soaring melody with his Fender Stratocaster.

Moving through solo tracks like the lyrical “Aroma Club B3,” Harmonia’s trancey “Deluxe (Immer Weider)” sans vocals, “Neutronics” from the Neu tribute album, and a new song called “Two Oceans,” Rother mixed in electronic loops, ambient pads and rhythmic support off his computer, but it was Shelly and Mullan who kept the groove alive, bringing vitality to a music could become repetitious, but never did.  The band improvised across the modal themes, not in a Coltrane/Hendrix sense, but in an orchestral, live compositional sense.  Elements of surf guitar, Eastern tonalities and acid sustain emerged in Rother’s playing.  You haven’t heard this much fuzzed, phased and filter-swept guitar in years as Rother deployed lines that were minimalist in scope, but epic in resonance.  I could’ve done without the random stereo panning, which should’ve been a bit more sophisticated at this point in time.

Although the music is unremitting in its drive, Rother’ heroic phrasing makes it sound euphoric, like a charge to the top of the hill.   It’s been 38 years since their debut and the music of Neu still sounds vital.  Klaus Dinger, passed away in 2008,  (see Obit) but Michael Rother & company make sure this isn’t a washed out nostalgia trip, but a look at new possibilities.  They played to a packed and devoted house of over three hundred at Philadelphia’s International House.

I must admit, after playing Michael Rother’s music non-stop on WXPN‘s Diaspar show in the 1970s and 80s, the guitarist fell off the map for me.  But while I wasn’t looking, he’s been releasing incredible albums over the last 20 years including the CDs Remember and Traumriesen, that take his music in new and tantalizing directions.  Neu’s music is currently being reissued in a vinyl only box set with all three Neu albums,  an aborted CD from 1986 and other outtakes

Look for an interview with Michael Rother shortly on Echoes.  Rother & Hallogallo 2010 will be returning to the states in September with dates in Columbus and Chicago (see Tour Schedule).

JUST IN: A link to the complete New York City performance at the Lincoln Center, although you’ll have to really crank it to get anywhere near the intensity.   Neu! Live in NYC.

Hear the Echoes interview with Michael Rother

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))


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