Posts Tagged ‘Leo Abrahams’

Go to Edgeland with Underworld’s Karl Hyde & Leo Abrahams.

August 6, 2013

Hear Karl Hyde & Leo Abrahams talk about Edgeland in Echoes Tonight.

Hyde-SingingIn the 1980s, Rick Smith and Karl Hyde got together in a band called Freur and then formed the influential electronic dance group Underworld.  They’ve been musically inseparable until recently.  Rick Smith scored the soundtrack for Trance and Karl Hyde released his solo debut, working with Brian Eno collaborator, Leo Abrahams.   The album is called Edgeland.  I travel with Karl Hyde and Leo Abrahams to the outskirts of civilization.

Highlights:

Karl Hyde Painting

Karl Hyde Painting

Karl Hyde on synaesthesia: I’m synaesthetic in as much as I see shapes and hear colors, and colors make sounds and buildings generate words.

Karl Hyde on decay:  I’m largely drawn to what we think of as decay and I find very beautiful…you know, the cracks in pavement or walls, weeds, discarded things, things that I see as markers left behind by people who are on journeys, things we need to find and to follow like a trail of breadcrumbs. I find all of these to be very beautiful in their rhythm, in their sequencing.

Karl Hyde EdgelandLeo Abrahams on improvised songs:  He [Karl Hyde] literally will turn up with notebooks full of lyrics that he’d written often on the train on the way down to my studio.  And he’d just say, “Play something.”

Hear more of Karl Hyde & Leo Abrahams’ interview in Echoes tonight.

FurtherListening: Brian Eno’s Stormy Seas
Interview with Leo Abrahams

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

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Underworld’s Karl Hyde & Leo Abrahams in Echoes Podcast.

June 14, 2013

Hear Karl Hyde & Leo Abrahams talk about Edgeland in Echoes Podcast.

Hyde-SingingIn the 1980s, Rick Smith and Karl Hyde got together in a band called Freur and then formed the influential electronic dance group Underworld.  They’ve been musically inseparable until recently.  Rick Smith scored the soundtrack for Trance and Karl Hyde released his solo debut, working with Brian Eno collaborator, Leo Abrahams.   The album is called Edgeland.  I travel with Karl Hyde and Leo Abrahams to the outskirts of civilization.

Highlights:

Karl Hyde Painting

Karl Hyde Painting

Karl Hyde on synaesthesia: I’m synaesthetic in as much as I see shapes and hear colors, and colors make sounds and buildings generate words.

Karl Hyde on decay:  I’m largely drawn to what we think of as decay and I find very beautiful…you know, the cracks in pavement or walls, weeds, discarded things, things that I see as markers left behind by people who are on journeys, things we need to find and to follow like a trail of breadcrumbs. I find all of these to be very beautiful in their rhythm, in their sequencing.

Karl Hyde EdgelandLeo Abrahams on improvised songs:  He [Karl Hyde] literally will turn up with notebooks full of lyrics that he’d written often on the train on the way down to my studio.  And he’d just say, “Play something.”

Hear more of Karl Hyde & Leo Abrahams’ interview in the Echoes Podcast.

FurtherListening: Brian Eno’s Stormy Seas
Interview with Leo Abrahams

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Echoes On Line

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 Deserters. 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. Or Follow us on Twitter@echoesradio

Karl Hyde

June 10, 2013

Karl Hyde EdgelandTonight on Echoes: Karl Hyde & Leo Abrahams

Karl Hyde is one-half of the popular dance group called Underworld. But he’s launched a new conceptual CD called Edgeland that trades dance beats for introspective moods. Hyde and his collaborator, Leo Abrahams, talk about their electro-noir tales.

Here you can see the music video for Karl Hyde’s first single, “The Boy With The Jigsaw Puzzle Fingers,” from his 2013 album, Edgeland.


John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Echoes On Line

Rachel Zefirra - The Deserters

Sign 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 Deserters. 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. Or Follow us on Twitter@echoesradio

Enter The Ambient Zone – Echoes January CD of the Month

January 2, 2013

The Ambient Zone – Just Music Café Volume 4 starts 2013 on a  serene note

Ambient ZoneWithin the electronic folds and acoustic shifts of The Ambient Zone – Just Music Café Volume 4, is a sound world that’s both exploratory and serene. Just Music is the UK label whose impeccable roster ranges from deep ambient artists like Marconi Union, Jon Hopkins and Digitonal to singer songwriters such as  Loner and Dan Arborise.  They all appear on this CD with new music, compiled and sequenced by DJ Ben Mynott.

Marconi Union’s “Weightless” is your gateway into the zone.  It’s been dubbed “the most relaxing song ever” by British Academy for Sound Therapy and certified by Time Magazine.  There’s no mistaking the deep sonic massage of this work which lolls about like a ship crossing an endless placid ocean.  This work  hangs like an umbrella over The Ambient Zone, embracing a world of classical elegance, electronic atmospheres and even Spanish guitar orchestrations from Andrea Terrano.
Digitonal’s “Sense”

Digitonal, whose album, Save Your Light for Darker Days  (an Echoes CD of the Month in 2008), was a definitive work of ambient chamber music, bring us a tantalizing taste of their long-awaited follow-up with “Sense,” a seductive, loungy walk with Andy Dobson’s clarinets, not your usual ambient axe, blowing Satie-like breezes through a dark and smoky atmosphere.
Echaskech’s “Little Rays”

Echaskech is a multi-media duo that has been bubbling under the ambient surface for a while.  Their “Little Rays” is a tense, slowly building work that’s part Philip Glass and part Arvo Pärt with an ostinato sequencer pattern and slowly building chords that sweep out like a stingray’s wings in slow motion.  It’s startling how deep and emotionally resonant a few simple chords can be. And then the rhythm track clicks in, moving you through a cinematic landscape.
Honeyroot “Radiant”

Likewise Honeyroot, a slightly more dance oriented outfit with origins in the 1980s new wave bands ABC and Heaven 17, trades in pop facades for deeper ambient textures.  Their album and song, “Sound Echo Location” signaled their new downtempo electronic direction in 2003. “Radiant” is just that: a mid-tempo song of dappled acoustic guitars, breathy female voices and lysergic-laced melodies.

The shadow of Brian Eno hangs over The Ambient Zone.  His penchant for poignant melancholy and atmosphere informs every track here, none more so than those of of two Eno associates who appear on The Ambient Zone.  Jon Hopkins remixes his own song, “A Drifting Up” as “A Drifting Down.”  He strips out the trance rhythm track of the former in favor of a suspended free fall of shimmering electronic strings.  Leo Abraham’s pensive “Seeing Stars,” one of the few previously released tracks here, is no less breathtaking than it was seven years ago on his debut album, Honeytrap.
Leo Abrahams “Under the Glow”

While I would’ve liked to have heard vocal tracks from singer-songwriters Dan Arborise and Loner, instead of the pleasant but relatively inconsequential instrumental tracks they contribute, The Ambient Zone works as both an artist showcase and an immersive excursion into ambient sound.  The Ambient Zone is an album that feels like the world is peeling away, layer by layer, into multi-colored panoramas, just for you.

~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Further Reading:
Marconi Union “Distance” Echoes July CD of the Month
Marconi Union Channels Ambient Miles
Digitonal “Save Your Light for Darker Days Echoes September 2008 CD of the Month
Leo Abrahams “The Grape & The Grain” Echoes May 2009 CD of the Month
Loner Echoes Interview Podcast

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.

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.

Brian Eno’s Stormy Seas.

October 25, 2010

Echoes’ #1 Icon, Brian Eno Holds a Dark  Tiller on Small Craft on a Milk Sea

German bands like Neu!, Harmonia, and Cluster have been getting a lot of attention lately, constantly named-dropped as influences on younger bands.   Of course, almost no one knew about these artists back in the 70s when they laid down their seminal work.  But Brian Eno did.  On his way to producing David Bowie’s Berlin trilogy, he stopped off and worked with all the members of those bands and brought some of their sound into his own music.

Small Craft on a Milk Sea

With Small Craft on a Milk Sea, he returns to that experimental electronic spirit,albeit with updated technology and a couple of consummate musicians and sound manipulators, guitarist Leo Abrahams and keyboardist Jon Hopkins.

It’s been 5 years since his last solo release, Another Day on Earth, but Small Craft isn’t the groundbreaking album one might expect.  Instead, it has the feel of an artist shaking out ideas that have been contained and restrained after several years producing music for Coldplay, Paul Simon and U2.  There are no clever pop songs like his David Byrne collaboration here. Based around jam sessions with Hopkins and Abrahams, Small Craft sounds like he just spewed out all the  experimental, non-pop sounds he’s held in check.

Eno in Studio for Echoes Interview

The album is a three-part arc that begins in ambiance, crests at rhythmic angst and returns to ambiance, but shaken.  The first three songs, “Complex Heaven,””Small Craft on A Milk Sea” and the opening “Emerald and Lime,” (although the on-line clips list it as “Emerald and Stone”) are gorgeous melodic themes that owe a debt to Cluster in their Sowiesoso/Grosses Wasser period.   Channeling their  inner Harold Budd, Hopkins and/or Eno, sculpt these pieces with tremulous keyboard lines on songs that recall some of the most haunting themes from Eno’s Another Green World.

Abrahams in London Studio for Echoes Concert

The calm is quickly slashed and burned by the juggernaut groove of “Flint March” which lock-steps into the psychedelic Krautrock of “Home” with a double-speed jungle rhythm and jagged slabs of sound.  Machine-shop tools riff in mechanistic fury while Leo Abrahams mutates his guitar, every now and then letting out a distorted, Krimsonesque cry.   Apparently Eno has found his new Fripp in this now long-time collaborator.

You can hear elements of Faust on some tracks while “2 Forms of Anger” begins with a tribal beat redolent of My Life in the Bush of Ghosts before it slips into a rock solid motoric groove straight out of Neu! with Leo Abrahams ripping out slash and burn guitar riffs.  Jon Hopkins has a big influence on this middle section of the album.  He’s a sonic mutator who revels in distorted, discordant sounds and Abrahams isn’t far behind him.  It’s on these violently aggressive tracks that Small Craft hits heavy seas.

Hopkins @ Echoes

With “Slow Ice, Old Moon,” Small Craft makes a sudden tack into avant-garde waters, dipping deeply into the sound of Morton Subotnick, Bebe & Louis Barron and Pierre Henry. Looping haunted house sounds and Dark Shadows-organ set up for a descent into the ever abstract sound world of “Calcium Needles” with it’s clangorous bells echoing into the abyss of sub-bass groans and descending electronic bongs that sound like something off of Eno’s Bloom iPhone App.

“Written, Forgotten” begins the return home to more gentle, ambient spaces, the journey into nightmare over, peace reigns again, until we slip back into dreams and beyond.

Creative restlessness is at the heart of Small Craft on a Milk Sea which makes for some neck-breaking twists and uncomfortable collisions.  The jam session aspect often locks into a formless repetition  riveted by machine rhythms.   But this trio is pursuing a different kind of music that eschews form, melody and hooks in favor of joyful, yet aggressive noise.  These are boys at play, sometimes pensive and thoughtful and living inside their own heads,  but also destructive, torturing  sounds on tracks like “Horse.”  For three musicians with such vast melodic and textural gifts, much of Small Craft sounds like outtakes and half finished concepts.  When Neu! and Harmonia hit those long, crushing,  hypnotic grooves like “Hallogallo” and “Negativland,”   you could listen to them forever.  I can’t say the same for many of the vignette length pieces on Small Craft on a Milk Sea .

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echo Location: Leo Abrahams May CD of the Month

April 29, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leo Abrahams

Leo Abrahams

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

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

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))



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