Posts Tagged ‘Massive Attack’

Cosmic Cello and Downtempo Dreams

April 10, 2014

Hidden TreasuresHans Christian was one half of the group Rasa with singer Kim Waters, but before that he was a solo artist mixing his cello with electronics and other exotica.  He returns to solo form on a new CD called Hidden Treasures.  It’s an album of lush orchestrations featuring his cello, the Indian sarangi and sitara, Swedish nyckelharpa and more.  We’ll hear a track from that and new music by Thus Owls, a band with members from Montreal and Sweden creating a theatrical dream pop on their album Turning Rocks.  We’ll hear that as well as Davidge.  He was the producer of Massive Attack for many of their albums and he’s just released his solo debut, Slo Light with a bunch of guests singers including Emi Green on the track we’ll hear.  And speaking of Massive Attack, I’ve got them as well with Protection.  It’s all ahead today on Echoes.


John Diliberto (((echoes)))

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The Cabaret of Una on Echoes.

September 10, 2013

Laughing ManUna is interviewed tonight on Echoes.

Trip-Hop music of the 1990s brought several worlds together.  In groups like Portishead, Massive Attack and Morcheeba, you  could hear elements of hip-hop, electronic music, lounge moods and torch song singing.  Una has taken those sounds in a different direction over the last six years, adding jazz, film scores and cabaret into the mix.  Their latest album is called The Laughing Man.  Hear about this band when I talk to them tonight on Echoes.


Una live on Echoes

Una live on Echoes

Eddie Barajas on Vinyl:  Well, basically I like to sample very random records.  For example, I was just using a text typing record, an instructional course.  I also have a self relaxation record, which has some soothing sounds and nice things.  I like, I like the guy and what he says and everything, so…I tend to go thrift store shopping a lot and start digging through the old vinyl, and you know, Disney records, children’s stories, Aladdin, just the most random things I can find I tend to try and slip in there.

Jennifer Nice on the moods of Una: So one of the latest things we would do is to create like a film noir set and we would have like old pictures of our relatives on the DJ table with a slow running fan, like an old detective’s office…antique phone, just kind of all dressed up.

Hear the complete Una interview tonight on Echoes.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

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#MoogFest Day 2: A Massive Night with Massive Attack

October 31, 2010

An Echoes Take on MoogFest 2010 Day 2:  Massive Attack assaults, Thievery Corporation raps, Jon Hopkins up-dates Techno.

It was Halloween Eve at MoogFest and there were many treats, no tricks, and some disappointments.   Unfortunately, an interview commitment prevented me from seeing several acts including Jonsi, Caribou and Mountain Man. But I have reports on a few of them from Echoes‘ Kimberly Haas.

Rob Garza & Eric Hilton @ MoogFest

My night started with Thievery Corporation who brought a large live band with horns and multiple singers.  Their first three songs played off the down-tempo mood that dominates their recent anthology, It Takes a Thief, with an appropriately intoxicating take on their dope anthem, “Lebanese Blonde” sung by Sista Pat followed by a dreamy “Shadows of Ourselves,” sung in sultry French Chanteuse mode by LouLou.  From there, they took a turn into the rap and toaster configurations that have dominated much of their music over the years.  Energy levels were much more amped up than on CD and once they got going there was no return to the more downtempo dreamy moods.  Instead, it was a rap rave-up powered by thundering drums and bassist Ashish Vyas’ deep bottom growl that stalked the music the way he stalked the stage.  The rapping and toasting quickly grew tedious for me, especially as it was lost in the cavernous reverb of the Asheville Civic Center which was packed to the back entrance with fans who found it the perfect soundtrack for their Halloween Eve.

3D of Massive Attack @ MoogFest

Massive Attack redeemed the night with one of the best sets of the Festival.  It was similar to their shows a few years ago with the addition of tracks from their latest album,  Heligoland. While Thievery opted to play to the revved up expectations of an arena festival crowd, Massive Attack maintained fidelity to their sub-down tempo moods.  But make no mistake, this music thundered with a pair of drummers (electronic and acoustic), booming bass and easily the best guitar work of the festival as Angelo Bruschini laid down burning solos on several tunes and added a serrated edge to the electronic orchestrations.  Vocals rotated among several singers including Robert “3D” Del Naja and his mumbled monochrome voice of doom, Grant “Daddy G” Marshall’s soulful croon and Horace Andy’s equally soulful, but nasally  Jamaican cry.  But it was Martina Topley-Bird who lit up the stage every time she

Martina Topley-Bird @ MoogFest

came out.  Made up looking like a Nightmare Before Christmas Fairy corpse she brought her sultry voice to bear over the dark beats of “Babel,” “Splitting the Atom” and “Teardrop,” a song originally sung by Elizabeth Fraser.  Topley-Bird doesn’t have her kind of pipes, but she brought the song into her own, intimate range.

Massive Attack used the same LED backing of parallel bars that spit out words, slogans, facts and figures.  It’s a dazzling display that accentuates their powerful, dramatic music. Massive Attack can be overwhelming in their moodiness.   One festival goer commented, “That would have been great if I had some heroin.”

Jon Hopkins @ MoogFest

From the arena sized assault of Massive Attack, I ventured to the cozier Moogaplex, essentially a large, vendor-style conference room where Jon Hopkins was already in motion with his update of pure techno music.   There were no synthesizers in sight.  Instead, Hopkins played tracks off his computer and manipulated the sound live.  It was a pounding pure metal beat set as Hopkins did a finger dance on his two KAOS pads, stabbing and dragging his fingers across the touch screens to alter the sound with slurs, stutters and altered attacks.  Up against Four Tet, the Disco Biscuits and Massive Attack, it was a small, but ecstatic audience who raved to every breakbeat and tempo shift with hand-waving enthusiasm.  If you were wondering where all the aggressive sounds on Brian Eno’s new album, Small Craft on a Milk Sea were from, you could hear it here.

Angelos Bruschini of Massive Attack @ MoogFest

On our way home, we decided to catch the end of Four Tet’s set.  The Orange Peel was jammed to capacity and they were turning people away.  Inside, Four Tet, aka Kieran Hebden, stood behind a couple of computers, spinning sounds from his catalog. I’m sure the music was raging earlier, but we heard him go out on a pretty, serene note.

Echoes’ Kimberly Haas was more fortunate than I and caught several acts I missed.  She thought the dream pop band, School of Seven Bells, played an energetic and engaging set although they seemed to use an inordinate amount of backing tracks.  That might have been because one of the two identical twins, Claudia Deheza (her sister is Alejandra) left the band a couple of weeks ago.

Kimberly was blown away by Jonsi who played a totally immersive concert based on his Go album and the tour he’s been on for most of this year with expansive dynamics and more energy than the album.  Jonsi was completely consumed in his performance, tapping the deep emotions of his music. He brings a detailed sound to the stage and it was good to see him in the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium rather than the cavernous Civic Center arena.

Kevin Kissinger & Theremin @ MoogFest

Kimberly also caught the most anachronistic act of MoogFest, the Vermont based female trio, Mountain Man.  They played a charming set, with sweet three-part harmony with just one acoustic guitar passed between the members.  They gave a gorgeous performance of “Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies” providing an old time contrast with the ultra-modern high tech festival.

John Diliberto & Theremin @MoogFest

During the day, I checked out events at the Moogaplex, including a Theremin performance and demo from Kevin Kissinger.  I also gave a shot at this instrument which is harder to play than you might think.  Michelle Moog-Koussa centered a panel talking about the Bob Moog Foundation, and revealed some of the early Moog recordings made before the instrument was even an instrument.  The Foundation is benefiting immensely from the festival, getting a cut of the action on tickets and Moog Filtered Ale, created for the event by local microbrewery Asheville Brewing Company, a lot of which was being imbibed.

I’m hoping for surprises in the final day, which, except for DJ Spooky, isn’t exciting me.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

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