Posts Tagged ‘Miles Davis’

Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Meditations

October 30, 2013


Hear an interview with Lou Reed talking about his final album.

Lou Reed at Echoes interview 2007

Lou Reed at Echoes interview 2007

You may not think of Lou Reed, who passed away on October 27, as a meditative kind of guy, but the founding member of The Velvet Underground and purveyor of proto-punk songs created an electronic CD designed for meditation and body work, in particular, Tai Chi, of which he was a staunch devotee.  It’s called Hudson River Wind Meditations.  Who knew in 2007 that it would be his final album.  In this Echoes interview from that year, Lou Reed talked about his ambient spaces.

Lou Reed wasn’t the kind of artist you usually hear on Echoes, but his music had an impact on many of the artists you do hear on the show from Moby to Robert Rich.   Musicians who could be Reed’s great grandchildren like Tessa Murray and Greg Hughes of Still Corners are citing him.  I’ve always had mixed feelings about Lou Reed.  In the 60s, I was more inclined to the dreamy flower power of San Francisco and London than the dark, debauched undertones of New York.  I still remember writer Ralph J. Gleeson’s excoriating review of Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable –  which included the Velvet Underground – when they played the original Fillmore Auditorium.   As a founder of Rolling Stone Magazine and the Monterey Jazz Festival, and early proponent of artists from Miles Davis to The Jefferson Airplane, Gleason was a hero and his review shaped a lot of my feelings about VU and Lou.

Echoes' John Diliberto & Lou Reed

Echoes’ John Diliberto & Lou Reed

But somehow, the Velvets and Lou Reed wormed themselves into my life.  My older cousin Goody enthused to me about “The Gift” making me listen to the John Cale rendered tale of the macabre concocted by Lou Reed.   I heard a charming interview with the band on some late-Sunday night AM radio show near Boston in ’67.  Drummer Mo Tucker wasn’t there because she was “at church.” You couldn’t deny the seductive, droll-Fellini charm of “Walk on The Wild Side,” and Street Hassle and The Bells were both ambitious works I reviewed at the time.  Then there was Metal Machine Music, his noise manifesto, which included a written manifesto about the future of music which I read over the air on WXPN’s Diaspar program while the music squalled in the background.  And when he started hanging with Laurie Anderson, I couldn’t deny him his props.

HudsonBut he still wasn’t an artist we’d play on Echoes until he released what has turned out to be his final album, Hudson River Wind Meditations.  It was indeed, a meditation CD, albeit one of the most minimally ambient kind.  Even that was too extreme to play on the air, but I thought, when else would I have the opportunity to interview Lou Reed?

Given his reputation for cantankerousness, I had more trepidation than I usually would.  But I had a few things I thought would engage him.  The first was commenting on the deep bass tones of the album which my woofers couldn’t really handle.  Being something of a tech geek, he loved that I commented on that aspect.  And then, it didn’t hurt that I had a picture of Laurie Anderson on an Echoes brochure I gave him.    When his manager popped in after ten minutes to cut the interview short, Reed waved him off and we talked for over an hour about noise, meditation,Tai Chi, LaMonte Young and more.

You can hear that interview here.

We’re saddened by the passing of Lou Reed, who left an indelible mark on music. And our deepest sympathies go out to his wife, artist/musician Laurie Anderson, who found her soulmate in an unlikely place.

Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Meditations.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

WorldsBeyondSign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.  This month,  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 hear what you’ve been missing.
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Darshan Ambient on Echoes.

October 15, 2013

Darshan Ambient Talks about Little Things Tonight on Echoes.

Little_Things_CoverIn the days before YouTube, iTunes and most other on-line music sources, Darshan Ambient was a minor star at, the renowned legal music download site.  He released his music there and garnered nearly 100,000 listens.  That’s not much in terms of YouTube‘s multi-million-viewer hypes, but it was a lot in the fledgling days of on-line music.    Darshan Ambient outlived mp3 and has released several beautiful albums in the last decade.  His latest is Little Things and it was the Echoes Cd Of The Month in September.  Michael Allison is Darshan Ambient he whispers little things in my ear.

Darshan Ambient:  Growing up with the Beatles and progressive rock, I’m always trying to be progressive with the music that I’m doing and that’s really what I, what I consider myself doing is more progressive music than anything else.  And that could be anything.  Progressive music could have jazz elements, classical rock, you know, that sort of thing.

Hear Darshan Ambient’s interview tonight on Echoes.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

WorldsBeyondSign up for Echoes CD of the Month ClubLast months picks was Darshan Ambient’s Little ThingsThis month,  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.

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Echoes Top 25 Goes to Another Dimension

December 2, 2011

Akara’s  Extradimensional Ethnography tops Echoes November Top 25

The Echoes Top 25 is a bit wild this month.  Akara, of course heads it up with their Extradimensional Ethnography, an album that gets deeper with each listen.  That’s an Indi release from Joshua Pullman, but our second album on the list isn’t even a CD, it’s a digital download from General Fuzz.  I’ve been waiting for James Kirsch to follow up his album, Soulful Filling and it was worth it.  As it’s title Miles Tones, suggests, it has echoes of Miles Davis as well as 70s CTI jazz mixed in with General Fuzzes own glitch moods and ambient backbeats.  You can get this CD for free form the General Fuzz website, but it’s an album worth paying for.

That’s followed up by another little known release by Low Roar.  Headed up by Ryan Karazija, it’s in the mode of Thurston Moore’s Demolished Thoughts with its folky modes and Pink Floyd echoes.   Little wonder since this American artist lives in Iceland where the zeitgeist of mood currently resides.  He’s followed up trumpeter Jeff Oster’s Surrender, an Echoes CD of the Month from September.  Between Oster, General Fuzz and Darshan Ambient’s Dream in Blue, (December’s CD of the Month) the spirit of Miles Davis seems alive and ambient these days.

Rounding out the top 5 is another digital only release, The Singularity, another ecstatically melodic excursion in synth-guitar orchestrations from Mark Dwane.  It probably would’ve been a CD of the Month if it had been a physical release.

You can see the rest of the Echoes Top 25 for November right here.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

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Surrender to Jeff Oster’s September CD of the Month.

September 1, 2011

Hear Jeff Oster interviewed tonight 02/01/2012 on Echoes. 

It’s Ambient Electronica Lounge Sounds from Horn Player Jeff Oster

As Echoes September CD of the Month

Until recently, you didn’t hear much trumpet outside of jazz in contemporary music. There’s Jon Hassell, Mark Isham and you’re pretty much done.  But lately there’s been a cavalcade of trumpeters with electronic aspirations, including Nils Petter Molvaer, Ben Neill, Giorgio Li Calzi and Arve Henriksen. Jeff Oster should be on that list as well.  Until his 2005 debut, Released, he was a journeyman horn player.  Now he’s the go-to trumpeter  for any number of musicians, including Windham Hill Records founder, Will Ackerman.

With this third CD, Jeff Oster enters edgier terrain with an even more personal sound.  Surrender is an album of 21st century lounge music, morphed through soulful melodies, snaky grooves and film noir textures.  “All That Matters” establishes the terrain with a swampy rhythm redolent of Jon Hassells sound from about 16 years ago, during his Blue Screen phase.  Oster smears harmonized and echoing trumpet across the slow groove, intoning a dark, Miles-esque minimalist melody.

With a trumpet sound that seems as if it were blown in Rudy Van Gelders studio circa 1958 and then electrified, Jeff Oster has made music for dark nights and rain-swept city streets.   But this is thoroughly modern music which is by turns growling, slinky, seductive and trancey.  He spaces out completely on “53 Mirrors”, echoing his flugelhorn against a cycle of tuned percussion sounds and swirling, tremulous synthesizers.  Oster loves playing these long, legato lines, leaving notes hanging sustained above the firmament like frozen skyways.

While Oster’s previous album, True, featured many guest musicians, Surrender is mostly a two-man show. He’s joined by Bryan Carrigan, who co-wrote all but three tracks and co-produced the album in addition to programming and playing keyboards. The lone signature guest is Diane Arkenstone who goes Donna Summers-breathy on the title track and plays the role of the affirming chorus of Oster’s philosophical musings on “The Voice.”

Jeff Oster might want to leave the lyric and poetry writing behind, but he’s found a personal voice for his horns.  While the influences are apparent – Miles, Hassell, Isham – he’s synthesized them into his own mood-evoking music: a dark, smoke-filled lounge of liquid neon and tarnished chrome.  Surrender is the Echoes CD of the Month for September.

John Diliberto ©  ((( echoes )))

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Marconi Union Channels Ambient Miles

April 12, 2011

Marconi Union, the ambient duo from England, has a new collaboration with trumpeter Giorgio Li Calzi. It’s part of his Organum project which features a lot of collaborations and among them is the track “Blue Lights” with MU.  They’ve got it posted up on Soundcloud.  It’s a nice drifty track with Miles Davis-inspired trumpet by Li Calzi playing over MU’s slow motion freefall textures. 

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

The Best Echoes Songs Ever? O Superman? Music for 18 Musicians?

August 25, 2008

Even though we play individual songs on Echoes, I don’t usually think of the music that way. Being from the pre-digital generation, I still organize music in terms of artists and albums. I thought of this recently as our local Echoes affiliate, WXPN in Philadelphia, has been pumping their latest poll,  The Top 885 Essential XPN Songs. (885 because their frequency is 88.5 FM) Listeners are being requested to submit their top ten lists on-line. 

My Top Ten Artists list has been stable for years, and my Top Ten Albums only changes occasionally. But Top Ten Songs?  I think that could change every 10 minutes. When you think about songs across genres, and open it up completely, how do you narrow it down to ten. Even limiting it to the current core XPN sound of singer-songwriter and alternative rock is pretty broad.  Hell, I don’t even think of Echoes music in terms of songs.  It’s more like sounds, moods, and at most compositions.  I tried to keep that in mind when I submitted my poll.   This is the Top Ten Essential XPN Songs list I submitted that tried to split the difference, but in the end didn’t succeed. There is no ranking to the list.
Miles Davis “In A Silent Way” In A Silent Way
Jimi Hendrix “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” Electric Ladyland
Klaus Schulze “Frank Herbert” X
Dead Can Dance “Cantara” Within the Realm of a Dying Sun
Kate Bush “The Dreaming” The Dreaming
Steve Tibbetts “10 Years” YR
Brian Eno “Sky Saw” Another Green World
Beth Orton “She Cries Your Name” Trailer Park
Laurie Anderson “O Superman” Big Science
Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” Music for 18 Musicians

As I peruse this quickly tossed together list, I realize I kind of blew it.  Most of these are indeed, compositions, not songs and in the context of XPN, it’s a little like voting for the Green Party (no offense).    So here’s my amended Top Ten List:                                                                                               
Jimi Hendrix “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” Electric Ladyland
Dead Can Dance “Cantara” Within the Realm of a Dying Sun
Kate Bush “The Dreaming” The Dreaming
David Sylvian “Let the Happiness In” Secrets of the Beehive
Beth Orton “She Cries Your Name” Trailer Park
Laurie Anderson “O Superman” Big Science
The Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows” Revolver
The Rolling Stones “Satisfaction” Out of Our Heads
Moby “Porcelian” Play
Jane Siberry “Calling All Angels” When I Was A Boy

It’s still a bit off base I suspect. 

If you’re a listener to WXPN, you can cast your vote on their website ballot. The deadline is September 7. Who knows what might show up on there amidst the inevitable selections of My Morning Jacket, R.E.M, the Cure, Tori Amos, Coldplay, U2, and Bob Dylan tunes. In fact, I should have put some of them on my Top Ten. Yep, that list took about 10 minutes to change, twice. 

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

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