Posts Tagged ‘Olafur Arnalds’

John Diliberto’s Top 10 CDs 2013

December 30, 2013

This was one of the hardest lists ever to compile.  It’s different from 25 Essential Echoes CDs of 2013, which is our picks of the best music played on Echoes.  And it’s also different from The Best of Echoes 2013 Listener Poll results.   These are my picks from all the music I heard in what turned out to be an epic year for new music.  And in an epic year, these are the albums that rose to the top of the top for me.

Metheny-Tap-Tzadik-cvr1- Pat MethenyTap: John Zorn’s The Book of Angels, Vol. 20
Metheny takes fragmentary themes from composer John Zorn’s “Book of Angels” series and orchestrates 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.

Stories2- Rhian Sheehan –  Stories from Elsewhere
On his 7th album, Stories from Elsewhere Rhian Sheehan created one of the most sublime shadings of ambient chamber music since Harold Budd’s Pavillion of Dreams.  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-5003 – Olivier Libaux Uncovered Queens of the Stone Age
I don’t know if I could’ve gotten behind an album more than I did Olivier Libaux’s sublime covers of music by alt-metal band Queen’s of the Stone Age.  Part of the New Wave/Punk cover band Nouvelle Vague.  Libaux stepped out on his own to record the albums with singers including Emilianna Torinni and Inara George. He accomplished a melancholy re-imagining of this alt-metal band’s music. It was a CD of the Month in July.

TimeLapse4 – Ludovico Einaudi –  In a Time Lapse
In a Time Lapse is a defining album on which pianist/composer Ludovico 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. It was Echoes CD of the Month in March,

Innocents-2505 – Moby   Innocents
Moby completes a trilogy of atmospheric, introspective songs 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-2506 – 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.

Long Way To Fall7 – 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.  The title track will leave you breathless.  It was an Echoes CD of the Month in February.

WInterwell8 – Mree   Winterwell
Serene dream pop from a 19 year old musician who comes from a singer-songwriter tradition but creates Enya like choirs with her voice on this lush and powerful album.

Bleeding-Raainbow-Yeah-Right CVR9 – Bleeding Rainbow   Yeah, Right
This Philadelphia based band created a garage-rock psychedelic ecstacy that often attained the epic mixing shoegaze guitars with motoric grooves and heroic girl-group choruses from singer Sarah Everton.  I’m still trying to figure out why Savages got so much hipster attention and this album slipped away.  Play it loud and you’ll wonder why as well.

kveikur10- Sigur Ros  Kveikur
Sigur Ros kick out the jams on this album of delirious, roiling textures and Jonsi’s falsetto melodies of prayer.  This is one of the Icelandic groups more aggressive outings which is saying a lot for a band that has no restraints in their electric storm.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

GIVE THE GIFT OF THE ECHOES CD OF THE MONTH CLUB

FoundJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  David Helping and Jon Jenkins’ Found is 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.

OR

LRC19-250pxGIVE 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.

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Echoes Top 25 for December 2013

December 27, 2013

FoundHere’s the last Top 25 list for 2013.  And like our 25 Essential Echoes CDs and The Best of Echoes Listener Poll, it reveals just what a great year 2013 was.  There are seven Echoes CD of the Month picks on it including December’s selection, David Helpling & Jon Jenkins’ Found.  That’s unusual, but that’s because of the Best of show and the 12 CDs of the Month for 2013 show.  WinterfoldBut there’s a couple of CDs there that easily could’ve been CDs of the month, notably, Jeff Johnson, Brian Dunnings & Wendy Goodwin’s Winterfold, a wonderful album of atmospheric winter pastorals, Bombay Dub Orchestra’s Tales from the Grand Bazaar, a CD that get’s into a serene, ambient chamber music sound but with eastern edges and subtle dub grooves, and lamentationAzam Ali & Loga Ramin Torkian’s Lamentation of Swans, a deep dive into Persian atmospheres with a lush merging of extoci strings, throbbing percussion and synthesizer atmosphere’s all topped by the sensual wordless vocals of Azam Ali.  And next Month’s CD of teh Month is here as well, Hammock’s Oblivion Hymns. Here‘s the list.

ECHOES TOP 25 FOR DECEMBER 2013

  1. David Helpling & Jon JenkinsFound (Spotted Peccary) iTunes
  2. MobyInnocents (Mute) iTunes
  3. Jeff Johnson Brian Dunning & Wendy Goodwin Winterfold (Ark Records) iTunes
  4. Olivier LibauxUncovered Queens of the Stone Age (Music for Music Lovers) Uncovered: Queens of the Stone Age - Olivier Libaux
  5. Tonight SkyTonight Sky (Tonight Sky)
  6. Moya BrennanAn Irish Christmas (BFO Records)
  7. Ólafur ArnaldsFor Now I Am Winter (Mercury Classics) iTunes
  8. Tom Griesgraber and Bert LamsUnnamed Lands (Inner Knot) iTunes
  9. Divine MatrixHydrosphere (AD Music) iTunes
  10. Akara – The World Beyond (Merkaba Music) iTunes
  11. EuphoriaE4 (Instrumental) (Euphoria) iTunes
  12. HammockOblivion Hymns (Hammock Music) iTunes
  13. Bombay Dub OrchestraTales from the Grand Bazaar (Six Degrees) iTunes
  14. Ulrich SchnaussA Long Way to Fall (Ulrich Schnauss) iTunes
  15. Brad HoytFar Away from Every Day (Harp Guitar Music)
  16. Juliette CommagereHuman (Aeronaut Records) iTunes
  17. Ludovico Einaudi – In a Time Lapse (Ponderosa Music & Art) iTunes
  18. Azam Ali and Loga R TorkianLamentation of Swans (Terrestrial Lane Productions) iTunes
  19. Mary Fahl Love & Gravity (Mary Fahl) iTUnes
  20. EklipseElectric Air (The End) iTunes
  21. Frankie RoseHerein Wild (Fat Possum Records) iTunes
  22. Lotte KestnerThe Bluebird of Happiness (Saint Marie) iTunes
  23. The Piano GuysA Family Christmas (Portrait) iTunes
  24. Courtney BarnettA Sea of Split Peas (House Anxiety) iTunes
  25. GrailsBlack Tar Prophecies Vols 4-6 (Temporary Residence) iTunes

See 25 Essential Echoes CDs and The Best of Echoes Listener Poll

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

GIVE THE GIFT OF THE ECHOES CD OF THE MONTH CLUB

FoundJoin 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.

OR

LRC19-250px

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.

12 Echoes CDs of the Month Tonight

December 4, 2013

WE LOOK BACK AT ECHOES CD OF THE MONTH PICKS FROM 2013

November: Moby - Innocents

November: Moby – Innocents

Every month on Echoes we pick out the CD of the Month. It’s the album we think best represents the sound of Echoes and simply, the best album in that sound.  This year has been a great one for CD of the Month  selections, so I thought we’d do an entire show looking back at those albums. We’ll be going from our current December pick, David Helpling & Jon Jenkins’ Found, all the way back to our January pick, The Ambient Zone-Just Music Café Volume 4.

January: The Ambient Zone - Just Music Cafe Volume 4

January: The Ambient Zone – Just Music Cafe Volume 4

They aren’t necessarily the best albums of the year, but they were all the best album of their respective months and I would be surprised if they all weren’t in our year end top 25.  It can be hard picking the albums. The selections are either slim or abundant.  This year fell on the abundant side as we had our best stretch of Echoes CD of the Month picks in a while.  As we head toward the end of the year and best of lists, I thought I’d look back at our twelve picks.  Maybe these are albums you voted for in the Best of Echoes 2013 poll going on right now at echoes.org.

Prepare for the show with reviews and tracks from all the CDs

March: Ludovico Einaudi - In A Time Lapse

March: Ludovico Einaudi – In A Time Lapse

January: The Ambient Zone – Just Music Café Volume 4
February: Ulrich Schnauss – A Long Way to Fall
March: Ludovico Einaudi – In A Time Lapse
April: Òlafur Arnalds – For Now I Am Winter
May: Rhian Sheehan – Stories from Elsewhere
June: Rachel Zeffira – The Deserters
July: Olivier Libaux – Uncovered Queens of the Stone Age
August: Melorman – Waves
September: Darshan Ambient – Little Things
October: Akara – The World Beyond
November: Moby – Innocents
December: David Helpling & Jon Jenkins – Found

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

GIVE THE GIFT OF THE ECHOES CD OF THE MONTH CLUB

FoundJoin 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.

OR

LRC19-250pxGIVE 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.

Transmissions: Echoes Living Room Concerts V19

November 11, 2013

INCOMING MESSAGE:

TRANSMISSIONS: THE ECHOES LIVING ROOM CONCERTS VOLUME 19
buyit

LRC19-360pxTRANSMISSIONS is a collection of live Echoes performances that shows Echoes moving into the future in our 25th year.  It’s a merging of electronic, new acoustic, dream pop and ambient chamber music.  This is the center of Echoes. In Transmissions, you’ll hear the atmosphere laden songs of Azure Ray, Julia Holter, Still Corners and Una.

There are haunting singer-songwriters with Hem and SHEL, and virtuoso guitarists Jesse Cook and Kaki King.  Ambient chamber music is heard in the illuminating performances of Ólafur Arnalds, Ludovico Einaudi and Helen Jane Long.  Electronica plugs in with  the sound of Tycho and Ulrich Schnauss and space music orbits with Ian Boddy, Radio Massacre International and Vic Hennegan.

Tycho's Scott Hansen on EchoesTYCHO launches the album with one of his best known tracks, “A Walking” from his 2011 CD, Dive. He brought a bassist and drummer into Echoes to realize the slightly off-centered and buoyant groove of this track which has Tycho’s Scott Hansen playing synths and guitar.

Ulrich Schnauss on Echoes

Ulrich Schnauss on Echoes

Tycho is a cousin in musical ways to ULRICH SCHNAUSS.  This is Ulrich’s second appearance on an Echoes CD and he surprises us with this complete makeover of “A Long Way to Fall,” the title piece to his latest album, which was an Echoes CD of the Month.  I actually pulled this segment out of a 28 minute continuous set he performed as he reconfigured the melancholy themes of this song, rendering it almost completely new.

Azure Ray on Echoes

Azure Ray on Echoes

We’ve been loving the new wave of Dream Pop artists on the show and several of them came through this year.  AZURE RAY, the duo of Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor were as entrancing live as they are on their CDs.  These mavens of melancholy can bring you to tears and they do with this darkly hued, electronically throbbing song, “Scattered Like Leaves” from their EP, As Above So Below.   I love the Moog bass accent on it.

Tessa Murray & Greg Hughes of Still Corners on Echoes

Tessa Murray & Greg Hughes of Still Corners on Echoes

STILL CORNERS has a lighter, more exuberant touch with singer Tessa Murray voicing the romantic theme of guitarist Greg Hughes.  “Fireflies” in particular, from their album Strange Pleasures, is a buoyant track even though Tessa has never seen fireflies.

Una on Echoes

Una on Echoes

UNA are an LA trio that brings a bit more of a jazz and trip-hop sound to their music.  They were scheduled to perform in my living room, but on a 95 degree summer day, the air conditioning failed an hour before their arrival.  We scrambled to my girlfriend’s house where the band assembled their turntables, effects and Wurlitzer electric piano to play songs from their The Laughing Man EP.  They played a beautiful version of “We Are the Lonely” with Jennifer Nice’s coolly arch  vocal and  Eddie Barajas’ live turntable samples and manipulations.

Julia Holter on Echoes

Julia Holter on Echoes

JULIA HOLTER is a singer-songwriter with ambient moods and an avant-gardists heart.  Her albums, including Ekstasis and the recent Loud City Song, feature heavily layered vocals, so we thought she’d come in with backing tracks.  But Holter decided to do it all live with herself on keyboards, a cellist and drummer. The wistful themes of “In the Same Room” were beautifully served by this approach. She created a version as melodically beguiling as the album track, but different, live and present.

On the acoustic singer-songwriter side, we have two bands that follow the unconventional path.

Hem on Echoes

Hem on Echoes

HEM is a band from New York who almost broke up under the weight of one member’s drug addiction.  But pianist and composer Don Messé got clean and wrote several beautiful, heartbreaking songs for their album, Departure and Farewell.  It started as a swansong but became something bigger.  We took their performance of the title track for Transmissions with that amazing vocal from Sally Ellyson.

Shel: Eva, Hannah, Sarah and Liza on Echoes

Shel: Eva, Hannah, Sarah and Liza on Echoes

While the member of Hem are hovering around the 40 year old mark, the members of SHEL hover around 20.  They are four sisters from Colorado, Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza Holbrook and they play violin, piano, mandolin and percussion and also have beautiful, sisterly harmonies when they sing.  “Paint My Life” from their debut album is full of melancholic, youthful reflections but also has a sense of whimsy.

Two great guitarists appear on this CD, Jesse Cook and Kaki King.  Both have been on previous Echoes collections.

Jesse Cook on Echoes

Jesse Cook on Echoes

JESSE COOK came stripped down this time, just him and another guitarist as they played music from across Cook’s career.  But we really wanted to hear him play music from his latest album, The Blue Guitar Sessions and “Broken Moon” is one of them.

KAKI KING has been on Echoes many times, and every time, it’s different.  On the heels of her album, Glow, she came in with her acoustic guitar and koto guitar and proceeded to show why she’s one of the most highly regarded finger-style guitarists of our time.

Kaki King on Echoes

Kaki King on Echoes



Ambient chamber music, that meeting ground of classical and ambient electronics, has been an important part of Echoes for years. In fact, we coined the term.  We have two of the leading figures in the genre, Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi and Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds.

Ludovico Einaudi on Echoes.

Ludovico Einaudi on Echoes.

LUDOVICO EINAUDI is the more traditional of the two, coming from a traditional classical background.  His music is marked by its soaring melodicism.   He’s been on four previous Echoes CDs, but this is the best example of his work, playing with a small chamber ensemble he performed music from his CD of the Month, In a Time Lapse.  This performance of the title piece is a trance-like excursion of minimalist modalities.

Ólafur Arnalds on Echoes

Ólafur Arnalds on Echoes

ÓLAFUR ARNALDS is much younger by half, than Einaudi and his music is more deeply embedded in an ambient sound.  His 2013 album, For Now I Am Winter was an Echoes CD of the Month, but perhaps ironically, this track, “Near Light”, originally appeared on his Living Room Songs album.  He composed a song every day, played it in his living room and uploaded it to the web.  Recording with just a piano, electronics, violin and cello, it’s a work of pensive moods suspended in space.  It was recorded at The Oven Studio in New York, which is owned by Alicia Keys and he played her Yamaha grand piano.

English composer HELEN JANE LONG isn’t quite ambient chamber music since she doesn’t employ electronics, but she composes in that mode with serenely sculpted melodies that sound like that came from an earlier, more elegant time.  She brought a string quartet into Echoes to play music from her albums and we picked this beautiful rendition of “To Dust” originally from her Embers album.  She recently rerecorded tracks from her Porcelain album at Air Studios in London.  The Music Centre where this was recorded isn’t Air, but it still sounds pretty good.

Transmissions may have the most space music selections of any previous CD.

Radio Massacre International At Echoes

Radio Massacre International At Echoes

RADIO MASSACRE INTERNATIONAL is the only performance on this disc recorded in the actual Echoes Living Room.  Duncan Goddard, Steve Dinsdale and Gary Houghton gathered, literally on the floor, surrounded by synthesizers, computers, effects pedals and cables and spun out this rendition of an older track called , “Organ Harvest” the title piece to a long out-of-print album.  Note the Pink Floyd “Echoes” homage at the end from Houghton’s guitar. Their latest album is The Clouds of Titan.

Ian Boddy on Echoes

Ian Boddy on Echoes

IAN BODDY has been on a few previous Echoes CDs, but only once before as a solo artist.  He stepped into Echoes’ black booth and surrounded himself in a cockpit of synthesizers to play this piece “Open Door” from his album, Liverdelphia, which, coincidentally was also a live recording.  Ian actually cut two takes of this piece.  He played a beautiful lead line on the first version, but he intentionally buried it in his mix.  Since it was a two track, direct to stereo recording, I asked him to do a second take with the lead more prominent, which he reluctantly consented to do.  I like it.  It’s a classic space music track, replete with Mellotron vocal choirs.

Vic Hennegan on Echoes.

Vic Hennegan on Echoes.

Finally, VIC HENNEGAN.  The only reason he’s the last track is because “Desert Vortex”is the longest, clocking in at over 9 minutes.  Vic has not only a great sense of sequencing and sound design, but he also has a talent for musical structure as he builds this track to a momentous climax.  This piece was originally supposed to be on a compilation album, but that never happened, so this is the only version of this “Desert Vortex.”

Transmissions is dedicated to Ravi Shankar 1920-2012

As we move through our 25th year, I can’ think of a better way to launch than with Transmissions.
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John Diliberto (((echoes)))

LRC19-250pxPick up you copy of Transmissions in the Echoes Store.  Current members of the Echoes CD of the Month Club will be getting Transmissions with their next CD.  You can join them in getting a great CD every month by signing up for the Echoes CD of the Month InnocentsClub.  New members will get Moby’s Innocents album, our November CD of the Month and a BONUS CD of Bombay Dub Orchestra’s Tales from the Grand Bazaar.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.  You can do it all right here.

TalesEchoes On LineNow 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.

Northern Lights – The Chilled Sound of Scandinavia.

June 11, 2013

Solar Fields MovementsEchoes explores the chilled world of music from Scandinavia with electronic sounds from Norway, dream pop from Denmark, downtempo electronics from Sweden and ambient chamber music from Iceland.

Iceland’s Ólafur Arnalds and Sigur Ros; Denmark’s  Agnes Obel and Manual, Norway’s Terje Rypdal and Green Isac; Sweden’s Solar Fields and more.  Turn out the lights.  The only illumination you’ll need is Northern Lights on Echoes tonight.

Here’s some video tastes for you.



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

Echoes Ólafur Arnalds Interview Podcast

May 18, 2013

Hear the Echoes Interview with Ólafur Arnalds in the Echoes Podcast

Ólafur Arnalds’ For Now I Am Winter

Ólafur Arnalds’ For Now I Am Winter

There is an emerging generation of artists who are positing the first new movement in classical music since 1970s minimalism: Ambient Chamber Music.  It mixes classical orchestrations with electronic sounds, but couches  them all in gorgeous, often heart-rending melodies and an atmosphere that envelopes you, unlike a lot of neo-classical music.  Artists like Ludovico Einaudi, Hilmar Orn Hilmarrson and Max  Richter are at the leading edge, but there’s a growing younger generation that includes Dustin O’Halloran, Johnann Johannsson, Kevin Keller and leading the pack, Ólafur Arnalds.  His latest album, For Now I Am Winter was the Echoes CD of the Month in April.  During an Echoes living room concert we sat down to talk about his winter soundscapes. You can hear that interview in the Echoes Podcast.

Olafur Arnalds band & John Diliberto

Olafur Arnalds band & John Diliberto

Ólafur on Alicia Keys piano:   It’s a really, it’s so polished.

Arnór Dan Arnarson on his heavy metal reputation: It sounds so aahhhh!

Ólafur on Arnarson’s lyrics: When we were doing demos and just writing the vocal melodies in my studio, we didn’t have any lyrics yet, so Arnor would just sing jibberish, just go [jibbering] and then we got so addicted to those vowels because we had listened to it so many times, that when he started writing the lyrics he consciously tried to find words that rhymed with the vowels that we had previously used because they just felt so natural to the music.

Ólafur on silence:  I think silence is just as much music as not.

Here’s a dreamy video of my favorite song from the album, “Only the Winds.”

~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.

Iceland to New Zealand in Echoes Top 25 for April

April 30, 2013

Ambient Chamber Music Master pieces Echoes Top 25 for April

Olafur-Arnalds-For-Now-I-Am-Winter-250Ólafur Arnald‘s For Now I Am Winter, the Echoes CD of the Month for April, and Rhian Sheehan‘s Stories from Elsewhere top our list for April and that’s little surprise since both are masterpieces of Ambient Chamber Music.  One musician comes from Iceland, the other from Norway, exemplifying just how broad the Ambient Chamber Music zeitgeist is.  There’s little doubt these albums will be near the top of our year end lists.  It’s been a fantastic month for music with newer artists to Echoes like Sleeping Forest, Apricot Rail, Rajendra Teredesa and Spiro.

ECHOES TOP 25 FOR APRIL 2013

  1. Ólafur ArnaldsFor Now I Am Winter (Mercury Classics)
  2. Rhian SheehanStories from Elsewhere (Darla Records)
  3. v/a Fresh Handmade Sound – The Sound Bath (Lush Limited)
  4. Shaman’s DreamPrana Pulse (Sounds True) iTunes
  5. Sleeping ForestRise of Nature (Hadra)
  6. William TylerImpossible Truth (Merge Records)
  7. Cliff Martinez/SkrillexSpring Breakers (OST) (Big Beat Records)
  8. Three Fields Wherever You’re Standing Now (Installed Worlds)
  9. Sumner McKaneSelect Visual History (Sumner McKane)
  10. Dead Can DanceIn Concert (Pias America)
  11. Solar FieldsOrigin #02 (Ultimae)
  12. Lloyd Cole and Hans-Joachim RoedeliusSelected Studies Vol.1 (Bureau B) iTunes
  13. DidoGirl Who Got Away (RCA)
  14. Robert JurjendalSource of Joy (Unsung Records)
  15. Rick SmithTrance (OST) (UME)
  16. Rajendra TeredesaiPath of the Divine (Real Music)
  17. Apricot RailQuarrels (Hidden Schoal Recordings)
  18. Scott AugustHidden Journey (Cedar Mesa Music)
  19. Ludovico Einaudi – In a Time Lapse (Ponderosa Music & Art) iTunes
  20. SpiroKaleidophonica (Real World) Anastasis - Dead Can Dance
  21. Mark Holland and N. Scott RobinsonLost in the Beauty of it All (Mark Holland)
  22. DeleriumMusic Box Opera (Nettwerk Records) iTunes
  23. AOMUSICHokulea (AOMUSIC)
  24. Painted RavenThe Great Gallery (Painted Raven)
  25. Don PerisThe Old Century (Badman Records)

~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.

Ólafur Arnalds’ Winter Chill

March 28, 2013

ÓLAFUR ARNALDS’ FOR NOW I AM WINTER
ECHOES APRIL CD OF THE MONTH

Hear Ólafur Arnalds talk about For Now I Am Winter on Tuesday May 13 on Echoes

Hear this review in the Echoes Podcast 

Ólafur Arnalds’ For Now I Am Winter

Ólafur Arnalds’ For Now I Am Winter

Icelandic artists are subjected to many clichés: most commonly that their music reflects the frozen north, land of glaciers, fjords, and endless nights.  As a critic, you try to avoid that  trap.  But Ólafur Arnalds’ has released two albums in a row that truly seem to emerge from the heart of Icelandic winter darkness.  If his 2010 album, And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness, was the sound of Iceland’s sunless winter days, his latest release, For Now I Am Winter, turns the Nordic freeze into heroic rapture.  The opening track, “Sudden Throw,” is a sunrise panorama, like a slow-motion flight through a blizzard of siren strings and echoes hanging in the air like frozen sculptures.  I wish this piece had gone on much longer before dropping into “Brim,” which goes austere, a nervous string quartet joined by syncopated electronic rhythms. But even this Philip Glass-inspired  piece eventually moves into a heart-breaking meditation of pensive piano, violin and viola, on the verge of breaking into tears.
“Only the Winds”

And that’s how For Now I Am Winter moves.  The sound is reflected in the cover art of this elegantly packaged CD.  A profile portrait of Arnalds’ face is broken up by a pale, superimposed coastal seascape.  The lyrics and liner notes of the booklet are hand written, and look like words crossing over from a spirit realm, bleeding through the paper rather than printed on it. Just like that image, Arnalds’ music seems to push through in shifting layers and moving clouds, an electronic pattern covered by yearning strings; a mood of dire isolation shading one of euphoria.

Arvo Pärt is an obvious reference for Arnalds, but Craig Armstrong is a forgotten pioneer in merging acoustic strings with electronics, as heard on his album, The Space Between Us. Ólafur Arnalds has codified a similar approach with a more downtempo, glitched edge, as clanking electronic percussion often pulls these tracks along in a chain-gang rhythm.  Across these grooves, the string orchestrations on pieces like on “Only the Winds,” scored by American composer Nico Mulhy, move in a tremulous, angelic surge.

Arnalds introduces the vocals of Arnór Dan Arnarson on several pieces. He sings in a faint, fragile voice with falsetto cries that go into the terrain of Jonsi, the singer from Sigur Rós. It’s the kind of intimate sound that Arnalds explored instrumentally on his recent project called Living Room Songs, recorded in his home.  Even with a full string section assembled next to his sofa, these are gentle, delicate works that speak to the quaintness and intimacy that underlie Arnalds’ compositions. You can hear that aesthetic at work here on the piano track, “Words of Amber” where every creak and squeak of his piano becomes part of the composition.

Both sophisticated and edgy, Ólafur Arnalds inhabits his own sonic universe, balancing emotions and mood on a laser’s edge.  I thought I wanted winter to be over until I heard For Now I Am Winter. Now I want to be embraced by the chill a little while longer.

~John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Hear this review in the Echoes Podcast 

Echoes On LineOlafur-Arnalds-For-Now-I-Am-Winter-250Sign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.  With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs likeFor Now I Am Winter.  Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club  and see what you’ve been missing.

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Ludovico Einaudi Leads Echoes March Madness 25

March 27, 2013
Ludovico Einaudi - In A Time Lapse

Ludovico Einaudi – In A Time Lapse

I don’t follow March Basketball Madness much, but I do like March Music Madness and it’s been a great month for music on Echoes beginning with our number one CD, In A Time Lapse by Ludovico Einaudi.  It was our March CD of the Month.   If Ludovico Einaudi represents the best of Ambient Chamber Music, then Sumner McKane represents the best of Ambient Americana this month with Select Visual History,  another CD of

Sumner McKane - Select Visual History

Sumner McKane – Select Visual History

music that can best be described as Pink Floyd goes to Nashville.  He’s been releasing beautiful albums for a decade now.  Somebody sign this guy.   And right behind him is our April CD of the Month, Ólafur Arnalds’ For Now I Am Winter.  Again, one of the best Ambient Chamber Music albums of the year.  Look for a review of it tomorrow.

ECHOES TOP 25FOR MARCH.

  1. Ludovico Einaudi – In a Time Lapse (Ponderosa Music & Art) iTunes
  2. Sumner McKane – Select Visual History (Sumner McKane)
  3. Ólafur Arnalds – For Now I Am Winter (Mercury Classics)
  4. Scott August – Hidden Journey (Cedar Mesa Music)
  5. v/a – Manikin Records Second Decade 2002-2012 (Manikin Records)
  6. Lunasa – Lunasa with the RTE Concert Orchestra (Lunasa Records)
  7. Shaman’s Dream – Prana Pulse (Sounds True) iTunes
  8. Delerium – Music Box Opera (Nettwerk Records) iTunes
  9. Dead Can Dance – Anastasis (Pias America) Anastasis - Dead Can Dance
  10. Spiro – Kaleidophonica (Real World) Anastasis - Dead Can Dance
  11. Majeure – Solar Maximum (Temporary Residence) Anastasis - Dead Can Dance
  12. Ulrich Schnauss – A Long Way to Fall (Domino Records) iTunes
  13. Tom Griesgraber and Bert Lams – Unnamed Lands (Inner Knot)
  14. Tina Malia – The Lost Frontier (Tina Malia) iTunes
  15. Banco de Gaia – Apollo (Disco Gecko Recordings) iTunes
  16. Mono – For My Parents (Temporary Residence) iTunes
  17. v/a – Fresh Handmade Sound – The Sound Bath (Lush Limited)
  18. Scann-Tec – Morpheus – Live Nuit Hypnotique (Ultimae) iTunes
  19. Circular – Nordic Circles – Live Nuit Hypnotique (Ultimae) iTunes
  20. Ewan Dobson – Acoustic Metal (Candyrat Records) iTunes
  21. Brian Reitzel – Boss (OST) (Lakeshore Records) iTunes
  22. Ric Hordinski – Arthur’s Garden (Ol Kentuck Recordings) iTunes
  23. Mark Holland and N. Scott Robinson – Lost in the Beauty of it All (Mark Holland)
  24. Lloyd Cole and Hans-Joachim Roedelius – Selected Studies Vol.1 (Bureau B) iTunes
  25. Matt Borghi and Michael Teager – Convocation (SLOBOR Media) iTunes

~John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echoes On LineSign uTimeLapsep for Echoes CD of the Month Club.  With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs like In A Time Lapse   Club members got this album 10 days before release.  Sing up now for next month’s selection, Olafur Arnalds, For Now I Am Winter.  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.

Ólafur Arnalds’ Living Room Songs.

October 3, 2011

Ólafur Arnalds releases a new song every day for 7 days, all recorded in his living room.   The songs will be recorded and filmed live in the living room of his Reykjavík apartment and released instantly for FREE as streamed videos and MP3 downloads.Did he take a page from Echoes‘s Living Room Concerts which he performed in earlier this year?  Maybe not since that was recorded in a studio, WITF.   A track from that will appear on our forthcoming CD, Echo Location.  But for now, you can download the tracks from Olafur’s website.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))


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