Posts Tagged ‘Peter Kater’

R. Carlos Nakai’s 5 Best Native Winds

September 28, 2010

5 Essential CDs for an Icon of Echoes: R. Carlos Nakai

There are a lot of good traditional Native American flute players out there.  R. Carlos Nakai isn’t one of them. Instead, he’s been creating hybrid musics across genres and even created a few genres of his own.  Most of them are based in improvisation whether he’s playing with classical cellist Udi-Bar David from the Philadelphia Orchestra or with electronica artist Cliff Sarde.  For most essential lists, I stick to solo albums, but R. Carlos Nakai is the consummate collaborator, and to leave out his albums with artists like William Eaton and Will Clipman in particular would be wrong. R. Carlos Nakai was voted #8 among 20 Icons of Echoes.  You can see a complete list of the 20 Icons of Echoes.  R. Carlos Nakai will be featured tonight with an interview profile.    He has a lot of albums out.  These are the five I’d start with.
1-Feather, Stone & Light
This was a breakthrough album in many ways.  It firmly established R. Carlos Nakai’s penchant for taking the Native American flute outside of tradition and into world music terrain. Collaborating with instrument builder and guitarist William Eaton and hand percussionist William  Clipman, they sculpt an impressionistic world chamber music, bathing essentially acoustic instrumentals in reverberant atmospheres with processing and synthesizers.  Like a Georgia O’Keefe painting this is a fragile and introspective flower in the desert which Nakai so effectively evokes.

2 Sundance Season
R. Carlos Nakai has recorded many solo Native flute albums, but I’ve always had a fondness for Sundance Season recorded at Lindisfarne Mountain Retreat in Colorado.  Nakai sings chants in his deep baritone and plays flutes and eagle bone whistles in these meditative pieces that seem to merge with the winds of Lindisfarne.

3 Island of Bows
On Island of Bows, Nakai brings Native America to the east, collaborating with some Japanese traditional players as well as the eclectic Wind Travelin’ Band with Hiroki Okano.  Nakai’s flutes mix with the delicate plucks of kotos and more esoteric stringed instruments as well as the Japanese native flute, the shakuhachi.  It all sounds like the perfect haiku.

4 Migration
R. Carlos Nakai and Peter Kater have recorded several albums together, but I think their best remains Migration. Kater hones in on his melodic gifts and sense of ambient landscapes with beautiful lush backings of synthesizers mixing with David Darling’s cello.  Nakai’s flutes weave with the arrangements into intricate canyons of the soul.

5 Our Beloved Land
Keola Beamer is the leading slack key guitarist, and when he teams up with R. Carlos Nakai they tap into a tribal spirit of Hawaii in a set of evocative tone poems. Though most of the tunes are Hawaiian in origin and largely arranged by Beamer, he lets Nakai take them out into the deepest southwest desert, tumbling them through canyon echoes and ancient chants of his own. The rhythms, played on percussion instruments from Hawaii, the southwest and Africa are trance-like and ceremonial.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echoes Top 25 for September-Ambient Leads the Way

October 6, 2008

Digitonal tops the Echoes Top 25 for September, and will no doubt be near the top for the next several months. But right behind is Marconi Union, topping their own record as the highest placing digital download recording on Echoes. October’s CD of the Month, Sumner McKane’s nostalgia-tinged ambient americana masterpiece, What A Great Place to be, is already near the top in September at #4. New Entries include Darshan Ambient, Jeff Pearce, General Fuzz, Anja Lechner & Vasillis Tsabropoulos , Peter Kater, and Wolfert Brederode.  Over-all, another month of chilled moods and exotic grooves from across the Echoes spectrum. It’s been a good year, and it’s not over yet.  You can read print reviews and hear audio reviews with music from several of them,  including Sumner McKane, Digitonal, Marconi Union, Ron McFarlane, Michael Brook & Djivan GasparyanOttmar Liebert, Solas, and General Fuzz.

John Diliberto

SEPTEMBER 2008    

1. Digitonal Save Your Light for Darker Days Just Music
Read the Review!
2. Marconi Union A Lost Connection MU Transmissions
3. Ronn McFarlane Indigo Road Dorian
4. Sumner McKane What A Great Place to Be Don’t Hit Your Sister Records
5. Darshan Ambient From Pale Hands to Weary Eyes Lotuspike

6. Michael Brook/Djivan Gasparyan Penumbra Canadian Rational
7. Ottmar Liebert The Scent of Light Spiral Subwave Records Int’l
8. Solas For Love and Laughter Compass Records
9. William Ackerman Meditations Compass Productions
10. Fernwood Almeria Self Released
11. Hans-Joachim Roedelius & Tim Story Inlandish High Wire Records

12. Niyaz Nine Heavens Six Degrees
13. Jeff Pearce Rainshadow Sky Jeff Pearce Music
14. Jesse Cook Frontiers Koch Records
15. David Cullen Guitar Travels Solid Air
16. General Fuzz Soulful Filling Self Released
17. California Guitar Trio Echoes Inner Knot
18. Peter Kater Cloud Hands Point of Light Records
19. David Arkenstone Echoes of Light and Shadow Gemini Sun Records
20. Joan Jeanrenaud Strange Toys Talking House Records
21. Anja Lechner and Vasillis Tsabropoulos Melos ECM Records

22. Michel Banabila Traces Tapu Records
23. Forastiere Why Not? Candyrat Records
24. V/A Harp Guitar Dreams Harp Guitar Music
25. Wolfert Brederode Quartet Currents ECM Records
Digitonal’sSave Your Light for Darker Days

was the Echoes CD of the Month
for September 2008


Echoes Top 25 for July: Marconi Union first Download recording to crack Top 5

August 5, 2008

Ambient chamber music still dominates the Echoes Top 25 for August, but for the first time, a download only album cracks the the Echoes Top 5. That CD is the purely ambient A Lost Connection by Marconi Union. Their album, Distance, from 3 years ago was among our favorite CDs that year, and A Lost Connection was definitely worth the wait. The album is full of plaintive electric guitar lines draped across a mesh of subtle, insinuating beats, synth pads full of melancholy and glitchy effects dropping in from the fringes. This album is more poetic and almost classical in spots compared to their first two albums. The mellotron-like flutes of the “Endless Winter” lend a somnolent chamber music sound across the insistent, but downtempo bass thud. Expect to hear that  song frequently on Echoes Winter Solstices to come and A Lost Connection frequently on Echoes. Right now, the only place to get A Lost Connection is from the Marconi Union website.

To my ears, there’s a very short distance between the classical Ahn Trio and the ambient Marconi Union.  In that light, ambient chamber music remains strong, although only 10 out of 25 discs fit broadly into that camp, compared to 14 last month. The Ahn Trio, Ronn McFarlane, and Jami Sieber remained important players this month.  Ottmar Liebert’s The Scent of Light made an impressive debut at #14. Look for that to be number 1 for August since it’s our CD of the Month.   You can read a Print Review  here, including an Audio Review with music.  Over all, there was a 50% turn-over in the Top 25 for August.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

ECHOES TOP 25 FOR JULY Wind of the East 1 – Sacred Earth (Peter Kater, Joseph Fire Crow, Arvel Bird) – Wind of the East (Print Review or Audio Review)

 Lullaby for My Favorite Insomniac 2 – Ahn Trio – Lullaby For My Favorite Insomniac <Listen>

Marconic Usnion Lost 3 – Marconi Union – A Lost Connection

The 10,000 Steps 4 – Biomusique – The 10000 Steps <Read Review or Listen>
Guitar Travels5 – David Cullen – Guitar Travels 

Echoes of Light and Shadow 6 – David Arkenstone – Echoes of Light and Shadow

Glow In The Dark 7 – Kevin Bartlett – Glow in the Dark

Indigo Road 8 – Ronn McFarlane – Indigo Road

Traces (Music for films & documentaries)9 – Michel Banabila – Traces
Unspoken 10 – Jami Sieber – Unspoken < Listen>

lidor11 – Eldad Lidor – Closer
Inlandish12 – Hans-Joachim roedelius & Tim Story – Inlandish

Echoes 13 – California Guitar Trio – Echoes (Read Article)
The Scent of Light14 – Ottmar Liebert – The Scent of Light (Print Review or Audio Review)

15 – Skala – Tundra
Dreaming of Revenge16 – Kaki King – Dreaming of Revenge
Rivers Arms17 – Balmorhea – Rivers Arms

UTTR18 – Under the Radar – I Was There But I Can’t Remember When
Maybe They Will Sing for Us Tomorrow 19 – Hammock – Maybe They Will Sing for Us Tomorrow
20 – William Ackerman – Meditations

Nine Heavens 21 – Niyaz – Nine Heavens
22 – Fernwood – Almeria
Vertical Eden23 – David Pritchard – Vertical Eden
Strange Toys24 – Joan Jeanrenaud – Strange Toys

Peyote Dreaming 25 – Don Peyote – Peyote Dreaming

Sacred Earth-Wind of the East

July 1, 2008

Peter Kater creates a new Native Fusion project with Sacred EarthWind of the East

(Hear an Audio version of this blog with music)

Wind of the East Cover

On a new project called Sacred Earth, pianist Peter Kater expands his reputation as one of the leading purveyors of Native American fusion. With Sacred Earth, he’s created four albums from four compass points, each featuring different Native musicians including Rita Coolidge, Bill Miller and Kevin Locke. The latest and third in the series is called Wind of the East and on that CD, Kater collaborates with Cheyenne flute player Joseph Fire Crow and Paiute violinist Arvel Bird.

Wind of the East oscillates between spacious, contemplative themes like “The Greeting” to more rhythmically driven, instrumentally ornate works like “Sunrise.” Echoes of Kater’s Natives, Natives his pioneering CD of duets with Native flute player R. Carlos Nakai, are heard in an intimate duet with Fire Crow on “Seeds and Ceremony.” But this collaboration has more of an ensemble feel than his chamber music designs with Nakai.

Arvel Bird’s violin has a warm melodic tone and lyrical sound that whirls through Kater’s arrangements. While there’s little intrinsically “native” in the violin, Joseph Fire Crow is a student of traditional flute songs who nevertheless plays freely within this music, creating soulful melodies and bird-like calls. I love the way the flute and violin lines interweave. On “The Eagle’s Story,” Bird’s short, arcing violin sounds like a call out to Fire Crow, whose flute emerges out of the violin echo at the beginning. It’s one of the more energized tunes on the album, with melodies that spin between the two native musicians and guitarist Mike Hamilton, the unsung hero of this recording. His rhythm comping and finger-picked interplay tie many of these tracks together.

Wind of the South is still waiting to waft in, but in the meantime, Wind of the East blows a gentle, intricately detailed breeze through the native landscape and it’s our Echoes CD of the Month for July.

We’ll be featuring it on Echoes on July 7. You can hear an audio version of this review with music here. And definitely put July 22 in your datebook. That’s when we run an Echoes Living Room Concert with Sacred Earth, recorded in Peter Kater’s living room.

John Diliberto


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