Posts Tagged ‘Radio Massacre International’

Transmissions: Echoes Living Room Concerts V19

November 11, 2013

INCOMING MESSAGE:

TRANSMISSIONS: THE ECHOES LIVING ROOM CONCERTS VOLUME 19
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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.

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Living Room Concert: Radio Massacre International

August 7, 2013

Hear Radio Massacre International in a Living Room Concert on Echoes tonight.

It’s a trip into deep space when the English electronic trio Radio Massacre International comes into the Echoes living room and elevates us into the cosmos with a live performance.

Radio Massacre International At Echoes

Radio Massacre International At Echoes

Below, watch the electronic music video of Radio Massacre International’s “Small Frozen North” from their 1995 album Frozen North.


John Diliberto (((echoes)))
Echoes On Line

WavesSign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club. With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs like Melorman’s Waves. 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

Living Room Concert: Radio Massacre International

July 2, 2013

It’s a trip into deep space when the English electronic trio Radio Massacre International comes into the Echoes living room and elevates us into the cosmos with a live performance.

Radio Massacre International At Echoes

Radio Massacre International At Echoes

Below, watch the electronic music video of Radio Massacre International’s “Small Frozen North” from their 1995 album Frozen North.


John Diliberto (((echoes)))
UNQOTSASign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club. With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs like Olivier Libauxs Uncovered Queens of the Stone Age. Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club and see what you’ve been missing.

Echoes 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

Space Music on YouTube

April 11, 2012

RMI’s Steve Dinsdale & Duncan Godard in Live Echoes performance in Duncan’s London flat.

I got a notice from Chuck Van Zyl, the producer and host of WXPN‘s Star’s End and one half of The Ministry of Inside Things about a live solo  performance this Sunday, April 15 at 7:00 PM at the AxD Gallery, 265 S. 10th Street in Philadelphia.  (It’s a static site and there’s no info about the performance on there)  It’s a free gig.  Chuck posted this video of a live performance with stills from various gigs.  It’s a very cool live excursion of vintage mid-70s’ Tangerine Dream style electronics.

While I was checking out that video, I saw another one for Radio Massacre International, another retro-space band.  Their video is a nicely produced live

Chuck Van Zyl in Echoes Living Room with MOIT

performance.  I’ve seen RMI many times and they’ve been live on Echoes a few times as well.  One of their performances is on our CD, Resonance. This is one of the best live segments from them that I’ve ever heard.

There are times when I hear music like this and think, “Guys, it’s the 21st century already.” Then there are times when I listen to performances like these and think it’s the most amazing sound of the last century, period.   Those analog synths and sequencers still take you places that no other music can reach.

I hope you enjoyed this celestial trip from your humble space travel agent.

~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Swing into the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  By becoming a member you can get great music like Thierry David’s Stellar Connection, our April selection. Follow the link and see what you’ve been missing.  You can hear tracks, read the review and check out previous picks.

Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news including updates about blogs like this.

Radio Massacre International

April 21, 2010

Musical Children of Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream  Improvise Electronic Dreams.

You can hear an audio version of this blog with RMI’s music

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Radio Massacre International @ Echoes

The English band called Radio Massacre international has been around for a long time. How long? Steve Dinsdale says the trio made their first recordings on cassette, taping hours of jam sessions.  In fact, when we visited them in London in 2006, dozens of them sat in a pile in Duncan Godard‘s living room.

Steve Dinsdale: It was really like a noise making session rather than anything constructive, but it was just like how much noise could we make with cassette decks and really basic keyboards.  And that, that, I was actually listening to one of these things that we’ve done, and the name literally just sort of popped in, into to my head, you know, and I thought oh we’ll call this, we’ll call it Radio Massacre International.

Radio Massacre International is Steve Dinsdale on keyboards and drums, Duncan Godard on keyboards and bass and Gary Houghton on guitar.  They’re often compared to Tangerine Dream, but they’re more likely to cite space rock bands like Hawkwind, Gong and especially Pink Floyd.  Their 2007 album, Rain Falls in Grey, is a tribute to the late Pink Floyd founder, Syd Barrett. It started as just another RMI jam.

Steve Dinsdale: The opening track on Rain Falls in Grey, that was an improvisation.   That actually happened spontaneously days after Syd actually passed away.  You know, we didn’t actually know what we were doing but to me it sounded like it was a tribute and I actually played the drums from “Astronomy Domine” when the drums come in because I felt that’s what we were actually doing.

Radio Massacre International plays electronic music the old fashioned way, with their fingers.  You’ll find no computers on an RMI stage.  Instead they use a mixture of vintage synthesizers, mellotrons and digital keyboards to erect their sound.  They’ll also often turn off the keyboards and become a psychedelic power trio with guitar, bass and drums. Either way, the only thing agreed upon beforehand is the key signature and beats per minute, maybe.

Duncan Godard:  Improvising is just, it’s more fun, I think, and a better way to express yourself than playing the same tune over and over again.
Steve Dinsdale:  So, we stick to the same ethos of improvisation but anything goes.  So, every time we set up, we were able to create something new.  So, we say our album is sort of diary entries, really, sort of ongoing diary entries for the band.

Radio Massacre International @ Echoes

You can hear the improvisational ways of Radio Massacre International on their new double CD called Time and Motion on Cuneiform records.  The band will play live on Echoes this coming Monday, April 26.  This has been an Echo Location, Soundings for New Music.

You can check out Radio Massacre International’s few dozen CDs on their website.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

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NEARfest 2008

June 25, 2008
NEARfest celebrates 10th Anniversary.
I’ve only been to 4 NEARfest festivals, and you can read my previous postings for 2007, 2006 and 2005.  Their 10th anniversary still found a festival happily wed to a 70’s Prog sensibility of fret burning guitar solos, complicated time signatures and pitch bending keyboard runs. The only group that served as a departure from that was England’s Radio Massacre International. However, like every NEARfest, there were a couple of pleasant surprises from unexpected directions. If I had come Saturday night for Liquid Tension Experiment and left around noon after Morglbl, it would have been one of the most exhilarating high energy concerts I’d ever attended.
Liquid Tension Experiment is something of a Prog supergroup with drummer Mike Portnoy and guitarist John Petrucci, founding members of Dream Theater, former Dixie Dregs and current Dream Theater keyboardist, Jordan Ruddess and King Crimson/Peter Gabriel bassist Tony Levin. I thought it would be all shredding fury and rhythmic overkill, and there were certainly more notes in their 90 minute performance than you’ll hear in a month’s worth of Echoes, but such delirious fury and overkill has rarely been this rapturous. Reputedly playing on only two days practice, LTE navigated hairpin rhythm shifts and unison melodic flights that would leave an orchestra gasping. Just when they might have reached the tolerance of shredding, they delivered two showstoppers. The first was a cover of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. (Coincidentally, Italy’s Banco did a drive-by quote from it on clarinet the closing night). LTE turned it into an epic storm of swirling rhythms and whiplash guitar that truly updated this classic. This is New York City in the 21st Century. That was followed by their own epic, When the Water Breaks, which left the audience in tatters. Other than Rudess’s pointless keyboard stand that let him rotate it 360 degrees, their set was perfect.
As was Morglbl [pronounced MORE-guh-bull]. They’ve been around for 10 years, but this French power trio has eluded attention. That changed for at least the 1000 people at NEARfest. Playing classic, shredding metal prog, they added their own touch with stage antics and mugging that would normally be annoying but came off as charming and self-deprecating here. They’ve got a touch of Frank Zappa‘s humor, but it’s Christophe Godin’s guitar playing that would have made Zappa an admirer. Playing his lime green guitar, he spun out squeals, squonks, whammy bar bends and wild flurries that sounded like bees being lassoed. Opening Sunday’s show, they played not just one encore, itself a rarity for a NEARfest opening act, but two encores, including a spirited romp through Deep Purple‘s Smoke on the Water.

The rest of NEARfest could be described as overwrought and overlong.

Koenji Hyakkei is a Japanese band in the tradition of Magma. Lead singer Kubota Aki sings in a fabricated dialect with a piercing operatic soprano that quickly became grating. Instrumentally compelling in an Art Zoyd kind of way, I could’ve used more of Komori Keiko‘s swirling Steve Lacy-style soprano saxophone leads.

Discipline was a favorite of festival attendees, but I found them to be excruciatingly tedious. Their compositions are overwrought and singer and writer Matthew Parmenter‘s keening voice and melodically rambling, verbose lyrics of mental torment were aural torment to my ears. Write a book.
Peter Hammill is an old favorite from Van Der Graaf Generator and his early solo albums. I stopped listening to him years ago, and this performance reminded me why. Like Parmenter, Hammill has trouble landing on a melodic hook and while his lyrics of inner turmoil hit closer to home than Parmenter, Hammill’s lay-it-all-on-the-line theatrical performance of cries, yelps, grunts, shouts and octave leaps seemed unsupported by the spare accompaniment he provided himself on piano and acoustic guitar. Attendees made a steady stream for the exits during his set.
Radio Massacre International is much better than what they presented at NEARfest. The retro-space music trio delivered an unfocused and often amateurish performance that was wrong for this setting and crowd, and possibly for any crowd. The guest performers were a distraction at best. As one of the only stylistic departures of the festival besides Larry “Synergy” Fast, they left little reason for the festival to deviate from the Prog Rock norm. I think RMI tied Peter Hammill for clearing the room.

Echolyn is another band I never got. Fine musicians, charming stage presence, but songs that seemed ill-suited to Prog and not immediate enough for rock.

As an Italian, I always feel conflicted about Italian bands who always seem too wordy and to bombastic.  Banco del Mutuo Soccorso is another of those bands.  They’re great musicians with dynamic songs, but the operatic Italian vocals of the rotund and bearded Francesco DiGiacomo, looking like Burl Ives, always seemed – have you heard this before – overwrought.

I didn’t attend the Friday night show of Larry “Synergy” Fast and Fish. For me, the 10th Nearfest was the only disappointing one I’ve attended and also the most narrow stylistically. Where was the edgier progressive rock of past years like Present, Univers Zero, The Muffins, Steve Roach, Richard Leo Johnson and Michael Manring? Where were the artists pushing the boundaries of Prog like Riverside and Pure Reason Revolution? Although I grew up on Prog, sometimes, not always, at NEARfest, I feel like I’ve moved on, but people are still playing hide ‘n’ seek and Dungeons & Dragons.

Despite my misgivings I look forward to next year, even without the leadership of Chad Hutchinson and Rob LaDuca who passed the leadership baton. They and their crew, as usual, did a beyond outstanding job.

John Diliberto
Echoes


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