Posts Tagged ‘Ulrich Schnauss’

“Phaedra” at 40 in Echoes Podcast

February 21, 2014

Hear an Homage to Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra in the Echoes Podcast

Tangerine Dream circa 1974

Tangerine Dream circa 1974

On February 20th, 1974, Tangerine Dream released the album that changed electronic music for the next 40 years.  It takes its name from Greek mythology and its sound from the imaginations of Edgar Froese, Peter Baumann and Christoph Franke, the three members of Tangerine Dream at the time.  Phaedra was their fifth album, coming on the heals of Atem in 1973 and Zeit in 1972.  Both of those albums were abstract improvisations of floating sound fields.  Zeit in particular was a minimalist, Ligeti-like exploration in texture and sustain with a mixture of electronics and a cello quartet.   Phaedra had some of those elements, but on the side-long title track they were linked to sequencer grooves like rubber bands being twanged in space.  It’s the sound you hear in every retro-space band, a lot of techno and dance hits like Donna Summers’I Feel Love.”

PhaedraOn the Echoes Podcast, we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Phaedra with commentary from several artists influenced by this recording.  Moby, Ulrich Schnauss, Mark Shreeve, Ian Boddy, Robert Rich, Steve Roach, and Alan Howarth sing Phaedra’s praises and Edgar Froese reveals the thought behind the introduction of sequencers into the band.  We’ll also hear two tracks off the album and a set of music from Tangerine Dream influenced artists.  You can trip into space on Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra in the Echoes Podcast

Five  years ago, I compiled a list of the 10 Best Tangerine Dream albums.  Phaedra is at the top of that list.  Here’s the rest.

10 Best Tangerine Dream Albums From Number Six of 20 Icons of Echoes
Bookmark and Share
On the air I said I’d pick five, but I decided to go with ten.

1-Phaedra
2-Rubycon
Phaedra and Rubycon have always been a pair for me and  that pair is half of a quartet with Ricochet and Stratosfear.   These are the signature Dream albums, the blueprint for every retro-space artist out there, the sound that influenced ambient, techno, and more.   The classic trio of Edgar Froese, Christoph Franke and Peter Baumann found the secret of rubber band sequencer patterns discovered by Tonto’s Expanding Headband 2 years earlier.  The Dream   bound them in  interlocking patterns, mellotron chords and synthesizer textures.    Phaedra is transitional, retaining some of the avant-garde Ligeti-esque texturalism from Zeit on the mellotron drenched “Mysterious Semblance at the Strands of Nightmare,” but the title track and Rubycon, an album length composition were definitive journeys into inner space.

3-Logos
Tangerine Dream was an exciting live band in the 70s and half of the 80s.  Listening to Logos, from 1982, you can hear why.  This was the Dream working with a precision and structure that earlier works didn’t have, but they were still creating in long-form with a fair amount of improvisation.  Johannes Schmoelling had been in the group for a while at this point and his influence is felt in gorgeous melodies and rhythms that have you ricocheting off your seat and between your headphone cups.  This was really the truly last live recording from the group.  Subsequent live albums would be more pre-programmed performances.

4-Zeit
It’s been called their most experimental CD, but I think it’s their most thoughtful, controlled and uncontrived album.  Playing with a cello quartet, it’s a journey of interwoven tones phasing through each other from acoustic to electric to something entirely new.  Ambient before ambient, but owing much to Gyorgy Ligeti pieces like “Atmospheres,” synths, gliss guitar, organ and “noise generators” unfold in undulating, slow motion patterns across what was a double LP.  This 1972 recording is a drone zone manifesto, and a beautifully enveloping work free of melody, rhythm and just about any other conventional music signpost.

5-Tangram
This is one of the last long-form Dream recordings.  Originally a two sided work, Tangram is a  multi-movement opus sometimes sabotaged by episodic writing, but still with some haunting themes amidst the pounding sequencers and more melodic invention than most prior Dream albums.

6-Stratosfear
Part of the classic quartet of albums, this was their most commercial release to date and the first album with real melodies.

7-Ricochet
The other album in the classic quartet.  Ricochet was their first live album, although it was all new materiel and sounds like a studio recording.  Another two-sided excursion that moves from the quietest solo piano spot to thundering sequencers from the heavens.

8-Goblins’ Club
Goblins’ Club recalls the 80’s sound of Tangerine Dream when they were just adding more aggressive rhythms and clearly defined melodies to their fanciful spacescapes.  But unlike so many of their post-Virgin releases, this 1996 albums doesn’t bludgeon you with canned synthesizer bombast.  There seems to be more exploratory fun and a more personal sound   as they drop in surreal free falls in the midst of their dramatic compositions.

9-Force Majeure
Something of an anomaly in that it features a drummer, Klaus Krieger, and gives the Dream a more fluid and aggressive sound, especially in the screaming side long title track.

10-Optical Race
I know that consensus opinion has it that the Private Music years sucked, and they did, except for Optical Race the first album they made for the label, owned by former Tangerine Dreamer, Peter Bauman.  With just Froese and Paul Haslinger, they create dense, rhythmically charged excursions that stand up to some of their best works and hold up better than albums like Le Parc.

Finally an album that should be on the list, Epsilon in Malaysian Pale, the third solo album from Edgar Froese and a Dream album by any other measure.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

TimelinesCDcoverJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Erik Wøllo’s Timelines is our February CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.

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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Tangerine Dream’s “Phaedra” at 40

February 20, 2014

PhaedraOn February 20th, 1974, Tangerine Dream released the album that changed electronic music for the next 40 years.  It takes its name from Greek mythology and its sound from the imaginations of Edgar Froese, Peter Baumann and Christoph Franke, the three members of Tangerine Dream at the time.  Phaedra was their fifth album, coming on the heals of Atem in 1973 and Zeit in 1972.  Both of those albums were abstract improvisations of floating sound fields.  Zeit in particular was a minimalist, Ligeti-like exploration in texture and sustain with a mixture of electronics and a cello quartet.   Phaedra had some of those elements, but on the side-long title track they were linked to sequencer grooves like rubber bands being twanged in space.  It’s the sound you hear in every retro-space band, a lot of techno and dance hits like Donna Summers’I Feel Love.”

Tonight on Echoes, we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Phaedra with commentary from several artists influenced by this recording.  Moby, Ulrich Schnauss, Mark Shreeve, Ian Boddy, Robert Rich, Steve Roach, and Alan Howarth sing Phaedra’s praises and Edgar Froese reveals the thought behind the introduction of sequencers into the band.  We’ll also hear two tracks off the album and a set of music from Tangerine Dream influenced artists.  You can trip into space on Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra tonight on Echoes

Five  years ago, I compiled a list of the 10 Best Tangerine Dream albums.  Phaedra is at the top of that list.  Here’s the rest.

10 Best Tangerine Dream Albums From Number Six of 20 Icons of Echoes
Bookmark and Share
On the air I said I’d pick five, but I decided to go with ten.

1-Phaedra
2-Rubycon
Phaedra and Rubycon have always been a pair for me and  that pair is half of a quartet with Ricochet and Stratosfear.   These are the signature Dream albums, the blueprint for every retro-space artist out there, the sound that influenced ambient, techno, and more.   The classic trio of Edgar Froese, Christoph Franke and Peter Baumann found the secret of rubber band sequencer patterns discovered by Tonto’s Expanding Headband 2 years earlier.  The Dream   bound them in  interlocking patterns, mellotron chords and synthesizer textures.    Phaedra is transitional, retaining some of the avant-garde Ligeti-esque texturalism from Zeit on the mellotron drenched “Mysterious Semblance at the Strands of Nightmare,” but the title track and Rubycon, an album length composition were definitive journeys into inner space.

3-Logos
Tangerine Dream was an exciting live band in the 70s and half of the 80s.  Listening to Logos, from 1982, you can hear why.  This was the Dream working with a precision and structure that earlier works didn’t have, but they were still creating in long-form with a fair amount of improvisation.  Johannes Schmoelling had been in the group for a while at this point and his influence is felt in gorgeous melodies and rhythms that have you ricocheting off your seat and between your headphone cups.  This was really the truly last live recording from the group.  Subsequent live albums would be more pre-programmed performances.

4-Zeit
It’s been called their most experimental CD, but I think it’s their most thoughtful, controlled and uncontrived album.  Playing with a cello quartet, it’s a journey of interwoven tones phasing through each other from acoustic to electric to something entirely new.  Ambient before ambient, but owing much to Gyorgy Ligeti pieces like “Atmospheres,” synths, gliss guitar, organ and “noise generators” unfold in undulating, slow motion patterns across what was a double LP.  This 1972 recording is a drone zone manifesto, and a beautifully enveloping work free of melody, rhythm and just about any other conventional music signpost.

5-Tangram
This is one of the last long-form Dream recordings.  Originally a two sided work, Tangram is a  multi-movement opus sometimes sabotaged by episodic writing, but still with some haunting themes amidst the pounding sequencers and more melodic invention than most prior Dream albums.

6-Stratosfear
Part of the classic quartet of albums, this was their most commercial release to date and the first album with real melodies.

7-Ricochet
The other album in the classic quartet.  Ricochet was their first live album, although it was all new materiel and sounds like a studio recording.  Another two-sided excursion that moves from the quietest solo piano spot to thundering sequencers from the heavens.

8-Goblins’ Club
Goblins’ Club recalls the 80’s sound of Tangerine Dream when they were just adding more aggressive rhythms and clearly defined melodies to their fanciful spacescapes.  But unlike so many of their post-Virgin releases, this 1996 albums doesn’t bludgeon you with canned synthesizer bombast.  There seems to be more exploratory fun and a more personal sound   as they drop in surreal free falls in the midst of their dramatic compositions.

9-Force Majeure
Something of an anomaly in that it features a drummer, Klaus Krieger, and gives the Dream a more fluid and aggressive sound, especially in the screaming side long title track.

10-Optical Race
I know that consensus opinion has it that the Private Music years sucked, and they did, except for Optical Race the first album they made for the label, owned by former Tangerine Dreamer, Peter Bauman.  With just Froese and Paul Haslinger, they create dense, rhythmically charged excursions that stand up to some of their best works and hold up better than albums like Le Parc.

Finally an album that should be on the list, Epsilon in Malaysian Pale, the third solo album from Edgar Froese and a Dream album by any other measure.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

TimelinesCDcoverJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Erik Wøllo’s Timelines is our February CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.

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.

 

 

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.

25 Essential Echoes CDs for 2013

December 13, 2013

Some years are better than others and 2013 was much better than most.  Right now, you can Vote in the Best of Echoes 2013 Listener Poll.   But, this list is different.  This is compiled by the brain trust of Echoes.  These are the CDs we played on the show in 2013 that we thought represented the best, and most innovative aspects of the Echoes soundscape in this past year.  If your favorites aren’t on here, I’m not surprised.  This was one of the most outstanding years ever for Echoes music.  A lot of the albums left off could just as well have been put on.  But we had to pick 25 so here they are. You can see a straight list at the end.

25 ESSENTIAL ECHOES CDS FOR 2013

NUMBER ONE
TimeLapseLudovico Einaudi  In a Time Lapse
Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi is a giant in Europe but still just lapping at America’s shores.  But he swept over Echoes years ago. The Echoes CD of the Month in March, In a Time Lapse is a defining album on which 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.

StoriesRhian Sheehan   Stories from Elsewhere
New Zealand composer Rhian Sheehan may have created one of the most sublime shadings of ambient chamber music on his 7th album, Stories from Elsewhere.  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-500Olivier Libaux  Uncovered Queens of the Stone Age
Why this album wasn’t more popular is one of the mysteries of 2013.  I suspect that confusing branding, poor distribution and limited marketing kept this CD under the radar.  Olivier Libaux is part of the New Wave/Punk cover band Nouvelle Vague but he stepped out on his own to record an entire CD of tunes by Queens of the Stone Age.  All the high priests of hip at Pitchfork, Stereogum and Popmatters completely missed this album where Libaux, accompanied by singers including Emilianna Torinni and Inara George, accomplishes a sublime re-imagining of this alt-metal band’s music. It was a CD of the Month in July.

Innocents-250Moby   Innocents
The hipsters missed Libaux, but many called this Moby’s best album since Play.  I think it’s just a continuation of his atmospheric, introspective trilogy 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-2505 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.

Scenes from a train6  Jeff Greinke Scenes from a Train
Ambient music veteran Jeff Greinke reveals a grasp of orchestration never evident in his music before in this album of exotic chamber music with acoustic horns and strings.

AnomicJah Wobble & Marconi Union Anomic
Although Anomic only came out in early 2013, I feel like I’ve been listening to it for years.  It has that sense of the classic about it. Bassist Jah Wobble brings his deep dub bass lines to Marconi Unions haunting electronic themes.

Oblivion-cvr8 Hammock Oblivion Hymns
Following up their 2012 CD of the Year, Departure Songs, Hammock goes deeper into their ambient chamber music with children’s choirs emerging out of swirling deeply processed guitars.  It will be the first CD of the Month of 2014.

Tales9 Bombay Dub Orchestra  Tales from the Grand Bazaar
Despite the presence of reggae rhyhm legends Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare on some tracks,  this is actually the most serene and melodically driven album yet of BDO’s merging of eastern music, electronic grooves and Bollywood strings.

lamentation10 Azam Ali & Loga Torkian   Lamentation of Swans-A Journey Towards Silence
The leaders of Niyaz released a deeply intimate and personal album with Azam Ali returning to her wordless vocals in this album of slow, sensual rhythms and darkly arabesque melodies.

Long Way To Fall11 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.

Aventine12 Agnes Obel Aventine
For her sophomore album, Danish singer Agnes Obel turns in another gem of haunting chamber pop.

Zefira-Deserters13 Rachel Zeffira  The Deserters
And speaking of chamber pop, Rachel Zeffira turns her opera-trained soprano into a caressing hush; mixes circus organ with a song about suicide; and uses oboe arrangements that sound like The Left Banke’s “Pretty Ballerina.” The Deserters was the CD of the Month in June.

kveikur14 Sigur Ros  Kveikur
Sigur Ros kick out the jams on this album of delirious, roiling textures and Jonsi’s falsetto melodies of prayer.

1Impossible5 William Tyler   Impossible Truth
Tyler takes John Fahey into the 21st century, weaving fingerstyle guitar melodies that are like long epic tapes.  He’s known as an acoustic player but has lots of electric on Impossible Truth.

WorldsBeyond16 Akara  The World Beyond
With the heaven sent voice of Femke Weidema and the elaborate orchestrations of Joshua Penman, Akara creates a transglobal progressive sound that is out of this world on The World Beyond, the Echoes CD of the Month in October.

WInterwell17 Mree   Winterwell
Serene dream pop from a 19 year old singer who comes from a singer-songwriter tradition but creates Enya like choirs with her voice on this lush and powerful album.

Burnt-Belief18 Colin Edwin & Jon Durant  Burnt Belief
Timed for release on December 21, the day after the Mayan calendar stopped and the world ended, Porcupine Tree bassist Colin Edwin and prog guitarist Jon Durant unleashed this album of post progressive rock moods.  We’re still here and thankfully, so is Burnt Belief.

Found
19 David Helpling & Jon Jenkins   Found
David Helpling and Jon Jenkins’ bring an orchestral approach to electronic music, where the orchestra is completely plugged-in, the timbres otherworldly, and the percussion tracks swept in on storms.  It was a great CD of the Month to end 2013.

Winterfold20 Jeff Johnson, Brian Dunning & Wendy Goodwin  Winterfold
This trio of keyboards, flutes and violin creates a music full of snow brushed melodies and lush arrangements with a hint of Celtic aire.

Syriana21 Syriana    Road to Damascus
This record came in under the radar from Real World.  It’s an exuberant mix of music from the Middle East to Ireland with musicians from Algeria, Ireland, Jordan, UK, Palestine but with hints of surf guitar and film noir scores.

Human22 Juliette Commagere   Human
Singer Juliette Commagere creates a beautiful and introspective electronic song cycle framing her sonorous soprano with a sound that recalls 80’s synth-pop but darker.

Traces of You23 Anoushka Shankar Traces of You
With sister Norah Jones and producer/instrumentalist Nitin Sawhney, sitarist Anoushka Shankar creates a tribute to her father Ravi Shankar that continues his eclectic approach to east-west fusion.

130521_HEM24 HEM   Departure & Farewell
When you’re contemplating loss, betrayal and redemption, put on Hem’s introspective album about their own break-up and reunion with the caressing voice of Sally Ellyson.

TonightSky25 Tonight Sky Tonight Sky
Tonight Sky is Jason Holstrom and he’s taken The Beach Boys’ harmonies and sent them into electronica space on this album of songs that manage to make you feel good while still being full of dark atmospheres.  Surf’s up again.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))
See below for a Spotify playlist of songs from all 25 albums save one.

25 ESSENTIAL ECHOES CDs FOR 2013

  1. Ludovico EinaudiIn a Time Lapse (Ponderosa Music & Art) iTunes
  2. Rhian SheehanStories from Elsewhere (Darla Records) iTunes
  3. Olivier LibauxUncovered Queens of the Stone Age (Music for Music Lovers) Uncovered: Queens of the Stone Age - Olivier Libaux
  4. MobyInnocents (Mute) iTunes
  5. Ólafur ArnaldsFor Now I Am Winter (Mercury Classics) iTunes
  6. Jeff GreinkeScenes From A Train (Infectious Music)
  7. Jah Wobble & Marconi UnionAnomic (30 Hertz) Anomic - Jah Wobble & Marconi Union
  8. HammockOblivion Hymns (Hammock Music)
  9. Bombay Dub OrchestraTales from the Grand Bazaar (Six Degrees) iTunes
  10. Azam Ali and Loga R TorkianLamentation of Swans (Terrestrial Lane Productions) iTunes
  11. Ulrich SchnaussA Long Way to Fall (Domino Records)
  12. Agnes ObelAventine (Pias America)
  13. Rachel Zeffira The Deserters (Paper Bag) The Deserters - Rachel Zeffira
  14. Sigur RosKveikur (XL Recordings) Kveikur - Sigur RÛs
  15. William TylerImpossible Truth (Merge Records) iTunes
  16. Akara – The World Beyond (Merkaba Music) iTunes
  17. MreeWinterwell (Mree Music) iTunes
  18. Jon Durant and Colin EdwinBurnt Belief (Alchemy Records) iTunes
  19. David Helpling & Jon JenkinsFound (Spotted Peccary) iTunes
  20. Jeff Johnson Brian Dunning & Wendy Goodwin Winterfold (Ark Records) iTunes
  21. SyrianaThe Road to Damascus (Real World) iTunes
  22. Juliette CommagereHuman (Aeronaut Records) iTunes
  23. Anoushka ShankarTraces of You (Deutsche Grammophon) iTunes
  24. HemDeparture and Farewell (Redeye)
  25. Tonight SkyTonight Sky (Tonight Sky)

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

GIVE THE GIFT OF THE ECHOES CD OF THE MONTH CLUB

FoundNine of the CDs in this list were Echoes CDs of the Month, and the other three could’ve been on this list. Join 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.

ORLRC19-250px

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.

Here’s a Spotify Playlist of tracks from all 25 CDs.  Jeff Johnson, Brian Dunning & Wendy Goodwin’s Winterfold isn’t on it, so I put a previous recording by Jeff Johnson in as a placeholder.

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

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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.

Ascend the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit on Echoes.

October 17, 2013

Tonight on Echoes we talk to Ashley Capps,
Producer of the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit

logoThere are many electronic music festivals out there from the Detroit Music Festival to the Ultra Music Festival.  But none have the breadth of acts you’ll find at the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit, the successor to Moogfest in Asheville, North Carolina.  (Moogfest is slated to relaunch the end of April, 2014) The music ranges from the ambient sounds of The Orb to the new wave electronics of Gary Numan to the dark obsessions of Nine Inch Nails.  Tonight, I plug in with Ashley Capps, the festivals promoter and talk about ukeleles, Silver Apples and Halloween darkness.

Ashley Capps of Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit.

Ashley Capps of Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit.

There’s a lot of great Echoes acts at MOEMS including Ulrich Schnauss, The Orb, Jherek Bischoff, Gary Numan, Darkside, and Bass Nectar and a lot of bands I expect to blow my mind like Nine Inch Nails, Godspeed you! Black Emperor and Animal Collective.  I’ll be covering it all for Echoes, so check it out in the Echoes Blog, on Twitter @EchoesRadio, on Instagram @EchoesRadio and on Facebook @EchoesFans.

Find out about Mountain Oasis tonight on Echoes.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))
Support Echoes by becoming a member of the Echoes Sound Circle.

Choose either a one time $1000 or on-going $84 Monthly PaymentThink of the great artists you love on Echoes. Think of the informative interviews and exclusive live performances. Then, think of a world without Echoes. You can make sure that never happens by becoming a member of the Echoes Sound Circle.

Echoes is a non-profit 501(c3) organization just like your local public radio station. And all donations are tax deductible. You can support Echoes with a monthly donation that will barely disturb your credit card.

Join the Echoes Sound Circle and keep the soundscapes of Echoes flowing!

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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From Beach Boys to Tangerine Dream: Ulrich Schnauss & Mark Peters in Echoes Podcast

October 11, 2013

Hear Ulrich Schnauss & Mark Peters Interview in the Echoes Podcast.

TomorrowIt’s been an Ulrich Schnauss year here at Echoes.  He had a CD of the Month in February this year with A Long Way to Fall and we interviewed him as well.  Then he played live for us in early September and now he’s back again.  It turned out that when he came in to play live he also had a forthcoming album with guitarist Mark Peters from Engineers, and it just so happened that Peters was tagging along with Schnauss on tour.  So I sat them down to talk about their music for an alternate reality.

Ulrich Schnauss is one of the icons of downtempo electronica with albums like A Strangely Isolated Place and A Long Way to Fall.  Mark Peters is a bit less well known in this country.  He has a band called Engineers in England who play a dreamy brand of shoegaze music.  He and Ulrich Schnauss hit it off so well that Schnauss actually joined Engineers.  But the two musicians have also released a pair of duet albums for guitar and electronics.  Their latest is Tomorrow is Another Day.

Ulrich Schnauss Live on Echoes

Ulrich Schnauss Live on Echoes

Highlights:
Mark Peters on The Beach Boys: It hit me really hard when I was kind of first learning to play guitar at 15.  And then I’d just become a super nut about it and every last bootleg, every little clip on YouTube, everything is just…and I think it’s just, you know, kind of a classical type complexity that’s just so interesting.
John Diliberto: You’re hardcore, aren’t you?
Mark Peters: Big time.  Bit of a geek.  Yeah, Ulrich’s got his head in his hands.

Ulrich Schnauss on altered states: That’s the point at the end of the day, like you’re trying to create something that doesn’t reflect the reality that surrounds you, but something that actually creates the opposite, a counterpoint to reality, an alternative or a utopia.

Hear Ulrich Schnauss and Mark Peters  on the Echoes Podcast.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

WorldsBeyondSign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.   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.

Choose either a one time $1000 or on-going $84 Monthly PaymentSupport Echoes by becoming a member of the Echoes Sound Circle.

Think of the great artists you love on Echoes. Think of the informative interviews and exclusive live performances. Then, think of a world without Echoes. You can make sure that never happens by becoming a member of the Echoes Sound Circle.

Echoes is a non-profit 501(c3) organization just like your local public radio station. And all donations are tax deductible. You can support 130528_EchoesEchoes with a monthly donation that will barely disturb your credit card.

Join the Echoes Sound Circle and keep the soundscapes of Echoes flowing!

Ulrich Schnauss & Mark Peters on Echoes

October 8, 2013

Hear Ulrich Schnauss & Mark Peters Interview Tonight on Echoes.

TomorrowIt’s been an Ulrich Schnauss year here at Echoes.  He had a CD of the Month in February this year with A Long Way to Fall and we interviewed him as well.  Then he played live for us in early September and now he’s back again.  It turned out that when he came in to play live he also had a forthcoming album with guitarist Mark Peters from Engineers, and it just so happened that Peters was tagging along with Schnauss on tour.  So I sat them down to talk about their music for an alternate reality.

Ulrich Schnauss is one of the icons of downtempo electronica with albums like A Strangely Isolated Place and A Long Way to Fall.  Mark Peters is a bit less well known in this country.  He has a band called Engineers in England who play a dreamy brand of shoegaze music.  He and Ulrich Schnauss hit it off so well that Schnauss actually joined Engineers.  But the two musicians have also released a pair of duet albums for guitar and electronics.  Their latest is Tomorrow is Another Day.

Ulrich Schnauss Live on Echoes

Ulrich Schnauss Live on Echoes

Highlights:
Mark Peters on The Beach Boys: It hit me really hard when I was kind of first learning to play guitar at 15.  And then I’d just become a super nut about it and every last bootleg, every little clip on YouTube, everything is just…and I think it’s just, you know, kind of a classical type complexity that’s just so interesting.
John Dilibeto: You’re hardcore, aren’t you?
Mark Peters: Big time.  Bit of a geek.  Yeah, Ulrich’s got his head in his hands.

Ulrich Schnauss on altered states: That’s the point at the end of the day, like you’re trying to create something that doesn’t reflect the reality that surrounds you, but something that actually creates the opposite, a counterpoint to reality, an alternative or a utopia.

Hear Ulrich Schnauss and Mark Peters tonight on Echoes.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

WorldsBeyondSign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.   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.

Choose either a one time $1000 or on-going $84 Monthly PaymentSupport Echoes by becoming a member of the Echoes Sound Circle.

Think of the great artists you love on Echoes. Think of the informative interviews and exclusive live performances. Then, think of a world without Echoes. You can make sure that never happens by becoming a member of the Echoes Sound Circle.

Echoes is a non-profit 501(c3) organization just like your local public radio station. And all donations are tax deductible. You can support 130528_EchoesEchoes with a monthly donation that will barely disturb your credit card.

Join the Echoes Sound Circle and keep the soundscapes of Echoes flowing!

Greatest Songs of the 21st Century… So Far: An Idiosyncratic List.

September 10, 2013

885Songs of New MilleniumThe thirteenth year of the 21st century doesn’t seem to be the right time to look back on the best of the millennium.  Those lists usually come on the decade and quarter century marks.  But I was asked to compile another Top Ten list for Echoes affiliate, WXPN in Philadelphia.  This time, the impossible assignment was picking the Top Ten Greatest Songs of the New Millennium for their 885 Greatest Songs of the New Millennium Countdown This is never an easy task but it made me think of the songs I keep coming back to, the songs that haven’t left my iPhone where music is constantly being cycled off to make room for new material.

One thing I like about this list is it takes classic rock, new wave, progressive rock and just about everything else I grew up with out of the equation.  In my 885 Best Rock Songs list I picked The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” as number one and wrote that “I think any of 10 tunes by The Rolling Stones could be on this list.”  On this  list, there aren’t any great new Rolling Stones tunes in this century.  Nor are there any great new Pink Floyd, The Who or Hendrix tunes to be found.   Six of my ten songs are from artists who began recording in the 2000’s

Because it is greatest “songs,” I left out instrumentals, except for one, which, in an admittedly idiosyncratic move, I made number 1.  For some reason, several of the tracks are from 2008.  It’s not much like the lists of other XPN hosts, and will certainly be nothing like the list that comes from their 885 Greatest Songs of the New Millennium Poll with listeners, but it’s my list.  Follow the link to vote for your own.  Voting ends September 16. At the bottom, I’ve got a Spotify Playlist of John Diliberto’s Top Ten Songs of the New Millennium, So Far.

JOHN DILIBERTO’S GREATEST TEN SONGS OF THE NEW MILLENIUM

1 Ulrich Schnauss “Clear Day”
StrangleyWhat a great way to start this list, a wash of white noise obliterating all that came before, then slowly a syncopated 4/4 snare groove rolls in, droning synth chords, a chilling melody and one of those classic Ulrich Schnauss choruses that hooks you on a train ride to ecstasy.  This is one of several tracks from Schnauss’ 2003 CD A Strangely Isolated Place that I could’ve picked. (See Five Best Ulrich Schnauss CDs).  Somebody should write lyrics for this. It’s waiting to be a hit.

2 Moby – Wait for Me
Wait for MeIn my review of this Echoes CD of the Month in July 2009 I wrote: “The title track is another song that seems to contemplate eternity of a lost soul.  It’s sung by Kelli Scarr, who has a fragility that breaks over the waves of Moby’s ghost rhythms, minimalist piano figure and sonic scrims.  She sings “I’m gonna ask you to look away, I lost my hands and it hurts to pray” like a half-remembered nursery rhyme, a paean to lost youth, a contemplation of the end.

It’s a heartbreaking song from an album that makes heartbreak beautiful and noble. (See Five Best Moby CDS) The video doesn’t quite fit the song, so just listen, or just watch.

3 Black Angels, “Yellow Elevator #2”
This is a song I often hit repeat on with my iPhone.  In fact, I just did again. Quoting the “Twilight Zone” theme and Pink Floyd’s “Lucifer Sam,” with Question Mark & the Mysterian’s organ, The Black Angels paint a psychedelic landscape of oblivion this song from their album, Phosphene Dream.  I usually don’t like codas, but the coda for “Yellow Elevator #2” is the most poignant theme this band has recorded.  It was great this year to hear them return it to their live performances after excising it the previous couple of tours.  Excuse me while I kiss these guys. (Review of Album & performance: http://wp.me/pgATL-14j)

Western4 Loner – “Already Numb” Is heartbreak a theme of this list?  It doesn’t get more forlorn than Loner’s song of lost innocence sung in a beautiful alto over a spare, Satie-like piano theme backed by organ.  The line that gets me every time is

“Album covers, I don’t know how.  Could move me once, but cannot now.”

It’s from his album, Western Sci-Fi which is full of beautiful chamber pop.

UNQOTSA5 Olivier Libaux “Go With the Flow” After that heartbreak, I need some joy.  “Go with the Flow” is easily one the most jubilant tracks on Olivier Libaux’s album Uncovered Queens of the Stone Age the Echoes CD of the Month in July 2013. It’s a rollicking party played over a bouncing groove, with vocals provided by Iceland’s Emiliana Torrini.  The sound effects of a cheering audience are used as a musical element that amps-up the elation in QOTSA writer Josh Homme’s story about trying for love despite it all.

Lobotomy Ses6 Alu – “Circus Cosmos”
Alu paints a soundtrack from Mr. Dark’s Pandemonium Carnival (“Something Wicked This Way Comes”).  It’s a three-ring psychosis with calliope organ spinning a tale of delirious love.  Rather than go gothic in tone, Alu’s is euphoric.  It also has an unforgettable chorus:

You are the photograph that I’ve never seen
You are my phantom, the fountain of dreams.
I’ve been living in a mortuary, my whole life long.

There’s more imagery in that one chorus than most musicians conjure for an entire CD and it’s delivered by Alu’s keening soprano with such aching and despair that I know there’s more behind this tune than Alu let on. It’s one of several great tunes from her underrated album, Lobotomy Sessions.

7 Agnes Obel – Riverside
The Danish born singer recorded a heartbreaking song about the ebb, flow and emotional turmoil of life’s currents. Obel brings her lilting, slightly slurred soprano to bear on lyrics of memory and loss.  Singing over a spare cyclical piano riff, she deftly layers her voice into plaintive harmonies that will have you swimming in her bittersweet stream.  Her debut, Philharmonics,  was the Echoes CD of the Month in January of 2012.

Gnarls-Odd-Couple8 Gnarls Barkley “Going On”
This may be the most anomalous track on this list. Gnarls Barkley made some crazed R&B that was retro-soul in its melodies, sung by Cee Lo Green, and futuristic in its arrangements from Danger Mouse.  “Crazy” is their massive hit, but I always loved this hyper-kinetic leaving song from The Odd Couple album with Cee Lo’s manic rap-inflected melody, the stop time rhythm and the gothic freak-out at the end.

Dandys-Earth9 Dandy Warhols – “The Legend of the Last of the Outlaw Truckers A.K.A. the Ballad of Sheriff Shorty”
This is a hyped-up mix of Country-Jitterbug-New Orleans Voodoo psychedelia from Earth to Dandy Warhols. Courtney Taylor-Taylor rips it up in this hipster-jiving ode to speed and trucking, “jacked up on java and nicotine.”  I can’t get it out of my head. Check out this great video and it will be embedded in your head as well.

Beck-Modern10 Beck – “Chemtrails
Beck’s “Chemtrails” from his 2008 album Modern Guilt has one of those Pachelbel-style hooks that could go on forever. The song starts as a lament and turns in to an anthem of deep despair for humanity, while still somehow maintaining hope using chemtrail conspiracy theories as a metaphor.  I saw him do a great version of it with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra at the Bowl that year and it stayed in my head thereafter despite the assholes sitting behind me. Even the pointless coda doesn’t ruin it.

John Diliberto’s 10 Best Songs of the New Millennium Spotify Playlist

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Little_Things_CoverSign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.   CD of the Month Club members will be getting Darshan Ambient’s Little Things 10 days before its released.  Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club and see what you’ve been missing.

Choose either a one time $1000 or on-going $84 Monthly PaymentSupport Echoes by becoming a member of the Echoes Sound Circle.

Think of the great artists you love on Echoes. Think of the informative interviews and exclusive live performances. Then, think of a world without Echoes. You can make sure that never happens by becoming a member of the Echoes Sound Circle.

Echoes is a non-profit 501(c3) organization just like your local public radio station. And all donations are tax deductible. You can support Echoes with a monthly donation that will barely disturb your credit card. 130528_Echoes

Join the Echoes Sound Circle and keep the soundscapes of Echoes flowing!


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