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Du durchsuchst gerade das Archiv des Monats April 2018.

Archiv: April 2018


– Your antics in Black Ark Studio became legendary: blowing smoke on the microphone, lighting fires, rubbing the tape head. Do these rituals work?

– Cliff Richard?


– Ah. Everything I do in the studio is rich. Everything me beliveve in, it works. The reality is all that craziness, all that madness, I made it work, because it‘s nature, it‘s natural grace. In nature we have the big space overhead, the big sky, the orbit. Nature is crazy! I want my records to sound as crazy as nature. You see the bass? The part that the bass play in dub – boom boom boom, that mean the bass poop, right? The drum is the heartbeat – boof-boof boof-boof, and the bass is the brain cells. This song is the beat of your heart and your gut. That‘s dub, that‘s how it works.“



Zwei Eds spielen ein Rolle. Eine gute. Da ist einmal Ed, das sprechende Pferd, eine meiner liebsten Serien als Kind. Dann, als Student, kam der andere Ed ins Spiel, er half mit, dass ich von einer Hochzeit träumen durfte. Auch Hochzeiten haben ihr Verfallsdatum, wenn man nicht an der Ewigkeit schraubt. Jetzt haben wir einen Jungsurlaub geplant. Mindestens sieben Tage auf eine exotische Insel. Er sagte Sylt, ich sagte, ja, das ist exotisch. Abenteuerurlaub mit Piraten, keine Frage. Der Traum heute Nacht war ein Vorgeschmack. Ed fährt seinen Mercedes, als hätte er einen Rennfahrerkurs gemacht. Kann man so durch Kurven rauschen, ohne aus dem Leben rausgetragen zu werden? Cool. Wir landeten seltsamerweise im Münsterland, auf einer riesigen Hof- und Hotelanlage, mit einem Wasserschloss und galoppierenden Pferden. In einem Garten sassen wir auf einer Bank, der Kinks-Fan und der Beach Boys-Fan, ich drehte mich um und traute meinen Augen nicht. Schau mal, Ed, so etwas habe ich noch nie gesehen! Der Himmel zerfloss in grün durchrauschten Bäumen, ich versuche erst gar nicht, das Farbenspiel zu schildern. Ich sog das Szenario minutenlang auf. Ed, das ist wie ein Traum! Und ich merkte nicht, dass es wirklich ein Traum war, sonst wäre es ein luzider geworden. Es wird Zeit, wir werden uns bald auf den Weg machen. Currywurst a la Sansibar, und Abenteuer ohne Ende.

This week’s Lost Classics is Seventeen Stars by The Montgolfier Brothers. And what a fucking genius record it is.

Now, I’ve no idea whether the whole Heißluftballon thing is one of its themes, but it’s kind of inescapable for my ears. It’s a work that deals with vicissitudes, with contrasts, with ups and downs. Seems to me that the instrumental tracks on this are its moments of reflection, when everything’s (literally) up in the air. The album’s instrumentals are great – like miniature Eric Serra soundtracks that swap one Grand Bleu (the sea) for another (the sky). Meanwhile, the songs with words sometimes describe moments of upwardness and hope, and sometimes the opposite: a bump of earthwardness.

Seventeen Stars arrived by chance, by way of an automated playlist. The best records always come from nowhere, with no hype or announcement. One day you’re sitting there in your kitchen thinking you’ve heard all you’re likely to hear – then, boom: another classic arrives and renews your faith in music.

Listening to Seventeen Stars is a bit like going on holiday. Not a city break to, like, Bucharest or Vienna though – an actual holiday where there is space, time and sand. Here are the opening lines of the title track:

A trip down south
On the coast of France
An hour by coach –
Takes us from Bordeaux
To the middle of in-between
Arès and Arcachon
A mass of shuttered chalets
A stone’s throw from the beach

Stick Seventeen Stars on. Up, up and away.

Artist: The Montgolfier Brothers
Release date: 4 May 1999
Label: Vespertine
Producers: gnac, Roger Quigley
Genre: The concept of genre is what it is


Video by Francesco Scarponi


Matthieu Bordenave: tenor saxophone
Walter Lang: piano
Shinya Fukumori: drums


ECM 2574


2018 16 Apr

Kristjan Randalu

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Estonian pianist Randalu has always impressed me with his technical mastery and subtle arranging chops, but takes it up another notch on the new ECM release, Absence.

The opening track, Forecast is one of the most stunning pieces I’ve heard in a very long time, starting with an out of time meditative opening, moving into shimmering arpeggios of light with a haunting repeating melody, and suddenly opening up into a powerful piano solo. You can hear the classical inspiration from composers such as Erkki-Sven Tüür and Tõnu Kõrvits, both of whom had been his mentors at one time. This classical harmonic approach serves the music well – it fits in with the ECM aesthetic, yet integrates rigorous classical discipline with spontaneous improvisation in a unique, fresh approach.

Besides his compositional excellence, Randalu is a prodigious improviser. His chemistry with guitarist Ben Monder is palpable here, and drummer Markku Ounaskari’s supple playing is the glue that pulls it all together.

This trio is so dynamic and huge sounding that at first I barely noticed the absence of a bass player. Overall, this album serves up a soft palette of musical colors, veering from the melancholic to the ecstatic, occasionally taking  a detour to some surprisingly dark spaces. Once in a while, the power of this trio comes thru the generally gauzy sonic veils, hinting at what they must sound like live and unleashed. (There are some good videos on YouTube.)

The music flirts with ambient and free playing in a couple places, but Randalu’s sense of structure and form keeps it from becoming diffuse or unfocused.

Music of startling beauty and originality, this album will easily be on my top 10 list for 2018.


Now, every hour will carry a different colour. The first one will be CALIFORNIA NOIR, a mix of dark organ drones, post-apocalyptic outposts, burning cities and remote prairies. In a fucked-up world, art still can be mirror and hammer. The narrator at the microphone reads from a Steve Erickson novel, sings his praise of „Seven Seconds“  and  „Paradox“ (both on Netflix), and he is proud to have some „Denovali Doom“ in the mix. Even Mr. Lanois is moving on a strange path. The second hour is lighter in character, presenting a sequence of tracks „a la recherche du temps perdu“. Memory is quite an uncanny phenomenon, and a recurring theme of the night‘s five hours. With a nod to some excellent ECM and Hubro stuff, a little masterpiece from Glasgow and some intimate sounding exotica, let‘s call this hour NORTHERN COBALT BLUE.

The third hour is the „close-up“, and dedicated to the quiet spaces of East Anglia. It is dedicated to the works of Roger Eno, and W.G. Sebald’s „Suffolk travel book“ will have another, a final appearance in the story of the „Klanghorizonte“. DUNWICH UMBRA is the working title. Enophiles may pick up their copy of Brian Eno’s „On Land“ and timetravel to autumn 1960. Safe Journey! The fourth hour is kind  of free form radio and hopefully makes sense. What do they have in common: an Indian violin player,  a tabla player from the hinterland of Kingston, Jamaica, and a far traveling bunch of German „Drop-Outs“, music ethnologists by passion? You will see, in that special hour called FOURTH WORLD ORANGE. 

As always, the fifth hour consists of two sections separated by news and comments on the world‘s latest happenings. Again this thing called „fragile memory“ comes into play, faded memory, distant memory, oblivion. We will look back (with joy and melancolia nicely balanced) to one of the most psychedelic records of the 90s (ups, from Scotland again!), and we will open up a chapter of a Dutch record label devoted to „music from memory“. It is not yet sure, if Donovan will sing a song, dating back to the summer of love, but that last hour is surely titled FADING HIGHLAND GREEN. No hour of the night will be podcasted here, but the playlist, with some links, will be on our blog on on Friday evening. A kind of „soundmap“, to the friendly knowledge.

2018 15 Apr

New E.S.T live album

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I’m sure that Esborn Svennson’s untimely death affected many Manafonistas and readers – it certainly affected me deeply.

To tell the truth, when I first heard them I was not particularly blown away. Then I bought the American release, Somewhere Else Before, a compilation culled primarily from From Gagarin’s point of View and Good Morning Susie Soho, (both excellent early albums), and I was hooked – I became a rabid fan, buying every subsequent release and eventually collecting their entire catalog. And hungry for more.

So naturally, I responded to the news that ACT is releasing a new live double CD with great joy and expectation. This trio holds a special place in the jazz universe – and in my heart. They were a singular force of nature- sadly, I never got to see them live.

This is one of those rare trios, the kind whose chemistry can only come about by growing up playing music together. I am looking forward to this one with great anticipation.




Wanna go to the theatre tonight? You prefer the movies? You like books, too? Well, in this film you are in a Broadway theatre, but in fact it´s a movie about a theatre play based on one of the most famous short stories by Raymond Carver. In the café bar next to the theatre sits Mrs. Dickinson from the New York Times and she said she´d write the worst critic ever. I went by bike to the DVD-shop, I just knew the film´s title, “Birdman”, a pure recommendation without any comment but “it´s about artists´ life and I really liked it”, and during the first minutes of the film I recognized the director from the plot´s energy and the camerawork and the way every actor affected the next line of the other. Film music´s just drums, solo drums. Oh, and Mrs. Dickinson critic was the best she ever wrote. But nowadays it´s not a critic in the New York Times which makes one famous, isn´t it?


2018 15 Apr

Aby Vulliamy

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I was completley stunned when I listened to her two or three appearances on one of the most moving and deep musical experiences i‘ve had in recent times, it took some time to fully realize that STANDARDS VOL. 4 (well, no decent standards, thanks god, no Tin Pan Alley at all, grateful for that) by the, haha, „National Jazz Trio of Scotland“, Mister Wells‘ unique work in progress, is an absolute masterpiece, or, if you think I‘m slightly over the top here, or carried away by enhusiasm, at least it is „a masterpiece of its kind“, and Robert Wyatt would surely be deeply touched and impressed, by a song album that knows so different layers of surface simplicity, and darkness inside. Thank you for the record, Mr. Wells. And, me oh my, the wonderful singer / vocalist at your side! And the art of crescendo!


Als ich zum ersten Mal Gegenstände zwischen die Saiten eines Klaviers steckte, hatte ich den Wunsch, die Töne zu besitzen (und sie dadurch wiederholen zu können). Als aber die Musik von mir wegging und von Piano zu Piano und von Pianist zu Pianist lief, wurde klar, daß nicht nur zwei Pianisten sich wesentlich voneinander unterscheiden, sondern daß auch zwei Pianos niemals identisch sind. Wir haben es im Leben weniger mit der Möglichkeit von Wiederholung zu tun, als mit den einmaligen Qualitäten und Eigenschaften einer jeden Gelegenheit.

Das präparierte Klavier, die Eindrücke, die ich vom Werk meiner Künstlerfreunde erhielt, das Studium des Zen Buddhismus, mein Durchstreifen von Feldern und Wäldern, auf der Suche nach Pilzen, das alles hat mich dazu geführt, die Dinge eher zu genießen, wie sie kommen, wie sie sich ereignen, und nicht als Dinge, die man besitzt, die man hütet oder zum Dasein zwingt.

John Cage, in: Daniel Charles „Musik und Vergessen“

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