june 2019 – good to hear

Natty Dread
Lieutenant Stitchie
The quality of the video is nothing to write home about but the music and the lyrics are so much fun! Cleveland (born c.1965), better known as Lieutenant Stitchie, is a Jamaican DJ who originally worked in the dancehall style but switched to gospel reggae in 1997 after surviving a car crash, thereafter working under the shorter name Stitchie. (Wikipedia) Teacher, father, author, honorary doctor, singer, performer… there are few things that this man is not. Enthroned and revered as the dancehall Governor, he has been one of the genre’s most acclaimed icons, his energetic and mesmerising live appearances, coupled with his message of Love, Peace and Righteousness, makes him one of the most sort after artiste in the Reggae Music Industry globally. (Reggaeville.com)
Orchard Music, 2007

Nuff Respect
Lady G
Janice Fyffe (born 7 May 1968), better known as Lady G, is a female dancehall and reggae deejay. She is best known for her song Man a Bad Man  from the film «Third World Cop». Lady G’s other songs include Nuff RespectRound Table Talk (with her mentor Papa San), Certain FriendsBreeze Off and Girls Like… Us as a featured artist. She records on the label Greensleeves. Lady G performed at Europe’s biggest reggae festival, Summerjam, in 2001. She has also toured the United States with Buju Banton. Typically, there is little info to be found about this fantastic lady artist.
Greensleeves, 2011

The Best of Dennis Brown
Dennis Brown
Dennis Brown was born in Kingston, on 1 February 1957, and began his music career at age nine, as a street singer. When he was eleven, he made a guest appearance with the Fabulous Falcons who asked him to join them as a vocalist. In 1972, he recorded his first album bringing him instant acclaim in Jamaica’s dancehall scene. By 1973, he had exhausted himself, stayed home and concentrated on his studies. He toured the United Kingdom in 1977, moving to London in 1978 to relaunch the DEB Music label with Castro Brown. He recorded many well-known artists of the day and also worked as a back-up vocalist. His own albums included Visions of Dennis BrownSo Long Rastafari and Josep’s Coat of Many Colours. In 1981, Brown signed a record deal with A&M Records, releasing a great number of songs during the 80ies. His 1994 Album «Light My Fire» was nominated for a Grammy Award, as was his posthumous album «Let Me Be the One» (2001). Unfortunately, his health deteriorated around the turn of the century. He contracted tuberculosis and died on 1 July 1999. (sgs)
EMI Music, 2013

1Xtra in Jamaica
King Jammy, Beenie Man, Lt Stitchie & Josey Wales at King Jammy’s studio 
«Lloyd James (born 26 October 1947, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, better known as Prince Jammy or King Jammy, is a dub mixer and record producer. He began his musical career as a dub master at King Tubby’s recording studio, being known for his clear sound and use of effects. After earning money from building amplifiers and repairing electrical equipment from his mother’s house in Waterhouse in the late 1960s, he started his own sound system. He also built equipment for other local systems. After a few years in Canada, he returned to Kingston in 1976 and set up his own studio. Jammy improvised Reggae and Dancehall, he digitalised old riddims, like Real Rock, and Far East. King Jammy then began working with top artists in Jamaica throughout the 1980s and 1990s such as Admiral Bailey, Admiral Tibet, Chaka Demus, Frankie Paul, Lieutenant Stitchie, Pinchers and even Dennis Brown.» (Wikipedia)
BBC Radio 1Xtra, 2017

Ricky Trooper Live & Direct @ the Maroon festival 2019
«The Jamaican DJ Ricky Trooper is a prominent dancehall selector. Despite the loss of his US visa, due to gun possession, Trooper frequently plays dates in Africa, Europe and the wider Caribbean area. Garfield McKoy (Trooper’s real name) says his interest in sound systems started when he was eight years old and living in St Mary. That fascination grew when he and his family relocated to Spanish Town where his neighbour, who owned a sound system, gave him his first opportunity to operate the turntables. While attending St Catherine High School in the 1980s, he and a friend started their own sound system called Ultimate Touch. Next stop was Kilimanjaro, the era’s top ‘sound’. It was not until 1995 that he got his big break.» (McKoy’s News)
Culture For more Quality, 2019

mai 2019 – good to hear

Altin Gün
Altin Gün are an international Turkish psychedelic rock band from Amsterdam mixing Turkish folk, psychedelia, funk and rock with riffs that take us back to the beginnings of acid rock, albeit with a levantine twist. By founding this joyfully crazy group, residing between the Netherlands and the former Constantinople, bassist Jasper Verhulst succeeded in brightening up the hallucinogenic pop he so loves. The result: assertive pop, traditional scents, groovy folk and psychedelic rock. Altin Gün is a clever assemblage, a joyfully organised mix, shaped by Dutch and Turkish musicians, an enjoyable and improbable union that offers a beautiful opening to the world in our time, fresh, intense and plural. Altin Gün’s universe is unfolding on the Geneva label Bongo Joe. (sgs)
Bongo Joe, January 2019

When I Get Home
«Solange’s fourth album is unhurried, ambient, and exploratory. From spiritual jazz to Gucci Mane, Solange conjures her hometown with exceptional song-craft and production.» (Pitchfork) For a period of her career, the singer was simply «Beyoncé’s sister», trying to find her place in the world of music. «She has embarked on her own mission, bringing her very own pop sensibilities to a wide range of music she thought was cool and interesting. With 2016’s acclaimed A Seat at the Table she reached her pinnacle, pairing a hip, neo-soul style with thoughtful discourse on race, gender and social anxiety. Three years later, Solange releases When I Get Home, with nineteen tracks that expand the boundaries of her own sound and artistry.»
(Spin)Columbia Records, March 2019

The Mekons
«California’s High Desert is heavy with rock history. It’s where country-rock icon Gram Parsons had his corpse cremated by friends; where an Irish band found a name and cover image for a great LP; where Jim Morrison dropped acid and made a movie. Now The Mekons — those zany, erudite and beloved British punk-country-reggae-rock survivors — join the processional with Deserted. Recorded near Joshua Tree, the LP loses itself in the desert and finds timely survival metaphors everywhere. And it burrows deep into desert mythology without invoking any of the hoary narratives above (they’ve already done a Bono tribute, after all)… It’s the blooming desert and its inhabitants as testimony to resilience, invoked by a crew of joy-marauders who’ve embodied resilience for four-plus decades.» (Rolling Stone)
Bloodshot Records, April 2019

Celia: La vida es un carnaval
Angélique Kidjo
With her powerful and warm voice, the African queen of song has reinvented Cuban music, honouring another queen supreme: Celia Cruz. «Cruz, who died in 2003, became a massive star in the US after refusing to return to Cuba when Fidel Castro took power. But Kidjo’s album is a reminder of Cruz’s African roots, born in a poor black neighbourhood of Havana: the salsa hits are reworked with Afrobeat hero Tony Allen on drums, joined by the west African Gangbé Brass Band, Britain’s Sons of Kemet and American Meshell Ndegeocello on bass. Kidjo’s singing is powerful and assured throughout, from the upbeat revamp of Bemba Colorá to the brooding, chanting echoes of Santería, the Afro-Cuban religion, on Elegua and Yemaya, a tribute to the orisha (spirit) of motherhood and ruler of the seas, now set to an African juju beat. Magnificent.» (Robin Denselow)
Verve, April 2019

The 20 greatest weed songs of all times according to Rolling Stone

april 2019 – good to hear

The First Album
Tuli Kupferberg, Ed Sanders & Ken Wasser
The Fugs were one of the first bands to play «Hippie music», and Tuli Kupferberg was their irreverent front man. The band formed in 1964  and dominated the scene of the sixties, also because of it’s fervent anti-Vietnam stance. Their musical style has been dubbed «avant-rock». Kupferberg had a long and acclaimed career as a poet; he was the composer, the singer-songwriter and guitarist of the band and a long-time collaborator of Alan Ginsberg. «A satirical rock band with a political slant, the Fugs have performed at various war protests – against the Vietnam War and since the 1980s at events around other U.S. involved wars. The band’s often frank and humorous lyrics about sex, drugs, and politics occasionally generated hostile reactions, most notably from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the late 1960s.» (Wiki)
ESP, 1965

Four am
Intelligent entertainment with a pop-folk touch from a band that formed in 2010 and has sold over nine million albums since. 4 am offers a glimpse of material from the forthcoming third album «Doom Days», which frontman Dan Smith describes as an «apocalyptic party record» that feels like it’s dealing with the fallout: we’re partying in Bastille’s post-Brexit nuclear bunker, while pensioners outside battle to death…» «Having laid down the blueprint for indie-pop that’s since become ubiquitous, it’s interesting to contrast older tracks like the Coldplay-maximalism of «Bad Blood» to the new, comparatively risk-taking clubbier Seeb collab «Grip», which Smith tonight describes as «out of our comfort zone»; its drop like an open manhole elicits sweaty frugging.»
Virgin, January 2019

Mama Pasfika
The Black Sistaz
Music from the other end of the world celebrating women and girls: «Stand up and rise up, women, we’ve got to stand tall – this is the message we want you to hear…» Unfortunately, I cannot find much information about the singers though many of them must be stars in Vanatu. Care Vanatu, who helped produce this video, has an emergency call on its website because cyclone Pam has devastated the island since the track was released. If you want to help: www.care.org
Care Vanatu, March 2019

«Reinvigorated and confident, Dido returns from a six-year absence with her sparkling fifth album, Still on My Mind. Following 2013’s neon-washed Girl Wo Got Away, this set features her liveliest, catchiest production since early era breakthroughs No Angel and Life for Rent, and soundtracks familiar themes of love, loss, desire, and — as the mother of a young son — family. Anchored by her yearning and ever-ethereal vocals, the LP delivers on the promising glimmers that were teased on its cool (but ultimately sedate) predecessor, successfully synthesising the spirit of her early hybrid sound with updated late-2010s sheen. Yet another collaboration with her brother Rollo, Still On My Mind, finds the English singer/songwriter in a mature, controlled space — an elegant but fresh collection of her familiar electro-folk with a hip-hop heartbeat. Strumming to life with the expansive beauty «Hurricanes»’ Still On My Mind offers moody’callbacks to the early 2000s with emotive highlights «Some Kind of Love»’ «Give You Up»,and the title track, which builds to a shiver-inducing beat drop.“ (Neil Z. Yeung for All Music)
WMG, March 2019

The Supergroup LSD is made up of British musician Labrinth, Australian singer Sia und American music producer Diplo. They released a first single in 1918 (out of a total of four). All four did very well and, in March 2019, the band announced the release of their debut album. It has been delayed. Synthetic pop I call it. LSD in the main stream. Nice singing, nice art work, all great quality but too slick for me. Had to mention it because of, you know, Alice. This has little to do with her. (sgs)
SME, May 2019

march 2019 – good to hear

Orpheus in the Underworld
Don Shirley 
This recording stands for the classical talent of the man whose story inspired Green Book, «piano jazz legend» Don Shirley. In the Greek myth, Orpheus marries Eurydice who dies of a snake bite on her wedding night. Orpheus follows her to the netherworld to win her back, and because he is a great musician (Orphic harp), Persephone & Hades, rulers over the realm of the dead, relent and let her go, provided Orpheus does not look back. In the movie, Don Shirley visits the hell of the segregated Deep South and escapes by the skin of his teeth. Unlike Orpheus, he does not look back, and Eurydice stands for his own integrity. The movie has provoked criticism from Don Shirley’s family, complaining that is it is a white man’s version of an essentially black story. However that may be, Shirley’s musical talent is not diminished, and it is a film full of love and laughter. (sgs)
Dixie Ragtime, 1956

By The Way, I Forgive You
Brandi Carlile
This is the sixth studio album by folk singer-songwriter and producer Brandi Carlile, born 1981, in Ravensdale, Washington, a small town not far from Seattle. She started singing country songs on stage when she was eight years old, and her music reaches across a wide range of styles, including pop, blues and R&B. It won a Grammy Award for Best Americana Album 2019 and highlights Brandi’s distinctive voice. She dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music, teaching herself piano and guitar. About her songs, she says: «I stand firm behind the belief that, for me, songwriting isn’t something that I do or command, it happens to me» and «No matter what I do, I just can’t get the country and western out of my voice». She has been an advocate for causes ranging from spreading awareness for health issues to empowerment of women. (Wikipedia)
Columbia Records, February 2018

Legends & Tales of Dolphins & Whales
The Sounding: Delphic
The Sounding are Dave Grier (Engineer, Producer, DJ), Kevin Lloyd (Producer, DJ), Ian Middleton (Producer, DJ), Max Middleton (Music Director, Keyboards) and Napier Marten (Producer, Creator), a group of friends who wish to share the stories of man’s long and intimate relationship with aquatic mammals. Their mutual admiration, love and commitments towards cetaceans is reflected is the musical rendition of myths, legends and stories old and new about whales, dolphins and porpoises from all over the world. Creation and other stories of many ancient peoples, such as the Dogon in Mali or the ancient Greeks, speak of cetaceans as human ancestors, saviours of mariners and swimmers, of their amazing sensuality and playfulness, and their surprising friendship for us. They stand for «our most potent archetypical connection with Nature, our Creator». (Eco Hustler)
Miracle Meditation Music, February 2019

Data Mirage Tangram
The Young Gods: Figure sans nom
The Swiss group Young Gods has finally released a new album. Under lead singer Franz Treichler’s wings, huge, breathtaking panoramas unfurl like beautiful dreamscapes on the edge of sleep. Eight years without a studio album! The gods may have eternity on their side but it was about time they followed up on Everybody Knows and the period of artistic confusion – in Treichler’s own words – that followed Al Comet’s departure and his replacement with the original god, Cesare Pizzi. Rock and electro avant-gardists are not known for their backward-looking attitude. Still, thirty years of uninterrupted activity, celebrated with the publication of an 800 page book in 2017, could only strengthen the gods’ will to write a new chapter to their already impressive history. (Rough Trade)
Two Gentlemen, February 2019

Stephan Eicher & Trakorkestar
Stephan Eicher is a Swiss singer. The son of a French mother and Yenishe (Swiss gypsy) father, his songs are sung in a variety of languages, including French, German, English, Italian, Swiss German, and Rumansh. Sometimes he even uses different languages in the same piece. Next to his success in Switzerland, mostly with songs sung in our Swiss dialect, he is a superstar in France, where his audiences touchingly even sing along his Swiss texts. Here he pairs up with the Swiss fanfare and burlesque Trakorkestar. The songs on his latest album are not new but Trakorkestar gives them a completely new twist as well as a Balkan type sound. Stephan is know for being easily bored, and he reinvents himself every few years. Here we have the result of his latest transformation. (sgs)
Universal Music, February 2019

february 2019 – good to hear

istant Light
Massive Hang featuring Victoria Grebecz and Morgan Davenport
One more time! The founding members of Hang Massive are Danny Cudd and Markus Offbeat, followers of the Buddhist movement Balanced View. They met on the shores of Goa, where for many years they passed the winter months enjoying the enlivening and creative vibe flourishing there each season. From India they journeyed back to England, where they began living and playing music together in the historic town of Bath. Despite having been on the scene for many years, Hang Massive promotes a fresh and warm sound, unfettered by commercial demands, and here accompanied by the alluring voice of Victoria Grebrecz.
Hang Music, January 2016

Down the Road Wherever
Mark Knopfler
Created in his own studio in West London, Down the Road Wherever is Mark Knopfler’s ninth solo album. His mellow, laid-back sound reveals a melancholy musician singing «unhurriedly elegant (…) songs inspired by a wide range of subjects», as the press release states. It speaks of men on the drift. «At this point in his career, Knopfler tends to be most affecting in the former role, as the sensitive English balladeer with a knack for writing about the haunting, pervasive effects of memory and remembrance. Indeed, as he pushes 70, Knopfler has become newly reflective, from the personalised history of the Celtic-lilted One Song At A Time to the wistfully nostalgic highlight Good on You Son». (Rolling Stone) Great guitar solos!
Grove Records, November 2018

Que Volà?
Calle Luz
«Que Vola? (What’s up?) is a group composed of three Cuban percussionists and a French jazz septet. It is a marriage between the youthful energy and virtuosity of both nations, underpinned by spiritual and ritualistic afro-cuban rhythms.When the trombonist Fidel Fourneyron visited the country that inspired his first name in 2012, he wasn’t sure what he would find. After meeting three young percussionists (Adonis Panter Calderon, Barbaro Crespo Richard, Ramon Tamayo Martinez), he returned to France inspired to delve deeper into the spiritual heritage of afro-cuban music. An idea gripped him: what if the power of ancient ritual were to be wrapped in the poetry of John Coltrane?» (Jazz World)
No Format, November 2018

Un autre blanc
Salif Keita, featuring Angélique Kidjo, Alpha Blondy and others
This is the – alleged – swan song of one of the greatest voices in African music. It belongs to a man born, in the late fifties, in the village of Djoliba in the province of Mandé, in Mali. As a person with albinism, «a white man with the deep soul of Black Africa», he had to leave his homeland to escape from a society that was denying him his full rights as a human being. A prodigal son, he came back triumphant, having performed around the world, «perching», like he says «on the bird of Knowledge, Lony, where the rocks thrown by mean people cannot reach you». His latest album is designed for a western audience and more commercial then his other works. But Keito’s voice never disappoints: it carries us to the African dreamscape of our hearts and minds. (sgs)
Naiv, Dezember 2018

Love and Shadow
Ean Golden featuring Jen Siah, Tulsi Bagnoli, Yemanjo, Layla El Khadri, JJ Jeffries, Daniel Miller and Richard Haughten
This is the first ecstatic dance album Ean and friends give us in over fifteen years. It starts with a dirge accompanied by throat singing, leads us down a lane where drums beckon, and the rhythm subtly picks up. «Love and Shadow is a complete journey of original music spanning several genres, styles and moods, designed to evoke specific feelings and movements felt on an ecstatic dance floor. His album was made for dancing, to bring people into their inner journey». (Evensi) Ean Golden is a  progressive performance DJ who has played a major role in the development of digital dj-ing throughout the world
Golden Apple, January 2019

january 2019 – good to hear

Distant Light
The Hollies
«The Hollies continued to tread water as the early ’70s progressed. Distant Light offered nothing particularly new or unexpected, but the harmonies and songwriting remained at a high enough standard to refute any accusations of decline. Too pop for the album-oriented audience, and not light and frothy enough for the pop market, it would have been totally overlooked if not for the surprise success of the Creedence Clearwater Revival soundalike Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress. Released in the States almost as an afterthought, it became (deservedly) their biggest American hit, reaching number two. Its success inspired the return of Allan Clarke to the fold, after he had left the group to briefly pursue a solo career.» (Richie Unterberger)
Epic, 1972

Distant Light
Violin Concerto by Peteris Vasks
Marc Bouchkov, violin, directed by Michael Guttman, Moscow Soloists Chamber Orchestra 
In a single-movement canvas of nearly forty minutes’ duration, Latvian composer Peteris Vasks (1946) traverses motions from bare-faced rage and serene contemplation to icy despair, achieving a vast, uneasy quietude at the close (‘a sense of light-filled sorrow,’ in the composer’s words). Stylistic echoes are plentiful: Shostakovich, Kancheli, Górecki and Pärt; folk-music, birdsong and hymnody are further ingredients in this approachable cocktail set to repeat the popular and critical success of Voices, its hugely effective 1991 predecessor for string orchestra. Here, Belgian violinist Marc Bouchov (shown here) plays the 1865 «Cheremetoff» J.B Vuillaume, on generous loan from Brigitte Feldtmann in Hamburg. (Grammophon)
GJHS Music, 2018

Distant Light
Charles Fenckler
Born in Le Mans, Charles André aka Charles Fenckler is a young French producer and the latest artist to join the well-known Scottish Soma techno and house label. «Passionate about electronic music from a young age, he has matured into a full-fledged producer composer of an interesting style of Techno gliding between deep and melodic dub infused Techno, integrating influences stretching between Detroit and Berlin, and drawing inspiration from such icons as Juan Atkins, Dereck May and Shed.» (Resident Advisor)
Soma Records, 2018

Distant Light
Psychedelic Sun’s
The album Distant Light is a studio recording in the Psychedelic/Space Rock/Progressive Rock tradition. The Finnish one-man band Psychedelic Sun’s was founded by Alex Hahn in Tampere, in 2015. He likes to experiment with varying instruments as well as singing. The songs are recorded at his home studio in one take to make them sound more like live music. This is the fourth album of the solo musician, reminiscent of early Pink Floyd or Santana.
Aumega Project, 2018

Distant Light
This is the second track on Manoevres, the new album of the soulful French drum & base performer and producer Robin Leclair, better know by his artist name, Naibu. Having grown up in the suburbs of Paris, Naibu started his journey through music as a child who loved The Beatles. Later he fell in love with sampled music, and abstract hiphop in particular. He spent many hours listening to other people’s music before drum n base came to him, around 2000. Once he was introduced to a sequencer by a friend, there was no turning back. Robin Leclair is one of the most important figures in this field, whose work distinguishes itself by a scarcity of flourish and a lyric romanticism that is usually missing in the drum n base community
Cold dimensions, 2018

dezember 2018 – good to hear

Ritmos del Sur
El Búho – Mix – Great Northern Forests Shambala Mixtape
Sounds of the rain forest, flutes, and melodious xylophone beats alternate to make for relaxing and inspiring tapestry with a touch of drum ’n base. More than 100 minutes of Andean dance & trance music, subtle and lovely.
Club rhythms, July 2018

Duduk Meditation – Memories of Caucasus (Armenian Flute)
Mediative music of the first order with the full sound of the duduk flute adding local color and sentiment. «Traditional Armenian folk music as well as Armenian church music is not based on the European tonal system but on a system of tetrachords. The last note of one tetrachord also serves as the first note of the next tetrachord – which makes a lot of Armenian folk music more or less based on a theoretically endless scale. The duduk is an ancient double-reed woodwind instrument made of apricot wood.» (Wikipidia) It sounds somewhat like a double horn. The earliest instruments similar to the duduk’s present form are made of bone or entirely of cane. Famous dudk players are Armen Grigoryan, Levon Minassian, Djivan Gasparyan or Arsen Petrosyan
Greenman Valley, September 2018

Aterciopelados – Dúo
Aterciopelados (The Velvety Ones) is made up of Andrea Echeverri and Héctor Buitrago, and one of the first Columbian bands to gain international success. Their music fuses rock with a variety of Colombian and Latin American musical traditions.  Andrea, born 1965, is the lead singer and guitarrist of the group (and a ceramicist): «It’s possible to chart the development of Latin Alternative music by following the career of Andrea Echeverri.» (Felix Contreras) Héctor Buitrago came from a hard core rock band and played in Bogota’s sole rock venue where Andrea had been drawn by tips from art school friends. Their musical partnership is hugely succesful, and both artists have also produced solo albums.
National records, November 2018

The HU – Yuve Yuve Yu (How Strange)
This state of the art video by the folk rock band HU shows the vast expanse of the Mongolian landscape and is a testomony to band’s love of their country, as ist he Mongolian thoat singing this song is intersperced with. As so often in Mongolian music, horses are also present, and you can hear them in the beat. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any information about the band and its charismatic lead singer but Yuve Yuve Yu is definitely an exotic earworm!

Matterhorn Project
Featuring singing cows and tingling bells, yodeling and alpine horns, all supported by an infectious Eighties disco-beat and a slightly spaced-out sense of humour, MUH! by Matterhorn Project is unique in pop history. The track stormed the Swiss and international charts in 1985 and got known and loved for its sense of comedy and tongue-in-cheek citing of Swiss clichés. MUH! is also known as the «moo song» in South Africa, Japan and other parts of the world and the French call it «meuh». In the same year musicians PJ & the late Stella Wassermann produced another album called Matterhorn Project, and it made the charts in Switzerland too and contained another top ten hit called Yo-Lollo-Diuh, the first yodeling disco track ever. The link leads to the remix.
PJ Wassermann, November 2018

november 2018 – good to hear

Gábor Szabó 
Gábor István Szabó (1936 – 1982) was a Hungarian American guitarist whose style incorporated jazz, pop, rock and Gypsy music. After attending the Berklee College of Music, Szabó became a member of a quintet that was led by Chico Hamilton and included Charles Lloyd, playing what has been described as chamber jazz. Szabó was influenced by the rock music of the 1960s, particularly the use of feedback. The song “Gypsy Queen” from Szabó’s debut solo album Spellbinder became a hit for rock guitarist Carlos Santana. During the late 1960s, Szabó started the label Skye Records with Gary McFarland and Cal Tjader. He continued being drawn to more popular music in the 1970s and regularly performed in California, combining elements of Gypsy and Indian music with jazz, returning regularly to Hungary to perform. It was there that he died just short of his 46th birthday. (Wikipedia)
Skye Records, 1968

Yoko Ono
85-year-old Yoko is always radical. Then there is that voice of hers, as Japanese as it is haunting. Yoko is always courageous, an artist who acted things out when nobody knew what a performance was, who conceives herself and everything she does as a total work of art, with a consequence only few can afford, let alone live. When Yoko Ono married John Lennon, it was fine by me. In Toronto, she spent a week in bed with my favorite Beatle at Rochedale College, where I also happened to live. With Klaus Voormann and the Plastic Ono Band, at the famous Rock & Roll Revival, she performed the entire act screaming in a bag. I thought it was groovy. The rest is history. Here we are dealing with a fabulous late work. Bravo! (sgs)
Sony Music, Juli 2018

Wanderer – Stay
Cat Power
Charlyn Marie “Chan” Marshall (1972), better known by her stage name Cat Power, is an American singer-songwriter, musician, occasional actress and model. Cat Power was originally the name of Marshall’s first band, but has become her stage name as a solo artist. Wanderer is her tenth studio album. She says: «The course my life has taken in this journey – going from town to town, with my guitar, telling my tale; with reverence to the people who did this generations before me, folk singers, blues singers, and everything in between. They were all wanderers, and I am lucky to be among them». Marshall broke with cycles of substance abuse and stage fright in 2012 and has reinvented herself many times.
Domino Records, October 2018

La Fenice (trailer + other pieces)
Keith Jarrett
This double album, long anticipated, presents Keith Jarrett’s concert at the Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice, from July 2006. La Fenice (the phoenix) finds him channeling the flow of inspiration into a suite of eight spontaneously created pieces referencing everything from the blues to atonality. From the first flurry of notes, it is a consistently captivating journey. Between Part
VI and Part VII, Jarrett surprisingly but very touchingly segues into «The Sun Whose Rays», from Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera The Mikado. Encores are the traditional tune «My Wild Irish Rose», previously recorded by Jarrett on The
Melody At Night With You, the timeless standard Stella By Starlight. The concert ends with a tender version of Keith’s tune «Blossom».
ECM, October 2018

The Gypsy Fairy Queen
Marianne Faithfull
Since her latest record, Negative Capability, featuring Nick Cage, will only be released on November 2nd, here is the lead single. Faithfull has promised that her twenty-first album, the most honest to date, will have a «folky» feel. «Marianne has long been unsurpassed when it comes to reinterpreting other people’s songs, gifted in making them her own as she digs into the words to grip the composition’s heart, then provides her own unique spin by injecting every syllable with clearly enunciated but a gut level emotional response. Even if she wasn’t yet aware of it, this process started with As Tears Go By as she plugged into its character looking back at her life. The album emphasises her unique place as a force of nature in the beating heart of modern music». (Total Entertainment)
Panta Rei, September & November 2018

october 2018 – good to hear

European Heartbreak
Amber Arcades
Born on 15 December 1988 as Annelotte de Graaf, the Dutch singer-songwriter from Utrecht holds a master’s degree in law and worked as an assistant for the war crimes tribunal at the United Nations. Her music career began when she recorded an album in New York City, funded by money she had saved since her teenage years, and attracted the attention of Heavenly Recordings, leading to her début album, Fading Lines, in June 2016. European Heartbreak is her second. About its first track, Simple Song, Amber says: «This music video forms part 2 of a trilogy which tells a modern European (love) story, touching on various thoughts and feelings that inspired my new record. Using the medium of film to tell this story ties it to one of the central ideas of the record, which is the essential nature of storytelling in understanding our lives».
Heavenly Recordings, April 2018

Elephants on Acid
Cypress Hill
The first track of the first new release of Cypress Hill after nine years, and their ninth album, was filmed in Cairo and displays an oriental touch but every track on this far out „hallucinogenic“ album is different and features unexpected visual ideas and effects performed on a great variety of instruments. «Full of sitars, guitars, organs, Nuggets-rhythms and vinyl crackle, Elephants, is a bad trip of 1967-72 imagery; a hip-hop blunt rolled on vintage rock’s gatefold vinyl sleeves. Muggs says there’s only one sample on the record – courtesy of Japanese smooth jazz group Hiroshima – and the rest was played by musicians and the producer himself». (Rolling Stone) As good and as humorous as ever.
BMG, August 2018

An American Treasure (4 CD Box Set) – Keep a Little Soul
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
After Tom Petty’s death, about a year ago, his wife and daughter and his bandmates, Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, discovered a wealth of unreleased material in Petty’s archives, mostly from concerts. We are presented with a posthumous Best Of of the unassuming and prolific rock musician. Born in Florida in 1950, Thomas Earl Petty was a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record-producer and actor. Best known as the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, he was also a founding member of the supergroup The Travelling Wilburys featuring himself, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne of the Electric Light Orchestra. This track shows us a mischievous Petty, on stage in the seventies.
Reprise Records, Juli 2018

Frédéric D. Oberland
Born on 18 August 1978, the French musician, photographer, artist, multi-instrumentalist and experimenter tackles every instrument that he comes across with the same passion (fender rhodes, harmonium, banjo, found objects, toy instruments, saxophone, theremin, pantophone, computer music). As a composer and musician he has collaborated with a wide range of talent. Since 2009, much of his time has been devoted to a project entitled FareWell Poetry, a collective comprised of Parisian musicians and the poet/filmmaker Jayne Amara Ross. Attracting attention from their first live performance, this experimental film / poetry / music related project has since performed in film festivals, churches, concert halls and other experimental acoustic spaces, inviting a wide-range of musicians to join them.
VoxVox 2015

Henry Dutilleux – Symphonie No. 1
Orchestre national de Lille with Jean-Claude Casadeus
First recorded by the National Orchestra of the city of Lilly, in 1977, it was one of the first orchestrations in a series of French and other orchestras to render this wonderful modern classical composition by Henry Dutilleux, composed in 1951 for 85 instrumentalists. Dutilleux (1916-2013) came from a family that produced several artists and scientists. Mainly active in the second half of the twentieth century (between Messiaen and Boulez), he worked as Head of Music Production for Radio France from 1945 to 1963 and out of his studio on the Île St.Louis in Paris. Among his works we find sonatas, chamber and piano music, vocal compositions, music for ballet and theatre or film scores. He also arranged other people’s music. Dutilleux’ 1st symphony is about half an hour long and written in four movements: 1. Passacaglia; 2. Scherzo molto vivace; 3. Intermezzo; 4 Finale con variazioni.
Naxos Classics, 1977

september 2018 – good to hear

Enta Omri (You are My Life)
Umm Kulthum
Born as Fatima Ibrāhīm as-Sayyid al-Biltāǧī on an uncertain date (December 31, 1898 or May 4, 1904 – February 3, 1975) in a small village in the Nile Delta, Umm Kulthum was an internationally renowned Egyptian singer, songwriter and film actress active from the 1920s to the 1970s She equalled Aretha Frankling or Ella Fitzgerald not only in popularity but also in the range of her voice as well as in her emotionally expressive way of singing. The ‚Star of the Orient’ (Kawkab El Sharq) was an icon far beyond her native Egypt. Here we hear her accompanied by a classical Arabic orchestra comprising traditional as well as modern western instruments. Long introductions are habitual.
ca. 1965

Sardanapalo by Frantz Listz
How Liszt’s Lost Opera was Rescued
Based upon a narrative originally written by Lord Byron, as well as a painting by Delacroix, and another unexpected recent discovery in music after John Coltrane’s lost recording turned up (introduced in the August issue of our goodnews), Sardanapalo, a lost Opera by the mature Frantz Listz, transports the theme of war and peace to ancient Assyria, where the people are conspiring to overthrow the King. We don’t know why Liszt – far better known as a virtuoso pianist and symphonic poem composer whose celebrity status in Europe at the time led to the coining of the term Listzomania – failed to complete his only, wildly romantic opera.
Cambridge University, June 2018

Top 100 Brand New Country Songs and Hits
Great sound, crystal clear, accompanied by strong, melodious and convicing voices. We hear Scotty McCreery, who won the tenth season of American Idol, in May 2011, Keith Urban, an Australian with a strong career in the US these days, Jack Owen, from Florida, Clay Walker, from Texas and many more. They are all excellent and play the entire gamut of what I like in country music. But where are the ladies, Kayla Heeney? Does she know? It’s her compilation. 120 songs and not one woman’s voice! Or am I wrong?
Vevo & others, June 2018

Indie/Pop/Folk Compilation
Alex Rainbird is a one-man-industry – recently joined by his girlfriend. He started the Alex Rainbird Music youtube channel in the 2011 as a hobby while still in school. The channel currently receives around four million video views per months, deservedly so, I’d like to add. The sound promoted by alex is upbeat, varied and of high artistic quality. Even if you don’t like each and every track, you are going to find sounds that agree with you, and you will be introduced to music you might not have found by yourself – just like me, of course. There is a lot to chose from here.
www.alexrainbirdmusic.com,  September 2018

Aphex Twin
Richard P. James is always good for s surprise – this time the hard and fast beats making up the core of this upcoming new production, meaning that the middle section of this track is extraordinary, the rest reminding us that we are listeining to Aphex Twin’s indiosycratic style of ambient music. It’s alter ego, Richard David James, was born in Ireland but grew up in the English countryside. He began publishing music at age 12, inspried by a prize he won the year before for a «composition», of which he says that was just diddling around, As meticoulous as always, Aphex Twin’s Collapse EP will be released digitally as well as on CD, cassette, vinyl, and a limited edition LP in a Procédé Heliophore silver foil sleeve.
Warp, September 2018

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