october 2019 – good to hear

And I Like Your Feathers
Binker Golding
London’s Binker Golding is a masterful saxophonist and composer. «Since 2015, Golding has shaken up British jazz with a series of wild and adventurous albums. Three of these were made with the drummer Moses Boyd in the semi-free duo Binker and Moses — Dem Ones (2015), Journey To The Mountain Of Forever (2017) and Alive In The East? (2018. Most recently, Golding tore the rulebook into even smaller pieces on Ex Nihilo (ByrdOut, 2019), recorded live with the keyboardist Elliot Galvin.» (Chris May) Binker knows the entire gamut of emotions involved in soulful and melodious jazz, a tradition recorded for over a century now, of which he is a worthy representative. Great stuff!
Gearbox Records, August 2019

Three Chords and the Truth: Dark Night of the Soul
Van Morrison
Van the Man is back once more: «Three Chords and the Truth… continues a particularly prolific period for Morrison, marking his sixth album in four years. Last year, he released two albums, The Prophet Speaks and You’re Driving Me Crazy, while he also released a pair of records in 2017, Roll With The Punches and Versatile.» (Rolling Stone) No doubt Van Morrison has written a slew of unforgettable songs that have won the hearts of countless fans, of which I have been one ever since Astral WeeksMoondanceVeedon FleeceTupelo Honey and others among a total of more than 40 albums. Sir Van Morrison has one of the most unique voices in R&B and Soul. Follow the link and just keep on listening, they keep them coming. (sgs)
Exile/Caroline Inernational, October 2019

All Mirrors
Angel Olsen
Angel Olsen is a singer-songwriter and musician from St.Louis, Missouri. This is her fourth album. She has a great voice, loves fantastic and sometimes bombastic orchestrations, and her lyrics are something else! Her song «Windows» was featured in the final episode of 13 Reasons Why (Netflix), and she has collaborated with many of indie’s finest such as Bonnie «Prince» Billy, The Cairo Gang, Tim Kinsella of Capt’n Jazz, LeRoy Wilson of Wilco and others. As a young adult, Olsen turned to music via punk rock, noise music and Christian Rock. She began learning the piano and the guitar and writing her own music.
Jagjaguwar, October 2019

Colorado: Milky Way
Neil Young with Crazy Horse
Colorado was mainly recorded live in the studio in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. It it the first album the «godfather of grunge» realized with Crazy Horse since 2012. As with every Neil Young release, the resulting audio quality is simply stunning and sounds like personally being in the studio with the band while recording. «Milky Way» ist he Lead single. The present members of Crazy Horse are: Neil Young (guitars, vocals, piano, vibes, harmonica), Nils Lofgren (guitars, vocals, pump organ), Ralph Molina (drums, vocals), and Billy Talbot (bass, vocals). The new single sounds exactly as one would imagine; the Canadian songwriter’s voice has aged amazingly well for a life on the road. (sgs)
Reprise Records, October 2019

Open Reduction Internal Fixation: All The Things
Blue Hawaii
Blue Hawaii are a Canadian electronic ambient pop music duo from Montreal, made up of Raphaelle «Ra» Standell-Preston and Alex «Agor» Kerby (also known as Alexander Cowan). They have released an EP, Blooming Summer (2010) and two studio albums, Untogether (2013) and Tenderness (2017. Both albums were nominated for the Juno Award for Eectronic Album of the Year. Arbutus Records is a cooperative label set up to promote members of a music and artistic community in Montreal’s Mile End neighbourhood. The two musicians performed in Montreal, at times with other members of the collective. (Wikipedia)
Arbutus Records, October 2019

september 2019 – good to hear

Old Town Road
Little Nas X feat. Billy Ray Vaughn
Born in Lithia Springs (Georgia), Montero Lamar Hill (born 1999), professionally known as Little Nas X is an American rapper, singer and songwriter who garnered international attention for this country rap single. Nas X says he began to isolate himself from «outside-of-class-activities» during his teenage years, spending much time online in hopes of building a following as an Internet personality in order to promote his work. He landed on music as a path to success and started writing and recording songs in his closet. Late October 2018, he ran across the music that would be Old Town Road buying the beat for the sound anonymously from an online store an online store from Dutch produced YoungKio for $30! (Wikipedia)
Columbia, June 2019

The Git Up
Blanco Brown
Blanco Brown is an American singer, songwriter and record producer who has produced for Chris Brown and Pitbull, Brown’s debut single The Git Up has had over 50 million streams. He was raised in Atlanta, Georgia, listening to hiphop artists such as Outkast but whenever he stayed with his grandmother in Georgia during the summer months, he listened to country music and came to appreciate both forms of music. Brown posted «The Git Up Challenge» together with country artist Lainey Wilson to teach people how to dance. As a result, the song increased in popularity and soon reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
Broken Bow Records, April 2019

Pretty Shiny Things
Kassi Ashton
The next big thing: «Born Kassi Meisenheimer in California (Missouri), Kassi was raised listening to country music and participated in musical theater, dance, and beauty pageants. Contemporary pop sounds of Adele and Amy Winehouse strengthened her desire to become a professional musician. Ashton began writing songs when she was fifteen, and after high school she headed to Nashville, enrolling at Belmont University’s School of Music.
UMG, July 2019

The Highwomen
Formed in 2019, the Highwomen are a country music group made up of Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires, all of whom already pursue solo careers. The band performed their first ever full live set at the 60th annual Newport Folk Festival, playing songs from their upcoming album. With If She Ever Leaves Me, described by Carlile as «the first gay country song,» LGTBQ came out of the closet for good in the American country scene. «With the name paying homage to the legendary Highwaymen – consisting of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson) the Highwomen were originally intended to leave the fourth spot in their line-up vacant to allow other female collaborators to join them.» (Wikipedia). Some have, including Cheryl Crow, Judy Collins, Dolly Parton, Jade Bird or Linda Perry. These ladies are here to stay.
Elektra, August 2019

You Need To Calm Down
Taylor Swift
Of course this song and has already been viewed more than 120 million times but it has a great message, is a lot of fun and shows us, again, that Taylor Swift is not the dumb blonde next door she was made out to be when she first burst out on the scene. This woman knows what she wants and has the means to get it. Next, she will cover or re-issue all of her own old songs – though it is not sure yet whether she can get the rights to them back this way. Here, Taylor stands up for her LGTBQ friends, and she does it with great wit. The video is a masterpiece of styling, choreography and performance (Teen Choice Video of the Year 2019 and nominated for just about everything else), always tongue in cheek, always a little cheeky. I am beginning to really like Taylor. (sgs)
Taylor Swift Productions, Album September 2019

august 2019 – good to hear

Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon discuss psychedelics (and many other things)

TED: Rick Doblin on the future of psychedelics-assisted psychotherapy

Melody A.M.
Svein Berge and Torbjörn Brundtland are from Norway. Their name is a pun on the mushroom called puffball. They come from Tromsø, in the North, a town of about 75’000 people warmed by the gulf stream. Röyksopp debuted in 1998 and has been nominated for two Grammy Awards. «Nordic Chill’n’Groove with surprisingly beautiful, relaxed tracks that invite you to dream and linger, partly comparable to their last Lemongrass, cool enough to relax, deep enough to get under your skin. Strictly speaking one of the most atmospheric groove releases of the last six months! Extra gear for all light-eyed cloud walkers, time thieves and acrobats of life!» (Veit Staufer of Zürich’s RecRec Store) In 2009, Melody A.M. was named the best Norwegian album of the decade by Norway’s largest newspaper.
Wall of Sound, 2001

Africa Speaks: Yo Me Lo Merezco
Carlos Santana, ft. Buika 
«The state of the world is so infected with fear and separation and disharmony, I know for a fact that the frequency of this music from Africa gives people hope, courage, and joy. The ingredients and the nutrients from everything that comes from African music makes people dance and rejoice like a revival.» (Carlos Santana) Afrika speaks is Santana’s twenty-fifth studio album played by an eight piece band, including his wife, Cindy Blackman Santana, on drums. Produced in Malibu in a matter of ten days, many tracks were recorded in one take to yield a unique fusion of rock, Latin and jazz. This project had been simmering ever since 1988, when Carlos starting buying all the great African music he could get his hands on when traveling in Europe. Featuring the Spanish vocalist Buika whose heavenly lead vocals cast a magical spell throughout the album.
Concord Records, June 2019

Little Fishes
The Clayton Lennon Delirium
Pretty trippy! The Delirium is made up of bassist/vocalist Les Claypool and guitarist/vocalist Sean Lennon. Formed in 2015, their music is inspired by psychedelic rock. «Over the course of six weeks, they wrote and recorded a total of ten songs with both of them sharing various vocal and instrumental responsibilities, going beyond their core instruments of bass and guitar, culminating in the release of their first studio album. The album debuted in the Top 10 of three «Billboard» charts: Top Vinyl Albums, Top Tastemakers Albums, and Top Alternative Albums.» (Wikipedia)  Little Fishes is the opening track from the Claypool Lennon Delirium’s second LP, South of Reality, released last February. Self-taught animator Micah Buzan is inspired by psychedelic, electronic, and acoustic music. He has worked with The Flaming Lips (with whom Claypool/Lennon are currently touring the US) and provides free animation tutorials on YouTube.
Prawn Song Records, July 2019

Dream Shanti. Music in Our Dreams: Miles Meets the Mahatma
Jeff Coffins
«The genesis of this album was a jam session held between Coffin and virtuosic indian classical musicians Subrata Bhattacharya and Indrajit Banerjee in Coffin’s home studio in Nashville, TN. The musicians each brought in original compositions and taught the pieces to the others by ear. Coffin asked Bela Fleck, the Flecktones percussionist Roy “Futureman” Wooten and New Orleans-born pianist Chris Walters to join the ensemble in recording the final product. “I’ve been making music with both these guys for over 20 years and know they are adaptable and super open to challenging themselves.” Coffin said of Wooten and Walters. Together with Coffin’s Dave Matthews Band co-stars, friend Jordan Perlson on percussion, and wife Ryoko Suzuki providing harmonium, this album is bursting at the seams with raw, genuine talent.»
Ear Up Records, July 2019

Beats of Zion: Elevation
Rocky Dawuni 
«Between me and you we shall rise above it all.» Rocky Dawuni is a Ghanaian singer, songwriter and record producer who performs Afro Root, a mixture of Reggae, Afrobeat, Highlife and soul music. Often called the African Bob Marley, Grammy nominated Dawuni currently lives between Ghana and Los Angeles. The musician and activist who is known to straddle the boundaries between Africa, the Caribbean and the U.S. to create sounds that unite generations and cultures works to foster global peace. (Wikipedia) With an easy-going charisma and reputation as a dedicated champion of social causes, Dawuni’s infectious grooves and dance-inducing anthems have consistently excited fans across the globe. A galvanizing performer, Dawuni has shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, Peter Gabriel, Bono, Jason Mraz, Janelle Monae and John Legend, among many others.
Aquarian Record, Juli 2019

july 2019 – good to hear

Gris Gris
Dr John The Night Tripper
We mourn the loss of one of the most original and innovative musicians of the last fifty years, a man whose charisma, presence, voice and craftsmanship is unequalled. Even at his worst times, when he was so strung out that he travelled with a nurse, his shows were uniquely enthralling performances that held his audiences spellbound. He gave us a number of immortal songs and, likewise, he moves on to the next world, becoming one of the immortals himself. Malcolm (Mac) John Rebenack was born on 20 November 1941 into a musical New Orleans family of French descent and lived and breathed music since he was born. His inspirations were the local medicine shows, the Mardi Gras and the voodoo ceremonies, the Delta Blues as well the jazz records from his father’s record store. Dr John left us on 6 June 2019. Peace be with him. (sgs)
Atco Records, 1969

Fifity years of Trout Mask Replica: 10 Best Beefheart songs
Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band
Another legendary singer and songwriter rooted in the Delta blues, as well as in free jazz and rock, Captain Beefheart, aka Don Van Vliet, was born 1941 in Glendale, California. A multi-instrumentalist and a bully, he was mesmerisingly chaotic and asked a lot of his audience. Don began to sculpt as age three, especially animals, and won several prizes and scholarships he wasn’t allowed to take up by is parents. Noted for his friendship with Frank Zappa, Beefheart started singing in 1967 and signed a record deal one year later. He and his changing band members, among whom Ry Cooder, recorded thirteen studio albums with various band combinations until 1982 when the genius of pop abandoned music for painting, a lifelong pursuit at which he also excelled. Suffering from multiple sclerosis from 1970 onward, Don van Vliet passed away in 2010 having influenced just about everybody from the Beatles to P.C. Harvey. He continues to be a great inspiration. (sgs)
Straight Records, 1969

We Get By
Mavis Staples (featuring Ben Harper)
Here we have one of the truly great voices of soul still capable of giving me the shivers. Mavis, one of the original members of The Staple Singers, was born in Chicago, in 1939. Led by family patriarch Roebuch «Pops» Staples on guitar and including the voices of Mavis and her siblings Cleotha, Yvonne, and Pervis, the Staple Singers were «God’s Greatest Hitmakers» in the late sixties. Having originally sung in churches, Mavis is known for her political activism as well as for her rousing voice. After the group’s fame faded in the 1970, Mavis Staples became a solo performer, as well as accompanying many greats such as Bob Dylan, Prince, Ray Charles or George Jones. Her voice has been sampled by Salt ‘N Peppa. Ludacris and Ice Cube. She has been the recipient of many awards and honours and is celebrating her eightieth birthday with a series of concerts and this new release. (sgs)
Anti-Records, May 2019

Atlanta Millionaires Club: Room Temperature
Faye Webster
Atlanta’s Millionaires Club is in Faye’s feelings, and that’s the way she likes it. The new record from the 21-year-old Atlanta-native opens with a sighing, unflinchingly honest admission: «Looks like I’ve been crying again, over the same thing.» The omnipresence of pedal steel eschews bluegrass trappings, flexible under Webster’s genre-bending direction. She says she didn’t set out to make her new album sound like anyone in particular – in fact, she says, the recording process was the opposite, trying to avoid sounding like any contemporaries – but she cites Aaliyah as her main musical inspiration. Pulling from a family lineage of folk storytelling and time spent in Atlanta’s hip-hop scene, Webster’s work is a study of duality, weaving through her own introversion and heartbreak, its beautiful sadness punctuated by an unexpected, sly sense of humour. (secretlycanadian.com)
Secretly Canadian, May 2019

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

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