the kilimanjaro darkjazz ensemble - the kilimanjaro darkjazz ensemble

.:: The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble’s form of mutant jazz, slithers and slides...delicately painful. Each song, a little story of heartache, hope and perseverance, seemlessly fusing analogue and digital.
Soundtracks to non-existing movies, inspired by the worlds of The Quay Brothers, Hieronymus Bosch, Picasso, Goya, Murnau and Lang.
The self titled debut released on Planet Mu in April 2006.

Jason Kohnen and Gideon Kiers started TKDE around the turn of the century, creating new soundtracks to existing silent movies such as Murnau’s Nosferatu and Lang’s Metropolis. Both graduates of the School of Arts and majoring in audiovisuals and multimedia, the audio/visual concept developped into creating ‘visual’ music supported by existing film fragments to intensify the audio.

The Quay Brothers became a big inspiration for their debut album, their surreal world combined many weird and wonderful aspects to strengthen TKDE’s sound.
Hilary Jeffery on trombone joined in 2004, a master in trombone improvisation, and a breathing shadow of TKDE.
Nina Hitz on cello and Eelco Bosman on guitar and Charlotte Lica on vocal improvs form the TKDE live quintet or sextet, with Kiers providing drums, sequencing and visuals and Kohnen the bass, synths and sequencing.

Dark cinematic jazz alert here people, so if you like The Cinematic Orchestra (TCO), The Broadway Project or Amon Tobin, please read on.

Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble (KDE) might be new to some, so first off a quick introduction. They are a duo consisting of Jason Kohnen (Bong-Ra) and Gideon Kiers (Telcosystems). They formed KDE in and around 2000, and started out by creating soundtracks to moody silent films such as Murnau's Nosferatu and Lang's Metropolis. Mainly being a Kohnen/Kiers project, they’ve also added some new members for this album such as Hilary Jeffrey on trombone, Nina Hitz on Cello and Edwin Loman on guitar. The album is apparently heavily inspired by Philadelphia filmmakers and surrealist animators The Quay Brothers, and it is their second release as KDE after their remix for JMX's ’1.2.AB’ 12” released on Life Enhancing Audio in 2003. And what an album it is. Take a piece of The Cinematic Orchestra’s cinematic jazz, a dash of The Broadway Project’s dark/noir, a hint of Amon Tobin’s twisted mutant jazz and a little Freeform Arkestra orchestral ambience. Throw in a minipinch of Dj Shadow and Major Force West, and a good dose of Planet Mu-ism and you’re pretty much there. As you might have understood by now, it’s a very versatile album.

Take the opening track ’The Nothing Changes’ for example. A simple shuffle/percussive backdrop with a heavy upright bass to kill for, sweet strings, a haunting guitar and horror cinema horns on top.

Pure quality! ’Pearls for Swine’ hints towards Dj Shadow, although with a little more sophisticated electronics. Track tree is pure cinematic jazz loveliness, and having a big soft spot for TCO, this is one of my favourites on the album. ’Lobby’ is probably the most progressive track on the CD, starting off smooth with only cellos and muted shufflebeats, adding twisted
keys and sound effects as it progresses and builds itself to a horror flick climax of noise at the end. Massive track! Onto even more sweet TCO like cinematic jazziness on ’Parallel Corners’, while ’Rivers of Congo’ takes us deeper and darker into Darkjazz noir landscapes. The imaginary motion picture soundtrack continues along a fine cinematic jazz red line until the next to last track ’Vegas’ stirs tings up again to Squarepusher-esque heights, before the epic grand finale that is ’March of the Swine’ sets in. A 20-minute long journey that makes this album from The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble complete. I would love to see the movie...

This is a great great album that comes highly recommended from this Beyondjazzer. It needs your attention, so go check it out!

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dragon blue (tenko) - hades park

.:: Tenko is best known in Japan as co-founder of the five-women band Mizutama Shobodan (Polka-Dot Fire Brigade). They made two LP's The Virgin Prayers - Da! Da! Da! (1981) and Sky full of Red Petals (1985), both on Tenko's own Kinniku Bijo label. Parallel to this work was The Honeymoons, an improvising voice duo. Their album Laughing Myth was released in 1982. Their two shows, presented at the International Women's Music Festival in Montreal in '88 were among the highlights of that event. In 1984 Tenko appeared in the New York music scene as a solist.

She toured (Victoriaville, Moers, Zurich, Vienna) with the David Moss' Dense Band, has performed with the New York visitors to Japan (John Zorn, Elliot Sharp, Ned Rothenberg, {a=Christian Marclay] and others), and is no stranger to clubs like CBGB, The Knitting Factory, Roulette and The Kitchen. It was these ties that led to her first solo LP Slope/Graduel Disappearence, which brought together musicians from all of her activities and linked her song-writing and improvising in unusual ways. Slope, a unique and powerful statement, introduced Tenko to a much wider audience.

Her Uzo Muzo group was invited to Strasbourg's Musica Festival in 1987, and she toured as a duo with Fred Frith in '88 and '89, including performances at the Taktlos Festival in Switzerland. In '89 she performed at Moers, the Glasgow Jazz Festival and in London's Queen Elisabeth Hall (with Fred Frith's Keep the Dog). The next year she performed in Legend of Rain (a collaboration with Zeena Parkins) at the New Music America festival in Montreal. The piece was recorded in 1992 and released in '93.

Her solo CD At The Top of Mt. Brocken was recorded in Tokyo with ten other Japanese musicians she carefully selected. After that the duo with Ikue Mori Death Praxis was recorded in New York. In 1993-94 Tenko studied Speech and Drama at the Emerson College in England. She gave the "voice performance" for the theatre project Das Fest zum Mord, which was produced by proT in Munchen in October '94. Tenko's new band, Dragon Blue, composed of herself and four other Japanese musicians, was formed in March 1992. In more recent years Tenko has devoted much of her energy to working both as a song-writer and as a theatrical solo voice performer.

Dragon Blue:
Tenko: vocal
Tsuneo Imahori: guitar
Yoshihide Otomo: turntables
Hideki Kato: bass
Akira Sotoyama: drums

download: dragon blue (tenko) - hades park

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rik rue - sample / shuffle / interplay

.:: Rik Rue was born in Sydney in 1950, and at the age of 15 began constructing his own soundscapes from found and outdoor environmental sounds. Environmental sounds, his primary musical influences, have always provided him with "abstract and subconscious pleasures and an inner understanding of the physical environment", and manipulating them seemed to allow an imaginative reconstruction of, and some control over, the world that produced them.

Rue, who is self-taught in composition, stayed in London from 1970 to 1973, while studying part-time at the Slade School, Camden Art Centre and Royal College of Art. Back in Sydney, from 1976 to 1979, his interest in improvisation and jazz surfaced in an organisational way when he helped present concerts of experimental and improvised music in the Paris Theatre in Darlinghurst and small galleries such as Central Street in Sydney. At this time he also played with a number of prominent Sydney improvisers, including Jon Rose, Louis Burdett and Serge Ermoll. Rue also achieved an important musical breakthrough.

By using the tape recorder, he realised he could combine his love of environmental sounds, and of world musics, with his interest in improvisation and his desire to document and re-arrange sounds. Thus, the tape recorder became his `instrument'. He began presenting `live mixed' tape works in performance with improvisers such as Jim Denley and with the improvising group The Relative Band in the 1980s. Since the early 1980s, Rue has continued to work with live tape mixing in performances, particularly when playing with Mind/Body/Split , a group of Sydney-based improvising musicians including Jim Denley (flute and saxophone), Sherre De Lys (voice and texts), Jamie Fielding (synthesiser and percussion), Kimo Venonen (electronic samplings and manipulations) and occasional distinguished guests, such as Amanda Stewart (voice), Chris Abrahams (piano) and Graham Leake (percussions and samplings).

At various times Rue had released a number of works on compilation discs produced by Fringe Benefit records but later, when he felt the need to personalise his output, created his own independent cassette label, Pedestrian Tapes in 1983. In recent years, Rue has extended his activities to include creative radio programming, hosting new music shows on Sydney's 2MBSFM and 2SERFM. His regular program on the former station, Stopgaps and Measures , began in 1985 and featured a wide range of works, from regional environmental works and sound/text experiments to local and international new music.

download: rik rue - sample / shuffle / interplay

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jóhann jóhannsson - englabörn

.:: Englaborn is Jóhann's first solo album. It is derived from music he wrote for an Icelandic play of the same name. For the cd release on Touch, the music was revised and restructured to make it stand as a work on its own and not simply function as a collection of cues. The music is written for string quartet, piano, organ, glockenspiel and percussion. These elements were processed and manipulated, adding delicate electronic backgrounds to the otherwise entirely acoustic recordings.

One song, "Odi et Amo", is a setting of Catullus's famous poem. He says "This was a happy accident; I'd written the music and wanted a computerized counter-tenor vocal singing a Latin text and was looking through a collection of Latin poetry when I remembered this poem from college and it did fit the melody perfectly and was also thematically perfect for the play. It’s in the final scene. What I really like about it is the harsh contrast of the computer voice and the strings, the alchemy of total opposites, the sewing machine and umbrella on a dissecting table”.

Jóhannsson continues: "The plays is extremely violent and disturbing and basically when faced with the script I decided to work against it as much as possible and just try to write the most beautiful music I could. That approach seems to have worked, at any rate, the music got really good reviews, the leading drama critic calling it "the most beautiful I've heard in Icelandic theatre." I must say I’ve never had such a strong reaction to anything I’ve done before; strangers have actually stopped me in the street and hugged me because of it...! Bizarre.. It is gratifying though, because it’s probably the most personal thing I've done. This stuff is very very close to me.".

***after long long time, i finally could get this album, thanx nodatta.blogspot.com guys***

download: jóhann jóhannsson - englabörn

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elend - the umbersun

.:: Imagine visiting a picturesque building in a friendly setting of your choice. Once inside, the feeling that nothing is going to happen for an uncomfortable eternity, along with every musical key suddenly locking you into its orchestral and industrial density, will make you want to frantically run around in circles in order to get back to the reality of your conscious life. Sounds scary? Well, this is exactly the kind of scenario which describes the vibe on “The Umbersun”, the new album from Austro-French five-piece Elend. It’s a teasing blend of classical organs, vocal screams and Gregorian chants minus the loud guitars; a one hour-plus retreat into the fullness of diverse symphonic sounds and the emptiness of emotional annihilation. Or, putting it another way, this is the sort of album you may need to listen to with the light on and in the company of as many pairs of clean pants you can get your hands on (or your legs through).

For all of you out there who have long since been looking to recapture that elusive childhood feeling of getting spooked out by a good horror movie, this is your ultimate, non-more-black, haunting mellow-tron through someone else’s vision of insanity.

One of the oddest bands on Planet Rock, Elend have their roots as firmly embedded in Gregorian chants and 20th century classical composers such as Holst, as well as off-the-wall Euro-prog rockers such as Amon Duul. The result is a dark, symphonic mélange that has a good deal in common with recent Burzum releases, and proof that orchestral music can be heavier than out-and-out metal bands.

The last part of a trilogy from this Austro-French crew, “The Umbersun” is a truly inspired piece of work. Simultaneously depressing and uplifting, it’s a record that will appeal to those who appreciate a little weirdness in their life.

Hooh boy, now THIS is evil. Anyone who thinks that "true" black metal is dark, should seriously take a look at The Umbersun, an album that might very well constitute one of the vilest, darkest pieces of music ever written. A friend of mine once demanded that I remove this album from my car stereo while we drove through the mountains one overcast night. It was simply too much; a total negative sensory overload. He felt drained and sickened by it. Perhaps I should explain the album and its effect in some detail.

This is the third and final chapter in Elend's first trilogy, the Officium Tenebrarum. As explained in my other Elend review, the trilogy is concerned with the fall and descent of Lucifer into Hell (as seen in Milton's Paradise Lost). This final chapter finds Lucifer comfortably (?) in Hell and in a rather introspective mood. According to old band interviews this album represents death, whereas "Les Ténèbres du Dehors" represents rebellion. Fair enough. This album plays like a soundtrack to Dante's Inferno, only less comforting.

The album alternates between two primary compositional styles: the hauntingly gentle and the chaotic, atonal, blaringly loud, serpentine-flames-and-whirlwinds of-hell, total mindfucks. It is the second variety that caused my friend so much anxiety, though the first isn't exactly a day at the circus either. Elend took the old formula and turned up the atonality. Rather than bathe the listener in warm Romantic textures, The Umbersun would rather attack the listener with the dark underbelly of Modernism. Which isn't a bad thing, insofar as the listener doesn't approach the album with a headache. The music still retains much of its ambience, but the ambience is intensely dark and depressing here. There is beauty amid the chaos, but it's the beauty of a ghostly female apparition floating among the tombstones, rather than that of an ascendant angel.

The vocals are still characterized primarily by angelic soprano lines, male whispers, and terrible (terribly cool that is) shrieks. The shrieks are everywhere now, and blast with furious frequency throughout the music's chaotic textures. The soprano vocals here sound far darker (and less sensuous) than before, given the somewhat different context of the music; listen to the soprano work on the Bram Stoker's Dracula soundtrack for an idea. This album features a good-sized choir, and Elend makes good use of it. The choir is best used in creating dissonance: in one part the choir is made to sing in contradictory vocal harmonies and in another, the choir actually screams and shrieks in total disarray!

This album is dark. Really dark. It's aggressive, chaotic and generates a suffocating atmosphere of horror and alienation. Is it any good? It is extremely effective at creating the desired mood. Some would suggest it is too effective. It certainly isn't easy listening; it is not something you simply plop down and listen to with a beer and a bag of chips. I rarely listen to it, but when I do I find myself totally immersed in its aura of discord. It is utterly convincing; there is never a moment when you don't feel the total impact of the music. It effectively communicates the essence of Hell in the Judea-Christian tradition. Is that a recommendation? You be the judge.

Super Fun Tip: Stick it in at a party and watch the contortions on the guests' faces.

***if you guys have some material from this band, please share those albums so that you can help a poor blogger***

download: elend - the umbersun

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dntel - life is full of possibilities

.:: The title of Dntel's third album is really ringing true these days. Who'd have thought that our lives would bear witness to bioterrorism and mass destruction? Even the album cover tacitly cautions against optimism. Yes, life might bring you a million dollar check one day, but as symbolized by the ambulance on Life Is Full of Possibilities' artwork, the envelope could be smeared with anthrax spores.
Dntel's Jimmy Tamborello couldn't have known of present hazards when he put together this uniformly superb album; what he did know was that it was time to progress as an artist. Dntel's previous albums-- released on the maverick Californian extreme IDM label, Phthalo-- showcased Tamborello's mastery of the �-Ziq form. Both Early Works for Me If It Works for You and Something Always Goes Wrong are heavily indebted to Mike Paradinas' askance appreciation of melody and spastic beat programming. Tamborello's transition from slinging "Eno-core" bass bricks in his first band (the Los Angeles-based ambient pop band Strictly Ballroom) to creating exemplary IDM appeared effortless. And though Something Always Goes Wrong didn't demonstrate much desire to explore uncharted sonic realms, it remained an engaging and rewarding listen.

But with Life Is Full of Possibilities, Tamborello separates himself from the tired, poor and huddled masses of bedroom programmers. Enlisting members of the West Coast indie elite, the album is a matchless combination of scratchy indie rock and post-Oval electronics. What impresses most about the record, beyond the strength of the songs, is Tamborello's willingness to treat his vocalists as he would a synth tone. Most musicians are content to let their guests contribute a couple of lines and leave it at that-- at most, they'll tack on a cheeseball vocoder effect. Tamborello takes it a step further, cutting up and contorting members of Beachwood Sparks, That Dog, and Death Cab for Cutie.

Tamborello crinkles and manipulates vocalist Chris Gunst, the frontman for both Strictly Ballroom and Beachwood Sparks. But this is more than a bassist's revenge on his former band's lead singer. As Gunst sings the first lines to "Umbrella," Tamborello inserts micropauses into the phonemes Gunst utters. When Gunst's nostrum, "You can turn the city upside down if you want to/ But it won't keep you dry," appears for a second time, Tamborello clothes it with a delicate vacuum cleaner sound. On its third appearance, Gunst's voice appears au natural; instead, it's the accompaniment-- a church organ and a swarm of ambience swirls-- that Tamborello alters before a relatively conventional drum machine beat kicks "Umbrella" through the classic-opening-track goal posts.

As superb as "Umbrella" is, it's not a patch on "Anywhere Anyone," a track which features L.A. performance poet and singer/songwriter Mia Doi Todd, who provided the recent Dublab compilation, Freeways, with its best moment: "Digital Version 2.1." In Tamborello, Todd has found her musical soulmate. As she plaintively sings, "How can you love me if you don't love yourself," Tamborello's accompaniment swoons and swoops in its dense coverings, until a tinny xylophone chimes through with the most delicate of melodies and accompaniments. It's similar in effect to the way Bjork uses harp lines amid the fuzz and static of Vespertine's glitchier moments.

The drifting aleatoric ambience of "Pillowcase" reminds me of David Kristian's Roomtone sonic sculptures. Sounds waft by or linger barely long enough to register as rhythmic or melodic phrases. "Fear of Corners," in its crackled way, vies with Aaliyah and Timbaland's "Try Again" for most rhythmically obtuse but still mad funky programming. Like "Try Again," "Fear of Corners" is fearful of its inherent groove, and muffles it with smothering ambience. Nonetheless, the insuppressible and awkward beats persist with an Autechre-ish resilience.

Tamborello's partner in the electro-pop act Figurine, Meredith Figurine, takes vocal duties on "Suddenly is Sooner Than You Think." Figurine tries her utmost to match Mia Doi Todd's heartfelt bleakness; instead, she has to settle for matching Dani Siciliano, the serene vocalist of Herbert's masterful Bodily Functions album. This is hardly a major concession, especially given that Tamborello's setting for the song appears to confirm to Matthew Herbert's Personal Contract for the Composition of Music manifesto. The only thing you might miss on this track is a fat beat, but the filigree lyrics and processed accordions would sound really crap with a two-step monster pattern humping away at them. Tamborello, like Herbert, has nobly allowed good taste to dictate his approach, rather than the prospect of a club hit.

The title track begins as another David Kristian-style sound sculpture before transforming into ringing bells conversing with abstract noises that bubble up from the impenetrable deep. As such, Tamborello succinctly and accurately describes life's possibilities becoming actualities. "Why I'm So Unhappy" features former That Dog bassist, Rachel Haden. Haden collaborated with the For Carnation's Brain McMahan (also the ex-frontman of Slint) on the song's lyrics. But despite the track's pedigree, I'm distracted from the lyrics by the beauty of Haden's voice and how Tamborello frames it: in drifting strings and Bjorkish ambiance. Towards the end of the song, Tamborello forces every element-- Haden's voice, the sparse percussion, and the guitar-- through broken distortion.

However excellent "Why I'm So Unhappy" is, it's eclipsed in brilliance by "(This is) The Dream of Evan and Chan." Death Cab for Cutie's Benjamin Gibbard guests and compliments Tamborello's most melodic, Eno-esque distortions with his wistful lyrics of nostalgia ("He then played every song from 1993/ The crowd applauded/ He curtsied bashfully). Tamborello brings in the sturdy beats that were such a staple of Something Always Goes Wrong, until Gibbard repeats, "Until the telephone started ringing, ringing, ringing off." At this point, the song slows and stills in preparation for the closing instrumental "Last Songs."

Life Is Full of Possibilities confirms that, while possibilities exist in a quantum state of probability, it takes a special person to convert them into certainties. I've only become this ecstatic about one other album this year (Herbert's Bodily Functions), and Life Is Full of Possibilities exceeds even that landmark album. Possibly, it'll have an similar effect on you.

download: dntel - life is full of possibilities

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tony levin - resonator

.:: Bass legend Tony Levin, who is the only bass player Peter Gabriel will take with him on tour and who has also toured and recorded with Paul Simon, Sarah McLachlan, Peter Frampton, and many others, as well as occupying the bass chair with King Crimson for over 25 years, has released music under his own name before. But Resonator is the first album to feature his vocals and lyrics, and while it's never safe to assume that instrumental brilliance will necessarily translate into lyrical skill or vocal ability, in this case Levin seems to have the hat trick.

That's not to say that his voice is especially exciting, but it's not embarrassing, and his lyrics are generally quite good. But as is the case with almost any recording with which he's involved, it's the bass playing that really rewards close listening. This is especially true on tracks like "Places to Go" (scored for bass, percussion, and vocals), the gorgeous and deeply moving "Beyond My Reach," and a darkly exquisite, faintly Crimson-esque instrumental titled "Shadowland." On "Utopia," his chord progression harks back to the Beatles, and his appropriation of classical material on "Sabre Dance" is both good-humored and sophisticated. Here's hoping for more of this type of thing in the future.

(From Tony) This music is different that what I've offered before, in that it's got vocals and lyrics on 8 of the 10 compositions. But it'll also be a little familiar to listeners of my previous releases in that my writing is (hopefully) distinctive, and I use the players in my band a lot (musicians details are below.)

With the lyrics I've tackled some deep subjects, though sometimes humorously. And the instrumentals (including a heavy rock version of Khachaturian's Sabre Dance) are pretty rocking.

I really think it's my best writing ever, and am excited to get it out to the public.
(We'll put the lyrics up on this page too.)

The core of the Tony Levin Band remains the same group that has recorded and toured together for years:
On synthesizers, Larry Fast, of Synergy, Nektar, and the Peter Gabriel Band.

On drums, and singing background vocals: Jerry Marotta, who has recorded with Paul McCartney and many others, in addition to the Peter Gabriel Band.

Playing guitar, Jesse Gress, who also plays with Todd Rundgren, and has written numerous books on guitar technique.

New in the band is Tony's brother, Pete Levin - an accomplished keyboardist and composer who's played many albums and film tracks. Featured on a few tracks is his Hammond Organ playing, which will bring a new dimension of solo-ing to the band's live shows. In addition, Tony had wanted another vocalist for the live shows - now there are four (in fact the band's European live shows have begun with a quite amusing Barbershop Quartet!)

Adrian Belew, the inimitable guitarist, has a guest appearance on the track Throw the God a Bone, which, in re-uniting the two King Crimson players, gets a flavor something like their famous Elephant Talk.

Steve Lukather, of Toto and countless hit records, plays guitar on the track Utopia. Tony had long wanted to give himself the gift of having Luke play the special solo on that piece (which Tony had recorded before, just as an instrumental.)

download: tony levin - renonator

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kayo dot - choirs of the eye

.:: Ever since its founding in 1995, John Zorn's Tzadik label has never failed at releasing albums that completely defy musical genre perception. Tzadik has backed everything from John Zorn's jewjazz ensemble Masada to the master of guitar destruction, Keiji Haino. And then there's electronic super girl, Tetsu Inoue, and the hilariously great Japanese traditional/electronic pop girl combo, Hoahio. However, amongst all this chaos of musical experimentation, this album, Choirs of the Eye, stands out dramatically.

The only real similarity to Tzadik's focal point, John Zorn's discography, is the fact that it mixes many genres into one cohesive product. Zorn's Naked City project, easily the defining point in his career, mixed jazz and grindcore. Toby Driver, Kayo Dot's lead member, aimed for something much more expansive and more like the progressive-metal roots of his previous (and inferior) band, Maudlin of the Well; instead, Kayo Dot's output is 90% chamber jazz-esque ambiance and 10% metal.

This small amount of metal, instead of hitting the Scandinavian black metal roots (a la Opeth), sounds like a clean version of Oceanic-era ISIS. No noisy gravel is audible in any of the 6 compositions on Choirs of the Eye: the music is, figuratively, clear as a bell. Even though the the guitar work in these "lashing out" sections are reminiscent of the dirty-sounding noise of any band associated with grindcore, such as the last two and a half minutes of the epic fourteen and a half minute-long "The Manifold Curiosity", the album comes off feeling smooth and listenable even for listeners not so comfortable with grindcore.

Toby Driver's experimentation is revealed much more clearly in the quieter sections. Instead of sounding similar to ISIS, the sound sounds more reminiscent of the ambiance of Rachel's and the chamber jazz of Tortoise. The style can be likened to post-rock, but I think a better likening would be to new age. Instead of relying heavily on the electric guitar, the quieter sections lean on piano, acoustic guitar, cello, and saxophone. The instrumentation, coupled with Driver's mumbled vocals, mixes a subtle Gothic overtone with Rachel's ambient/chamber musical compositions.

Surprisingly, unlike Rachel's and a majority of Tzadik's releases, pretension (whether it be good or bad) runs extremely low. The album, though only six tracks that total in nearly an hour of music, is extremely cohesive and easy to listen to. From the loud-quiet-loud-quiet pattern of the opening, ten-minute, composition "Marathon" to the epic conclusion of "The Antique", everything flows together into an almost movie soundtrack-like symphony. The key with this album, though, is that there is no filler; the album flows from the introductory punch of guitar and drums to the Harold Budd-esque piano ambiance-filled conclusion with absolute ease.

Fans exclusive to Tzadik's regular CHAOS EXPLOSION!@!@ might come out of this album feeling disappointed, but the album, as a whole, is excellent. This album is the definitive answer for people who think Opeth is far too cheesy (like me) and Rachel's sometimes doodles too much with their music. Tired of Masada's crazy jewjazz? Need something quieter? This album is for you. John Zorn has yet to fail us, and this album clearly shows it.

***this is one of my best kept secret albums... until now. and one of my favorite albums of all time***

download: kayo dot - choirs of the eye

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minus the bear - they make beer commercials like this

.:: Six-song EP. One of my favorite bands! This is the third release from Seattle's Minus The Bear, who construct their sound from guitar tapped melodies, textural electronics, an airtight rhythm section, and vivid melodic narratives. "They Make Beer Commercials Like This" shows the evolution of the band's craft and finally captures the spark of their live show.

Minus the Bear is a Seattle, Washington-based band. The band features ex-members of Botch, Kill Sadie, and Sharks Keep Moving. Their sound is a combination of Pele-esque guitar-taps and electronics, with sophisticated time signature composition. The name "Minus the Bear" comes from an inside joke between the band members, referring to the 80s TV show B.J. and the Bear.

Minus the Bear is known for their amusing song titles, with examples including "Hey, Wanna Throw Up? Get Me Naked", "Get Me Naked 2: Electric Boogaloo", "Monkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!!" and "Lemurs, Man, Lemurs".

download: minus the bear - they make beer commercials like this

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andrzej jagodzinski trio - once more chopin

.:: "To adapt the great masters of classical music into jazz is extremely difficult, if one doesn`t want to betray their works. It takes a great pianist and a great musician to succeed in such a task. That is absolutely the case with Andrzej Jagodzinski, who has passed this test beyond any doubt, with all necessary mastery , and made this record one of the most perfect achievements of the genre". From CD booklet by Martial Solal

1999 has been declared by UNESCO the Chopin Year. In this way the world is going to celebrate the 150 th anniversary commemorating the death of one of the greatest composers in the history of music. On this occasion we may sample the delights from the music of this great Polish pianist and composer not only through performances at concert halls, which have a long-established tradition, but also we can expect to hear a more modern sensibility from some of today's performers as the 20 th century draws to a close.

In the musical culture of our time there is a tendency for cross borders of styles, seeking various kinds of inspiration, referring to what was done in the past and evaluating and commenting on it in a new way. But these activities are often an eclectic process creating no new values, but seeking just a cheap originality.
Indeed playing Chopin is no joke. Its requirements can be met only by outstanding artists. And yet for all its dangers and difficulties it may produce enchanting music, restful, reflective, a most profound artistic experience.

Andrzej Jagodzinski is with no doubt such an inspired artist. With what has been written by Martial Solal, I can only add that Jagodzinski, educated in the tradition of Polish music, succeeded like no one before in joining two great traditions: romantic piano music and jazz, both understood as one expression of an unlimited invention. And in this is to be found his extraordinary talent. Although at first sight they may be distant from one another, when we come to know them better it appears that they have very much in common not only in the musical sense but also in their feeling and spirit.

This session, so unusual in its idea, became also an occasion for quite an event. In one of the pieces, the Etude in G flat major, Op. 25 no. 9, Andrzej Jagodzinski was accompanied by a special guest, one of the major interpreters of Chopin`s music, Janusz Olejniczak. May this meeting, in the shape of an adroit ragtime joke, be regarded as evidence of just how artistically refined the crossing of stylistic barriers can become.

So there you have "Chopin Once More" – that is a tribute to Frédéric Chopin, or a modern look at a historic heritage, a link between the old and the new, or quite simply an invitation into a land of beautiful music and profound feelings. From CD booklet by Maciej Karłowski

Jazz has naturally adopted, the nineteenth-century tradition of improvizing on known themes. In the case of the Andrzej Jagodzinski Trio so popular and loved by all of us, the Chopin themes found a refined performer endowed with taste and sensibility. I am very pleased that I could take part, if only symbolically, in this project. It was for me a wonderful relaxation and a pleasure, but I should like it to be also an expression of my admiration for the talent and art of Andrzej Jagodzinski. I am glad that Andrzej made "once more" a Chopin record. From CD booklet by Janusz Olejniczak

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headphones - headphones

.:: Headphones features David Bazan (Pedro the Lion), Tim Walsh (Pedro the Lion, TW Walsh), and Frank Lenz (Starflyer 59). Headphones was engineered and mixed by Jared Hankins in Seattle in the early days of 2005.

Built wholly from synthesizers (that’s right, no guitars), live drums, and the familiar warmth of Bazan’s syrupy vocal delivery, Headphones boasts deft arrangements with timeless melodies and uncanny lyrical depth, finding Bazan, Walsh and Lenz at their best. Clean, open room recording; digital subtleties with analog affectations; seamless integration of electronic and rock and elements — Headphones is a striking, sophisticated success.

Fans of Bazan’s past efforts will feel comfortable here, but also challenged and excited by a new chapter in his book of classic songwriting. Headphones poses a stark simplicity, relying on a limited number of voices — reminiscent of early records by Low. Thematically, Headphones treads dark waters where a certain frankness and antagonism work to confront issues of love, loss and loyalty headon — straight forward, no bullshit, no fucking around.

Built wholly from synthesizers, live drums, and the familiar warmth of David Bazan's syrupy vocal delivery, Headphones boasts deft arrangements with timeless melodies and uncanny lyrical depth. Clean, open room recording; digital subtleties with analog affectations; seamless integration of electronic and rock and elements — Headphones is a striking, sophisticated success.

Fans of Bazan's past efforts will feel comfortable here, but also challenged and excited by a new chapter in his book of classic songwriting. Headphones poses a stark simplicity, relying on a limited number of voices - reminiscent of early records by Low. Thematically, Headphones treads dark waters where a certain frankness and antagonism work to confront issues of love, loss and loyalty headon - straight forward, no bullshit, no fucking around.

If you have questions related to booking shows, getting Headphones CDs at your radio station or record store, interviews, on-line mail order, or other business matters, please contact these nice people listed below.

.:: David Bazan, miembro activo de Pedro The Lion y Headphones es una de las voces líricas mas interesantes de la música folk actual. Su fuerte carga emocional, y su particular visión para dar vida a los más mínimos detalles le emparentan con la narrativa del J.D. Salinger de “Nine Stories” o el Flannery O´Connor´s de “Wise Blood” dentro del campo de la música popular.

Bazan es un dotado contador de historias capaz de tejer historias a través de magnéticas canciones en las que tienen cabida el conflicto espiritual, el ambiente urbano, etc... Su álbum mas reciente con Pedro The lion “Achiles Heel” ha estado en los top de las radios universitarias.

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my brightest diamond - bring me the workhorse

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.:: My Brightest Diamond is Shara Worden, granddaughter of an Epiphone-playing traveling evangelist, fathered by a National Accordion Champion, and mothered by a church organist. Spanish tango, Sunday morning gospel, classical and jazz were the accompaniment to her home life. Her first song was recorded at age three and by age eight she was studying piano and performing in community musical productions.

Shara honed her musical prowess singing along to Whitney Houston music videos and Mariah Carey albums. When pop music wasn’t enough, she enrolled in the music program at the University of North Texas, immersing herself in the songs of Purcell and Debussy. After college, she moved to New York City and fell in love with its cold winters and busy streets. She continued to study opera on the Upper West Side during the day, but at night she frequented downtown clubs such as Tonic, Knitting Factory, and The Living Room, catching performances by Antony & The Johnsons, Nina Nastasia, and Rebecca Moore. She began to spend less time sight-reading Mozart and more time de-tuning her Gibson electric guitar to play her own newly-written songs. Coaxed out of recital halls and onto the small stages of bars and clubs, Shara assembled a coterie of musicians to accompany her with bass and drums, music boxes, wine glasses, and wind chimes.

In performance she showed unusual versatility, channeling the vocal theatrics of Kate Bush, the soulful seductiveness of Nina Simone and the gothic pop of Portishead. Her infatuation with theater and costumes inspired her to wear superhero capes, ball gowns, or Tudor corsets on stage, depending on her mood. Her deeply personal songs transcended the histrionics of opera; Shara was at last singing about what was closest to her heart. She began to see her own music as the most precious gift she could give to the world — as reflected in her namesake, My Brightest Diamond.

Of course, opera never really left her, and Shara’s performance blurred the lines between rock show and recital, setting baroque love songs alongside French carols and Prince covers. Her vocal lines reached for Puccini, but her guitar was pure PJ Harvey. The center of gravity here was the workmanship of a woman whose imagination had no limits. To sharpen her skills, Shara studied composition with Australian composer Padma Newsome (of Clogs) and began to incorporate a string quartet in her live show. The influences of Nat King Cole and Henry Mancini rounded out the edges. A few years later, she met Sufjan Stevens at The Medicine Show, a variety show hosted by New York City’s incendiary poet, Sage, at Arlene’s Grocery. This, in turn, led to a yearlong sabbatical from her work, doing splits and round-offs (not to mention the human pyramid) as one of the notorious Illinoisemakers. Shara was quickly promoted as cheerleading captain.

All of this led to an impressive résumé, but My Brightest Diamond still had no album to show for it. So in 2005, she began work on two records: one featuring songs accompanied by a string quartet (A Thousand Shark’s Teeth), and a more standard rock album featuring a full band (featuring Earl Harvin on drums, Chris Bruce on bass, and, on one song, her father Keith on accordion) titled Bring Me The Workhorse, which will be released in August 2006 on Asthmatic Kitty Records.

Her songs distil stories to their most distressing points of contact: a phone call, an injured horse, a dragonfly caught in a spider’s web. She doesn’t share all the information — just the stuff that matters. The effect is a sensational compression of time, in which an entire event is summarized in a single note. This, of course, is the essence of opera. But My Brightest Diamond is much more than that. There is also the humor one might find in an old TV episode of Wonder Woman or Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Shara’s songs reconcile all the complex emotions found in each of us: she can grieve as comfortably as she can laugh, sometimes in the same breath.

.:: My Brightest Diamond es Shara Worden, nieta de un guitarrista ambulante, hija de un Campeón Nacional de Acordeón y de una organista de iglesia. El tango español, el gospel, la música clásica y el jazz la acompañaron durante toda su infancia. A los ocho estudiaba piano, actuaba en pequeñas comunidades musicales y cantaba en coros, en Michigan, ciudad donde creció. Perfiló su proceso cantando música pop y cuando no fue suficiente inició un programa de estudios musicales en la Universidad del Norte de Texas, inmergiéndose en las canciones de Purcell y Debussy.

Tras su estancia en Texas, se trasladó a Nueva York y continuó estudiando ópera en el Upper West Side durante el día, pero de noche frecuentaba clubs como Tonic, Knitting Factory y The Living Room, asistiendo a conciertos de Antonhy and the Johnsons, Nina Nastasia y Rebeca Moore. De pronto, empezó a pasar menos tiempo leyendo a Mozart y más tiempo con su guitarra Gibson escribiendo sus propias canciones. Convencida por salas de concierto y pequeños escenarios de bares y clubs, Shara reunió a unos cuantos músicos y se hizo acompañar con bajo y batería, cajas de música e instrumentos de viento. En directo mostraba una inusual versatilidad, canalizando la voz teatral de Kate Bush, la seducción de Nina Simone y el pop gótico de Portishead. Sus líneas vocales alcanzaban a Puccini, pero su guitarra era pura PJ Harvey.

Para afilar sus destrezas, estudió composición con el compositor australiano Padma Newsome y empezó a incorporar un cuarteto de cuerda en sus actuaciones. Conoció a Sufjan Stevens en The Medicine Show, un show variado presentado por el poeta incendiario Sage en el Arlene´s Grocery. Esto fue el inicio de un año sabático de su trabajo, acompañando a Sufjan como una Illinoisemaker y convirtiéndose rápidamente en la capitana del equipo. Hasta entonces, My Brightest Diamond no tenía su propio álbum, así que en 2005 empezó a trabajar en dos discos, el primero de ellos es Bring me the workhorse.

Bring me the workhorse junta todos lo elementos esenciales de la música clásica y el pop para crear un álbum que rompe las barreras de ambos mundos, evocando momentos de tremenda alegría y pena con la magnitud de la ópera italiana y la modestia del haiku japonés. altafidelidad.org

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peter gabriel - up

.:: "The album is a 'bookends' record, looking more at the beginning and the end of life than the middle". This is a personal album, reflecting on the life that grows out of death and recognizing patterns and forces at work above and beneath our normal focus.

Most of the recording and mixing has been done at Real World Studios, although some of the initial recording was done in Senegal, France and on a boat on the Amazon. It's the first time that Peter has taken the full reins of production, except in these last few months when he called in the legendary Tchad Blake to mix the record, with some additional mixing and production help from Stephen Hague on 'I Grieve'. It is also the first time Peter has done a lot of work on the string arrangements, especially on 'Signal To Noise', for which he spent a couple of weeks working with Will Gregory and later Nick Ingman.

There is an extraordinary line up of musicians on the record with Peter's traditional ex-drummer focus on drums and percussion. On that front we find Manu Katche, Ged Lynch, Dominic Greensmith and Will White and on percussion Ged Lynch, Mahut Dominique and Hossam Ramzy. The familiar faces of David Rhodes (Guitar) and Tony Levin (Bass) can be found all over the record with the great Upright Bass played by Danny Thompson. There is also a wide range of singers from the wonderful and sadly departed Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to the Blind Boys of Alabama and Peter's own daughter, Melanie. 'Sky Blue' is probably the most backward looking track on the album and features some atmospheric guitar from Daniel Lanois and one of Peter's favourite musicians from his teenage years, Peter Green.

So many hundreds of hours of recording have been logged that this album is probably the first to have its own archaeology department.

That Up exists at all is faintly miraculous. Over the past seven years, with guests including Youssou N'Dour, Peter Green, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Peter Gabriel has held recording sessions in Senegal, Atlanta, Singapore, the French Alps, and on a boat on the Amazon River, as well as at his own RealWorld studios. Having written and prepared over 150 songs, he's managed to cut this huge body of work down to just 10 tracks.

There's a remarkable consistency and contemporary feel here that springs from a thoughtful layering process, with Gabriel combining tribal rhythms with complex backing vocals, samples, rock guitar, piano and--crucially--electronic effects. Indeed, the opener, "Darkness," begins with an aggressiveness that recalls the Prodigy, before hints of vulnerability and fear surface. Elsewhere, there is the dreamy "The Drop" and the orchestral heights of "Signal to Noise." Throughout, Gabriel uses water metaphors to put forward his positivist message. And it's all brilliant, sophisticated, and soulful. The man's a marvel and Up is a masterwork. --Dominic Wills

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madeleine peyroux - careless love

.:: When Madeleine Peyroux's debut, Dreamland, was released in 1996, its success threw her for a loop. She's taken eight years to create this follow-up, and, at age 30, she brings a confidence and resilience to this dozen-song set. She's able to move seamlessly between songs by writers as diverse as Elliott Smith and W.C. Handy, whose title track was popularized by Bessie Smith.

Though American-born, Peyroux absorbed the language and culture of France growing up in Paris with her French-teacher mother. On her debut, she covered Edith Piaf, and this time out she wraps herself around "J'ai Deux Amours," which Josephine Baker sang to the Allied troops during World War II. --David Greenberger

Boasting an enthralling voice many have regarded as reminiscent of Billie Holiday's, Madeleine Peyroux burst onto the music scene eight years ago with the extremely successful release of Dreamland. Championed by major publications such as The New York Times and Time Magazine, Peyroux was immediately recognized as a remarkably talented singer with a promising future. With the release of her long awaited follow-up album Careless Love, Peyroux's potential as an artist is truly realized.

Her smoky voice and knowing delivery make each song her own, whether she's singing vintage tunes by W.C. Handy and Hank Williams, or contemporary songs by Leonard Cohen and Elliott Smith. Producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Shawn Colvin) weaves strands of acoustic blues, country ballads, classic jazz, torch songs and pop into a vibrant fabric that is both timeless and thoroughly up to date, with Peyroux's arresting vocals always front and center.

.::Dulzura, como la actitud reposada en la expresión, podría ser una de las características del canto de Madeleine Peyroux (1973,Georgia, USA) quien sin empalagar , suavemente , se nos va revelando al manejar un cúmulo de cándidos matices aderezados con firmeza , como premisas en sus propósitos expresivos para dejar un sabor afrancesado , aunque la mayoría de los temas son cantados en inglés. Es que Madeleine ha sabido beber de la cultura francófona todo cuanto quiso indagar hasta hacerla suya entre chispas de una amalgama pop, country, blues y jazz casi susurrada , magia pertinente de quien ha absorbido con pasión , hasta desentrañar, un modo de hacer suyo el mundo que le impulsa a cantarlo a su manera.

Para quienes no hayan escuchado su primer álbum “Dreamland”(1996) les va a parecer que Billie Holiday ha resucitado ; tal vez pensarán que es “Lady Day” con arreglos actualizados de grabaciones incógnitas. Luego de superar la sorpresa —repitiendo una y otra vez esos temas donde más se parece (cuando se muerde el anzuelo)— por sí misma comienza a destilar sus encantos de intérprete llevándonos a olvidar los parecidos , pues es tal el abordaje de cada compositor que la entrega resulta convincente , no hay esfuerzo en ser otra que no sea ella. La etiqueta de la Billie no le pesará mientras no se proponga imitarla y siga explotando su calidez, su femenina seducción vocal. La Holiday para Madeleine en lugar de ser una marcada sombra es más bien un atributo vocal que la naturaleza le ha proporcionado.

“Careless Love” es un disco apto para esos momentos de introspección con acento noctámbulo o tardes lluviosas , de embrujada voz que nos obliga a seguirla como un buen café hasta su última gota. Son 12 temas sin edulcorado , suenan sinceros , abordando compositores tan variados como Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan , Gene Austin, W.C.Handy, Hank Williams y un hermoso tema en francés (J’ai deux amours)que es todo un relax. Son 12 piezas que fluyen casi inesperadamente entre la contemplación y la nostalgia del no sé qué, apoyada por excelentes y conocidos músicos como Dean Parks en guitarras , Larry Goldings en teclados y David Piltch al bajo. Es de resaltar que esta vocalista ha pasado por un proceso de maduración itinerante entre California, Brooklyn y Paris , comenzando a los 15 años en Europa como cantante de calle y luego con The Lost Wandering Blues & Jazz Band , grupo donde establece las bases para su primer disco con temas de Fats Waller , Billie Holiday y Ella Fitzgerald y que la crítica recibió como un brillante álbum. Jordán Quintero

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