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sleepytime gorilla museum - in glorious times



||| OK, OK, OK… THE ALBUM IS AVAILABLE AGAIN |||

.:: The Sleepytime Gorilla Museum opened its doors to the public in 1916, only to show them a well-managed fire. Its doors were closed shortly thereafter and remained so for the rest of the century. Almost. The last year of the 20th century found the improbable trio of words once again adorning a placard posted outside a derelict urban building, with the addendum- "No Humans Allowed." Indeed, the awkward re-inaugural movements were witnessed by a lone banana slug (Ariolimax dolichophallus)-- a suitable beginning for a group that would soon shelter Oakland California's hindmost interpreters of Anti-Humanist literature.

Their incessant travels since 2001 have brought new life to the Movement. Like their namesake and its instigators (Futurist Lala Rolo and Black-Mathematician John Kane) the new museum embraces the essential weakness of the Movement. But also like their predecessors they reject the elitism of the avant-garde in favor of a reckless populism: They are entertainers. Though not without humor, their often wide-ranging musical and theatrical choices are rarely ironic. This sincerity extends to a passionate craftsmanship, as evidenced by:

1. The LIVE SHOW, a costumed festival of hyperventilating self-derangement, which has yet to include much of a puppet show, but has included human performers of varying stiffness (see Ink Boat).
2. The ALBUMS- Grand Opening and Closing (2001 Seeland/Chaosophy), a collection of boisterous laments for the failure of the millennial apocalypse; Live (2003 Sickroom), a collage of mishaps and singularities from various stages; and Of Natural History (2004 Mimicry), a setting, in part, of a debate between two contradictory pillars of 20th C. Anti-Humanism: The Futurists versus the Unabomber.
3. The INSTRUMENTS, many of which are homemade creations of bassist/producer/mechanic Dan Rathbun: The Slide-piano Log, the Percussion Guitar, the Electric Pancreas, the Vatican, & the Pedal-action Wiggler; or rare: Autoharp, Glockenspiel, Toy Piano, & Viking Rowboat.
4. The ROAD approached as (A) a place of potential learning: the bloody history of our doomed nation, its warm and varied current inhabitants- our hosts and their regional splendors, and (B) a scar which conducts us in our lumbering Green Bus into the temples of Nature: Forests, swamps, deserts, mountains, and coasts, with national parks and rest stops alike as places of reverence and study, sources of sound and vision, many of which appear on Of Natural History.
5. The FOOD, prepared on the bus kitchen in large pots, in quantities befitting a seven+ person crew, mixing local ingredients with reliable spices, beans, and the "other black meat"- coffee.

The Museum are unified in these various crafts by the simplicity of their opposition to rock music. In the words of John Kane, "Nothing should be left undone which might contribute to its demise." To this end they employ a most tried and proven destructive force: rock. ROCK AGAINST ROCK. In this they were preceded by Oakland bands Idiot Flesh and Charming Hostess, which brought together Museum members Dan Rathbun, Carla Kihlstedt (violin+), and Nils Frykdahl (guitar+). SGM's initial writings and first shows were with drummer David Shamrock. Drummer Frank Grau, who co-released the first album and managed the band until recently, instigated touring in 2001. Industrial percussion-tornado Moe! Staiano brought his visceral spontaneity from the inception until late 2004. New life has arrived with drummer/orator Matthias Bossi, who took the throne on New Year's 2004, and blossomed like a menacing jungle flower. Finally, with the Of Natural History tour of fall 2004, Michael Mellender, player of percussion and ALL THINGS, rounded out the Museum with his singular brand of hyper-kinetic instrumental dysfunction.

The group writing process is at a new level of collaboration and the next album's songs are well underway. More U.S. touring is imminent. A European tour hovers. The stalwart Museum crew-- Neil Yamagata (sound/photography/field recording) and Allen Willner (lights/delicious stews)-- are ready for the road. 2005 saw the release of The Face, A DVD collaboration with Shinichi Momo Koga, The Last Human Being. A single 45 on Moe!'s label (Dephine Knormal) featuring SGM, Cheer-Accident, The Ex and Voodoo Muzak was also released.

In January of 2006, amidst a clutter of cheesecake and frozen champagne, SGM singed the eyebrows of Andreas Katsambas. Who threatened them with a record deal? And assured the Museum that his label has been and would continue to be called The End Records? The very same Andreas Katsambas. With his pen and on his paper, on January 3rd, the Museum, as a formal entity, signed with this emminently appropriate label whose commitment to the forthcoming apocalypse is without question.

This newfound collaboration will birth a plethora of new high- fidelity explorations. FIRSTLY: a re-issue of the Museum's inaugural opus, Grand Opening and Closing, featuring two newly minted symphonic catastrophies, and AGAIN: an as-yet unnamed studio album to be loosed in March 2007.

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faithless - outrospective


.:: From the outset, with Donny X's spine-tingling synth-swathes and brooding sub-bass, it's evident that Outrospective plays to Faithless's strengths. The band has always been more than just a dance act. Deft practitioners of all areas of modern music, their specialties are texture, seductive atmosphere, and haunting melodrama. The single "We Come 1" has a familiar sound, combining Rollo's unnerving soundscapes, Sister Bliss's dance-floor mentality, and rapper Maxi Jazz's deadpan voice to recall the power of "Insomnia" from their 1997 release Reverence.

"We Come 1," like "Tarantula" and "Machines R Us," also represents an increase in bpms that reasserts their club relevance--something which had diminished with their last long-player, the downcast Sunday 8pm. There's also a more up-tempo vibe present, with the gorgeous "One Step too Far" featuring the inevitable appearance of Rollo's sister Dido), and the Philly soul of "Muhammad Ali," with Maxi Jazz singing the praises of his childhood hero. But the lure of their third album, as ever, lies in Maxi Jazz's chilling monologues. The voice of inner thoughts, desires, and conflict, there's nothing quite as arresting as when he quietly muses on "Not Enuff Love": "Money in my pocket / But I just can't give no love." --Dan Gennoe

More upbeat in both tempo and emotion Outrospective is the natural response to last year's melancholy Sunday 8pm with Faithless reasserting their dance floor credentials and position as one of the UK's premiere acts.

"We Come 1" and its remixes successfully put Faithless back in the clubs but as a single release is a little suspect. Like "Insomnia", this is the traditional, floor-filling epic and although it does the business it sells the rest of the album short. It is those tracks that are a little more considered, such as Maxi Jazz's soulful testament to his childhood hero "Muhammad Ali" and Zoe Johnston's sublime "Crazy English Summer", that will give this album a shelf life. In the wake of a meteoric year, the return of Dido (Rollo's sister) is both predictable and welcome: her soaring vocals teamed with intuitive production on "One Step Too Far" put Faithless on a mountain top. With such strong material in the can their live show beckons and those who are faithless will surely be converted. Wonderful.www.bbc.co.uk

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krzysztof penderecki - te deum; lacrimosa (special edition)



||| REPOSTED |||


.:: Born in Debica (130 km east of Krakow) on 23 November 1933. His father, a lawyer and an enthusiastic violin player, brought his son into contact with music very early. Penderecki was given violin and piano lessons at an early age and was admitted to the Krakow Conservatory at the age of 18, studying at the same time philosophy, art history and literary history at the local university and from 1954 composition at the Krakow State Academy of Music, first with Artur Malewski and after his death in 1957 with Stanislas Wiechowicz. In 1958 he finished his studies with a diploma and was appointed professor at the Musikhochschule.

In 1959 Penderecki's three works STROPHES, EMANATIONS and PSALMS OF DAVID won first prizes in the 2nd Warsaw Competition of Young Polish Composers of the Composers' Union. Only one year later, in 1960, his piece ANAKLASIS for 42 string instruments, premièred by the Südwestfunk Orchestra under the direction of Hans Rosbaud at the Donaueschingen Festival, was celebrated by the press.

With these works and other works following in rapid succession, such as DIMENSIONS OF TIME AND SILENCE, THRENODY (UNESCO Award in 1961), POLYMORPHIA and FLUORESCENCES, the STRING QUARTET NO. 1, DIES IRAE in memory of the victims of Auschwitz (Prix Italia 1968) and STABAT MATER for three mixed choruses a cappella which later became part of the ST. LUKE PASSION performed for the first time in 1966 at the Cathedral of Münster, Penderecki laid the foundations for his international reputation as a composer. For the ST. LUKE PASSION, Penderecki was awarded the Great Arts Award of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia in 1966 and the Prix Italia in 1967. In the same year, he was also awarded the Sibelius Gold Medal.

From 1966 to 1968 Penderecki taught at the Essen Folkwang Hochschule; during this time he began his intensive work on his first opera THE DEVILS OF LOUDON (based on a book by Aldous Huxley, dramatized by John Whiting and translated by Erich Fried) which, after its première at the Hamburg Staatsoper in 1969, was successfully performed at theatres throughout the worldas were the three following operas PARADISE LOST (after the play by John Milton; première 1978 in Chicago), DIE SCHWARZE MASKE (after the play by Gerhart Hauptmann; première 1986 at the Salzburg Festival) and UBU REX (after the play UBU ROI by Alfred Jarry; première 1991 in Munich at the Bayerische Staatsoper). In 1968 he received a scholarship of the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) in Berlin.

In 1970 he was awarded the Prize of the Union of Polish Composers. Since 1972 he was rector of the Krakow Musikhochschule; from 1973 to 1978 he was professor at the Yale University, New Haven. In these years, on extended concert tours all over the world, Penderecki rapidly acquired an international reputation even as a conductor of both his own compositions and works of other composers.

Other prizes awarded to Penderecki for his other 5 symphonies, small-scale orchestral compositions, solo concertos (two violin concertos, an alto concerto, two violoncello concertos, a flute concerto, some of them in versions for other solo instruments, among others), chamber music works and numerous vocal works are the Prix Arthur Honegger in 1977 (for MAGNIFICAT), the Sibelius Prize of the Wihouri Foundation and the National Prize of Poland in 1983, the Premio Lorenzo Magnifico in 1985 and the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition in 1992 (for ADAGIO SYMPHONY NO. 4), among others.

In 1998 he was honoured with the Composition Award of the Promotion Association of the European Industry and Trade, conferred upon him on 10 September on the occasion of the Penderecki Festival in Krakow. In 1999 he received the Music Award of the City of Duisburg. In January 2000 he received the Cannes Classical Award as "Living Composer of the Year". 2001 he received the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts, 2002 the Romano Guardini Prize of the Catholic Academy in Bavaria.

Since 1990 he has been holder of the Grand Cross for Distinguished Services of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and Chevalier de Saint Georges. In 1992 he received the Austrian Medal for Science and Art. In 1993 the Institute for Advanced Study at the Indiana University Bloomington conferred upon him the Distinguished Citizen Fellowship; in the same year he was awarded the Prize of the International Music Council UNESCO for Music and the Order of Cultural Merit of the Principality of Monaco. In 1995 he became member of the Royal Academy of Music, Dublin, and freeman of the city of Strasbourg. In 1995 and 1996 he was awarded the Primetime Emmy Award of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

In 1998 the American Academy of Arts and Letters conferred upon him the Foreign Honorary Membership; in the same year he became a corresponding member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, and was appointed to the Honorary Board of the Vilnius Festival '99. 2000 he became honorary member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Vienna, 2001 of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. On 5 January 2003 Penderecki was given the freedom of his native town Debica, and the very same month received the Eduardo M. Torner Medal of the 'Conservatorio de Música del Principado Asturias' during his stay in Oviedo, Spain and was appointed honorary director of the choir of the Prince of Asturias Foundation and honorary president of the cultural association 'Apoyo a la Creación Musical'. 2004, Penderecki has been awarded the Praemium Imperiale and in 2006, he became both Member of the Three Star Order in Latvia and the Order of the White Eagle in Poland, which represent the highest honors of these countries.

Penderecki has received honorary doctorates and professorships from numerous universities, such as the Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., the University of Glasgow, the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, the universities of Rochester, Bordeaux, Leuwen, Belgrad, Madrid, Poznán and of the St. Olaf College, Northfield/Minn., as well as honorary memberships from the Royal Academy of Music (London), the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (Rome), the Kungliga Musikaliska Akademien (Stockholm), the Akademie der Künste (Berlin) and the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes (Buenos Aires). In 1998 the Beijing Conservatoire appointed him as honorary professor, and in 1999 the Duquesne University, Pittsburgh (PA) conferred upon him an honorary doctorate.

***one of my favorites composers***

download: krzysztof penderecki - te deum; lacrimosa (special edition)

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guapo - black oni


.:: Guapo is a force of nature; an infinitely expanding climax, a controlled catastrophe, a sun forged in sound. It can be shaped, controlled, even tamed; but the strain of trying to contain it is etched into the contorted faces and flailing limbs of those brave and foolish men who take it upon themselves to do so.

Dave Smith's monumental drum kit alone provides fitting testimony to Guapo's might. Gripped by maniac rhythms, he expresses the bliss, pain and awe of one who knows that a single beat can mean the difference between eternity and oblivion. Bassist Matt Thompson provides great surges of driving power, keeping Guapo moving ever forwards while, draped over his keyboards as if to keep secret the mysteries of creation, Daniel O'Sullivan converts the light of the stars into sound.

Exposed to Guapo in a confined space, members of an audience will tend to do one of two things. Some will immediately seek the nearest exit, while those left behind turn to face the music, transfixed like prey engulfed in a tiger's roar. How long is a climax? "How long have you got?", replies Guapo, cymbal eyes smiling.
(Otto Amon, 2002)

Guapo are a trio of musicians from London. With this, their sixth album, Guapo have conjured a harrowingly complex and unflinchingly epic piece of work. Heady and hypnotic, driving and relentless, tumultuous and visceral, sonic and serene, the sheer odyssey that is Black Oni encompasses many paradoxes in its massively dynamic scope. Picking up where they left off from their previous Cuneiform Records release Five Suns (2002), the band continue to expand on their palette of dexterous chamber-rock anomalies, modal transcendence, and apocalyptic death marches, and like it's predecessor, Black Oni is one singular piece of music, making it the second record in a trilogy of large-scale symphonic forms. Incorporating elements of prog, avant-garde jazz, kraut-rock, minimalism and a range of folk mediums from Britain to Indonesia, Guapo take their queue from a disparate array of influences including Magma, King Crimson, Boredoms, Goblin, Sun Ra, Charlemagne Palestine, Univers Zero, This Heat, Olivier Messiaen and Popol Vuh. The assembly of Dave Smith's explosive drum assaults, Matt Thompson's brazen and prowling bass throb, and Daniel O'Sullivan's ethereal keyboard reveries telepathically collide in an augury of rich and cinematic musical ceremony. Black Oni is Guapo's most monumentally unreserved offering to date.

Active since 1994, Guapo's original formation was rooted in a post-punk, avant-hardcore approach. With a line-up consisting of Matt Thompson (guitar, vocals), Dave Smith (drums) and Rojer Macoustra (bass), Guapo released several 7" singles on its own label, Power Tool, before releasing its first full-length album, Towers Open Fire, in 1997. Around this time, Guapo embarked on an intensive period of touring throughout mainland Europe, playing on a regular basis in France, the Balkans, Italy and many other countries. Afterwards, the band slimmed down to the core duo of Thompson and Smith for the release of Hirohito (1998) on the French label Pandemonium Records. By now, Guapo's music had taken on a far more experimental hue, incorporating electronics, sampling and turntables into the rock palette to create a wild collage of densely woven noise that still left room for quieter, more contemplative pieces. This approach was continued, albeit with more conventional instrumentation, on the collaborative improvised album Death Seed, recorded with touring partners Ruins and Caroline Kraabel and John Edwards (of the saxophone / double bass duo Shock Exchange).

Late 2001 saw the band expand back to a trio - the band's current line-up - with the addition of keyboardist Daniel O'Sullivan; O'Sullivan leads a string-based ensemble, Miasma & The Carousel of Headless Horses, that Smith also plays drums in (the band incidentally are about to release their debut record on San Francisco based Web of Mimicry recordings). Guapo's current line-up consists of Matt Thompson (bass, guitar, electronics), Dave Smith (drums, percussion) and Daniel O'Sullivan (keyboards, guitar, electronics). The first recording that this trio released was The Ducks and Drakes of Guapo and Cerberus Shoal (2003). A drone-based piece which included Suvi Streatfield's contributions on cello, it was recorded as a split CD with Oregon based folk-manglers Cerberus Shoal, as part of a series on North East Indie, featuring wildly diverse collaborators (including Alvarius B from Sun City Girls). The Wire praised Guapo's progression: "Like some gigantic alien animal that has been prodded from slumber, their music stretches out to reveal an enormous and unimaginably complex musical monster that just keeps growing".

Guapo has continued to tour, playing with bands such as Fantomas, Kid 606, Oxbow, Tomahawk, Circle, The Melvins, Khanate and Ruins. The band's intense live show continues to progress and expand, as the influences heard on the records are thrown into the air and reassembled as an incendiary mixture of plate-spinning dexterity, telepathic instrumental interplay and extreme avant-noise. The concert performances can in fact be seen as a microcosm of the recorded output of Guapo, which continues to develop in unexpected directions and blend seemingly disparate influences into a cohesive whole.

***one of my favorites !!!***

download: guapo - black oni

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lila downs - una sangre/one blood


.:: There’s no doubt that singer Lila Downs' profile is on the rise after her appearance in the film Frida and on the accompanying soundtrack, which led to a performance at the 2003 Academy Awards. The dividing lines between cultures and classes are major themes throughout the Mexican-American singer's decade-long career; but whereas 2001’s Border is more angry about the disparities, One Blood: Una Sangre is more inclusive, if only for the hopeful note of unity sounded in the English-language version of the title cut (the album has two distinctly different readings of the song sung, respectively, in English and Spanish).

While much of the cumbia-based, genre-breaking material here is original, Downs and her band completely revamp two covers: Ritchie Valens classic "La Bamba" features techno beats and African drumming; the folk song "La Cucaracha" opens with wailing guitar before settling into a gentle reggae groove. Stylistically restless and lyrically didactic, One Blood: Una Sangre is as ambitious as it is beautiful

download: lila downs - una sangre/one blood

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two - voyeurs


.:: Judas Priest fans expecting former lead singer Rob Halford to unleash a new extreme-metal band (like his post-Priest project Fight) will be disappointed with his new outfit, Two. Although Two does inherit some of Priest's metal riffs and overall power, this is an almost completely electronic affair.

Halford's vocals are still unmistakable, but there's less high-pitched shrieking (i.e., the Priest album Painkiller) and more of the singing/talking/screaming style that the techno genre demands. Two also tackle Tool's demented alternative, evidenced in the near progressive track "Stutter Kiss" (with elements of latter-day David Bowie added as well). The overtly melodic "Water's Leaking" is musical territory that Judas Priest would never have permitted Halford to explore, yet "Leave Me Alone" sounds an awful lot like electro-Priest.

Although many techno fans will automatically see the album's opening "I Am a Pig" and think of Nine Inch Nails' Downward Spiral (which included the titles "Piggy" and "March of the Pigs"), Two's debut Voyeurs is a much more straightforward album.

***i'm not a judas priest, fight or rob halford fan, in fact i just like some song from this album, but some of you guys may be interested on it***

download: two - voyeurs

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counting crows - recovering the satellites


.:: Three years after "August And Everything After" paved the Triple A way for the likes of Hootie & The Blowfish, Counting Crows take a more aggressive tack with their sophomore release. As with the debut, the sound takes its cue from singer Adam Duritz's introspective lyrics, but Duritz deals with especially weighty topics this time--the ups and downs of fame are on his mind now--and the band's approach is more slashing than subdued.

The yearning "Catapult" opens the record with a quavering guitar and Mellotron, but it gives way to the crashing cymbals, raging guitar and screaming organ of "Angels Of The Silences," a song about rejection. Even the strings on "I'm Not Sleeping" attack with an angry urgency before they are finally consumed by Dan Vickrey's squalling guitar. The Counting Crows showed off their bark on their debut; now they're showing off their bite.

For their second album, Recovering the Satellites, Counting Crows crafted a self-consciously challenging response to their unexpected success. Throughout the record, Adam Duritz contemplates his loss of privacy and sudden change of fortunes, among other angst-ridden subjects. In one sense, it's no different from the subjects that dominated August and Everything After, yet his outlook is lacking the muted joy that made "Mr. Jones" into a hit.

Similarly, the music is slightly more somber, yet the approach is harder and more direct, which gives even the ballads a more affecting, visceral feel. Recovering the Satellites occasionally bogs down in its own pretentiousness -- for a roots rock band, the group certainly has a lot of artsy goals -- yet when they scale back their ambitions to simple folk-rock, such as on the single "A Long December," they are at their most articulate.

***i know, this is not that indie or underground, but it's very good***

download: counting crows - recovering the satellites

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johnny truant - in the library of horrific events


.:: There are precious few British metal bands that could count a stunning performance at the legendary Download Festival (Donington Park), video of the week in Kerrang! magazine and a live session at London's famed Maida Vale Studios by invite of BBC Radio One as mere notches on the proverbial bedpost. Truth be told, most bands would probably view such achievements as career pinnacles, but for Brighton's JOHNNY TRUANT it's all in a month's work.

Indeed, ever since the 2002 release of their debut statement of ill intent 'The Repercussions Of A Badly Planned Suicide', JOHNNY TRUANT have positively basked in plaudits from fans, peers and critics alike; slowly but surely clawing and snarling their way to the forefront of the British metal underground via vigorous roadwork and nose to the grindstone commitment. Tours alongside the likes of Isis, Raging Speedhorn, Naplam Death, SikTh, Fear Factory, Black Dahlia Murder, Hondo Maclean, Twelve Tribes, As I Lay Dying and Killswitch Engage have aided the quartet in establishing an impressive reputation and engaging identity; not to mention a widespread, dedicated fanbase.

And with all this in mind, it's almost exhausting to fathom that it's only now, with the unveiling of new album 'In The Library Of Horrific Events' set for October 17 2005, that things are about to get really interesting.

The inception of 'In The Library Of Horrific Events' dates back to 2003, where JOHNNY TRUANT found themselves invited by Kerrang Editor-In-Chief Phil Alexander to play at the Kerrang Weekender. Following a roof raising performance, the quartet were approached by Killswitch Engage guitarist and renowned producer Adam Dutkiewicz, and an unholy partnership was born that, coupled with the bands ambition and artistic vision, would lead to countless drunken debacles and, most significantly, one of the most staggering metal records created by a British band in modern times.

Darker, heavier and infinitely more expansive than its predecessor, 'In The Library Of Horrific Events' (recorded in Henley-Upon-Thames, Colchester and Boston, Massachusetts) will see JOHNNY TRUANT cement their status as trustworthy leaders of the UK scene and, more pertinently, announce their arrival on the international stage. Inspired by love and loss, pain and hope and the tragic death of a close friend, '...Horrific Events' - the title a reflection of the turbulent personal struggles the band endured during the albums creation - is an involving journey of twists and textures, both maniacal and beautiful in its rendering, that bridges the gap between uncompromised brutality and accessibility to intoxicating effect.

Hell, lead single 'The Bloodening' has already achieved in excess of 100,000 downloads, proof already that the material of '...Horrific Events' is turning heads and breaking necks. JOHNNY TRUANT couldn't be more ready to take on the world. johnny truant

download: johnny truant - in the library of horrific events

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the trey gunn band - live encounter


.:: Rarely will you hear the words "explosive" "tender," and "hypnotic" all used simultaneously to describe the same sound. But critics and fans agree there doesn't seem to be any other way to explain a Trey Gunn listening experience. Gunn, the Warr Touch Guitar playing virtuoso of King Crimson and The Trey Gunn Band, continues to amaze his audiences time and time again with his lulling melodies and furious deep grooves.

Tower Records Pulse magazine says "King Crimson sideman steps out with a bit of hard-hitting esoterica." Bass Player magazine says of their music "big, bad bass ostinatos, slinky odd-time signatures, and percussion from every corner of the globe are the basis of these otherworldly soundscapes." And the LA Jazz Scene called the band's live show "the ultimate balance of power and symmetry. Gunn and cohorts gracefully interspersed rock, funk, ambient, and world beat elements with the precision of a Swiss watchmaker."

Joined by multi-percussionist Bob Muller, guitarist Tony Geballe, and second Warr Guitarist Joe Mendelson, Gunn has finally captured the band in it's true essence -- pushed to the edge in front of a live audience, raw and bursting with energy.

Trey Gunn is still best known as a member of the most recent incarnation of King Crimson, playing his Warr Touch guitar, a variation on the Chapman Stick. Gunn's work with Crimson carries over into his own ensemble, except instead of holding down the bass player's role, he stretches out into some scintillating lead work that owes a debt to his mentor, Robert Fripp, especially the long, undulating sustained melodies.

Teaming up with another Warr guitarist, Joe Mendelson, guitarist Tony Geballe, and drummer Bob Muller, Gunn shows that 2000's The Joy of Molybdenum was no studio fluke, as he brings the same hell-bent fury and sky-scraping architecture to the live performances captured here.

Jettisoning the vocals that often make King Crimson sound like two different bands--one a quirky pop group with Adrian Belew singing, another storming the gates of instrumental heaven--Gunn's band sets their sites on the instrumental heaven, with roles shifting in the band as guitars become percussion instruments and drums become melodic. But topping it all are elaborate guitar and Warr guitar leads veering from African style cross-picking to feedback frenzies. --John Diliberto

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lhasa de sela - la llorona


.:: Lhasa De Sela has distinguished herself as a singer and storyteller with her debut album, La Llorona. The 25-year-old Montreal resident, who grew up traveling through Mexico while living on a school bus, sings of her tortured heart with the accompaniment of guitarist-producer-arranger Yves Desrosiers and a cabaret-style band. Already compared to those of Edith Piaf and Billie Holiday, De Sela's haunting voice is memorable on each of the 11 songs (only 3 are nonoriginal) that range in inspiration from Mexican ranchera to Eastern European klezmer.

Half Mexican American, half Jewish American and all rainbow chile, singer Lhasa de Sela's Spanish-language, world music/alt-rock debut shimmers with honest emotionalism, with no trace of the posturing and whining that passes these days for deep, girlish thoughts. The girl's young, but she's equipped with imagination, confidence, and technique enough to take that husky, urgent alto anywhere she wants. And she goes there. Guitarist-producer-arranger Yves Desrosiers cloaks all this splendor in rapturous arrangements that include, among other elements, the sound of rain, flamenco-influenced guitar, and a slide bass of his own design.

Even if you don't understand Spanish, you can't miss the point ... the feelings. Lhasa's just begun, but her stranger-than-fiction background and dazzling gifts already place her among music's top-rung storytellers.

download: lhasa de sela - la llorona

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rosa luxemburg new quintet - topophonies


.:: Tender or furious, resolutely contemporary or romantic, sometimes evoking of old demons of 20th century music and even those of more ancient times but not hesitating a second to be propelled beyond the imaginary the more unslung and with a name predestined to generate trouble, Rosa Luxembourg quintet is the un pleasant small black sheep with 5 legs of the improvised music.

The utopian zoologists having studied the animal say of this gathering of individuals clearers and without musical borders that in any case they will never know any more than in their first discovered, the surprises being total, extreme, renewed, innumerable and even more...

Rosa Luxemburg new Quintet is a formation of completely improvised music whose master word is "No limits!"

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blueneck - scars of the midwest


.:: Hailing from North Somerset, UK, Blueneck formed in the early part of 2000 initially as a four piece. Founder members Duncan Attwood, Ben Paget, Johnny Horswell and Ben Green proceeded to forge their career on the West Country’s thriving live circuit. They soon added a fifth member, Michael Maidment to enable a fuller live sound and have since played with such acts as Aereogramme, Crashland, Cult of Luna, i like trains and Thirteen Senses.

Steering away from conventional songwriting, Blueneck’s music has developed into a cinematic soundscape of ambient atmospherics, dark skeletal rhythms,haunting vocals and swirling crescendos, all created with analogue synths, sparse piano and huge, soaring guitars - the band have a distinct subtlety and craft about their music that forces the listener to engage and immerse oneself into their world.

In time, the band steadily dropped conventional gigging in favour of a studio environment, where their music has been allowed to evolve in a direction unrestricted by what can be readily produced on stage, to enable their complete musical vision to be realised. Having already produced a series of demos, each one evolving further into atmospheric territory than the last, the band have teamed up with producer and musical visionary Corin Dingley to go to work on their full-length debut.

Blueneck self-released their first full length album in 2006, entitled ‘Scars of the Midwest’ after having spent a year and a half locked away recording in the hills of deepest Somerset, having delivered a dark, dynamic masterpiece which puts the band truly in a class of their own. Operating in a similar “post-rock territory to that of Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Sigur Ros and Mogwai with a nod in the direction of Radiohead’s Kid/Amnesiac period, Blueneck are now captivating audiences with their enigmatic live performance and building a growing army of support Europe-wide. Be sure to catch them on this year’s festival circuit, and look out for a new record in 2007.

download: blueneck - scars of the midwest

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bebo & cigala - lágrimas negras


.:: This album pairs one of the greatest flamenco singers of today, cantaor Diego El Cigala, with one of Cuba's finest Afro-Cuban pianists, Bebo Valdes. With Valdes (father of the great Chucho Valdes) born in 1918, there's a 40-year age difference between the pianist and the singer, but they do a fine job crossing generations and oceans to discover the commonalities between Caribbean and the Iberian music, coming up with a romantic marriage of the two cultures using rumbas, guajira, sons and boleros. All the songs are classics out of the Latin music tradition, using just a handful of players in support. Valdes's fingers are delicate and prone to dramatic flourishes; Cigala's voice is pure flamenco in its hoarse intonation, cadence and emotional outpourings. The two masters make the union work by focusing on the drama of the love songs--"Veinte Años," "Inolvidable" and the title track are just three amazing examples--as fuel for some of the most exquisitely passionate music to come out in ages. --Tad Hendrickson

Winners of three PREMIOS DE LA MUSICA AWARDS (Spanish Academy of Musical Arts & Sciences) Lágrimas Negras, a collection of old standards performed by Cuban jazz pianist Bebo Valdes and Spanish flamenco vocalist Diego el Cigala.
This was recorded at the suggestion of Hollywood Oscar® Award-winning director, Fernando Trueba (Belle Epoque), which has become a phenomenon in Spain.

The result is a journey that discovers the essence of the Latino "love" song with connections to Cuba, Central and South America, and Spain.

Picked by New York Times critic Ben Rattcliff as "the best album of the year", Lágrimas Negras has had an impressive debut. The album has never been out of the top 30 since its release in Spain over nine months ago, achieving double Platinum sales status. It has won five Amigo Awards, one Premio Ondas, and three Premios de la Musica Awards (including Best Album).


.:: En 'Lágrimas Negras' (2003) la voz rasgada de Diego El Cigala y el piano de Bebo Valdés se unen en la interpretación de ritmos ajenos a cada uno de ellos: Cigala canta boleros, tangos y coplas, mientras Valdés acompaña con su piano la versión flamenca de clásicos ya consagrados: La bien pagá, Lágrimas Negras o Nieblas del riachuelo.

Sentimientos apasionados
El poeta Ángel González escribió un elogioso prólogo para un disco apabullante.

Lágrimas negras es el título de una canción compuesta en los años 30 por el cubano Miguel Matamoros (1894-1971) y que permanece en las memorias: "Aunque tú me has dejado en el abandono / aunque tú has muerto todas mis ilusiones...". Lágrimas negras es también el título del disco que presentan el legendario pianista cubano Bebo Valdés y el cantaor Diego el Cigala. Una joya que tiene detrás una apasionante historia.

El álbum Lágrimas negras es un proyecto de Calle 54 Records, con Fernando Trueba al frente, lo que significa que es una historia de sentimientos apasionados. El de Fernando Trueba hacia la música latina es de dominio público desde que dirigió el filme Calle 54, reflejo de una pasión vital. El flechazo de Diego el Cigala con Bebo Valdés y la canción Lágrimas negras lo cuenta el cineasta en su particular "diario de sesiones" de la grabación que documenta y enriquece este disco, como lo enriquece y documenta el texto escrito por Ángel González. "Es una extraordinaria amalgama en la que la canción antillana suena a cante, y al revés", dice el poeta ovetense.

Estos apasionamientos encadenaron otros y el resultado es el disco de un pianista cubano de 84 años y un cantaor español 50 años más joven. El álbum contiene nueve canciones que son clásicos, con la participación de músicos de primerísima fila. El contrabajista Javier Colina y el percusionista Piraña dejan su sello en casi todas las canciones. Pero en Lágrimas negras, canción que da título al disco, aparece el saxo de Paquito D'Rivera y la percusión de lujo de Tata Güines, Changuito y Pancho Terry. También hay boleros como Inolvidable, Se me olvidó que te olvidé o el Corazón loco popularizado en su día por Antonio Machín y hoy recreado con Niño Josele a la guitarra flamenca.

El brasileño Caetano Veloso recita Coraçao vagabundo (una de sus primeras canciones) en Eu sei que vou te amar, de Vinicius de Moraes y Antonio Carlos Jobim. Dentro del repertorio latinoamericano, se incorpora una copla como La bien pagá con coros cubanos (Milton Cardona, Puntilla y Pedrito Ramírez), y también hay homenajes a Bola de Nieve (Vete de mí) y recuerdos a Argentina (Niebla del riachuelo) con el violín del uruguayo Federico Britos. Y siempre el piano de Bebo y la voz de Diego. Dos grandes.

Bebo Valdés es una figura capital de la música latina. Nació en Quivicán (Cuba) en 1918 y su carrera comenzó como pianista en la orquesta de Julio Cueva antes de pasar a Tropicana, bajo la dirección de Armando Romeu. Ya no paró. En 1948, Bebo Valdés era director musical de este célebre cabaret. En 1952, el productor Norman Granz le encargó la grabación de la primera descarga de jazz cubano para satisfacer el interés que esta música despertaba en Nueva York. Por la orquesta de Bebo Valdés pasó un cantante llamado Beny Moré. Creó un nuevo ritmo, la batanga, reacción cubana al mambo. Fué director musical de Lucho Gatica...

En 1960, Bebo Valdés abandonó Cuba y desde 1963 vive en Estocolmo (Suecia). Durante 15 años trabajó como pianista en una cadena de hoteles hasta que en 1994, y después de 34 años sin grabar, Paquito D'Rivera le propuso un nuevo disco. Bebo Rides Again fue su reaparición. En este álbum, un Bebo de 76 años tocó el piano, compuso ocho canciones y arregló 11 temas en 36 horas. Casi nada. En 2001 participó en el filme Calle 54, de Fernando Trueba, interpretando Lágrimas negras con Cachao al contrabajo. En las mismas fechas, grabó en un día el disco El arte del sabor, con Cachao (83 años ambos) y Patato Valdés. Ahora toca con Diego el Cigala.

El tío de Diego Jiménez Salazar, artísticamente Diego el Cigala, (1968, Madrid) era Rafael Farina. De niño cantaba Diego por el Rastro madrileño y ganaba concursos de flamenco. A los 20 años, Camarón le rebautizó Dieguito y después trabajó con todos: el mismo Camarón, Tomatito, Gerardo Núñez y los mejores bailaores y bailaoras.

Hoy, Diego el Cigala es uno de los artistas más importantes del flamenco y su disco en directo en el Teatro Real, con la guitarra de Niño Josele a su vera, le ha situado en un lugar de privilegio. Diego es el cantaor más abierto de la actualidad. Trabaja habitualmente con el trompetista de jazz Jerry González. Su relación con Fernando Trueba ha sido fundamental: "Haberle conocido es un cambio en mi carrera", dice Diego. "Muere con la música y con el flamenco". De Bebo Valdés, otro tanto: "De Bebo lo he aprendido todo. Aprendes cada minuto que estás con él". www.clubcultura.com

Bebo Valdés y Diego el Cigala han grabado un disco llamado Lágrimas negras. Habrá que escucharles. Detenida y apasionadamente, a ser posible.


Bebo & Cigala: Diego El Cigala (vocals); Bebo Valdes (piano).

Personnel: Caetano Veloso (vocals); El Nino Josele (guitar); Federico Britos (violin); Javier Colina (bass guitar); Tata Guines (congas); Israel Porrina, Rickard Valdes, Pancho Terry (percussion); Milton Cardona, Orlando "Puntilla" Rios, Pedrito Matinez (background vocals).

download: bebo & cigala - lágrimas negras

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bluebridge quartet - adjusted for low noise tape EP


.:: Bluebridge Quartet was formed 2004 in Jönköping, Sweden, with the intention to create music for those who had grown tired of the citys current music scene. With time computers was switched to instruments and the influences of triphop to the more improvised basics of jazz.

Secluded from the musical trends the members worked for over two years to find the essence of the instrumental music they create today. In the summer of ´06 the groups pianist went travelling wich led to a, while looking back, much needed paus. The break made the group find more intrest in the swedish climate and a fashination of the grand in the simple grew. Instruments were bought, ideas exchanged and music was created.

A live recorded EP wich focuses on instrumental playfulness, dynamics and moods. 20 minutes of wanting something different without removing the core of music. Vibrating and organic tunes carried out by the warmth of analog taperecording and instruments.

They use: Upright Bass, Glockenspiel, Guitar, Rhodes, Hammond, Alto Saxophone, Drums, Lapsteel, Percussion, Violin, Bows, Melodica and Electronic FX

Simon Allzén - Alto saxophone/Organ/Various
Jesper Svensson - Fender Rhodes/Guitar/Various
Simon Davidsson - Double bass/Various
Henkrik Uddenberg - Drums/Percussion/Various
Erik Engblom - lapsteel/Guitar

download: bluebridge quartet - adjusted for low noise tape EP

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the tiger lillies - circus songs


.:: ‘Nerve tingling, and absolutely compelling…this is circus as it has never been seen before’ The Independent.


You can call them degrade. You can call them demented. But don't you dare call them a rock band.

London's Tiger Lillies is a three-piece band that combines influences of German cabaret, British music hall tunes, gypsy song and opera, with underlying tones of blues, jazz and even ska.

The group's latest album, The Gorey End, was released this year and created with San Francisco's Kronos Quartet. The album features the unpublished work of the late, wonderfully morbid storyteller, Edward Gorey.

Frontman Martyn Jacques "has no interest in contemporary music. He hates guitars...and isolates himself by listening to music from the 1920s and older," according to contrabassist Adrian Stout.

Finding rock n' roll to be boring and predictable, the group has managed to create an innovative style of music featuring Jacques singing opera-styled lead vocals, while playing the piano accordion. Stout plays a double bass and also sings, while percussionist Adrian Huges bangs away on drums, pots and pans, and plays with squeeze toys.

Despite their attitude towards modern music, The Tiger Lillies manage to incorporate a very controversial and edgy attitude in their music. Songs include subject matter of death, prostitution, drug addicts, drunks, various forms of blasphemy and twisted story telling.

"We don't sing about happy things very much," says Huges.

The band was formed in 1989 and began by playing in bars to a mostly drunken audience. Songs of macabre street life may have stemmed from Jacques spending over five years in London's Soho, living above a strip joint and indulging in unreputable activities.

Their drunken audience, over time, has expanded to include sober people far and wide. They now have a dozen albums to their credit, a large cult following in London, received two Oliver awards last year for their theatrical performance in ShockHeaded Peter, a "junk opera," and their fans include cartoonist Matt Groening, and actor Robin Williams.

The Tiger Lillies spend a great deal of time performing all over the world. Years of performing nightly have only recently brought success, though the band still mostly wallows in obscurity.

Their performance has been described as a "frenetic three-ring circus." Jacques sings about Europe's lowlife "with the voice of an angel." While clad in Victorian apparel, "his eyes roll up into his skull, his head wrenches to one side as if in spasm."

The musical pieces can vary from being dead serious to a sudden "absurd silent drumroll, playing drums with a blow-up sheep."

download: the tiger lillies - circus songs

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