FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Chosen One: Nathan Bowles

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Interview with Nathan Bowles.

“I like the clawhammer approach to open-tuned banjo because it allows me to express ideas melodically, harmonically, and rhythmically in a way that feels closest to how I think of music in my head.”

—Nathan Bowles

Words: Mark Carry

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The Virginia-native, Nathan Bowles has long been synonymous with treasured folk and Americana music of today, having collaborated extensively with the Black Twig Pickers (banjo, percussion), Pelt (percussion), Steve Gunn (drums, piano and banjo), Hiss Golden Messenger (banjo), Jack Rose, and others. This November marks the highly-anticipated release of Bowles’ sophomore solo full-length, ‘Nansemond’ – named after the Virginia wetlands landscape that he grew up in that has long since drifted off the map – that features the windswept beauty of timeless folk gems (‘Jonah/Poor Liza Jane’ and ‘J.H. For M.P.); brooding, cinematic soundscapes (‘The Smoke Swallower’) and soul-stirring Appalachian old-time traditions (‘Sleepy Lake Bike Club’ ). The seven sonic creations contained on ‘Nansemond’ transports you to a place that has long since vanished but with each divine note and rhythmic pulse, fleeting moments of past lives and faded dreams flood into the present just like the deep blue Nansemond River that continues to find its sea.

Aesthetically, ‘Nansemond’ is a marvel of a record. The tender lament of ‘Golden Floaters’ unfolds gradually like the embers of a morning sun; a piece of music akin to Glenn Jones’ own transcendent banjo works. Moments previously, the full-blown traditional opus of ‘John Henry’ is steeped in age-old traditions that feels as if it’s at once immersed in familiar tradition and the compelling unknown. A rich narrative runs throughout ‘Nansemond’’s sprawling sonic canvas as a searching for truth and meaning serves the vital pulse to the shape-shifting compositions. Bowles is joined by Tom Carter (guitar), Joe Dejannette (guitar), Steve Kruger (fiddle/voice), and Jason Meagher of Black Dirt Studio (recording, production, mixing).

The North Carolina-based label, Paradise of Bachelors has delivered yet again another exceptional and utterly timeless work of art – hot in the heels of Steve Gunn’s career-high of ‘Way Out Weather’ which incidentally features Bowles’ peerless musicianship – that represents music to truly savour, now and forever more.

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‘Nansemond’ is out now on Paradise of Bachelors.

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Interview with Nathan Bowles.

Firstly, congratulations Nathan on the incredible and stunningly beautiful new record, Nansemond. It’s a real pleasure to ask you some questions about this very special and enlightening record. I would love for you to discuss the album-title, which is the place name of where you grew up in Virginia? The album itself takes you to these wonderful places – the Chuckatuck Creek, Nansemond River, the lakes and beyond – where the music becomes an enriching experience, dotted with childhood memories and a distant past that is far removed from today. Please recount your memories from these particular places and indeed your childhood, growing up in the wetlands landscape?

Nathan Bowles: Hi, and thank you. Glad you’re enjoying the record. I’m not sure the places are wonderful in and of themselves, they’re just places that played an important part in my growing up. They’re wonderful insofar as they were the physical background for a lot of my imaginings as a child, and as a backdrop for my early music studies on piano and drums. I’m not sure what this question is asking, exactly: I can’t obviously recount memories wholesale. It was a mostly confusing, occasionally exciting, mostly introverted childhood spent between my inner world and the outer realities of muddy lakesides, times with friends romping around the woods, spacing out driving along flat, swampy roads wondering when I was going to leave… the places and feelings evoked in the record aren’t as specifically fond as much as they are specific in their confusion and haziness.

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The album itself feels like a collection of suites that are tied together by the geographical trajectory of your hometown and family roots, where ‘Nansemond’ becomes one gorgeously crafted mood-piece. Please talk me through the opening Sleepy Lake Bike Club – which serves the fitting prologue to the record’s sonic voyage – and the construction of the song’s beautiful soundscapes?

NB: The sequencing is wholly sonic; there’s no attempt to trace any geographic trajectory. ‘Bike Club is the title I gave that piece after reflecting on the images it brought it up as I was composing, scattered memories of biking around the wooded paths with a few friends and coming up with idiotic excuses to hurl the bikes into little creeks or play games of chicken around corners. It’s wistful but sad, too, maybe. Those games always ended prematurely when the sun set and came out to nothing, really.

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In terms of influences, the album is rooted in both the familiar traditions of Appalachian and folk music from the south (and beyond) and the avant-garde and cinematic drone. For example, the beguiling minimalist drone of The Smoke Swallower is wonderfully placed before the traditional folk tune of Jonah/Poor Liza Jane. Can you discuss these worlds of music that lies at the heart of your transcendent solo works and indeed the artists and records that have introduced you to these worlds of sounds? It’s clear you have one foot steeped firmly in tradition but the other is rooted in experimental and this for me, is the essence of your unique blend of music.

NB:  I’m not sure what the question is here. It’s all music to me. ‘Experimental is a pretty crappy term; I’m not experimenting, I’m playing — even the most freely improvisational elements of my music are focused in their ultimate aims. Traditional Appalachian music catches my ear as much as the best freely improvised music and everything in between, and I think I’m as picky and discerning across all of those genres. It’d be impossible to isolate what particular ‘worlds influence the music I’m making.

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The pieces on Nansemond are primarily based on your compelling banjo-based melodies. Would this often be the starting point when writing a piece of music, Nathan? Can you discuss the banjo’s possibilities and the reasons you believe the banjo is such a unique and special instrument? 

NB: The songs are generally composed on banjo, excepting instances when they’re improvised around a rhythm or scale (‘Smoke Swallower for instance). I like the clawhammer approach to open-tuned banjo because it allows me to express ideas melodically, harmonically, and rhythmically in a way that feels closest to how I think of music in my head. I feel very lucky to have found that kind of match with an instrument. I’m not sure how to express it beyond that.

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You consider yourself first and foremost a percussionist; collaborating with a wide array of the leading U.S. contemporaries, including Steve Gunn, Hiss Golden Messenger, Pelt, and The Black Twig Pickers to name but a few. I can imagine being part of these various projects must tap into (on a subconscious level at the very least) the solo music you are creating? What do you think are the values you have learned from these varied and awe-inspiring collaborative ventures?

NB: Collaborating is what makes one a truly better musician; listening, adapting, finding spaces, understanding dynamics. These are applicable to solo music, it just means you have to listen very closely to yourself and your environment. Patience is an important lesson.

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You are joined by a formidable cast of musicians on Nansemond. Please talk me through the players on these sessions and what were the sessions like? Were the pieces of music very much written and mapped out prior to recording, Nathan? Any happy accidents occur during this process? 

NB: Tom and I improvised ‘The Smoke Swallower and ‘Chuckatuck in the studio, to different degrees. ‘Smoke Swallower was built around a banjo scale and a rhythm… ‘Chuckatuck was a little more defined, though the arrangement and separate movements happened as a result of studio collaborating. John Henry is a tune that Steve Kruger, fiddler, and I play a lot when we get together around town, and Joe is a singular bassist and guitarist/recording engineer that could easily hop in on that tune. The rest of the tracks are composed but also heavily improvised during each recording.

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The album’s penultimate track, Golden Floaters/Hog Jank is my current favourite, and I love particularly how these two pieces merge together, and the slow-building banjo patterns that casts such a hypnotic spell. Can you recall writing this piece of music, Nathan? It’s such a beautiful and moving piece of music, reminiscent of Glenn Jones such is its brilliance. 

NB: Wow! Thanks. ‘Golden Floaters originated as a tuning and a kind of circular riff after a hallucinatory experience on the gulf coast of Florida. Much of the melody and arrangement was improvised during the recording. ‘Hog Jank is a slide riff that I’ve been toying with for a while now. It made sense as a bridge, tuning-wise and mood-wise, between ‘Golden Floaters and ‘Tire Swing. I’m currently integrating it into another piece I’ve been working on… we’ll see what comes of that.

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What’s next for you? I am sure you must have quite a few ideas currently floating in your mind.

NB: There’s a handful of collaborations in the works that I’ll keep on ice for the moment.  Oh, but there’s a Steve Gunn & Black Twig Pickers collaborative record on Thrill Jockey dropping in February. And another Black Dirt Oak thing in the mix… and … well, you’ll have to wait and see. Needless to say I’m very busy.

 


 

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‘Nansemond’ is out now on Paradise of Bachelors.

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http://www.nathanbowles.com/
http://www.paradiseofbachelors.com/

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Written by markcarry

November 20, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Chosen One: Puzzle Muteson

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Interview with Terry Magson, Puzzle Muteson.

“The title ‘Theatrics’ comes from a weight of the songs being hugely strung by a dramatic, intimate emotion, sometimes real but sometimes fable. It felt right.”

—Terry Magson

Words: Mark Carry

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Earlier this autumn marked the eagerly-awaited sophomore full-length release from Bedroom Community’s prized singer-songwriter, Puzzle Muteson. From the Isle of Wight, Terry Magson’s unique blend of sound – where the singer’s tremulous tenor coalesces effortlessly with beautiful patterns of finger-picked guitar – continues to develop and further evolve on ‘Theatrics’ as a more stripped-back feel permeates the surrounding space. With contributions from Magson’s trusted collaborators (and label-mates) Valgeir Sigurðsson and Nico Muhly, the resultant eleven sonic creations seep into your consciousness and linger there like a faded dream or fragments of a distant memory.

Since Puzzle Muteson’s 2011 debut record ‘En Garde’, an unerring emotional depth prevails the song-writer’s tower of songs; evoking at once a vivid sense of loss, longing, pain, and hurt but also hope, survival and desire that radiates like “the shade of the morning sun.” The compelling songs contained on ‘Theatrics’ reveals the magical spell cast by a luminous song-writer- with gorgeous shades of Robbie Bashoe’s similarly other-worldly sound that is steeped in an exponential state of oblivion. The immaculate instrumentation of Magson’s voice, guitar, piano and glockenspiel is further heightened with the presence of Muhly’s piano, synthesizer, harmonium; Sigurðsson’s electronic wizardry; percussion supplied by Rob Holmes; Jon McMullen’s added piano and harmonium parts, and Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek)’s synthesizer and programming.

By Night’ is a stunningly beautiful duet between Magson and Dutch-born (and Belgium-based) songstress Chantal Acda that represents one of the album’s (many) defining moments. A fragile beauty floats majestically in the air where an intimacy and striking intensity unfolds before your very eyes. The fragile ballad feels like a distant companion to the album’s penultimate song – and only cover version – of New Order’s ‘True Faith’. The cover version takes you to the special place of Cat Power’s ‘Covers Record’ as the listener becomes unknowingly immersed in a song’s divine web of enchanting sound. I’d like to see Magson’s interpretation akin to Chan Marshall’s rendition of ‘I Found A Reason’ where a profound impact is created with each note and achingly beautiful vocal delivery.

‘City Teeth’ is built on a slow melodic pattern of gentle guitar and piano notes, beneath Magson’s mesmerizing voice. The song’s rise provides a luminous crescendo of hypnotic piano segments that is reminiscent of Geman pianist Hauschka such is its sublime brilliance. The chorus refrain introduces an imaginary realm; stemming it would seem from a dark fable, as Magson sings “For a while his teeth would tear you up and half your hands”. A wonderful rhythmic pulse serves the backdrop to the dark tale. Gorgeously clean guitar tones drift beneath Magson’s captivating vocals on the sparse lament of ‘Into & Opened’. The refrain of “Old parts have gone” resonates powerfully.

As ever, a soaring sonic backdrop is masterfully choreographed beneath Magson’s deeply-affecting songs; from the compelling electronic loops of opener ‘We Are, We Own’ to the warm percussion of ‘In Circles’ and majestic harmonies of ‘River Women’. The closing piano-led ballad of ‘Chair’ serves the album’s fitting close as a striking immediacy and cinematic atmosphere comes to the fore, where Magson sings “There’s still a reason to believe” that seamlessly penetrates the human space. ‘Chair’ evolves into a synthesizer-laden, blissful wall of sound, before the closing refrain of “But you are locked in and I am out of time” strikes each and every aching heart pore.

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‘Theatrics’ is out now on Bedroom Community.

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Interview with Terry Magson, Puzzle Muteson.

It’s a pleasure to ask you some questions about the gorgeous new album, ‘Theatrics’. I would love for you to first discuss the album-title and how you see this collection of beguiling songs fit next to your previous full length, ‘En Garde’? 

Terry Magson: The title ‘Theatrics’ comes from a weight of the songs being hugely strung by a dramatic, intimate emotion, sometimes real but sometimes fable. It felt right. I think if ‘Theatrics’ was sat on a train and ‘En Garde’ went and sat next to him they would make a fetching couple, miserable but fetching. I went through a solid period of writing in which half of ‘Theatrics’ was written around the same time I made ‘En Garde’. The beauty and difference is now the starkness of ‘Theatrics’ songs, ‘En Garde’ was flooded with Nico Muhly’s prepossessing arrangements which I love, but now we have a bunch of half-dressed tracks with more space and breath.

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As ever, there is a rich sonic tapestry embedded in each of the heart-wrenching songs. What I love most is how the intricate layers of instrumentation (piano, harmonium, guitar, synthesizer, percussion) coalesce so beautifully with your distinct baritone voice. As a song-writer, it must be a special feeling to witness these songs metamorphose into their final entities, so to speak. Can you talk me through this process in which the spark of a song is gradually transformed into a fully-realized composition?

TM: Thank you! I’m not sure it’s ever fully – realized, not fully, but there is a distinctive moment when each added idea makes total sense. As an artist (does that sound pretentious?) as a professional bullshitter, I usually rely on my intuitive voice to take the reins when a new added part is working or needs to be there. It does feel special though when things start to grow especially because I have friends playing on this album and with none to little guidance, they add subtle magic, so by the time we’ve finished up in the studio I’m already doing a private conga dance.

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A wonderful cast of musicians are present on ‘Theatrics’, including your Bedroom Community label-mates Nico Muhly and Valgeir Sigurdsson. Please recount for me the recording sessions of ‘Theatrics’ and the special collaborative aspect of your work that is inherent between you, Nico and Valgeir?

TM: Right then.. So I went over to Greenhouse studio in Iceland to get the bulk of ‘Theatrics’ down but the sessions were a little disjointed. Next to the studio they were renovating Valgeir’s flat, which through the head phones when delicately recording a song say like ‘Bells’ it literally sounded like they were knocking down Hallgrímskirkj (awesome church in Reykjavík) with those balls that Miley Cyrus likes to swing about on with her vagina half hanging out.

Basically I had to re-do most of the songs, so I went to my friends (Boe Weaver) studio on the Isle of Wight and re-recorded vocals, guitars, some harmonium and some piano there. Once everything was flowing from those sessions we sent over the files to Greenhouse and Nico and Valgeir popped their little wizard hats on and brought ‘Theatrics’ to life. I wasn’t there and I didn’t need to be.

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I feel the cover version of New Order’s ‘True Faith’ is such an ideal penultimate track for the album, and a song you truly make your own (Cat Power’s ‘Covers Record’ comes to mind). Can you discuss for me please the reasoning for the selection of this particular song and your memories of first hearing ‘True Faith’?

TM: Thanks again! This was a little strange as for some reason this song started invading my head space for a few days uncontrollably. I hadn’t heard it for a long long time so it seemed slightly formidable and plausible to try and do a cover of it. It has a solid nostalgic connection with me. I remember probably first hearing it on Top of the Pops show mid 80’s, I used to get a tennis racket; turn it the wrong way round and run up and down the front room pretending to play it like a guitar. It’s the synthesizers that has given it that nostalgic haunting feeling.

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Can you take me back to your earliest musical memories? Also, I would love to know what folk records and indeed song-writing records do you feel have served sources of inspiration for your own music (and more precisely, leading you down the music path)?

TM: I’m not sure about my earliest? I’m guessing it would have been some monotonous baby toy that I’ve blocked out as it was so fucking horrid. I could tell you about when music started consciously making an impact and that would of been through John Williams scored Spielberg films, and 80s radio chart shows. The first tape I ever bought myself was N.W.A and first record 7″ was Snap – The Power.

There was a lot of Neil Young and Leonard Cohen records being played through the house growing up so I have a connection to those guys and in later years I would say Elliott Smith I connected with and Sparklehorse comes to mind.

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Two stunning duets are present on ‘Theatrics’ with Chantal Acda’s mesmerising vocals on ‘By Night’ and Lidwine De Royer Dupre guesting on ‘Belly’. One of my favourites must be ‘By Night’; a song whose sheer beauty unfolds gracefully before your very eyes and ears. It must have been lovely to have had these guests present on the recording sessions? 

TM: Chantal and Lidwine came about by the strength of an email. I had toured with both of them previously and knew their capabilities. I think me and Chantal sing from a similar depth, it’s very sensitive, and very real so I wanted to get her on ‘By Night’ to see how both voices would sound together.

Lidwine has a colossal voice and I knew she would be perfect for the chorus of ‘Belly’. Initially I was going to try a whole bunch of vocal layers but I thought the dynamic would be more interesting getting Lidwine in. Both sent the recordings back in just over a day of asking and both were flawless.

 


 

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‘Theatrics’ is out now on Bedroom Community.

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https://www.facebook.com/Puzzle.Muteson
http://www.bedroomcommunity.net/artists/puzzle_muteson/

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Written by markcarry

November 19, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Mixtape: I Set My Face To The Hillside [A Fractured Air Mix]

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I Set My Face To The Hillside [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/i-set-my-face-to-the-hillside-a-fractured-air-mix/

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Tracklisting:

01. Alexandre Desplat ‘The Heroic Weather-Conditions of the Universe, Pt. 1: A Veiled Mist’ [‘Moonrise Kingdom’ OST / ABKCO]
02. Calexico ‘Frontera /Trigger’ (Live) [City Slang / Anti-]
03. Tortoise ‘I Set My Face To The Hillside’ [Thrill Jockey]
04. Igor Stravinsky ‘L’Oiseau de feu (The Firebird Suite): Rondo (Corovod)’ [Revised 1945 Version] [CBS]
05. Lambchop ‘The Distance From Her To There’ [City Slang / Merge]
06. Karen Dalton ‘Take Me’ [Light In The Attic]
07. Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou ‘Evening Breeze’ [Buda Musique]
08. Grouper ‘Clearing’ [Kranky]
09. Choir of Downside School, Purley, Emanuel School Wandsworth, Boys’ Choir & London Symphony Orchestra ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op. 64: On the Ground, Sleep Sound’ [‘Moonrise Kingdom’ OST / ABKCO]
10. Oneohtrix Point Never ‘Still Life’ [Warp]
11. PASSAGE ‘Poem To The Hospital’ [Anticon]
12. The Notwist ‘Neon Golden’ (Console Remix) [City Slang]
13. Kiasmos ‘Swayed’ [Erased Tapes]
14. A Winged Victory for the Sullen ‘ATOMOS II’ [Erased Tapes / Kranky]
15. Jack Hardy ‘The Tailor’ [Numero Group]

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The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or their respective record labels. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.

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Fractured Air. The universe is making music all the time.

Mixcloud / Facebook / Twitter

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Younger Than Yesterday: “Kind Of Blue” by Miles Davis, selected by John Convertino

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John Convertino is best known as drummer and co-founder of Tucson Arizona-based Americana outfit Calexico. Since their inception in 1996, Calexico have fused a myriad of styles and genres including: jazz, electronica, punk, indie, film scores, mariachi, Portuguese Fado, Latin, folk and country. The band — lead by the core duo of Convertino and Joey Burns (who had both previously formed the rhythm section for Howe Gelb’s Giant Sand) — have over the last two decades created a vast body of work, to date comprising: seven studio albums; numerous tour albums (collated in the archived vinyl boxset ‘Road Atlas 1998—2011’); soundtrack scores (‘Circo’, ‘The Guard’, ‘I’m Not There’) and a multitude of collaborative works (Iron & Wine, Depedro, Amparo Sanchez) across numerous formats and releases. Convertino has also contributed his wholly unique and visionary drum playing style to a host of various musicians over the years (Neko Case, Amos Lee, Laura Cantrell, Vinicio Capossela) and has been a member of the following groups: OP8; Friends Of Dean Martinez; The Band Of Blacky Ranchette; ABBC. In 2005 Convertino released his debut solo album of jazz improvisations, ‘Ragland’, via German independent label Sommerweg. Calexico are currently in the final stages of recording their eagerly anticipated eighth studio album (written in Mexico City earlier this year and recorded at Tucson’s Wavelab Studios by Craig Schumacher and Chris Schultz) and follow-up to 2012’s ‘Algiers’.

Words: John Convertino, Illustration: Craig Carry

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Miles Davis ‘Kind Of Blue’, by John Convertino.

I wish that I could have a more obscure favorite record to share with people, but I have to be honest with myself that there is not a moment on ‘Kind of Blue’ that I don’t love.

The simplicity, spontaneity, and tone of that record is perfection, I can listen to it over and over again and still find something new in it.

Because of that record, I branched off and explored the music of Bill Evans, John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley. Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ is right up there, and I will listen to Bill Evans any day. Cannonball does a version of ‘Autumn Leaves’ with Miles Davis that kills me every time I hear it. From there you will find Gil Evans and all the amazing work he did with Miles and his own compositions, ‘Sketches of Spain’ is an all time favorite. Then Thelonious Monk and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. ‘Monk Alone in San Francisco’ is up there as an all time favorite. It’s the music I love.

I was also going to pick ‘The Rite of Spring’ by Igor Stravinsky. The pulse all through that composition, and where it puts my head, are things I love about being alive.

—John Convertino

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Album: Kind Of Blue
Artist: Miles Davis
Label: Columbia
Year: 1959

Tracklist: So What; Freddie Freeloader; Blue In Green; All Blues; Flamenco Sketches.

Personell: Julian Adderley (Alto Saxophone); Paul Chambers (Bass); Jimmy Cobb (Drums); John Coltrane (Tenor Saxophone); Miles Davis (Trumpet); Bill Evans (Piano); Wynton Kelly (Piano).

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Calexico are currently completing the follow-up to their 2012 LP ‘Algiers’ and have this week unveiled their 2015 European Tour dates which are as follows:

14 Apr – COPENHAGEN Amager Bio
15 Apr – HAMBURG Grosse Freiheit 36
16 Apr – AMSTERDAM Paradiso Amsterdam
17 Apr – EINDHOVEN De Effenaar
18 Apr – BERLIN Heimathafen Neukoelln
20 Apr – COLOGNE E-Werk & Palladium Köln
21 Apr – MUNICH Muffathalle
22 Apr – ZURICH Volkshaus
23 Apr – MILAN Fabrique Milano
25 Apr – LUXEMBOURG Atelier Luxembourg
26 Apr – PARIS Le Trianon
27 Apr – BRUSSELS Ancienne Belgique
28 Apr – LONDON O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
30 Apr – MANCHESTER The Albert Hall
01 May – LIVERPOOL Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
02 May – BELFAST Limelight Belfast
03 May – KILKENNY Set Theatre
04 May – DUBLIN Olympia Theatre

Tickets are on sale this Friday 14 November.

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To read the other Calexico contributions in this series:

Joey Burns (R.E.M. “Reckoning” & Minutemen “Double Nickels On The Dime”); Sergio Mendoza (Pablo Milanés, “La Vida no Vale Nada”); Martin Wenk (Clifford Brown’s “With Strings”); Jairo Zavala (Lole y Manuel “Nuevo Día”).

http://www.casadecalexico.com/
http://www.cityslang.com/

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Step Right Up: Second Moon Of Winter

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Track premiere: Second Moon Of Winter.

Words: Mark Carry, Design: Craig Carry

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Second Moon Of Winter is a new experimental ensemble from Cork, Ireland whose eagerly awaited debut full-length, ‘One For Sorrow, Two For Joy’ will be released on Denovali Records (home to Poppy Ackroyd, Greg Haines, Moon Zero, Carlos Cipa to name but a few) in January 2015.

A distinct purity and fragile beauty resonates powerfully throughout the illuminating embers of ‘One For Sorrow, Two For Joy’s rich sonic voyages. The six compositions contained on this hugely promising debut were written and recorded live in a series of four-hour sessions in a basement by the sea in County Cork. The pristine instrumentation of luminous soprano, clarinet and guitar coalesce effortlessly, forming an enthralling cohesive whole of striking depth and magnitude. A whirlwind of emotions merge as the radiant light of joy and hope become inter-woven with the looming darkness of anguish and pain.

The exclusive premiere of ‘Cigarette’ – which serves the album’s towering penultimate track – showcases the trio’s innate ability to capture raw emotion through the art of sound. With no aid of technology; no computers, no playback of samples, no overdubs, no further processing after the event, the shimmering sounds ebb and flow like the crashing ocean waves and gradual close of night. The opening notes of soaring soprano harmonies is soon accompanied by pulsating noise of electric guitar, conjuring up the sound of a faded past as long-lost memories flicker into gradual focus. Moments later, the woodwind instrumentation of clarinet serves the perfect contrast. The song reflects on a particular moment in time that, in turn becomes revived and subsequently relived, “wrinkles on your forehead now, there’s no looking back.”

Second Moon Of Winter is the perfect addition to the German-based independent label of Denovali Records, whose unique blend of sound lies somewhere between avant-garde, ambient, dark free jazz and neo-classical music. On closer inspection, the talented trio form the natural bridge between the deeply affecting experimental odysseys of label-mates Birds of Passage (New Zealand); the cinematic choral works of Hydras Dream (Sweden/Germany) and dark jazz of Dale Cooper Quartet (France).

One For Sorrow, Two For Joy’ is about embracing chance; being in the moment and reacting in that moment where the audience and artist become one.

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Track premiere: “Cigarette” by Second Moon Of Winter:

 


 

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“One for Sorrow, Two for Joy” by Second Moon Of Winter will be available in January 2015 via Denovali Records.

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www.facebook.com/secondmoonofwinter
http://denovali.com/secondmoonofwinter/
http://denovali.com/

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Written by admin

November 11, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Fractured Air 29: Road Of Dreams (A Mixtape by Mark Fry)

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English singer-songwriter Mark Fry’s name has become synonymous with his psych-folk masterpiece ‘Dreaming With Alice’ released on RCA Italy in 1972 when Fry was only 19 years of age. Some 39 years later (Fry would become an internationally renowned painter while music would continue to play a vital role in the intervening years) Fry released the long-overdue follow-up ‘I Lived In Trees’, an album recorded with The A. Lords (English musicians Michael Tanner and Nicholas Palmer) in Dorset, Normandy and Oxfordshire, released in 2012 via Second Language. The fact that the legend of Mark Fry’s utterly transcendent music still burns so brightly can also be attributed to the many contemporary musicians — Mercury Rev, Four Tet, Colleen, Super Furry Animals and Jim O’Rourke, to name just a few — who have become some of Fry’s most passionate and ardent of believers. This year Fry returns with his latest soul-stirring and dreamlike collection, ‘South Wind, Clear Sky’, available now on London-based independent record label Second Language.

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Fractured Air 29: Road Of Dreams (A Mixtape by Mark Fry)

“Songs can lead you down a road of dreams. These are just some of them, old and new, that made me want to become and continue to be a songwriter and musician, and whose echoes, like pebbles in a pond, still ripple through my life today.”

—Mark Fry

To listen on Mixcloud:

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-29-road-of-dreams-a-mixtape-by-mark-fry/

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Tracklisting:

01. Traffic ‘Hole In My Shoe’ [Island]
02. The Beatles ‘A Day In The Life’ [Parlophone]
03. Procol Harum ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’ [Deram]
04. Joni Mitchell ‘River’ [Reprise]
05. Lucio Dalla ‘Com’è Profondo Il Mare’ [RCA]
06. Joan Armatrading ‘Love And Affection’ [A&M]
07. Kaouding Cissoko ‘Kana Kassi’ [Palm Pictures]
08. Nirvana ‘Something In The Way’ [DGC, Sub Pop]
09. King Creosote and Jon Hopkins ‘Bubble’ [Domino]
10. Bill Callahan ‘Small Plane’ [Drag City]

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The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or their respective record labels. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.

 


 

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“South Wind, Clear Sky” is available now on Second Language Records.

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http://www.markfry.co.uk
http://www.secondlanguagemusic.com

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Written by admin

November 4, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Chosen One: Sophie Hutchings

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Interview with Sophie Hutchings.

“For me instrumental music doesn’t always tell a definite story but expresses a definite feeling that words don’t have to define.”

—Sophie Hutchings

Words: Mark Carry

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White Light’ is the latest collection of mesmerising piano music from Sydney-based composer and pianist Sophie Hutchings. Beginning with 2010’s debut ‘Becalmed’, the gifted composer has crafted her unique blend of neo-classical, piano-based compositions that transports the listener to the further reaches of the barely attainable as endless moments of fragile beauty and infinite solace ascends into the surrounding atmosphere. To date, the full-length releases of 2010’s ‘Becalmed’ and follow-up ‘Night Sky’ (2012), released on the Australian independent label Preservation reveals an artist’s rich devotion to one’s chosen craft where fleeting moments of majestic beauty unfolds with each meandering piano pattern and ripple-flow of transcendence.

White Light’ is a collection of improvisational pieces recorded alone in an old church hall in Sydney. In the words of Hutchings: “These compositions come from nowhere”, reminding us just how special and resolutely unique the art of music can be and why music is indeed a universal language. The sublime opener of ‘Anchor’ feels a distant companion to ‘Night Sky’’s opening ‘Shadowed’ as the ethereal sounds of field recordings, strings and woodwind percussion (elements dotted beautifully across ‘Night Sky’’s rich sonic canvas) fade away beneath the lyrical and poignant solo piano melodies. ‘White Light’ exists in a parallel universe to the jazz piano of American jazz pianist Bill Evans; the hypnotic piano motifs of Australian trio The Necks’ Chris Abrahams and the modern neo-classical composers of Max Richter, Nils Frahm, Dustin O’ Halloran et al. It is this unspoken connection and innate ability to elicit human emotion to which Hutchings’ compositions are forever steeped in revelry and wonder.

The six compositions recorded in the sacred church space transcends both space and time as a deeply immersive and contemplative experience is effortlessly forged. As I listen to the heartfelt lament of ‘Stray’ or the rich textures of ‘The Vanishing’ and burning embers of ‘The Carriers’, my thoughts and feelings become synonymous with the music; buried deeply within the magical realm of music’s endless possibilities. Just like the stillness of night, the solo piano works of Hutchings captures a moment neither here nor there; belonging to the horizon of an approaching sun-lit sky.

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‘White Light’ is available now as a free download via Bandcamp HERE.

‘Becalmed’ and ‘Night Sky’ are out now on the Preservation label.

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Interview with Sophie Hutchings.

I was very interested to read these new piano improvisations were performed in an old church. Please discuss for me the space (and time) itself and how you feel this setting, in effect shaped the music?

Sophie Hutchings: The space is not like the beautiful old European churches. It’s kinda like a Wealthy Grandma’s big lounge room. Big white arched windows, the classic high ceilings but with lots of lounges, lamps & candles everywhere. The space is actually used as a unique music venue. They have a really nice Grand Piano and I asked if I could take my mic’s in late one night and set up camp. You get the odd bus or car off in the distance and a bit of street noise but apart from that you feel pretty alone & the openness of the room carries the piano nicely which is what I wanted.

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Please discuss the process of improvisation? Is it a case of beginning with a blank canvas and seeing where the music takes you, so to speak? Also, I imagine would a lot of your compositions (contained on your full-length releases) start off as solo piano improvs with the spark of an idea? 

SH: The pieces on this gift release are a mixture. Some of them started as a blank canvas others were musings I started at home and developed on the night….This time I wanted to learn just to let go and not think about it which many artist would relate to I’m sure. I wanted to press the record button and nothing else. Not overly listening, overly critiquing, scrapping and re-starting (though I admit I scrapped some from the night I didn’t like!) Just some of the things that happen when you’re doing an official album.

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Is there a narrative that you feel forms this collection of new music, Sophie? It is clear with your captivating music that indeed something very lyrical and poignant lies at the heart of the piano works.

SH: A lot of feelings and thoughts lie at the heart but really the best therapy when playing for me is thinking of nothing. I don’t really remember what I’m contemplating at the time. You definitely feel strongly and you re-connect when you listen back to them. For me instrumental music doesn’t always tell a definite story but expresses a definite feeling that words don’t have to define…. That’s what I love about it (kind of cheating really!).

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Please shed some light on your forthcoming record and follow-up to the spell-binding ‘Night Sky’? 

SH: I’m doing it in small increments whenever those involved can spare the time. e.g. Strings, My Engineering friend Tim Whitten…In my spare time I’m working on ideas from home but I tend to focus more and get creatively spontaneous when I’m in the studio. I guess it’s an extension of perhaps the flavour of what I’ve done previously only I hope it’s better and well there will be some different elements for sure!

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What records and artists have you been obsessed with of late? 

SH: Gamelan music… though I don’t know all the names of the artists I’ve been listening to of lately I absolutely love it and trying to build a collection.

A bit of African Jazz -Tche Belew gets a good spin over dinner and wine.

The Necks release early this year – Open and the new A Winged Victory for the Sullen album – Atomos are on high rotation.

 


 

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‘White Light’ is available now as a free download via Bandcamp HERE.

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http://www.sophiehutchings.com
http://www.preservation.com.au

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Written by markcarry

November 3, 2014 at 1:00 pm

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