FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Posts Tagged ‘Agnes Obel

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S1E7 | July mix

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July 2016 opened with world-renowned German composer Nils Frahm’s magnificent “Possibly Colliding” weekend of music at the Barbican Centre, London. Curated by Frahm, the special lineup featured live performance, conversation and film screenings where the headline act was Frahm’s monumental sold-out Barbican show, comprising his “most ambitious concert to date.”

Possibly Colliding felt not only like a celebration of the visionary artist’s cherished songbook (thus far) but rather a distillation of the most ground-breaking moments of today’s contemporary music scene. The angelic, hushed solo piano pieces were interwoven with the sprawling and sublime synthesizer-led pieces and many live collaborations – cellist Anne Müller, Nonkeen (with the addition of gifted drummer Andrea Belfi), London-based vocal ensemble Shards, and the André de Ridder-led stargaze ensemble – rendered new versions of Frahm’s towering body of work and offered new insights into the gifted composer’s sonic sphere.

During July we were delighted to be invited to participate in Irish actor Cillian Murphy’s curated IMMA Summer Party happening at the grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Art at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin. Murphy’s music lineup featured performances by celebrated German composer and pianist Hauschka, gifted Irish fiddle player and composer Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Irish-based indie band Meltybrains? Some selections from our DJ set appear in this month’s mixtape.

Limerick-born and London-based composer Áine O’Dwyer has long been one of our most cherished and favourite contemporary musicians. O’Dwyer has released records on such independent labels as: Mie Music, Second language and Fort Evil Fruit, while her versatile talents are evident in her rich and varied recorded output to date, which have featured: live recordings for pipe organ, music for harp and voice and music for solo piano.

This year’s Le Guess Who? festival features special guest curators – including the inimitable L.A. songwriter Julia Holter – who has invited Áine O’Dwyer to this year’s lineup in Utrecht which takes place on 10–13 November 2016.

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S1E7 | July mix

To Read/listen on La Blogothèque:

http://www.blogotheque.net/2016/07/27/fractured-air-x-blogotheque-s01e07-july-mix/

 

Tracklisting:

01. Woodkid & Nils Frahm“Winter Morning II” (with Robert De Niro) (excerpt) (Ellis OST, Erased Tapes)
02. Peter Broderick“Carried” (Erased Tapes)
03. Nonkeen“Diving Platform” (R&S)
04. Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler“A Road” (Thrill Jockey)
05. Áine O’Dwyer “Falcon” (Second Language)
06. Jherek Bischoff“Headless” (The Leaf Label)
07. Agnes Obel“Familiar” (Play It Again Sam)
08. Jonny Greenwood (Copenhagen Phil, André de Ridder)“Future Markets” (There Will Be Blood OST, Deutsche Grammophon)
09. Radiohead“Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief” (XL Recordings)
10. Kedr Livanskiy“Razrushitelniy Krug (Destructive Cycle)” (2MR)
11. Lil Silva “Jimi” (Good Years)
12. DJ Shadow“The Sideshow” (feat. Ernie Fresh) (Mass Appeal)
13. Underworld“I Exhale” (Universal Music Group)
14. Floorplan“Music” (M-Plant)
15. Róisín Murphy“Simulation” (Permanent Vacation)
16. Hot Chip“Night and Day” (Daphni Mix) (Domino)
17. Junior Boys“Big Black Coat” (Robert Hood Remix) (Jiaolong / City Slang)
18. Peder Mannerfelt“Perspectives” (Peder Mannerfelt Produktion)
19. Aphex Twin“CHEETAHT2 [Ld spectrum]” (Warp)
20. Ólafur Arnalds“RGB” (LateNightTales)
21. Julianna Barwick“Someway” (Dead Oceans)
22. Julia Holter“Finale” (Leaving / Domino)

Compiled by Fractured Air, July 2016. The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or record labels. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.

http://www.blogotheque.net/
https://fracturedair.com/

Mixtape: I Found A Reason [A Fractured Air Mix]

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I Found A Reason [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/i-found-a-reason-a-fractured-air-mix/

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Tracklisting:

01. Leonard Bernstein & New York Philharmonic ‘The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34: Themes a-F’ [‘Moonrise Kingdom’ OST]
02. Sufjan Stevens ‘Jacksonville’ [Asthmatic Kitty]
03. Lewis ‘My Whole Life’ [Light In The Attic]
04. Slowdive ‘The Sadman’ [SBK]
05. Julia Holter ‘Don’t Make Me Over’ [Domino]
06. Owen Pallett ‘On A Path’ [Domino]
07. Jack Nitzsche ‘I’m The Loneliest Fool’ [Ace]
08. Randy Newman ‘Sandman’s Coming’ [Nonesuch]
09. Calexico ‘Departure in F minor’ [Our Soil, Our Strength]
10. Cat Power ‘I Found A Reason’ [Matador]
11. Bob Dylan ‘Not Dark Yet’ [Columbia]
12. The Teddy Bears ‘To Know Him Is To Love Him’ [ABKCO]
13. The Tornados ‘Telstar’ [Decca]
14. Françoise Hardy ‘Le Temps De L’amour’ [Moonrise Kingdom’ OST]
15. Agnes Obel ‘The Curse’ [PIAS]
16. Georges Delerue ‘Ouverture’ [Emarcy, Universal]
17. Leonard Bernstein & New York Philharmonic ‘The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34: Fugue. Allegro molto’ [‘Moonrise Kingdom’ OST]

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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 / Soundcloud

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Chosen One: Agnes Obel

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Interview with Agnes Obel.

Danish composer Agnes Obel returns this year with the sublime ‘Aventine’, three years on since her award-winning debut ‘Philharmonics’ propelled her to international recognition. Obel also makes her much-anticipated return to Irish shores when she performs at Dublin’s Vicar Street on Wednesday 23 October. 

“For example, on piano you can have the left hand as sort of the body and then the right hand is sort of telling a story. And you have a feeling that it’s sequenced like a beginning and an end.”

—Agnes Obel

Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry

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Three years have passed since the arrival of the universally acclaimed debut album ‘Philharmonics’ by Danish singer-songwriter Agnes Obel. The enchanting piano melodies of Obel conjured up a stirring beauty – that as the seasons since come and passed – has never ceased to fade from the embers of our existence. The central narrative to ‘Philharmonics’ were concerned with themes such as life’s fragility, hope, fear, loneliness and the record in turn, became a source of infinite solace. Songs such as ‘Riverside’, ‘Brother Sparrow’, ‘Close Watch’ and album closer ‘On Powdered Ground’ are each steeped in magical wonder and unknown dimensions – a reliable constant for any composition crafted by Obel – that are at the same time, calm and powerful, much like the piano works of Erik Satie. Music for deep reflections. Music to truly find yourself (as the layers of interwoven strings and captivating melodies awaken your senses and heightens all that surrounds you). Is it any wonder that Obel’s debut album – a life’s work – sold almost half a million copies to date, having gone quintuple platinum in her native Denmark? Sometimes, music as resolutely special, vividly real and deeply touching as ‘Philharmonics’, gets its deserved recognition and attention. It is no surprise then that the follow-up, ‘Aventine’, sees the musician, piano composer and songwriter achieve altogether new levels of sonic radiance on the gorgeously vast expanses of art’s endless possibilities.

‘Aventine’ was written, recorded, produced and arranged by Obel from early 2012 until late Spring 2013, at home in Berlin and in a rented drum studio. Songs such as ‘Fuel To Fire’ and ‘Smoke And Mirrors’ were performed by Obel and her live band, during the ‘Philharmonics’ tour that proved some of the many utterly transcendent moments of the breathtaking live performance. What strikes me immediately about ‘Aventine’ is the space and added dimensions that are beautifully embedded deep into the song’s core. As ever, Obel’s beguiling vocals and piano serves the blood flow to ‘Aventine’s timeless journey. The layers of strings (viola, cello, violin) provide the perfect counterpoint. A deep musical telepathy exists between Obel and her entrusted ensemble of musicians, not least Anne Müller’s intricate harmonies and illuminating cello, whose bowed strings penetrates magnificently through the abyss of darkness.

Similar to ‘Philharmonics’, a wonderful use of instrumental tracks are placed in the album, offering silences between the deeply affecting fables of ‘Fuel To Fire’, ‘The Curse’ and ‘Words Are Dead’. From the opening fragile piano notes of instrumental ‘Chord Left’, one immediately feels the closeness and intimacy of the artistic creations, for this is the crowning jewel of Obel’s work. The title-track ‘Aventine’ contains majestic pizzicato strings, looped over Obel’s voice and piano as she sings on the opening verse: “There is a grove, there is a plot / Deep in the snow, breaking your heart.” The songs come from somewhere deep and vividly real, as Obel’s artistry ceaselessly marries “the wave and the tide”. The impact of which is profound. An everlasting imprint is forged from the depths of the underground to the vast blue skies above.

‘Words Are Dead’ is perhaps my current favourite. For me, it’s the sound of spring; a new beginning, where the dawning of a new day is laid out before your very eyes. The refrain of “Oh, don’t cry for me” is one of the defining moments of ‘Aventine’. The harmonies and strings coalesce effortlessly forming a wholly shape-shifting soundscape. The light of hope shines forth from the pain and sadness, resulting in something astonishingly cathartic. ‘Dorian’ is an achingly beautiful lament as Obel sings “Dorian, carry on / Will you come along to the end” on the song’s chorus. The hunger to live permeates from the embers of an inner flame. The towering hills of Aventine is a sight to behold. ‘Aventine’ is one of those rare treasures to truly relinquish in. ‘Aventine’s riches of songwriting prowess and sweeping landscapes of soul-stirring sound represents another wave of a miracle.

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Interview with Agnes Obel.

It’s lovely to talk to you because I’m a huge fan of your music. I’ve been listening to the new album ‘Aventine’ a lot lately and it’s even better again than the debut album ‘Philharmonics’. It’s really a wonderful achievement for yourself as a songwriter and musician.

Thank you very much. I am very happy to hear that.

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I love the title. I suppose ‘Aventine’ is a reference to the hill in Ancient Rome, one of the seven hills?

Yeah, it’s actually just a song on the album, which I tried to describe how it is to work, sort of, intuitively, where you are left in the dark. You don’t have it formulated conceptually before you have started – like something you feel is an idea – and you just have to trust your intuition and see what comes out of it. And this way of working, I like very much, the idea that it grows in itself just like a creature. I wanted to describe that and then Aventine was a nice place [to] be the sort of place you were going to when you’re working like that.

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In terms of the music too, Agnes, I love again how there is a big progression, where for example there are many more interludes and more, you know, dimensions in the songs. For example ‘Words Are Dead’ – it’s my favourite at the moment – I love how there is a short piano interlude on the outro. There’s a lot of new layers to your songs.

Yeah, I’m really happy that you feel like that. That’s exactly what I was thinking too. I wanted to continue what I started with ‘Philharmonics’ and the songs there, and I could explore a bit more. Although I’ve been playing a lot with Philharmonics live, and I really realized that it would be interesting. Some of the songs have other interesting aspects to them when they are played instrumental, those that are without singing. So, I wanted to combine the two worlds in a way.

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I’ve seen you in concert a few times before in Ireland – in Galway and also supporting Fleet Foxes in Cork – it’s amazing just to witness the performance that’s happening before you. Obviously there is this deep connection between yourself and cellist Anne Müller. I would love for you to talk a bit about her and how you met and stuff, you’re obviously good friends for a long time.

Yeah, that’s correct. I got to know Anne four years ago because I was looking for a cellist who could sing, and a friend of mine was involved in another project. I had already recorded all of ‘Philharmonics’ and that was recorded with three different cello players, and they were all great. But it was very obvious as soon as Anne and I started to play together that we both liked each other personally, and we had very good chemistry going on, musically and personally, and it’s sort of grown, you know, because we’re traveling so much together. The more we play together, the more we travel together, the more we build this sort of symbiosis thing where we don’t really have to talk about things. It’s just obvious [laughs]. It’s just how it is and she’s really lovely and she’s really really interesting to work with. She’s like me, she’s also very interested in recording her instrument and we’re always trying to experiment a bit. And she’s very open to experimenting things in the music, but also with her instrument and how to use it. It’s really inspiring to know her.

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As you say as well Agnes, I can imagine that recording must be a lovely process to be able to do, when you’re in your own space. I wonder for this album where there new techniques or new things, you know that you were doing differently, this time around to try out new things?

Well, first of all, I could afford to buy some new equipment, so I was using this, and I was also using the same equipment as ‘Philharmonics’, using new pre-amps and stuff like that. And then also, I’ve been playing around with using the cello, and also the piano, and also the wooden floor as the beat in the musical rhythm because I don’t really want to introduce drums to the songs. But I felt like the sound of wood, either instrument or in the room where everything has been recorded, sort of, work as well. So, this is very new for me to do that. I’ve been using a lot of close-miking; miking the cello up like it was a voice so it is getting this intensity and closeness and intimacy that I’m always trying to get with my own voice. And doing the same thing with the cello, putting it up there in the mix in front of everything. So, stuff like that I’ve been trying out. But there is also like, with the cello – it sounds like a theremin – and then, Col Legno – it’s like the back-side of the bow where you hit the strings – and lots of pizzicato on violin and viola mixed together. Stuff like that.

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Oh yes. I suppose is one example the title-track? I just love the looping of the strings, it’s this swirling ambient piece.

Yeah, yeah. That was also tricky to make because it doesn’t sound so layered maybe but it’s really several layers of pizzicato which basically is playing what I’m playing with the left and right hand on my piano and then I use like a sample viola to hear how it sounds like with the strings – pizzicato viola – and then I re-recorded with cello pizzicato and violin pizzicato [laughs], sort of a long way to get there. I had to build it, sort of artificially, and re-record it and find a good way to record on the same wood, the same lightness as the piano would have.

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I would love to know about your piano playing and I imagine you must have started from a young age?

Yes, I did. I started young but I was not very disciplined. I’ve never been good at rehearsing for the sake of rehearsing, but I was lucky to learn the instrument early. It’s sort of always been there – the piano – at least for me. So in that way, I don’t really think about it, it’s sort of an extension of me. When I have an idea, it’s the easiest way to get it out. But I don’t feel as a classical, solo instrumentalist, like I’ve been doing nothing else. I’ve been doing a lot of other things, mainly working in the sort of rhythmical, rock-pop area of music.

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That sounds lovely as there is that intuitive sense in your music. Like any other good albums that I love, like Nils Frahm for example – obviously there’s so much out there – you just know it’s kind of, an effortless process, there’s no forcing it.

Yeah. I really believe in that. I think it’s very good when you don’t think about doing it but you’re following. It’s a very good place to be when you have a flow feeling, playing around and suddenly you have a song. I like this way, when it’s like that, and I think it becomes better like that. I’m not sure, maybe it’s all inconsequential really. Press the lemon as we say in Danish [laughs], if that makes sense.

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I wonder, Agnes, do you have any favourite albums that you may have been listening to a lot in the last few months?

Well, we’ve been listening to so much Ennio Morricone lately. It’s a vinyl from a friend of ours so it doesn’t even exist, but now we’ve just recorded the vinyl over to digital so we could have it, listening to it on tour. It’s a soundtrack from an Italian film he made in the sixties. And then we’ve been listening to Eden Ahbez. Do you know him?

Oh, yes, it’s funny my brother introduced me to him. It’s a reissue, I think he only ever had one album?

Yeah, yeah exactly. ‘Eden’s Island’, he made that one, and I think that’s the only one he made, unfortunately.

I know. It’s a lovely album isn’t it. A really interesting story too.

Yeah, totally. He was like a psychedelic idealist who didn’t want to be part of society. Romantic or something. Do you know the story?

Yeah, I read it in the liner notes, I think that’s with the album. I couldn’t believe, it was like a Hollywood script.

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Well, thanks very much for the interview. It was lovely to talk to you.

Yeah, it was lovely to talk to you too. See you in Dublin.

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Agnes Obel performs at Vicar Street, Dublin on Wednesday 23 October. Tickets here.
‘Aventine’ is available now on PIAS Recordings.

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http://www.agnesobel.com/
http://www.pias.com/

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To follow Fractured Air, you can do so on Facebook here, and on Twitter here.

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Written by admin

October 16, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Ten Mile Stereo

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Chantal Acda ‘Let Your Hands Be My Guide’ (Gizeh)
Dutch-born songwriter Chantal Acda will release the gorgeous ‘Let Your Hands Be My Guide’ this November on Gizeh Records. The Belgium-based artist has formerly recorded under the Sleepingdog moniker, making three critically acclaimed albums culminating with 2010’s ‘With Our Heads in the Clouds and Our Hearts in the Fields’, a collaboration between Acda and Adam Wiltzie (Stars of the Lid, A Winged Victory For The Sullen). ‘Let Your Hands Be My Guide’ is effectively Acda’s first solo album, and features the sublime talents of Nils Frahm (Erased Tapes), Peter Broderick (Erased Tapes, Type, Bella Union), Múm’s cellist Gyda Valtysdottir and Shahzad Ismaily. With Frahm on production duties, Acda’s songs are kept beautifully vulnerable, yet maintain a certain magical spark throughout, reminiscent of ‘Wonders’, Frahm’s beautifully understated collaborative EP with Peter Broderick. ‘Let Your Hands Be My Guide’ is out on November 11th 2013 on Gizeh Records.

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Clark ‘Feast/Beast’ (Warp)
Few artists can boast such an impressive array of genuinely inspiring remix work than Warp’s Chris Clark. The English electronic musician has remixed a myriad of various artists over recent years – including Bibio, Nathan Fake, Amon Tobin, Massive Attack, Battles and Letherette – and this substantial body of work is now beautifully collected by Warp in a double-album for the first time. Whereas first half “Feast” comprises the more melodic and shape-shifting material (typified by Clark’s stunning remix of Nils Frahm’s ‘Peter’), the second half set of “Beast” comprises the more hardcore and techno material. Also features exclusive original remixes by Bibio and Nathan Fake.

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Agnes Obel ‘Aventine’ (PIAS)
The much-anticipated arrival of Danish composer Agnes Obel’s follow-up to the internationally-acclaimed debut ‘Philarmonics’ comes in the form of the glorious ‘Aventine’. The album is officially released on 30th September and is currently streaming in full here. Currently based in Berlin, Obel will make her eagerly-awaited live return this October on her European tour which features appearances at London’s Union Chapel and Dublin’s Vicar Street. (All tour dates here). ‘Aventine’ is an utterly compelling, hauntingly beautiful set of songs that confirms Obel as one of the most impressive young musical artists making music.

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The Dale Cooper Quartet & The Dictaphones ‘Quatorze Pièces De Menace’ (Denovali)
Named after David Lynch’s lead detective in cult TV series “Twin Peaks”, Dale Cooper & The Dictaphones are the cult French Dark Jazz collective whose fusion of 50’s Jazz, dark ambience and ghostly sound recordings provides for an unforgettable listening experience. Recorded in Brest in Britanny, France, ‘Quatorze Pièces De Menace’ is released on Denovali, Berlin’s wonderful experimental label. The album features an inspired set of guest vocalists including New Zealand’s Alicia Merz (Birds Of Passage), Ronan Mac Erlaine and Gaëlle Kerrien (Yann Tiersen).

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V/A ‘Music and Migration III’ (Second Language)
‘Music & Migration III’ is the final installment of the Music & Migration series which “congratulates BirdLife International on their 20th Anniversary and particularly celebrates their important global work for migratory birds.” Featured here are thirteen tracks compiled specifically for the series for London-based independent label Second Language. Standout moments include the charming and graceful compositions by ISAN, Colleen, Mark Fry and Glen Johnson. Also included with M&MIII is a free bonus disc, Mizieb EP, by The Home Current which features remixes by a number of artists including The Boats.

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V/A ‘Live At Caffè Lena : Music From America’s Legendary Coffeehouse, 1967-2013’ (Tompkins Square)
San Francisco’s Tompkins Square have been quietly releasing some of the most breathtaking music – both new material and lovingly assembled gems from the past – over the past decade or so. Perhaps what typifies the heartbeat of the label is this latest gem; a triple album featuring a poignant chronicle of New York’s Caffè Lena, the oldest continuously operating folk music coffeehouse in the US. As stated by the lovingly written sleeve notes, the heartbeat of the set – amidst the array of stars such as Kate McGarrigle, Rick Danko, Pete and Mike Seeger – is Lena Spencer herself: “She would graciously house wayward artists, sometimes for months at a time. But she was not merely a host. She championed artists, from Bob Dylan as early as 1961 all the way through the 80s until her passing. Her passion for identifying and promoting talent is evident throughout this 3-CD set. That Caffè Lena is still open for business tonight is a testament to her legacy.” Essential. Available Worldwide on Tompkins Square, September 24, 2013.

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Grizzly Bear ‘Shields: Expanded’ (Warp)
Indie greats Grizzly Bear re-release their wonderful ‘Shields’ album this November in a newly expanded edition. While such quick re-releases are generally fairly shallow affairs and often prove nothing more than blatant marketing exercises, this double-album features exclusive ‘Shields’ sessions, demos, and remixes (highlights being Lindstrom’s reinterpretation of ‘Gun-Shy’ and Nicolas Jaar’s re-working of ‘Sleeping Ute’). Double-album ‘Shields: Expanded’ will be available on Warp on November 12th.

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CocoRosie ‘Tales of a GrassWidow’ (City Slang)
This year saw the much-anticipated return of sisters Sierra and Bianca Casady, who have been making some of the most vibrant and compelling music of the last decade since their stunning debut ‘La Maison de Mon Rêve’ back in 2004. Current album ‘Tales of a GrassWidow’ (City Slang) was produced in collaboration with Icelandic composer Valgeir Sigurðsson (Bedroom Community) who gives the songs a lush and cinematic feel, while Antony Hegarty (Antony & The Johnsons) features on guest vocals. As always, the American sisters don’t shy away from the big topics, subjects here include child abuse, the mistreatment of children, and the destruction of the natural environment. CocoRosie make their eagerly-awaited return to Irish shores when they perform at The Button Factory, Dublin on Wednesday October 2nd.

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Nils Frahm ‘Spaces’ (Erased Tapes)
Since the upload of the ‘Spaces’ official album trailer a couple months back – and, indeed, since the release of his previous album ‘Screws’ last year on Erased Tapes – Frahm has been prolific as ever. As well as performing live across Europe and America, Frahm has also found the time to collaborate on a number of albums (as performer and producer) including Sarah Neufeld’s wonderful ‘Hero Brother’ (Constellation) and Chantal Acda’s ‘Let Your Hands Be My Guide’ (Gizeh). ‘Spaces’ is mastered by the gifted Mandy Parnell and will be released on November 18 on Erased Tapes. It will be the first release under the new Erased Tapes America imprint, out November 19 in North America, preceded by a string of West Coast shows in late September and celebrated with a special album release concert in New York City on November 25. American dates feature guests including Hauschka, Peter Broderick and Ólafur Arnalds.

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Sidi Touré ‘Alafia’ (Thrill Jockey)
Malian songwriter and guitarist Sidi Touré returns this September with the wonderful ‘Alafia’, an album Touré recorded in Nantes, France and Bamako, Mali. It’s Touré’s third for Chicago’s Thrill Jockey label and comprises his most complete and fully-realized album yet. Comparisons to the pioneering output of fellow Malian and predecessor Ali Farka Touré can still be made, where the blues-influenced guitar playing and plaintive vocal melisma of Songhaï folk music can be heard throughout. As stated by Thrill Jockey: “Touré deals with the strife and political instability plaguing his home region using the effortlessly broad musical language he’s internalized since his youth. Regional styles, including takamba, holley, and abarbarba (the butcher’s dance), along with his longtime interest in international music, form the underpinning to Touré’s lyrical ode to his country.”

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