FRACTURED AIR

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Posts Tagged ‘Bella Union

Albums of the Year: 2016

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Presented here is a list of our favourite albums from 2016. As difficult a task as this proved, we decided ultimately to choose the albums that we found ourselves turning back to time and again over the last twelve months. The exercise also reminded me of memories when growing up of reading interviews featuring our favourite musicians, what used to strike me so much was the number of times they would describe their favourite albums as being like “friends” to them. These albums were anything but material possessions, these wax and cardboard sculptures were simply part of their lives: their very identity, even. The following is a selection of sixteen albums released during 2016 which we feel fortunate to now call friends of our own.

Artwork: Craig Carry
Words: Mark Carry

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(i). Oliver Coates – “Upstepping” (PRAH Recordings)

Several ground-breaking records from 2016 can be attributed to the gifted talents of British cellist and composer Oliver Coates. The London-based composer’s sophomore full-length release ‘Upstepping’ is undoubtedly the year’s most accomplished, innovative and compelling musical journeys with its meticulously crafted and sumptuously layered cello-based compositions that carves out techno-fueled waves of pure bliss and transcendence. ‘Upstepping’ is indeed (in the words of Coates) “pumped-up body music”. From album opener ‘Innocent Love’, which immediately evokes the sound of Four Tet’s ‘There Is Love In You’ with its hypnotic female vocal line to the deep house groove of ‘Perfect Love’ (think Autechre, Aphex Twin), a world of shimmering cello-based sound-worlds are being channeled from the cosmos. Coates’s current activity of “distorted cello play over sequenced dance music” (Coates wrote for his exclusive Guest Mixtape) remains the most ground-breaking and original sounds to have surfaced in 2016.

“Upstepping” is out now on PRAH Recordings.

http://www.olivercoates.com/
https://www.facebook.com/olivercoatesmusician/

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(ii). Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – “EARS” (Western Vinyl)

Last Spring during a conversation with Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, she described her primary objective for her latest full-length ‘EARS’: “I wanted to create a sense that the listener was on a 3-D motion ride through a futuristic jungle and I had to create an arc from start to finish that took the listener on a journey”. These eight otherworldly compositions created by the L.A. based composer and producer were immediately noted for their extraordinary colours, textures and striking multi-dimensional forms. The rich instrumentation encompasses a myriad of organic and synthesized sounds as Smith’s utterly hypnotic voice melds with her trusted Buchla synthesizer and an intricate array of woodwind and brass arrangements. Cosmic bliss appears at each and every turn: the dazzling mantra of ‘Rare Things Grow’ is steeped in African music traditions; ‘Envelop’s meditative melodic pulses and the epic closing transcendence of ‘Existence In The Unfurling’. Later in 2016 came the equally exceptional ‘Sunergy’ LP – a collaboration between Smith and electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani – as part of the RVNG Intl label’s FRKWYS series.

“EARS” is out now on Western Vinyl.

http://www.kaitlynaureliasmith.com/
http://westernvinyl.com/

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(iii). Jóhann Jóhannsson – “Orphée” (Deutsche Grammophon)

This year saw the eagerly awaited new studio album – and first in six years – from the renowned Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. Incorporating music for solo cello, organ, string quartet, string orchestra and unaccompanied voices, ‘Orphée’ represents Jóhannsson’s finest hour, whose fifteen divine compositions captured here feels like a distillation of the master composer’s life’s work. The utterly captivating ‘A Song For Europa’ belongs in the same stratosphere as Gavin Bryars’ ‘Jesus Blood’ such is its cinematic brilliance: a spoken word sample becomes embedded deep in the music, speaking so profoundly. ‘A Sparrow Alighted Upon Our Shoulder’ is steeped in unwavering beauty as rejoice and hope flicker onto the horizon amidst a soaring string section (performed by Air Lyndhurst String Orchestra). A lost companion to George Delerue’s ‘Camille’.

In the words of Jóhannsson: “Orphée is for me about changes: about moving to a new city, leaving behind an old life in Copenhagen and building a new one in Berlin – about the death of old relationships and the birth of new ones”. As ever, the Icelandic master composer has crafted a challenging, utterly breathtaking and shape-shifting experience. A piece such as ‘Good Night, Day’ (featuring Jóhannsson’s close musical collaborator Hildur Guðnadóttir) paints life’s fleeting, transient nature onto a vast canvas of enchanting sound, before ‘Theatre of Voices’ (conducted by Paul Hillier) brings ‘Orphée’ to an astounding climax.

“Orphée” is out now on Deutsche Grammophon.

http://www.johannjohannsson.com/
http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/

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(iv). Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Skeleton Tree” (Bad Seed Ltd.)

On lead single – and album opener – ‘Jesus Alone’, a devastating apocalyptic world descends upon us amidst sparse arrangements of piano and brooding synthesizer drones: “You fell from the sky/Crash landed in a field/Near the river Adur.” On Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ sixteenth studio album, a captivating, harrowing and deeply moving experience is forged as Cave’s songs navigates the heart of darkness.

The achingly beautiful gospel lament ‘Rings of Saturn’ exudes a healing power, which could belong on ‘The Boatman’s Call’ alongside ‘Brompton Oratory’. Scenes from John Hillocat’s ‘The Road’ (one of the many breathtaking scores Cave & Ellis have penned) is etched across the heartbreaking, tear-stained canvas of ‘Girl In Amber’. On a later verse, Cave mourns: “I used to think that when you died you kind of wandered the world/In a slumber til your crumble were absorbed into the earth.” A brooding darkness seeps into your bones on ‘Magneto’ – the album’s most gripping and intense moments – where buzzes of electric guitar drifts beneath Cave’s whisper-like pleas. The hypnotic mantra of “In love, in love, I love, you love” shares the cosmic spirit of Van Morrison’s ‘Astral Weeks’ ventures in the slipstream. A catharsis permeates the “heaven bound sea” of ‘Anthrocene’ with surreal, near-mythical dimensions somehow attained, which could depict Herzog’s ‘Aguirre, The Wrath of God’s haunting, doomed expedition. The sublime ecstasy of ‘I Need You’ is wrapped in impossible beauty; an empowering ballad that could belong to the ‘Lyre Of Orpheus’ sessions.

Skeleton Tree’ is a lament from the depths of darkness and despair: “With my voice, I am calling you.”

“Skeleton Tree” is out now on Bad Seed Ltd.

http://www.nickcave.com/

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(v). Jessy Lanza – “Oh No” (Hyperdub)

The Canadian songwriter and producer’s sublime sophomore full-length ‘Oh No’ (Hyperdub) showcases an artist at the peak of her powers, crafting some of the most beguiling synth pop creations of 2016 (and beyond). Made in her hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, with production partner Jeremy Greenspan from Junior Boys, the seductive pop hooks and R&B gems crafts a joyously uplifting haven of euphoric sounds. As Lanza says “I want to make people feel good and I want to make myself feel good”. Infectious energy permeates ‘VV Violence’ and ‘Never Enough’ (reminiscent of classic Junior Boys and Caribou) whilst elsewhere the stunning ballads ‘I Talk BB’ (Lanza’s voice ascends to the forefront of the mix) and ethereal haze of closing cut ‘Could B U’. The infectious groove and affecting vocal delivery of ‘It Means I Love You’ crafts one of the record’s defining moments, soaked in reverb and compelling drum machines. Most recently, ‘Oh No No No’ remix EP has surfaced, with gorgeous reworks by DVA (‘Going Somewhere’), DJ Taye x DJ Spinn’s remix of ‘Could B U’ and Morgan Geist’s rework of ‘I Talk BB’.

“Oh No” is out now on Hyperdub.

http://jessylanza.com/
http://www.hyperdub.net/

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(vi). Peter Broderick – “Partners” (Erased Tapes)

The gifted American composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist has crafted his most captivating, emotive and transporting works to date on his latest masterwork ‘Partners’. This collection of solo piano music not only sees the beloved sound sculptor come full-circle in many ways but also delving deeper and further into music’s boundless orbit and life’s great mystery than ever before. In essence, the artist has effectively removed himself from the activities of the sounds he makes, in turn, creating piano music so pure, mysterious and far-reaching, evoking the timeless sounds of older generation masters such as John Cage and Lubomyr Melnyk. Hugely inspired by John Cage’s chance techniques and visionary spirit, Cage’s own composition ‘In A Landscape’ serves the vital pulse to ‘Partners’s aching canvas (having fallen in love with the piano once again during the process of transcribing this seminal piece, note-by-painstaking-note). Compositions such as the utterly transcendent ‘Carried’ unleashes a haven of heart-wrenching emotion as celestial harmonies meld effortlessly with mesmeric piano patterns, and ‘Up Niek Mountain’s drifting cosmic reverb-laden piano tapestries become interwoven deep inside the listener’s thoughts and dreams. The closing ‘Sometimes’ is a cover version of Brigid Mae Power’s divine ballad, the record for which is dedicated to Brigid. A freedom abounds on ‘Partners’ as the sacred piano notes become transcribed from the very composer’s subconscious mind.

“Partners” is out now on Erased Tapes.

http://www.peterbroderick.net/
http://www.erasedtapes.com/

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(vii). Xylouris White – “Black Peak” (Bella Union)

Xylouris White is the inspired collaboration between Greek lute player George Xylouris and the Australian, Brooklyn-based drummer Jim White. Both composers are legends in their own right, the former through his Cretan lute-led sounds of the Xylouris Ensemble, the latter through his membership of mythical Australian trio Dirty Three and myriad of collaborations over the years. The sheer expanses covered on the band’s sophomore full-length ‘Black Peak’ is staggering. The opening rock opus ‘Black Peak’ and ‘Forging’s momentous rock’n’roll rhythms are followed by the poignant parable of ‘Hey, Musicians!’ and divine epic love song, ‘Erotokritos’. Ancient traditions are interwoven with contemporary, avant-garde musical structures, forever embedded deep inside a mysterious, enchanting and cosmic space. ‘Black Peak’ invites the listener to inhabit the far-reaching plains of life’s mysterious and kaleidoscopic landscape. As depicted on the striking narrative of ‘Hey, Musicians!’, music indeed never ends.

“Black Peak” is out now on Bella Union.

http://www.xylouriswhite.com/
http://bellaunion.com/

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(viii). Loscil – “Monument Builders” (Kranky)

The Canadian ambient artist Scott Morgan’s latest masterwork unleashes a cathartic, hypnotic spell throughout; belonging to a dichotomy of worlds where an engulfing cloud of prevailing darkness prevails in tandem with the radiant light of hope and survival. Delicately beautiful ambient soundscapes drift majestically in the ether alongside the more intense, pulsating sound worlds. Take for example, how the fragile pulses of ‘Deceiver’ flows effortlessly into the glorious crescendo of ‘Straw Dogs’ or how the stunningly beautiful album opener ‘Drained Lake’ is gradually followed with the techno-infused ‘Red Tide’. A wall of intense moods, colour and textures flood these sonic creations, creating one of Morgan’s most accomplished and concise records to date. The addition of horn arrangements (recalling Philip Glass) immediately casts an ethereal quality; harmonies meld beautifully with a collection of old synths, warm textures of drone soundscapes.

“Monument Builders” is out now on Kranky.

http://www.loscil.ca/
http://www.kranky.net/

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(ix). The Avalanches – “Wildflower” (XL)

2016 saw the return of The Avalanches after sixteen years with their long-awaited second album. The pertinent question for the duo was how could a band follow-up a seminal classic like ‘Since I Left You’ but the duo have managed to create a kaleidoscope of rejuvenated, cosmic sounds. An endless array of samples, hip-hop rhymes, lucid beats, celestial harmonies and pop-laden hooks fill ‘Wildflower’s exhilarating voyage where cameo appearances from Mercury Rev’s Jonathan Donahue, Dirty Three’s Warren Ellis, Father John Misty and Toro Y Moi’s Chaz Bundick all stop by. ‘Wildflower’ is one of those perfect summer records: the Laurel Canyon-era sunshine pop of ‘If I Was a Folkstar’ and ‘Because I’m Me’s funky soulful strut and seductive Ariel Pink-esque ‘Subways’ are just some highlights. The heart-stopping ‘Saturday Night Inside Out’s dreamy haze and poignant epicentre serves the perfect closer to ‘Wildflower’s glorious psychedelic pop oeuvre.

“Wildflower” is out now on XL Recordings.

http://www.theavalanches.com/
http://xlrecordings.com/

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(x). Amiina – “Fantômas” (Mengi)

Icelandic outfit Amiina’s latest adventure, ‘Fantômas’, was originally composed as a live score to a silent masterpiece from 1913 (‘Fantômas’ was a French silent crime film serial directed by Louis Feuillade, based on the novel of the same name). Importantly the music stands on its own, independent of the visual narrative that, in turn, marks a brave new chapter in Amiina’s cherished songbook. The band’s Fantômas score is menacing, dark and brooding as it is steeped in delicate beauty and vivid hope. The cinematic opening title-track begins with a slow rhythmic pulse before haunting strings cast an eerie disquiet. The main theme’s melodic motif is masterfully revisited on the sublime ‘Lady Beltham’ before vivid dappling of light ascend on ‘Crocodile’. The closing electronic-oriented ‘L’Homme Du Noir’ explores adventurous new horizons. As ever, immaculate instrumentation of violin, cello, drums, percussion, metallophone, table harp, ukulele, and electronics graces the listener akin to the gradual fading light at dusk or a bird’s majestic flight across vast skies.

The score Fantômas premiered in Paris in 2013 at the prestigious, Théâtre du Châtelet, where Amiina, together with musicians James Blackshaw, Tim Hecker, Loney Dear, and Yann Tiersen, took part in a special Halloween event (curated by Tiersen), celebrating the centenary of the Fantômas series, directed by the French film director Louis Feuillade in 1913-1914.

“Fantômas” is out now on Mengi.

http://www.amiina.com/
http://www.mengi.net/

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(xi). Carla dal Forno – “You Know What It’s Like” (Blackest Ever Black)

The Australian singer-songwriter’s masterful debut solo album ‘You Know What It’s Like’ marked undoubtedly the year’s most dazzling and exciting debuts. Released on the prestigious Blackest Ever Black imprint, lead singles ‘Fast Moving Cars’ and ‘What You Gonna Do Now?’ revealed adventurous avant pop song structures to get beautifully lost in. Forno asks “Did you want this to last a long time?” over a gorgeous haze of meditative bassline grooves and drumbeat on the luminous ‘Fast Moving Cars’. Forno’s voice – a truly formidable instrument – melts and dissolves in the other-worldly pop spheres, conjuring up the timeless sound of ‘Tragedy’-era Julia Holter and Brian Eno’s visionary early 70’s pop gems. A striking emotional depth resides throughout, reflecting on failed relationships, love, loss and the impermanence of it all. Loneliness is etched across the canvas of the album’s title-track, sharing the colours and shades of Miles Davis’s ‘Kind Of Blue’ and Nico’s celestial voice with its yearning, searching feel: “What you gonna do now that the night’s come and it’s around you?” Elements of dub, post-punk, psychedelic folk and avant pop sounds shimmer majestically throughout: from the late 60’s psych folk of ‘Drying In The Rain’ to the dub-infused odyssey ‘DB Rip’s wave of synthesizers. The stripped-back closer ‘The Same Reply’ serves the record’s most breath-taking moments; distilled in lost love.

“You Know What It’s Like” is out now on Blackest Ever Black.

https://www.facebook.com/carladalfornoyes/
http://blackesteverblack.com/

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(xii). Andy Stott – “Too Many Voices” (Modern Love)

The renowned UK producer Andy Stott delivered his highly anticipated follow-up to 2014 classic ‘Faith In Strangers’ in the form of ‘Too Many Voices’ last Spring via the peerless Manchester-based imprint Modern Love. The gifted producer continued to explore new sonic terrain and tap into new emotional depths with gorgeous dub step, electronic, grime and 80’s synth pop flourishes. On Stott’s fourth studio album, breathtaking synth washes of ‘New Romantic’ (with nods to This Mortal Coil) and soulful seduction of ‘Butterflies’ (the record’s lead single) are interwoven with utterly compelling dubstep techno for the dancefloor (‘First Night’) and crystalline ambient chill-wave bliss (‘On My Mind’). The title-track and album closer perhaps serves the record’s glorious climax with masterfully arranged choral harmonies (supplied by longtime vocal contributor Alison Skidmore who appears on half of the record) and euphoric production (think Holly Herndon crossed with the Yellow Magic Orchestra), providing one of the tracks of 2016 in the process.

“Too Many Voices” is out now on Modern Love.

http://modern-love.co.uk/

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(xiii). Katie Kim – “Salt” (Art For Blind)

‘Salt’ sees the revered Irish musician explore deeper into the ethereal dimension, for which she has long ago established. The hypnotic guitar drone of ‘Day Is Coming’ envelops the deepest of fears and anguish, culminating in a swirling symphonic haze of heavenly harmonies and brooding strings. ‘Someday’ is a delicately beautiful piano lament and searching prayer for hope. The striking intimacy and hypnotic spell cast by the gifted songwriter throughout ‘Salt’ unleashes the most deeply affecting batch of songs to have been unearthed for quite some time. Sonically, the latest record is a partnership between O’ Sullivan and producer John Murphy, whose expansive, guttural soundscapes of album opener ‘Ghosts’ and centerpiece ‘I Make Sparks’ are masterfully contrasted with the closing fragile piano ballads ‘Thieves’ and ‘Wide Hand’. One of the album’s defining moments arrives with the pulsating ‘Life Or Living’; a euphoric exploration into the depths of darkness. An image depicted on the second verse becomes the engulfing embodiment of ‘Salt’s realm of raw emotion and blissful transcendence: “Holding my hand now the tides incoming/Make us a shield so the light won’t get in.”

“Salt” is out now on Art For Blind.

https://katiekim.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DANCEKATIEKIMDANCE/

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(xiv). Marissa Nadler – “Strangers” (Bella Union, Sacred Bones)

“Strangers” finds Marissa Nadler’s sonic palette expanding (synths and drumbeats are at times added to Nadler’s voice and guitar). But despite the added instrumentation and more intricate arrangements, a purity forever remains in the treasured songbook of Nadler’s forever timeless oeuvre. Beautiful subtleties exist within the sonic tapestries while striking imagery such as disintegrating cliffs, towering skyscrapers, darkening woods and deep rivers are offset with characters often feeling at odds with the world they find themselves in (or more accurately find themselves suspended into, all of a sudden). There’s a tangible sense of contrasting dichotomies lying at the heart of “Strangers” (between the familiar and the unfamiliar; safety and danger; darkness and light; life and death) which makes the journey Nadler takes us on all the more real. Tangible. Life-affirming. And like a silent witness we can quietly navigate that darkness with her. For we are not strangers after all.

“Strangers” is out now on Bella Union (UK) / Sacred Bones (USA).

http://www.marissanadler.com/
https://marissanadler.bandcamp.com/

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(xv). Brigid Mae Power – “S/T” (Tompkins Square)

Brigid Mae Power’s stunningly beautiful latest solo full-length – and Tompkins Square debut – is an album drenched in reverb-soaked emotion and lament. Enchantingly performed and produced, the record showcases a songwriter of immense talent in a soundscape that naturally merges itself to Brigid Power’s engulfing sound. The magic lies in the songwriter’s expression of raw emotion, in all its delicate beauty. Themes include transformation, change, motherhood, acceptance, strength, courage and trust. In the words of Power, the album is about “trusting if you lose yourself or your way — you can come back.”

Such is the album’s timeless brilliance, the nearest parallels that can be drawn to Power’s quietly unassuming, divine artistry are those blessed folk spirits of bygone times such as Sibylle Baier, Tia Blake or Margaret Barry. As reflected in the lyrics of closing heartfelt lament of ‘How You Feel’, this deeply personal and intimate set of songs become a place of hope and solace where the path laid out in front you is filled with the light of day and sea of love.

“Brigid Mae Power” is out now on Tompkins Square.

http://brigidmaepower.com/
http://www.tompkinssquare.com/

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(xvi). Syrinx – “Tumblers from the Vault (1970–1972)” (RVNG Intl)

A collection of experimental synth music culled from the early 70’s Toronto music scene is beautifully celebrated by the ever-indispensable Brooklyn-based RVNG Intl label on the shape-shifting, genre defying musical document, ‘Tumblers From The Vault (1970-1972)’. The band in question are the avant-garde three-piece Syrinx whose wholly unique hybrid of chamber pop and electronic experimentation crafts an utterly timeless journey into the limitless possibilities of music. The dreamy, lo-fi gem ‘Hollywood Dream Trip’ remains as vital and fresh as the day it was recorded. The sprawling epic ‘December Angel’ dumbfounds the listener in its sheer beauty and compelling sound: a piece of music from some future age, unknown and mysterious all at once. Psychedelic flourishes are etched across the more electronic-oriented ‘Ibistix’; the amalgamation of distorted voices and cosmic strings creates a symphony of rapture and transcendence.

Syrinx consisted of composer and keyboardist John Mills-Cockell, saxophonist Doug Pringle, and percussionist Alan Wells. Syrinx’s self-titled debut arrived in 1970, followed in 1971 by ‘Long Lost Relatives’, which is highlighted as the first album on Tumblers From The Vault. Re-issue of the year, hands down.

“Tumblers From The Vault (1970-1972)” is out now on RVNG Intl.

https://igetrvng.com/syrinx-tumblers-vault/

Designs for the first ten albums are by Craig Carry, a limited edition series of screen prints (each edition is limited to 25 copies) have been created to coincide with Fractured Air’s favourite albums of 2016. Prints will be available to purchase online from January 2017. 

With very special thanks to each and every one of our readers. Wishing you all a peaceful and happy new year.

https://fracturedair.com/

Chosen One: Xylouris White

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Interview with George Xylouris & Jim White.

All these things forge our sound and make us more who we are and where we are from. Pictures and sounds, deserts and forests and towns and sky and people, and I woke up in the bus in Arizona at 6 in the morning at sunrise and everything was pink, I’d never seen anything like this.”

—George Xylouris

Words: Mark Carry

george and jim

Xylouris White is the inspired collaboration between Greek lute player George Xylouris and the Australian, Brooklyn-based drummer Jim White. Both composers are legends in their own right, the former through his Cretan lute-led sounds of the Xylouris Ensemble, the latter through his membership of mythical Australian trio Dirty Three and myriad collaborations over the years (Nina Nastasia, Cat Power, Bill Callahan, PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, to name a few). Both have harnessed truly unique and unparalleled playing styles and levels of musicianship in their respective instruments where inspiration seems in endless supply at all times.

A catharsis of energy is unleashed throughout ‘Black Peak’ with an incredible force and unwavering beauty that has become one of the treasured hallmarks of the duo’s incendiary sound (ever since the duo’s 2014 debut full-length ‘Goats’). A wider sonic palette is masterfully explored here with the addition of George Xylouris’s immense baritone vocals (on several tracks) and a myriad of special guests from the extended Xylouris family (George’s father Psarandonis and Will Oldham carve beautiful new textures and colour to the duo’s visionary sound), further heightening the revelatory experience that awakens with each pulsating beat and enriching narrative.

If ever a song embodied the spirit of a record it comes with the closing epic ballad ‘The Feast’. A rich tapestry of otherworldly sounds gloriously ascends amidst a whirlwind of life’s fleeting moments. George’s father Psaradonis takes the lead role: his soaring lyra and voice weaves majestically around his son’s hypnotic lute playing and White’s joyous and sprawling drums. The Last Waltz. The gorgeous, sombre feel could be any one of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s deeply moving records and shares the infinite possibilities and sacred space of Dirty Three’s Ellis, White and Turner.

The sheer expanses covered on ‘Black Peak’ is staggering. The opening rock opus ‘Black Peak’ and ‘Forging’s momentous rock’n’roll rhythms are followed by the poignant parable of ‘Hey, Musicians!’ and divine epic love song, ‘Erotokritos’. Worlds drift in. Ancient traditions are interwoven with contemporary, avant-garde musical structures, forever embedded deep inside a mysterious, enchanting and cosmic space.

Bret Easton Ellis began his introduction to John Williams’s vintage novel ‘Butcher’s Crossing’ by saying: “A novel is about the opening of consciousness, in both the characters who inhabit the fictional narrative as well as that of the reader envisioning the novel in their head as they explore the terrain the author has laid out.” Just like the sweeping, intimate portrait of (central character) Will Andrews’s search for a new way of living, ‘Black Peak’ invites the listener to inhabit the far-reaching plains of life’s mysterious and kaleidoscopic landscape. As depicted on the striking narrative of ‘Hey, Musicians!’, music indeed never ends.

 

‘Black Peak’ is available now on Bella Union.

https://www.facebook.com/XylourisWhiteBand/
http://bellaunion.com/

Fractured Air & Plugd Records present XYLOURIS WHITE w/ KATIE KIM

TDC, Triskel Arts Centre, Cork Friday 28 October 2016 Tickets: €15 (ORDER ONLINE HERE)

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Interview with George Xylouris & Jim White.

Congratulations on the stunning sophomore full length ‘Black Peak’. Firstly, there is new sonic terrain covered on ‘Black Peak’ with the addition of your immense baritone vocals, and a wider sonic palette is masterfully drawn from, with special guests from the extended Xylouris family also deployed. Please take me back to the making and recording of ‘Black Peak’ and please recount for me the recording sessions? What was the studio set-up and how long did the recording take?

George Xylouris: BLACK PEAK is recorded in different studios around the world, New York, Providence, Crete, Iceland, we were on tour at the time we were recording. That’s one of the reasons we call the album Black Peak, not only because of the song about the mountain above where I’m from but also the symbol of linear B (Minoan script) for this mountain and its sister peak which maybe means the horizon (anthropological theory).

The first song recorded for the album was Forging, recorded at Guy’s studio and it also helped us with direction for the record. We recorded Black Peak (the song) in Queens, The Feast was from Guy’s in New York and finished in Crete with my father singing and playing, and Erotokritos was finished in Louisville the day we played a show there, the studio set up is different depending where we were.

In Rethymnon you can hear the birds from the open windows singing with Psarandonis. Hey Musicians! was the first time we played this song, we recorded it in Iceland in a studio that used to be a swimming pool and we played in the bottom of the pool. We recorded many songs like that, but this was the first song we recorded that day. It tells about somebody asking the musicians to tune up their instruments because he wants to sing about his old loves and he wants the air to take the words away where his loves hang out, those ones who loved him and those that lied to him and he’s got a lot to take out of his heart in a love way and then when his fantasy party finishes he says to the musicians to hang up their instruments and put them in their cases because music never ends.

A catharsis of energy is unleashed throughout ‘Black Peak’ with an incredible force and unwavering beauty that becomes one of the trademarks of the Xylouris White sound. For example, the aesthetics of the record is another important aspect, where gripping intensity of the more rock fuelled anthems (‘Forging’ and ‘Black Peak’ at the beginning) is joined with epic ballads such as album closer ‘The Feast’. In what way do you feel your live tour of your debut album help shape the songs off ‘Black Peak’. It is this energy between the pair of you – this resolutely unique duo – that evokes such a shape-shifting, enriching and incomprehensible sound. Please talk me through the creative process and indeed the space you each create that forms the bustling heart of Xylouris White? 

GX: Thanks for your comments.

We’ve played a lot of concerts in a lot of places since the release of Goats and we like to do that, a lot of time together a lot of sound checks, traveling, concerts, talking, listening, and traveling to the horizon all the time, ahead. All these things forge our sound and make us more who we are and where we are from. Pictures and sounds, deserts and forests and towns and sky and people, and I woke up in the bus in Arizona at 6 in the morning at sunrise and everything was pink, I’d never seen anything like this.

Are any of the new tracks actual traditional songs?

GX: The lyrics of Erotokritos is from the 14th century. There are different melodies – different ways to sing the words depending on the area in Crete; it’s a love epic song 10,000 couplets, we cover around 15.

Pretty Kondilies is a traditional dance and that type of melodies are traditional, there are many choices and you choose and put them in a row and often people and musicians improvise the words on the spot. it depends the situation and their feelings, the arrangement is ours.

Please discuss the rich musical lineage of the Xylouris family and indeed the players – past and present – that comprise the Xylouris Ensemble. Also, there is a beautifully vivid sense of place in your music, something that resonates powerfully with The Dirty Three and how a sense of journey always finds a way into the music, and Xylouris White is certainly no exception. Can you explain the importance of travel and the act of travelling must have on the music you create? I always feel it could be music to an epic road-trip through many journeys past.

GX: I grew up in a musical family, my uncles, father, brother and sisters, my villagers who were also feel like my family and many of my friends, we grew up together playing music and soccer in the village, and hung around in the sides of the village and cut wood and would pretend it’s a lute, and play, singing the sounds and that’s one of our fun and enjoyable games, and we also mimic dancers and musicians from our village. So I grew up playing mandolin and serenading around the village many, many times, and hung out with older people, who wanted me to play for them, to sing and have all the sounds of the wedding and parties in the square and later on when I was thirteen I left school and I went with my father to play all around the island as a full-time musician and soon I understood what I wanted do with my life.

Later on I had the opportunity to travel with my father and met many other musicians and singers and dancers and kept in touch with them through the years, exchange ideas and hear other music, keep in touch and play music all these years, unstoppable, and when I was 27 we went to Australia to play with my father and I stayed there for 8 years. A few friends and family there happened to be musicians from different traditions and background and that’s how we started Xylouris Ensemble, and that’s also when Jim and I met in the late 80s and later on Dirty Three started and they invited me to play as a guest etc.

What are your earliest musical memories?

GX: Listening to my Dad rehearsing at my grandfather’s house, a couple of my Dad’s friends were there and one is a really beautiful and unique dancer and I remember that and I never forget that I heard the melodies I already knew and I saw my Dad try to play those melodies in a different way, put more or less in, different bows and try in that way to cover the dance, talking with the dancer and tried to drive them connected to the dance and that was a huge experience and I discovered that you could play the same thing in different ways and I noticed it was for them the most important thing that was happening in the whole world , like a meeting of the big countries having a summit to save the world.

Jim White: My parents playing Bob Dylan records at parties at my house.

As masters of your chosen instruments, I would love for you to discuss your first encounter with the drums and lute?

GX: In the square at a wedding listening to my uncle Yiannis play the lute. 

JW: Listening to records and loving it but having no understanding of it at all, and then making a band with my friends which never even got together once but I decided to choose drums.

What musical philosophy you feel has remained true to you throughout these years? 

GX: To quote my Dad, – he doesn’t play with meters he plays with kilometres.

JW: Trying to understand the drums from the basics.

Can you recount for me your memories of first meeting one another? It’s amazing to think this occurred even before the beginnings of Dirty Three, another factor to what makes this duo so special and unique. 

GX: I met Jim through friends at a party, and then again when I saw Venom P. Stinger play.

JW: At a party through friends when George couldn’t speak any English, and then playing by himself at a bar in the city and then later Xylouris Ensemble by the river. 

What is your compositional approach? I wonder has the process changed or developed in any way from the debut ‘Goats’? 

GX: Everything changes. Nothing stays stable. Next year will be different again! We don’t know what we are exactly looking for but we face our direction.

The closing ballad ‘The Feast’ represents the finest moment of ‘Black Peak’s rich tapestry of otherworldly sound. The music of Xylouris White feels at once steeped in an age-old tradition of folk music and the wide expanses of experimental nuances. Can you talk me through the construction of this song and the addition of lyra & voice? It must be exciting to be playing some of these songs more stripped down as a duo (minus the added instrumentation of the guests), I wonder do the songs mutate or evolve in any way over the course of a long tour?

JW: This song is an improvisation on a melody we recorded at Guy’s house in New York, we had that and liked it very much and later on in Rethymnon at Aristotelis’ studio with the windows open on a hot day the birds came and started singing with Psarandonis (George’s dad) and George.

The words are about someone, he’s going to marry the moon and because he loves that moment he writes the lyrics and the moon is in and out of the clouds and he calls to the mountains because he is so happy “hello friends, how heavy you are, as much as I love you” and he calls earth his mum and the sky his dad and he asks them to come to his wedding with the moon because that’s what he feels is so beautiful that he loses his mind and wants marry the moon.

 

‘Black Peak’ is available now on Bella Union.

https://www.facebook.com/XylourisWhiteBand/
http://bellaunion.com/

Fractured Air & Plugd Records present XYLOURIS WHITE w/ KATIE KIM

TDC, Triskel Arts Centre, Cork Friday 28 October 2016 Tickets: €15 (ORDER ONLINE HERE)

Written by admin

October 18, 2016 at 2:02 pm

ANNOUNCEMENT: Xylouris White (AUS/GRE, Bella Union) plus special guest Katie Kim (IRE) / TDC, Triskel Arts Centre, Cork / Fri. 28 Oct. 2016

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Fractured Air & Plugd Records present
XYLOURIS WHITE plus special guest KATIE KIM
TDC, Triskel Arts Centre, Cork
Friday 28 October 2016
Tickets: €15 (ORDER ONLINE HERE)

xylouris_white_poster_a2_craigcarry

 

george and jim

Xylouris White (Jim White with George Xylouris)

Xylouris White is the inspired collaboration between Greek lute player George Xylouris and the Australian, Brooklyn-based drummer Jim White. Both composers are legends in their own right, the former through his Cretan lute-led sounds of the Xylouris Ensemble, the latter through his membership of mythical Australian trio Dirty Three and myriad collaborations over the years (Nina Nastasia, Cat Power, Bill Callahan, PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, to name a few). Both have harnessed truly unique and unparalleled playing styles and levels of musicianship in their respective instruments where inspiration seems in endless supply at all times. Xylouris White create the kind of celestial, contemporary and powerful music which blurs all boundaries and constantly defies all categorization (and logic) in the process.

When Xylouris White recorded their second album ‘Black Peak’ – released via Bella Union on 7th October 2016 – this most intuitive and inquisitive of duos did what comes naturally to them: expanded their horizons. For the legendary duo, one aim was to extend a core metaphor of their ruggedly visionary debut album, 2014’s ‘Goats’. “Like goats walking in the mountain” is Xylouris’s poetic analogy for their approach: “They may not know the place, but they can walk easily and take risks and feel comfortable. Really, the goats inspired us.”

That exploratory pitch is matched by the majestic Black Peak, named after a mountain top in Crete and, says Xylouris, “recorded everywhere”. A peak in both artists’ careers, the album testifies to their determination to stretch the scope of their instruments and forge something vigorously questing from more traditional roots. Where ‘Goats’ was mostly instrumental, Black Peak gives Xylouris’s full-force baritone a lead role. And where Goats was often frisky, its tumultuous, tender and terrifically expressive follow-up drives harder and dives deeper.

http://www.xylouriswhite.com

https://www.facebook.com/XylourisWhiteBand/

katie kim

Katie Kim

One of Ireland’s finest and most intriguing songwriters, Dublin-based and Waterford-born Katie Kim has two albums to date, beginning with the 2008 debut solo album “Twelve” and 2012’s seminal masterwork, the double album “Cover&Flood”. Also available is “The Feast”, a collection of ten previously unreleased remixes of songs from “Cover&Flood” while the “VALUTS” series compiles various unreleased songs. The highly anticipated third studio album ‘Salt’ will be released on the 14th October 2016 (500-limited heavy weight vinyl can be pre-ordered here). “Salt” was recorded in a self-built recording and artist space in Dublin called Guerrilla Studios which has become an integral part of the Independent Irish music scene. Since Cover and Flood Katie has toured the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium playing mostly sold out venues.

Katie Kim has supported the likes of Low and Slint to date and her influences stem from the realms of experimental, folk, post-rock, shoegaze, ambient and outsider folk. Kim’s distinctive sound is characterized by her fragile vocals, breath-taking lyricism and a constant striving for both purity and simplicity in her truly unique and utterly beguiling recorded output (akin to Grouper’s Liz Harris or early period Cat Power) casting a deeply profound spell on the listener in turn.

https://www.facebook.com/DANCEKATIEKIMDANCE/

https://katiekim.bandcamp.com/

Fractured Air & Plugd Records present
XYLOURIS WHITE plus special guest KATIE KIM
TDC, Triskel Arts Centre, Cork
Friday 28 October 2016
Tickets: €15 (ORDER ONLINE HERE)

Written by admin

September 7, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Chosen One: Marissa Nadler

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Interview with Marissa Nadler.

“The times you think of speaking
There is nobody near
The times you think of listening
There is nothing to hear
There is nothing to hear”

—Bill Fay, “Narrow Way” (1971)

Words: Craig Carry, Interview: Mark Carry

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For well over a decade now, the beloved Boston Massachusetts-based songwriter Marissa Nadler has been quietly amassing a soul-stirring body of work which is both unrivalled amongst her peers while (almost effortlessly) managing to channel the same spirit as earliest U.S. folk musicians from bygone times. Two years on from the mesmerising “July” (an album that “details the events of my life from one July to the next”) there are noticeable points of departure on “Strangers”, Nadler’s seventh full-length album, released via Bella Union (UK) and Sacred Bones (USA).

Interestingly, “Strangers” finds Nadler’s sonic palette expanding (synths and drumbeats are at times added to Nadler’s voice and guitar). But despite the added instrumentation and more intricate arrangements, a purity forever remains. Beautiful subtleties exist within the sonic tapestries (feint synth passages hinting at harmony or choral works, recalling the likes of Bert Jansch or Townes Van Zandt, L.A. Turnaround or Our Mother The Mountain, for example). Crucially, Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Earth, Black Mountain) remains on production duties. Like kindred souls Tucker Martine or Thomas Bartlett, Dunn’s mystical sleight of hand somehow manages to faithfully preserve the spirit of his subject’s artistry while making the songs an even more heightened experience for the listener in the process. He manages to bring us closer, even – we are less strangers than witnesses – all the while meticulously fine-tuning Nadler’s prized songs, only always for the sake of the song.

While previous works have been explicitly “autobiographical” in nature, lyrically there is a certain sense of the surreal mixed with the personal here. Songs do not seem to occupy clear focal points while their genesis don’t seem to be limited only to lived experience. Imagery such as disintegrating cliffs, towering skyscrapers, darkening woods and deep rivers are offset with characters often feeling at odds with the world they find themselves in (or more accurately find themselves suspended into all of a sudden). There’s a tangible sense of contrasting dichotomies lying at the heart of “Strangers” (between the familiar ad the unfamiliar; safety and danger; darkness and light; life and death) which makes the journey Nadler takes us on all the more real. Tangible. Life-affirming.

While the listener looks to navigate their own way through the dense maze of Nadler’s grippingly challenging and irresistibly cinematic sonic canvas on “Strangers” one finds oneself looking for recognisable points of reference, as if on the search for evidence of the familiar (reassurances, even). The lack of a fixed point of view (and therefore no clearly defined sense of a known space or time) forms the basis to Nadler’s haunting gothic tales here. We find ourselves suddenly suspended inside an already-moving orbit or an already-unfolding story with no known sense of a beginning or ending. The startling effect is akin to experiencing the short stories of George Saunders, Chris Marker’s ‘La Jetée’ or perhaps the still photographs of Paolo Pellegrin.

Like all of Nadler’s previous works, it proves a futile exercise to limit an album’s achievement by merely isolating individual songs. For Nadler has over the last twelve years also attained a true mastery and wide-eyed appreciation to the full potential of the album as an individual piece of work, a living document to her own craft (and life). From the heart-stopping piano-led ballad “Divers of the Dust”, we can immediately feel the impending sense of danger that may be about to unfold: “Divers of the dust / You can help me if you must”. “It’s hard to know / When to let go” sings Nadler in the haunting “Katie I Know” (interestingly, referencing names – whether fictional or otherwise – has often formed the basis for some of Nadler’s most prized songs, take “Dead City Emily” or “Janie In Love” for instance), it seems like a perfect analogy to what a songwriter’s mindset must be: constantly aware of the present tense even as it becomes the past, open to every living experience as it unfolds in the here and now. Whether such gifts can be attributed a blessing or a curse must be oftentimes blurred.

As the world in the songs of “Strangers” begin to disintegrate and dissolve around us, moments of epiphany and realisation abound too. Central characters find themselves at places they formerly called home only to find themselves feeling an unnerving sense of alienation; only seeing the unfamiliar in the familiar. Other moments of realisation occur on “All the Colours of the Dark” when Nadler sings: “This is not your world anymore” across a glorious backdrop of chime-like piano notes and a steady (as if reassuring) drumbeat (recalling the timeless songs of Mark Linkous’s Sparklehorse).

Indeed, Nadler’s divine art has always been about losing oneself in a moment only to regain that sense of self (ultimately through the songwriter putting pen to paper) once more. The cycle continues as we continually – and ultimately – find out more about ourselves in the process. One can always find solace and hope in the joy that Marissa Nadler’s timeless songbook brings, for she majestically navigates that narrow way so we don’t have to. And like a silent witness we can quietly navigate that darkness with her. For we are not strangers after all.

“Strangers” is available now on Bella Union (UK) and Sacred Bones (USA).

http://www.marissanadler.com/

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Interview with Marissa Nadler.

Congratulations Marissa on your sublime new record, ‘Strangers’. This batch of songs represents your finest work to date; such empowering songs of heartbreak awash in a kaleidoscope of ethereal and otherworldly musical patterns. Please discuss for me the making of ‘Strangers’ and how the (music-making) process changed in any significant way from your previous ‘July’ LP?

Marissa Nadler: Thank you so much for the very kind words. My process is always about the song. You can’t build a house without the foundation. These songs could have gone many different directions sonically, though I knew I wanted the melodies, structures, harmonies, lyrics, instrumental lines to remain the same. I was more open to experimenting this time around with adding drums and creating more dynamics in a purely musical sense.

‘July’ marked your first collaboration with producer Randall Dunn and he remains at the helm for ‘Strangers’. I feel this deep dialogue between you both can be felt throughout the new record’s expansive and adventurous sonic terrain. Can you talk me through the transformation of these songs (from the original demos) as they bloom into their final entities? How do you feel the collaborative process has developed with Randall?

MN: I think Randall has a very good pulse on what my influences are- ranging from girl groups to spaghetti western soundtrack- to shoegaze- to 70s prog rock to classic rock to country balladeers.. I think he’s also into stuff I’m not as familiar with, and working with someone who brings their own unique influences into the mix can result in a unique amalgamation of sounds. He’s also a great friend and has a wonderful circle of talented musicians with him that make working with him even better.

‘Katie I Know’ embodies the rich beauty (forever) inherent in your mesmerising folk tales. Tell me about the characters depicted in ‘Strangers’, Marissa? The layering and sumptuous arrangements of a song such as this leaves a profound impact on the listener. I wonder was this song a significant breakthrough or gateway into the rest of the record? 

MN: I don’t think of them as characters (this record or the last few).. They are real people in my life but I guess they’ve become characters now that they are in these songs.
Katie I know is a really personal song. I’m very happy you like the layers. I wasn’t sure what people were going to make of it but at the same time I knew that I was happy with it so…

Please take me back to the recording of ‘Strangers’? One record that comes to mind when reflecting on the immaculate production and highly emotive quality is Julee Cruise’s ‘Floating Into The Night’. ‘Strangers’ encapsulates that ethereal dream-pop realm so masterfully. Would you often have reference points (in terms of records or perhaps poetry, authors, films) when it comes to beginning a new chapter in one’s songbook?

MN: I honestly don’t intentionally go about making any certain genre. Influences just have a way of getting into the brain. I will say that the impetus is not usually books or records.. it’s usually personal relationships and experiences that are catalysts to my songwriting.

The sparse lament ‘Dissolve’ serves the perfect close. Again, the record’s aesthetic quality and dynamic range creates a surreal backdrop to your deeply moving songs of loss and heartbreak. As always, an undying light of hope resides deep in the songs. Can you shed some light on the writing process, Marissa? 

MN: Thank you. My writing process is very organic and intuitive. I just led the melody lead me.

What do you feel were the defining records for you Marissa, in terms of leading you towards your songwriting path?

MN: There’s so many it’s truly impossible to list.. but I would say generally that I gravitate towards pure music.. pure voices, pure emotion. It doesn’t matter what genre. My first true music loves were Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Elliott Smith, Townes Van Zandt, Kate Bush, Patti Smith, Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, Pink Floyd, Neil Young. I mean more than anything I truly grew up immersed in those kinds of songwriters.

I would love for you to discuss your earliest musical memories: the first song you wrote, the records in your family home that made a big impression and your life in music to this day? 

MN: I have to say that I have very few childhood memories that are more than colors and feelings. It’s very strange but I do not know the first song that I wrote. I remember always loving to sing though.

“Strangers” is available now on Bella Union (UK) and Sacred Bones (USA).

http://www.marissanadler.com/

Written by admin

May 28, 2016 at 3:44 pm

Chosen One: Peter Broderick

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Interview with Peter Broderick.

“As for the gift of music . . . I honestly don’t know what I would do without music. That’s impossible to imagine.”

—Peter Broderick

Words: Mark Carry

Peter-Broderick

Ukrainian pianist Lubomyr Melnyk once described to me how Nils Frahm and Peter Broderick – his Erased Tapes label-mates who collaborated closely with the legendary composer on his enchanting album ‘Corollaries’ – have an “inner vision” of the music he was creating. This inner vision and deep musical understanding has formed the cornerstone to Broderick’s sacred songbook (and indeed for Berlin-based composer Frahm) these past few years. This particular conversation with Lubomyr ascended to the forefront of my mind as I witnessed Broderick’s solo concert last November in Cork, Ireland. A fleeting magic and ceaseless wave of transcendence flooded the human space: from the opening a cappella verse of ‘Sideline’ to the achingly beautiful solo piano of ‘Pulling The Rain’. In the heart of the early winter’s night arrived the deeply affecting lament, ‘Rainy Day’ – a song written by Peter’s mother, which she would sing to her beloved children on many occasions – evoking the timeless spirit of Townes Van Zandt and Jackson C Frank that would form a lovely parallel with ‘Pop’s Song’ – an utterly transcendent moment from a previous Broderick live performance – built on a gorgeous guitar melody composed by Peter’s own father.

Elsewhere in the set, songs from the new record ‘Colours Of The Night’ ascended into the atmosphere. The album’s glorious and uplifting title-track ‘Colours Of The Night’ (the studio version shares the illuminating spark of Peter’s dub-inspired collaboration with Greg Haines–Greg Gives Peter Space), the timeless folk gem of ‘More And More’ (where the mouth trumpet conjures up the sound of an entire orchestra and sea of sadness),  and the striking intimacy of organ-based ballad ‘If I Sinned’ (which undeniably forms one of the album’s defining moments).

The unique artistry of American composer and multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick continues to enlighten and inspire on the latest full length, ‘Colours Of The Night’, which was recently released on Bella Union. Following on from last year’s sublime ‘(Colours Of The Night) Satellite’ EP – which served as a fitting prelude to the Oregon-native’s eagerly awaited album – the new record is another collection of shape-shifting sonic creations that came to light when invited for a so-called “recording residency” in the small Swiss town of Lucerne. Broderick developed a friendship with some of the locals who eventually got the idea of inviting the American musician to be a guest of the city for three weeks while recording an album with a backing band of local musicians. At the helm of the studio was Timo Keller, a local producer and engineer known primarily for his involvement in the Swiss hip-hop scene. A richly diverse sonic palette of sounds is masterfully crafted: the celestial harmonies of endearing pop gem ‘The Reconnection’; the psychedelic groove of ‘Get On With Your Life’; the wonderfully Afrobeat-tinged ‘One Way’ and towering folk opus ‘Red Earth’ with its warm percussion, scintillating melodies and poetic prose.

If ever a lyric epitomised the spirit of an album it would be the revelatory Americana torch-lit ballad ‘Our Best’ with Broderick’s empowering message to “give it your best now”. For Broderick’s music, the personality of the artist ceaselessly shines through. ‘Colours Of The Night’ becomes a source of strength, solace and hope.

 —

‘Colours Of The Night’ is out now on Bella Union.

http://www.peterbroderick.net/
http://bellaunion.com/

 

Interview with Peter Broderick.

It’s a real pleasure to ask you some questions in relation to the gorgeous new album, ‘Colours of the Night’. Firstly congratulations on creating (yet another) truly shape-shifting and deeply affecting collection of songs. This record is significant in more ways than one, not least the fact that ‘Colours of the Night’ was recorded with a backing band. Can you please take me back to the Swiss town of Lucerne where the recording sessions took place? Introduce please the formidable cast of musicians who contributed so much to your unique songbook?

Peter Broderick: Lucerne is a beautiful little city just a little bit southwest of Zurich. I first went there in 2009 while on tour with Nils Frahm, and we had a wonderful evening at a venue called Treibhaus, complete with middle of the night lake swimming after the concert. After that I went back several more times to play there, and slowly established a relationship with some of the locals. One thing led to another, and eventually I got an email from Silvio Zeder (who was a booker at the Treibhaus for a while), inviting me to come to Lucerne and stay for a few weeks. The idea was that he would find a studio and backing band for me to play with, and I would record an album there. I thought this sounding like a fabulous idea, to spend a longer stretch of time in this town I always loved, and make music with a bunch of strangers. So I arrived there in May 2014 having never met any of the musicians and three weeks later I left with a finished album. We did all the recording at Studio Vom Dach, run by Timo Keller, who produced the album and found all the musicians for the band. I had met Timo once before briefly, and I knew we had a good vibe together. The main characters in the band were Nick Furrer on bass, Roland Wäspe on guitar, and Mario Hänni on drums. All of these guys had worked with Timo on different projects at one time or another, but they had never played all together. They also all play in a variety of different bands and projects in Switzerland. And then there are also some guest appearances from several other local musicians. A few different ladies came in to record vocals, and on a few songs there is a horn section consisting of four players who all recorded together live.

In huge contrast to recording music alone and being in a sort of insular world – developing ideas and recording them to tape – how was the experience of bringing songs to the table (so to speak) and allowing the songs travel in a direction that is (at times, at least) out of your control? In terms of the recording sessions, I would love for you to discuss the routine of these particular sessions and any particularly memorable moments that occurred (that in turn found its way on the final album)?

PB: I arrived in Lucerne feeling very open about the whole project. I was curious about the process of sending these songs of mine through the filter of these other people. My goal was to let everyone involved be as free as possible. I didn’t want to be too controlling. And once I heard the musicians play, it was really easy to trust them all. They’re all such great players. And since I’d never tried working with a band like that before, I was in awe of how it felt to have all these other people playing along on my songs. That said, there were definitely moments when I wanted to hear something specific and had to give a little direction, but I really tried to do it in a suggestive manner rather than saying it had to be a certain way. For most of the songs I simply started playing my guitar parts and singing and the guys would just start playing along. I remember when I played them the song ‘Colours Of The Night’, and Mario immediately jumped in with this shuffling African-style rhythm, and I just yelled out, “Yes!!!” What he did immediately changed the way I heard the song, in a really awesome way. I had to adapt the way I played the guitar part in order to fit his rhythm, and I found the whole process super exciting. For the most part we recorded all the basic tracks (drums, guitars and bass) live, playing all together, and on the last song, “More And More” we actually did the whole thing live, with the horns and everything.

I must ask you about the producer and engineer, Timo Keller who was at the helm for the ‘Colours of the Night’ sessions. This experience must have been very rewarding. Were there certain techniques or processes utilized by Timo that struck you? Looking over the album’s ten songs, I wonder did some songs undergo significant changes from the original sketches you first brought to the studio?

PB: I’ve been in countless different studios and worked with a lot of different engineers and producers, and it really is fascinating to witness all the different approaches. When Timo set me up to record vocals, he put a microphone in front of me and said, “Christina Aguilera sings into this same mic.” Haha! I wasn’t sure how to feel about that. But I really came to admire his production style. Certainly different from my own or someone like Nils Frahm who I worked with on my last album. Timo has spent most of his studio time working on hip-hop, so he spends a lot of time finessing drum sounds and likes things to sound really crisp and tight. There are a couple of songs on the album which Timo changed completely, most notably “On Time“, which began as a shuffling guitar-based song, and evolved into this strange cinematic synthy thing. One day Timo just completely changed the structure of it before I got to the studio. I was never quite sure how I felt about his version of the song, and actually the bass player thought the song had been ruined, but in my effort of giving up control and letting the songs turn into something else, I trusted Timo and went with his version.

The album’s title-track, ‘Colours of the Night’ is an old song, I recall you mentioning in the past. I love the various versions of this song, for example Greg Haines’ dub remix and indeed your own solo version in the recent past. Can you reminisce for me please your memories of writing this song and how it developed over the passing seasons and subsequent years? The final version is a truly uplifting and powerful tour-de-force, which really embodies the entire album.

PB: Indeed, that song has been around for a while, and perhaps that’s why I found it so refreshing when it changed so much during the recording process in Lucerne. I like to think of songs as entities that are alive, which grow and mutate through time and place. And this song in particular is one that never got old to me. I always enjoyed playing it, and I think that’s a really good sign. As for the writing of it, it’s all kind of jumble in my mind. It was kind of pieced together over time, so I can’t quite remember how and when some of the lyrics came about. The main guitar part is really old. I wrote that when I was 17 or 18. But at that time it was a completely different song with different words and vocal melodies. I always loved that guitar part though, and I was happy to be able to recycle it into a different song that I enjoy performing.

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Being back home in America and your hometown of Oregon, it must be a lovely feeling to finally return to your roots. I feel themes such as perseverance through difficult times where an inner flame radiates throughout with this strength to overcome and indeed, to get on with your life. I would love for you to discuss the importance of home and indeed the invaluable meaning and significance the eternal gift of music gives you, Peter?

PB: Moving back to Oregon was so necessary for me. When I first moved to Europe in 2007, I thought I would never return to the states, but over time I really started to feel something was wrong, and it took me a long time to admit to myself that maybe I needed to go home for a while. And being back home hasn’t been all sunshine . . . there have been some difficult things I’ve had to face . . . but I really needed to face those things so that I could start to feel that real sense of home again. I really cherish my community of friends and family in Oregon, and I love being able to speak my mother-tongue freely and talk with strangers. It’s amazing how much more often I meet new people since I’ve moved back here. As for the gift of music . . . I honestly don’t know what I would do without music. That’s impossible to imagine. Yet at the same time, I’ve worked on broadening my interests over the last years. There are other great things in life too! Like making fires and cooking, walking around in nature, letting your inner child come out and being in awe of everything around you.

I feel ‘Red Earth’ is one of the most stunningly beautiful songs you have recorded to tape. The heavenly harmonies, poetic prose, rich instrumentation, and sheer emotional depth leaves you dumbfounded. Please talk me through the construction of ‘Red Earth’ please, and it’s meaning for you? I feel it’s the fitting prologue to ‘Colours of the Night’’s striking narrative.

PB: I’m so happy you like that song! That was one of the last songs we recorded, and it was the only song that I wrote while I was there in Switzerland. I spent several nights up at an old farmhouse called Rotebode (which translates to ‘red earth’ or ‘red ground’) about 30 minutes outside of Lucerne, and that song was written there. The first sound you hear on the album is the sound of the creek that runs outside of that farmhouse, which I was hearing as I wrote the song. One of guys who lives up there is a painter, and the second time I stayed there he gave me a painting he made with a character looking out over a landscape, seemingly about to take flight. I asked him if the character was a dragon, and he said, “Yeah, or a bird, or a man, or something…” So that’s how those first lines of the song came about. (Got a picture of a dragon bird man / Guess it was waiting for me.) I know Timo was especially happy with that song too. From a production standpoint, that song encapsulates a lot of what he was aiming for with this project.

As ever, a myriad of ideas is effortlessly embedded in the music. I love the wide range of compelling sounds: recalling the vocal experiments of ‘These Walls Of Mine’, the endearing warmth of ‘Home’, the dub-infused grooves of Greg Gives Peter Space and beyond. What lies next in the musical narrative, Peter? Please shed some light on any forthcoming projects and plans.

PB: Well, I do plan to play some concerts this year in support of the album. Mostly in Europe, but also a few in America and maybe also Asia later in the year. These days I am primarily busy running a little studio called The Sparkle out of my home in a tiny little town on the Oregon coast. There will be a lot of records coming out this year which were produced here, including a new album by my sister, Heather Woods Broderick, an album by one of my new favourite musicians named David Allred, a collaboration between myself and one of my most beloved artists in the world, Félicia Atkinson. Our project together is called La Nuit and I’m incredibly excited about that! Other artists with albums that I recently worked on which will be out relatively soon include Chantal Acda, Corrina Repp, Shelley Short, Maymay, and a 7″ by Rauelsson. Another thing I’d like to mention is that I recently started a choir in Portland. We rehearse on Sunday mornings, and it’s very loose. We do a lot of improvisation and also try to write songs all together. We are slowly collecting recordings with the aim of releasing and album one day. That’s been a really invigorating project.

I generally only work with people I get a good feeling from on a personal level. I’m less concerned about what kind of music we’ll be making and more concerned about whether we’ll have a good time together. It’s truly rewarding to work on music with a vast array of different musicians. Everyone has a different approach, and I always learn something new from each different artist.


 

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‘Colours Of The Night’ is out now on Bella Union.

http://www.peterbroderick.net/
http://bellaunion.com/

Written by markcarry

April 29, 2015 at 11:10 pm

Mixtape: Just Like Anything

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Just Like Anything [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:

https://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/just-like-anything-a-fractured-air-mix/

 

Tracklisting:

01. We Like We ‘I Began To Fall Apart’ [The Being Music]
02. Sufjan Stevens ‘No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross’ [Asthmatic Kitty]
03. William Ryan Fritch ‘_a renewed sense’ [Lost Tribe Sound]
04. Mute Forest ‘Volcanoes Flowing’ [Lost Tribe Sound]
05. Kenny Burrell ‘Chitlins Con Carne’ [Blue Note]
06. Bert Jansch ‘The Blacksmith’ [Charisma]
07. Ryley Walker ‘Primrose Garden’ [Dead Oceans]
08. Jackson C. Frank ‘Just Like Anything’ [Columbia/Castle Music]
09. Peter Broderick ‘Red Earth’ [Bella Union]
10. Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld ‘The sun roars into view’ [Constellation]
11. Colleen ‘Captain Of None’ [Thrill Jockey]
12. Sebastian Mullaert ‘Lat Björkarna Vissna’ [Mule Electronic]
13. Hauschka ‘Pripyat’ [City Slang/Temporary Residence]
14. Noel Ellis ‘Dance With Me’ [Summer/Light In The Attic]
15. Augustus Pablo ‘Dub Organizer’ [Kaya/Tropical]
16. Calexico ‘Cumbia De Donde’ [City Slang/Anti-]
17. Batha Gèbrè-Heywèt ‘Ewnet Yet Lagegnesh’ [Manteca]
18. Tape & Bill Wells ‘Fugue 3’ [Immune]
19. Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat ‘We’re Still Here’ [Chemikal Underground]

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.

To follow Fractured Air you can do so on Facebook HERE, or Twitter HERE.

 

Track Premiere: Charlie Cocksedge (Money)

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It wasn’t long after I started playing guitar as a teenager that I got my first delay pedal. My brother then gave me a copy of ‘Loveless’ by My Bloody Valentine, and a whole world of guitar noise was opened up to me!”

—Charlie Cocksedge

 

 

MONEY comprise Jamie Lee, Charlie Cocksedge, Billy Byron and Scott Beaman. They formed in Manchester and embody the passion, creativity and optimism of a new generation of artists and musicians from there. “It’s an extraordinary, poetic city,” frontman Jamie says, “You feel like you can do anything here”.

The exclusive track premiere of ‘Corrour’ displays the guitar-based, solo instrumental work of Money guitarist Charlie Cocksedge. Having performed a live score for a short film last summer, the next step was to record these multi-layered, ethereal musical compositions to tape, which thankfully took place in a Liverpool recording studio a short time later.

Corrour’ opens with warm fuzz of guitar noise, sharing the shimmering beauty of an ocean’s irresistible glaze during first light. Some moments later, soft clean guitar notes serve the vital pulse to the composition’s aching core. Beauty – unimaginable and divine – unfolds as endless layers of sublime sonic bliss ascends into the surrounding atmosphere.

A rich tapestry of enthralling soundscapes is masterfully crafted by Coscksedge; the dreamy shoegaze sound of My Bloody Valentine is inter-woven with the ambient touchstones of the Kranky and Thrill Jockey back-catalogue amidst indie luminaries such as Yo La Tengo and Tortoise’s Doug McCombs. Towards the song’s euphoric crescendo – some six minutes in – a wall of soaring guitar melodies ebb and flow into one glorious cohesive whole, reminiscent of Slowdive’s ’91 debut ‘Just for a Day’. Money frontman Jamie Lee has previously explained how Money’s desire “is to create the world afresh on our own terms”. This is precisely what ‘Corrour’ achieves with its stunning beauty and captivating spell.

 

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Interview with Charlie Cocksedge (Money).

As part of the incredible quartet of Money, the deeply affecting debut album ‘The Shadow Of Heaven’ is a very special and enlightening record. Please discuss the creative process involved and indeed the collaborative process between you, frontman Jamie Lee and Billy and Scott? It must have been an enriching space in time to have witnessed these songs bloom into their finished entities during the course of the band’s recording sessions?

Charlie Cocksedge: ‘The Shadow of Heaven’ evolved over quite a long time. One of the first songs we wrote was ‘Letter to Yesterday’, but that is pretty much the only song that we’ve kept from those early periods, the rest were heavily worked and reworked over time through gigging and demoing. However there was also a lot of experimentation in the studio. In the end, the collaborative and creative process was different for almost every song on the album, but at the same time we worked hard to ensure the songs didn’t sound disparate, and that it flowed and progressed as a whole record.

Congratulations on the stunning guitar-based instrumentals. The compositions possess an ethereal dimension as a rare beauty unfolds with each and every note and sculpted sound. Please discuss this solo venture of yours and the period of time in which these new tracks emerged from?

CS: Thanks very much. These tracks mainly came about in between touring with the band during 2014. I’ve always been doing little compositions for fun aside from Money, and in the summer I got to perform one of them as a score for a short film for an event at Manchester Art Gallery, and shortly after that I had my first solo show. So those things pretty much forced me to actually finish these tracks and work out how to play them live, which I really enjoyed. The natural step then, after putting a live set together, was to record.

How do you see the correlation between Money (and particularly the live tour of ‘The Shadow Of Heaven’) and these solo works? I can imagine you have been crafting gorgeous guitar melodies such as these for a significant part of your life (as it’s something that feels so organic, rich and highly emotive)?

CS: It might not be immediately obvious, but yes there’s definitely a correlation between the two. I’ve always been a bit of a collector of effects pedals, and have used them subtly within Money to enhance our sound, both on record and live – making loops, drones etc – but with this solo work I really get to expand on that, and a lot of the music comes from just playing around with different sounds. It wasn’t long after I started playing guitar as a teenager that I got my first delay pedal. My brother then gave me a copy of ‘Loveless’ by My Bloody Valentine, and a whole world of guitar noise was opened up to me!

Please talk me through the spellbinding ‘Corrour’. What is the recording and layering process utilized when recording these beautifully soothing soundscapes?

CS: The track came from just playing around with a loop pedal in my bedroom at my old house (the house was called Corrour). I came up with the main melodies there, working out how they would intertwine, and then developed the track as a whole in our practice room in Manchester. I recorded it in a studio in Liverpool with a guy called Tom Roach, which was really good fun. I’d only ever been in a studio with the band, so it was a bit scary but also exciting. The recording process itself was fairly easy; I’d already worked out how to play everything live, so Tom and I just worked on how to separate the layers and different ideas in the most effective way for recording, and then tried out different instruments for certain parts so it wasn’t entirely guitar. I love playing live, but at the same time this music is really suited to headphones and home listening, so that is always in the back of my mind while recording.

What composers and artists do you feel have inspired your guitar-based solo works? 

CS: I’ve always been a fan of Steve Reich and Philip Glass, I love their different styles, and the different nature of their music has certainly had an effect on me. I recently got to see Jonny Greenwood perform Reich’s Electric Counterpoint, which was truly inspiring. Jonny’s film scores have influenced me a lot as well, particularly the way he uses instruments in an unconventional way – scratching the violin strings or using cellos as percussion for instance. More recently I’ve been listening to Dan Deacon and Nils Frahm – two amazing performers who both create huge soundscapes onstage, while also having moments of quiet beauty.

 


 

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‘The Shadow of Heaven’ by Money is out now on Bella Union. Charlie Cocksedge’s solo guitar works is a forthcoming release.

https://www.facebook.com/moneybandofficial
http://moneybandofficial.com/

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Written by markcarry

March 10, 2015 at 2:46 pm