dimanche 16 novembre 2008

Is there a future for this blog ?

It was the question...

dimanche 9 novembre 2008

Jon Hassell - Earthquake Island (1978, CD release in 1989)

This beautiful album played an important part in the development of world and fusion music.
It was recorded in 1978, two years before the meeting with Brian Eno and the release of Fourth World Vol. 1. Possible Music. Jon Hassell already found his unique trumpet sound and style, inspired by the vocal lessons of his master Pandit Pran Nath, with its fluid vocal modulations and its beautiful and sensual glissendi effects.

Earthquake Island is a sunny place where musicians from India, Africa and Brazil meet, share and exchange their sounds and musical technics, and blend different musical languages, such as electronics, minimalism, ethnic musics and jazz.

From India, Badal Roy, a former member of Miles Davis and John McLaughin, plays tablas. From Brazil, Claudio Ferreira and Ricardo Silveira, two exceptional guitarists. In this record, one can also find Miroslav Vitous, a member of Weather Report. Nana Vasconcelos, who played with Jean-Luc Ponty and Milton Nascimento, brings his unique musical toys, such as congas, beerembau and a lot of other percussions. Clarice Taylor, an Afro-American, is only vocalist of the album.

Earthquake Island is a beautiful album, with a new sound, a new synthesis of musical trends, a new feeling, a new vibe, sensual, warm, primitive and avant-garde at the same time...

link: mp3 / 320

password: olduvai

Brian Eno - Lightness. Music for the Marble Palace. The State Russian Museum (1997)

"The music of this CD is a 1 hour section of a hypothetically endless piece composed and recorded by Brian Eno for his installation at the marbe palace, The State Russian Museum, St Petersburg, in November 1997".

The two tracks of this album, "Atmospheric Lightness" (32:00) and "Chamber Lightness" (25:00) are made with slowly evolving electronic layers, using the generative capabilities of the Koan Pro software.  The result is a very quiet and minimal music, with beautiful harmonics created by the randomly driven polyphony. In the large room where this installation was displayed, computer-programmed projectors created randomized and colourful patterns on a series of screens, while another part of the room was dark.

This is a quiet music for a quiet times in a quiet place... 

link : mp3 / 320

password: olduvai

Jon Gibson - In Good Company (1992)

Jon Gibson is a composer and a musician (saxophone, flute), born in Los Angeles in 1949, who played a key-part in the American minimalist scene. He played works by the most important composers in this trend, such as Steve Reich (1963-1972), Terry Riley (1964-1966) and Philip Glass (from 1968). He collaborated with composers such as La Monte Young, Frederick Rzewski, Alvin Curran, Anna Lockwood, to name but a few.

"In good company" is his first solo album, released on Point Music, the record company created by Philip Glass. Indeed, Jon Gibson is here in good company: this record is produced by Michael Riesman, who also plays keyboards, La Monte Young plays digital piano, Martin Goldray plays piano, and John Snyder and Bill Ruyle are credited for various percussions.

Jon Gibson plays compositions by Steve Reich, John Adam, Terry Jennings, Philip Glass and Terry Riley. He also plays his own compositions, and my favorite one is the very ambient and moody "Extensions II".

This is a beautiful and intimate record, built around Gibson's various saxophones and his unique way to play with them.  From the hypnotic repetitive structures of Steve Reich to the lyrical minimalism of Philip Glass, from the raga structrues of Terry Riley to John Adams, Jon Gibson is travelling freely through the history of American new musics.

link: mp3 / 320

password: olduvai

dimanche 2 novembre 2008

Alexander Knaifel - Svete Tikhiy (2002)

This is a splendid album released on ECM New Series: where else could one find such an ethereal music, slow and minimalist, ambient and lightly experimental at the same time ? "Svete Tikhiy" means in Russian "O Gladsome Light": it is one of the three oldest Christian hymns included in the Russian Orthodox Vespers. It provides the album with its title but defines also its general mood, spiritual, introspective, contemplative.

A first piece, "In Air Clear and Unseen" is played he Keller Quartett and Oleg Malov (piano).

Then, the Russian soprano Tatiana Melentieva sings "the Song of the Most Holy Theotokos" (Svete Tikhiy) and her voice is treated by a digital  sampler (Andrei Siegle) in order to create beautiful choral patterns.

This beautiful album is a masterpiece, and it is very difficult to compare it with anything else.

One could say, as a rough definition, that it might be located at the crossroad of Brian Eno and Arvo Pärt...

link: mp3 / 320
password: olduvai


Forest (2004)

"Our lives are like islands in the sea, or like trees in the forest, 
which co-mingle their roots in the darkness underground."

William James

Dan Hartman - New Green Clear Blue (1989)

"The subsconscious mind is a powerful world possessing experiences and feelings we do not necessarily recognize in our daily movements: but nonetheless they influence our entire lives. The tones and shades in this collection were performed live and intuitively for the purpose of opening channels by which the listener may visit their own subsconscious".

Dan Hartman provides his listeners with a fair description of what this ambient CD is about. Released by Private Music, the Peter Baumann's company, New Green Clear Blue is a beautiful and minimalist album, and Hartman acknowledges the musical inspiration of Vangelis and Harold Budd. Lyrical and intimate, most of the tracks are compositions for digital synthesizers: melody and harmonies are at the forefront, beautiful treatments create a far open space around the electronic sounds.

Dan Hartman is probably best known for his work as a songwriter and a musical producer. In the late seventies, he reached number-one in the Dance Charts with his singles,  "Instant replay" and "Relight my fire". In the eighties and until 1994, he worked as a producer with artists such as Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Paul Young, James Brown, Nona Hendrix and Steve Windwood, to name but a few...

He died in 1994.

Private Music was used to offer to main stream artists a private creative space for more intimate and experimental projects. This 1989 album allows us to discover an unexpected side of Dan Hartman's talent, his interest in ambient music, his admiration for Harold Budd.

New Green Clear Blue is a beautiful CD to be listened to after midnight...

link: MP3 / 320

password: olduvai