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My Favorites of 2012

5th Feb 13 (Tue) Leave a comment

Life has been a been busy/hectic lately, to say the least. Not enough time to do the usual extended blogs for best of instrumental, vocal and whatnot with lots of descriptions. And since, hell, it’ll be 2014 before too long; so I figured I’d get out my favorites of 2012 list in some fashion now before it’s officially too late.

Here’s what was my favorite music from last year…

vocal top 10
(in no particular order beyond #1)

O.S.I. - Fire Make ThunderO.S.I.Fire Make Thunder

Damien Jurado - Maraqopa Peter Mulvey - The Good Stuff Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do

Ani DiFranco - Which Side Are You On? Bad Veins - The Mess We've Made Ben Folds Five - The Sound of the Life of the Mind

Storm Corrosion (Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree & Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth) Sigur Rós - Valtari Aimee Mann - Charmer

instrumental top 10
(in no particular order beyond #1)

Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola - Not Getting Behind Is The New Getting Ahead

Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola
Not Getting Behind is the New Getting Ahead

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Alleujah! Don't Bend Ascend Guillaume Perret - The Electric Epic Buckethead - Electric Sea

Celldweller - Soundtrack for the Voices in My Head, Vol 2 Floratone - Floratone II Cosa Brava (Fred Frith with Kihlstedt, etc) - The Letter

John Zorn / Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 18 (Pruflas by David Krakauer) John Zorn / Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 19 (Abraxas by Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz) John Zorn - A Vision in Blakelight

ep, internet, etc

Best Novelty: Sufjan Stevens’ Silver and Gold boxset

Best Internet-only releases: Glen Phillips Coyote Sessions,
Greydon Square Type II : The Mandelbrot Set,
Sufjan Son Lux & Serengeti (s/s/s) beak and claw

Best EPs: Levi Weaver’s I Am Only A Tiny Noise
Peter Mulvey’s Chaser (OOP)

Best Vinyl-only: Wussy “Dangerous Highway” 7″
Sufjan Stevens & Rosie Thomas “Hit & Run” 7″

Enjoy! I’ll sort of promise to do better with timeliness on next year’s lists!

~Dan – np: Pinnick Gales PridgenPinnick Gales Pridgen
pinnick gales pridgen

REVIEW: Trevor Dunn & Travis Laplante @ Wandering Goat (Eugene, OR – 1/31/12)

2nd Feb 12 (Thu) 8 comments

PHOTOS FROM THE SHOW AT THE BOTTOM

I’ve been a fan of Mr Bungle/Fantômas/John Zorn collaborative bass player Trevor Dunn for a while.  When I get a chance to see him, especially within biking distance, I go.  From Trevor Dunn’s website, the “Double Solo” tour was noted as a “West Coast spit-roasting agenda. I’ll be playing a 30 min solo bass piece & Travis [Laplante] will play a set for solo tenor saxophone.”  Ah, a night of avant-garde jazz… yum!

Ryan A. Miller from Portland was up first… he played about 30-40 minutes on solo acoustic guitar.  A lot of loops, noises, and a little bit of what might seem like “futzing around,” but I dug it.  There were definitely some odd parts, but I definitely thought his set was more interesting than not.  You could tell he had skills, just couldn’t tell how they were going to evolve and manifest.  Update 2/8/12: Ryan’s band (U SCO) was the opener for the Secret Chiefs 3 show in Portland the very next week.  U SCO is a wicked, rad schizophrenic proggy, jazzy rock trio.  Excellent stuff!

Travis Laplante (Battle Trance) took his spot on the floor just off stage and gave us an initial onslaught of loud, raucous alto sax.  His first piece reminded me of Peter Evans solo trumpet show from 2008.  Ballistic, unfocused melodically, intense… what avant-garde jazz is meant to be.  His second piece was gentler and more melodic at first.  It was contained but not necessarily restrained before he finally let loose at the end.  His third and final piece was a dronier delight.

Trevor Dunn played last and gave us the 30-minute piece that he’s tentatively calling “The Pentagram.”  He dedicated it to Pisces.  It definitely had a “composed” feel to it (later confirmed with Trevor), but it was open and free enough to let him explore where it could go.  He plucked, he scraped, he bowed, he played below the bridge, he played with clothespins on the strings.  To sum it up in a word: fascinating.  You’ve gotta love it when he makes a few of his other bands (Mr Bungle/Fantômas) seem “too mainstream.”

Update 2/7/12: Check out this East Bay Express write-up of the Oakland show by Rachel Swan… waaaaaay better write-up (she’s a journalist and rightfully gets paid for it).  Gives you a better feel for the Dunn piece as a whole.

Trevor and Travis are wrapping up this tour this coming weekend… tonight in San Francisco, then Friday in Oakland, Saturday in Los Angeles and Sunday in Santa Cruz.  Check his Tour Page for more info.

The Appropriate Linkage:

Next show for me… Thee Silver Mt. Zion (splinter group from Godspeed You! Black Emperor) at Mississippi Studios on 2/4.

~Dan – np: Frank ZappaThem Or Us

TREVOR DUNN & TRAVIS LAPLANTE PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2012 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

* Favorite Instrumental Albums of 2011 *

31st Dec 11 (Sat) Leave a comment

As I start this post, I will say that this is all very subjective and really put together for my own purposes.  I’ll also state that, yes, some of the music below does have some vocals (i.e.- the Goddamn Electric Bill & Mike Patton CDs).  For the most part, it’s sequestered to a track or two on a long CD of mostly instrumental goodness.  My list, my rules, and/or my breaking of the rules.  With that being said, all of the artists below tend to be in the jazz and instrumental frame of reference anyway.

As said before… I’ve been buying less music… or, at least a lot less mainstream (major label) music. This is also my fourth year now that I bought more instrumental CDs than vocal CDs. I think as I get older, I am drawn more towards jazz and other instrumental forms of expression. Hopefully my spilling out of music that I like finds interest with someone else. But if not, thanks for stopping by… check out the artists’ webpages, Facebox pages, yadda yadda yadda. Some of these also made it on to my 2011 Mix CD (free streaming/download).

OK, now on to the best of what’s hit my ears this year…

Product Details Cyro Baptista’s Banquet of Spirits plays John Zorn’s Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 17 (Caym) :: The Masada Book two series is some of my favorite music coming out of Tzadik.  Banquet of the Spirits is the touring band of Latin percussionist Cyro Baptista, a long time Zorn collaborator.  Each track touches upon a different world tradition, steeped in Zorn’s klez-jazz score.  Lyrical and moving and fun!

Artichaut OrkestraT For Teresa :: Featuring four young musicians  from Toulouse, Artichaut Orkestra mix jazz, klezmer and classical music, blending rock energy with improv.  This is their debut record, and I’m definitely looking forward to more coming from them in the near future.
Curtis MacdonaldCommunity Immunity :: To be honest, this was an impulse purchase.  One of my favorite record labels is Greenleaf Music – founded by my favorite living trumpet-player Dave Douglas.  I was picking up some new music from DD and figured, “eh, what the hell!”  I was impressed with Curtis’ melodic compositions and emotive alto sax playing.
MogwaiHardcore Will Never Die, But You Will :: Stunning double-disc set from post-rock’s Scottish kings.  I’ll still probably forgo seeing them live again (too loud, beyond their needs), but they put out some amazingly beautiful music.

(3 CDs)
John ZornNova Express / At the Gates of Paradise / A Dreamer Christmas :: Three discs made the cut of the six Zorn releases in 2011.  Nova Express combines quirky atonal classical lyricism with a touch of the cut up techniques of Naked City and virtuosity of the Masada songbook. Zorn scored this for Joey Baron (drums), Trevor Dunn (bass), John Medeski (piano), and Kenny Wollesen (vibes).  Paradise features the same band as Nova Express, brings some Medeski organ into the mix and adds more of Zorn’s “mystical” ambiance.  The Dreamer Christmas album was an oddity for me.  Why would a Jewish jazz musician put out a Christmas album?  Because he can!  The Dreamers is one of my favorite Zorn-assembled ensembles: Joey Baron (drums), Cyro Baptista (percussion), Trevor Dunn (bass), Marc Ribot (guitars), Jamie Saft (keys), and Kenny Wollesen (vibes).  Very accessible, but not smooth jazz!  Adventurous!  Mike Patton joins them on the final track for a croon-y “chestnut roasting.”  The holiday album was also put out as a 12″ vinyl and a 7″ single – both with gorgeous artwork and design by Chippy.
yMusicBeautiful Mechanical :: The yMusic Ensemble had a kickstarter earlier this year for their debut album – with songs composed by Son Lux, Annie Clark, Shara Worden (aka My Brightest Diamond), Saraha Kirkland snider (who penned a favorite album Penelope last year), and Gabriel Kahane.  Their string-heavy, indie chamber rock approach excites me.  Being the musical backdrop for My Brightest Diamond’s All Things Will Unwind album (my #2 vocal album in 2011) doesn’t hurt.
Peter Mulvey & David GoodrichNine Days Wonder :: Peter Mulvey has toured all over the US and the world for about 2 decades.  Some of the first times I saw him in concert, he had “Goody” with him on backing guitar.  They don’t get a chance to tour together much lately, but they did find some time to hole-up inside a studio to write and record some instrumental guitar duets.  While I love Peter’s vocal storytelling, it’s nice to hear his and Goody’s instrumental interplay tell a different story.
Goddamn Electric BillJazz :: GdEB is the one-man brainchild of Jason Torbert.  He hits the spot for organic electronic meets post-rock for me.  Ambient at times, melodic other times.  His latest work has featured some vocals, but he’s primarily a groove-induced soundscape kind of guy.  Chirps and glitches, too.  Excellent stuff!
The Dead Kenny G’sOperation Long Leash :: The Dead Kenny Gs is a duo started by saxophonist Skerik and drummer/vibes Mike Dillon in 2004.  shortly thereafter, they started adding Brian Haas, keyboard genius, when he is able, as well as Brad Houser, bassist from another Skerik band – Critters Buggin.  They push through the jazz/rock minefield to fight “injustice, cheese, and dishonesty in music, and society.”
TalkdemonicRuins :: Portland-based chamber-indie-post-rock… goodness.  So much sound from two people.  If you’re in Portland, they’re playing a big NYE show tonight… if in Eugene, they’ll be through our way (at Sam Bond’s) on Feb 24th.  Not to be missed!
Mike PattonThe Solitude of Prime Numbers :: I had to put this album as #13.  This chiefly instrumental album is a tribute to the book (by Paolo Giordano) and film of the same name.  The score is 16 tunes spread out over a 53 tracks, with the only tracks with content being 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, and 53. *slow clap* Clever, Mr. Patton!  For people who bought the CD, you can thank me for entering in the info to CDDB (t’was a pain).  The score/album fits more with his prior score for A Perfect Place – more accessible when compared to Patton’s usual schizophrenic output.  The packaging design is also brilliant – a gorgeous die-cut leaf that fold outwards.  I’d always recommend getting physical releases from Ipecac versus the digital download version.

Garage A TroisAlways Be Happy, But Stay Evil :: Skerik, Stanton Moore, Marco Benevento (who replaced Charlie Hunter) and Mike Dillon make their way through Oregon quite a bit.  They are a sight to see – you don’t know exactly what kind of show you’ll get, but it’s definitely a fun time.  Fun, groove-oriented “new jazz.”
Explosions in the SkyTake Care, Take Care, Take Care :: If not jazz, this list is also overtaken by post-rock.  it’s a love of mine, and Explosions in the Sky are one of the best in that game.  Epic, sweeping guitars crashing over a hearty drum & bass end.  This is another album where I’d recommend the physical edition – the  case can be unfolded to form a model of a house, where if viewed from the inside, the view from the door of the house is overlooking a tornado across a plain.

Erik FriedlanderBonebridge :: I started 2011 seeing Erik perform his John Zorn-penned Volac album in its entirety… brilliant and moving.  Later in the year, he came out with Bonebridge – a new band/concept that takes his Broken Arm Trio (with Trevor Dunn & Mike Sarin) and adds slide guitar player Doug Wamble to the mix.  What you get is a perfect chamber-Americana-jazz album.  I hope there are more where this came from…
Kevin Moore – Shine (Küçük Kıyamet Soundtrack) :: Kevin Moore’s main projects are the trippy/sample-heavy Chroma Key & heavier prog collaboration band O.S.I. (with Jim Matheos). Shine is the soundtrack to the 2006 Turkish film Küçük Kiyamet (“Little Apocalypse“).  It came out in early 2011 after a successful Kickstarter in 2010.  The next album from O.S.I. comes out in February 2012 on Metal Blade.  I can almost guarantee it will be my Top album of 2012, and I haven’t heard a shred of it yet.
ReptetAt the Cabin :: This Seattle-based jazz sextet is fuuuuuuuuuun – both on record and in the live setting.  I wish the distance on I-5 between me and them wasn’t 5-6 hours, as I’d see them far more often if I could.

Matt Chamberlain, Viktor Krauss, Dan PhelpsModular: Sonic Explorations :: Gorgeous soundscapes from Matt Chamberlain, Viktor Krauss, and Dan Phelps.  The Modular Project is the collaboration of the aforementioned musicians working together to “discover what the spontaneous and organic manipulation of sound can yield. Inspired by the world around them, they set out to discover what it might sound like when continents shift, clouds form, and roots push through soil.”  The track, “Everest,” features one of my favorite cellists – Eyvind Kang (who has worked with Secret Chiefs 3, John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Mike Patton).  It’s a great mix of cello, vibes and soaring atmosphere.  The album is only available digitally or on vinyl (it’s a luscious triple-gatefold!)…

(3 CDs)
Dave Douglas – Three Views: GPS Series – Rare Metals, Orange Afternoons & Bad Mango :: Originally released as the “Greenleaf Portable Series” (download only), these three different releases in 2011 finally got a proper physical (boxset) release.  Dave’s prolific writing comes out with different bands on each record: Rare Metals features Dave’s most recent band Brass Ecstasy; Orange Afternoons features a specially put together quintet with Ravi Coltrane, Vijay Iyer, Linda Oh, and Marcus Gilmore; and Bad Mango paired Dave’s trumpet with So Percussion’s marimba, drumset, glockenspiel, musical saw, toy bells, shruti box, crotales, and more.  Three very different records tied together with Dave’s fantastic playing.

Tides From NebulaEarthshine :: This Polish post-rock group won my heart in 2009 with their debut, Aura (in 2009).  They continue to tease me with emails or news that says “tour” until I open and can’t pronounce the names of the cities that they’re hitting.  Drat!  At least their music will keep me company!  Earthshine is perfect for those fans of Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, and the like… and seeing as it beat out both those groups on my 2011 list, well, that should tell you something as well.

Michael KelseySubmerged :: Michael Kelsey is a HUGE amount of what I miss from the Midwest music scene.  He’s a musical genius – rarely paralleled on the frets.  Seeing him live (which I did any chance I could) was a site to behold.  His records do their best to capture his virtuosity, but they usually fail to capture his energy, too.  Catching fire in a bottle is tough.  Regardless, this one is a gem and also marks his first all instrumental affair.  Check him out, and if you live within a state or two from central Indiana, I count you a lucky one.  Go see him if he stops by your town.

Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 :: More riff-oriented and melodic compared to the prior drone doom albums, Earth bring a cello into the mix for the first time and create an ominous soundscape that is both elegant and dreadful.  The follow-up, Angels & Demons 2, comes out in Feb 2012… and you can almost guarantee it’ll rise to the top of my list next year as well.

Note: Ric Hordinski’s Arthur’s Garden (which made it on my 2011 Mix) is technically a 2012 release, hence its absence above.

Where do I get most of these jazz and other instrumental releases?  My #1 favorite source for jazz is Downtown Music Gallery in New York.  Manny and Bruce and their great staff are superb… and being the official distributor for John Zorn’s Tzadik doesn’t hurt my affection for them.  I usually do a monthly Tzadik order (if the releases strike my fancy), and they have a ton of other non-Tzadik jazz and avant-garde releases as well.

And, no, I’m not affiliated, I don’t get a commission, and beyond my initial “big tax refund / gotta get caught up on Zorn order of 2005,” I haven’t gotten a discount with DMG.  I just love and support what they do.

Enjoy the New Years’ weekend!! Be safe! See you in 2012.

My Other Favorites of 2011 Recaps:

~Dan – np: Trent Reznor & Atticus RossThe Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Black Friday / Cyber Monday – Support Indie Music

25th Nov 11 (Fri) Leave a comment

Update 11/25: Black Friday & Cyber Monday music-loving shoppers… support indie music by supporting Ric Hordinski’s new Kickstarter – Arthur’s Garden.  He has 6 days left and need has around $2k left to get it funded.

Guitarist extraordinaire Ric Hordinski has been a favorite of mine for a LONG TIME. He’s the kind of guitarist who is subtle and unassuming in his approach, but you end up wracking your brain how he gets such lush and complex sounds out of the frets. I’ve seen him many times (Monk, Over the Rhine, Kim Taylor, Ellery, solo), and sometimes I wish I was back in Cincinnati, just to see his intimate Monastery shows.

Well, late last week, he announced a way that even those not in SW Ohio can help him make his next record… behold another Kickstarter than I think is worth specific highlighting:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/609278336/arthurs-garden
(watch Ric’s personal video about the project)

About This Project

I’ve been trying to play guitar for over 30 years now. Really, 30 years. It’s been long love-affair, with highs and lows, rich times and lean. The guitar was my doorway into Music. That Music has taken me around the world, it has accompanied me through joy, laughter and tears: as well as allowing me to share the stage with an amazingly varied group of people: Johnny Cash and Moby, Bruce Cockburn and the Indigo Girls, Bob Dylan and Over The Rhine. Through it all, I’ve generally said what I had to say with the Electric Guitar. It’s smaller and a lot less fragile, if you know what i mean…

A couple of years ago I toured playing guitar for one of the great guitarists of our generation, Phil Keaggy. The record we were touring required me to dust off my classical and steel string acoustic guitar chops. This was more challenging (and rewarding) than I could have imagined.The influence of that music and tour on this recording was enormous and I think it planted a seed in me to try my hand at one of the most demanding kind of recordings i could make- one centered around the simple sound of strings vibrating a tiny little cathedral of wood: The Acoustic Guitar.

So, here i am!

I’m joined on this journey by several friends and collaborators. Michael Wilson will be documenting the process with both still and moving images. Grammy Winning Designer Greg Sylvester has signed on to design the art and packaging. I’ll have Josh Seurkamp, David LaBruyere, Dan Dorff and couple of lovely surprise guests (to be announced soon…) I’d love for you to take an even bigger part in the process than you usually do. We’re documenting the recording and mixing and will have a home-spun DVD available as well as some other surprise. Please join me on this journey!

He’s trying to raise $4,500 by the of the month. Take a gander at his site, and if you like what you hear, consider helping him out! For as little a $10, you can make a difference and get some great music in return.

Ric’s records stand out in my collection, and I’m stoked to be a part of making the next one a possibility.

~Dan – np: AhleuchatistasLocation Location

Arthur’s Garden by Ric Hordinski

14th Nov 11 (Mon) Leave a comment

Guitarist extraordinaire Ric Hordinski has been a favorite of mine for a LONG TIME.  He’s the kind of guitarist who is subtle and unassuming in his approach, but you end up wracking your brain how he gets such lush and complex sounds out of the frets.  I’ve seen him many times (Monk, Over the Rhine, Kim Taylor, Ellery, solo), and sometimes I wish I was back in Cincinnati, just to see his intimate Monastery shows.

Well, late last week, he announced a way that even those not in SW Ohio can help him make his next record… behold another Kickstarter than I think is worth specific highlighting:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/609278336/arthurs-garden
(watch Ric’s personal video about the project)

About This Project

I’ve been trying to play guitar for over 30 years now. Really, 30 years. It’s been long love-affair, with highs and lows, rich times and lean. The guitar was my doorway into Music. That Music has taken me around the world, it has accompanied me through joy, laughter and tears: as well as allowing me to share the stage with an amazingly varied group of people: Johnny Cash and Moby, Bruce Cockburn and the Indigo Girls, Bob Dylan and Over The Rhine. Through it all, I’ve generally said what I had to say with the Electric Guitar. It’s smaller and a lot less fragile, if you know what i mean… 

A couple of years ago I toured playing guitar for one of the great guitarists of our generation, Phil Keaggy. The record we were touring required me to dust off my classical and steel string acoustic guitar chops. This was more challenging (and rewarding) than I could have imagined.The influence of that music and tour on this recording was enormous and I think it planted a seed in me to try my hand at one of the most demanding kind of recordings i could make- one centered around the simple sound of strings vibrating a tiny little cathedral of wood: The Acoustic Guitar.

So, here i am!

I’m joined on this journey by several friends and collaborators. Michael Wilson will be documenting  the process with both still and moving images. Grammy Winning Designer Greg Sylvester has signed on to design the art and packaging. I’ll have Josh Seurkamp, David LaBruyere, Dan Dorff and couple of lovely surprise guests (to be announced soon…) I’d love for you to take an even bigger part in the process than you usually do. We’re documenting the recording and mixing and will have a home-spun DVD available as well as some other surprise. Please join me on this journey!

He’s trying to raise $4,500 by the of the month.  Take a gander at his site, and if you like what you hear, consider helping him out!  For as little a $10, you can make a difference and get some great music in return.

Ric’s records stand out in my collection, and I’m stoked to be a part of making the next one a possibility.

~Dan – np: Medeski Scofield Martin & WoodIn Case the World Changes Its Mind (live)

Peter Mulvey & David Goodrich – Nine Days Wonder (2011)

24th Sep 11 (Sat) Leave a comment

Peter Mulvey and David “Goody” Goodrich are pleased to announce the release of their first ever instrumental duets record.  NINE DAYS WONDER (released on Signature Sounds) captures a moment in the decades-long musical dialogue between these two artists.  Over the years, their relationship as co-writers, accompanists, and performers has centered on presence, spontaneity, and good humor, and all those are on ample display here.

Eight original tunes, two traditional bits of Americana, two Hoagy Carmichael classics, and a Tom Waits tune.  NINE DAYS WONDER is available for purchase at shows and online through Peter’s website.

~Dan – np: Secret Chiefs 3Radar/Saptarshi 7″ vinyl

REVIEW: Kaki King @ WOW Hall (Eugene, OR – 3/9/11)

12th Mar 11 (Sat) 1 comment

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

Kaki King burst into the music scene in 2003 with her exquisite fretwork and primarily instrumental pieces. “Playing With Pink Noise” (from 2004’s Legs to Make Us Longer) thrust her more in the indie rock spotlight, showcasing a guitar that she played as if it were trying to run away from her. The video for “Pink Noise” was simply a white backdrop with Kaki effortlessly plucking and slapping away among randomly timed pink rose petals and balloons. It helped land her hands on the silver screen — as the up-close guitar “stunt double” for Freddie Highmore, who played a guitar prodigy in 2007’s August Rush. Later that year, she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her score for Sean Penn’s Into the Wild (alongside Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder).

With her fifth album, Junior, a more mature songwriter has emerged. She still brings the famous fretwork to her songs, but Junior brings vocals more to the fore. Kaki woos us with the subtle and intricate pop of “Spit It Back In My Mouth,” the drive of “Falling Day,” the indie pop feel of “Communist Friends” and the hard rock of “Death Head.” The vulnerable and heartfelt “Sunnyside” brings the album to a close and shows off her more personal side. Kaki King is for fans of the indie rock of Sleater-Kinney and Tegan & Sara, or for those who like a bit more virtuoso musicianship mixed in with their lush pop melodies.

Kaki came through Eugene last May, and blew us away with her rockin’ band.  For this go-round, it was just going to be her and her guitar.  Or, shall I say… guitars… this is dubbed her “Guitar Traveling Freak Show” tour…

kaki king’s “band” on this tour

Before Kaki hit the stage, Washington went on.  (Megan) Washington is an Australian singer-songwriter, who I hear is quite popular down under.  She actually started her set with a joke about an odd fellow from Arcata, CA, who brandished a sword in front of her the day prior.  She told us that she normally plays guitar, but due to obvious reasons wouldn’t be tonight.  Her sound reminded me of a slightly grittier Regina Spektor (specifically from a vocal side of things).  She definitely had some songwriting chops.  She played about an hour… sometimes dreamy piano pop, sometimes more sullen indie rock.  She didn’t have anything to sell us (no shirt, CDs, etc)… probably too difficult to manage hauling it to this hemisphere.  I’d recommend checking out her records, especially How to Tame Lions and I Believe You Liar.

Kaki hit the stage at 8:30pm for this early show.  She played almost entirely an instrumental set… with vocals only on “Life Being” and “Communist” (if I remember correctly).  She switched between her trusty six string, a smaller than usual 12-string (Irish?), a banjo-guitar hybrid, an interestingly “koto”-style modified bridge guitar, a harp guitar, and probably a few I’m missing.

Setlist: about 90 minutes

  • Bone Chaos in the Castle
  • I Need A Girl Who Knows A Map
  • Doing the Wrong Thing
  • unidentified… possibly “Ingots”
  • Life Being What It Is
  • Playing With Pink Noise
  • unidentified… possibly “Carmine St”
  • My Girl the Horse [Fences]
  • Andecy [Andrew York]
  • Because It’s There [Michael Hedges]
  • Nails
  • unidentified… possibly “Magazine”
  • unidentified… new song for Megan Washington
  • unidentified… possibly “Bowen Island”
  • Encore: unidentified… with Dan Brantigan on trumpet
  • unidentified… “world premiere” drunk guitar song
  • Communist Friends

Kaki is the kind of guitar player that makes non-guitar players want to learn how to play.  She’s also the kind of guitar player who makes current guitar players want to throw away their axe.  And despite her focused brilliance with her instrument, she has quite a humorous and awkwardly delightful stage presence.  She’s charming, she’ll jokingly cuss the audience out, and then she’ll be self-deprecating.  She’ll act playful and humble, and then she’ll smoke the 6 to 12 strings in front of her without much trouble.  There’s no doubt that she belongs on stage and that you belong watching her.

more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

Next show for me… Chris Thile‘s Punch Brothers at McDonald Theatre on 3/16.

~Dan – np: Nik Bärtsch’s RoninLlyrìa

KAKI KING PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2011 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

KAKI KING – 2011 TOUR DATES
Feb 23 Museum of Modern Art: Celeste Bartos Theatre New York, New York
Feb 26 Salon Vive Cuervo Mexico City, Mexico
Feb 28 The Loft – UC San Diego San Diego, California
Mar 2 Largo at the Coronet West Hollywood, California
Mar 3 College of the Sequoias Theatre Visalia, California
Mar 4 Yoshi’s San Francisco, CA
Mar 5 Ashkenaz Berkeley, California
Mar 6 Harlows Sacramento, California
Mar 8 Jambalaya Arcata, California
Mar 9 WOW Hall Eugene, Oregon
Mar 10 Mississippi Studios Portland, Oregon
Mar 11 The Triple Door Seattle, Washington
Mar 12 Biltmore Cabaret Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Mar 24 Cedar Cultural Center Minneapolis, Minnesota
Mar 25 Space Evanston, Illinois
Mar 26 The Old Rock House St. Louis, Missouri
Mar 28 Southgate House Newport, Kentucky
Mar 29 The Birchmere Alexandria , Virginia
Mar 30 World Cafe Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Apr 1 Center for the Arts Natick, Massachusetts
Apr 2 Iron Horse Northampton, Massachusetts
Apr 3 Infinity Hall Norfolk, Connecticut
Apr 7 City Winery New York, New York
Apr 8 City Winery New York, New York
Apr 9 Binghamton University Binghamton, New York

Kaki King @ WOW Hall in Eugene 2011

10th Mar 11 (Thu) 2 comments

REVIEW: Godspeed You! Black Emperor @ Crystal Ballroom (Portland, OR – 2/18/11)

19th Feb 11 (Sat) 13 comments

GYBE-evaphoto

Video flickers “hope” on loop. Slow build with piercing tones presumably of guitar mixed with cello & screams in the violin pickups. The vapors turn into steam, the bowing more frantic, random percussive shakes. Eight minutes, the first hits on a high hat. The steam now turning into an impending waterfall. “Hope” still flickers. The impending waterfall never comes. The sounds fall away into sweepy hallways.

Clean guitars, gentle malleted vibes, as the guitar soars upwards with the violins. The screen text and numbers jumble. The pace expands and explodes, then stabilizes. Guitars are the backbone, the drums brisk, the xylo/vibes, on the other hand, are furious. Gasping. Grasping. They’re trying to escape. The drums take over, the other players fall to the side. A stringed étude tucks it away.

Violin warming up, workshop hammering percussion until the sounds become like a train leaving the station. This one built quicker than the prior pieces. More Mogwaian versus Sigurrósient. Churning turns into hints of melodic keys. Maybe they were just car keys… it’s turned more into a tumultuous rock instrumental.  Rush.

That was the first forty minutes. The rest of Godspeed You! Black Emperor‘s two-plus hour set was full of highs and lows, and all the things that make post-rock so wondrous and confounding. Sweeping movements with The Anatomy of Melancholy text and images flashing above the band’s heads. I think sprinting away from convention is what makes this music so magical. Shying away from the press definitely adds to the mystery.

Setlist: (thanks Jason & others)

  • Hope Drone
  • Moya
  • Albanian
  • Monheim
  • Dead Metheny
  • (unknown)
  • 09-15-00 (outro)
  • Chart #3
  • World Police & Friendly Fire
  • Gathering Storm
  • Blaise Bailey Finnegan III (aka BBF3)

Sorry for no photos from the show… t’was too packed, dark and I decided to hang back and enjoy anyway.  My opinion of the opener in the comment section.

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

Next show for me… Nik Barstch’s Ronin as part of Portland Jazz Fest next weekend.

~Dan – np: EarthAngels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1

Godspeed You! Black Emperor Tourdates

February 2011
16 – Vancouver, British Columbia @ Vogue Theatre
17 – Seattle, Wash. @ Showbox at the Market
18 – Portland, Ore. @ Crystal Ballroom
20 – San Francisco, Calif. @ Great American Music Hall
21 – San Francisco, Calif. @ Great American Music Hall
23 – Los Angeles, Calif @ Music Box at the Henry Fonda

March 2011
16 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Masonic Temple
17 – New York City, N.Y. @ Church of St. Paul the Apostle
19 – Philadelphia, Penn. @ Trocadero
20 Washington, D.C. @ 9:30 Club
22 – Athens, Ga. @ 40 Watt Club
24 – Nashville, Tenn. @ Cannery Ballroom
26 – Chicago, Ill. @ Metro
27 – Chicago, Ill. @ Metro
29 – Detroit, Mich. @ Majestic Theatre

Kevin Moore’s Shine (order)

11th Feb 11 (Fri) Leave a comment

If you missed the Kickstarter for Kevin Moore‘s Shine (the score/soundtrack to the Turkish film Küçük Kıyamet), you can now order it via a standard method…

http://chromakey.squarespace.com/

Click the above images to go to the website for samples and ordering info.  It’s limited to 1,000 CDs.  I imagine it will surface as digital only at some point.

I’ve had Shine since late, late December… I dig it.  Definitely fitting more in with movie scores, like Ghost Book (his score for Turkish horror movie Okul), compared to his work with Chroma Key or O.S.I.

~Dan – np: Over the RhineTrumpet Child

Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Kucuk Kıyamet

* Favorite Instrumental Albums of 2010 *

30th Dec 10 (Thu) 3 comments

Disclaimer: No, I haven’t heard all 8,000+albums released this year. I’ve heard about 120 of them, which makes me at least 98.5% likely to be wrong. I make no claims to objectivity. These albums are my favorites from 2010. You might think that the one you’ve heard that I haven’t heard is the best album of 2010. And you might be right. And, I while I generally agree with John Roderick about Year-End Lists, I still find it quite fun to compile my own.

As I start this post, I will say that this is all very subjective and really put together for my own purposes.  I’ll also state that, yes, some of the music below does have some vocals (i.e.- the Beats Antique & Tin Hat CDs).  For the most part, it’s sequestered to a track or two on a long CD of mostly instrumental goodness.  My list, my rules, and/or my breaking of the rules.  With that being said, all of the artists below tend to be in the jazz and instrumental frame of reference anyway.

As said before… I’ve been buying less music… or, at least a lot less mainstream (major label) music. This is also my third year now that I bought more instrumental CDs than vocal CDs. I think as I get older, I am drawn more towards jazz and other instrumental forms of expression. Hopefully my spilling out of music that I like finds interest with someone else. But if not, thanks for stopping by… check out the artists’ webpages, SpaceBook & MyFace pages, yadda yadda yadda. A lot of these also made it on to my 2010 Mix CD.

OK, now on to the best of what’s hit my ears this year…

Honorable Mentions: The Album Leaf‘s A Chorus of Storytellers, For a Minor Reflection‘s Höldum Í Átt Að Óreiðu, Yuka Honda‘s Heart Chamber Phantoms, Medeski Martin & Wood‘s The Stone Issue Four (great NFP/charity live release), and Jamie Saft‘s A Bag of Shells

Boy Eats Drum Machine20 Beats (self) :: OK, due to its title, 20 Beats had to come in at #20, right?  Regardless of wherever it hit, it’s a great album.  I first saw Boy Eats Drum Machine (aka Jon Ragel) open for That1Guy in Eugene.  I loved his turntablism, his sax playing, and his trippy sounds.  He’s a Portlander, too; so I’ve had a chance to see him twice this year.  Hopefully more in the near future…


John ZornFilmworks XXIV: The Nobel Peace Prize / In Search of the Miraculous / Interzone (Tzadik) :: John Zorn put out a ton of stuff in 2010.  Some of it didn’t make this list.  Some of it was great (these 3), and some of it was stupendous (some others higher up on the list). Filmworks XXIV is a more genteel offering. It is performed by the Rob Burger trio (and it’s a film score… duh). In Search of the Miraculous is in Zorn’s spiritual / “magick” subcategory (which has been hit or miss to me).  This album seems like a souped-up Rob Burger/Alhambra piano combo.  Quite delightful. Interzone is a return to Zorn’s “filecard” system and a tribute to William Burroughs. Some people on the Zornlist have raved about it… I find it good, but not amazing. Too much filler in the long-tracks… moments of brilliance, but also moments of meh-ness.  I’d rank it definitely better than “for the completist,” but lower than “legendary.”  All in all… solid experimental record.  The players are the usual fantastic Tzadik studio players: Medeski, Baptista, Dunn, Mori, Ribot, Wollesen and Zorn.
Mostly Other People Do the KillingForty Fort (Hot Cup) :: So, I’m a fan of composer Moppa Elliott and trumpet player Peter Evans. Peter’s solo show in Eugene a couple of years ago was an avant-garde delight. MOPDTK is a little more straight forward than Peter’s solo stuff. It’s a fun jazz group… very similar in feel and youthful, party jazz energy as Reptet (up in Seattle). This is their second album that I’ve heard but their fourth released. My favorite tracks are “Nanticoke Coke” and the title track “Forty Fort.” I’m looking forward to more from this killer band ensemble.
Masada String Trio plays John Zorn’s Masada Book Two, Volume 16: Haborym (Tzadik) :: Greg Cohen, Mark Feldman, and Erik Friedlander are fantastic players, and their contribution to the Masada Book Two series is an essential release.  One of the best of the series, and the Trio’s first studio recording in five years (last one was 2005’s Azazel #5).  Masada Book Two Sidenote: Cohen was actually in the original Masada quartet, but all of the members of the String Trio have also shown up on other MBT releases – Cohen (Astaroth #1, Lucifer #10, Stolas #12 and Baal #15), Friedlander (Volac #8, #10 and the upcoming Caym #17), and Feldman (Malphas #3 & #10).
John ZornThe Goddess (Tzadik) :: The Goddess is a continuation of In Search of the Miraculous, but I fancy it far more.  It is also a souped-up Rob Burger/Alhambra piano combo, quite lyrical and melodic.  As the title suggests, it is dedicated to the feminine.  It also features some harp work from Carol Emanuel – who unbeknownst to me until now has been on quite a bit of Zorn’s releases.
Derek WebbFeedback (INO) :: From my original writeup: Feedback is a self-proclaimed “worship album.” I also love the general aesthetics of it. It’s definitely got some electronic elements, but it has a more sweeping feel as well. Some of it feels like a mix of a happier ambiance of Amiina/Sigur Rós meets an acoustic-electronic bridge in a Sufjan Stevens song meets a gentle Ric Hordinski lyrical guitar solo (I am in a Monk mood). It’s a great quality instrumental album from a man who I loved via his witty voice from the get go. It’s nice to see him expand outside his comfort zone. As an atheist, I take it as a conduit into introspection and the worship of the divine as I see it – music.
Secret Chiefs 3Satellite Supersonic Vol 1 (Web of Mimicry) :: A new format release of the 7″ vinyl singles that SC3 put out in the Spring of 2007.  Nothing majorly new, but still nice to have in this format.  Secret Chiefs 3 fans are still waiting on Book of Souls, the follow-up to 2004’s Book of Horizons.  Who knows if we’ll ever get it… but this compilation is a great “tweener” – especially if you weren’t able to get the limited 7″ vinyls or didn’t have a record player.
John Zorn’s Moonchild Trio (with Marc Ribot) – Ipsissimus (Tzadik) :: The Moonchild Trio is one of the more experimental / scary groups.  It’s a highly composed, but seemingly improvisational group made up of Mike Patton on voice (not lyrical), Trevor Dunn on bass, and Joey Baron on drums. Ipsissimus is the fifth in the series, and includes Marc Ribot’s guitar and John Zorn’s sax for more than just one tune (like on The Crucible).  This release is not for the faint of heart.  Purely energetic, glossolaliac noise metal.
AutorYnoPastrami Bagel Social Club (Tzadik) :: I am fans of some of the other Jewish rock acts on John Zorn’s Tzadik label: like Eyal Maoz’s Edom, Jon Madof’s Rashanim, and Yoshie Fruchter’s Pitom. The description for this AutorYno debut from Tzadik was “a wild klezmer/rock fusion by this crazed band of Paris-born punk rockers… AutorYno hits with a hardedged sound and an exciting musical imagination. Full of youthful energy, massive guitar and centered by a powerful beat, they present eleven instrumentals that combine the power of rock with a taste of Jewish tradition.” Regardless of Tzadik’s usual/expected hyperbole, I couldn’t not get it. I’m glad I did.  Utterly fantastic klez-jazz-rock blend.
Tin HatForeign Legion (BAG) :: The Bay Area acoustic group is no longer a trio.  They are currently made up of Carla Kihlstedt on violin & voice, Mark Orton on guitar & dobro, Ben Goldberg on clarinets, Rob Reich on accordion & piano, and Zeena Parkins on harp.  It also features Willie Nelson on guest vocals on a track.  The album is part European explorer, part cinematic, part chamber group, part tango.  I generally by anything Carla Kihlstedt is involved in.  So far, I haven’t been steered wrong…
Beats AntiqueBlind Threshold (self) :: I got to see Zoe Jakes of Beats Antique twice this year… once with Beats Antique during Eugene Celebration, and once with the Indigo Bellydance troupe as part of their Le Serpent Rouge tour. She had a knee in a brace during Eugene Celebration; so she lended her stage presence to additional percussion instead of dance – which was unfortunate. Beats Antique is a bellydance-friendly, electronic and live instrument band from the Bay Area. Elements of Balkan music and tribal-fusion dance music. “Egyptic” is indicative of their infectuous sound.
Anakronic Electro OrkestraSpeak With Ghosts (Balagan Box) :: One of my favorite EPs of 2009 was Anakronic Electro Orkestra’s The Yiddish Part. My only complaint with the EP? It was too short. Well, in mid-November 2010, unbeknown to me at the time, they came out with their debut full-length Speak With Ghosts. AEO hail from Toulouse, France, and crank out a mighty fine mixture of drum & bass mixed with Eastern European-fused klezmer. This album is a 40+ minute shuffle through a modern klezmer forest – including one song featuring David Krakaeur (another favorite musician of mine). I think AEO is also great for fans of Beats Antique and Balkan Beat Box.
Loose GripLooking Glass (Fabrikant) :: Loose Grip is a fantastic Edinburgh-based jazz quartet led by drummer Chris Wallace. This guitar and tenor sax infused contemporary jazz band is great for fans of Chris Potter and Joe Lovano on the sax angle, great for fans of the guitar jazz like John Scofield, etc. It’s a well made record, and clearly stands out amongst the many jazz records that came out this year.
John Zorn’s The Dreamers play Masada Book Two, Volume 14: Ipos (Tzadik) :: Let’s just put this out there now… with thirteen albums and a DVD out in 2010, John Zorn might seem to have more misses than hits. Well, I don’t think there’s been a more consistent set of songs than his Masada songs, and there hasn’t been a more consistently great series than the Masada Book Two series (Zorn’s Masada songs covered by others). The Dreamers is a supergroup, too: Marc Ribot, Joey Baron, Cyro Baptista, Kenny Wollesen, Trevor Dunn and Jamie Saft – pillars in the adventurous, downtown NYC scene.
Charlie HunterGentlemen, I Neglect to Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid (Spire Artist) :: One of the most amazing things from this past year was watching Charlie play live (twice). His seeming ease at which he plays bass and guitar on one instrument is stunning (and curse-worthy for the guitar aficionado in the crowd). If you weren’t watching the stage, you’d easily be fooled that it was a quartet and not a trio. It’s quite an amazing thing to see and hear. He’s so unassuming about it, too… a showman without the show-off attitude. Gentlemen came out in early 2010, and is a great melodic romp.  For prior fans of Charlie, you won’t be disappointed.  For people who aren’t yet fans… you will be.
Dave Douglas & KeystoneSpark of Being (boxset) (Greenleaf) :: Dave and his fusion group Keystone were busy with this 3-CD boxset. All three releases were inspired by Douglas’ recent collaboration with experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison on the new multi-media project Spark of Being. The first release is the soundtrack to the film.  Two additional releases, Expand and Burst, feature Douglas and Keystone exploring and interpreting the themes of the film. Expand was also available on vinyl (a first for Dave’s Greenleaf label).
Dave HollandPathways (Dare2) :: I got into Dave Holland around the same time as a lot of other jazz. I got into jazz through the backdoor (John Zorn) and then slowly moved into the more straight ahead jazz. I think I can officially blame Ken Laster and his In the Groove, Jazz and Beyond podcast for playing a lot of Dave Holland. Anyway, shortly after hearing Holland, I picked up Extended Play: Live at Birdland and Critical Mass. Both are great, but the latter is quite fetching. Pathways is a superb combo and features some amazing playing by some other favorites of mine: saxophonist Chris Potter and drummer Nate Smith.  Outside of Joey Baron (Masada, etc), I think Nate Smith is one of the most entertaining drummers to see play.  I love how Dave Holland surrounds himiself with amazing players.  Great band, great record!
Holy FuckLatin (Young Turks) :: Despite what you think of their choice of band name, these Toronto band continue to put out great, groove-infused live electronic music that is both experimental and a poppy-force in the indie rock movement. Latin, their third full length album, grabbed me immediately when it came out this past May… and it’s #1 with a bullet as far as instrumental albums go in 2010. To top it off, they swung through Oregon twice this year (both excellent shows), and they put out quite possibly the cutest video for the raddest song (“Red Lights” – click the kitty to the right). The video now has over 1,000,000 views on the YouTubes. Only 900,000 views are from me.

Where do I get most of these jazz and other instrumental releases?  My #1 favorite source for jazz is Downtown Music Gallery in New York.  Manny and Bruce and their great staff are superb… and being the official distributor for John Zorn’s Tzadik doesn’t hurt my affection for them.  I usually do a monthly Tzadik order (if the releases strike my fancy), and they have a ton of other non-Tzadik jazz and avant-garde releases as well.

And, no, I’m not affiliated, I don’t get a commission, and beyond my initial “big tax refund / gotta get caught up on Zorn order of 2005,” I haven’t gotten a discount with DMG.  I just love and support what they do.

Enjoy the New Years weekend!! Be safe! See you in 2011.

My Other Favorites of 2010 Recaps:

~Dan – np: Kevin MooreShine

Silverchair/Daniel Johns short film + free music from Owen Pallett

22nd Dec 10 (Wed) 2 comments

Two unrelated music new tidbits…

First off, Daniel Johns (frontman for Aussie rock trio Silverchair) will be part of a short film that received a grant under the 2010 Screen NSW Emerging Filmmakers Fund.  Josh Wakely, an experienced actor and writer and an emerging director, will have the opportunity to make My Mind’s Own Melody, a short musical drama he has written with Daniel Johns.  http://www.chairpage.com/news

Second, Owen Pallett just put out a free demo EP on soundcloud.  It’s instrumental except for a spot vocal appearance from Shara Worden (aka My Brightest Diamond).  It is delightful.  Get it while it’s still a free download.  For other great Shara Worden guests spots… well, the Clogs record (with Sufjan Stevens guest spots, too) and Sarah Kirkland Snider‘s Penelope concept album rank high this year.

Yeah, my “Best Of” lists are still in the works.  It’s still 2010; so I’m not late. (I hate it how some people start putting out their lists in October… argh…)

~Dan – np: The WeepiesBe My Thrill 

Zorn @ Marciac (Aug 2010)

11th Dec 10 (Sat) Leave a comment

If you have 54 minutes to kill… and, well, maybe you should clear your schedule… John Zorn & Co @ Marciac Jazz Fest 2010

August 11, 2010

1. Little Bittern
2. Anulikwutsayl
3. Exodus
4. Karaim
5. Lilin

JOHN ZORN – direction, saxophone
MARC RIBOT – guitar
JAMIE SAFT – piano, orgue
TREVOR DUNN – bass
KENNY WOLLESEN – vibraphone
JOEY BARON – drums
CYRO BAPTISTA – percussion

~Dan – np: AutorYnoPastrami Bagel Social Club

California Guitar Trio this weekend (11/7)

3rd Nov 10 (Wed) Leave a comment

The California Guitar Trio (CGT) celebrates its twentieth anniversary with the release of Andromeda in October 2010 on Innerknot Records.  “Andromeda represents a culmination of all our work together in the past 20 years,” says guitarist Bert Lams. “We have released numerous CDs over the years, but there’s none like this one,” Lams continues. “Andromeda is the first album containing nothing but original material, combined with improvised pieces. The integration of structured, thought-out pieces with the loose and spontaneous improvisations is something we’ve never done before.”

CGT is Paul Richards of Salt Lake City, Utah; Bert Lams of Affligem, Belgium; and Hideyo Moriya of Chiba, Japan. The trio first met in England in 1987 while studying with iconic King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp. After touring together as part of Fripp’s League of Crafty Guitarists, the three guitarists convened in Los Angeles and founded The California Guitar Trio in 1991.

On Sunday, November 7th, They’re bringing their amazing guitar chops to the stage at Cozmic Pizza / The Strand in Eugene, OR.  If you live nearby, it’s a show not to be missed!!  Per Cozmic’s webpage, the show starts at 7pm.  It’s only $12, and there’s great food and drink and fantastic music!

CGT Info: http://cgtrio.com/

Cozmic info: http://cozmicpizza.com/

Unrelated Sidenote… Beats Antique just put out a freebie 2-song Día de los Muertos remix EP.  Check it out on bandcamp!

~Dan – np: Sarah Kirkland Snider & Shara WordenPenelope

Derek Webb’s worship album – FEEDBACK (an atheist’s perspective)

2nd Nov 10 (Tue) 11 comments

So, overnight (midnight CST), Derek Webb put out his new album Feedback.  I’ve been a fan of Derek Webb since I first got into his band Caedmon’s Call back in 1996.  They’re a christian band… and I’ve since “left the church,” as it were.  I mentioned this in my review of his show in Portland this past spring… even as an atheist, I find his music to be well conceived and well executed.  He’s not a discriminatingly judgmental person.  If he writes a judging lyric, it’s usually full of fingers a-blazin’ at himself first.

He also tackles many issues that I think are relevant and important to everyone (not just christians).  “What Matters More” from 2009’s Stockholm Syndrome is one of my most favorite songs he’s put out (that album was stellar all around)…

Anyway… back to his new album FeedbackFeedback is a self-proclaimed “worship album.”  I first heard about that moniker and was worried.  I mean, what does an atheist desire to hear in a “worship” album?  Not much, that’s what. I’ve heard many since leaving the church (Jars of Clay, Leigh Nash from Sixpence, other miscellaneous compilations with Derek and/or Caedmon’s Call), and… no offense is meant when I say this, but they really make me cringe.  It’s the “subject matter,” and I know it’s not intended for me… so I move on.  No harm, no foul.


Well,when I found out it was an instrumental worship album, well, again… no offense is meant, but it made me really happy.  I’ve listened to the album in full by now (10pm PST on Nov 1st is midnight CST on Nov 2nd), and I dig it.  It’s an “instrumental album based on the Lord’s Prayer.”

Worship is a complicated idea. Arguably, it’s what we all do, 24 hours a day (regardless of what we’re worshipping). And I’m aware of a lot of “worship product” in the marketplace I sometimes occupy. So I was cautious when I first started receiving the coordinates that would lead me to make ‘Feedback’. It was immediately conceptual and ambitious, so much so that I genuinely wasn’t sure I could do it. But this seemed to be the perfect posture in which to create something worthy of being called a “worshipful” piece of art. So I studied, meditated, struggled and prayed my way through this creative process, and it’s easily the most challenging thing I’ve done in my career. But I believe it’s been worth it, even just for the ways it’s stretched both my creative process and my faith as a follower of the Way. –Derek Webb

I could definitely see this being created (and used by listeners) in a worshipful manner.  I also love the general aesthetics of it.  It’s definitely got some electronic elements, but it has a more sweeping feel as well.  Some of it feels like a mix of a happier ambiance of Amiina/Sigur Rós meets an acoustic-electronic bridge in a Sufjan Stevens song meets a gentle Ric Hordinski lyrical guitar solo (I am in a Monk mood).  It’s a great quality instrumental album from a man who I loved via his witty voice from the get go.  It’s nice to see him expand outside his comfort zone.

While I don’t want to make a big deal about the christian and atheist thing… the slant of the record’s purpose (worship) makes me look at it from that angle.  I don’t think it needs to be that way.  But in the way the album is framed from a songwriting, production, and marketing point of view… yes, I definitely see this album as a conduit for worship.  As an atheist, I take it as a conduit into introspection and the worship of the divine as I see it – music.

Here’s a trailer for the short films that accompany the album:

Find out more at:
http://www.derekwebb.com/

Oh, today is also November 2nd – aka Election Day.  Regardless of who you vote for… don’t forget to do just that… VOTE.  It’s important.

~Dan – np: Monk (Ric Hordinski) – Quiver

Boy Eats Drum Machine’s 20 Beats

31st Aug 10 (Tue) Leave a comment

As reported in the Portland Mercury

On September 20, Boy Eats Drum Machine is releasing 20 Beats, an all instrumental recording with 20 songs and 20 different album covers (similar to NIИ’s Ghosts). The digital release will be available through iTunes and other digital outlets. You can listen to a sample of what’s to come right here…

Boy Eats Drum Machine – Silverskate Gateway

BEDM just came off of a great weekend show at Eugene Celebration (review & photos here).  Stay tuned to http://boyeatsdrummachine.com/ for more info about the upcoming release and shows.

~Dan – np: Beats AntiqueContraption Vol 1

nine inch nails nin

Bird on a Wire

22nd Jan 10 (Fri) Leave a comment

Being a fan of animals and a fan of avant-garde/experimental music, I am really digging this…

New commission for The Curve

French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot creates works by drawing on the rhythms of daily life to produce sound in unexpected ways.  For his installation in The Curve, Boursier-Mougenot creates a walk-though aviary for a flock of zebra finches, furnished with electric guitars and other musical instruments. As the birds go about their routine activities, perching on or feeding from the various pieces of equipment, they create a captivating, live soundscape.

Thanks, Jim Tuerk of Greenleaf.

~Dan – np: Hotel LightsHotel Lights

Auragami “Resistance”

20th Jan 10 (Wed) Leave a comment

One of my favorite bass-playing gents, Auragami (aka San Diego’s Michael Miller) is putting out a new 2-track EP/single shortly called Resistance.  He’s got the chunky, groove-oriented title track up streaming over here…

http://auragami.tumblr.com/

Go check it out!

~Dan – np: That1GuyPacks a Wallop!

* Favorite Instrumental Albums of 2009 *

31st Dec 09 (Thu) 10 comments

Disclaimer (with a nod to Andy Whitman of Paste): No, I haven’t heard all 8,000+albums released this year. I’ve heard about 200 of them, which makes me at least 97.5% likely to be wrong. I make no claims to objectivity. These albums are my favorites from 2009. You might think that the one you’ve heard that I haven’t heard is the best album of 2009. And you might be right. So go ahead and vent. Enjoy!

As I start this post, I will say that this is all very subjective and really put together for my own purposes. I’ll also state that, yes, some of the music below does have some vocals. For the most part, it’s sequestered to a track or two on a long CD of mostly instrumental goodness. My list, my rules, and/or my breaking of the rules. With that being said, all of the artists below tend to be in the jazz and instrumental frame of reference anyway.

Hopefully my spilling out of music that I like finds interest with someone else. But if not, thanks for stopping by… check out their webpages, SpaceBook pages, yadda yadda yadda. OK, now on to the best of what’s hit my ears this year on the mainly instrumental front…

Honorable mentions: Uri Gurvich‘s The Storyteller, John Zorn‘s Filmworks XXIII: El General, AhleuchatistasOf the Body Prone, Secret Chiefs 3‘s Le Mani Destre Recise Degli Ultimi Uomini (The Severed Right Hands of the Last Men), and Skerik & The Dead Kenny G’s Bewildered Herd.

Osso String QuartetRun Rabbit Run: A Tribute to Sufjan Stevens’ Enjoy Your Rabbit (Asthmatic Kitty) :: I feel lucky that I got to witness the world premiere of Osso playing Sufjan Stevens’ Enjoy Your Rabbit at MusicNOW Fest 2007 in Cincinnati. I think almost immediately after that show, I emailed Asthmatic Kitty to see if they were going to release audio or video of that performance. Little did I know that they’d do me one better by putting Osso into a studio to record the full length stringed tribute. Huzzah! While the novelty of the initial project has worn off for me, the musical arrangements stand firm. I really dig Osso and I’m looking forward to their further collaboration with Sufjan, My Brightest Diamond, or their own pieces.
Mike PattonCrank High Voltage Score (Lions Gate) :: Well, Mike Patton pretty much took a year off of Ipecac stuff due to Faith No More reuniting. I supposed this score satiated me, but I would have loved for Mondo Cane to make its way out the door in 2009 (as was initially promised by Patton himself). Anyway, this album has a couple of vocal tracks, but overall, it features Mike’s voicebox gymnastics and razor-edged composition schizophrenia that I’ve loved since I first got into Mr. Bungle… Fantômas… and the rest of his vast body of work…
Feldman / Caine / Cohen / BaronSecrets (Tzadik) :: This album snuck on me as I was re-listening to my 2009 CDs. It has that klezmer jazz feel as is common in the Tzadik Radical Jewish Culture series, but it also has a much more accessible feel as well. With Uri Caine’s piano in the mix, he almost adds a Vince Guaraldi aspect to the klez-jazz that permeates.
Jónsi & AlexRiceboy Sleeps (indie) :: Sigur Rós is one of my favorite groups, and a few years ago frontman Jónsi started an arty project with his partner Alex. At first it was a hand-printed notebook and a few musical things on MySpace, but it transformed into a full album as time went along. It’s much more ambient when compared to Sigur Rós – but definitely appeals to fans of Jónsi’s main band. In other news… they have a raw, vegan cookbook PDF on their website (for free)… holy cow… I’m totally gonna make some raw strawberry pie when the season comes around. That and many other recipes look flippin’ delicious… much like the music. Yeah, this is a music blog, right? Sorry for my drooling over “Icelandic rockstar” recipe books.
Wadada Leo Smith with Jack DeJohnetteAmerica (Tzadik) :: I love trumpet… I have some of Wadada’s other work, and I usually find it to be hit or miss. I wasn’t coming in with a lot of preconceptions or whetted appetite about this album, and after the first spin, I loved it. It’s fairly sparse sonically, with only Wadada on trumpet & flugelhorn and Jack on drums. The sound from his horns is so brilliant and melodic, yet searching. I hope they can get together for a 2nd duo outing sometime soon. This wins my “best surprise” award for instrumental albums in 2009.
The Fantastic Terrific MunkleMusic To Dance To (Jazz Groove Australia) :: I got into the Fantastic Terrific Munkle via band member Julian Curwin, who put out his fantastic Tango Saloon out on Ipecac a few years ago. Munkle and Tango Saloon have similar jazz meets groove meets world music meets danceable rhythms. This one was harder to get, as I had to directly order it from Australia (but at least they accept PayPal in US dollars). I wish I could find similar luck with Tango Saloon’s second album, Transylvania (still no stateside release, and the AUD to USD conversion is killin’ me these days).
900XMusic for Lubbock, 1980 (Asthmatic Kitty) :: I got this download for free from Asthmatic Kitty along with the other Library Catalog Music Series (they’re great in supplying review subjects to music bloggers), and the 900X album simply surpassed the others in the collection, if you ask me. I ended up buying it on vinyl… a great addition to the collection. I don’t know if 900x (or James McAlister dba 900x) have any future plans for further releases of this nature. I hope so.
McTuff (Skerik & Joe Doria)McTuff, Volume 1 (indie) :: Joe Doria’s tribute to Jack McDuff has turned into a great Northwest jazz quartet (and trio when Skerik isn’t available). I’m lucky to have seen them a couple times thus far. Skerik’s sax is fantastic, Doria’s hammond keeps the groove, Lewis’s drums are killer, and Coe’s guitars really know how to burn (which I didn’t really pick up on until the 2nd time seeing them live).
Roberto RodriguezThe First Basket (Tzadik) :: Roberto Rodriguez’s Cuban-meets-Judaic music have been some of my favorites out of Tzadik the last few years… this one was a bit different. It’s a score to a film (of the same name) that follows the history of Jewish basketball… its scope covers klezmer, classical, rock, dixieland, and more. Its variety is what helped this album beat out his other 2009 album from the list this year (Timba Talmud is also really good).

Medeski Martin & WoodRadiolarians II & III (Indirecto) :: Starting in 2008, MMW set out to record three albums back to back to back, heading out on a short tour before each album and going directly into the studio and then out on the road again. They swung through Eugene in late 2008 as part of the Radiolarians III Tour. By that time, only R1 had come out; so the crowd didn’t really know the material being played. They played two sets, one set of experimental meets groove and one set of the eventual R3 material. Near the end of 2009, they released the Evolutionary Boxset (all Radiolarians albums with tons of extras: vinyl/live/remixes/DVDs)… great material from a fantastic groove-oriented jazz band. I’m stoked, as they’re coming through Eugene again in Feb 2010. Yay!
Wynton MarsalisHe and She (EMI Blue Note) :: Wynton is a great trumpet player, puts on a great live show, writes and releases great music, and he’s also a jazz bigot. Sigh.
Eyal Maoz’s EdomHope and Destruction (Tzadik) :: Great Jewish instrumental rock. I dug Eyal’s first album, Edom. It appears he’s made an official band out of it… yay. I don’t have much else to add; so I’ll leave it with Tzadik’s P.R. niblit… “Hope and Destruction presents powerful Jewish rock instrumentals from a cutting edge guitarist who combines the harmonic lyricism of Bill Frisell with the angst and skronk of Marc Ribot.” Ribot and Frisell influences… me likey.
Jon Madof’s RashanimThe Gathering (Tzadik) :: Similar but a bit rockier compared to Eyal Maoz’s Edom, Jon Madof has been on my radar since his first instrumental Jewish rock album, Rashanim (which subsequently turned into the band name similar to Edom’s recent evolution). Anyway, this is Madof’s third album under this band moniker. Guitars, bass, drums… banjo… banjo bass… jaw harp… glockenspiel… melodica… tiple… chonguri… it all sounds great!! Jon also has another band called CircuitBreaker that I’m waiting on with baited breath.
Stabat AkishStabat Akish (Tzadik) :: From Toulouse, France, this is one of those rare Tzadik releases that fits into the “Composer Series” that doesn’t bore me to tears. Don’t get me wrong, there are some gems in the CS catalogue, but most of them are violin noodlers. This is more of the rock band variety of composers. It has elements of French street music (which I witnessed first hand in Toulouse, coincidentally), elements of Zorn’s schizophrenia, and elements of the ever excellent Frank Zappa… thanks to the vibraphone and bass marimba acrobatics.
ZuCarboniferous (Ipecac) :: I got this due to Mike Patton’s involvement… he actually sings on one track (and vocal instrumentation on another). Despite that Patton vocal song, this is definitely an instrumental band and a chiefly instrumental album. Zu is powerful rock from Rome, sometimes lumped in with the math rock scene, sometimes with metal. They have had their hand in the jazz scene in the past, too (their album placed in The Village Voice‘s 2004 jazz poll). This album is my only experience with them, but I hope to get into their diverse and vast back catalogue soon.
SF Jazz CollectiveLive 2009 (SF Jazz) :: SFJC 2010 will not quite be the same… they lost Dave Douglas, Joe Lovano, and Miguel Zenon – all key players in the 2007 through 2009 seasons. This 2009 season was dedicated to the music of McCoy Tyner and also features great compositions by the eight members of the band. It is truly a collective of many great musicians, not just a band fronted by a few.
Tim SparksLittle Princess: Tim Sparks plays Naftule Brandwein (Tzadik) :: A fingerstyle guitar virtuoso, I’d heard Tim on some other Tzadik releases, but I think this one is my favorite of his. This album is a trio of Tim, Cyro Baptista on percussion, and Greg Cohen on bass. I think the added players helped fill out Tim’s sound – which was awesomely virtuosic, but a touch too sparse on prior releases.
Dave DouglasA Single Sky (Greenleaf) :: This was the third of three Dave Douglas releases this year. It features three new Dave Douglas tunes and four rearranged Douglas tunes by Jim McNeely and his Frankfurt Radio Bigband. The entire album has a great big band feel, something I’m a sucker for – obviously. I love Dave Douglas’s prolific nature – 2009 was good to his fans.
John ZornAlhambra Love Songs (Tzadik) :: One of the more accessible albums in Zorn’s catalogue, this is his ode to his favorite San Francisco Bay Area artists and musicians: Vince Guaraldi, Clint Eastwood, David Lynch, Mike Patton, Harry Smith, and more. The music is played by the Rob Burger Trio (Rob + Greg Cohen & Ben Perowsky). The albums leads off with the very Guaraldian tribute to Vince himself – “Mountain View.”
Dave Douglas & Brass EcstasySpirit Moves (Greenleaf) :: Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy is coming to Portland / PDX Jazz Fest this coming February! I’m so stoked. This band features Dave on trumpet, Vincent Chancey (French horn), Luis Bonilla (trombone), Marcus Rojas (tuba) and Nasheet Waits (drums). The tuba really adds that bouncy backbone that I love (I’m also a fan of the rockier band Drums & Tuba). Check out DD&BE’s NPR Tiny Desk Concert (video).
Sufjan StevensThe BQE (Asthmatic Kitty) :: It is atrociously difficult to read the lettering on the front cover… maybe as easy as navigating the Brooklyn Queens Expressway in rush hour. This was Sufjan’s first foray into studio album land since the Avalanche (but that was more of a b-side collection of 2005’s Illinoise). Anyway… it’s a moving, 40 minute piece dedicated to NYC’s traffic clusterbomb. It comes with a film to accompany it, and if you get the double-gatefold vinyl, you get a spiffy comic book written by Sufjan and a fantastic full-color booklet. I like it how Sufjan “keeps it weird” when he’s “keeping it real.”
John ZornO’o (Tzadik) :: While the music is stunning, I think longtime Tzadik artwork designer Chippy deserves a ton of credit as well. This album is the band from The Dreamers: Baptista, Baron, Dunn, Ribot, Saft, and Wollesen. It carries on that world music / surf / exotica sound, but adds the element of nature: being a tribute to rare birds (the album is named after an extinct Hawaiian bird).
Tides from NebulaAura (indie from Poland) :: Tides of Nebula is powerful, evocative progressive post-rock goodness from Poland. They have links on their MySpace page on how to get their CD. It’s really, really, really, good. It combines the huge sound from post-rock giants like Explosions in the Sky or Mogwai, but adds a tight edge as well – similar to if Brit progressive rockers Porcupine Tree tweaked some Explosions or Mogwai songs. This is one of those bands and albums that I had no idea about even this summer, and then out of nowhere – BAM! Way up to the top of the pile. I’m looking forward to more from this great group.
Masada Quintet & Joe Lovano play Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 12: Stolas (Tzadik) :: The original Masada quartet’s last studio album was in 1999. They continued as a quartet (John Zorn / Dave Douglas / Joey Baron / Greg Cohen) throughout most of the 2000s (I got to see one of their last shows in March 2007). Zorn moved on in the 2000s with writing a 2nd book of Masada tunes, not to be played by Masada, but rather interpreted by other bands. The past 11 albums in this series have been fantastic (Secret Chiefs 3, Medeski Martin & Wood, and the Bar Kokhba Sextet (related-to-but-not-Masada) albums have been my faves). I would never have imagined that Zorn would “allow” Masada to record an album for this Masada Book Two series. Well, he didn’t (sort of). He added pianist Uri Caine and tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano to the mix. A great “supergroup” album!!

Where do I get most of these jazz and other instrumental releases? My #1 favorite source for jazz is Downtown Music Gallery in New York. Manny and Bruce and their great staff are superb… and being the official distributor for John Zorn’s Tzadik doesn’t hurt my affection for them. I usually do a monthly Tzadik order (if the releases strike my fancy), and they have a ton of other non-Tzadik jazz and avant-garde releases as well.

And, no, I’m not affiliated, I don’t get a commission, and beyond my initial “big tax refund / gotta get caught up on Zorn order of 2005,” I haven’t gotten a discount with DMG. I just love and support what they do.

My Other Favorites of 2009 Recaps:

~Dan – np: Brian BorcherdtTorches

REVIEW: Hiromi’s Sonicbloom @ Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley (Seattle, WA – 6/16/09)

17th Jun 09 (Wed) Leave a comment

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

Well, I’d never been to Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley.  It’s an amazing little room (maybe 200 seats) with dinner served if you show up early.  Plus, in downtown Seattle, it offers free parking.  Yeah, you read that correctly – free parking. :)  Anyway, I showed up shortly after 6pm after fighting with traffic heading through Tacoma and into Seattle.  I got seated right up front, which was also the benefit of showing up early for the dinner & show deal.  Fantastic food, and wonderful staff!  The venue earns an A+!!  I hope they bring in some more choice acts… it was worth the trip.

Hiromi Uehara and Sonicbloom took the stage around 7:40.  The band was Hiromi on piano (a Steinway & Sons, if I recall correctly) & keyboards (3 different keyboards/syths), Tony Grey on 6-string electric bass, Dave Fiuczynski on double-neck guitar (12 string on top, 7 string on bottom), and Mauricio Zottarelli on drums.  Both Tony & Dave played on Hiromi’s two Sonicbloom records.  Actually, Tony played with Hiromi on her last four records (not just the recent Sonicbloom moniker).

As a band, they were pretty tight.  I liked Tony a lot on bass.  He had a nice groove, and his “mouthing” of the solos was fun, too.  Maurice was also great, but he was shielded from me for most of the night from an older “bigger hair” couple; so I didn’t catch many glimpses of him.  Dave was good, too… but sometime he got too “noodley” versus what the band was doing.  His solos weren’t great in my opinion, but when he was playing lead, his playing worked well.  Maybe guitar in a jazz quartet wasn’t my thing this time around.

As far as setlist, no luck.  Hiromi only announced one song from the stage: “Time Travel” from Time Control (the 2007 Sonicbloom record).  I’m pretty sure that they didn’t play “XYZ” (or the variation “XYG”).  That was a bummer, but not too much of a bummer – as the show was amazing all around.

They played a few standards, one that the name is on the tip of my tongue, but I can’t for the life of me remember it.  I can hear it still in my head (doo doo doo, doop doop doodle doop).  Damn, there are too many songs in my head and barely any names.  Hiromi also played a solo classical piece that was very familiar, but again, I’m drawing a blank.  Regardless of song names, Hiromi’s handwork is amazing.  I swear, I don’t know how she can pull off playing two different melodies at the same time with different hands.  Anyway, the whole group was an amazing bunch of musicians.  Most of the show was pretty jammy, but had elements of straight ahead jazz, and again some classical.

They’re playing again at the Jazz Alley as I type this… if anyone went tonight (June 17th), let me know how it went.

For the uninitiated to Hiromi, check out the video electronic press kit for Beyond Standard featuring “XYG“:

Or check out the video for “Time Difference“…

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: Anakronic Electro-OrchestraThe Yiddish Part -EP-

HIROMI’s SONICBLOOM PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2009 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

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