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Archiv der Kategorie: Gigs and musical accidents

Jahresrückblick(e)

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Jahresrückblick(e)

Neulich fiel mir eine Januar-Ausgabe des MusikExpress aus den Siebziger Jahren in die Hände – der Jahreswechsel wurde darin kaum erwähnt. Heute hingegen sind alle Magazine zu dieser Zeit gefüllt mit dem »großen Jahresrückblick« und die Redaktionen kriegen sich garnicht mehr ein vor lauter Resümees, Zusammenfassungen und Listen. Und wenn ich schon meine eigenen Favoriten präsentiere, dann wage ich auch mal einen näheren Blick auf die aktuelle Musikpresse.

Der deutsche Rolling Stone (Top 3 – Bill Callahan: Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Ghosteen • Lana Del Rey: Norman Fucking Rockwell) hat vorhersehbar immer die wahnsinnigste Zusammenstellung: neben all den gender- und Medien-korrekten Nennungen (Solange, Billie Eilish, Lizzo) gibt es auch SunO))), Morrissey und die Düsseldorf Düsterboys, bei den Personen des Jahres natürlich Greta und irgendwelche angesagten Podcast-DJs und Influencer (aber auch ein kluger Kommentar zu Handke und Nobelpreis), und aus Doofheit (oder Überheblichkeit) drucken sie gleich dazu die Favoriten der – offenbar masochistischen – Leserschaft ab, und da ist alles beim Alten: Springsteen, Iggy, Dylan, Rammstein, die Stones und die Toten Hosen. Für die Leser scheinen die Redakteure also nicht unbedingt zu schreiben…

Der gleiche Irrsinn beim MusikExpress (Top 3 – Billie Eilish: When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? • Solange: When I Get Home • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Ghosteen), wo es Greta sogar aufs Titelbild schafft. Hier wird der Listenwahn durch komplett sinnfreien Statistiken garniert, und auf einer Seite tatsächlich Trends in „den Charts“ analysiert. Der beste Witz ist die fassungslos uninformierte Erkenntnis »Country: ein traditionell konservatives Genre öffnet sich 2019 neuen Einflüssen« (es ist tatsächlich 2019 und die amerikanische Countrymusic gemeint!).

Erfrischend demgegenüber die Visions (Top 3 – Tool: Fear Inoculum • King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Infest In The Rat’s Nest • Fidlar: Almost Free). Der allgegenwärtige Nick Cave bekommt hier immerhin eine Erwähnung als »Scheißplatte des Jahres« (»Schwülstiger Synthie-Ambient mit Chören und Orchester. Dazu rhabarbert und greint sich Cave durch voll deepe New Age-Epen. Die formlosen Stücke hinter dem phänomenal kitschigen Cover nehmen kein Ende.«), und das unvermeidliche Top-Thema Klima wird in einem ausführlichen Artikel in Bezug auf die Rockszene analysiert.

Erwartungsgemäß ist in den deutschen Magazinen alles um Genderpolitik und »Klimaprotest« (wie es so schön heißt) prominent vertreten. Da werden plastikfreie CD-Hüllen propagiert und Festival-Betreiber für Müll-Recycling gelobt, aber die Schallplatte ist offenbar trotz energieaufwendiger Herstellung voll OK: für den Hipster ist »jungfräuliches« Vinyl und eine Innenhülle mit Plastikeinlage ein Verkaufsargument (bzw. ein »unbedingtes Muß« will man den Fachzeitschriften glauben). Und weiterhin wird vehement eine 50/50 Frauenquote bei den Festival-Lineups propagiert – offenbar soll da wie in der Nachkriegszeit das Volk mit erzieherischem Auftrag auf den richtigen Weg gebracht werden. Im Deutschlandfunk beklagt im (aufgepaßt:) »Jahres-Rock-Blick« eine Kommentatorin allen Ernstes, daß in einem Zeitschriften-Feature unter den »10 besten Bluesrock-Gitarristen« keine Frau vertreten war. Offenbar sollen also selbst Umfragen gefälligst so manipuliert werden, daß die Quotenwächter zufrieden sind. Und bei all dem Gejammer wird natürlich nirgendwo erwähnt, daß in der Weltmusik-Szene, bei Country und bei Rockabilly seit Jahrzehnten ein ausgewogenes Geschlechterverhältnis besteht – da spielen Tuaregfrauen Slidegitarre, weibliche Songwriter schreiben die internationalen Hits, und selbst im Metal- oder Prog-Bereich sind weibliche Produzenten, Promoter und Musiker ganz selbstverständlich. Aber offenbar besuchen die Feministinnen von Springer Media etc. mit Vorliebe die Testosteron-gesteuerten Mega-Festivals wie Rock Am Ring, um sich dann bei Burger und Bier darüber zu ärgern, daß bei Rammstein und Metallica keine Frauen mitspielen »dürfen«.

Etwas seriöser (und ohne den Anspruch, thematisch auch gleich Politik, Gesellschaft und das menschliche Miteinander abzudecken) präsentiert sich die englische Musik-Presse. Uncut (Top 3: Weyes Blood: Titanic Rising • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Ghosteen • Purple Mountains) hat ganz selbstverständlich den Jazz von The Comet Is Coming neben Bruce Springsteen und 75 Dollar Bill stehen, und lobt Reissues von Bob Dylan, John Coltrane, Stereolab und Popol Vuh.

Und das verläßliche Mojo (Top 3 – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Ghosteen • Bill Callahan: Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest • Bruce Springsteen: Western Stars) wechselt in der Bestenliste munter zwischen Lee Scratch Perry, Aldus Harding, Tinariwen und Mavis Staples. Diese Liste motiviert wirklich mal zum Suchen, Nachhören und Entdecken. Genauso wie der Rückblick in Prog (Top 3 – Opeth: In Clauda Venum • Big Big Train: Grand Tour • Rosalie Cunningham) – kosmische Electronica von Jane Weaver neben Magma, Flaming Lips und Iamthemorning.

Es bleibt spannend. Und die Musik bleibt sowieso.

Christmas Music

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Christmas Music

WinterVeil_09

It’s December, and Christmas Time Is Here Again.

You can listen to my Christmas playlists here and there.

Wassermusik 2015

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Wassermusik 2015

It’s Water Music time again at the Berlin House Of World Cultures – as every year there’s a series of concerts, lectures, movies and yoga classes, all taking part at the Mirror Pond in front of the HKW, with a selection of market stalls surrounding the lawn. This years theme is „Mother India“ featuring music from all over the world with Indian and Bollywood influences.

Weekend 1 – Friday
gets things off with a brilliant performance by the Bombay Connection Orchestra, playing the Bollywood soundtracks of RD Burman and others. This is basically a fancy little beat combo, augmented by string and horn sections, and it’s thrilling to hear those lush movie arrangements played by a twanging electro guitar and Ladi Geisler-patented Hofner violin bass. The evening concert features the magnificent Talvin Singh, who has »re-composed« the score for the 1972 Hindi movie »Pakeezah« – this is »Call Of The Valley«-style Indian music, contemplative and ambient, soaring with Singh’s vituoso tabla playing. And the original movie was shown afterwards, too!

Wassermusik 1AWassermusik 1B

Wekend 1 – Saturday
The first concert featured Zoe Rahman (who had performed here before with Jerry Dammer’s Spatial A.K.A. Orchestra) on piano, with a small band. Her jazzy piano playing mixed American Cool with British (and Scottish) folk influences and melodies from her Bengali background.
More jazz came with the gig from Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Kinsmen – this time mixed with South Indian music. Karnataka master Kadri Golpalnath played Saxophone Indian style, and the band was basically two sections, the Indian musicians (saxophone, violin, percussion) sitting down on a carpet, and the Western players (upright bass, drums, guitar and saxophone) standing on the right. This was only a visual separation though, as they played a perfect synthesis, sometimes sounding like »On The Corner« crossed with George Harrison’s »Wonderwall Music«.

Wassermusik 2A Wassermusik 2B

Weekend 2 – Friday
Now here come the pop – Swami from London play »Desi Rock«, complete with a rapper, a female and a male singer, and although they make a nice, upbeat Punjabi Pop, their performance is marred by the typically British, patronising stage announcements of their singer, urging the audience to »get up« and »do us a favour, come on: get up!!!«. The relaxed crowd, sitting on the sunny lawn with their picknick and snacks, or lounging in deckchairs, just laughs them off.
The real funk then comes with Red Baraat – reminiscent of a New Orleans brass band playing at a Punjabi wedding. This is the real thing: Dhol & Brass, complete with a tuba player holding the rhythm, and leader Sunny Jain playing the Dhol drum center stage, at times whirling it around like a toy. Fantastic.

Wassermusik 3A Wassermusik 3B

Weekend 2 – Saturday
The highlight so far: Peter Cat Recording Co. are a true psychedelic beat band – with roots in Goa. Their gig is so relaxed it feels like an informal soundcheck at times, like a stoned Cornershop crossed with the Small Faces. Centerpiece of their performance is a lengthy organ instrumental (imagine the Beatles »Flying« played by the Style Council), with the guitarist taking over the keys mid-solo from the organ player who then proceeds to play a trancendental trumpet solo. Far out. (They sell their music at the merch stand in pill form – edible and with a download code inside, fortune cookie-style…)
Top of the bill are the Konkani Goan All Stars, a band especially assembled to recreate Goan 60s/70s pop music, with original players from Goa performing the songs compiled on the 2009 sampler »Konkani Songs« as a virtual supergroup. Their guitar player, nowadays a professor of classical Goan music, is brimming with joy when they play one of his first compositions, an early 60s Asian pop trash classic.

Wassermusik 4A Wassermusik 4B

Weekend 3 – Friday
Arooj Aftab plays Sufi poetry with an »In A Silent Way« like, pulsing ambient jazz sound. This is relaxed, intelligent music incorporating upright bass and sitar, and it’s the perfect introduction to the star of the evening: former Incredible String Band member Mike Heron. His small band, featuring (as usual) two female singers and instrumentalists, is augmented for this special performance by Pakistani sitar virtuoso Ashraf Sharif Khan, and its wonderful to hear the psychedelically weird arrangements from those ISB albums being interpreted by the shimmering sounds of a sitar. They play »a song I haven’t performed for 40 years« and the magnificent Mr. Heron– of course! – closes with a mesmerizing performance of »A Very Cellular Song«. And those harmonies still sound slightly off kilter…

Wassermusik 5A Wassermusik 5B

Weekend 3 – Saturday
This surely can’t get any weirder. During the 1950s, Bollywood movies apparently were very popular in Greece, and many of those movie songs were translated and became Greek pop hits. The bouzouki band Kompania plays these songs in an exclusive presentation, and they sometimes introduce a song by playing a snippet of the Indian original. This music is a surprisingly natural mixture – sounding like original Greek bouzouki music, with the Indian melodies complementing the arrangements in a perfect match. When they encore with a »real« bouzouki classic you don’t hear a difference…

Wassermusik 6A
And then comes the legend: 82-year old Asha Bhosle really »keeps the flame alive« for her first performance in Germany. She starts with a Bollywood classic, and the Indian part of the audience just goes nuts. Songs are recognised and cheered after the first note, and elderly women in their beautiful saris perform the dance moves from the respective films with their daughters. Miss Bhosle is very cheerful, calls out the Indian provinces to cheers from the crowd, and introduces the songs in Indian (mostly) and English. The middle section of the show is a long medley of Bollywood tunes performed by her great band with a singer and Asha’s granddaughter, but she soon returns, first by playing percussion and singing backing vocals, then singing a classical Indian tune accapella – composed by her father. Special mention should go to the fabulous guitar player on stage, who not only looks like Richard Hawley’s Indian brother, but enriches the songs with twanging Buck Owens sounds, psychedelic fuzz guitar, and even introduces one song with a screaming, Hendrix-like feedback bonanza. More hits (and requests from the audience) follow, and the concert on this beautiful, warm summer evening ends with a standing ovation for Asha Bhosle. Brimful of Asha, indeed.

Wassermusik 6B Wassermusik 6C

Wassermusik 2013

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It was the first weekend of this year’s ‚Wassermusik‘ festival at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. And before I report on Dengue Fever and the Meridian Brothers, let’s get straight to the best concert I’ve ever seen (and probably will ever see) – the mighty Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra.

Now, if you can imagine Frank Zappa’s ‚Best Band‘ joined by Funkadelic AND Parliament you get only half the picture. On Sunday evening nearly twenty musicians entered the stage, led by the mad genius Daisuke Fuwa, who (one hand in his pocket, smoking a jazz cigarette, and taking mobile pictures of the crowd) more or less conducted. Two drummers, full brass section, plus a Theremin player in the first row, they were joined by Butoh dancers, go-go girls in Manga or Geisha dresses, and a half-naked frontman. They played what turned into one continuous symphony/jam/collage that included free jazz solos, epic Eddie Hazel-like guitar solos, ferocious riffing, always supported by a mighty funk rhythm, at times reminding of „Lotus“-era Santana – one climax following another. As their press release says, „We start with an earth quake, and build up from there…“

Halfway through they were joined by a 15-meter flying ice dragon (Photo by Harald Weißman, from the Haus der Kulturen Facebook page) that floated above the audience.

HKW IceDragon

Oh, and they had a ‚live painter‘ on stage, too, who filled a canvas with Mati Klarwein-like doodles during the gig. Fantastic.

They returned to the stage for an encore, which consisted of a three-second riff. Followed by a second encore, an old japanese fisherman song apparently (which nonetheless sounded like „Lonesome Cowboy Burt“ played by Ornette Coleman and George Clinton…)

Zappa Pop History

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Zappa Pop History

Over in the other room we’re busy compiling a run-down of the complete series of „Pop History“ albums from Polydor. You can check the strange entry for Vol. 7 (Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention) and even listen to the whole double album.

More Favourite Albums

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More Favourite Albums

You can listen to yet another introductory mix with my Hot 100 Album choices now.

Featured this time are these ten albums:

Horslips • Happy To Meet, Sorry To Part (World music from Ireland)

Bob Dylan • Time Out Of Mind (featuring „Highlands“ – one of Dylan’s funniest songs)

Jam & Spoon • Tripomatic Fairytales 2001 & 2002 (actually two albums: taken together it’s one long trip into ambient, psycho-dub dance music)

Dwight Yoakam • Tomorrow’s Sounds Today (Ace songs, and ace guitar playing)

Donovan • A Gift From A Flower To A Garden (Another double album, this one coupling children’s songs with psychedelic folk rock)

Frank Sinatra • Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim (More World (-weary) music)

10cc • Sheet Music (Probably their best – before they got too ambitious…)

David Bowie • Low (The Berlin album, not recorded in Berlin)

The Leather Nun • International Heroes (Long-forgotten sleaze-rock meisters)

King Crimson • Islands (Maybe not their best, but my favorite).

Fall in love with music…!

More Favourite Albums

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More Favourite Albums

Before we’ve all forgotten about it (or, rather, I’ve made a new list…) here’s another batch of my favourite albums for everyone’s listening pleasure.

Mucho rockabilly this time – the featured albums are:

Robert Gordon with Link Wray (their ace debut album from 1977)

Loud, Fast & Out Of Control (a 4-CD set of classic rock’n’roll singles in their original jukebox mixes: here represented by Warren Smith, Johnny Burnette, Rock-A-Teens, Elvis and Johnny Otis)

Elvis Costello: North (one of his best…)

Gastr Del Sol: Camofleur (strange sounds from weird people)

Lata Mangeshkar: An Era In An Evening (the fabulous Miss Mangeshkar in a 2-hour live concert from 1997, would you believe?!)

The Lords: Ulleogamaxbe (Forgotten German Psych/Garage/Beat album from the Sixties)

John Martyn: One World (from 1977, not a trace of punk or prog here…)

Julie Driscoll: Streetnoise (one of those classic double albums that take you on a journey)

Extreme: Pornograffitti (well, I was young at the time…)

Tocotronic: Pure Vernunft darf niemals siegen (The Hamburg/Berlin connection)

Viel Spaß!

My Favourite Albums Approximately

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My Favourite Albums Approximately

My friends from The Afterwords requested a 100 favourite albums list. So I duly sat down (for a day or two) and compiled a list – only to find that most of the chosen items don’t even include the artist’s best songs.

However, you can find the list here. These albums – for various reasons – I’ve enjoyed for years, and I always find something new and enticing with every new listen. And to share some of the beauty I will compile hour-long mixes with a track from each of these albums (yes, I have too much time on my hands…). Listen to the first mix on Mixcloud and enjoy!

Music From The Harem Lounge

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Music From The Harem Lounge

Happy New Year – and here’s more music from my turntable (or whatever is spinning at the moment…).

It’s all about colors – from rainbows to spectrums, from red, orange, yellow and blue to green: any colour you like.

Paul Frees | The Spectrum Song
B-52s | She Brakes For Rainbows
Sam Phillips | Five Colours
Jane Siberry | Red High Heels
Virgin Prunes | Red Nettle
Andy Partridge | King Of Orange
Daniel Lanois | Orange Kay
Pink Floyd | Any Colour You Like
Daniel Wylie | Chasing Rainbows
The Nits | Yellow Boat
Black Dyke Mills Band | Yellow Submarine
No-Man | Colours (Remix)
Yello | Blue Green
Associates | Green Tambourine
Nirvans | Rainbow Chaser
The Rolling Stones | She’s A Rainbow
The Lords | Blue Horizon
The Cruel Sea | Blue Dog
Rain Tree Crow | Any Colour You Are
Ella Fitzgerald | Over The Rainbow
The Wellingtons | The Wonderful World Of Colour

 

Christmas Music

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Christmas Music

You can listen to my annual Xmas music mix here.

And here is the track listing (beware: there are a few surprises between the tracks, pop pickers!)

Johnnie Allan: It’s Christmas Time In Louisiana

Booker T. & The MGs: Jingle Bells

Dan Hicks & The Christmas Jug Band: Somebody Stole My Santa Claus Suit

Cowboy Copas: Tired Of Playing Santa Claus To You

Hank Snow: The Christmas Cannonball

Walter Brennan: Henry Had A Merry Christmas

Johnny Cash: Bang! Joy To The World

John Prine: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

C.W. Stoneking: On A Christmas Day

Doug Legacy & Ry Cooder: Christmas In Prison

Dwight Yoakam: Silver Bells

The Pala Brothers: Sausage And Sauerkraut For Xmas

The Rolling Stones: Cosmic Christmas

Buck Owens & The Buckaroos: One Of Everything You Got

Hilo Hottie: The Santa Hula

Jambalaya Cajun Band: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Cordell Jackson: Rock’n’Roll Christmas

The Free Design: The Now Sound Of Christmas

M.A. Numminen: Weihnachtslied

The Sonics: Don’t Believe In Christmas

Lightnin‘ Hopkins: Santa

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Christmas Medley

XTC: Thanks For Christmas

Element Of Crime: Leise rieselt der Schnee

The Handsome Family: So Much Wine

Nits: Wish

The Beatles: Christmas Time Is Here Again

Richard Hawley: Silent Night

Cyril Pahinui: Mele Kalikimaka

Nelson Wilbury: Christmas Message