Archive | October, 2010

MMW @ Kino Šiška

MMW @ Kino Šiška

Posted on 27 October 2010 by Kavselj

On Wednesday 29th of September at Kino Šiška you will witness jazz at its finest. There aren’t a lot of jazz groups that can be lined with Medeski, Martin & Wood, especially if you look from prespective of new jazz form that they established often called ‘avant-groove’ or sometimes ‘groove-jazz’. The group is consisting of John Medeski on keyboards and piano, Billy Martin on drums and percussion, and Chris Wood on double bass and bass guitar. All three are incredible artists in aspect of musical form, improvisation, innovation and maybe most important: feeling. They started their travel almost two decades ago with a gig at The Village Gate and soon released their first album ‘Notes from the Underground’ which is acoustic all the way. Even if from this critical distance isn’t the most MMW standard album it still basically tells what it is to tell about the trio. Combining free jazz improvisation with grooves that are more common to hip-hop in songs like ‘Uncle Chub’ or nice easy listening and more build up jazz in piece ‘La Garonne’, wild improvisation and experimenting on ‘Querencia’ or on the other side more straight ahead with ‘United’.

Second album ‘It’s a jungle in here’ goes a bit further in experimental mood but also continues to deliver these groovy feelings. With songs ‘Benesha swing’ which is a Monk/Marley rework and ‘It’s a Jungle in here’ they firmly build a model for combining heavy bass lines with strong rhythm section but also stay far from clichés or ‘have heard’ music. There are few ‘heavy’ songs, which rise their artistry above more market orientated projects, but somehow don’t leave that twangled feeling in the stomach.

Fourth album ‘Shack Man’ probably affirmed them as innovators in the field of combining free jazz with strong and straight grooves and also shows whole repertoire from the fingers of Medeski which is playing variety of different pianos and synths. Its very interesting how also post creators (Roadhead) used two songs form this album ‘Dracula’ and ‘Jelly Belly’ and turned them into interesting funky jazz composition.

In the 18 LP discography there are few titles that stand out in various ways. First is probably fifth album ‘Farmers reserve’ which completely brings out the experimental side of them and delivers a project that is most out of this note product. Second is very fruitful collaboration with John Scofield on ‘A Go Go’ and ‘Out Louder’ which gave them wider audience, a push further into funk and also step forward in live performances. ‘Chunk’ form first one in 1997/8 gives us pretty good example.

And then came ‘Let’s go Everywhere’. They say that when MMW go to a studio they never know what is going to come out. And most certainly no one expected a children’s album. But it happened and if you don’t want for your children to be infected with one day no value pop, this is nice try to present them interesting and quality music. But they say when you address kids you always touch their parents to. So… Where is the music?!

Special chapter is also collab with John Zorn. Album that they arranged is a part of Zorn’s ‘Book of angel’ series that comes from second book of Masada. Book of angels is an composition performed by various outfits or combinations of esablished jazz musicians for example Secret Chiefs that also preformed in Kino Šiška this year. MMW preformed Book of Angels on last years Jazz Festival in Ljubljana.

Blue Note signed MMW in 1998 and in very productive period we have to mention at least two albums. First under BN was Combustication which is also their biggest selling one and last one The End of the World Party in 2004. The progression of the band is vivid. From quite rough sound they moved to quite clean one and as for the jamming which can be measured in high percentage at beginning on Blue Note and sometimes became downside and lost clues in stories they told, this became more thought over and cut at the right places, so that beautiful integrity sprung out.

They left Blue Note in 2005, mainly because they never were true sellers of the music on records, but as great improvisers more live profiled band. And in 2008 they started unique project called ‘The Radiolarian Series’. Project is ingenious also in a production sense, as they released recorded live performances and released 3 albums in good year on the road. In many interviews they mention this accession as they are tired of good old market steps – release and tour.

As their overall progression is concerned, there isn’t a really significant album that would mark their whole musical expression, but with every new release there comes stronger feeling on what they want to tell and what goes on in their heads. It’s often a strong reminder that jazz was originally dance music. So lets go from there on.

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Vicente Amigo

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Vicente Amigo

Posted on 15 October 2010 by Kavselj

Vicente Amigo is one of the most important and progressive artists in modern Flamenco and also a very influential guitar player. Among his successes in music field the thing that stands out the most is probably winning a Latin Grammy but he also received many other prestigious flamenco awards. His main influences were logically Paco de Lucia and his long-time mentor Manolo Sanlucar.

The concert in Open Air Theater Krizanke was a special privilege for Slovenian audience since he is not touring much this summer. It was quite normal that it was almost exclusively in line with his current album Paseo de Grazia (Walking Grace) but also preforming few songs from Un momento en el sonido (A Moment in Sound). Paseo de Grazia is special album in Vicentes discography featuring many collaborations and guests and as such it evoked many different critics. Even if it might be a small step outside his combination of tradition and innovation, this time this is a step that is good for us.

Concert started with only Vicente on stage (and unfortunately a bit loud traffic outside the theater). His opening song was a beautiful piece from Un Momento en el sonido ‘Mezquita’. Start was slow and lyrical and it made nice grounds for special experience. Interpretation was fabulous and playing impeccable.

At the end of the song the band came to the stage and show continued more diverse with two percussionists, bass player, guitar player and singer. Crowd was a bit reserved at the start and Vicente was still catching the right relationship with us. But incredible music inevitable led to this unique bond. As there is a lot of singing (free and rhythmic) on new album this was also very present at this show, creating many special moments. For me the highlight of the night was incredible interpretation of Autorretrato. Sound of the flamenco cante is always very expressive and singer didn’t hold any horses down. Even if in a moment or two it was rather high for him, its the one to cry to…

Musicians were enjoying themselves as they also demonstrated ‘amateurish’ flamenco dancing in the end. They were a bit shy, but it was all in the line of intimate and sweet atmosphere. Really nice spontaneous gesture for the audience. The concert quickly passed with lovely boleros, rumbas, tangos from new album and even though it wasn’t so crowded, the beautiful atmosphere led to four bises and concert ending with ‘Demipati’ from Un momento en el sonido. If they are near you sometimes its highly recommended concert as I am quite sure its always special experience.

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Dhafer Youssef – Abu Nawas Rhapsody

Dhafer Youssef – Abu Nawas Rhapsody

Posted on 14 October 2010 by Kavselj

I first came across Dhafer Youssef in 2006 when I heard his Album Digital Prophecy. Its very hard to remain cold and apathetic when you face something like this. Magical would be a very reasonable word to describe what is going on, when The band begins to play and it adequately summarizes the feelings that go through your gut, mind and soul. Dhafer is an Oud player and very passionate singer. He was born in Tunisia but moved to Europe to follow his musical expressions and has released 4 albums prior to the latest one Abu Nawas Rhapsody (ANR). With his discography we are sunk in eclectic fusion of traditional and modern, to the deepness of acoustic and electronic soundscape and special mixture of world and jazz music. And ANR is not much different, except maybe with the lack of electronic, but still unique and almost divine through its acoustic sincerity. This time we are faced with quartet, pianist Tigran Hamasyan, bassist Chris Jennings and drummer Mark Guiliana and Dhafer on Oud and vocals. Album with its 11 compositions is musically very well balanced and and offers beautiful artwork from Walid Zouari that follows every song on this record. It starts with ‘Sacre’. Slow and poetic. With enchanting piano and deep lyrical vocal atmosphere that turns into falsetto singing and brings the east to your ears. With interesting Arab rhythmic pattern ‘Les ondes orientales’ is a true gem. Simple Oud theme in one cycle brings unforgettable impression and slow start with world flavor turns into straight jazz madness. All the music in one song.

With slower ‘Khamasa’ and quiet solo on ‘Interl’Oud’ ‘Odd Elegy’ brings us funk. Catching theme that starts the song and truly master drumming, it stops with tender piano and slowly builds with transcendent vocal into another volcano of energy and feelings.

Its truly amazing what Dhafer does with simple melodies. ‘Hayastan dance’ and also ‘Sura’ are really not very complicated on first sight with as little as 5 tones to catch basic mean, but what is built around them, rhythmic complexity, and perfect synergy among the instruments, its what makes Youssef and this album so special. Highly Recommended.

Also if you catch him on Live concert, be prepared to be consumed in what some call almost transcendent state.

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Decade or Two

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Decade or Two

Posted on 07 October 2010 by Kavselj

Clip no.1. Still learning to control APC… but enjoying it every moment…

W.a.P For Fun – Decade or two by MentalCandy

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Nick Drake (1948 – 1974)

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Nick Drake (1948 – 1974)

Posted on 06 October 2010 by Kavselj

I ran into English songwriter/musician in my teens when I was getting to know many folk musicians from late 60′ early 70′. Nick Drake was always a bit special for me as was for everyone else around him during his short life. My first contact with him was compilation Time of no Reply, which has some outtakes from his first album Five Leaves Left and also some home recorded demos, which were only released postmortem. He fascinated me with his melancholic, tender melodies and meaningful lyrics. As I tried to play some of his songs on guitar I first noticed that almost every song has a different tuning. With very precise finger picking his songs were really hard to play for me as an very amateurish player. Time of no Reply was strong musical experience for me especially with Clothes of Sand, Strange Meetings II, Been Smoking to long and of course Time of no reply.

When you discover music that touches you deep down, the need for more is quite logical. With reference of Time of no reply, I bought Five Leaves Left which is his first album done and recorded when he was student at Cambridge. I later found out facts about his life and his early death. He had many problems with guest musicians, covers, studio work etc. when recording as he was very delicate about his work. Completion also wasn’t very dramatic. His sister said in many interviews that: “Nick walked into my room and said, ‘There you are.’ He threw Five Leaves Left onto the bed and left.” It was very strong album for me with some highlights that were also on TONR and some new gems for example River Man with beautiful string arrangements.

Nick was a very bad performer as he was quite shy and later struggling with various frustrations. On rare occasions when he preformed on live concerts, they were awkward and usually ended soon. This led to the end of his concerts and his frustration led to depression. Second album Bryter Layter wasn’t very prosperous even though its one of his best produced and arranged album with mix of folk, string and jazz arrangements. Producers thought it would sell since it was a bit popish but unfortunately it didn’t. For me this is a step away from his inner sound, and therefore least likable one.

3rd and last one Pink Moon is total opposite. Solo guitar and his voice. Very intimate and personal. No other words needed. His depression led to his death in June of 1974 with overdose of painkillers and only small amount of masterpieces he carried within himself were released. But Nick, thanks for all of them…

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Hype in the Sky

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Hype in the Sky

Posted on 05 October 2010 by Kavselj

Clip no.2.

Dressing up our favourite Seal break with Mark Hype…

Danaja.. . ..Hype in the Sky by MentalCandy

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Lynx & Kemo – Keep it Low

Posted on 04 October 2010 by Kavselj

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Lynx @ K4

Lynx @ K4

Posted on 04 October 2010 by Kavselj

Lynx is known as ultimate producer of deep and minimal drum and bass. But was it always like this? Whats quite funny is that his first pseudonym was Sicknote and I am quite sure he got it from Ed Rush & Optical. If you look at his discography first releases were brought out in 2001/02 when his main sparring partner was DJ Skinny (better known as Nu Balance and his strong collaborations with Friction). It’s not hard to notice that style was a bit different and it has evolved miles since then. Especially for the sound since the first releases had bass lines and rhythm sections that were quite in the manor of the times, yet musically on high level.

Next period was mostly marked by two collaborators Flow and Fatal. He did some tunes with Flow that lean more towards the ‘liquid’ (soulful) sound (Time Out was more noticed one) and with Fatal he tried more rough and hard sound, which was probably a turn in the wrong direction. But 2007 made it all right again. He joined the crew at Soul:R (run by Marcus Intalex and St Files) and his path also crossed with MC Kemo.

The synergy between two artists that are really into deep and subtle sounds is incredible and while it is a bold statement, we can say that new sound and new era were born in drum and bass. This goes especially to massive hit of that year, which was without Kemo, but it truly paved the path for this new sound in the music genre. Disco Dodo.

The following year served us some great collaborations. And what do we get when artist like Lynx joins beats with artist like Nu:Tone? Nothing less than a masterpiece. Deep bass, breaky rhythm, minimal pads and strings. Everything is just where it is supposed to be.

The Raw truth was debut album for Lynx and Kemo. Put out on Soul.R and featuring artists like Alix Perez, Henree and DRS was yet another beat towards the essential things in music and in drum and bass. With very consistent play list it is a good example of sharing good things in life and with their new label Detail they only reconfirm that attitude towards the fans of meaningful sound. Yes, The heart is in the details.

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Noisia @ Vienna (01/05/2010)

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Noisia @ Vienna (01/05/2010)

Posted on 03 October 2010 by Kavselj

On the 1st of May, our like-minded Austrian neighbours, known as Mainframe, hosted one of the biggest names in the world of drum and bass, Noisia. Event was set at Arena in Vienna,  the squatted slaughterhouse, which has been supporting cultural and social activities for over 30 years and now consists of 5 event areas, along with three arts/music halls, one out door stage and an open air cinema.

When we got there, the party was just getting started. The austrians once again proved to be quite open and friendly, the only disadvantage was their weak english which made it slightly difficult to communicate (as our german is not that perfect as well). Putting the language skills aside, the communication on the dancefloor was something else. Although the number of people crowded on the main floor was near the halls maximum, we found it really easy to mingle ourselves to the front. And in just a matter of seconds we were in the same groove, not minding our personal space getting smaller and smaller. We were very well warmed up when one of the three Noisia representatives, Thijs, came on stage. His opening had a hiphopish vibe, first tune was from a project they’ve been working on with UK hip hop group Foreign Beggars, named Contact. This intro made the crowd go mental and from this moment on we were stuck on the dancefloor.

The set was a mixture of all styles, from hiphop to drumnbass to breakbeat, supported by hardhitting beats and funky basslines, so we just had to move. One way or the other, since Thijs didnt approve of people sitting on the stage and he simply kicked them off. The energy was amazing, everybody was dancing, screaming, jumping, waving hands, including the main guest, who was clearly in a good mood, as well. The non-musical highlight of the night was definitely his stage diving scene, which made this evening truly special, since I have never seen anything like this before at a drumnbass event. As far as the musical highlights of the evening are concerned there are too many to list, so let me just say that Noisia is a MUST see for every break(bass)head.

The stage dive:

The intro tune:

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Parov Stelar – Matilda

Posted on 03 October 2010 by Kavselj

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