Colleen – The Golden Morning Breaks

31-May-05
Colleen   The Golden Morning Breaks :: colleen cello

Colleen   The Golden Morning Breaks :: mediafilesCello is maybe the sexiest instrument for woman to play in. Why? Figure it out yourselves. Or maybe I have a better reason then the obvious. One might say that it’s the coldness Colleen shows while playing the cello and presence of the cello it self, that makes this music what it is. One might be right, or one might be wrong. I think it’s both – right and wrong.
Colleen issued a while ago the album Everyone Alive Want Answers, which was her first release on the Leaf Label. With this new album she continues her journey, but although the style of both her albums is quite similar, there’s a big difference between the two – her new album is softer, much softer. Colleen’s music was never something you can describe as hard, but there is something in it that prevents afternoon breeze from standing still and relax. There was something disturbing in Everyone Alive Want Answers, maybe it was the restless search for answers that kept her and her music from relaxing.
Well, Colleen found her answers and so did her music. And now she delivers a more relaxed version of herself. Her music is based mostly on live instruments and various percussion improvisations. Although it has a strong electronic aesthetic, it seems like the electronic side is only in the combining of it all. This gives her music a very refreshing notion. This is the kind of music that can stand on its own, as an independent highly intellectual and intriguing creation, or can accompany other pieces as a an enriching element. It seems like this music has a lot to offer to other cultural objects, and by this to enrich the experience derived from them.

The track The Happy Sea has a video (mov wmv) done by Carolina Melis. It’s a nice video, but I feel this track deserved more and has a lot more in it. Except the first few seconds, which are really stunning. Hear the music.
Also, visit Colleen’s site (with it’s charming name) for more details about this fantastic creature: http://www.colleenplays.org/.

Colleen   The Golden Morning Breaks :: colleen golden morning

Bjork Remixed: A Few Words About Three of Her Latest Remixes

26-May-05
Bjork Remixed: A Few Words About Three of Her Latest Remixes :: bjork saint

Who is It (Vitalic Remix)
It seems obvious that trying to make Bjork sound like Tainted Love is a going to end bad. Make you wonder what drove Vitalic to this remix. However, it’s not that horrilbe. Actually it is quite nice, for the first two minutes. Over the third minute you wonder when it’s going to end. And afterwards you just forward to the next track. Then it might take you another two days until you can listen to it, and then you will only be able to bare the first 1.5 minutes. And so. So, get it, listen to it, but only once in a month and so. It’s a nice surprise, but not one that is pleasant over time.

Where is the Line (Fantomas Remix)
It’s a well known fact that Patton assisted Bjork a lot on this album. But only when listening to this track, you gratefully thank the lord that he only assisted. I like some of what Patton does, but mostly his unique projects, not his day to day work. For example, his collaboration with Kaada in Romances produced an amazing piece, much better then what each of these two ever did alone. Here Patton took a track, in which he was already quite dominant, and made it more of his stuff less of Bjork’s, and it’s just no good. It turns out to be a some kind of gothic salad, mixed with bad taste. If Vitalic’s remix is something to listen to once in a month or so, this remix is something you ought to spare your self from.

Vokuro (Gonzales Remix)
This is the track that made me write this piece. It’s not better then the original, it’s just very different. And, yes, it’s a great piece. Gonzales is a well known master piano man, and when combining his piano with Bjork’s voice singing in her native tongue it turn out great. But Gonzales doesn’t stop here and inserts here and there minimalistic glitchy sounds, and this takes this great track and makes it even better. I just hope Bjork and Gonzales might decide to collaborate more in the future, I sense a great potential here.

The End of a Musical Journey: Rahatza Leylit’s Last Show on Saturday (Come and Listen)

25-May-05

It seems like a time of farewells in the Israeli indie scene, and it’s not like there’ s much to part at the first place. After more then 4 years on the air Rahatza Leylit (night swimming, for you English speakers), is going off the air. The idea to create an homogenous versatile music experience might not be an original one. But making this trip into a 5 hour long journey, is something that I have never heard of.
When the Beatles had to go to India to get a revelation, I only had to open up the radio on Monday and Saturday nights, and let the revleation come to me. Blending everything that went through the musical scene during the last half a century, Uri Bankahalter created more then a radio show. With his unique skills he created an entire world, and each time a new world. The show stretched for four (some times five) whole hours, and only when listening the whole time the truth in it foundation was reveald. And the truth was Rahatza Leylit itself.
The list of artists played on the show includes Belle and Sebastian, Isobell Campbel, Clientele, Murcof, Encre, Playdoh, Mum, Sigur Ros, Lady & Bird, Keren Ann, Fiona Apple (especially the great KCRW piano solo), Bunny Wailer (with This Train), Eric Burdon and War (with They Can’t Take Away Our Music), Lali Puna, Beth Gibbons, Portishead, all the obscure Japanese and many more that don’t pop into my mind now, and even more that I don’t know and probably will never know. And maybe even doesn’t exist. Because even the artists that I do know, and love, outside Rahatza Leylit are different. When blended into this nightly trip, their music is taken a higher plane. The music of Rahatza Leylit never existed outside the show, and will never exist. Uri gave the music he played a different meaning, or maybe just extracted the real essence of it.
When thinking about it, I am not even sure this show ever existed, it might have been a series of nightly dreams. As it seems improbable that such a stream of music, which such a meaning and span can be created.
Rahatza Leylit’s last show will be an 8 hours special on Saturday the 25th from 20:00 (Israel time, 18:00 GMT, 13:00 EST). It is possible to listen to it on 106FM‘s stream at this link. Enjoy.
I will realy miss these nightly dips, where all life is washed of you, and all that is left is the music.

Losing touch with the ground: the Books – Lost and Safe

12-May-05
Losing touch with the ground: the Books   Lost and Safe :: books lostsafe

Losing touch with the ground: the Books   Lost and Safe :: mediafilesIn the beginning you lose your breath. You feel chocked, as if thrown into the emptiness of space. Trying to breathe is futile – there’s nothing around you. That what the first track of the Books’ new album – Lost and Safe – feels like. But you don’t feel distressed, because who needs to breathe when this kind of music – space – is flowing around you in the air, and is all for you to run in it with your hands spread wide open. This feeling of airlessness is the distinct character of this album. It stands out on the first track, but that’s only because of the awe that is awakened in the listener to this sound – this space. And it continues through out the record – keeping you floating.
I heard a while ago someone referring to the Books as a folk act, and it got me thinking. First response is to dismiss it, they use electronic instruments and what they due is with no doubt Indie Electronic. But that is not totally true. For example, not many electronic acts attach a booklet to their record, a booklet full of lyrics – yes lyrics, groups of words with structure and all. But these words are not sung, at least not in the conventional fashion – they are delivered.

A culture is no better than its woods:
a feeling of being connected with the past.
Look at it this way: you may fall
and break your leg
and so, one leg is shorter than the other.
Can nothing more be done?

And let not forget the smelling booklet itself. It contains all the lyrics of their beautiful tracks, and it smells, yes it smells like an old newspaper. Can one ask for anything more?

and the air’s withholding the sound
of it wellspring,
and our head are approaching a density
reminiscent of the infinite connectivity
of the center of the sun,
and therein lies the garnered wisdom
that has never died

You can listen to samples from the album on Tomlab’s site. And find a full length track on their official site.

Thoughts on a Joanna Newsom concert in Paris (20.4.05)

30-Apr-05

Following the guitar virtuose “six organs of admittance” and the slightly disturbing “white magic” couple, Joanna went on stage. She took five whole minutes to set her harp and vocal mics just right, apparently this is not done easily single handed while holding a 6 foot harp (measurement may be an exaggeration). When she was done it was evident form her childlike smile. There was nothing preventing her now from jumping up to the front of the stage and spontaneously busting into an ‘a capella’ of “yarn & glue”. Any misperceptions that this maybe be some little girl-elf with no stage confidence were wiped in the first few rhythm claps of her hands.
Her voice, combining a whispering child and a tidings bearing crow, may take some getting used to, but this non-mechanic and magically organic attribute is exactly what makes her so unique. The silent gaps are filled up with impressive harp technique, which could be described as not entirely unlike a piano and guitar all in one. Harmonies and isolated phrases get etched in memory

“How I would love to gnaw,
gnaw on your bones so white,
and watch as the freight trains paw,
paw at the wild, wild night.”

Thoughts on a Joanna Newsom concert in Paris (20.4.05) :: joannanewsom live

Miao. Joanna is later joined by a flute player, whichi stressed the harmony superlatives to heart stopping, by accompanying the harps’ pulses with a fuzzy carpet of wind. After about seven minutes of encore requests from the audience Joanna came back, suggesting by playing a haunting new song that this is no one-album wonder. It seems the tunes are archaic, but are waking anew in a freak-folk Newsom package;

“This is an old song,
these are old blues.
This is not my tune,
but it’s mine to use.”

Mom, I told you there are nymphs out there: Joanna Newsom

28-Apr-05
Mom, I told you there are nymphs out there: Joanna Newsom :: joannanewsom bw

Mom, I told you there are nymphs out there: Joanna Newsom :: mediafilesMost people dismiss their existence as sheer fantasy. Some Tolkinists claim them to be walking amongst us, and some (especially lately) listen to them and see them on stage. Nymphs walk around us. It would be more accurate to say – ride around us. I will explain. The modern nymph is the magical beauty, which shines in the middle of the grayness of the city. Beacons of light, that’s what they are. And their vehicle is the bicycle. Not fancy, 10,000-gears bicycles, but simple, even cheap pair of wheels with pedals. You can’t here them riding near you, and you never see them stop, the just pass by you, and you feel like you lost a heartbeat. Oh, and it happens only at night. During the day these magical creatures just don’t exist. We have a few of these in Tel Aviv, riding their bicycle through the old streets of, belong nowhere and no time. But far away in California there’s this one nymph who is above them all – Joanna Newsom.
If Faun Fables is the a witch (a good one, of course), Joanna is a nymph, a magical creature with an aura, a pair of invisible wings and a harp (and let us not forget that most important instrument). With her wings she flies through her songs (yes, songs, not tracks) and takes you with her. She look delicate, but she can carry us all to the heavens, and she does that every time her delicate fingers caress the harp casting her spells upon us.
With a background in classical music, and many projects in various musical genres, Joanna is one of the most talented artists to come to public knowledge over the past few years. She is one of the prominent artists of the fresh Freak Folk movement. Her music is both emotional and intellectual. She surprises on every bend, and keeps us focused and attentive. If one will analyze her music it will go through classical music to 60s folk, to psychedelic rock and to traditional country music – in short, you can find it all there. Analyze or don’t analyze, you are bound to fall in love. So fall.
To help you fall in love go and watch a few videos of her (especially the video clip of the ‘Sprout and the Bean’):
A BBC special about the Freak Folk movement with some live videos of Newsom
The Bean and the Sprout video clip
Also, make sure to open Soulseek and look for her live concert at the Mercury Lounge from the 22nd of June 2004. Great quality. Until today she released her debut album “The Milk Eyed Mender” and a few EPs, all highly recommended.

Mom, I told you there are nymphs out there: Joanna Newsom :: joannanewsom harp