on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2015 29 Mrz

My twelve favourite albums of January, February and March

von: Michael Engelbrecht Filed under: Blog | TB | 6 Comments

1) Polar Bear: Same As You (the one that totally  blew me away, here the word „spiritual“ might make sense even for atheists, a love of life-album that is terrific in its own ways of suspending time and  floating on and on and on)

2) The Mountain Goats: Beat the Champ  (a record with a sense of yearning, or is longing the better   word – and it’s about wrestling, sort of – like the brillant Whiplash is about jazz:) – John Darnielle even adds jazz colors to his heartwrenching songs that cut deep with sharp lyrics and the reinvention of childhood, the constant presence of loss, forgotten rooms and empty parking lots) 

3) Sufjan Stevens: Carrie and Lowell (song cycles about life, love and death cannot be more naked, more intimate. Low-key heartbreak, and a perfect song like „4th of July“  that finds solace amidst the knowledge that „we’re all going to die“) 

4) Schneider – Kacirek: Shadow Documents (one of the best 50 album of teutonic kraut- and chamber rock ever, with electronics, bass and drums changing roles and going deep to the bottom)

5) African Express Presents Terry Riley’s „In C“ (excellent cultural transfer from a classic of minimalism to the busy street life of Mali, highly inventive – and you can hear Brian Eno sing a long ooooo)

6) Paolo Fresu – Daniele Di Bonaventura: In Maggiore (fabulous exploration of the physicality of the trumpet and the bandoneon, simultaneously delivering a beautiful series of melodies between far away Uruguay and old tunes from Sardinian backyards)

7) Second Moon of Winter: One For Sorrow, Two For Joy (three friends create magic in a cellar room in Cork County: a clarinet, a synthesizer – and an operatic voice that gets lost in strange areas between forgotten folk songs and electronic meditation)

8) Sam Lee & Friends: The Fade In Time (like a walk through an old English garden, and though you think this all is quintessentially English, the seeds come from the Himalaya, Indonesia and faraway greenlands.)

9)  Jakob Bro: Gefion (full of atmospheres and quietness and slow-building climaxes, archetypal ECM-production with so much care for details …  but you go with the flow and wonder how time can pass so quickly when nearly everythng is running slow)

10) Loderbauer/Puntin/Rohrer: Ambiq (A modular synthesizer, clarinet,  drumming and other electronic devices in free improv flights between nowhere land and faraway memories, call it where-am-i-music)

11) The Unthanks: Mount The Air (the sisters from Northumbria are digging deep again; old sources feel fresh without musical botox; if epic dimensions or chamber-like intimacy: they know how to send you places)

12) Bill Wells & Aidan Moffatt: The Most Important Place In The World („Moffat duly rules the roles of noir-pop eroticist (‚Nothing sounds sweeter than a stolen sigh‘), raving, roving werewolf librettist (‚I howled a poem at the first moon I saw‘), and murmuring urban natur(al)ist eyeing up the city’s wild life (‚This is the soul of the city, her glory stripped, her passions laid bare‘) – while Wells‘ exquisite piano melodies and jazz-by-stealth chorales are as fascinating and seductive as ever.“)


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  1. Uwe Meilchen:

    Das Album von Jakob Bro gefaellt; vorallem der tone seiner Gitarre, die mich an Bill Frisell erinnert.

  2. Henning Bolte:

    Uwe, es gibt ja auf Manafonistas einige Links zu Musik von Jakob Bro in verschiedenen Besetzungen mit seinem besonderen Ton. Am besten wohl über die Suchfunktion hier reinzukommen!

  3. Gregor:

    Das Album von Jakob Bro gehört schon jetzt zu meinen Jahres Top 20! Von 1-3-6 lasse ich mich gerne überraschen, kenne ich noch nicht!

  4. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Einige Eintragungen wurden gelöscht, weil sich die Liste verändert hat. Was kann ich dazu, dass mir in den letzten Märztagen dermaßen bewegende Liederalben wie die von Sufjan Stevens und den Mountain Goats erscheinen,

  5. Michael Engelbrecht:

    he softly muted trumpet introversion of Miles Davis and an opulent tone on flugelhorn have made Sardinian musician Paolo Fresu many friends – Carla Bley even dedicated an album to discovering him. This is the recorded debut of his collaboration with Italian bandoneon player Daniele di Bonaventura, a duo originally founded to back traditional Corsican vocal polyphony outfit A Filetta. It’s a definition of modern lyricism in its fusion of early-Miles pensiveness, the bandoneon’s warm embrace, and a mixture of originals and covers that sound like lullabies, love songs and valedictions. Di Bonaventura’s tranquil Da Capo Cadenza is built around drifting three-note figures, and a Breton lullaby ushers in Fresu’s Ton Kozh, in which jazz-trumpet phrases skip amid the turns and churns of the bandoneon. Chico Buarque’s deep-toned and tender O Que Sera gives way to the upbeat Chilean resistance song El Pueblo Unido Jamás Será Vencido, murdered Chilean songwriter Victor Jara’s Te Recuerdo Amanda is like a wistful spiritual, Quando Me’n Vo’, from La Bohème, is a gently tripping flugelhorn waltz. It’s the kind of ECM mix that seduces those preferring the directness of folk song or the elegant symmetries of classical music into the jazz camp.

    John Fordham, The Guardian

  6. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Carrie & Lowell is an incredibly sad record. Listened to in a delicate state, its songs can be harrowing. A friend of mine was brought to tears upon hearing ‘No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross’ on the radio recently, and when I heard it played from start to finish in a crowded bar a couple of weeks ago the effect was jarring (not least because it hasn’t yet been released). Sufjan Stevens has long conveyed great emotion in his music, often married to an admirable, outsized sense of ambition. Here, he strips everything back to its bare minimum, painting a painfully honest depiction of bereavement and the grief and confusion that followed. (James Skinner)

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