Manafonistas

on life, music etc beyond mainstream

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2018 26 Mai

Two whom it may concern

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2018 23 Mai

Sonar with David Torn

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„In case you’re wondering, it’s in 63/8, but it still feels like a 21st century folksong …“

Waves and Particles

 

 

David Torn: electric guitar and live-looping Stephan Thelen: tritone guitar Bernhard Wagner: tritone guitar Christian Kuntner: electric bass Nanuel Pasquinelli: drums D. James Goodwin: recording engineer Waves and Particles written by Stephan Thelen / www.sonar-band.ch

 

 

Yr – ***1/2

Northern Song – ****1/2

Safe Journey – ****1/2

Exploded View – ****

Big Map Idea  – *****

The Fall Of Us All – *****

A Man About A Horse – *****

Natural Causes – ****

Life Of – *****

 

My personal rating „downbeat style“ of his ECM-released albums. When I was meeting Steve Tibbetts in Germany, early in the 90‘s, he didn‘t have the nicest thoughts on „Exploded View“, musically, called it a result of times of upheaval. Well, musicians are not always the best critics of their own works. I always liked „Exploded View“ very much. (M.E.)

 

Instead of conjuring other worlds, Tibbetts has spent the past 40 years trying to figure out what this one sounds like in its entirety – a quiet, noble quest for one of the most underappreciated musicians of our time. Across the 1980s, during an extraordinary four-album run for the legendary jazz label ECM, the Minneapolis guitarist was using percussion, electronics and his 12-string acoustic guitar to make highly evocative music with astonishing nuance. Tibbetts was deeply interested in the rhythms of Africa, India and Asia, but the worldliness of his recordings always felt like a mysterious mix of scientific exploration and spiritual quest more than a tourist’s flirtation.

Tibbetts’ exquisite new album, “Life Of,” is easily the most elegant of his career. Accompanied by longtime percussionist Marc Anderson and cellist Michelle Kinney, Tibbetts plays only with his fingertips – no pick – applying both hands to his fretboard, making his notes gently drip and streak.

Instead of advancing forward, this music simply obeys gravity. Forget about jazz, forget about guitars. “Life Of” should make beautiful sense to anyone on this vast and unknowable Earth who’s ever spent time listening to the rain.

(Chris Richards, The Washington Post)

2018 22 Mai

„As Good As New“

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„It may not be their gloomiest album (that would be the disco Ingmar Bergmans’ melancholic swansong, The Visitors); but Voulez-Vous is surely, beneath its mirror-ball glitz, the bleakest, a catalogue of empty trysts, seedy nightlife and emotional manipulation. Thus its opening number is something of a bait and switch – like reversed film footage of a building demolition, it turns around the more familiar ABBA story of what felt like real love crumbling into disaster. For once all that brightness and breeziness is borne out in the lyric: I was dreadful, but now I’m better, and I know the value of true love.“

(D.B., from The Quietus‘s retrospective on quite special ABBA songs, a band that has been so much more than a singles band)

 

„What a wonderful book. Part essay, part travelogue with a smattering of fiction, it’s an indescribable blend of humor, sadness, quirk and love. Author Julio Cortázar cooked up a plan with his second wife Carol Dunlop to drive from Paris to Marseilles in their VW bus nicknamed Fafner, the dragon. The catch is, they stopped at every single rest-stop along the way at the count of two per day, sleeping over night at the second one. This book chronicles their thoughts and notes throughout the journey. It really is a wonderful book, demonstrating how despite such odd circumstances Cortázar and Dunlop found great joy escaping the world, being not utterly isolated but separated from their responsibilities and obligations. Instead, they focused on each other, on reading, writing and observing.

Love, and the joy of their togetherness, was a major theme expressed throughout the story. Physical and emotional love. Their affection is so gentle and so poetic, reading it is near meditative in quality.

In the end, they summarize the journey, as unintentionally a Zen expedition. They set off not knowing what they would find and what they found was the beauty of existence even in the most absurd of situations. Touring rest areas.“

(Peter Katzman)

 

 
 
 

hi michael,

 

on land – that would be my favorite eno album. a timeless piece of music, highly inventive and enough room for the listener to create our train of thoughts. wonder if some of the reasons of its success simply has to do with it having almost no high end in the instrumentation, apart from the trumpet lifted from (was it „dream theory“?). same thing with brook´s „hybrid“ – only low, low / high mid areas involved. if you listen to „dream logic“ or „cartography“ – or for „poppies“ for that matter – it´s hardly anything going on in the treble (as if such word belongs in the analog world). when something do enter that frequency (voice, trumpet, the odd sine wave) area, it can be performed so softly and will still be extremely present in the recording.

wonder if the getz / gilberto album was (and still is) such a success, merely has to do with bass levels …

currently in norwich with matt calvert giving a performance tonight of battleship potemkin at the norfolk festival.

 

best,

jan bang

 

Michael Engelbrecht: For someone with such an approach to music, let‘s call it „minimal input, maximum effect“, you must feel a certain soulmateship with the one record of YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS: COLOSSAL YOUTH. Not only because of the kind of voices you prefer …

 

Bill Wells: It’s funny, a number of people have mentioned that record in comparison with what I do and I can understand why, but it’s an album that I wasn’t aware of at all when it was released, so was therefore not an influence. (I was probably too busy listening to „Gaucho“). I do however really like Alison Statton’s voice, though actually (rather ironically I suppose) I prefer her work with Weekend.

 

Michael: I bet you have a pile of Robert Wyatt albums. I know Robert from heartfelt encounters and interviews for a very long time, lost a bit contact since he retired. Now he, too, sometimes has a special way of using jazz vibes in a very British setting. Can you tell me about your „stories“ with Robert‘s music? 

 

Bill: Yes, for sure. I had a dream that the first six chords of „O Caroline“ were the same as the first six chords as „Streets Of London“. That was the first time I realised I had more musical ability when I was asleep. I did manage to ask him, R.W. I mean, (and indirectly via Douglas T. Stewart) about his version of Little Child, a cover which always fascinated me as he imitates, in a sort of really over the top way, both a child and an adult and I’m not sure how he pulls it off but for me it totally works and, well, I can’t remember the exact answer but he did say something to the effect of it being about the most daring thing he’d ever attempted.

 

Michael: Your new album, Standards Vol. IV, has a musical narrative, from the „almost nothing“ of the first notes till the crescendo in the „showdown area“. Do you remember the time of production, did it all fell into place, or was it more a subconscious process? … 

 

Bill: Well, since you both noticed and asked, I wrote / arranged all the material and recorded most of it as I was heading for a nervous breakdown, then became suicidal and consequently ended up in psychiatric hospital for over a month, that was September 2016. I finished the recording in 2017.

 

Michael: Oh, sorry for that. Ahem … you very carefully chose the moments for Ab‘s viola coming into the foreground … it only happens a few times, and always has this nearly overwhelming quality (your sense for understatement easily undermines the passion involved). And Kate‘s voice: wow! When looking at the responses to the „trio music“, all these „standard albums“, people speak of lightness, nursery rhymes, easy listening, charming pleasures, but rarely rock bottom comes into sight. That there is a darkness hidden of considerable depth. Is there a special source of inspiration for such dark matters delivered with an innocent smile, so to speak? 

 

Bill: No idea.

 
 
 

 
 
 

Michael: Okeydokey … now, hope you are in a good mood for this …

 

Bill: … I’ve certainly felt worse.

 

Michael: Can you name some of your all time favourite records for the infamous desert island …

 

Bill: Well I could but my choices are pretty definite and they’re also mainly ones that are well – known eg The White Album, Innervisions, Kind Of Blue, Hunky Dory so, with that in mind …

 
 

  • Van Dyke Parks – Moonlighting (Van is indeed the man. One great thing about this live recording is that you also hear the spoken intros which are eloquent and witty, as is the music, which is refreshingly out of step with anything else currently going on then or now in contemporary music. Much though I love Brian Wilson’s voice I do prefer the version here of „Orange Crate Art“. I love that quote of his about making pop music that isn’t very popular.)
  • Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath – Live at Willisau … First track – greatest riff of all time, plus ….. icing on the riff cake … an Evan Parker solo! … thinking of food and drink … Gary McFarland – Butterscotch Rum. Jazz arranger that understood pop.
  • Jens Lekman – Life Will See You Now …. One of the best records of last year and one of his best ever.
  • Yumbo – Onibi    Shout out to Saya, Ueno, Tori, Reiko, Namio, Shugo, Otomo, Satomi, Takuji, Satoko, Tetsuya, and Nika.
  • Marvin Gaye – Here My Dear … Best break up album ever.
  • Peter Blegvad – Just Woke Up … Best wake up album ever.
  • Wayne Shorter – Native Dancer … Best Milton Nascimento album ever.
  • Carla Bley – Everything, but just to mention one, Fleur Carnivore which has a beautiful harmonica solo (by Karen Mantler) 
  • Kevin Ayers – Whatevershebringwesing … thinking of great solos, Mike Oldfield on the title track.
  • Mick Softley – Any Mother Doesn’t Grumble … Proof that the good stuff doesn’t always rise to the top.
  • Donald Fagen – all four solo albums.
  • Tyondai Braxton – Central Market … Seamless sonic mix.
  • Tot Taylor – The Girl With Everything … Not an album so I’m taking a slight liberty here …. nevertheless as perfect a pop single as was ever recorded.

 

Alle Männer beginnen eine Art Gesang: „Sada sada sada sada sada sada sada sada“. Zwei Männer setzen die Hähne ab und lassen sie laufen. Sie fliegen gegeneinander, ein Gestöber von Flügeln und Federn, übereinander, stop, senkrecht gegeneinander, ihr Nackengefieder ist aufgerichtet, sie fliegen wieder ineinander, wieder und wieder; schliesslich hat einer eine Klinge in seiner Gurgel. „Ahhhh“, rufen die Männer. Blut spritzt, Wetten gewonnen, Bhutakalas, böse Dämonen steigen aus der Erde. Der Dinosaurier, der verloren hat, wird von seinem traurigen Besitzer aufgelesen und einem alten Mann am Rande der Menge, noch lebend, überreicht. Er nimmt ein Messer und den Hahn – er legt den Hahn auf ein Stück Bambus, schneidet den Fuss mit der Klinge ab, und dann durchbohrt die Klinge, an welcher der Fuss noch hängt, das Herz des Hahns. Der Hahn gurgelt und blutet. Blut ist verspritzt worden, die Dämonen kommen heraus, aber sie werden später in der Nacht wieder verscheucht werden, wenn die Jungs ihre Töpfe schlagen.


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