Monday, February 03, 2014

66 Records Of 2013 That Made My Year

ah yeah, not much activity here anymore...
but now I then I peep up from my rabbithole here the 66 records that moved or inspired me, having them on replay or playing them at parties :)

1. Meridian Brothers - Desesperanza (Soundway Records)

2. Colleen - The Weighing Of The Heart (Second Language)

3. Idassane Wallet Mohamed - Issawat LP (Sahel Sounds/Mississippi Records)

4. Ignatz - Can I Go Home Now LP (Fonal Records)

5. Mdou Moctar - Afelan (Sahel Sounds/Mississippi Records)

6. Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile (Constellation)

7. Jean Mikili - Un Homme Blanc (Matamore/Humpty Dumpty Records)

8. Ed Askew - For The World (Tin Angel Records)

9. Bahru Kegne - In Memory Of Ethiopia's Greatest Azmari (Terp Records)

10. A Hawk and a Hacksaw - You Have Already Gone to the Other World (L.M. Dupli-cation)

11. Mammane Sani et son Orgue - La Musique Electronique du Niger (Sahel Sounds/Mississippi Records)

12. Grand Kalle & l'African Jazz - Souvenirs From the Congo LP (Planet Ilunga)

13. Lonnie Holley - Keeping A Record Of It (Dust-To-Digital)

14. Tal National - Kaani (Fat Cat Records)

15. Magik Markers - Surrender to the Fantasy (Drag City)

16. Michael Hurley - Land of Lofi (Mississippi Records/Change)

17. Lisa Germano - No Elephants (Badman)

18. Grouper - The Man Who Died In His Boat (Kranky)

19. Lucrecia Dalt – Syzygy (Human Ear Music)

20. Bill Callahan - Dream River (Drag City)

21. Kink Gong - Voices (Discrepant)

22. Various - Angola Soundtrack 2: Hypnosis, Distortion & Other Innovations 1969 - 1978 LP (Analog Africa)

23. King Ayisoba - Modern Ghanaians (Makkum Records)

24. Los Chinches - Fongo (Movimientos)

25. Yoshimi - Bottelaars en Beesten (YCR)

26. Super Onze de Gao - Session Pour Yehia Le Marabout (Two Speakers)

27. Sorie Kondi - Thogolobea (Dutty Artz)

28. Pheno S. - Kani (Sahel Sounds/Mississippi Recs)

29. Hisham Mayet - The Divine River: Ceremonial Pageantry In The Sahel DVD (Sublime Frequencies)

30. Various - Hassānīya Music From The Western Sahara And Mauritania (Sublime Frequencies)

31. Chalachew Ashenafi & Ililta Band - Fano (Terp Records)

32. Dirty Beaches - Drifters / Love Is The Devil (Zoo Music)

33. Arthur Russell - Another Thought LP (reissue) (Arc Light Editions)

34. Various - 100 Moons: Hindustani Vocal Art 1930-55 (Mississippi Records/Canary)

35. Kesarbai Kerkar - untitled (Mississippi Records/Canary)

36. Various - Nightingales & Canaries (Mississippi Records/Canary/Change)

37. Various - Choubi Choubi! Folk And Pop Songs From Iraq Vol. 2 (Sublime Frequencies)

38. The Ex & Brass Unbound - Enormous Door (Ex Records)

39. C Joynes et son Ensemble - Portland Arse (Sloow Tapes)

40. Tremor - Proa (Wonderwheel Recordings)

41. Juana Molina - Wed 21 (Crammed Discs)

42. Various - Mountains of Tongues Musical Dialects of the Caucasus (L.M. Dupli-cation)

43. Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument - Shemonmuanaye (Awesome Tapes From Africa)

44. Aminata Wassidjé Traoré - Tamala (Akwaaba Music)

45. Jerusalem In My Heart - Mo7it Al-Mo7it (Constellation)

46. Itasca - Proto (Sloow Tapes)

47. Zikr Project - no title (no label)

48. Mazel Combo - Kirbo (Graphouillages Hubbubhum)

49. Various - Pop Yeh Yeh: Psychedelic Rock From Singapore and Malaysia 1964 -1970 (Sublime Frequencies)

50. Various - Soul Safari Presents: Township Jive & Kwela Jazz Volume 2 (Ubuntu Publishing)

51. Classic Mbaqanga Girl Groups Volume 4 (Electric Jive blog free download)

52. Sadat & Alaa Fifty Cent - The Best Of (Generation Bass)

53. DJ Nigga Fox - O Meu Estilo (Principe Discos)

54. Uproot Andy - Global Ting Vol. 1 & 2 (Que Bajo)

55. Roberto Valenza - Impermanence is Beautiful (Sloow Tapes)

56. Ignatz & Harris Newman - Bring You Buzzard Meat

57. Arvind Ganga & Rogier Smal - Turdbeach

58. Owiny Sigoma Band - Power Punch (Brownswood)

59. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou - The Skeletal Essences Of Afro Funk 1969-1980

60. S. E. Rogie - The Sounds Of S. E. Rogie Vol. 1 (Mississippi Records/Domino Sound)

61. Maguaré - Cumbia Insomnia (Zephyrus)

62. William Onyeabor - Good Name (reissue) (Luaka Bop)

63. Gang Do Eletro - Untitled (Deck)

64. DJ Tudo e Sua Gente de Todo Lugar - Pancada Motor / Manifesto da Festa (Mundo Melhor)

65. Christie Azuma & The Uppers International - Din Ya Sugri (reissue) (Superfly Records)

66. Adrian Crowley & James Yorkston - My Yoke Is Heavy: The Songs of Daniel Johnston (Chemikal Underground)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Diagonal blog spheres ~Belgian cracks~


My Belgian-Dutch homestead of the 100% volunteer-run Gonzo magazine has also been blogging since a few months. About concerts/festivals, to keep the live thoughts flowing.

I did a writeup in 5(!) parts about the experimental K-RAA-K festival in Brussels a few weeks back. Yup, in Dutch though. To go along with my festival review, I even recorded a few excerpts of live sets that moreless contain a complete pattern, composition or song. Gonzo didn't want to put these recordings on the blog, not because they are sour folks or that K-RAA-K would object to it, but only because of Belgian copyright organisation SABAM. Apparently even blogs affiliated to media websites are not safe anymore for streaming/handing out music, whether it be unreleased, undefined or fixed recordings. Quite bizarre. How live excerpts can be used as a financial lever (or rather drain) by an organisation who have no intention to distribute the funds to said artists! Only 1 of the artists at the festival was Belgian and perhaps could be a memeber of SABAM, yet all the other +10 (international) artists surely aren't! How would these funds that would have to be paid by the magazine ever find their way to those artists? The mind boggles and I smell a scam. Bah.

Anyhow, for those who can read Dutch, take a peek at the review at the Gonzo blog.
Or else, read the blog road trip review which Kek, one half of noise duo Ice Cream Spiral, wrote at 9th of march.
To accompany both his and my writings in soundbites, here's the downloadable zip with live excerpts. -recorded on simple minidisc (since my recorder has been stolen about 2 months ago), so don't expect A+ quality....-

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Up in old flames

Bzzzzzzz, the buzzer goes.

Last night I had about 3 hrs sleep which, considering the other nights of 5 hrs sleep each, totals up to a lacking habit. With internal glands injecting new adrenaline, you can't just feel anything other but your own monkeyshouldering junkie. It's a lovely high though, pity that most people are afraid of reaching this inspiring edge. It always propels me into an active, creative mode and things do get done. Better than in situations with plenty of free time. I really should feel myself submerged into articles that need be finished by tomorrow evening, but the fear of stress is somewhere behind me, sunken of anguish.

Instead the sun is out in bright white and spring has -momentarily- arrived in Utrecht. I just cycled back from work, the busy beehive of wooddust, screeching sawing sounds and old timey blues, where I did some spider webbing. Passing through the city centre I came accross an old girlfriend from my home town, 15 miles south of here. Actually my first girlfriend from when I was about 10 years old, when we still had to steal kisses and hide notes. Not that such things in the current age should change if you don't want to.... I reconized her, unchanged as she was and she might have thought the same beyond the beard and curly waves. There was no incentive to stop and pick up a communication gone dim about 16 years ago, more than half our lives. Would it matter? With instincts on cue, I have to say there would be nothing to revive except the reference to a distant past, a past that most people rather want to forget than to be reminded of. I do remember that the breakup had a ventriloquistic nature, however vague that might seem as a piece of puzzle magic. She always aspired to be a writer since I knew her from kindergarten and I expected her to become one, yet google doesn't turn anything up in the form of publications, poems or blogs. Also aspirations seem to cower a reference to a distant and perhaps forgotten past.

Below some sounds n blurbs, try to locate the common denominator if there is any.

Two songs by my current Belgian subject for said articles. He is sincere and severely soft spoken.
Thus it's low and drowned with feedback. Both taken of his latest 'III' album @ K-RAA-K3
Ignatz - Two Nights & a Day
Ignatz - Dead By Noon

...and during the reign of the monkey on the shoulder, with the last good bulk of Pepper spray left behind. Would you rather stay with the monkey or take another full shot of pepper spray? Niandra LaDes and Usually Just a Tshirt will tell you.
John Frusciante - Curtains
....sincerely speaking and on artistic terms? tough one, really.
John Frusciante - Running Away Into You
especially when dubbed down, see, no songwriters followed that hunch....
John Frusciante - Untitled #3
and after many clicks he becomes embazzled into a digital loop.
the law of repetition, repetition, repetition, repet.......
John Frusciante - Untold titled (SebCatLitter looped cutup)
but in the end, pop solved it all....

the eyeballs just stiffled from dryness and brought some much needed fluids in.
That's the turkey kicking in and me signing off until the next post.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

El Abranis....or les Abranis for stubborn Francophones

I recently found some mp3's of an obscure band from the late 60's. I somehow thought they were Iranian, naively mistaking an LP titled *Waking up Scheherazade* as a hint. They're Algerian/Amazigh in fact, -doesn't all ear-tickling Maghreb music lately seem to come from those regions?- Karim Abranis is the founding member and vocalist, so hence the band name. Turn your surname into the band, easy does it.

The edgy thing about Abranis music is that he tends to play western music, though in some way it doesn't sound western -ofcourse the vocals are done in Tamazight, a southern desert Berber language. It's more like a smooth fingered take through Northern African guitar/lute riff techniques and hidden background cultures.

Here some early 70's style pyschedelic rock from the *Waking up Scheherazade* LP, which is somehow described as an Arabian Psyche Nuggets compilation, resisting to push the Tamazight culture. Dig that lushly coloured artwork though!

El Abranis - Athedjaladde

El Abranis - Ayetheri a l'afjare

Both are songs that could have easily been put on Sublime Frequencies' recent & excellent Algerian Proto-Rai Underground LP. Perhaps an idea for a dusted Amazigh release?

Here's some more info on the band, on what seem to be a fine French sound blog. Plus a lofi blues song done Algerian style. Those funky background guitar beeps hit the spot.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fired Up

The Gang Gang Dance show on Friday apparently was a real blast out, so I've heard -I didn't go-. So much that their instruments catched fire in the attic storage room @ Paradiso, A'dam. Seriously bad luck there, hopefully the insurance can sort out the done damages. But how does one go about replacing vintage synths? ouch. The band wrote a statement on their MS blog, some snippets;

"we had a blast, but unfortunately our morning was a bit tragic. We stored our gear in the club last night and when we arrived there today to pick it up and head off to Brussels for tonights show, we were informed that an electrical fire had occurred in the very room where our stuff was stashed. We didnt really know the scope of how bad the fire was until we arrived on the scene to find every piece of equipment we own scattered out in the parking lot...melted, charred, and still smoldering. Most of our gear is way beyond repair and the small amount of stuff that looks as if it wasnt physically destroyed by the fire itself has all been doused by the firehoses. So we have been left with synths that are melted, a charred guitar, cases full of wet pedals and cables, drums that are nothing but the metal rims, amps that look as if they've been doused in tar...the list goes on.".....

"On top of that we are stuck here in Amsterdam until we are able to meet with the insurance company that is dealing with the fire, if we were to leave then we would risk losing out on the compensation that will be necessary for us to build our equipment back up."

Here a track from their nice 2008 rekkid 'Saint Dymphna'
Gang Gang Dance - Bebey

And one from the 2007 'Rawwar' EP
Gang Gang Dance - The Earthquake That Frees Prisoners

It seems more and more like they're stepping up to fill the void between the now defunct outfit Out Hud and some dubby-delica/step spheres. So there.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Awakening on friday the 13th


awakening from blog neglected sleep.
*sniffing at new paint*

this for now:
Okkervil River - Listening to Otis Redding at Home during Christmas
Thanks to Nilo for his swell selected mix tape

Vosbikian Band - Yar Muneyi
Thanks to El Rikko for his excellently diasporic 'soft guide to Armenia' compilation.

An animist & animalist ode to friday the 13th, as well on Nesske's
365nights blog. Meet my adopted stray beach daughter of Portugese descent. The Africans downstairs are seriously wary of her. Just like most Africans tend to be scared of cats, I've noticed. She approaches them anyhow, rubbing her whiskers and fur against their legs while they try to hurry past her. Fledermaus love.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hiatus lapsed back into the recycling loop, 50th jubilee post & return of the old styled rabbitey!

Back from 6 months India. and Pakistan. and Nepal.
The old rabbit is temporarily done with hurrying from place to place along deserts, mountains and sea coasts.
See here for all words and etceteras about the travel and music-slash-culture project, if you hadn't peeked at it before already.

More dazed than anything else to be back in western spheres. Its reality goes past me, which I now find even more difficult to grasp than before. So it shall be, live and learn with these acquired tainted glasses, hazy as they are. No job to look forward backward to. Nor wanting to for a few weeks more or longer. It's all a matter of when the cash does start burning through the pockets and back to making scraping ends meet. There still is springtime to enjoy until the flowers start rotting.

I have been a lot in the city scapes of Brussels in the last month, the cultural meltpot where Flemish, Wallons, Northern Africans, Central and Western Africans thread the same cobblestones and avenues, piercing through invisible language barriers. Anglophnish, immigrant patois, dress code phonetics and text message ebonics make up the cultural code. I used to hate Brussels for a long time. Not because I'm from Antwerp -since I never lived there anyway except being born in it-, nor that I was Flemishminded, but rather through the false glimpses that couldn't reveal its true spirit to me, on every short urban visit I ever did. Times change and stubborn perceptions too, as well as through people who are close to you. My localhood is near the Rue du Midi/Zuidstraat. Very near to the Recyclart nitespot, a serene spot that is located under a bridge in an old train station! And more cultural addition brought by lots of immigrant shops in the shape of import products, polarised music cultures and take away cuisine. Life in these streets and its hidden corners is not dictated by tourist trawlers but by all folks that make up the real Brussels as said above. A city's spirit thus revealed.

On the streets around though, cheapo Cara pils is the delight of the bench dwellers. In India one would be considered rich to be able to buy alcopop since the price of it is way too inflated for locals. Hence the lack of alcoholics, bar a few states/regions. Here, you don't need much money to buy beer. stock up at your peril. Cara pils must be the beer company with no commercial marketing or PR whatsoever. It will sell itself, word of mouth, from mouth to mouth, livid, tasted and shared. Alcopop advertising has never been easier, never so truthful either.
The many Indian tourists of high caste families that come to Brussels for their first touch of Free Europe are sure to be shocked when they'll encounter such sight, hah. Their mental mirror of the west will instantly have cracks on the perfect surface.
In India misery comes after one has been impoverished. Here in the west it seems that misery has a way to precede it, given that folks here still are able to live poorly and get luxury items they really shouldn't get (such as alcohol). That's first my notion on the relativity of western poverty upon returning.
Les Marolles, street art. All found in one corner.

There is music in this post too, words and free dowloads. Sneak peek thievery continued.

Adem (of Fridge) has a new album out, 'Takes', consisting of cover songs only.
His tasty take on Aphex Twin in songwriter mode.
Adem - To Cure a Weakling Chile (Girl/Boy Song)

Another one. Caribou's new album Andorra. It resembles Grizzly Bear gone psyche and flowerpoppy (and yeah very much Animal Collectively too -sigh-). Not a one-man project anymore and Snaith has gotten himself a proper band it seems. Though the album has a good feel, I'm still a sucker for his older pastures of sweet electronica from his Manitoba years. This song, more electronic than the rest of the album, reminds me of those times. Watch out for BoC inspired nostalgia. Warm fuzzy sounds, hmmmmm.
Caribou - Irene

And see attached clip. Bugs and mammals going peekaboo, aww.

The new Portishead. I just can't say anything bad about it. I wish I could out of habit just for being different, special and therefore utterly mundane. Perhaps that ambivalent line as some people have told me; 'It's quite the dance record'. Years ago, it would have had a negative connotation, whereas now... everybody has been fooled into it. Kinda like the magnificent trick that was Radiohead's Kid A. Third is its new sister; the Warp designer sound is more than apparent and bands like Broadcast must be wondering how they've suddenly turned into Portishead's idols. Trip hop is finally dead, let it be mourned and celebrated at the same time. Intoxicated shall we dance to staccato beats and indiefied techno while Beth Gibbons wails her inner confusion and emotional misery aloud to all. There goes intimacy. Pain comes more alive with rhythm. In a few days I'll see them in Barcelona spheres. In the rain surely.
Portishead - The Rip

Another amazing find of the past weeks has been Eric Copeland's 'Hermaphrodite' trip.
Actually released late last year, if one cares. But I do, after missing out on it back in India. Black Dice is done and gone for. No more. Such pity. Copeland has taken a slightly different route from the rattle and rumble and created psychedelica instead. Tapeloop psychedelica that fucks your brain into believing some unassumed drugs are running wild within you. A few go's on the Hermaphrodite headfuck and your loopy high from the feedback echo turns into a frenzy. Think of Panda Bear's 'Person Pitch', take out the whimsical vocals, twiddle obsessively with all levels and reloop all sounds into the cranial cortex. In 'La Looly Boo' for instance, Copeland morphs African folk scrap sounds into a happy cartoon march while wild animals are growling in the background. Insanity? No, blame it on Hermaphrodite. The title rings like a bell, over and over. Evil stuff that gets you addicted to transformed repetition. Black Dice is still alive, just circumsized and more twisted than before. To link it to Animals and Panda's; no surprise it has been released on Paw Tracks. Here, try an acid tab, take three even. One Mary-go-round experience for the nauseously impaired!
Eric Copeland - Green Burrito
Eric Copeland - Scumpipe
Eric Copeland - Dinca

zee end, off to Barcelona. soon back. quack quack

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Csardistic goodbye

I don't watch much footie games anymore -none in all fairness- , but I do love to hear underdogged countries beating established national teams, especially idf it's east against west. Such as last week; Russia beating Engand so that the ever arrogant lions might be cut out of the cup. Then Romania - Holland 1-0 to the Romanians, yay. Most dutch people always expect their team to win as if it's business as usual and therefore I'm happy for the Romanian people they got something to cheer about. Let's hope they'll fare well at the euro cup, better than the western euro teams, hah. In Honour to Romania (errr and partly Hungary) some csarda and szokos songs, nearly all by a multiple array of violins only, bar a cimbalum in the Taraf de Haidouks song.

Day before yesterday, an interesting conversation with a certain Kees, who knew a lot about the early start of immigrant integration in the early 70's and the then government's stance to it which he could explain to me by his own experiences. In those days, it was a very socialist government, so the dutch like to say and believe. Guess again. In some cities, developers built new *cheap* flats that the immigrant workers could buy through the government. Instead of selling them at the the low cost that the flats were worth, they were sold for the double amount and immigrants not knowing about the price-quality value, got suckered into buying them. Those flats are now in quite a bad state compared to other builings built during that period. Yeah sociaist government. I reckon for the builders it was all well and socialist. Even in Holland, socialism and moneygrabbing go and in hand;

Oh and then the upcoming law against the mushroom, which will make it illegal to sell fresh schrooms soon enough. Even liberal liberties are not free anymore nowadays. Thanks to all the shithead drugtourists that cause unhealthy usage in Amsterdam as some novice junkies feel mushrooms should always be used together with alcohol, pills or cocaine so they can occasionally die when jumping off a builing or in front on tra,s. No, surely mushrooms on their own are not enlighting enough to them. Idiots.
Back to the forests to forage it is then. Yipee kayee. In support to friends who hopefully can keep the mushrooms safe from this politcal witch hunt, I hope that they can win their battle in the next 6 months when I'm gone. See Paddoverbod Nee!

And so it comes to this, the last post on old style rabbit for a while. I'll be in India for the next 6 months, leaving in a few days.

But but but, I'll blog elsewhere on the newly created India blog; Ek, do, tin, accha! 1,2,3, ok! in hindi ;)

Ok, bye for a while, see you at ek do tin!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Smoking frogs forget to explode

Little one from the temporary hiding place.

Mum has a new album, which I'm told is sweetly bizarre and special. Some will throw it into the pile of generic freakfolk or shape it in whatever categorised name but Mum have always had their own fair share of unique sounds that can be described as heartwarming icelandic snowcaps.
Put it any way that you like it, as normal analogies fail with the best.

I've only heard/seen the song They Made Frogs Smoke 'til They Exploded and I like it. Kiddie voices, fluffy beats, clinging melodies, it's all there to tickle the fantasy and innocent nostalgia. See the clip below and draw yourself a picture......

Ok, off to busy bee practices of running around and arranging stuff.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Male, 27, seeks closure to commute to freedom

It's been a while.

To speak with the Ladysmith':

*Homeless, homeless
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake
Homeless, homeless*

Since today I am out on the streets, officialy. and by my own signature. The stone heavy responsibility has fallen of me with its shackles cut.

Not much to say except that in about three weeks I'm on my way to India for 6 months. So it seems. With various projects in mind, so it hopes. With numerous vague possibilities ahead, so it relishes. Still lots to arrange, plan and improvise. Surely that's enough work for a 9 to 5 day job for the next few weeks. yay. But at least the boss doing the thinking upstairs is capable of doing, so one believes. Shackled to my own body and inerd processes that is.

Jessica Baillif's set saturday at the ambient festival in the Kikker theatre was deeply serene and shoegazer-polishing beautiful. check out song below.

Here some great songs, raps and instrumentals that I have been enjoying over the last year, yet never shared up till now. taste!

Jessica Baillif - Shadow (album to be found at the friendly good people of Morc Tapes label!)
Bird to Be - Shallow (in its lo-fi glory. chirpy birds sing nice songs)
Sandro Perri - Circles (from 'Sandro Perri plays Polmo Polpo' EP at Constellation)
Haruki - In The Garden (to get for free at the Rain Music weblabel. go forth and check)

Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou - Tenkou! Why Feel Sorry? (Ethiopiques#21, piano africadirium!)
Artur Adriano - Kalunga (1960's angola) (off some 4 disc compilation that has a 50 yoyo tag)

Bleubird - Blackhawk Down feat. Sole (from the album RIP USA/The Birdfleu on Endemik recs.)

Wooden Wand - Vengence, Part2 (off Harem of the Sundrum & the Witness Figg, is it doomblues, freakfolk, rock? just Wooden Wand)

nighty night.

In the next weeks till country kick-out I'll beep here from time to time with a letter or two, but always failing promises, promiscuously.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bony kings and queens in improvised handwriting

And alas my loves, so the weekend surpasses its own current of constant backtracking on train tracks. From the Brabandian fields surrounding Eindhoven to the metropolitan bustle of Brussels, guided by warm wings :)

In a tucked away village field, the Broermoats festival took place from friday till saturday with a lineup of allsorts alternative music, put together by spiderthreadmaster Maarten, or better know under his nom de plume Flip met de hoed.
You could camp there and the idea was basicly to put your tent anywhere around the stages. Courtesy of free relocation and temporary bed placement. I was asked to put on some music inbetween some acts in the chillout area and with pillows aplenty, well, it easily turned into nest of comfyness as I pressed play buttons in relax mode while lying down of soft textures. Certainly way more enjoyable that way, dj-ing (or the attempt to) should always be that simple and lazy.
Saw some various electro and improv-like acts, having bits and bobs of food, watching visuals from a couch. Dead easy relaxed so the evening went and turned into night. The guys had made a shack into a cosy and arty lighted mini club, with the dj booth crafted like a cage. Me and Hank Long were locked into there from midnight till the bright morning, playing mashy stews of electro, rock, techno, jungle, computergame scores, hiphop, breakcore and world beats... you can play a lot in, say, 8 hours pfeww. Getting woken up by a soft daze of hazy saxphone and dubby sounds was a sleepy eyed pleasure. The festival picked up its pace at lunchtime and Benjamin's friendly Utrecht band Moi, Le Voisin did their folky set which was a bit too short, pity. Though I got real sunny and nice, we soon afterwards left the festival since we planned to go to Brussels, homestead of the bird. Together with the voisins on their way back to Utrecht for videoclip privilages, we got a lift by tractor on our way out.The last view was seeing some mad raver fella falling into one of the watery irrigation ditches. fun fun. The festival was great, such relaxed atmosphere, nice people, good music, booze n food. Plus all very well organised in a sincerely enjoyable amateuristic way. Oh, and the voisins running with their cello, accordeon and guitar was a fun sight to see.

The road to Brussels was all about lying down in the sun, whether in trains or on green pastures.
It was quite a while ago that I had been in Brussels and in the sun it all looked so different, hence I've mostly been there when it was raining. Me as the turtle, Ness as the snail, both shaped like backpacked animals. It's an analogy that made the burdened walk more funny.
Brussels has a lot of free festivals, there's always one of more going on it seems. The Klinkende Munt festival took place in the Beursschouwburg theatre with Jeremy Warmsley (UK) and Gary Lucas (USA) on the bill. Jeremy Warmsley was described as a songwriting Aphex Twin or Arcade Fire in a box. Kinda odd and you wonder why this spin is given to him, as to us, he sounded more like a Rufus Wainwright or Andrew Bird in younger years. The pianoplayer was the most entertaining character on stage. Not that he did so much, except just being the token eccentric type who performed like a skilled madman. Fun for the eyes and ears. Breaktime meant time for stairsitting with belgo beer at hand. It's always a bonus. It's funny to bump into someone you know in a place you've never been before, so it goes. After that gitarist Gary Lucas came on, famous from his escapades within the mighty Magic Band of the ole' Captain Beefheart that we treasure so dearly. He played improv guitar noise over classic cult horror movies. Fun for the eyes, fun for the ears. Next day we lazied around markets, parks and city views in a sunday manner. And ofcourse, another free festival, the Plazey festival in the open air surroundings of a park. We especially came for The Bony King of Nowhere, a young folky revelation from Gent, spearheaded by the 20 year old Bram van Parijs. Ness told me that Devendra Banhart praised this fella highly and since they played the Domino festival they are quickly rising to fame. Even without a proper album. Reason enough to catch them and yup, it was good. Good enough to put up some unreleased tracks here, taken from the Alas My Love demo ep that Bram was selling out of a shoebox. Earnest indeed. :)

The Bony King of Nowhere - Alas My Love
The Bony KIng of Nowhere - Jack Tar

We saw some other band playing, Donkey Diesel, though the rain and our hunger took the attention span off the stage. An Pierle was supposed to play after, but not to be seen as I had to get my train back to the rainy hollandonian landscapes. But soon to return to La Belgique, yay! Actually every weekend up to the beginning of August will be spend in the homelands, as there are just too many good festivals, gigs and sweet people to visit. One can't deny the roots under that joyfull suspicion.

this coming weekend.....Dour! starting thursday...Wu Tang Clan, Skatalites, Israel Vibration, Amon Tobin, Wilco, Les Ogres de Barback, A Hawk and a Hacksaw and whatnot... fun will continue! And perhaps Animal Collective too, playing in the open air next to a Brusselian railway station? Or the option of a monday evening, BBQing with Wolf Eyes? Overdose guaranteed.

I'm in by going out, out of it while staying in. Loophole roundabouts...merrily, merrily, merrily.
enjoy your week, ending into weekend.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Jackfruit in sweetened coconut milk

yeah, been awhile again. Though I had intended to post a lot...which never accumulated.

Myumm, it's kinda hot here now and I'm overloading on Foco's Jackfruit/Coconut ice cream, thanks to the Chinese supermarket. Brainfreeze and frostbite dazzle.

Last weekend included an old skool rave party (SL2, Neil Landstrumm), a Kimya Dawson concert, a reggae bash of the good elephant crew and a sunday afternoon of world music in the park shaped into a festival. In a nutshell.

To make the shell smaller, I'll just add a petite thing for now on Kimya Dawson. Since she has had her baby Panda Bear (hmm, a spurr of Animal Collective fame) she has gotten u-turn cleaned-up motherly and even sweeter in her songs, crafting them like kiddie songs. Sesame street turned all bizarre and emo for the adults. I got her funny handcrafted ep filled with kid songs with pictures to colour in yourself. Happy times to be suckered into feeling like a kid allover again, guilty pleasures do me no harm :) No more songs about broken love, suicide and alcoholism for once, so mother Dawson..please stand up.

Kimya Dawson - Little Monster Babies
Kimya Dawson - Alpha Butt
Kimya Dawson - Seven Hungry Tigers

I will soon post something about that gypsy csarda violin style I was rambling on about before, which has been taunting my brain deliciously for the past few weeks. violins and drones; a perfect combo of acoustic lull.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Quickie. quack quack.

The Dutch cultural VPRO organisation always does very well to produce special docu's about lost and new music.....

A recent broadcast featured Terrie of legendary Dutch punk band The Ex and Tsehaytu Beraki. Terrie has his own world music label Terp, on which he mostly releases music of older Ethiopian artists. He discovered Tsehaytu Beraki living anonymously in Rotterdam, she's an old Ethiopian star singer from Eritrea who had been in the Eritrean rebel forces during the late 60's and in the mid 70's she fled to Holland as applied for political asylum. You can see the show streamed! she's one spicy granny.
-only to be viewed in WMP though, and yup..mostly in dutch.-

This weekend, they will broadcast a documentary about Jimmy Mohammed Jimmy which should be online after the weekend at the same website as above.

On the subject of the recently deceased Jimmy Mohammed Jimmy:
-I sadly have slacked to post a memorian that I planned to do so at the start of this year -sigh-

Tonight the good people of the Ex are organising an Ethiopian fundraiser night in the OT301 for Jimmy's family. See below all information, so come! These concerts and Ethiopian disco sound too special to pass and good causes deserve good attention. Life is sweet with all this sun and sticky heat. thanks for the feed Rik!


A special benefit night to pay tribute to Mohammed JimmyMohammed, the amazing blind Ethiopian singer who died onDecember 17, 2006 in Addis Ababa. Jimmy played with histrio 3 times at OT301 and is greatly missed by all of ushere as well as by the many friends and fans he made onhis Dutch tours. All proceeds from this night will go tohelp Jimmy's wife and 2 young children.

Etenesh Wassie - vocals
Marc Demereau - saxophones, melodica + gueulophone
Piero Pepin - trumpet, bugle, trombone + melodica
Mathieu Sourisseau - bass
Fabien Duscombs - drums


Film premiere; "THE JIMMY" by Stephane Jourdain
CD Release; "HULGIZEY" by Mohammed Jimmy Mohammed Trio

Photo and video gallery
Ethiopian food
Ethiopian disco with DJs Terrie + Andy

Entrance 8 euro

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Burst of the dam, music pours out and drowns us.

Suddenly you get whirlwindsucked into a weekend of diasporic world music and *whack*, inspiration fish-slaps you in the face and words dribble out. loooooong read ahead.


We had our 3rd Rebel Up! Soundclash party but despite our effort we got about 20 people in. Whether the lack of people was due to the heath or that no one could be bothered remains unclear. But at least we had fun playing our mishmash of foreign spiced sounds for the swaying international folks on the dancefloor, with Rik and Friso joining our audio couscous feast with good ingredients. Surely our next party with Maga Bo (live!) on the 29th of June should be an earopener and floorfiller, hoping we can raise way more funds for the Rwandan charity.


I sometimes get quite quickly bored with abstract electronic music for a while, so I gave Francisco Lopez performance a wide berth and last-minute decided to go and see an Indian raga performance in Amsterdam. Last week, my Hindi teacher Darshan Kumari had quietly told me that she would play at a small concert, to accompany the main performer. What she didn't say was that it was for the famous sitar talent Purbayan Chatterjee in the grand hall of the Tropentheater! Purbayan comes from a line of respected musicians and he followed his father's footsteps when taking up the sitar at the crisp tender age of 5 and the famous raga legend Ustad Ali Akhbar Khan is his longtime master for teaching him the lifetime improvisations and variations of the raga. Purbayan has even played alongside the famous musicians Partho Sarathy and Shashank, which tidely sums up his already jawdropping resume, wow. At the age of 30, he can still be considered a young talent as learning classical Indian music takes a lifetime to achieve, let alone play virtuously. The level that Purbayan finds himself standing on, is one that already touches the same ground of sitar raga legends Nikhil Banerjee and Ravi Shankhar. Entering the Tropenmuseum building, you find yourself in a huge marble hall, decorated into grandeur with nicely laid out patterns. People walked around in evening dress as if it was the reception to some ambassador, so I nearly thought having entered the wrong hall, yet it indeed was ment fora special ambassador -one of Indian music!- :) The performance took place in the big room, which was decorated by amazingly carved wooden pillars with each a wooden sculpture resting on top of it. Back to Darshan, my modest teacher. She herself is one of the most gifted Indian female sitar players around and has been living here in Holland for over 25 years now, teaching classical Indian improvisations to musicians and being their master. At this performance, she played small repetitive raga drone scales on the 4-snared tanpura to accompany the sound of Purbayan's sitar and the tabla of another young talent named Anubrata Chatterjee (son of tabla legend Anindo Chatterjee, not to confuse with Purbayan's family). Purbayan started the show by saying that he would play 2 long raga's of 50 minutes each. Now that is a real musician.. giving himself enough time to build, develop and unwind an improvisation....and for the seated guests to enjoy, yay. My experience in raga's to explain them as insightfully as such really does not go very deep..but I'll try.

The first raga was a northern Indian one and started softly using the 'alapa' raga variation which means it went without a rhythm, just the melody as a lead. It slowly turned into wild sitarpicking crescendo's, slightly waved to flamenco, with fast bouncy tabla rhythms to go with. Amazing stuff. The 2nd raga was a carnatic raga from the south of India and the rhythm turned down a notch. There was more space for snare twisting but at the same time, the were uneven intermissions between the sitar and tabla which made it an interesting piece. Halfway, Purbayan's fingers got into a gliding mood and in quick procession double scales were resonating against one another which was one of the many moments he exhibited his skills. The end of this raga was magnificiently hefty; while the sitar melody went faster and faster, the thumping of the tabla's became louder and louder, endig with a bang. The audience clapped, once, twice, thrice. Purbayan, Anubrata and Darshan folder their hands, bowed their hands. It indeed would have been too cheeky to demand an encore in westernised stylee, since it wouldn't have done justice to the flow of the raga. You can't open an Indian music box in just a few minutes. I recorded the 2nd (carnatic) raga on my minidisc so it will eventually finds its way here later this week -or at least a big part of it-.


The Dunya festival in Rotterdam, a free world music festival sponsored by the city government with an amazing lineup of various international acts spread over 4 music stages.
So many choices as always, had to pick sometimes, so I missed the Malinese chanteuse Salimata Diabaté while Watcha Clan was on. Such is the festival spirit, high and low. Watcha Clan were great, despite their early scheduling (grrr). They hail from the melting pot that is Marseille and brought a intermeshing array of mestiza, gypsy, dub and northern african styles in one go. What amazed me is that for just 3 people playing instruments and electronics they have a very full sound. Me and Pascal met the threesome clan afterwards and it's very likely we will pull them to Utrecht to play in early September if all goes ahead. A Rebel Up! nite with a live band? hmmm who knows. Moroccan foursome Tarwa N Cheikh Mohand was up next and they brought on acoustic Amazigh music from the north. The dancing and the singing of these elderly gents had a heavy trancedental feel like Berber music always has in some way and took the crowd with their swooning sound. Brazilian singer Beatriz Azevedo was pretty dull in a lazy sunday afternoon jazz way so we scurried off to at the other stage. They are 4 young gypsy men from the Czech Republic but not made out of an average composition. The singer is also a hiphop mc and mixed funky rap rhymes over gypsy guitar ballad, accompanied with digital laptop beats. It was good. His speech *Where I come from in Czechia, we gypsies are seen as black and discriminated against* was right on in a hiphop manner, though the black kids around us didn't really warm for his message it seemed. But then again, what defines one being marked as black? Skin colour or inner spirit, or culture? French punky reggae band Babylon Circus were expected to rock it and they did so in jump out fashion. They were good, got the crowd friendly moshing though their sound was bit too much on the side of punk this time instead of their earlier ska and reggae style. Plus their songs are now shapened into English instead of French or Spanish. It's good to see this band on the uprise. We also missed the Seckou Keita Quartet. shucks. Ramesh Shotham's Madras Special was a nice enough session of drumming and peddling on itself, but it was no match to the blissful Indian concert overdose of the previous night. Monkomarok came on afterwards and were pretty good. In some ways they really compared to Watcha Clan, yet more aimed at an older audience. Also hailing from the south of France (Toulouse), they as well mesh northern african, eastern european and the iberic sounds into a special worldly jazz concept. Where Watcha Clan takes a better aim at making people dance and have a more rebellious profile, Monkomarok is more delicate and has a deeper trancedental near-sufi sound that makes you sway.
Had we not hopped as much in the rain to the funky New Orleans gypsy fusion of Tony Kitanovski & Cherkezi Orchestra, we could have catched much more of Cherifa whom we had forgotten about(!). Alas and gutted, we just catched the tail of her *berberific* show. Cherifa Kersit is one of the most famous Berber chanteuses and she had 3 musicians with her who played the handdrum, lute and rattling percussion. I just always love the Berber music, its rhythms, the pulse of the Bendir, the resonating snare drone of the Ginbri lute, the clanging of the Qarqaba and the chanting and here it was no different. I could just record a piece of the last song, the loud feedback you hear at the end is the Ginbri lute player unplugging his instrument harshly. Rock on :)

Cherifa - Live tail excerpt Dunya (enjoy it Jace, pity it's way too short...)

The general theme throughout the festival was to ban out racism, by programming many acts that mesh world music styles together in unifying sound manner, which was a great idea. One thing that annoyed though me was that a big yet young part of the immigrant crowd did not embrace this sound message. There especially were vast numbers of biased Antillian and Moroccan teens there who only seemed to come for *their* thing, -as in music styles from their region of origin- and they were not being very positive and receptive to the other music styles being played live throughout the day since they didn't match their *own* local sound. Highly hypocritical? perhaps. -What I mean to point out, would I jeer more for a band just cos they're from Belgium...Holland....Europe? fuck that shit- Music does not need to match an identity, but playfully juggling with the idea of it, so should people. But alas, everyone has their perefered bias whether one wants to admit it or not. In times where immigrant youths are inbetween identities and can not find a balance between their ancestral identity and current identity, this is a given flaw in human adaptation. At least to those who care/crave too much for having a fixed identity instead of a freefloating identity, nervepicked by your own braincells. This slant is only ment on a cultural/musical note, not on integration or anything. The word 'immigrants' here could for instance just as well be replaced with 'squatters', seeing how their scene is more concentrated on punk and same old rallies with a good social message, yet this message is not often carried into a global unifying musical context either that *should* be better fit for it. (in a *oh wishfull thinking, thou robs me* stupor). And many more examples can be made if wanted, for any other scene, movement and so on. Ah, this endless introduction to a smoldering social culture debate better dies a slow death under a brusque wave of water. woosh.

Afterwards we went to our friend Jigo's place around the corner, who is a percussionist student from Slovenia. Imagine the amount of percussion tools lying about, with his room shaped as a small recording studio.

And after the Rotterdam daytrip, I ventured to the dubstep nite that Ingmar, Martin and the good men of the new Planet K organisation had put on in my city. Dubstep does exactly what it says. I just wobbled and staggered to the uneven beats and echoes. Here some nice photos of Derek Djons. I recorded an excerpt of Youngsta's set, though the quality of bass lack on my mic . People can even be heard talking on the background, so it probably wasn't loud enough, heh ;)

DJ Youngsta - Live at Helling excerpt


The Gipsy festival in Tilburg. It was a gathering of many gypsy and tzigani families from allover Europe in the garden of a big insurance company, sponsored by the same company. You will probably find this factoid ironic in numerous ways considering the context. Imagination, such is life. The festival was programmed with traditional music only and (thankfully) not with hybrid styles that often miss the point entirely and degrade this music to a westernised caricature (acts such as Oi Va Voi, Miss Platinum etc. spring to mind). Many grey clouds circled our heads and rain was sure to arrive in sleeting showers, but to me it fitted the musical context perfectly.
The festival was kicked off by Čilágos, a big group of artists formed out of various eastern Slovakian Roma families, combining their skills to bring authentic folklore songs. They directly had an impact on the crowd as they paced slow blues rhythms into faster dances during every acoustic song. 4 female singers of various ages in folklore dress carried the vocal torch, while the men were on accordeons, guitars and drums. We were in front of the stage and suddenly you could smell the old air being squeezed out of the accordeons, releasing a smell of instrumental nostalgia. At one point one of the men sung a beautifully sad blues song in a smokey tzigani voice which prompted tears from the oldest female vocalist who wept with pride, not hiding it. If a festival already starts going so deep early on, you realise that you're part of a special event. Pascal, Jiga and me walked around for a bit and we came upon a stall selling handmade and truly antique gypsy swing guitars. The elderly owner was a member of the travelling Limberger family, cousin of Tcha Limberger and also closely connected with the famous Reinhardt and Schmitt manouche jazz families. After a bit of talking, he picked up one of the crafted guitars made us enjoy a sudden swing improvisation which was pretty amazing. He tried to lure Pascal into buying a bunch of old broken Belgian trumpets for 100 euro's, after Pascal had showed interest in a bashed and barely functioning trumpet. Some tricks don't die young. We saw some gypsy swing on the other stage but we yearned for blues to match the wet drizzle instead of sunny swing tunes. Gadjo Joe was a funny Belgian storyteller who had a corner to himself and his original made and painted gipsytrailer, to entertain the kids with all kinda gypsy legends about fairy's, ogres, princesses and granted wishes. He did it really well, so we joined the kids for a while under the protective wings of a pine tree and could only smile. Walking back to the stage we encountered a scene of unreal anger in the middle of the park, as several gypsy women started screaming to each other at an unnerving pitch. Something was eerily wrong and quickly a crowd of family members emerged, running from all angles to this spot. 2 Gypsy families, (which even consisted of several Čilágos affecionados) stood eye to eye with each other and tensions rose invisibly to the rest of the festival audience. From the back, a man in his 30's in a black suit angrily walked up and shouted abuse at one of the women and it soon made clear why. His neck showed a gaping big cut, with blood pouring from it onto his shoulders. The family elders of each family quickly stepped in, eyed each other and muttered a few words which prompted the family of the wounded man to run away, out of the festival grounds, young and old alike. Bizarre, as quickly as the scene had started, as quickly it was dismissed again without any aggression or retaliation. According to Pascal through his Romanian life experience, gypsies do not apply their laws around non-gypsies. Though that does not mean it's over by a far stretch, as blood feuds can run deep and long. As a non- gypsy (gadjo) you will never find out what exactly happened and why, since we are not part of their world other than that we're seen by them as gullible sheep placed outside of their society. To us westeners, this other society is a concept beyond our own law abiding imagination of authority and registered citizenship, but it's not to those who live freely on the fringes of society, in a society with its own rules and laws.

Back to music and happy yet sorrowfull spirits. We started bumping into more and more friends and aquintances who had also made their way to Tilburg and the atmosphere was brilliant all around. Tony Lakatos and his Gypsy Colours somewhat disappointed and every song was too much the same. They played a few Tchavalo Schmitt takes, which were really great but the rest sounded a bit samey. Romeny Jag on the other hand was really good. They're a Dutch gypsy family, spearheaded by a big blonde Frisian guy from up north and darkly skinned storyteller Bluma Schattevoet. With violin, accordeon, djarbouka and even a diggeridoo(!) they gave a vivid and jumping performance while a teenage boy and girl danced along in folklore outfits. They only played already famous eastern european songs and sometimes made some mistakes, but that was actually the charm of their on stage presence and energy and made us bounce. Yaa! Lincon Rumanian Gypsy Ensemble was much anticipated as they brought some excellent cimbalom tunes, making Rik smile from ear to ear. They had a terrific good female singer of good oaked age, which one of the musicians sweetly introduced as his talented mama. Crowds began dancing more and more since the alcohol intake of some started to have effects, from bubble and grape magic. After that the famous French stylemelangeur Thierry *titi* Robin took over and the pace slightly slowed down and took us on a Northern African trip meeting flamenco and gypsy swing along the way. Like a Tony Gatlif soundtrack brought live onto stage. Hungry times knocked into the belly and the sole veggie option among all the chicken spiced bits and onionsprinkled beef patties, was falafel. But they naturally had sold out since my festival eating pattern is always belated. Instead some cornbread sandwiches with lettuce and garlic sauce, but it was a luxuruous jail meal though ;)

Headliner and Romanian favorites Fanfare Ciocarlia would close off the festival and prepared themselves in relaxed manner next to the main stage. Upclose we watched and heard them practising their wide and shiny horn section. Tuba thumps, trumpet struts and so on; a sure party in the making. The volupteous Bulgarian Lilliana Buttler -rightly nicknamed the queen mother of the gypsy soul- prepared herself with a platter of fries and mayonaise, while already dressed up in her special red evening gown. Finally they went on stage, our wine came out of the bag and the fest was about to drag us by the feet into the air. One famous classic came after the other with trumpets, drums and tuba's in orchestrated grist and splendour, before Buttler delivered her baritone voiced songs and had the audience in her control. We were at the side of the stage, dancing our socks off together with many other likeminded folks with whom we created a gentle gypsy dance moshpit. The fanfare went on and on and we all wished it would not end. They did do an encore on stage and everyone thought it was over by then...but me and Pascal knew they would come back into the crowd to play acousticly as they do at nearly every show. So they did. Moneybills were stuck to their sweaty foreheads, the crowd cleared a path for them so that everyone could dance right next to them, rubbing the drum and shouldering the tuba....all shouting 'Mult'umesc!' What a great end. And that's that.

Here some songs of the Čilágos family group. I bought their cd off their roundbodied dancer who sold albums through the crowd during Lincon. Pascal reckoned she had seen us upfront dancing at the start, making us an easy target. yup.

Čilágos - Sar Me Mamo
Čilágos - Kána Phares
Čilágos - Duj Chavore
Čilágos - Dzelem

Soon I'll put up photo's here as Jet catched the atmosphere in some pretty good images.

Pfew. I'm done.
Close off bit with muzak overdose. So it goes (ey zjofie?).

Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice - Hey Pig He Stole My Sound
(from the appropriately titled album 'Gypsy Freedom')
This sounds like Konono No.1 fighting gamelan style with the No Neck Blues Band. Say wha'?
When putting this song on, my cat started freaking; scratching the carpet, the bed and psycho tailed high jumps. Yessa, freakfolk goes bestial, roaaaarr!

keep well.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Brosseau, the Dakota troubadour

Short post before trainsitting my way to the Ardennes for a few days, where a patch with a clean natural river running through will wait. bliss. Just need to get away from this concrete jungle, quickly.

Meet Tom Brosseau from the plains of North Dakota, a sweet gentleman fella I met last year when he was touring with folkies Vetiver. In a smooth high pitched voice he sings his alternative country and in the same soft manner he releases hushed words when speaking.

You can see and hear him doing his styled thing, walking around on the streets on New York and in a N.Y. barber shop. He remains composed, smiling to people as if it's his natural place to be there. It's a recorded and video'd here. Take a peek.

Plus, some free tracks were to be found elsewhere. Find them uploaded below.

Tom Brosseau - Amory
Tom Brosseau - Corina, Corina
Tom Brosseau & Angela Correa - The World is Waiting For the Sunrise

That's all for now. Gotta run.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Battled the block

hummmm. block; writer and crash alike.

Battles just released Mirrored, which takes their music a step further beyond the thick patches of krautrock and into a labyrinth of eclecticity. Wow. Rock is exciting again. Review time. Life literaly gives you a bruised context that fits, rough and toughed up. This one also goes out to Henk and Yann, our clumsy minds in unison.

Begin nightly bike race; fresh, lean and swiftly. You speed past traffic lights, deserted crossings and a mild sunday wind brushes the skin. Freedom at 30 kms per hour.
Battles - Race In

Sounds wooze past and the speed goes up a notch, pedal the iron horse into the moonrise!
Without braking you face an unexpected roadblock. Too little too late. Screech and stop and the iron horse throws you off. Airborn as it goes.
Battles - Atlas

There's a loafy tumbling and in a sedated daze, your bodily conscience is consumed for a marginal moment in time, untill sound switches itself back on and you feel your head and limbs thumping. Louder, harder and heartbeat-like, it aches. Yeah, that's definately the feeling of ugliness coming on. The iron horse; well, it's front legs are broken...the poor sweet thing.
Battles - Race Out


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Vonnegutted & droney clouds in canyons

Hi bookworm club,

Sad news; another visionair master bites the dust, at the oaked age of 84 though. Vonnegut's legacy will hopefully continue to inspire future generations long after us, as to not make people step into the same reality pothole that he made himself escape from. Slaughterhouse-Five was the first eyeopener for me through a socio-political writing style that breathed sarcastic splendour. In the same sharp vein as Céline, Vonnegut portrayed and analysed humans in certain social environments and say, their reaction to war and doom-like situations, for the best and for the worst. All done in a sci-fi anorak made out of unfiltered black comedy.

Some Vonnegutian quotes, as impromptu cited by an irish friend:

"everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt"
"How nice to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive"

a sway back to reality, away from the printed paper and its poetical truth.

Last Tuesday evening, those 2 seperate livingroom concerts were a world apart. One room, filled with cosy matrasses and pillows, provided folk and songwriter jibes. The other, wooden benches and a wall of meditative noise to crush yourself on. Both settings confined of beautiful tones nonetheless, at least in my ears:

Dutch outfit This Leo Sunrise did their folk set before a home crowd. Hailing from Utrecht, they somewhat linger inbetween the folk-tastic Dirty Three and frickle songwriter folk in the footsteps of name-one. It's just an estimation. I do find their live sound better than on record, guess it had to do with the comfy livingroom.

This Leo Sunrise - This Is Our Glorious Time

A marriage in noise; German-American duo Cloudland Canyon. They are a Hamburg-Memphis connection, which is indeed a non average team-up locationwisely seen. Praise the internet for data back-and-forth tuggles, which kept this project alive through the static hemispheres.
Their live set was one steady drone of heavy thumping and subsonic tremblings. As I said earlier; it was pretty meditative and eye-closing. Near the end, fuzzy organ sounds overwhelmed the atmosphere to give it a psychedelic shine. Great stuff, please come again to play guys...anywhere...anytime!

A bunch of empee's from their "Requiems der Natur 2002-2004" album, which actually isn't so noisy, but spiked with freakfolked drones instead. Lovely all the same.

Cloudland Canyon - Opening/ Ice of Rift
Cloudland Canyon - Clearlight Intry (for full enjoyment; play it queued straight after Ice of Rift as they belong together)
Cloudland Canyon - Field Ghosts
Cloudland Canyon - Holy Canyon (Vanquish)

beep n scratch. astronaut out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Enter Easter coma modus. *On*

A 5 day Easter weekend would normally give people some deserved rest, precious laziness or other timewasting nonesuch activities. It kinda should. Yet when one is tightly bound to the own addiction of gighopping and social outings, there's nothing left than to sully surrender to the swirl of self imposed demise.

One goes to a concert of a friend, enjoys beautifully sculptured minimalism, voice and guitar alike in this tonal shape;
Soccer Committee - Stripping The Nude
Later on, one sees and hears more minimilised forms; an imaginary soundtrack to snowpaved roads by Austrian duo Lokai. Mwoah, Easter starts easy. So one thinks. The night that blends into a late late session at the local squat bar disco tells another story alltogether.

Next day, you just need to go to that gypsy extravanza. You have gotten urged to, promised to expell the laziness that the body is craving. There are trumpets waiting, accordions with shiny teethed smiles and grins above them welcome you and the fest continues from that first nervy step on. Can one be blamed? You go deep and bow down, get your hat robbed by some urban cheeky eyed nightingale and you bow again. Some gent puts down a tray of shot glasses in front of oyu while he's juggling with records, pops the vodka open, you bow and grasp, taking it all in.
The haze leads you into a blissfull stupor, you bounce. Up, sideways, down. Drinks are spilled on you from all angles and the sharp fragrance of eau d'alcool washes over you to complete your effort in drowned Tom Waits impressions. Mumble, stumble and grunt, hardstomping and ends.

With limp legs, one slides into bed, knowing that a few hours of snooze will not be a trustworthy preparation to the Rhaaa Lovely festival, down in Belgolandia onto the green wavy Wallonian patches just above Namur. It means picking up hitchhikers along the way and getting lost in side road belgium, as always. You do reach your destination among the indie people; bespecled, beardy, pale, darkly clothed, glum. You fit in, somehow, or try to. You notice that the band Bracken sounds like Hood, in fact IS Hood in a certain percentage way of speaking. Narky singer moans at crowd, making them more glum, apologises for doing so. It's an indie story of shoegazing, you see. Yndi Halda is late and last seen near Spa, informs one clever eagle. Another victim of the Belgian side roads, the curse of pitoresque lostness strikes again. They are postrock anno 2007, looking to the telltale past of other outfits, takes what it likes and repaints it with the same colors. The token duplicate is not of bad quality on this greyish afternoon. It actually fits sincerely. But sincerety does not equal originality. Rothko. One of those versatile bands with a sound that touches many styles at once. Call it your European degree of Tortoise and the nail has nearly been hit into the wood, barely missing your finger. They beam of enthousiasm and pride, since they hardly ever play for more than just a small room, let alone a few hundred people in a bigger hall like today. Great set. Onto Audrey, a 4pack of Swedish lo-fi rock girls that makes the male indie contingent go upfront to drool. Their solemn focus is put to noir songwriting while the cello is one of the better parts of their total sound. Weirdly enough, every one of them sounds like Björk on a weary comedown. Decide yourself whether that's good or bad. Please something heavy to wake up with. The tiredness of the day before is fighting you from within. Arnaud Michniak is formerly of the amazing french improv punk/postrock band Diabologum, now disbanded. -ooow a long time favorite, this one confesses- He drops a dirtbomb on cue. With ferocious poetry he lunges for the crowd. Smudgy guitar sounds and harsh background noises accompany the scene, while from time to time a movie plays on screen in which a manifest is being presented through action and reaction. The adaptation of him putting an announcer on the roof of his mini peugeot car and driving while ranting away over a handheld speechbox, makes me think of that rowdy character in Richard Linklater's Slackers and Waking Life movies. It ends in minutes of improvised punk noise that trickle into a steady noise drone. Yessa. You wander around the festival grounds, look at the drawings that children made in these schoolbuildings, visit the standard unlit portaloo's and there are some sounds from the mini camping. You wander over and find 3 germans dancing around an iPod connected to a ghettoblaster; hi & low-tech celebrate their sudden unity. Air's "Sexy Boy" plays on the improv soundsystem and you find yourself dancing too, because this sweetness makes you smile and shiver, chickenskinny in the cold breezy Wallonian evening air. You stay for more and electroclashmashes of Le Tigre and whatnot pass by in playfull tones, untill the soundsystem goes silent. Batteries empty. Long live the iPod indeed.
Part Chimp continues the loudness, but in a punkrockish manner. It's fun for the moshpitgoers, but nothing more than that. A Whisper In The Noise means, ''you can sit down and relax". People are even sleeping, so your eyes make you believe. One friend keeps reminding you that his voice sounds like Bono, which is a nasty trick to pull on one's enjoyment. You manage to detour it with a ''Tom Barman with a clear voice'' tactic, breaking the curse. Hmmm, the biological syrup juice was yumyum, making you relive childlike memories of hot summer days. But better to snap out of these nostalgic delusions and flashbacks, in order to get back to the festival mindset. The next band does live up to the name; Crippled Black Phoenix. You want to see this noir phoenix rise but it's crippled, which at the same time is its beauty. See, some bands do want to BE freakfolk, or act it. Or steal it. It's hard to place the finger on what they aim for. The tiredfaced leadsinger is stuffed up with a heavy flu, yet he is up there as a pristine folklore schoolboy performing his final play. Alongside him, the band is an usual mix of long beardy rockers, a freaky bespecled keyplayer and other folks who make a funny mix. You get the feeling that they are some mishmash of social outcasts thrown together. They are. In short, their live sound is like Arcade Fire with heavy bouts of stonerrock thrown in, making it more rock than folk, with a hint of post. Like a Bob Dylan who listened to 65 Days of Static, but that's crippled. Though on record, they sound well-behaved and overly polished. Go and figure, but the most entertaining band of the day; especially to end a set with an endless loop of annoying high-pitched noises for a few minutes, causing the crowd to flee, is brave and bold. Just untill the soundengineer screamed "guys, stop!" in pure anger. Clap clap.
The crafty roughness of Pelican closed off the festival giving some instrumental sludgecore that intervened with postrock, therefore; postsludge...or pedalsludge, as counting the pedals exceeded 2 hands. Good stuff, soon to be Gonzonised.
Past midnight, Matt Elliott was about to do a dj set, no songwriter set, arse. No reason to stay. But but but, the festival was worth it, even while carrying a hapless spirit in lucid coma modus.
With a friend of our posse needing to catch a flight to Naples at 9 am some hours away, it was better to go and roll back straight. A 3 hour drive surely feels nice when you deservedly spend it in dreamyland.

You could go on...explaining how Sunday was a day with gypsy and corporate food producing Monday was a late nite working in the voluntary cafe, doing an piano improv and how Tuesday, after a tiresome working day, ended at 2 different livingroom of freakfolk and one of noise drones. More about the noise drones later this week. Make a promise to keep, finder's keeper's the rule.

Coming Sunday at the Desmet Studio, the 5th Dwars festival will be held. As always, good acts and it is free in. If you had not reserved your own bodily attendance for this yet, please do so, quickly at See a lot more about it here.
Not so ideal situation: you have your magazine to care for, to fester and pack, to talk and to write so it feels right. So you can't make it to this excellent fest. Darn pity it is, really it just is. It's pretty useless to talk belligerently when it's only addressed to yourself. Idiot moi.

The 2 acts for a wide-eyed discovery will surely be Nalle and James Blackshaw. The trio Nalle seems to consist of 2 singing Finnish pixies and a Scotsman. Yeah, these pixie voices surely sound like a certain American freakfolk singer...let's not drift into vagueness and just listen below and solve the proposed puzzle.
Nalle - Sunne Song
Nalle - Iron's Oath

James Blackshaw is a young fingerpicker and is one of those talented nailpolishers who has suddenly joined the ranks of Jack Rose, Glenn Jones and Steffen Basho-Junghans. Below a long composition of raga streams flowing off a sunglinstering cascade. Blinding and vivid.
James Blackshaw - The Elk With Jade Eyes

Greetings from somewhere, darkroomed and chained to my own 8ball.