what I’m listening to now – lateral drift

I’ll work backwards from the present moment: 

Listen to Toumani Diabate on All Things Considered 28 Feb 2008 new music – http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=87760956 Mali kora (harp). He has a new solo album out and the cut featured on this program is lovely – rippling arpeggios in turns sad and uplifting with some oddly familiar melodic fragments.  I was first aware of him a few years back when he did an album with Taj Mahal Kulanjan that was a joint exploration of African music and the roots of blues, basically Taj finds his deeper roots. 

Found NPR music when looking for more Jose Gonzalez. http://www.npr.org/music/ It features live streams and a searchable compilation of NPR music-related programs across the US, with audio and video clips as well as transcripts and articles, podcasts etc.  A full range of music is featured from jazz and blues through to indie etc. What is great is that syndicated and local programs are all there.

Jose Gonzalez on NPR Music, this article features two videos of him performing in that Blanton art museum in Austin Texas as part of KUT’s Retread Sessions: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18917069

Lately a number of strands have come together drawing my attention away from jazz to genres (how I hate labels!) known as ‘chillout’ ‘trip hop’ ‘electronica’ etc. I’ve been picking up related tags in Last.fm and have rebuilt my playlist although it is still a bit of an odd mix ranging from John Coltrane and John McLaughlin including some Bert Jansch still through to Bonobo, Massive Attack, Air and Morcheeba.

Swedish indies The Perishers ‘Come out of the Shade’ was stuck in my head for about two weeks. Listen on YouTube (the video is lame but the music is resonant for some reason) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sI-22tQxPFY Other cuts from their most recent album, Victorious, are also quite good.

Found them by looking at other music videos produced by Andreas Nilsson who made some of Jose Gonzalez’ music videos. http://www.nixonnoxin.com/

Links up back to Jose, doesn’t it?  Lateral drift to African kora…the soundtrack of my life at the moment.

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What I’m listening to now…José González

Love José González’ new CD In Our Nature, which asks the question “What’s the point if you hate and kill for love?”

You can see his video clips and hear the music on his site. The clips would be worthy of the British Animation Awards, if only he were a Brit. Surreal and thought-provoking.

If you aren’t famililar with this artist (maybe some people Stateside), he is Swedish of Argentinian descent, and sings in English. Classically trained, he plays guitar intricately.  He’s not a pop clone – both his lyrics and music have something to engage the mind.

What I’m listening to…intricate guitars

Erik Mongrain percussive guitar “Fates” – reminds me of “Ice Flowers Melting” Finnish zither tape that I brought with me to China in the 1980’s. You can hear samples and see videos of his technique on his page: http://www.erikmongrain.com/News.asp

Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin, Paco de Lucia “Friday Night in San Francisco” – This is the original 1980 live recording.  Here is a clip from that show, and another.  The three got back together again for a reunion in 1996, which you can see here on YouTube.  We saw Paco in concert with his flamenco group in CA a number of years ago, quite amazing.

What I’m listening to now….

DIG Jazz Herbie Hancock’s ‘Maiden Voyage’ and remembering when I saw him play it live in San Diego in the 70’s…takes you to a different space. 

Before that….Martin Taylor ‘Stella by Starlight’ nice guitar….

Last week saw John Williams and John Etheridge at the Arts Centre from the second row …. like having them in your living room….could see their fingers clearly as they played.  Beautifully complex, yet minimalist at times.  Favourite piece ‘Peace Love and Guitars’.  Some of the African pieces reminded me of Philip Glass and Foday Suso performing ‘The Screens’ as we saw at UC Davis.

Staying in listening to music as today is a grey gloomy day, unlike yesterday.