The Latest Made to Measure realise No* 44 presents The Stubbleman. Stubbleman is the alter-ego of maverick composer and producer Pascal Gabriel, who to me- till now, was completely unknown performer. But as a great admirer of Crammed M2M series from early 80s and still dedicated fan I had to check it out and I am glad I did. If you like the Ambient music of 70s, 80s and 90s. Brian Eno, Tuxedomoon, Bang on Can, Hector Zazzou this is proposition for you !
Ukrainian Singer, and now also long time German resident, Tamara Lukasheva is the most striking new discovery and an incredible talent I recently came across and given her quality it might easily stay like that the whole year long. First, her vocal skills are phenomenal, then add to that the Voice, which is capable to surprise you anytime she would feel like taking a little part improvised. And, if it wasn’t yet enough for a single artist, on top of that you are getting a sensitivity which crosses between the usual heritage and cultural background. That last point is possibly most responsible for the freshness of that recording to the greatest degree.
From an opening Night and the Moon, sung half in Russian half in English, she sets an incredible romanticism over the entire piece. Music alone, but also her lyrics which had been balancing between an oriental ballad and melancholic Dumka, trying to describe the sense of loneliness.
Then comes tittle song, the Homebridge, lovely romantic ballade with fantastic piano accompaniment by Sebastian Scobel. Very touchy composition of her own, showing an incredible versatility.
But nothing would prepare you to what comes after with a song called Alte Hauser, which a nothing but sensational tour deforce balancing between folk spirit of the village song and TNT loaded Boss nova, with counter points that someone would suspect Laureen Newton about singing it. Clarity of her voice and theatrically – architectural structure is absolutely innovative and mesmerising with its thin balance between incredible infantilism and fully mature psycho – drama. This song is one of 3 on that recording which are refering to the poetry of prematurely died, autistic poet Asja Klimanova, Lukasheva’s friend to whose memory this recording is dedicated. Let’s focus on them for a while then as they are sort of sub-chapter for what is happening here in general.
Where are you going Yanichku is another one, with brings that feeling of naivety and the way she sings those word s to challenge our sensitivity and ability to understand something what clearly stays alive in her memory but reminds sacred for the listener to whom only artistic Tamara’s translation is available.
Last one, called I will stop disappearing, comes after her own titled Awake, which creates wonderful emotional platform between her own expression and the magic hidden in the little poet’s thoughts. It is sad and more epitaph than the others, with both lyrics and the nocturnal piano and double bass inclusion framing it. It is sung, as others in original, but transcriptions are available for listener to unknowledge the meaning of the words. That is just the right choice as the natural melody of the Russian language is inseparably integrated with the whole tissue.
Another person mentioned in dedication is Lukasheva’s great master and friend, Yuriy Kuznetcow, the great worldwide recognised Avantgarde pianist, Band leader and animator of contemporary music movement in his and her native Odessa. His composition, The Moon is Clean is very nostalgic and healing and the accompanying lyrics are bringing the same feeling of Russian nostalgia, so well understood and executed here.
The most vigorous pieces are two interpretations of the traditional songs. First, titled In As moll, is probably the most technically difficult song here and I do see very few vocalists who would have tried to do so. She puts all she’s got into it with the range going way above 3 octaves and high notes sung long lasting and kept perfectly clear. This is enough to fine line top class singer and she is already there on the beginning of her carrier, which I am going to watch carefully.
Closing Marisija is more conventional alike composition for piano Trio arranged with space given to the singer, but her, here keeps mixing scat with the same propulsive, shortly accented way of singing she introduced earlier in a mentioned Triptych opening additionally enriched with syllable-tonal patterns playing with the rhythmic frame of the composition.
It is congenial and breath taking, what more can I say.
Norwegian release: March 29th
Worldwide Release: April 26th
This Retro-futurist cinematic synth-fest from Supersilent keyboardist and composer, Ståle Storløkken, is already launched on its native Norwegian market and we are just about three weeks to join the happy crowd too. Those who are interested can already taste the water here and bite a bit of our teaser and learn little more about this unusual project and why it is worth checking. We hope that you will enjoy this
Release: April 19th
I am not following the music of Austrian Trumpeter Lorenz Raab too close, but I had the pleasure of seeing him twice on stage. Once with his Blue Trio and another time with the xyBand which also contained his duo partner and E-zitherist and famous looper, Christof Dienz. Those two are familiar with each other for a long time. I like Raabs warm tone and melancholic approach as well as his experiments with electronics which I consider to be very tasty, purist and always well balanced and done with purpose without over doing things.
Dienz is another story but his creativity and synchronicity with Raab are obvious hence why we got this recording here, which is the best confirmation of what I say above as it brings all
Those strengths which always had been a common denominator in their mutual co-operation. Both of them are Romanticists, who like to float in the space without making music too thick. There is a lot of air in their play and it always was, whatever separate or together.
Six out of nine compositions came from Christof. Those which wrote Lorenz are much easier to recognise to me as they had this foggy picturesque like way of sketching landscapes with his brass, which is always present in his projects. Here the view is clear, and melody leads the listener through the piece. Zitherist approach is more medieval, aliquots alike – philosophically. More accompanying musically. But Dienz’s inclusion brings a lot of an empiric sense of hollowness if you know what I am trying to express?
His own music takes deeper into the experimentation, as it is him who creates the landscape, hence Lorenz has no other choice than to follow, the bit like with dancing, where a couple contributes but one clearly leads when another follows. Let’s take the Underwaterfish as an example, brilliant title if you think about and absurd sense of it. The abyss created by rhythmic, looped patterns are closely filled with Rabbs long notes into the borders that Dienz created.
Summer in Winter is another great example where paternal presence of the Zither notes are making a framework. Here however choral characters of the patterns are allowing Raab to climb on his notes like an Ivy in any direction he likes. That loose tempo gives him more opportunity to build up wonderfully dreamy and melodically engaging shiny brassy soundscape.
The most interesting Raab’s composition to me is the one called On the Other Side. It is very Gothic and sounding close to Godard’s Castel del Monte project. It brings wonderful tension into the piece, which consequently builds and finds excellent climax on the end.
From Christof compositions the one titled Hey Lo! is my favourite. It is almost like a rock ballad crafted with his synthed line up of instruments, but it makes the best melting pot for both musicians and allows Raab to show wide range of his trumpet and equal ability to shine in heights as he does in mids.
It is very contemplative and funky recording and more you listen to that the more unusual sounds reach you, showing that it is actually more complex than first impression might tell.
Berliner Jazz pianist Clara Haberkamp is known to me from her own Trio recording. I had a pleasure to review her last Orange Blossom CD, some 2 years back and I liked it a lot, it intrigued me enough to go back in time and check her other 3 recordings for other German labels: Laika. Here we have a different approach as pianist, who doesn’t hide the fact she Loves to sing as well, is presenting herself in this solo project as the singer and a song-writer.
Like previously majority of the material is her own, except Alone, with lyrics by Edgar Allan Poe and closing Someone Like You being the music of Vangelis. Let’s start with those two then. First, as might be expected they’re bringing some deep and meaningful words to the surface, very reflective and autumn alike. The musical mood she has wrapped it with is very gentle and suits expressed emotions very well. Vangelis’ ballad is a wet hot pop song covered by many, including Adelle for example to use the freshest memory. Saying that, this was pretty boring obvious and typical Brit-pop style. In comparison Clara’s approach lacking that obscurity and with changing tempos and narrative vocalise, brings a lot of life and freshness to an otherwise well-worn song. With phrasing she reminds me a bit of Peter Cincotti, who also has that crispy heights bringing sort of breezy feeling to the tissue.
Getting to her own material, as it had been already proven before, she is a damn good writer.
She has got that easiness of putting words together in the way than they reach you deep inside of your emotional structure and in the same time she doesn’t overuse the words. Keeps it simple. With a melody which the lyrics brought continues its life in the piano phrase. Such is an opening Lighted Crow.
In others, like for example Wild Rose, the piano introduction sets the pace of the song which simply drifts on that few chords. Again, the simplicity, honest articulation of the lyrics and meaning of the words are making it all happen.
What makes it touchy is the fact that those lyrics are very self-exposing. Not in the way she exhibits herself. Even if she does, it is not what first comes to mind. It is more like telling the stories which are universal truths about all of us. Therefore, it is not difficult to identify yourself with them. As they are touching reflections that are left in all peoples heads.
On the same time all those stories are kind of sounding from the distance and giving you that feeling of being alone with your thoughts which is coming out of that recording once you get used to the lyrics and keep listening to it repetitively. It is especially touching in the piece called Pink Overture, which is probably my favourite on that session. This is a song without words and it really doesn’t need any. The piano invocation gives you that feeling of intimacy which are coming from her lyrics before and after. That music drifts in such a natural way like a heartbeat. And like breathing comes without questioning.
Dare to indulge yourself in this fragile word of feelings, anxieties and reflections and you will be rewarded hundred times.
Release: March 15th
Øyvind Torvund’s super-maximal adventures in far-out Exotica: think John Zorn hanging with Stockhausen in Martin Denny’s kon-tiki lounge. But it is not just a simple trip to the cartoon – land. Far from that actually and it contains more exotic notes than anyone would expect from the land of fjords.
Basement Research’s eighth album celebrates the band’s 25th anniversary. Gebhard Ullmann, Global citizen and winner of the City of Berlin’s 2017 Jazz Prize, celebrates his improvisations through a focused aesthetic in which each of the short pieces begins at a particular point and evolves into a collective band sound. Great music that consistently delves into the heart of the matter and, without skipping a beat, moves on to the next creative moment.
Multi-instrumentalist and guitarist Geir Sundstol, put together quite interesting bunch of musicians to contribute on his latest, 3rd recording. Music itself is truly interesting as well.
It has a strong cinematic influence and to a guy like myself who grew up on movies like Paris – Texas, Wings of Desire and remains a great fan of music of Nino Rota, Ennio Morricone alike and Ray Cooder or Bill Frisell to get down back to the planet guitar, it brings back a lot of memories.
An opening Snev is a nostalgic theme of incredible fragility. Very narrative and healing with an unavoidable trace of sadness. Coming after Leben, with a slide guitar and harmonica lines is probably the most reminding Spaghetti Western soundtracks, but here it is specially spiced with Nils Petter Molvar’s trumpet lines. Also, timpani drums, musical saw and many other percussive instruments are adding to the flavour a sort of shaky feeling with a trace a suspense. General tissue reminds me what I remember from Bowie’s Low, the middle of its Berlin trilogy.
Saying that it must be said that the saddest music he ever wrote, The Warsaw appears on that mix too as it comes to me as somehow natural consequence, except the fact that here it is mixed up with Coltrane’s Alabama – another very meaning theme originally issued on his album Live at Birdland (1963) to tribute the victims of the KKK Black Church massacre.
Recently I heard Alabama live on stage with Jack De Johnette quartet including Ravi Coltrane and Matthew Garrison, both children of the fathers who took a part of the original session. Looking at the social and political context of the days we are living in makes you think that it is not accidental that this music comes back to the surface just today.
A year before, British drummer Dylan Howe paid his own tribute to Bowie’s music on his Subterraneans album which I also heard on stage and had a pleasure to review after, but that was more conventional jazzy approach. Low grows Big again then and keep inspiring people.
Anyway, to Polish listeners like myself Bowie’s theme had been borrowed from piece called Helokanie, written by folk music and lyrics – performed by The Polish Song and Dance Ensemble “Śląsk” (Silesia) – conducted by Stanisław Hadyna. It is not just an obvious inspiration, but the fact confirmed by David himself in one of his interviews in which he handles the old Pronil record I also own, which he purchased somehow, somewhere, passing by ex-communistic block countries.
As music goes further we are getting more and more sunk into folk and bluesy lines coming out straight of the Delta tradition and then popularised by both mentioned above guitarists, with Blunder being most Paris – Texas soundtrack alike spiritually.
Interesting and chilling music which according to the artist supposed to be sad, but in my feeling, it came together very nostalgic. Maybe this is because Norwegians are so positive that they cannot really be sad in the same way as we are.
Whatever the truth is what matters in the end is that that this is simply wonderful recording embracing the listener with an outstanding charm.