vrijdag 24 november 2017

Schorum Uut De Skiettente. Bökkers

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Moet ik dit serieus nemen? Nee, natuurlijk niet. Mag ik dit heel lekker vinden. Ja, natuurlijk. Het is alsof de (klein)kinderen van Normaal de koppen bij elkaar hebben gestoken en goed geluisterd hebben naar de muziek van (groot)vader en wat tijdgenoten zoals Herman Brood en anderen en dat alles in een blender hebben gegooid. Schorum Uut De Skiettente kwam er aan de andere kant uit als smoothie uit. Heerlijk, sappig en vol van smaak.

Rock and roll, classic rock is wat de klok slaat. De klok op rock met andere woorden. Bökkers is een stuk steviger dan Normaal. ZZ Top, Aerosmith en 'Bad Case Of Loving You' het zit er allemaal in. Samen met een vuige gitaar sound, een tinkelende piano of een vette Hammond sound, rockt de basis van drums, bas en ritme gitaar stevig door. Dat alles gezongen met een Achterhoeks accent en de tongval van Buizen Beerend.

Enige research vertelt mij dat Bökkers uit Salland komt. Dat is de Achterhoek niet. Mijn westerse oren helpen hier niet. Dat er sprake is van een directe invloed lijkt mij wel duidelijk.

Wat Bökkers voor elkaar krijgt, is dat er een feestje gebouwd wordt op plaat. Een feestje dat door JB Meijers in zekere banen wordt geleid en uitermate herkenbaar klinkt zonder voorspelbaar te worden. Dit fijne lijntje weet de band feilloos te snuiven, eh, bewandelen. De beuk gaat er in vanaf de eerste noot en wordt het hele album lang volgehouden. Ik probeer me een liveshow voor te stellen en zie eigenlijk alleen maar bierdouches voor mijn ogen, die klotsen uit de hoog gehouden glazen, terwijl alle lijven tegen elkaar aan staan te springen. Dit lijkt mij de enige juiste vertaling van het woord feest op plaat.

Ik begon met de vraag of ik dit serieus moest nemen. Het mooie van Schorum Uut De Skiettente is dat de band zichzelf ook niet serieus neemt, maar daarna alles doet om perfect te klinken. Een perfecte groove neer te leggen om op te springen. Een beat om te voelen in alle vezels. Daarmee maakt het een vrij perfect album in dit genre, waar iedere fan van die grote Amerikaanse bands direct op aan zouden moeten slaan. Zaal Takens zal heel snel te klein zijn.

Wo.

Je kunt hier luisteren naar 'SOS Op De SMS'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Klm3ZWP5k1M

donderdag 23 november 2017

Pictures Of The Floating World. I Am Oak

About a year ago I saw one of I Am Oak's lasts show in The Netherlands in the form of the touring band that played together for several years. Whatever Thijs Kuijken's plans for the future are, this fall he released a mini album with songs played live as a solo act.

A show like this takes a rather small venue filled with an extremely dedicated audience in order to be a success for artist and audience. Listening to the recordings it seems that conditions were ideal.

I Am Oak is an act of very modest proportions. In playing, singing and presentation. When too many people come to a show as friends latching on without knowing what to expect, it could upset the atmosphere seriously, inviting more people to start talking and from that moment onwards the magic will be gone. I found that magic moments were created by I Am Oak that evening in Brussels and they were welcomed as such by those in the audience.

Now Pictures Of The Floating World. The title is a translation of a Japanese expression for print art that focuses on travelling and performing. The life of an artist like Thijs Kuijken. A fitting title to the small album. Small in many ways.

I simply can not find a lot of words to describe Pictures Of The Floating World. Nothing happens. There is no intricate guitar playing. There are no big emotions, gestures nor explosions in the songs. While listening all I get Thijs Kijken's voice and his acoustic guitar. His voice ranges in the same segment the whole album, while he strums elementary chords. And despite all is brought down to the very basics of his songs, as he might have written them in his bed or living room, they come totally alive. It is so easy to imagine me sitting in the audience, totally enraptured by the music. In an audience that is silent. Where the only thing reminding me of being in this world is a trickle of water behind the bar to rinse the glasses in or the refrigerator switching on. The rest of my mind is wandering, far off, in the world created in these songs.

There's only one way to listen to the eight songs on this album: in total seclusion. Just you and the album. With Kuijken's voice in front, his guitar serving him just behind his voice. A dutiful audience applauds in between. A "thank you" at the end closes it all. I Am Oak's new album totally succeeds in bringing the little moments of magic from a venue into my home. For 25 minutes I'm enthralled, silent, in awe.

Wo.

You can listen to and buy Pictures Of The Floating World here:

https://snowstar.bandcamp.com/album/pictures-of-the-floating-world

woensdag 22 november 2017

The Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet live, Lantaren Venster, Rotterdam Friday 17 November 2017

Foto: Tineke Guise
Zoals beloofd is hier het derde deel van Tinekes avonturen in David Bowie en jazz muziek. Eerst in het Nederlands, dan in het Engels.

As promised here is the third instalment of Tineke's adventures into David Bowie and jazz music. First in Dutch, then in English.

Deel 1 en 2, part 1 and two: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2017/11/saxofoon-verhalensaxophone-stories.html

Vrijdag 17 november zou The Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet spelen in Lantaren Venster te Rotterdam. Aangezien Guiliana deel uitmaakte van de Blackstar band op Bowie’s laatste album, was ik nieuwsgierig. En omdat er op zijn recente CD een track staat met de titel “The Mayor of Rotterdam” had ik een vraag. Het toeval wilde dat ik de burgemeester een week eerder zou treffen bij de herdenking van de razzia van 1944 in het Feyenoord Stadion. Met de CD in mijn hand bracht ik de heer Aboutaleb op de hoogte van dit nummer. Hij wist er niets van maar wilde wel graag weten welke CD hij moest kopen. Ik had een recensie voor hem uitgeknipt dus die verdween in zijn zak.

Vrijdag de 17e zaten we op de eerste rij om te genieten van een kwartet bestaande uit bas, sax, vleugel en drums. Minder elektronisch dan bij het kwartet van Donny McCaslin twee weken eerder. Hij had Jason Lindler op keyboards, die daarin een geweldige rol speelde. Vanavond was het meer een doorsnee jazzavond maar dan wel met een fenomenale drummer die een fantastische, langdurige solo weggaf. Halverwege werd uiteraard hét nummer gespeeld met als toevoeging: “Dit is opgedragen aan een goede vriend”. Wie dan wel? Ineens schoot door mijn hoofd dat het wellicht over onze nachtburgemeester gaat, Jules Deelder, een groot jazzfanaat. Na een optreden van ongeveer 5 kwartier was het zover. Na een diepe buiging en een toegift kwam Chris Morrissey de bassist langs, die het nummer geschreven had. Ik vertelde dat ik onze burgemeester ertoe had bewogen hun CD te kopen. Dat vond hij leuk.
Die goede vriend was echter een heel sociaal iemand die bij vorige bezoeken aan Rotterdam veel voor hun had betekend en gedaan. Ze noemden hem zo. Toen echter het nummer officieel zo heette, zijn ze gaan googlen en konden de hele Wikipedia van Aboutaleb opdreunen. Hij had het nummer wel verdiend.” Zo herhaalden we het verhaal bij Mark Guiliana, maakten hem een groot compliment en kregen een handtekening op de CD. Ook hier weer hele normale, bescheiden, aardige mensen. Pure muzikanten.

Foto: Tineke Guise
Eén nummer van Bowie werd gespeeld: “Where are we now?” Op de CD is dat de laatste track, gevolgd door een kinderstemmetje dat zegt: “Thank you David Bowie”. David Bowie heeft dankzij zijn uitstapje naar de jazz deze mannen een groter en gevarieerder publiek bezorgd. Ze mogen hem zeker dankbaar zijn.


Tineke Guise


Friday 17 November The Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet would be playing in Lantarenvenster in Rotterdam. Since Guiliana was part of the Blackstar band on Bowie's last album, I was curious. And because there is a track on his recent CD titled "The Mayor of Rotterdam" I had a question. As luck would have it the Mayor and myself would attend the commemoration of the RAID of 1944 in the Feyenoord stadium a week earlier. With the CD (called 'Jersey') in my hand I made Mr Aboutaleb aware of this song. He didn't know anything about it but wanted to know what CD he had to buy. I had a review for him which disappeared in his pocket. 
Friday the 17th we sat front row to listen to a Quartet consisting of bass, sax, piano and drums. Less electronic than the Quartet of Donny McCaslin two weeks earlier. He had Jason Lindler on keyboards, who played a great role. Tonight it was more a typical jazz evening but with a phenomenal drummer who gave away a fantastic, prolonged solo. Of course the song was played halfway through with the addition: "this is dedicated to a good friend". Who were they referring to? All of a sudden I thought it might be about our Night Mayor, Jules Deelder, a true jazz fanatic. After a performance of about 75 minutes we had to find the answer. After a deep bow and an encore the bassist Chris Morrissey came along, who had written the song. I told him I had made the Mayor of Rotterdam buy their CD. That was appreciated and he thought he should have been there.

Foto: Tineke Guise
That good friend, however, was a very social person who on previous visits to Rotterdam had meant much to them and solved any problem the band encountered. They gave him that particular nickname. However, when the CD was released officially they googled the Mayor of Rotterdam and were able to sum up the whole Wikipedia of Aboutaleb. The song was well deserved". We repeated the story to Mark Guiliana, made him a great compliment and got a signature on the CD. Again, all normal, humble, nice people. Pure musicians.

One Bowie song was played: "Where are we now?" That is the last track on the CD, followed by a child's voice that says: "Thank you David Bowie". David Bowie has given these men a larger and more varied audience thanks to his trip into the jazz world. They cannot but be grateful.


Tineke Guise

dinsdag 21 november 2017

The Queen Is Dead. The Smiths

Everyone with the faintest interest in modern music will have noticed it in one way or another: after 31 years the last studio album of The Smiths got the royal industry treatment of a re-release full of extras. I am going to go off the deep end here. As far as I'm concerned The Smiths were nothing but a bunch of wankers with a few noticeable songs like 'Big Mouth Strikes Again' and 'Panic', songs that were very danceable in the 80s parties I attended. But on an album and after the second song I had to turn it off, as I simply started to have a mental allergic reaction to the voice of Morrissey and the guitar jangles of Johnny Marr. I never returned to any of the albums since the 80s. One thing though, the covers of the band's 45s were always strikingly beautiful. Of course I hardly have any, for obvious reasons.

The, perhaps, strange, thing is that I started to appreciate Morrissey solo somewhere in the 00s with his album 'Ringleaders Of The Tormentors' and reviewed Johnny Marr's solo album 'The Messenger' favourably on this blog. So it's time to dive and listen to the, according to the critics, best album of The Smiths for the first time, perhaps ever even, as I had my fill from 'Hatful Of Hollows' and 'Meat Is Murder' by then. Here I go.

In fact 31 years after the release the new encounter with The Queen Is Dead is not half bad. If we strip away the intro to the title song, on dreaming about an England Morrissey and his lads never lived in, 'The Queen Is Dead' is a very pointed and direct song. I would call it a perfect opening. The drums and bass are fierce. The guitars solid and full. The tingle-tangle piano (sound) plays a few nice accent notes. Morrissey is playing with a voice morphing device. The tempo prevents him from being his miserable self. Definitely a boon. Mind this is the first song. The outro is fantastic. It just keeps pounding onwards, with changing lead instruments marching into infinity it seems.

'Frankly, Mr. Shankley' is about the owner of Rough Trade, The Smith's record label. Lyrically it is of no consequence for decades. The reggae rock sound makes it sound obsolete as well. We're into the 21st century that is breathing down Morrissey's neck for nearly two decades, so all he wishes for in 1986 seems to have been reached in 2017. "Give us money", it came down to that when all was sung and done. Rather worldly actually.

'I Know It's Over' is a ballad. With a "lover, lover, lover" part that may have influenced Jeff Buckley's singing in 'Lover, You Should've Come Over', I notice. The song shows The Smiths can reach a maximum effect with a minimum of instruments. The melody is simply very alright. That the song slowly flashes out and rocking some more helps to get through the nearly 6 minutes the song lasts. Yes, it's too long! The first part is impressive though. The Smiths shine at a bare minimum.

'Never Had No One Ever' is one of those titles that make me fear the worst. Morrissey at his worst, whining away about how sorry we have to feel for him. Johnny Marr's dark sounding guitar lead lines provides the right contrast, as do the bass of Andy Rourke and drums of Mike Joyce. They all provide a deeper end to the sadness and a sense of relief for me as listener.

'Cemetry Gates' has that fast played acoustic guitar that most of my favourite songs by The Smiths have. I'm remembered of Albert Hammond songs of the 70s like 'I'm A Train'. If so, the most unexpected of influences on this band. That guitar continues straight into the only single of the album, 'Bigmouth Strikes Again'. The song with that mysterious lyrics about Joan of Arc. There I was dancing to the fast rhythm wondering what it could all mean. From the time that it was easy to sing along to most of the lyrics. That great break allowed for some extra dancing as well. Great song, then, now, for ever probably. Just like 'Panic', not on this album.

'The Boy With The Thorn In His Side' is these days seen as the most important title on this set. To me it's one of these lamentable Morrissey songs. So let's skip it fast.

'Vicar In A Tutu' is a surprise. A song I most likely never got to hear in the past. I never got this far into the album. It's upbeat, up tempo and a bit preposterous. It is a song like this that makes me understand a little of the claim that The Smiths were the most important British band since The Beatles. It is the sort of weird song The Beatles had on its records that was truly surprising, strange and sort of fun. The image of the vicar is extremely funny in itself. The country style feel of the song underscores the fact that it's not necessary to take it seriously. A side that I had never discovered to The Smiths before.

'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' is a song that I used to hate. That typical whine, with Morrissey smooching his words all over the melody. I find myself discovering all these little details around the song, the additions to the three piece band, but also the firm bass that stands out prominently. Again I notice how important the acoustic guitar is on The Queen Is Dead. Nothing but surprises.

It all ends with 'Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others'. Just like their (grand)mothers, yes. And in very different ways too, I might add. The strange fade in, out and in, brings a tight songs with the typical The Smiths' guitar jingle jangle. It's a bit of a toss away at the end of the album, with rather uninspired lyrics. Somehow I find myself liking it too.

Summing up, The Queen Is Dead surprised me and not a little, as you might have surmised from reading the above. There are sides to The Smiths I had never heard before. In fact, I discovered that the band may well have evolved into a truly good band and not remained the vehicle for the post-teen angst of Morrissey. Who without a doubt was posing to give himself  front. One to be able to stand out and one to hide behind, trying to find out where he really stood in this life. Had the band managed to continue.

The strangest thing of all? That I went into that stack of records I collected between the early seventies and circa 2000 and found three The Smiths records, including a second hand bought version of .... The Queen Is Dead. For the life of me, I can't remember buying it or ever having playing it. The not enjoying part, yes, definitely. Bob Dylan sang it around the year 2000: Things have changed.

A hideous cover though, Alain Delon or not.

Wo.


maandag 20 november 2017

The Slow Clock Two. The Slow Clock

The Slow Clock One passed me by, the second iteration of this project hasn't. Earlier in the year I reviewed Chinup's latest effort, 'Shine Bright Like A Diamond' (read here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2017/05/shine-bright-like-diamond-chinup.html.) and received an invite to listen to this album as well.

The Slow Clock is another project of singer/guitarist Harmen Kuiper and a totally different beast than his work with Chinup. Experimental, electronic beats and all. Don't be surprised however when Gruppo Sportivo comes by, in an ever so modern form. The Slow Clock is not afraid of throwing an odd ball here and there, setting its listeners on the wrong foot every once in a while.

Despite the fact that this music is a few steps away from what I usually listen to, I find that the album has a keen ear for melodies. In the mostly (ultra) short song, 2.30 minutes is an exception, Kuiper works out a modest idea. It reminds me of the Philadelphia based duo Carol Cleveland Sings, despite the fact it develops its song more (read here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2016/11/effervescent-lure-carol-cleveland-sings.html). The Slow Clock uses electronics in the same way and has that upbeat feeling hidden in its music. A seemingly surprising outlook on what it is singing about. Nowhere the comparison is stronger as in 'Attack And Defend'. And yes, early Zappa is in there as well, like Gruppo Sportivo, but hey, didn't that band cover 'Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance' in its intro to 'Superman'? Circles are round it seems.

In a way it is a shame some of the songs on Two do not get a fuller life in hi fi versions. Several deserve it certainly. A small little pop song like 'Turning Up The Crank Handle' has a nice melody and a hook that catches me. It has a 60s feel without copying anything.

It's not allowed to look a given horse in the mouth. Still it is a shame that the album does not have a clearer sound. It is truly lo-fi in sound like the music reaches me through a muffler. There's no sheen in sight on The Slow Clock Two. This is a shame, because it would have been even better with it.

There is an eleventh "song" on the album. One that does last longer. 13.20 minutes to be exact. 'Don't You Wanna Join That Number' it is called. A Zappa title if I ever heard one. The answer is still no. Like I always skip the last two songs on 'Freak Out'. 'Don't You Wanna Join That Number' is a sound experiment. I have no taste for it, but if you do, be my guest and do join in.

For me The Slow Clock Two ends with its 10th song 'The Lame Duck' that starts with the friendly words "You were redundant". No matter how unfriendly it sounds, it does give the sung to person the sound piece of advice to get rid of bad luck. 'The Lame Duck' is another of these hidden gems on the album. Harmen Kuiper is proving to be a songwriter that I intend to follow. Lo-fi or not, with The Slow Clock Two he has surprised me a second time in one year. I don't mind being surprised some more in the near future, whether by Chinup or The Slow Clock.

Wo.

You can listen to The Slow Clock Two and download it for free here:

https://chinup.bandcamp.com/album/the-slow-clock-two