zaterdag 17 november 2018

Waves EP. Jeditah

More and more female singers enter the music markets with electronic albums under their arms. Waves is such an EP. Five songs full with mild beats, and loads of synthesizers. Jeditah sings over it all with a thin, childlike voice. A far descendent from Kate Bush on her first three albums with totally different music. At least on first hearing. Believe me this changes fast and I'll explain why.

Jeditah is Jeditah van der Meulen from Amsterdam. For Waves she took existing songs and started to dissect them before building them up again in a totally new way. The result is a fairytale like quality. A kind of nether world in which music floats as light as air. Stirred softly by a breeze of air from the air escaping while singing. It is here I'm reminded of Kate Bush of 1978-1979. Jeditah plays with the ears of the listener in a similar way. The use of a cello, played by Brendan Jan Walsh, only underscores this feeling.

Similarities stop here, as the music itself is radically different. Just listen to the song with the title 'Differently'. This is not easy music to digest. Rhythms are not in sight in a usual way. The music is fragmentary. The vocals not easy to reproduce. 'Horseman' only takes this view further. Yet, Kate Bush does come back to me. In songs on her fourth album, like 'Suspended In Jaffa' Kate played with the forms of her music, leaving pop far behind. 'Horseman' is such a song that meanders between pop, the golden throated chorus certainly is just that, and a song that is difficult to follow and understand. More intriguing than beautiful and in comes this chorus. Puzzling 'Horseman' is, yet pleasing.

On Waves Jeditah is not afraid to confront her listeners and challenge them. By changing rhythms, accompaniment and melodies, the listener has a fine choice: to follow or to be left behind. The latter is the loser as Jeditah does know how to please. The final song 'Beth' seems to combine the best of her two worlds, the slightly more pop infused start of the album and the more difficult middle. 'Beth' combines them in a perfect way.

The mystery is always there though and that to me is the overarching theme of Waves. The listener is invited to join Jeditah on a journey through a musical wonderland. The time to step on board is now.


You can listen to and buy Waves here:

or listen to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

vrijdag 16 november 2018

Words We Mean. Annie Oakley

Trio uit Oklahoma City verrast met een mooie mix van roots en pop en stemmen om te koesteren.

Het debuut van Annie Oakley heb ik al een tijdje in huis en het is een debuut dat me snel dierbaar is geworden. Het drietal uit Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, overtuigt op haar debuut met lekker in het gehoor liggende songs, een warm en organisch klinkende instrumentatie vol fraaie details en vooral met drie prachtige stemmen. Het zijn stemmen die elkaar fraai versterken in geweldige harmonieën, maar ook solo blijven de drie zangeressen uit de band makkelijk overeind. Annie Oakley schotelt ons op haar debuut een aangename mix van roots en pop voor en het is een mix die al snel naar veel en veel meer smaakt.

Annie Oakley is een legendarische figuur uit de geschiedenis van het Amerikaanse Wilde Westen. Aan het eind van de 19e eeuw maakte deze Annie Oakley furore als scherpschutter. Haar schietkunsten vertoonde ze niet op het slagveld, maar tijdens shows als de Wild West shows van de al even legendarische Buffalo Bill, die werden bezocht door alles en iedereen tussen boeren en presidenten.

Annie Oakley is ook de naam van een band en deze band bracht deze week haar debuut uit. Het is een band uit Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, die bestaat uit de zussen Grace en Sophia Babb en Nia Personette. De zussen Babb spelen akoestische gitaar en zingen, terwijl Nia Personette zingt en viool speelt.

Het zijn drie jonge vrouwen die zich een paar jaar geleden in de kijker speelden op folkfestivals in het mid-Westen van de Verenigde Staten en vervolgens de tijd hebben genomen voor hun debuut. Words We Mean werd opgenomen in Oklahoma City waar piano, steel gitaar, banjo en bas en drums werden toegevoegd door een stel prima muzikanten.

Oklahoma City bracht ons eerder de geweldige Carter Sampson en ook de muziek van Annie Oakley zal waarschijnlijk zeer in de smaak vallen bij de liefhebbers van Amerikaanse rootsmuziek. Alleen al door het instrumentarium heeft de muziek van Annie Oakley veel raakvlakken met de Amerikaanse folk en country, maar ook in vocaal opzicht voelen de drie zangeressen van Annie Oakley zich als een vis in het water in deze genres.

Aan de release van Words We Mean ging een uitgebreide crowdfunding campagne vooraf en het blijkt zinvol besteed geld. Annie Oakley maakt op haar debuut vooral ingetogen en akoestische rootsmuziek, maar door het grote aantal instrumenten klinkt de muziek van het drietal mooi vol en bovendien afwisselend.

De instrumentatie op Words We Mean is mooi verzorgd en zal niet alleen gewaardeerd worden door de liefhebbers van pure Amerikaanse rootsmuziek, maar ook door muziekliefhebbers die folk en country het liefst zien aangelengd met wat pop. Het zorgt er voor dat het debuut van Annie Oakley buitengewoon aangenaam voortkabbelt, maar ook in artistiek opzicht interessant is.

Wat voor de instrumentatie geldt, geldt ook zeker voor de vocalen. Grace, Nia en Sophia zingen als de beste rootsprinsessen, maar ze zoeken ook met enige regelmaat de pop op. Zeker in de bijzonder fraaie harmonieën op de plaat roept dit associaties met de geweldige eerste plaat van Wilson Phillips uit 1990, wat ik persoonlijk zeer kan waarderen. Ook in vocaal opzicht is Words We Mean van Annie Oakley overigens een zeer gevarieerde plaat. De drie zangeressen vertrouwen niet alleen op de bijzonder fraaie harmonieën, maar maken ook solo indruk met mooi verzorgde vocalen vol gevoel.

Al met al ben ik zeer te spreken over het debuut van Annie Oakley. Het is niet alleen een hele lekkere plaat, maar ook een knappe plaat en een plaat die op fraaie wijze bruggen slaat tussen roots en pop. En ik ga het debuut van Annie Oakley alleen maar leuker vinden.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt het album hier beluisteren en kopen:

or listen to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

donderdag 15 november 2018

A cry for help: Mike Garson loses all in California fires

Tineke G., WoNoBlog's all things Bowie, sent me an e-mail letting me know that the wild fires in California destroyed the home, studio and all instruments of Mike Garson, former keyboard player for David Bowie. He played with David Bowie from the Ziggy Stardust tour through to the Reality tour, the final one.

His most famous solo is probably the avant garde piano solo on 'Aladdin Sane' underscoring the title of the song in a brilliant way.

An action has started to get Mike Garson back on his feet. Here is where you can contribute:

And should you not know 'Alladin Sane', go and listen to it here:


Queens 7". Watts

Can anyone explain to me why Queens is such a fun song? Listening to it I can think of at least a dozen songs in my collection that have this sound, come close in melody, even the guitar solo flying in at the end is lifted from something else. Whether Slade, T. Rex in the 70s, punky rock music a few years later, everything by Aerosmith, the early 90s rock revival, it all comes by. And hell yes this is so much fun.

Queens backed by 'The Night The Lights Went Down' are two great rocking songs. The kind I love to sing along to, the sort of song I want to hear when I'm ready to unwind, just before having to cook dinner after a long day. Dancing in the home, relaxing, the stereo loud and totally overwhelming.

Watts is a rock and roll band from Boston releasing its new single. Sounding like they have been around for a while and judging from the photo's, they are. Guitar riffs fly around, the dynamics in oth songs are just right, providing air when needed and going full out, making the effect double. "I'm in love with the action man", no kidding!? and where did I hear such a line before? ('Ashes To Ashes' of course.) The voice of Don Kopko on Queens is deliciously rough. The edge just enough to make him the more believed.

Watts has (at least) two lead singers. Johnny Lynch takes care of the second song. An even tighter guitar driven song, with a great tambourine driving the song forward in the right places.

Not one thing on this record hasn't been done before on this 7", but there's simply no sitting still. It's not only great music, Watts plays rock and roll as it is supposed to be. Tight, might and so melodically right. Ta-ta-da-tada-tada-ta-da. Riff away!


You can listen to and buy Queens here:

or listen to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

woensdag 14 november 2018

Kairos October 2018 by .No on Concertzender

There's so much good music being released in the past weeks that Wo. started to run behind on his Kairosses. This is mended with his view on the October 2018 Kairos here. Once again Wo. shines his unique light on .No's radio show on Concertzender, every time wondering what he will encounter next. Of course there are staples by now but each month very new (forms of) music, although arguably he seems to think that some contributions do not deserve that name, reaches his ears and sends his imagination reeling. So where are we?

It's time to meditate on modern times music. Now I haven't heard music from Bob Dylan's album called thus, but then the old grumpmeister started his decent into music of his past on that album. So instead I'm hearing a light, female voice singing in a language I don't get a single word from. Until I realise it's German. A very traditional melody is laid over soundscapes and dark sounding percussion (no Steve Lillywhite production here). Irish sounds are mixed in and somehow a mix of music celebrating the EU comes from my speakers. It is from an artist called Faun and all of a sudden I remember one of the very first contribution of .No on this blog (read on here: Yes, despite this being an odd combination, this is beautiful music. Let's call it 21st century folk. The singing disappears, the melody is continued on a harp or something, while underneath it darkness creeps in. Slowly but surely the evil spirits take over, with a sigh from the innocent voice. Strange fauny voices come forward from the edges of an ever darker forest. Time to move on for sure.

To Pieter Nooten who returns with a track from his album 'Stem'. High clear piano notes announce a new morning. The sun is rising, the fauns are gone from this earth. The air is fresh and quivers in the sunlight. Dew frops fall from leaves and animals take their first steps while walking through the early morning mist that hovers over the fields, about to be driven away by the warmth of the sun. A new beginning 'Quarter Moon' is after 'Das Tor'.

Now I know never to believe my ears while listening to Kairos. Not even the tracklist can be trusted, as .No has turned himself into the Ben Liebrand of Concertzender with his incredibly good ears and mixing qualities. Still I'd say that despite some doubts around 9.50 into this Kairos what follows is still Pieter Nooten. Clear, high, pristine. I have to say, this is a great start of Kairos. 'Quarter Moon' could be a film score yet is tenfold more interesting.

Yes, the change is there. Around 12.30, the same dark interlude as when I expected the change before, so what happened there really? Dazzle Ships were painted war vessels in WWI meant as a disguise to fool the enemy. Whether it actually worked I haven't learned. Dazzle Ships is also an album by Orchestral Manoeuvrers in the Dark from the 80s. That album without hitsingles and it is a contribution on this Kairos from a band called Trouble Brooks. Atmospheric, nearly non-musical. Just instruments swelling, deflating and a sound like old fashioned cash registers. Not my cup of tea, but an interesting interlude, especially as it is so short.

Some weird noises and a piano returns, sole, lonely notes, recorded with all the reverb the piano and the room could deliver. Behind it a choir, really in the background, to my ears just singing "oooooooo". 'Nocturne 4' from Boysen's album 'Spells' is moody, dark, yet radiating beauty from within. Piano notes played with one finger it seems. Perhaps I could even play this. And then like a tsunami sound rolls in, enveloping all and turning the fourth nocturne into a (classic or prog) rock anthem. This is so good, so refreshing, so cleansing. 'Nocturne 4' is really up there with those five ***** albums I've reviewed recently. (Check TMGS, Cari Cair, Light, Distance & Sky and The LVE if you like.) The rock beast lies down its head and the Medieval Gregrian choir returns, with underneath it the final piano notes and the electronic treatment as this choir may well come out of a synthesizers for all I know. Everything is possible these days. But, no it is the mixing of .No. Just look at the playlist and know this choir was added twice it seems.

Kairos returns to the album 'Rothko Chapel'. This time with John Cage's Four2. Very very serious music, with dark, dark male voices until the ladies take over. Underneath it again soundscapes, but what to make of it. The music is sacred, yet modern. Fit for the poem of the month. A long poem this month, 'Ademtocht' by Erna Speek.

Back to Iceland. Has .No ever been on holiday there? Not that I'm aware of, but a fact is that Icelandic artist and composers often find their way to Kairos. It will have to do with the mysticism surrounding the faraway, Nordic island, the myths and legends there. Högni presents us a dark, sombre choir piece, full of deep voices, male and female.

That mood is broken by a soft guitar and a familiar harmonium. The story of how a 19th century harmonium made it's way to the two musicians leading the U.K. folk band Modern Studies is nice to know. The album they recorded with the harmonium one of my favourite albums of 2017. (The 2018 album is even great, but the harmonium has been put to pasture.) The soft melody if 'Swimming' is far from joyful, after 'Andaðu' everything becomes a feast of brightness and joy. Time to put my Modern Studies LP on once again. The harmonium ends the song in a soft and beautiful way.

Jeroen Elfferich returns to Kairos as well. A composition for four hands and two pianos. Mind, minimal music for two pianos, so no quatre mains here! Underneath, I suspect, .No was at work with a soundscape of a choir of some sort. All this leads to a formal conclusion:  A) There is too much melody for 'Holy Wood' to be minimal music. This is the total opposite with the exception of Paganini. B) I really do not hear four hands, unless both musicians are able to play the exact same thing at the exact same time. But then, this contribution fits several others this month. A piano based Kairos for sure.

A clock of sorts takes over. What to make of this? That choir continues, slowly to be replaced by sounds, the clock becomes louder and louder. From the crackles another choir comes forward, as if been drawn through a minimum of three consecutive phaser effects. It could be the start of a Pink Floyd song like 'Time' on 'Dark Side Of The Moon'. It is the introduction to Richard Bolhuis' House of Cosy Cushions' return to Kairos. (By the way, I walked past the "Kerkje te Oostum" recently, so now I know how special that location is.) I stick to my Pink Floyd comparison. This is totally Rick Wright inspired and Roger Waters experimenting with his first synthesizer. Go Richard!, I say. here.

Next up are two fragments of people who have lost their native tongue. Something that can happen when people stop speaking it for whatever reason. I remember seeing a postcard in Cornwell with a commemoration of the last woman who spoke Cornish. And that wasn't that long ago at the time. We're several decades further since. An organ drones, with in the background a shower or something or rain outside a window. The language is lost alright, so there Yui Onodera & Celer are quite right. Am I interested in what I'm hearing? No, far from. This is simply too uniform. Just drones on an organ or something. Apparently going nowhere, just droning. And I'm just not a fan of drones if it doesn't lead me anywhere or isn't a part of a more interesting whole (which drones seldom are).

So I'm quite pleased a violin pops up, introducing a change. Minco Eggerman returns with a track from his album 'Kavkasia'. Not that this is a cheerful song. No, 'Dance' is not what it suggests to be. "I'm not the swinging kind", is sung, I will profess to this statement. After 'An Imaginary Tale of Lost Vernacular' 'Dance' is a fest and I am aware I'm repeating myself here. The horn part towards the end is quite interesting.

But them it happens, that drone returns and I know the duo with the strange sounding names returns, I'm speechless this time.....

Church at Oostum. Photo, Wo.
.....And no, I hadn't read what follows now when I wrote the above circa 10 minutes ago, before I heard this track, as I always try to be totally unprepared listening to Kairos and let myself be swept by my impressions. The next contribution is called 'Church At Oostum' (Kerkje Te Oostum). This time dark sounding violins and cello's take over. This little church lies on a wierd in the province of Groningen, the top of a small, unnatural hill in a polder, an endless polder. Around it only a few houses and that is all Oostum is. A graveyard around the church where mortal remains lay buried and people still are being buried. A windswept, near deserted part of the country. I had never even been there before. From .No's stories I had the impression Oostum was in Friesland, but obviously not. Richard Bolhuis organised a show there .No was present at. Now Johanna Varder plays her composition inspired by the little church on top of that wierd and I can imagine the whole thing now in my mind's eye.

How long ago is it that I played 'Wincing The Night Away' that beautiful album by The Shins from 2007 and until now its best? It must be years. And here .No plays a track from the album on Kairos. 'Red Rabbits' is the track of choice. Too bad the vernacularless duo returns in between (not funny!!!), but hey, I did get that delightful bittersweet voice of James Mercer at the end of this Kairos. 'Red Rabbits' is one of those lighthearted, sprightly songs of The Shins where at the same time not all is right. "Tijd om uit te gaan", the last line from the poem is repeated at the very end. Yes, tonight (at the time of writing) my band rehearses, so I will be going out soon. But not before I recommend the best track The Shins recorded to .No. 'St. Simon' definitely belongs is Kairos. Let's say January 2019?


This is the link for this Kairos:

00:14  Faun. Das Tor. Album ‘Renaissance’. Banshee Records 00152
07:36  Pieter Nooten. Quarter Moon. Album ‘Stem’. Rocket Girl RGIRL115.
12:30  Keith Freund, Linda Lesjovka & Mike Tolan. Dazzle Ships. Trouble Books. Album ‘Gathered Tones’. Own Records OWNREC#49.
13:41  Ben Lukas Boysen. Nocturne 4. Album ‘Spells’. Erased Tapes Records ERATP085CD.
20:02  Johan Duijck. Emittit Verbum Suum (from ‘Lauda Jerusalem op. 4’). The Flemish Radio Choir, Ignace Michiels (organ), Johan Duijck. Album ‘Cantiones Sacrae’. PHAEDRA DDD92058.
20:33  John Cage. Four2 (fragment). Houston Chamber Choir. Album ‘Rothko Chapel’. ECM NEW SERIES 2378 4811796.
25:28  Högni. Andaðu. Album ‘Two Trains’. Erased Tapes Records eratp103.
27:40  Modern Studies. Swimming. Album ‘Swell to Great’. Fire Records 555073.
32:06  Jeroen Elfferich. Holy Wood. Album ‘Elfferich Four Hands, minimal music for 2 pianos’. Self-released..
35:56  Dmitry Evgrafov. A Gleam. Album ‘Comprehension of Light’. FatCat Records CD13-27P.
37:29  Richard Bolhuis. Fever Angels. House of Cosy Cushions. Album ‘Underground bliss’. Outcast Cats.
40:42  Yui Onodera & Celer. An Imaginary Tale of Lost Vernacular(fragment). Album ‘Generic City’. Two Acorns 2A01.
41:07  Yui Onodera & Celer. An Imaginary Tale of Lost Vernacular(fragment). Album ‘Generic City’. Two Acorns 2A01.
45:58  Minco Eggersman. Dance. Album Kavkasia. Volkoren 73
48:49  Yui Onodera & Celer. An Imaginary Tale of Lost Vernacular(fragment). Album ‘Generic City’. Two Acorns 2A01. 
51:28  Johanna Varner. Church of Oostum. Johanna Varner. Album ‘Johanna Varner. Self-released.
58:02  The Shins. Red Rabbits (fragment). Album ‘Wincing the Night Away. SUBPOP SPCD 705.
59:21  Yui Onodera & Celer. An Imaginary Tale of Lost Vernacular(fragment). Album ‘Generic City’. Two Acorns 2A01.
59:35  The Shins. Red Rabbits (fragment). Album ‘Wincing the Night Away. SUBPOP SPCD 705.

or listen to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about: