zaterdag 31 december 2016

WoNo Magazine 16.1 is uit!

De allerlaatste WoNo Magazine. Lees waarom!

En lees al het andere dat lezenswaardig is in WoNo Magazine 16.1. Lees over de spontane jeuk van Wo., de geluidsoverlast in Den Haag en waarom HareD het bed, nou ja de bank, deelde met Driekwart Bettie!

En lees nog veel meer! Over dode artiesten en stoppende bandjes. Maar vooral over levende artiesten en levende muziek.

Kortom: lees WoNo Magazine 16.1. De aller-allerlaatste!

Lees hem hier:

En laat ons weten wat je ervan vond.

Wo. en .No

Wono Magazine's top 10 best read posts of 2016

What were your favourite posts of 2016? Things have changed. Posts that easily would have made it into the top 10 in most of the previous years, don't even come close in 2016. It takes a lot more than that this year. The difference? Facebook! Artists that post a link to a review on their Facebook account score much higher views on average. So, are we on the wrong social media outlet? No, not where the writing is concerned. Perhaps, we are where posting or notifying about posts is concerned. Let us think about that for a while.

Before presenting the top 10 of 2016 published posts, we like to point you to three posts that did really well in 2016, but were published in December 2015: Lay Low by Lou Doillon, an album you'll most probably find in the top 10 ever; De Kift in de Paradijskerk and our own publication of WoNo Magazine on Christmas Day 2015. If you haven't picked up a free copy yet, you can find it here:

Two out of three did not do well enough though. Old school anticipations of this list.

The number one ought not to be a surprise. It topped the old all time #1 this summer as I already posted and kept climbing higher slowly but surely for another two months, before finally fizzling out come fall. You'll find it again when we do the best views ever early next year.

Enough writing on things past, let's get down to business. It's with some regret that I have to write this, but for the second year in a row the same Dutch artist gets the #11 position. This year with nearly double the views as in 2015 and it's still not enough because of a new Dutch band that sped into the top 10 in the final days of the year. So, to make up a little, I'll name the #11 of 2016:

11. Narcissism Blues. Einfach Kurt

Here's the top 10

10. Hurt & The Merciless. The Heavy

8. Night Thoughts. Suede

8. Nachtschade. The Avonden

7. 11.11. Xander and the Peace Pirates

6. Box Of Letters. James Scott Bullard and the Late Night Sweethearts

5. Born Free. Stillmode

4. Canshaker Pi. Canshaker Pi

3. Damaged Good. Bettie Serveert

2. Je Doet Je Best Maar. Aafke Romeijn

1. The Analogues live, Schouwburg Velsen

vrijdag 30 december 2016

Kairos, December 2016 by .No on Concertzender

Yes, it is December and Wo. has listened to the December Kairos and reports his findings below. There are some familiar names, to him, on the show, so that will have helped him coping and some familiar names due to previous Kairosses. So let's see how he faired this time.....

And, all of a sudden I have a question. Having listened to the opening notes of the show, which I hope you have to, dear reader, due to all my enthusiastic stories, I wondered who plays those few notes set over a drone? And why did .No pick this specific, nondescript piece of music? Sometimes questions come late. Is it because I never really listen to this beginning, but just anticipate the first composition? Most likely yes.

Kairos starts with serious sounding violins. This is stern music played by the Ensemble of the Taurida Orchestra of St. Petersburg. A composition for strings by Anna Backerra. A piece of music not released on cd, the information adds. Only of album or as MP3? Questions, questions. Going back to the music, it's of the kind that I truly cannot write anything sensible about. It doesn't touch me in any way, if I strike out the don't liking part. It doesn't even revolt me, an effect some music has on me. It doesn't do anything for me or to me. So 7,30 minutes is far, far too long.

Next up is a composition by Roman Turovsky played by Christopher Wilke, called 'Resignation'. The one who fooled me last month, having me think we listened to something from the 16th century. Now that I know that Turovsky is an Ukrainian composer living in New York, that won't happen again. It remains old music though. At the same time something Greek comes into the sound, a faint hint at Zorba. Totally not my music, but I can hear that there is beauty in this song, how it is played with feeling, doing right to the title.

Luik returns once more to the show. Like me .No is a fan of albums released by the Utrecht based label Snowstar Records. 'Spleen' starts as if some of the instruments were recorded while being at the other end of the room than the microphone was placed. Mixed so far into the background. More the sliding of a finger over a snare of the acoustic guitar than notes or chords. All mood, hardly song. The tempo is so low that individual contributions to the composition must have been played more on feeling than by counting time. 'Spleen' is a song to get lost in. With hardly clues to find your way back. Luik is the even softer brother of I Am Oak. Beyond this there is only John Cage, '4,33"'.

Aaaahhh, a drum, a bass. Although I first thought that a choir set in. No, it's the song with which Leonard Cohen has announced his goodbye to the world. A new trend in rock and pop music. Artists saying goodbye to this world in a new song, giving the term "swan song" a whole new dimension. 'You Want It Darker', is a beautiful song in which Cohen talks, sings himself through a quiet, subdued song, that still holds all that a good pop song should hold. The arrangement is soft, but well chosen. Sophisticated, like Cohen showed himself to the world in his last touring days, that is the right word. "I am ready, my Lord". It doesn't get much clearer than that.

Cohen makes way for, what? Repeated synth notes? Pulsating beats? I truly don't know, except that it intrigues for a while. I am listening to Matthew Bourne. 'Somewhere I have never travelled (for Coral Evans)'. Although the pulsing sounds last longer and seem to become somewhat faster, I have no clue what to make of this. It could be part of a background in disco songs or electronic music, but just on its own? Maybe this is just beyond my imagination, as nothing presents itself, except 'I Feel Love' by Donna Summer (and Giorgio Moroder of course). Whether Bourne had that in mind I seriously doubt, but on the other hand, who knows?

Can a song last for just 30 seconds? Yes, it can. 'Free People' by The LVE is over in just yet. Gerrit and Sara sing through this short song in a dreamy way. In wonder and wonderful, captured in 29 seconds. That is about all that I'm able to write here.

We move into soundscape territory with 'Autumn Of Communion'. A great title for the weather of the past two days when the world was enveloped in fog and smelling of burned foul fossil fuel and less foul wood and food. Fascinating, yet also a bit scary. And long in this case. It just goes on and on, while the mist envelopes me, totally.

In the last months Larus Sigurdsson has come by with his music so befitting autumn. Moody soundscapes from which more distinct sounds are allowed to escaped every once in a while. Like an object moving in out of the mist and disappearing into it again, leaving behind a sound that slowly disappears. Like a thick fog, this music has something mysterious about it. Nothing is really clear, obscured and so is the music of Sigurdsson. Yet, anything can happen, totally unannounced. The music is more organic than Autumn Of Communion's, yet the two totally fit together. Moody, hard to read, yet something worthwhile to experience.

American in Berlin and Vienna Ian Fisher has released two albums this year. Both were reviewed on this blog (as were Leonard Cohen, The LVE and Broeder Dieleman). 'Koffer' is the latest one. An album with two faces, perhaps even three, as 'Koffer' is sung in German and is a Marlène Dietrich original, I'm told. As I wrote it is a song befitting a travelling artist. Always away from home leaving stuff there and taking as much with him as he needs to perform and live in the hours around the performances. This version of 'Koffer' is the one he does, nearly, solo. There are two versions on the album. The word resignation has come by before this Kairos and if this song presents one word, it is resignation. Looking back with sorrow on something that has gone by. Something that probably never could have been.

Claude Débussy returns to Kairos as well. I hear piano notes through Ian Fisher's voice and guitar. Piano notes that resonate with the piano notes at the beginning of Kairos. Don't tell me that .No provides the answer to my question without either of us knowing up front? Slow notes are played in 'Voiles' by Pascal Rogé. There's no need for much more in this dreamy composition. The kind of music to close my eyes and dream away on. Slow, soft, but with faint hints to something scary. Like the scene with the baby app in 'Nocturnal Animals'. It's in just a few notes that upset the tranquillity of 'Voiles', like the flash in that moviescene.

We end this Kairos with Broeder Dieleman. The link with the piano is evident. 'Voor Janna En Lieve' from 'Gloria' is one of Broeder Dieleman's more pastoral songs. With the piano as an estranging element. Like the city taking over the rural areas more and more. It is almost like the two do not belong together in the song, until the end where they do blend and make a new harmony. With the bowed guitar of 'Zusterstraat' we leave the December Kairos.


You can listen to this Kairos here:

This is the setlist:

00:12     Anna Backerra. strijkkwartet (uitgewerkte versie). Ensemble van Taurida Orkest (St. Petersburg). Niet op cd verschenen.
07:26     Roman Turovsky. Resignation. Christopher Wilke, barokluit. Album ‘De Temporum Fine Postludia’. Polyhymnion CD 001.
13:52     Lukas Dikker. Spleen. Luik. Album ‘Owls’. Snowstar Records
19:06     Leonard Cohen. You want it darker. Album ‘You Want It Darker’. Columbia 88985365072.
23:38     Matthew Bourne. Somewhere I have never Travelled (for Coral Evans). Album ‘Moogmemory’. Bay 93 CDP.
30:12     LVE. Free People. Album ‘Underwater Sounds’. I have a tiger records.
30:51     Autumn Of Communion. Autumn Of Communion .Album ‘Autumn Of Communion’. TXT Recordings.
41:58     Larus Sigurdsson. Entry by the wolf door. Album ‘We are told that we shine’. Volkoren.
46:57     Ian Fischer. Koffer. Album ‘Koffer’. Snowstar Records.
51:33     Claude Débussy. Voiles. Pascal Rogé, piano. Album ‘Debussy Piano Works’. DECCA443 021-2 DF2.
56:21     Broeder Dieleman. Voor Janna en Lieve. Album ‘Gloria’. Snowstar Records.
59:10     Broeder Dieleman. Zusterstraat (fragment). Album ‘Gloria’. Snowstar Records.

donderdag 29 december 2016

Lighthouse. David Crosby

This year David Crosby turned 75. It is undeniably true that his voice trails his age. At the same time this voice is undeniably David Crosby. With Lighthouse Crosby delivers his 5th solo album, of which I own four.

Lighthouse is an album in which the music is stripped down to the bare essentials. Crosby's voice, some harmonies and acoustic guitars. Listen more carefully and a bass and keyboards can be heard also. That is about it. The music is instantly recognisable. Even beyond just David Crosby, There are sequences in opening song 'Things We Do For Love' that could have been on any of the more acoustic Neil Young albums.

Being such a bare album allows me to assess the quality of the album in a much more direct way. There's hardly anything left to distract me from the bare essence of the nine presented songs. Because of this subdued atmosphere Lighthouse is an album that needs attention. Crosby wants his listeners to come up close and truly listen. That is best achieved with a headset on. That allows me to become one with his music and the modest yet refined nuances in the songs on Lighthouse. Undeniably the album grows on me.

I've never been a fan of David Crosby. I'm a fan of his voice as part of a harmony. as I once read, it is as if he isn't there, until the moment that his voice is taken out and things fall apart. All these decades down the line, things have changed somewhat. I truly liked 'Croz', his previous album, just as I like Lighthouse. It holds the typical David Crosby kind of singer-singwriter music, with hints at jazz deeply steeped in Westcoast music.

It is 51 years since David Crosby broke to a bigger audience with the international breakthrough of the Byrds with their superb cover of Bob Dylan's 'Mr. Tambourine Man'. Since he only became better and better known: a true rock star, with all that brings. Now his highest, commercial achievements lie decades behind us. With Lighthouse David Crosby adds a superb album to his oeuvre. No, there's nothing new here to be found. His song 'Triad', on Jefferson Airplane's 'Crown Of Creation', could have been on Lighthouse and no one would have complained. But, for everyone who likes his music, Lighthouse is an album holding some of best songs Crosby wrote to date. 'Somebody Other Than You' even holds an urgency that many 75 year olds can only dream about. In their wildests that is.

It's time to leave you alone with this album. Let it grow on you, like it did on me.


You can listen to 'Things We Do For Love' here:

woensdag 28 december 2016

Canshaker Pi. Canshaker Pi

Last year Palio Superspeed Donkey released a great album. The show I was present at was great and after the show we agreed on doing an interview. Except when the questions were sent in, the email address was no longer receiving emails. In hindsight it seems that that spelled the end of the band. Which is a big shame as it was good with a lot of potential.

Enter the fall of 2016 and here's Canshaker Pi with Willem and Ruben of the aforementioned band. The excitement has been upped a little after all.

If opener 'Jals' is anything, it is a declaration of intent. The stakes are up and the noise that engulfs me spells excitement. For the sake of argument the term alternative rock can be used here, just as long as we understand the term as being the kind a little left of centre where alternative rock is concerned. Many names have been dropped to introduce Canshaker Pi, but who cares. Use them as a reference if you like, I'm going to stick with 'Canshaker Pie' for now.

Still the name Stephen Malkmus has to be dropped anyway for the simple reason that the ex-Pavement frontman co-produced this album with Remko Schouten. Together they caught the madness, youthful brazenness and, let's not forget the main quality of Canshaker Pi, pure melodic prowess, on tape. The interaction between the four members, Willem Smit (voice/guitar), Boris de Klerk (guitar/voice), Ruben van Weegberg (bass) and Nick Bolland (drums), jumps out of my speakers. Even at those moments that the speed is left for what it is and the band relaxes into a ballad of sorts, the interplay remains something to envy.

Guitarist De Klerk has a keen ear for melodies that verge on the false that blend with the unsteady, bordering on (seeming) carelessness vocal melodies of Smit. Together they play around with the melodies but never fail to end up where they have to before derailing. That takes either pure talent or a lot of practising to perfect the skills. Underneath the rhythm keeps things together, allowing the other two to explore the room a song leaves them.

At the beginning of this year, see either of the two 'Oor' predictions for 2016 articles in February, I had my doubts about Canshaker Pi. Doubts?, they have molten away like ice in the sun. The balance of 'Canshaker Pi' is simply so good. The rage on the one hand is always offset by melodic prowess or by a surprising piece of arranging on the other. That way the band surprises. Even in the loudest, wildest segments of the album. It is not just about noise and unsteady, alternative rocking. No, this is about presenting the best songs in this segment of rock music. It is all about exploring every cranny and nook of a composition without losing the central elements out of sight for a single second. Just listen to what happens in 'The U In My Dog'. From a simple "I'm So Free", Lou Reed lent riff to sonic storms and back. This is a band that knows what it is doing. There are at least ideas for ten songs in this one song. And they all fit. Together.

Did I like Palio Superspeed Donkey? Yes, a lot, but if this was it for the band, then we have a very suitable replacement. Canshaker Pi, if you're in the neighbourhood be sure to find me there. Perhaps we can even do an interview?


You can listen to 'Jals' here:

dinsdag 27 december 2016

George Michael, 1963 - 2016

It's the second half of the 80s and very early 90s, my university years and the years of great parties on the 7th floor of that ugly highrise in a 1900s street alongside a canal in Leiden. The 7th Heaven we called our home. So when Wham released its farewell single 'The Edge Of Heaven' it was soon adopted of one of our songs for those parties. It wasn't the only one we liked by the band or George Michael though.

Of course Wham and George Michael were no acts for me. Despite that, I did connect to the uptempo work they produced. Let's call it a guilty pleasure. 'Young Guns' was the first single by Wham and I think the second hitsingle, that I remember thinking 'at least something is happening' in this song. Compared to all the disco of the age. The exuberance of 'Wake Me up (Before You Go-Go)' connected to. It all led to a lot of dancing and singing along to. That Christmas single will be played forever. No matter what I thought about it at the time, it only takes one note for me to start singing along whether I want to or not. I did not like all Wham's songs that much, but a few them do stick out.

Then 'Careless Whisper' came along. Strangely enough, no matter how soft it was, I had to admit that it was simply extremely well made. No surprises here that it shot to the #1 position. In 1988 the curtain fell for Andrew Ridgeley and thus Wham. What his role was in the duo? I have no idea. The co-penning of 'Careless Whisper' may be seen the kiss goodbye. The song that leaves him a wealthy man for the rest of his life, if he played it right.

With 'Faith' the solo career of George Michael took off for real. Again dancetunes galore, but with one that stuck out. The funky track 'I Want Your Sex' really did well at our parties. Floormates danced their dirty dreams together before going back to their respective partners.

George Michael's best song, in my opinion, did not become such a tremendously big hit at the time. 'Freedom 90' holds it all. It has an relentless drive, a great, hypnotising melody and a beat that allows for dancing. And a text that shows that it is a troubled mind speaking to us. Looking back there are quite a few hints in his lyrics, but what did we know? I was only dancing, not analysing inner emotions.

After that my university days were behind me, the dance parties slowly faded from my life and the music George Michael produced since then all sounded boring to me. He was taking himself very seriously, but musically it didn't do anything for me. It is that in his obituary someone wrote that is was 12 years since his last album, I would not have known. Stopped looking and caring. At the same time his popularity, where his days of old are concerned, has not vanished. My girlfriend is shocked, my sister did not really believe the news at first. There will be many more women in their late 40s early 50s feeling this way.

To me George Michael is a pleasant memory of days long gone. Coincidentally I'm going out tonight with two friends from then and there. What we're going to do? Eat a pizza, see a movie, have a beer. I doubt George Michael will be a topic to discuss though. There's no doubt that he died much too young, I do doubt that he led a happy life. But what do I know?


Rick Parfitt, 1948-2016

1974 and even more 1975 I remember as years full of soft soul hits, novelty songs, fakish bands like The Rubettes and other stuff that I just did not like. The top 40 was not really my domain any more. The years before I truly discovered the power of albums, they were simply too expansive, financially beyond my reach for years to come. That discovery started late in 1975 and early 1976. In that wasteland of soul music a song was dropped that opened my ears to another sort rock, something I had not heard before. 'Down Down' and not much later the live version of 'Roll Over Lay Down' was released, both top 10 hits over here. They tuned my ears. Finally something was happening and the four men of Status Quo were responsible.

This was not the first time I had heard the band. In 1968 they scored a psychedelic hitsingle with 'Pictures Of Matchstick Men', the song with that mysterious riff and all the fading in and out of the sound. I remember liking hearing the song being played on the radio. The two minor hits that followed totally passed me by, as did the small hit the band had in 1973 that in hindsight announced what was to follow two years later. For me the switch was enormous from a memory to what was going on seven years later.

'Down Down' was the beginning of a long line of hit singles well into the 1980s, but that did not really have me interested any more. I have no Quo album in my collection, at least that I bought myself, but have several of the singles from 1975 up to 1979. That was enough for me and it's years since I played them. I never became a fan in the true sense. For that the band's music was too one dimensional for me. I moved on, but each time 'Down Down' is on the radio it can trigger the excitement I felt in the spring of 1975.

Apparently the band was still playing in 2016, although for decades Parfitt and Francis Rossi were the only original members, since 1964 when Parfitt joined the other three original members, then called The Specters. That will now have ended with an accident in a house in the south of Spain. Stairs are dangerous things, no matter how handy an invention they are. One of my dad's motto's was: one hand for your self and one for the ship/stairs. Something worth to incorporate.

Although Status Quo is a band from a long, long time ago, the memory of that first rock single will never fade and will be with me for may a year.


Kairos by .No. Concertzender, November 2016

The moment is getting closer that Wo. has caught up with .No's Concertzender radioshow Kairos. Each month it is a surprise what .No unleashes on unsuspecting listeners, but perhaps even a bigger surprise what Wo. makes of it all. Associations, little stories, pure horror and the soft touch of emotions. It all comes by when Wo. takes an aural dive into music he often never encounters except on Kairos, a meditation in music.

After the familiar announcement, from the man with the extremely pleasant voice, I hear music from long ago. Elisabeth I may have danced to this or watched her court members do so from her throne if she wasn't inclined to dancing herself. Christopher Wilke plays a baroklute in Roman Turovsky's 'Revenge'. So much for the English court of 1570. Turovsky was born in the Ukraine in 1961. A lute player and writer of lute compositions. So is it the sound of the instrument that brings the early modern age to mind? It seems so. The composition is soothing, but just too long to my taste. If only just a little.

I would not call Larus Sigurdsson a Kairos veteran, but it is clear that .No likes the album as he returns to with through the song 'Helmut Holds Calmness In Chaos'. Helmut as in Schmidt? No, then it would have been called Helmut Holds A Cigarette in Chaos'. We move back to piano as we have done for a few months now on Kairos. Sigurdsson weaves his atmospherics around the softly played keys. Again what happens here impresses me in a pleasant way. There is a calmness and inner strength in this music that shows. No matter how vulnerable the music may seem, it is a tower of strength. Like an ages old oaktree on the top of a hill, withstanding the elements in all seasons, not wavering one bit.

Margriet Ehlen returns to Kairos again also. No organ this time, sorry Jo Louppen, but a composition for flute. It has a high piep-knor irritation factor, that irks me no little. 'Firefly, My Little Sister'? Fly away, little paraquayo, I'd say. It is beyond me to find beauty in this composition. So, let's move on, before I start writing something extremely unpleasant about it Ms. Ehlen, her sister and who knows what other family member. It is almost Christmas after all, so live and let play, I'm zen. As I ought to be with Kairos.

'Like Water Through Sand' is the title of the album from which the next song is lifted. What to expect with a title like this? Water moves through sand quickly, making a lot of mud before it dries up again. The piano notes move slow like big fat drops falling far and wide apart. Leaving wet circles in the sand. Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch plays 'Strelka'. Other instruments move in with the piano slowly, creating a darker mood than the piano does, which plays a 'Tubular Bells' like motive. The rain abides slowly for strings.

Tsjaikovsky is next or better variations on one of his compositions by Anton Stepanovitsj Arensky and those are played by the Atheneum Kamerorkest. Perhaps a bit hard to follow, but that's what it is. And over before I notice. The dark violins are not even in my ears for 90 seconds. What to make of that? Time to move on, but to my surprise I would not have minded to hear some more.

Ben Lukas Boysen returns also. This time with his song 'The Veil' from his album 'Spells'. Again solo piano notes, some light offset by a deeper one. This music is so light it would float away if let outside in the wind. Slowly the composition develops itself, reveals a little more of itself. If you let yourself, you will be carried away. The long held, sustained notes float through my room, my ears, my head and bring me in a trance. This is 100% Kairos music, Mr. Boysen. Each piano note is charged by things in the background, synths?, cellos", I don't know, I think the former or both? And there is this percussion, this coppery sound, cowbell like.

The move to Lubomir Melnyk's piano is abrupt by .No's standards. The piano playing is so much busier. 'Ripples In A Water Scene' it is called. For that it is too busy. Unless it is raindrops falling into the water making many ripples bumping into each other, upsetting the water scene completely. The song has a lightness of being. It floats or flies like girls playing hopscotch. The light touch with which the piano is played adds to my sensation. It is easy to imagine this song being made into a great popsong with a beautifully sung melody. 'Rivers And Streams' is an album to check out. Have I ever written that before in my years as Kairos watcher?

The next theme is about infiltration. The news is full of information warfare, false news, manipulation of news to influence elections. And what do we get on Kairos? "This is an official announcement of the authorities. Please skip this song and move forward to the next one. We can not guarantee that there are no hidden messages in the rendition of 'Vor Deiner Kreuz' by the Moskovite Men Choir 'Orthodox Singers'". As reviewer I proceeded, albeit carefully, and heard dark and higher voices move through a church composition. I missed the cathedral atmospheric quality in this recording. And rest assured, I could not understand a single word of what was being sung. The main message may have been hidden and targeted at my subconscious though. Warn me should you notice strange things on the blog.

Christian Wilke returns with a composition by Turovsky. I'm sure it is another song, but I can already state that they all sound the same to me. So I refer to the last sentence before last above on Wilke. The final one does not count any longer.

Alexander Scriabin? Wasn't he in the October '16 Kairos as well? In that case he returns also. Now with one of those incomprehensible titles like "Amarillo in G sharp and flattop major"or something like it. Håkon Austbo plays the piano here and again I notice how .No is captured by lightly touched pianos lately. Surely darker notes are played as well, but they are no more that a stormcloud in the far distance while overhead the stars shine and the young man dance the girls away in an endless twirl of youth no one wishes to end. The mood does change. Like a father or mother telling youth they have overstepped a line and telling them off. The girls giggle behind their hands and gossip on. Imagining life before it has caught up with them. While the boys boast, puff their chests, smoking a cigarette without being allowed to, behind the bushes.

Orcas' 'Until Then' is up next. Again a piano. Much less serious, although through the song something serious meanders as well. 'Until Then' makes me feel sad, although I can't really tell you why. It speaks to me at a level I do not want to be touched, I guess. A voice, a darker male one, a piano, some guitar and strange noises that is all. Yet it is enough. The title holds something indefinite within it as well of course, it could also mean until when?

Something seems to be taking the song over. Like an invasion from Mars or a swarm of insects, washing over all before it. Is .No at work or is this part of 'Until Then'?

When the noise fades out, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds take over. Another sad song. Empty, an organ and very little else. It's his duet 'Distant Sky' with Else Torp, a Danish singer. Again I'm surprised that such a huge effect can be reached with so little. The song is so slow that it almost hasn't got beats per minute and the instrumentation is beyond minimal. Yet, all is in its right place. Only at the end some instruments are added to great emotional effect.

The Atheneum Kamerorkest has the honour to close this Kairos, although I would have prefered the final notes of 'Distant Sky', a monumental, modern song. Instead we hear a composition by Edward Elgar. Listening to the stately violins I can understand .No's choice better. The mood of this composition underscores what Nick Cave has brought us. Ultimate seriousness and nothing to get happy about. Life is no laughing matter is the theme of November, I venture. Even if we try to make it so, see my take on Scriabin, someone will remind us it is not. The deep, silent notes of Elgar send us on our way, so softly that at first I do not notice this Kairos is over.


You can listen to this Kairos here:

This is November's playlist:

00:13 Roman Turovsky. Revenge.
Christopher Wilke, barokluit.
Album ‘De Temporum Fine Postludia’. Polyhymnion CD 001.
05:58 Larus Sigurdsson. Helmut holds calmness in chaos.
Album ‘We Are Told That We Shine. Volkoren 65.
09:47 Margriet Ehlen. Firefly, My Little Sister voor fluitsolo.
Helen Hendriks, dwarsfluit.
Album ‘Kus!’.Stichting Limburgse Componisten.
14:50 Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch. Strelka.
Album ‘Like Water Through The Sand’. FactCat Records CD13-20P (130701).
17:27 Anton Stepanovitsj Arensky. Variaties op een thema van Tsjaikovsky (fragment).
Atheneum Kamerorkest; Qui van Woerdekom, dirigent.
Album ‘Atheneum Kamerorkest 3’.Siemens / KRO KK-CD 9308.
18:46 Ben Lukas Boysen. The Veil.
Album ‘Spells’. Erased tapes Records ERATP085CD.
25:13 Lubomyr Melnyk. Ripples In A Water Scene.
Album ‘Rivers and Streams’. Erased Tapes Records ERATP077CD.
31:24 Klaus Heizmann (comp.), Johannes Jourdan (orig. text). Vor Deinem Kreuz.
Moskauer Männerchor ‘Orthodoxe Sänger’.
Album ‚Bässe des Heiligen Russland’. Duo-Phon Records 03283 / TCL.
36:23 Roman Turovsky. Indefinitely.
Christopher Wilke, barokluit.
Album ‘De Temporum Fine Postludia’. Polyhymnion CD 001.
40:08 Alexander Scriabin. Andante uit Sonata No. 2 in G sharp minor op. 19 (Sonata Fantaisie).
Håkon Austbo, piano.
Brilliant Classics 6137-2.
46:59 Orcas (Benoît Pioulard / Rafael Anton Irisarri). Until Then.
Album ‘Orcas’. Morr Music morr 111-cd.
51:06 Nick Cave. Distant Sky.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.
Album: Skeleton Tree. Bad Seed Ltd. BS009CD.
56:23 Edward Elgar. Adagio uit Elegie voor Strijkorkest op. 58.
Atheneum Kamerorkest; Qui van Woerdekom, dirigent.
Album ‘Atheneum Kamerorkest 3’.
Siemens / KRO KK-CD 9308.

maandag 26 december 2016

II. Thisell

"In de zomer van 2010 besluit de Zweedse singer-songwriter Peter Thisell om met een aantal bevriende muzikanten een plaat op te nemen.
De muzikanten strijken, samen met vrienden, kinderen en huisdieren, neer in een leeg schoolgebouw in Lur, in het bosrijke zuiden van Zweden.
Het is een prachtige zomer. Zweden is groener dan groen, de dagen zijn zonnig en lang, de avonden loom en broeierig. Het klinkt als een hele mooie vakantie, maar er wordt ook hard gewerkt door Peter Thisell en zijn muzikale vrienden.
De songs voor de plaat krijgen stuk voor stuk vorm, worden geperfectioneerd en vervolgens live opgenomen in de tot een studio omgebouwde school. Aan het einde van de zomer van 2010 is er uiteindelijk genoeg materiaal voor een plaat en het is een prachtplaat”.
Met deze zinnen begon ik bijna tweeënhalf jaar geleden mijn recensie van I; het in de lente van 2014 dan eindelijk volop verkrijgbare debuut van Thisell. Kort geleden verscheen, bijna uit het niets, de tweede plaat van Thisell en ook II is een prachtige plaat.
Ook op de tweede plaat van Thisell grossieren Peter Thisell en zijn medemuzikanten in bijzonder stemmige Americana. Het is muziek die direct opvalt door de bijzondere klankkleuren. Thisell kiest ook op haar tweede plaat voor betrekkelijk ingetogen akoestische muziek, die vervolgens fraai wordt ingekleurd door melancholisch klinkende violen, voorzichtig tegendraadse gitaren, sfeervolle accordeon klanken en andere trefzekere accenten. Het kleurt prachtig bij de eveneens van melancholie overlopende stem van Peter Thisell, die zoveel emotie in zijn stem legt dat kippenvel niet uit kan blijven.
Net als het debuut van Thisell doet ook de tweede plaat van de band me af en toe denken aan Neil Young en My Morning Jacket, maar II heeft soms ook het sprookjesachtige van de muziek van Mercury Rev of verruilt de groene Zweedse zomer voor de koude en donkere Scandinavische winter. Tenslotte heeft de muziek van Thisell iets ongrijpbaars door subtiele invloeden uit stokoude folk, de psychedelica of zelfs de progrock.
Het debuut van de band vond ik in 2014 sensationeel goed. Dit keer is de verrassing natuurlijk wat minder groot, want II ligt duidelijk in het verlengde van zijn voorganger. Aan de andere kant heeft de muziek van Thisell zeker aan schoonheid en kracht gewonnen, waardoor het een plaat is die kan concurreren met het beste dat dit jaar is verschenen.
Het debuut van Thisell kreeg in 2014 veel te weinig aandacht, maar dat moet nu echt anders zijn. Je doet jezelf in elk geval flink tekort als je deze prachtplaat laat liggen.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt hier luisteren naar 'Will You Have Me?':

zondag 25 december 2016

My Piece Of Land. Amanda Shires

Amanda Shires viel een paar jaar geleden op als violiste en zangeres op de platen van haar echtgenoot Jason Isbell, maar maakt ook al meer dan tien jaar soloplaten (en stond bovendien in haar tienerjaren al op het podium bij onder andere The Texas Playboys en Billy Joe Shaver).
Met het in 2013 verschenen Down Fell The Doves liet ze horen dat ze, net als manlief Jason Isbell, moet worden gerekend tot de smaakmakers van de Amerikaanse rootsmuziek van het moment.
Dat doet ze nog net wat nadrukkelijker met My Piece Of Land, dat in de Verenigde Staten inmiddels warm is onthaald, maar in Nederland vooralsnog slechts in kleine kring is opgemerkt en nog geen officiële release heeft gekregen. Dat moet heel snel gaan veranderen, want My Piece Of Land van Amanda Shires is een prachtplaat.
Amanda Shires schreef de meeste songs voor haar nieuwe plaat tijdens haar zwangerschap, wat mogelijk verklaart dat veel songs op de plaat fluisterzacht zijn en veel emotie laten horen. 
Amanda Shires beschikt over een stem die gemaakt is voor de alt-country die ze op My Piece Of Land maakt en die fraai kan ontroeren met een lichte snik. Met deze snik vertelt Amanda Shires mooie verhalen in intieme en persoonlijke songs die zonder uitzondering de aandacht opeisen.
Dat is overigens ook deels de verdienste van de fraaie instrumentatie op de plaat, waarin naast het weemoedige vioolspel van Amanda Shires en de gedegen bijdrage van een aantal Nashville veteranen ook het gitaarspel van Jason Isbell is te horen. My Piece Of Land bevat zoals gezegd flink wat ingetogen songs, maar het gitaarspel mag ook een paar keer los gaan en duelleren met de viool van de Texaanse singer-songwriter.
Wat voor de instrumentatie geldt, geldt overigens ook voor de prachtige heldere en gloedvolle productie van huisvriend Dave Cobb, die als producer inmiddels een prachtig rijtje rootsplaten op zijn naam heeft staan.
Hoe mooi de instrumentatie en productie ook zijn, het meest word ik toch geraakt door de bijzonder aangename stem van Amanda Shires, die constant zorgt voor kippenvel of ontroering.
Amanda Shires staat tot dusver wat in de schaduw van haar echtgenoot, die de afgelopen jaren goed is voor jaarlijstjesplaten, maar laat met My Piece Of Land horen dat ze dit kunstje inmiddels zelf ook beheerst.
Er zijn dit jaar heel veel goede platen van vrouwelijke singer-songwriters in het rootssegment verschenen, maar de nieuwe plaat van Amanda Shires steekt er wat mij betreft net wat bovenuit. Een prachtplaat, maar dat had ik al gezegd.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt hier luisteren naar 'Harmless':

zaterdag 24 december 2016

Can't Touch Us Now. Madness

The nutty boys are back three years after their previous album 'Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da'. The sound is instantly recognisable, but don't expect the music that graced Madness' first two records, 'One Step Beyond' and 'Absolutely'. The tempo is down to a pace that suits men approaching their sixties. No matter how shocking that sounds. It's what it is.

The cover is very much London as suits a band coming from Camden Town of the 70s. What is amazing that in 2016 the band is back to its formation at the time of its breakthrough in 1979, with the exception of Chas Smash, who has disappeared from the line up somewhere after the previous record. One of the two original producers, Clive Langer, is even on board. Older, musically wiser and in a form that is certainly acceptable.

It's the Madness of the years that the band still scored, major, hits in the U.K., but sort of had disappeared from consciousness in NL. 'House Of Fun', 'Cardiac Arrest', that sort of songs and even then we have to drop the sort of sharp corners that these songs held. So I would certainly not call the music found on Can't Touch Us Now ska or 2 Tone. Madness in 2016 excels in piano driven pop songs with hints at funky stuff in the rhythm guitar.

What is striking that in the lyrics Madness shows the sort of observing skills Ray Davies had in the 60s. Just listen to a song like 'Mr. Apples'. The Rotary Club is aligned to capitol punishment and modern day stress. It's the kind of lyric that adds to the quality of the album. Musically the rhythm is interesting and the lead guitar, organ and sax add very much to the pleasure. Another example is 'Another Version Of Me', where life has changed despite having all the things that seem to have remained the same. The lyric is extremely elementary though 100% recognisable.

On the other hand I have to admit that I have to be in the mood for Can't Touch Us Now. At the wrong moment I truly think that the album is converging on the boring. Too much of the same thing. It gives me a hard time to convince myself why it is a good thing that Madness is still releasing records. At the other moments like right now I'm having a great time. With just Madness in my ears and nothing much disturbing my mood, things are quite alright. The soft ska of 'I Believe'  and the ska mixed with a surf lead guitar in 'Grand Slam' make me wave in my chair while trying to tye, you see what I mean, in the meantime. The number of typos becomes shocking I can tell you.

With the shift of musical focus Madness becomes a more "normal" band, with a more general pop focus. There are even 60s "la la las" to be found. When 'Mumbo Jumbo' starts with its somewhat more up tempo ska rhythm it comes almost as a surprise. The song is fun, but not for nostalgic Madness reasons. Simply because it is fun in 2016. The hooky rhythm, the strong accents in the playing of the instruments, the cut off way of singing. It fits, rough lead guitar, organ and all. The 'Ghost Town' mood of 'Herbert' brings back fond memories. So there's a little 2 Tone after all.

In short, despite having second thoughts at some point, I'm glad Can't Touch Us Now is here. The album is not as good as 'The Liberty Of Folton Newgate', that totally took me by surprise, but certainly as good as 'Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da'. Fulfilling is the right word here.


You can listen to 'Mr. Apples' here:

vrijdag 23 december 2016

Lost In The Forest (EP). Mevrouw Tamara

During her support show for the Elenne May cd presentation in the Amstelkerk in Amsterdam this fall, Mevrouw Tamara announced that she had started to write songs in English and played a few for us. This month her new EP was released and holds four songs in English. I do not know the reason for this switch, but let's take a look at the songs, as that is what music is about.

The title track is an all vocal song with layer upon layer of Mevrouw Tamara's voice. In an intricate composition she weaves the different melodies and back and foreground voices in and over each other, leading to a track that, I have to admit that I had to work hard at appreciating, gives its inner beauty away only slowly. The effect is a not unlike a choir composition for a church. The voice is less secure and certainly not classically trained. The result is certainly something similar in nature. The fact that this is all Mevrouw Tamara's work, makes 'Lost In The Forest', the more impressive. It is not hard to imagine the nuns of old singing this composition somewhere in the Middle Ages in a dark church lit by candlelight only. When I read that everything was recorded in one take, it makes the result the more impressive. Tamara van Esch has a very keen ear for melodies and harmonies. Something I noticed live when she built her parts on the spot, recording little bits and pieces and replaying them while starting on the next often while singing to.

When we switch to a guitar in 'Leave' it comes as a relief, but only for a briefest of time. It is not as if 'Leave' is a pleasant song. It is all about leaving, to saying goodbye to something that was. It was good at some point but not any longer. The point of severing and the beginning of something new. This EP is about breaking up with her boyfriend. It is even worked out in the fading figure in the artwork of the EP. A lot of people may wish to receive a goodbye like Lost In The Forest.

The mood for Lost In The Forest is set. Introspective music, with an artist looking in to herself, her mindset, her own well-being is examined in-depth. The result is music that is spell-binding, addictive and of a sort that is close to the skin, if not under it. If you let Lost In The Forest work on you, any one will find that it is extremely easy to establish a relationship with this music. It is of an intimate nature that allows for bonding. The introspection is all but excluding.

Lost In The Forest is 100% Tamara van Esch. Except for 'Leave', the EP was recorded at her home. Everything you hear is sung and played by her. 'Leave' was recorded by Pim van der Werken who also mixed the EP. Again I am struck by the way how intricately layered the music on the EP is. How the dynamics in 'Leave' work. From the soft beginning to the force of the middle part and the switch to the piano as centre instrument near the end.

The piano is in full force in the third song, 'Picture Us Together'. Which comes through in the art work, as in something of the past. Something that is no more. "He can not picture us together" is the real message of the song. Which is a radical departure from the title of the song. From the positive or better a longing, wishing, to the negative. Again the intricate quality of the music strikes me. In such a soft toned song, so much is happening, including the mood that hangs heavily over all that is going on. Although most is piano and voice, there are other elements that show the craftsmanship of Mevrouw Tamara in arranging her songs.

It ends with 'In My Cocoon', one of the songs she played in the Amstelkerk, with I think 'Leave', of this EP. 'In My Cocoon' is a fitting end. The right place where introspection is concerned. Again the piano plays light sounding notes accompanied by a guitar and something I'll call "mood". The darker sounds in the background that meander under certain spots in the song. 'In MyCocoon' is a song like a meandering brook through a forest, with soft trickling water sounds. Songbirds warbling on their branches. Wind rustling the treetops. And so this imagery brings me back to the artwork yet again. Full circle.

Lost In The Forest holds only four songs, but is very much worthwhile to invest time in. Let the songs wash over you and you'll be conquered by the soft tones of Mevrouw Tamara. Never to want to let go again.


You can listen to and buy the EP here:

donderdag 22 december 2016

Kindly Now. Keaton Henson

Ongeveer een jaar geleden wees een lezer me op het werk van de eigenzinnige Britse singer-songwriter en kunstenaar Keaton Henson.
Met name het in 2013 uitgebrachte Birthdays intrigeerde me mateloos, maar ik besloot te wachten op een nieuwe plaat van de muzikant uit Londen.
Die nieuwe plaat ligt in de winkel en maakt wat mij betreft de hooggespannen verwachtingen meer dan waar.
Kindly Now opent met een track waarin elektronica prachtig wordt gecombineerd met klassiek aandoende strijkers en blazers en met de vervormde stem van Keaton Henson, maar vanaf track nummer twee kiest de Brit toch vooral voor uiterst intieme en ingetogen singer-songwriter muziek.
In de tweede track maken alle instrumenten in eerste instantie plaats gemaakt voor een piano en ligt de nadruk op de stem van Keaton Henson. Het is zo’n stem die wat doet met een song. Keaton Henson vertolkt zijn songs met heel veel emotie en slaagt er onmiddellijk in om de luisteraar vast te grijpen.
Van mij mag Keaton Henson een plaat met uitsluitend door de piano ondersteunde songs maken, maar ook de bijzondere instrumentatie op Kindly Now kan ik zeker waarderen. Deze instrumentatie is soms uiterst subtiel, bijvoorbeeld wanneer de pianoklanken voorzichtig worden ondersteund, maar Keaton Henson is ook niet bang om wat steviger uit te pakken, waarbij vooral de blazers en strijkers aan mogen zwellen.
Het meest word ik toch geraakt door de bijzondere stem van de Brit. Ik ben licht allergisch voor zangers met vreemde piepstemmen (en op een of andere manier zijn er daar momenteel veel van), maar Keaton Henson blijft gelukkig aan de goede kant van de streep met een stem die af en toe aan die van Jeff Buckley doet denken.
Ook in muzikaal opzicht is Jeff Buckley overigens relevant vergelijkingsmateriaal, al is Keaton Henson nog meer geneigd om buiten de lijntjes te kleuren en raakt hij ook aan de muziek van aan de ene kant Gavin Friday (de ruwe emotie) en aan de andere kant Radiohead (de neiging tot experimenteren). Een heel klein beetje David Gray mag ook niet onvermeld blijven.
Keaton Henson roept met zijn muziek uiteenlopende reacties op. De een vindt het in muzikaal opzicht over the top, in vocaal opzicht wat te dramatisch en keert de Brit uiteindelijk de rug toe. De ander wordt geraakt door de intieme en emotievolle songs, de fraaie instrumentatie en omarmt Keaton Henson met liefde. Ik heb vooralsnog geen enkele twijfel en kies voor de tweede groep.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt hier luisteren naar 'Alright':

woensdag 21 december 2016

Helter Shelter live in de Hollandsche Tuyn in Leiderdorp

Er zijn van die toevalligheden in het leven die je soms overkomen. Het jaarlijkse kerstdiner met vriendinnen van mijn inmiddels voormalige sportschool stond dit jaar gepland in de Hollandsche Tuyn en omdat mijn zoon daar vlakbij woont, sprak ik er eerder met hem af om een biertje te gaan drinken. Wat schetst mijn verbazing, dat het café volledig afgeladen is en er een band staat opgesteld in de hoek van het café. Helter Shelter, the best of The Beatles and The Stones staat er op een doek met een soort van Union Jack er op. Dat hebben we geweten. Suizende oren, prima middag.

I'm The Walrus
Zoonlief is opgevoed met een flink dieet van de twee bands, al heeft hij een zeer duidelijke voorkeur voor de eerste band. Bij mij is dat iets meer gemengd. De Beatles hebben muzikaal veruit de beste nummers, de Stones winnen het op opwinding. De mix van hun nummers werkt wonderwel goed. Allemaal meezingers natuurlijk, maar ook verrassingen, met name in de Beatles nummers, die niet direct voor de hand liggen.

De zanger van Helter Shelter heeft een rauwe strot en zingt totaal een-dimensionaal. Dat werkt echter wonderwel omdat vrijwel alle nummers in een ruige(re) rocksetting worden gespeeld. Het gas terug wordt niet makkelijk gevonden door Helter Shelter. De opwinding neemt navenant toe. Dat dan weer wel. De andere drie heren verzorgen harmoniën en oehs en ahs. Als geheel een prima muzikale invulling aan het adagium niet lullen maar poetsen.

Coole schoenen, teveel bewogen
Omdat de band een trio is qua instrumenten, vullen de gitaar en bas elkaar perfect aan. Hele melodieën komen uit de bas, maar dat past bij Beatles songs prima, want dat speelt McCartney ook. De gitarist speelt hard, strak en zijn eigen interpretatie van veel nummers. Daarnaast maakt hij duidelijke keuzes wat een mummer het beste dient. De andere partijen (van de plaat) komen gewoon niet aan bod. Daarachter wordt alles dichtgetimmerd op de drums, door de uiterst energieke , maar heel af en toe overenthousiaste drummer.

Al zaten er hier en daar kleine foutjes in de nummers, het mocht de pret niet drukken. Helter Shelter speelde een prima set, de eerste hadden we gemist. Energiek, levendig en totaal rock and roll. Prima middagje dus, ook al hebben mijn zoon en ik iets minder gekletst dan verwacht.

(Foto's van) Wo.

Meer informatie over Helter Shelter vind je hier:

dinsdag 20 december 2016

Mexico, a big thank you

Time flies. Around 6 December I spent a week in Mexico. Well, including all the travelling, I was around 1 week from home. The time was spent in Guadalajara at the Internet Governance Forum. Although most was work, there was music everywhere and most of the time. The Mexican government put on Mariachi bands during the opening and closing ceremonies and not simple ones either. Next to that there was music and traditional dancing over the lunches, at the socials and at restaurants where we had dinner. Mariachi is a trademark and we were indulged the whole way with the traditional music.

Photo: Wo.
I discovered that there are two forms. One is the first we encountered. Any instrument could be added to the line up that could easily run up to 15 members or more. The main ingredient that set this Mariachi form aside were three trumpets that make a lot of noise compared to the different string instrument. The second distinction is that most bandmembers sing together before the copper is let lose again.

The other form is more traditional, at least that is my guess. A smaller band, no copper, just strings and one leadsinger, joined in the harmonies by the others. This is much more heartfelt music. It goes straight to the marrow. (The copper fuelled mariachi is melancholic by nature as well, but in a very different, exuberant way.) This was the mariachi played over the lunches. The longer the conference lasted, the more time there was to enjoy the music as well.

Photo: Wo.
Last year in Brazil, the music was everywhere on the beaches, but nowhere else. Here it was everywhere. Just like Tequila, that, I'm sorry to say, horrid distilled drink that comes from a town just a 45 minutes ride from Guadalajara, called, well you've guessed that I hope.

And thus the 11th IGF became a musical show of major proportions next to a serious conference. The people of Guadalajara are proud of their Mariachi and shared their musical world with us. So a big thank you is in place. No, I will not play this music at home, but enjoyed it thoroughly while there. Feeling it, being touched by it. And I totally know where TMGS gets its horns from on that great album 'Rivers and Coastlines: The Ride'.

Now how can Geneva, where the IGF will be next year, top this? Impossible, I'm afraid. Not for all the cheese fondues in the world.


maandag 19 december 2016

Kairos, October 2016 by .No on Concertzender

We notice that Wo,'s really trying to catch up here. The third Kairos in about a month. What will he encounter this time? Horror at .No's choices or will he be expanding his musical experiences in a more gentler way? There's no telling but to follow him. The proof is in the October 2016 Kairos.

Ha, the first song I'm familiar with. Better, I reviewed 'Skeleton Tree', Nick Cave and his Bad Seeds' album after the summer in a very favourable way. Cave has strayed far from his starting point in music. Not that I could listen to him at the time. And nor would you, as The Birthday Party certainly does not fit this musical meditation. 'Magneto' does, all mood, all atmosphere with Cave's deep voice prominently up front in the mix. A song to carry me away. So impressive.

The strings of The Bad Seeds slowly morph and then disappear behind the more prominent strings of Lárus Sigurdsson. Hís 'We Are Not Swans' from the album 'We Are Told When To Shine' is a moody piece. Yet totally fitting 'Magneto'. The two songs augment each other totally. In a somewhat warped way they could easily be placed on the same album. Two minutes, less and its all over. Yes, something shone alright, but not the swans, perhaps us, but not as swans. Perhaps the whole album gives away as what we did shine? Or when as what? I can't tell here. It also puzzles me how much music comes from Iceland. I get the impression the whole population plays music (and is a football fan). There's nothing new or unique here, but such a cool beauty. Like I imagine the island itself to be.

Again a change, to piano, notes played far and wide apart in an extremely slow fashion. Woodkid is a new name to me. Together with Nils Frahm he composed a filmscore on a movie about Ellis Island, with Robert de Niro as narrator. Not here though. This is instrumental, typical Frahm playing, my Kairos experience tells me. My patience, I see, will be tested for nearly 10 minutes. So I'm closing my eyes here and see what happens. ...... I see ships sailing on the see, carrying loads of imigrants from Italy, Eastern Europe. Soundless, in black and white on calm sea. All the storms have been left behind. The drama rises as some are not allowed to enter the U.S. for unknown reasons, while others feel the excitement of being let in, to the land of their dreams. The music befits a filmscore but is easily listenable stand alone. It's like Steve Marriott sings: "Close your eyes and drift away".

Time for something darker, a Nocturne, if that has to do with the night that is. Ben Lukas Boysen's 'Selene' is another piano based composition. .No really is into piano's recently, isn't he? The dark-toned notes prevail with a hint at something else going on in the background, that I can't really hear (anymore? or is the simply nothing there?).

Morten Lauridsen's 'Sa Nuit d'Éte is a totally different matter, a choir composition, but again something dark. The bass segment of the human voice is explored, making it a slow composition. Singing low excludes high speeds. It has to resonate and that it does in 'Sa Nuit d'Éte'. I'm in the mood for this, so good.

An organ takes over. Jo Louppen is back in action. A recent discovery of .No, I reckon. Or is it one of his uncles or nephews again from the deep south that are newly released in a series of Limburg composers? All kidding aside. Louppen plays a composition by Margriet Ehlen, 'Paulo minus ab Angelis' on a church organ. Whether this ever made it to church at mass I'm not certain. It's so dark it could be the devil's work if it did not sound somewhat sacred also. Looking at it that way, it could be on the score of 'De Harpij', should anyone ever film the brilliant book by A.N. Ryst. Again things go a little wild, a modest emulation of 'Toccata En Fuga', a signature of Louppen's playing it seems. In this version it's like someone is testing what all the little plugf around the organ do. Well we know now. Thank you, Mr. Louppen. Weird.

Larus Sigurdsson returns with a composition called 'Fina Mündsuchtig'. (No, definitely no shining here.) With him violins return. Also played on the deep strings, with moodiness behind it. Again I'm captured by the mystery Sigurdsson plays out in a slow, but lavish way.

O.k., brace yourself folks, we are in for a second part of Ellis. I've put the music on hold to get myself some tea as it's a full 15 minutes and I want to listen to it without typing. If I sit through it that is. No 'Ships' please, .No. First, I'd like to tell you that Woodkid is a French singer, composer, filmer of videoclips and graphic designer called Yoanne Lemoine. A latter day humo universalis? He has the biggest names in modern music to his name, Del Ray, Williams, Perry, but comes up with music like this. There's money and there's art for monsieur Lemoine? Let me get my tea and then let's get to it.

A minimal sort of music enfolds, an organ rising and falling over a continued drone alternated with the voice of Robert de Niro who recites memories of immigrants or made up memoires. Believe it or not what I imagined over the instrumental that was before comes out here. Someone is sent back. After which a story enfolds. There is a bell. The Pärt bell as I call it. De Niro returns. I'm afraid, this is just what I do not like on albums: spoken word. For that I go the the movies, watch television or a documentary, but not as part of music. While listening to music there's just no place for spoken word in my universe. In that sense Eno's ship is not so far away. Here comparisons stop. This doesn't erk me. The music itself is simply too elementary to impress, so I could not have enjoyed this for 25 minutes without De Niro either. There's just too little happening in 'Winter Morning II'. I'm sure the story as a whole impresses though. Ellis Island was so important to many people. Very probably De Niro's own ancestors passed through there. The medium is just wrong for me.

A piano moves in on a slightly lighter note this time around. 'The Pool Of Memories' enfolds in my ears. Lubomir Melnyk's piano takes me through space and time and in a way complements the stories just told. You could have fooled me if you told me this was a part of 'Winter Morning II'. I am in a sentimental mood as this music really moves me. Everything seems to be at its right place in this song. Busy as it is, notes fly in from all sides. How many hands does this guy have? More than one person has if I listen correctly; and there's one duff note. Funny that it sticks out although it's almost hidden in there.

Ten minutes fly by. I have to pay attention as the next fragment is something like 30 seconds. A fragment of Emmanuelle Errante's 'Later Earlier' comes by, but what can she expect with such a title? Too confusing to be allowed more that 40 seconds?

The final contribution is by Martin Stephenson, 'Rain'. This guitar based composition, the first on this Kairos, is melancholy, but so much lighter than most of what came by before. This changes again when Stephenson starts singing. He sounds like Lee Hazelwood's younger brother. That is not to say that this is not beautiful. The guitar playing is Leonard Cohen's style, like the song is alike 'Bird On A Wire' or 'The Partisan'. (I expect a Cohen tribute soon .No.) I had never heard of Stephenson, but I certainly appreciate the acquaintance.


You can listen to this Kairos here:

Playlist Kairos 6 October 11 PM / 23.00 CET.
00:07 Nick Cave. Magneto. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. Album: Skeleton Tree. Bad Seed Ltd. BS009CD.
05:12 Lârus Sigurdsson. We are not swans. Album: We are told that we shine. Volkoren 65.
07:03 Woodkid. Winter Morning I. Nils Frahm. Album: Ellis. Erased Tapes Records ERATP086CD.
16:05 Ben Lukas Boysen. Selene. Album: Spells. Erased Tapes Records ERATP085CD.
18:44 Morten Lauridsen. Sa nuit d'été, uit Nocturnes. Tekst: Rainer Maria Rilke. Polyphony o.l.v. Jaqueline Shave ; Morten Lauridsen, piano. Album: Nocturnes. Hypérion CDA67580.
21:58 Margriet Ehlen. Paulo minus ab Angelis. Jo Louppen, orgel. Album Positief. Stichting Limburgse Componisten.
28:47 Larus Sigurdsson. Fina Mondsûchtig. Album: We are told that we shine. Volkoren 65.
30:40 Woodkid. Winter Morning II. Nils Frahm keyboards; Robert de Niro, voice. Album: Ellis. Erased Tapes Records ERATP086CD.
45:00 Lubomyr melnyk. The pool of memories. Album: Rivers and Streams. Erased Tapes Records ERATP077CD.
55:18 Emanuelle Errante. Later earlier (fragment). Album: Time Elapsing Handheld. Karaoke Kalk CD 75.
55:53 Martin Stephenson. Rain. Album: ‘Boat to Bolivia. Kitchenware Records 828 012-1
59:21 Emanuelle Errante. Later earlier (fragment). Album: Time Elapsing Handheld. Karaoke Kalk CD 75.