donderdag 30 juni 2016

Scotty Moore (1931 - 2016) IM

Yes, there are heroes that are from before my time who die. Scotty Moore is one of them. Scotty Moore was Elvis' lead guitarist and Elvis was from before my time. The man who shook his hips on national television, causing wetted panties all over the place and shocked parents and perhaps even brothers as well. Behind that man, dead for nearly 40 years, was a team that made up the sound. Scotty Moore was the guitarist who played all those famous, short, fiery solo's.

Born Winfield Scott Moore III in December 1931 in Tennessee, he joined Elvis at the instigation of Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records. With bass player Bill Black and later drummer DJ Fontana they formed the team that assisted musically in making Elvis famous, more or less until Elvis joined the army, although they worked together sporadically until 1968.

1931. The man was born before my dad was. That is such an un-rock and roll thought. Next to that, I did not have a clue who Scotty Moore was. When did I find out the name of Elvis' guitar player? Or Ricky Nelson's?, etc.? Perhaps in the 80s but more likely in the 90s after I started playing guitar myself and started teaching myself in a more serious way as I wanted to play in a band. That is when I started reading a magazine like 'Total Guitar' and 'Guitar World' for a while. They had these transcribed songs to learn from. Pre-Internet days, without online tutorials and such. They also wrote about guitarists from an era that was before my consciousness, so I learned who played on which famous rock and roll song.

I also did not care a lot as well for years on end. Elvis was so out, so uncool after The Beatles and The Stones had became big and that more or less remained that way for years on end. His death in 1977 changed that a little, but then my then 13 year old and totally into 'Grease' sister came home with 'Forever'.

No it wasn't until I started to play in a rock (and roll) cover band in the late 90s that I really started listening to Elvis Presley and his guitarist and found out how cool some of the early recordings were.

Another band, nearly twenty years on and now as lead guitarist, but nowadays I am honoured to play Scotty Moore's solo's from 'Blue Suede Shoes' or 'Heartbreak Hotel'. Those staple Elvis hits that are still so much fun to play in 2016 and appreciated by audiences. Those slides, bends and clear notes played in the solos that was the beginning for all those guitarist that would follow in the 60s and 70s and beyond. A lot of them probably started with listening to old Elvis 45s or 78s and to learn to play those fiery solo's note-by-note. The guitarist was Scotty Moore. Rock and roll hall of fame inductee and quite rightly so.


You can listen to 'Hound Dog' here:

or buy Elvis 1954-1956 here on Bol.Com:

woensdag 29 juni 2016

The Hope Six Demolition Project. P.J. Harvey

It is about five years ago that I wrote my first review of a P.J. Harvey album, in the days before the blog and of the magazine. All I ever read about Ms. Harvey before 'Let England Shake' never invited me to listen to her records. No matter how impressed I was with said album, I still never reached beyond. Now that The Hope Six Demolition Project grabbed me also, it is perhaps time to do some musical archaeological research into the 90s and 00s output of Ms. Harvey.

The story behind the record may be familiar to you, but that does not make it less interesting. P.J. Harvey travelled to Bosnia, Afghanistan and Washington D.C. to make herself familiar with the effects of war on a country and its population. This in itself is adventurous, though not unique for lets say a journalist. For a musician wanting to make a new album, it's less usual. Add to that the English countryside where Ms. Harvey likes to frequent most and the trip to war-ravaged countries (and the not tourist side of Washington D.C.) becomes even more special.

The trips and the introspection on the trips led to a serious album. An album that is full of, mostly, these easy flowing, slightly alternative songs that caress the ear in a pleasant way. Almost the opposite to the locations she visited. The explanation may be in the opening song. 'The Community Of Hope'. As long as there is hope there is life? Something like that?

Delving deeper into The Hope Six Demolition Project I find it hard to find my angle into the record. The same I had with 'Let England Shake' in 2011. What is it that makes me like the music, enjoy her voice, singing and the melodies? For some reason the answer does not present itself. Not at the 5th nor at the 10th listening session. I just do. Let that be sufficient for now and write:

I truly like The Hope Six Demolition Project.


You can listen to 'The Community Of Hope' here:

or buy the album here on Bol.Com:

dinsdag 28 juni 2016

By Default. Band of Skulls

It is drummer Matt Hayward who starts Band of Skulls' fourth album, By Default. With a loud pounding on his snare he plays a long pick up before the band chimes in. The sound is loud, dry, driving and urgent. Hayward sets a standard with his kickstarting By Default, a standard that the band needs to keep up is to convince with this album.

With 'Baby Darling Doll Face Honey' Band of Skulls catapulted into my life in 2010, making it all the way to my album of that year. The first eight songs on that album are just so good. Although 'Sweet Sour' and 'Himalayan' had its moment the albums were not as good as that first, stellar debut. (Both latter albums were reviewed on this blog.) The interaction between Russell Marsden and Emma Richardson's singing and the driving riffs of Marsden's guitar over the bass and drums give Band of Skulls not so much a unique but certainly its own voice. The stops and starts in the music gave the songs a kind of tension that was almost tangible.

These strong points are all played out to the max on By Default. At the first listen session all my Band of Skulls strings were touched immediately. Yes, this is what I want to hear, my brain was telling me. Did that feeling last?

Well, I have temper the joy somewhat. For a very simple reason. Band of Skulls will never have that impact on me again that they reached with 'Baby Darling Doll Face Honey'. Not unless it reinvents itself totally and convinces in the same, impressive way. I rule out that possibility. That is a once in a lifetime feat. There will never be another 'Death By Diamonds And Pearls'.

By Default does well when I rule out that possibility. As I said strings were touched and that is where things start. 'Black Magic' is an extremely good song from the moment the whole band takes over the drum entry. Singing like Weezer and riffing like Band of Skulls, before the whole moves into a fantastic chorus. The stop start verse is one of the strong points of this band. A dreamlike beginning of By Default.

The band follows this with a show of all the things it has become so good at over the past six years. T.Rex like rhythms, funky guitars, free flowing pop-rock songs, perfect choruses. It all comes by without a single song that takes the album down. The band has become better in arranging harmonies and in that way has become much more confident. All without losing that core roughness that makes it stand out. What By Default shows is a band that is determined to make it and works hard at improving itself. I could mention something positive about all the songs. I'll refrain from that. My message is clear.

It is the final song, 'Something' that surprised me. What? Prince? At best I still have to get used to it, but I doubt it. Ten good to great songs, one bummer. What does that say about an album? A lot. If you like indie rock with some great singing? Here's your album for 2016.


You can listen to 'Killer' here:

of by By Default at Bol.Com

maandag 27 juni 2016

Symphony For Auto Horns. Captain Cheese-Beard

What a pleasant surprise! It's almost 23 years ago that Frank Zappa died. Although the family unleashed dozens of albums from the vaults of the Zappa mansion since, there has been no new Zappa music. Also I have often wondered whether the man really influenced anyone at all or just was this lone star in a far off galaxy of his own. Untouchable, unreachable, on his own, forever.

In comes Captain Cheese-Beard. A band from Belgium with an extremely competent set of musicians and singer who can emulate the voice from long ago and play the music Zappa and (the last incarnation of) The Mothers of Invention. Think 'One Size Fits All' and you're close to what is coming your way. Think 'More Trouble Everyday' in the live version on 'Roxy & Everywhere'.

The name, when I ran into it earlier this week, should have rung a bell. Captain Cheese-Beard? Suzy Creamcheese? No, it didn't. Only after I heard the music. The beginning of Symphony For Auto Horns did not prepare me for what would happen. Spoken words on intergalactic travelling and the exit gate for the shuttle to planet Earth. Right after that introduction, which pretty much turned me off, music bounces up and down in Zappaesk jazz rock and roll, with this unfathomable and unreproducible intermezzos. Horns are all over the place, like the percussion, as are vocal jokes. There is one major difference. This band has a female co-singer, Vanessa Spay. This changes things tremendously.

Captain Cheese-Beard play my kind of Zappa. The Zappa full of irony, where his music serves the song with a strong melody. The solos are there not to freak out but to bolster a song. In short the improvisation is the means to an end. With that Captain Cheese-Beard offers a sense of true humour, a pinch of soul (Spay) and a warmth, that I'd almost call compassionate, something that is usually missing with the sardonic side of Frank Zappa. Hidden in it all is the blues, which is also played without irony, with genuine feeling. This way the music in a way becomes better than the original.

Symphony For Auto Horns is the trip of Johan De Coninck. He wrote the songs, co-arranged, plays the lead guitar and modelled his voice towards the real thing: Zappa and Ike Willis in one. With him is a full band of nine people creating all else that is going on. And that else is interludes based on 70s progressive rock like I heard on e.g. U.K. albums of the time. Like what is happening in the title song. The super jazzy George Duke Zappa sound, the Ruth Underwood marimbas are mixed with pieces of extremely smooth U.K. jazz rock. I never was a real fan of U.K., but what happens here simply baffles me. Who are these people? To play so well, to write so well and I haven't a clue who they are?

There's only one downside. De Coninck was not able to lay that mysterious depth down that Zappa had in some of his recordings. I remember lying in bed late at night with 'Sheik Yerbouti' on my a headset. I bent over laughing hearing 'I've Been In You' this way for the first time. 100 Hundred Zappa's in my ear singing "na na na na na". That is all that I can find at fault with Symphony For Auto Horns, folks.

And it just goes on and on. The sound of Zappa's guitar mixed with a great Hammond organ and weird lyrics about Gargamel, George Harrison and Lemmy all in one chorus. By the time 'Tash And A Guitar' is played out I'm on my back and have surrendered fully to Symphony For Auto Horns. 'Coma Aroma' is the latter Zappa. With a light reggae beat and floating sounds, the horns all over the place.

Symphony For Auto Horns. I did not have a clue what to think when I received the album (and band) with such a strange name, just a few days ago. Already I'm ready to proffer that this album is the biggest surprise of 2016 to date. It's tons of fun, it's soooooo good and extremely well played. No doubt a stark contender for the top spot of 2016 albums. It may be a pastiche but truly as good as the real thing, with a lot of feeling mixed in.


You can listen to the whole album here:

or buy the album on Bol.Com:

zondag 26 juni 2016

The Narrows. Grant Lee Phillips

Grant-Lee Phillips voerde halverwege de jaren 90 de band Grant Lee Buffalo aan. De band uit Los Angeles maakte tijdens haar bestaan vier geweldige platen, waarvan met name Mighty Joe Moon uit 1994 is uitgegroeid tot een vergeten klassieker.

Ondanks de hoge kwaliteit van haar platen kreeg Grant Lee Buffalo helaas nooit de aandacht van het grote publiek, waardoor het doek voor de band al na vier platen viel.

Sindsdien maakt Grant-Lee Phillips soloplaten en het is inmiddels een aardig stapeltje.

Het zijn platen die, net als de platen van zijn band, veel te weinig aandacht krijgen. Dat is doodzonde, want Grant-Lee Phillips heeft nog nooit een slechte plaat gemaakt. De meeste van zijn platen zijn zelfs uitzonderlijk goed en dat geldt ook weer voor het onlangs verschenen The Narrows.

Grant-Lee Phillips heeft California een paar jaar geleden verruild voor Tennessee en dat heeft hem goed gedaan. The Narrows is een plaat vol intieme en zeer geïnspireerd klinkende singer-songwriter muziek die de sfeer van het Zuiden van de Verenigde Staten ademt.

Grant-Lee Phillips heeft de instrumentatie dit keer betrekkelijk sober gehouden, waardoor de vocalen centraal staan. Dat is een wijs besluit, want de Amerikaan is nog altijd een uitzonderlijk zanger met een geheel eigen geluid vol emotie.

In de sobere en vooral roots georiënteerde songs kan The Narrows zich dankzij de gloedvolle en opvallend trefzekere instrumentatie en de prachtige vocalen meten met het beste in het genre, maar Grant-Lee Phillips beschikt op zijn nieuwe plaat over meerdere geluiden.

In de net wat steviger aangezette songs schuift de Amerikaan op richting Springsteen, terwijl de net wat broeierigere tracks doen denken aan het solowerk van Robbie Robertson. Tenslotte duiken ook nog wat flarden Grant Lee Buffalo op.

The Narrows is een plaat die direct diepe indruk maakt, maar het is ook een plaat die zich steeds meer opdringt. Zelf koester ik The Narrows inmiddels als één van de betere platen van 2016, dat misschien nog niet zo heel oud is, maar zo langzamerhand al een flinke stapel prachtplaten heeft opgeleverd. Laat hem niet liggen, want je mist echt wat.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt hier luisteren naar 'Smoke And Sparks':

of The Narrows kopen op Bol. Com:

zaterdag 25 juni 2016

March 2016 Kairos by .No on Concertzender

Artwork by Astrid van der Meijs
Once a month Wo. sets his guitar toting heroes aside and tunes into Concertzender for the show .No hosts, called Kairos, a meditation on music. Wo. lets himself be baffled by all the things also called music that .No plays and mixes in his sometimes astonishing ways. Is this a new song?, he sometimes asks himself in wonder. Is this, music?, is a question of another magnitude. But quite often Wo. finds himself listening to a piece of music that is truly moving and enhances his experience. Although still running a couple of months behind, it is time one again for Kairos.

As you'll have noticed Snowstar Records is a friend of Kairos and WoNoBloG. Ian Fisher's latest record was released on the label. He came by in a review, was interviewed and covered live, playing at Snowstar's 12,5 years' birthday party. All in this year. And now Ian Fisher is in Kairos as well. 'Just Like A Stranger' is one of the singer-songwriter ballads on 'Nero', about going back to his hometome of St. Genevieve. Luckily for us listeners Fisher was "sidetracked". 'Just Like A Stranger' is a beautiful song. So basic, but every note rings true for someone "who is a stranger everywhere". Ian Fisher is "at home and out of place" everywhere. We profit with a song like this, that runs so deep.

And here we go. In come a bass gamba. You could have fooled me, that I was listening to a new version of the song. 'Improvisatie met bas gamba' could have been the solo interlude to 'Just Like A stranger', only the very odd note does not fit in. Perhaps Bram Peters should be introduced to Ian Fisher and play on his next record. I see/hear the benefit instantly. This is one of the reasons I have come to like listening to Kairos, surprises like this. There's no way I can say that I don't like this improvisation and there's no need.

Next up is someone who's been making records since the mid 80s. First with 10.000 Maniacs and from the mid 90s as a solo artist, Natalie Merchant. Again a singer-songwriter with a country influence. So at heart we hear an acoustic guitar over which "western" instruments blend. An accordion, a banjo and on top of it all, the slightly frayed voice of Ms. Merchant. Another song which at heart is simple, a few chords and the truth as Bono would call it. For me with songs like this it is all about the effect that singer and band achieve or fail to do. With 'Motherland' the effect is reached, easily. .No, when is Karen Jonas up? She's even better, believe me.

The final chord of 'Motherland' is played in unison with the first of 'Sol Sketch 6' by Rutger Zuydervelt. In this rather dark piano composition Zuydervelt leads us through sketchily played chords and notes, with he dares to give space and time. There's no rush here, just contemplation. Fitting for the moment I'm writing, winding down from the week.

Kim Janssen takes over from Zuydervelt. Also a piano, played just as easy, and his voice, slightly on the rough side. When the band comes in, it is in a late night, jazzy way that gives 'Drift' a 'Nighthawks at the diner' kind of quality. The band on stage playing a final song before we all have to go home. Holding the one you love close, just before the night is over. Moving ever so slowly, feeling each other breath. So intimate. That is what 'Drift' is.

From sparse notes to a truckload of them. Rolling cascades of notes descend on me. Nils Frahm's composition is called 'Four Hands' so that allows for double the notes should he wish. The music is like water coming down a mountain. Trickling over the bed of rocks and stones, falling more sharply at some point, then to stream down fast once more towards the lake below. Without ever stopping the water goes down until there's no way left to descend.

Broeder Dieleman takes over from Frahm with another excerpt from his 'Uut De Bron' album. 'Nehallennia' is carried by a banjo and violin or bowed guitar. A female voice crosses straight through the melody. Despite the fact that both instruments with the best will in the world can not be called pretty in sound, Dieleman captures the eternity he sings about in his music somehow. There is a solemnity in this song that is churchlike. Disturbed by the playing and at the same time it is not. That is what makes 'Nehallennia' so intriguing.

The one woman voice loop is replaced by the full choir of Gabrieli Consort. The sort of song that is sung in a church, preferably a cathedral of Medieval proportions, where every nook and cranny reverberates with music for the Lord. Being there at the right time can be magic and I'm sure this choir can reach that effect.

The mood is continued with Silmus' 'Remembrance'. Over the music the poem of the month by Thijs Rosenboom is read. With each Kairos that contains Silmus I like the band better. I still have to find out what happens when I listen to the whole album all in once. 'Remembrance' is another invite to do so.

No. it isn't Hans Kockelmans to my surprise who plays next. It is Cees Sax. It is an own recording, so odds are that this is another of .No's cousins from Limburg. I can't tell. What I can hear that there is a very proficient player going about his way on 'Valsa sem nome'.

Under the guitar an orchestra is slowly coming forward. It is the Camerata Orchestra playing and the Hellinic Radio/Television Choir singing 'Prayer' by Eleni Karaindrou. Somehow it is my opinion that the two do not belong together. The accordion is definitely doing something different from the choir's melody. The violin then again is very Greek. With these eastern melodies that have found their way into Greek music. A strange mix this composition is. Church and world meet in one.

The switch to Broeder Dieleman is huge and yet a 100% match. 'I have never seen the light' sings Tonnie Dieleman in 'Adriana'. from his previous album, 'Gloria'. It's not the first time that this song features in Kairos, but that does not make it less beautiful. Noise is not necessary to make an impact as Broeder Dieleman has proven several times. The eruption in 'Adriana' is impressive though. This is a unique artist at work. A lot more people should be hearing this music.

Eleni Karaindrou returns, but now as a solo artist playing her composition 'Refugee's Theme' from her album 'Elegy Of An Uprooting'. The tranquil playing does not really reflect what is going in Greece for about a year. I can't imagine all the refugees stuck there now or those in transit last year being this peaceful of mind. More in general, it seems like we have a bit of a solo piano theme woven into this Kairos. Not being a true fan of solo piano, I have to admit that this song is so tranquil. Perfect meditation music.

And here we go! I hear strange percussive instruments, whatever the name in English is. A singing bowl? All of ten minutes I have to undergo this. It's too long as I am getting hungry, I notice. Wrong moment to try and force the world out by closing my eyes, to see what happens. The stomach is complaining too loudly. Sorry, Hanguman, but I'm really hanging in there, losing my grip and decided to fast forward.

March's Kairos ends with the German alternative alternatives Einstürzende Neubauten. Last time .No had them on I promised myself to listen to the album and forgot. N.U. Unruh? Blixa Bargeld? Great names. I thought that thirty years ago also, but couldn't listen for more than two seconds to what this band was doing. 'Wüste' is an experiment in music. With strange sounds, vocals and an imagery like seagulls flying over the local dump. Screeching while beseeching all waste on offer.


You can listen to this Kairos here.

This is March's setlist:

00:09       Ian Fisher. Just like a stranger.
Van album Nero. Snowstar Records.
04:45       Bram Peters. Improvisatie met basgamba.
Bram Peters, basgamba.
Opname in eigen beheer.
08:18       Natalie Merchant. Motherland.
Natalie Merchant, zang; Mike Elizondo, bas; Erik Della Penna, gitaar, banjo; Guy Klucevsek, accordeon; David Krakauer, klarinet e.v.a.
Van album ‘Motherland’. Elektra 7559-62721-2.
12:53       Rutger Zuydervelt. Sol sketch 6.
Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek): piano, elektronica.
Van album ‘Sol Sketches’. Uitgave in eigen beheer.
14:32         Kim Janssen. Drift.
Van album ‘The lonely mountains’. Snowstar Records.
17 :41       Nils Frahm. Four Hands.
Van album ‘Solo’. Erased Tapes Records ERATP065CD
21 :52       Broeder Dieleman Nehallennia.
Van album ‘Uut de Bron’. Snowstar Records.
28 :10       Orlando Gibbons (arr. Percy Dearmer). Drop, drop, slow tears. Gabrieli Consort olv. Paul McCreesh.
Van album ‘A Song of Farewell’. Signum Records SIGCD 281.
29:58       Gert Boersma. Remembrance.
Van album ‘Shelter’ van Silmus (Gert Boersma, Minco Eggersman, Jan Borgers, Mirjam Feenstra).
Volkoren 58.
32:32       Baden Powell de Aquino. Valsa sem nome.
Cees Sax, gitaar.
Opname in eigen beheer.
35:19       Eleni Karaindrou. Prayer.
Camerata Ochestra dir. Alexandros Myrat; Hellinic Radio/Television Choir dir. Antonis Kontogeorgiou; Maria Bildea, Harp; Socratis Sinopoulos, lyra; Vangelis Skouras, hoorn; Konstantinos Raptis, accordeon.
Van album ‘Elegy of an uprooting’. ECM New Series 1952/53.
39:01       Broeder Dieleman. Adriana.
Broeder Dieleman (Pim van de Werken, Adam Casey, Ersha Sollgar, Janine van Osta, Tonnie Dieleman).
Album: Gloria. Snowstar Records 14-056.
43:55       Eleni Karaindrou Refugee’s Theme.
Eleni Karaindrou, piano.
Van album ‘Elegy of an uprooting’. ECM New Series 1952/53.
45:29       Hanguman. In Circles.
Van album 'Hang n there’.
Uitgegeven in eigen beheer.
55:50       N.U. Unruh, Mark Chung, Alexander Hacke, Blixa Bargeld, F.M. Einheit. Wüste. Einstürzende Neubauten (zang: Anita Lane, muziek: N.U. Unruh, Mark Chung, Alexander Hacke, Blixa Bargeld, F.M. Einheit).
Van album ‘Tabula Rasa’. BETON 106 CD.

vrijdag 24 juni 2016

Fort Da live. The Jammer Festival, Sunday 4 June 2016

Photo: Wo.
Is it possible to write about a band on the basis of one gig, the very first one at that, whether a band has potential or not? I honestly don't know as I've never been present at the first gig of any band. Still, there were more people present that were impressed with Fort Da, the band that played its first gig at The Jammer festival in Zoeterwoude. The Jammer is a practice location for bands. The festival the yearly chance for band practicing at The Jammer to play live on site.

My own band, Sweetwood, practices at The Jammer since late last year and also played its first gig at the same festival. There's one major difference. We are middle aged, play solely for fun and only covers. For that reason it was not difficult to get a response from the audience. The people of Sweetwood had fun and entertained.

At our last Tuesday practice before the festival we met the band in the other room outside during the short break. Late teens or early 20 at most and very enthusiastic about the music they played and excited to play their first gig. But what to expect?

I was totally surprised by the mix of The Beatles and Billy Joel that was played. Very melodic songs, played extremely well, with a good singer with the right sort of disposition to lead a band. A fantastic, supple drummer. "Let's warn Giel", my girlfriend said. "We have found the new 3FM Serious talent". No, not yet is my opinion. For that Fort Da needs to get some mileage, but yes, the potential is there, including the talent to write interesting songs at first listen.

During the show there was a surprise. The band switched instruments and the bass player, produced a saxophone. We went straight into ska music. If I'm honest, this is fun, but also the least interesting part of the show. Fort Da is so much better. For now the band showed its passion for ska/Two Tone music and has fun playing it. After the two song interlude the band went back to what it is better at. Playing melodic songs based on piano and embellished by the other instruments. It is no use being jealous, but wished I could have played this good at that age. Fact is I didn't play anything at the time, but do now and happy with it.

Photo: Wo.
To sum up, yes, I saw real talent. Whether it is going anywhere? Time may tell.

And The Jammer festival? The weather was almost too good, after the hard rain of the days before. There was a good crowd and many friends and family of Sweetwood came out to watch us play. The organisation around it all was great and beer was flowing. Compliments to all in the organisation are well deserved!!!

Next year it's the first Sunday of June. So be on the look out for Sweetwood there and then and if you're lucky you may see a really good Fort Da.


donderdag 23 juni 2016

Anian. 9Bach

Tincian van band 9Bach vond ik bijna twee jaar geleden een enorme en bijzonder aangename verrassing. (Lees hier desgewenst verder:
De band uit Wales maakte op haar tweede plaat indruk met een geheel eigen geluid, dat op fraaie wijze nogal uiteenlopende invloeden aan elkaar smeedde.
Aan de hand van de geweldige zangeres Lisa Jên betoverde 9Bach met geheimzinnige teksten in het Welsh (Cymraeg) en muzikale invloeden die varieerden van invloeden uit de folk, Keltische muziek, New Age en triphop.
Tincian klonk als een bijzondere cocktail met gelijke delen Clannad en Portishead en het was een cocktail die vooral naar veel meer smaakte.
Dat meer is nu beschikbaar en smaakt misschien nog wel beter dan twee jaar geleden. Anian trekt de lijn van zijn voorganger door, maar legt ook nieuwe accenten waardoor de band groei laat horen.
Gebleven zijn de wonderschone vocalen van Lisa Jên, de stemmige en bijzondere instrumentatie en de bijzondere, aan triphop herinnerende, ritmes, maar de uitvoering is nog net wat mooier en doeltreffender dan op de vorige plaat.
Ook op Anian voorziet 9Bach traditioneel aandoende volksmuziek van moderne accenten en creëert het door de teksten in een voor mij totaal onbegrijpelijke taal een hele bijzondere sfeer.
Veel songs op Anian hebben een bijna bezwerende uitwerking door de repeterende elementen in de muziek van de band uit Wales. Deze komen soms van repeterende vocalen, maar meestal zijn de moderne ritmes op de plaat verantwoordelijk voor het bezwerende effect van Anian.
Het contrasteert prachtig met de traditionele invloeden uit de Keltische volksmuziek, accenten van instrumenten als de harp en het vleugje New Age dat de plaat heeft meegekregen.
Anian is een behoorlijk ingetogen plaat, maar het is ook een plaat vol onderhuidse spanning. Die komt maar heel af en toe aan de oppervlakte, maar het geeft de muziek van 9Bach continu een bijzondere sfeer, die zijn uitwerking zeker niet mist.
De sensatie van Tincian ontbreekt op de nieuwe plaat natuurlijk, maar toch weet ook Anian me weer constant te verrassen en te verbazen. De schoonheid van en het avontuur op de plaat stuwen ook Anian weer met gemak boven de grauwe middelmaat uit en zorgen ervoor dat ook de nieuwe 9Bach weer een plaat is om te bewonderen en te koesteren. Indrukwekkend.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt hier luisteren naar 'Llyn Du':

of Anian kopen op Bol.Com:


woensdag 22 juni 2016

Nocturnal Koreans. Wire

Wire is a band with a reputation going back all the way to the (post-)punk era. What I can safely file in new wave as well. The kind of music I sort of abhorred at the time. It was only somewhere in the 00s that I picked up its first three albums on a cheap and sort of found my way into them, but still not the kind of album that I take out for a spin regularly.

Fast forward to 2016. Although I missed the band's latest album, with the more recent releases I enjoyed myself. Like I do with Nocturnal Koreans. There's no more danger in Wire's music nor anything radical. So where does that leave the band's fans of 1979? Do they get their way around a The Moody Blues like moody ballad that 'Forward Position' is? I can't imagine they would, except that just like the band they are four decades older as well. Things change, develop, mature. That is not always the case with musical taste, I've noticed. Some preferences are ingrained, unmoveable, unshakeable. So good luck with this album for those who fit the description.

Did Wire move my way? No, we've met somewhere in the middle.Wire started in 1976 in London in the year before punk really broke into mainstream conciousness. In 1977 it released 'Pink Flag', "perhaps the most original debut album to come out of the first wave of British punk" or so All Music wants us to believe. The first of 15 albums. There are two large hiatuses in the band's output of 8 and 12 years.In this decade the band is stepping up on production with four albums. In 2016 three of the original members are still in the band, Colin Newman, Robert Grey and Graham Lewis. Matthew Simms completes the band.

In a way Nocturnal Koreans is an album like Wire would have released in 1980. An eight song album which would have allowed the band to release an album a year, like was usual for most acts in the day. Only the biggest bands started to break that regularity at the time, to become the standard in later decades. Only a year after the release of 'Wire' there is a new album.

Nocturnal Koreans is a moody album, somewhat subdued. The opening is a nod to the past. The title song is up tempo, as such the fastest song on the album. There are elements of what New Order does in its most poppy songs and The Cure kind attacks on the guitar strings. Under all that there is a pleasant layer of synths, giving the song a pleasant feel. Colin Newman sings with the subdued voice so typical of the post punk era. Fun was not allowed. We were facing the end of the world, remember? 'Internal Exile' is a bit of a surprise if we look at things from that angle. The song has a bit of a smile around it. The horns (synths?) and the guitar have glimmers of irony in their sound. The fierce pounding on the snaredrum drives the song on, giving it pace. The lyrics have some nice catches in them making concentrated listening required. 'Internal Exile' is as close to a party song as Wire comes on Nocturnal Koreans.

This title is well chosen for this Wire album. It is an album for the night. The sound does not allow a lot of sunshine, nor moonlight for that matter. From the last remnants of a party or better a party faintly imagined, Nocturnal Koreans becomes a serious album with music for a bunch of people who do not want to go home just yet. People that do not need a lot of stimuli any longer. Just hanging on a couch, a last drink in a hand but with a mind seriously wondering whether it's smart to drink it all. The first glimmers of the new day enters the brain. That is the music Wire presents with a song like 'Forward Position'.

The story would have held up were it not that 'Numbered' heads back into party territory with 'Numbered' and 'Still', but there's always someone around who tries to reactivate the remnants of the party. The songs remain on the dark side though. 'Still' could even have been a song for Kaiser Chiefs. Just add a little bit more exuberance and "whoas" or to stick to the story, light. With the little do-do's Wire comes close to a commercial song. It's far too late to score a hit for the band, but this song somehow ought to deserve just that.

With 'Pilgrim Trade' the rhythm goes down again as does the mood. It never gets too dark. For that Colin Newman's voice is too light. There may not be a lot of emotion in his singing, there is no negativity as well. Newman is a neutral singer. The band holds neutral players. Yet is not hard to warm to this music.

It all ends with 'Fishes Bones'. A song that reminds me the most of where Wire comes from. The drums stay out of the song for quite a while. The talk-singing brings Iggy Pop and Lou Reed to mind. The music has some of the recalcitrance of the late 70s, without coming close to the energy of the day.

Summing up I think Wire has made a interesting and good album that intrigues me as well. For a band that I definitely did not like at all when it all started for it, that is quite a leap. It may have taken them 40 years to do so, as it did for me of course, that is a feat.


You can listen to 'Nocturnal Koreans' here:

or buy Nocturnal Koreans on Bol.Com

dinsdag 21 juni 2016

Hulp actie voor The Royal Engineers!!!!, (donderdag 23-06 in Ekko Utrecht)

Een paar weken terug stond er een ronkende recensie op dit blog over de eerste single van The Royal Engineers. De band heeft wegens een heel vervelende brand dringend hulp nodig. Lees hieronder verder over hoe jij kunt helpen, maar ga vooral ook luisteren. Dit is een van de leukste nieuwe bandjes van 2016.

Hier is het persbericht met de oproep:

21 juni 2016


De Utrechtse band The Royal Engineers heeft een zware klap gehad: een busbrand waarbij alle instrumenten binnen 60 seconden verloren zijn gegaan. Hier willen we niet te lang bij stilstaan, sterker nog; The Royal Engineers zelf willen vooruit, herstellen, optreden en weer muziek maken.

In samenwerking met de Utrechtse popzaal EKKO wordt op 23 juni een benefiet mini-festival georganiseerd met een geweldige line-up (DeWolff, The Cosmic Carnaval, Mooi Weer Op Straat en natuurlijk The Royal Engineers).

Op deze avond wordt de videoclip geschoten van de succesvolle single ‘Aeroplane’ die regelmatig op de radio te horen is. Bovendien wordt door middel van een crowd-fund actie geld ingezameld om The Royal Engineers weer on-the-road te krijgen.

"Het bedrag van €10.000,- is nodig om een tourbus, instrumenten en apparatuur aan te kunnen schaffen, zodat we verder kunnen met wat we het liefste doen, muziek maken en optreden", aldus frontman René Geelhoed. "Fans kunnen geld doneren, een uniek exemplaar van de EP bestellen, of samen met de band genieten van een lunch, borrel of bierproeverij."

Voor meer informatie over de crowd-fund actie:

"Feeste!" De Kift live. Houtfestival, zondag 19 juni 2016

"Als paarden sterven"
"De Kift in de buurt" heten de slimme e-mails die "het persbureau" van De Kift aan de leden van haar nieuwsbrief verstuurt. Zo kwam ik er achter dat er zoiets bestaat als het Houtfestival in Haarlem en bovenal dat De Kift er ging spelen. Zij zouden opnieuw een greep doen uit het 'Wee Mij' programma. Nu heb ik dat al eerder gezien, zie het verslag eind 2015 van het optreden in de Paradijskerk te Rotterdam op dit blog, maar dat is bij De Kift eigenlijk nooit een bezwaar. De Kift betekent feest, zoals ze zelf ook bezingen in wat wellicht hun hardste nummer is (en de makkelijkste meezinger!). Fanfarepunk tot op het gaatje.

De Kift is voor mij de meest unieke band van Nederland en zelfs van grote delen daar buiten. Omchrijf wat ze maken en ik zal direct doorlopen. Voordracht van gedichten op muziek? Fanfare? Rare en vooral ernstig gebutste instrumenten? Het klinkt allemaal te alternatief, te raar om goed te kunnen zijn. Maar inmiddels ben ik dit jaar 18 jaar fan en heb vrijwel alle concertreeksen sindsdien gezien. Van Nova Zembla tot een Russische opera en een Bidonville.

Alternatief is het juiste woord om het Houtfestival te omschrijven. Het contrast met Bevrijdingspop kan niet groter zijn. De enige overeenkomst is de locatie, maar dat is dan ook alles. (O.k. er wordt ook drank geschonken en er is eten en muziek.) Er zijn vooral heel andere mensen samen in een veel bescheidener aantal. Zelf zag ik alleen De Kift dus kan verder niet over het festival zelf oordelen.

"Droeve drummer Wim schildert"
Hoe groot de productie van De Kift is, is goed te zien aan het aantal instrumenten en mensen dat moet soundchecken. Hulde aan de geluidsman die dat allemaal heel goed in balans had vanaf het begin. Slechts hele kleine aanpassingen waren nodig.

De Kift zette in met het uitzonderlijk stemmige gedicht van Velimir Chlebnikov 'Als Paarden Sterven'. Drummer Wim van Weele, het meest bedroeft want, is werkloos in dit nummer en staat te schilderen achter zijn drumstel. Een gestorven paard. De sfeer is meteen gezet. Geweldig als een band meteen zo'n indruk weet te maken.

In tegenstelling tot het concert in Rotterdam stond de titelsong van het programma wel op de rol. Vrij in het begin al spetterde het koper in 'Wee Mij'. Even een persoonlijk verhaal bij 'Wee Mij'. Begin deze eeuw liep ik met vrouw en kind door Thessaloniki en we zagen bij een markt een oude vrouw met een zwaar spastische zoon in een versleten rolstoel staan. De vrouw hield een heel verhaal in, ik neem aan, het Grieks. Zodra zij haar mond hield, begon de zoon wild te spartelen in zijn stoel. Zodra hij ophield, begon de vrouw weer en zo verder. Zoon en ik stonden te wachten en hadden de tijd. Bij het doorlopen keken zoon en ik elkaar aan en begonnen samen 'Wee Mij' te zingen. Alsof het nummer voor dit moment geschreven was: zacht-wild-zacht-wild.

"De blikjes Hoofdkaas"
Tot zover deze herinnering. Eigenlijk ging het optreden van hoogtepunt naar hoogtepunt waar 'Orenmens' er opnieuw heel erg uitstak, maar het feestje dat 'Witte Haring' is, deed dat ook, de waanzin van 'Een Man', de kracht van 'Admiraal B.' en natuurlijk het laatste nummer voor de toegift, 'Hoofdkaas'. Ik had de blikjes al gezien, dus wist dat het waarschijnlijkst mooiste nummer van De Kift voorbij zou komen. Volgens mij komt alles waar De Kift voor staat het meest perfect in dit nummer samen. Voordracht, samenzang, weemoed, verlangen, verloren eenzaamheid, de kracht van de melodie en een mix van muzikale culturen. Een nummer dat mij raakt op het diepste niveau.

'Feeste, feeste, feeste!"
Het gerammel met het tuinhekgaasmateriaal gevuld met lege blikken in 'Hoofdkaas' had een groot effect op de staat van het drumstel. Voordat manager Marco Heijne zijn lange lijf achter het drumstel kon plaatsen voor de finale, moest er (bijna te) veel terug op zijn plaats komen. Naast de zooi van al die lege blikken om hem heen. De Kift was klaar voor de grote finale. Gewoon de knallende riff op de elektrische gitaar extra vaak spelen todat alles is herrezen.

"Feest! Feeste, feeste, feeste". Drummer Wim heeft drie Braziliaanse carnavalstrommels voor zijn buik en zingt als Monsieur Parnasse ons toe dat hij van ons allemaal houdt. En we geloven hem. Voor twijfel is hier geen ruimte. Dat alles over een oorverdovend lawaai heen, dat echter zo perfect is als afsluiter, dat iemand bijna vergeet hoe stil en ingetogen deze band muzikaal eveneens weet te overtuigen: "Als paarden sterven ...."

Met een uitstekend humeur gingen wij na afloop weer huiswaarts. De Kift. Wat een band!

(Alle foto's van) Wo.

maandag 20 juni 2016

Just another list: the 00s

The 00s is a decade that brought a bunch of excellent albums. That started right in the year 2000 when I watched the support act of Travis in, I think it was, de Melkweg in mid winter. In fact I saw only three or four songs if I remember correctly and that was enough. I went out and bought the album the next day right after work and what an album it was by Keith Caputo. 2000 also brought the first Coldplay album, although 16 years later that band and I are really over.

In 2004 came Franz Ferdinand and I did not expect to hear a better album this decade and then came Arctic Monkeys. In fact that band's second album was even better, much better. Two bands became absolute live favourites: Kaizers Orchestra and The Hackensaw Boys. Perhaps I should mention Dropkick Murphies as well, as they fell out of this top 30. In 2009, completely at the end of the decade another artist rose to an extremely high position: Tim Christensen. I had liked 'Honeyburst' but with 'Superiour' he reached for the sky and touched it. Easily. In the meantime my 90s Spanish hero Jarabe de Palo kept producing fine albums and gave some great shows in de Melkweg.

Finally there is De Kift. The band from de Zaanstreek. The band only gets better and better and live there isn't a better band in the low countries. The combination of music, poetry, visuals and brass band is unique in this world. I should also mention Krang, that only just fell out of this list. Unfortunately I watch Krang draw smaller audiences by the album and disappear.

Almost non of my 60 and 70s heroes produced anything worth really mentioning. Neil Young still has a prolific output, but nothing that really touched me deeply. Ray Davies came closest with 'Working Man's Cafe', which may have made a top 50 or 40, but not this list. The exception is found on the number 4 position, a remix of The Beatles songs called 'Love'. So nothing new, but still extremely good.

1. Arctic Monkeys - Favourite worst nightmare
2. Tim Christensen - Superiour
3. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
4. The Beatles - Love
5. Kaizers Orchestra – Maestro
6. Jarabe de Palo – Adelantando
7. Johan – Pergola
8. Tim Christensen – Honeyburst
9. Rammstein – Mutter
10. The White Stripes - Elephant
11. Vare demoner. Kaizers Orchestra
12. The Hackensaw Boys - Love what you do
13. System of a Down – Mesmerize
14. Kaiser Chiefs – Employment
15. Dogs Die in Hot Cars - Please describe yourself
16. Josh Rouse – Nashville
17. Keith Caputo - Died laughing
18. Green Day - American idiot
19. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever people say I Am I Am Not
20. The Strokes - Is this it?
21. De Kift – Koper
22. Jarabe de Palo - Vuelta y vuelta
23. The Plan - The Plan
24. Cracker - Songs from the land of milk and honey
25. De Kift - Hoofdkaas
26. The Hackensaw Boys - Keep it simple
27. The Decembrists. The hazards of love
28. Motorpsycho - Phenorothyme
29. Madrugada -The nightly disease
30. Coldplay - Parachutes

zondag 19 juni 2016

Here Be Monsters. Motorpsycho

Er zijn tijden geweest dat ik iedere release van de Noorse band Motorpsycho koesterde (in de jaren 90 was het zelfs een van mijn favoriete bands), maar de laatste jaren blijven de platen van de band wat langer liggen en dat bleek achteraf bezien niet altijd onterecht.

Ook het vorige maand verschenen Here Be Monsters heeft een tijdje op de stapel gelegen, maar dit blijkt weer zo’n Motorpsycho plaat die je na één keer horen niet meer wilt missen.

Het in een aan Bowie's Blackstar herinnerende hoes gestoken Here Be Monsters was oorspronkelijk een samenwerkingsproject met de toetsenist Ståle Storløkken, maar deze haakte uiteindelijk door een gebrek aan tijd af.

Of het met de oorsprong van het project te maken heeft weet ik niet, maar duidelijk is wel dat Here Be Monsters, zeker aan het begin van de plaat, wat minder stevig rockt dan veel andere platen van de Noren. 

Here Be Monsters opent met een piano riedel, maar pakt vervolgens direct uit met een meeslepende en bijna 10 minuten durende track. Het is een track met volop invloeden uit de psychedelica en de prog-rock, die vervolgens zijn overgoten met de melancholie die over je wordt uitgestort wanneer het in de winter een aantal maanden nauwelijks licht wordt. 

Het doet wel wat denken aan de muziek die Pink Floyd zo vaak heeft gemaakt, maar dan net wat donkerder en met meer ruimte voor experiment (mede hierdoor doet het ook wel wat aan Yes denken, maar dan zonder het muzikale spierballenwerk).

Na 10 minuten zweven op de mooie volle klanken van Lacuna/Sunrise is duidelijk dat Here Be Monsters een blijvertje is, maar Motorpsycho is dan natuurlijk nog lang niet klaar. Ook de tracks die volgen zijn langer dan gemiddeld en hebben invloeden uit de psychedelica en de prog-rock hoog in het vaandel staan. De ene track is wat steviger en lichtvoetiger, de volgende track gaat aan de haal met een beetje Westcoast pop (CSNY), maar het blijft allemaal prachtig zweverig of zelfs benevelend. 

Na een volgend piano intermezzo sluit Here Be Monsters af met het bijna 18 minuten durende Black Dog, dat ingetogen opent, maar wanneer de donkere wolken verschijnen weet je dat het onweer vol Mogwai achtig gitaarwerk gaat losbarsten, waarna aan het eind toch nog even de zon doorbreekt. Het is een mooi slot van een volgende waardevolle toevoeging aan het imposante oeuvre van Motorpsycho.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt hier luisteren naar 'Spin, Spin, Spin':

of koop Here Be Monsters op Bol.Com