maandag 17 juni 2019

Kairos 106, May 2019, Concertzender

Come a new month come Kairos. Wo. settles in to listen for an hour to .No's radio show on Concertzender and shares his experiences with you, unfiltered, direct to screen. Let's read on and see where the music takes Wo.'s mind this time.

A piano moves through the familiar intro. Soft, darkish notes meander towards their fully own moment. The composition comes from an album I reviewed earlier this year. Another of the Dutch composers that have a piano as main instrument. 'Abandoned City' comes from Jacco Wynia's album 'Discomfort'. Soft, soothing and unpretentious his music comes to me and is welcomed.

Slowly female voices mix with Wynia's piano playing. It is not until a drum sets in that I'm certain a new song has started. With 'Fly' an un-Kairos like pop song enters my room. It may also be the first artist from Cyprus on this program. Eleni Era currently lives in and works from Berlin, her record is released via a Cyprus record label. The review of 'Rise Love' can also be found on these pages. "Fly' is a soft flowing song that is made just a little different by the rhythmically played organ. This gives the song a different feel from most of these sweet and soft sounding songs, showing Eleni Era's talent as an arranger.

Harrold Roeland returns to Kairos with 'Five Landscapes For 23 Speakers'. As if the sea washes over me, ghosts make old doors and wooden floors creak. This fragment is an experience in itself. All immersive and almost scary. Luckily I'm listening through two speakers only. Somewhere along the way 'Sile' from KJ Rothweiler was mixed into this experience. I have no clue where the one started nor the other ended. It could also be a complete mash up by .No. Whatever this was what I was listening to, it was impressive.

A dialect sets in with an acoustic guitar as accompaniment. I leave the crashing waves and creaking doors behind. Peter Clijssen sings 'Smoor' from his album 'Vagantenkost'. I notice I am faintly remembered by 'Sad-eyed Lady of the Low Land', one of Bob Dylan's greatest songs. The song does not last for 17 minutes as the playlist tells me. That would have made 'Smoor' a long, long song.

No, I am being taken into unchartered territory instead. A sound scape is going to test my resolve it seems. Strange noises creep from under the keyboard sounds and something more undefinable. I close my eyes trying to discern what it is I am hearing, but I just can not lay my finger on. After a lot of bells being played against each other, I move into something that for a lack of a better word I call modern classic, yet it is ripped apart by a dark sound, as if a motorcycle with a broken exhaust pipe is driven through a nature reserve. Nature reacts though, with a deep dark sound showing its discontent. The monthly poem is read, a poem by Harrold Roeland. The sound of water returns, like drops of water falling on the ground, yet there's also something creeky in this sound as well. A woman's voice reads out the same text over and over and I am reminded of a modern art video, where things can be repeated over and over and over. The whole is estranging. I feel like going on a trip within my own head. Substances seem to have been entered there without my consent but are there anyway for me to deal with. Is this pleasant? No, but not unpleasant either. Whatever it all is, it has nothing to do with me, yet effects me directly. There's no hiding from the voice nor from the droning sound in the background. Slowly it gets even weirder, a sound like erasing all comes up regularly. And then a Pink Floyd like sound enters.

'Unkrûd' by Piiptsjilling must have started. The mood remains ever so dark, but the extreme weirdness has left Kairos. I am still firmly within my mind. There's nothing taking me out of there just yet. The composition becomes louder, an electric guitar enters and a voice singing long, long held notes. Mariska Baars, Romke Kleefstra & Rutger Zuydervelt form a trio that I have encountered before on Kairos. The singing is exotic, like Greek singing, enchanting. The Frisian text is like a incantation, as if I need to be put under a spell. Nothing happens in 'Unkrûd', yet everything slowly changes, my mood, the very room I'm sitting in it seems. It is like claws reaching out to me, without ever being able to get to me, so I can remain where I am. The threat is there though, constantly. Somewhere in the dark behind this music.

The music changes, the light does not return though. My mind has been influenced by the music that came before. KJ Rothweiler's 'Caro' has sounded on Kairos before. I remember the few played notes that are repeated over and over again. First the higher ones than the lower. There's a guitar behind the piano, a bass and a whole studio's atmosphere filled with the residue of the sounds escaping from the instruments. 'Caro' is totally atmospheric. Rothweiler is not in a hurry and plays his small theme for us over and over. I feel like in a loop and guess that it may just be that.

A female voice takes over. Eleni Era returns in this Kairos with a second track from 'Rise Love', the title track. A song that combines 'Twin Peaks' with Moby's huge hit of over 20 years ago. At the same time it somehow plays with modern dance music, without ever letting huge beats enter her song. It is all so subtle, with a little jazz influence woven in for good measure. Her clear voice makes the best of this song and lifts it up even more. .No weaves in a poem in just the right place. 'Rise Love' is an impressive song (and yes, there are the birds once again) and all enriching the real talent Eleni Era is.

'Rise Love' seems to somehow fall to the floor at the ending, crashing like a crystal vase in to a thousand and one, irreparable pieces. From these pieces Manu Delago emerges with a flute and modern sounds, made into a collage of sounds, where there is no telling where Delago starts and .No's work ends. And when female voices enter as well, it becomes even more confusing. I do notice though that I have left the darkness behind totally and am smiling because of what I am hearing. So these are the Trondheim Voices in a way I am sure they have never heard themselves and neither has Manu Delago. A new experience for all except for the creator of this program. He seems to be outdoing himself and let all loose where his creativity is concerned.

Tall Ships sings a little something, after it has taken over from the creative part. 'Road Not Taken' is moody, yet beautiful song. Birds are everywhere and certainly not a part of the original song. A modern singer-songwriter is at work here. There are so many of them, yet Tall Ships manages to touch me with 'Road Not Taken'.

Followers of this blog know that Jesse Mac Cormack has released a new album, his first full length, an album he worked on for years. Gone is the extreme madness of his live shows, the exorcism that is a huge part of his work, certainly remains in place. The demons within Mac Cormack's head are all in place. 'Nothing Lasts' is not a pleasant title, A defeatist one. The music is accordingly dark. Yet, when I listen how the song is built up from his acoustic guitar and voice, it is clear how much hard work and laboriously layering of the accompaniment on 'Nothing Lasts' has taken. Mac Cormack knew what effect he wanted to reach for and succeeds totally. 'Now' is one of the better albums released this year. Jesse Mac Cormack took his time and has an album he can be proud of as a result.

Emmanuele Errante's piano sounds out, a little erratic after Mac Cormack's stately music. After 30 seconds 'Memoirs' is cast aside for another piano. Gabi Sultana plays a Benjamin van Esser composition. Again behind the piano all sorts of noises are going on, including a dark sounding cello. This piano plays slow notes that could be a part of a Radiohead song, if the context was different. It hovers somewhere between romantic and alternative rock music. In such a way that it is almost possible for me to filter out all the unsettling things going on behind it. Why? is the question I would like to ask.

A last bird's song and this Kairos is over.


You can listen to this Kairos here:

Playlist 20190502 2300 Kairos 106
00:00  Jacco Wynia. Abandoned City. Album ‘Discomfort’. Mosaic Music.
04:14  Eleni Era. Fly. Album ‘Rise Love’. Louvana records.
07:58  Harrold Roeland. Five landscapes for 24 speakers (fragments). Self-released.
08:43  KJ Rothweiler. Sile (complete plus several fragments). Album ‘Ex’. DRONARIVM RD-54.
10:58  Peter Clijssen. Smoor. Anna & Peter Clijssen. Album ‘Vagantenkost’. Self-released.
28:10  Mariska Baars, Romke Kleefstra & Rutger Zuydervelt (text: Jan Kleefstra). Unkrûd. Piiptsjilling. Album ‘Wurdskrieme’. Expermedia XPCD012.
34:32  KJ Rothweiler. Caro. Album ‘Ex’. DRONARIVM RD-54.
40:27  Eleni Era. Rise Love. Album ‘Rise Love’. Louvana Records.
44:28  Manu Delago. North cluster. Album ‘Parasol Peak’. TPLP1450CDP.
45:36  Trondheim Voices. Pulser (fragment). Trondheim Voices. Album ‘Rooms & Rituals’. Grappa LC49093
47:38   Ric Phethean. Road Not Taken (fragment). Tall Ships. Album ‘Impressions’. FATCAT Records FACTCD 145P.
49:48  Jesse Mac Cormack. Nothing Lastst. Album ‘Now’. Secret City Records.
54:28  Emeanuele Errante. Memoirs (fragment). Album ‘Time Elapsing Handheld’. Karaoke Kalk CD 75.
54:42  Benjamin van Esser. DART for piano and electronics. Gabi Sultana, piano.
Gedicht: Harrold Roeland

zondag 16 juni 2019

When You're Ready. Molly Tuttle

De vijver met talentvolle jonge vrouwelijke singer-songwriters is momenteel overvol, maar het talent van Molly Tuttle komt makkelijk aan de oppervlakte drijven om vervolgens diepe indruk te maken

Molly Tuttle maakt al haar hele leven muziek en blonk als kind al uit op de banjo, maar sinds ze is gaan zingen en zich vestigde in Nashville is wereldfaam slechts een kwestie van tijd. Haar debuut maakt direct bij eerste beluistering een onuitwisbare indruk en blijkt zwaar verslavend. Het is een debuut dat op fraaie wijze een brug slaat tussen zeer traditionele Amerikaanse rootsmuziek uit het verleden en de frisse countrypop van het moment. Het is een debuut dat overtuigt met een gloedvolle productie en muzikanten van naam en faam, maar het is vooral een debuut dat overtuigt met geweldige songs en een stem die alles laat smelten. Met dit droomdebuut kan Molly Tuttle wel eens hele hoge ogen gaan gooien.

Aan jonge en zeer talentvolle vrouwelijke singer-songwriters absoluut geen gebrek deze week. Onder hen ook Molly Tuttle, die zeker niet uit de lucht komt vallen. Ze groeide op in Palo Alto, California, waar ze haar eerste stapjes in de muziek zette en maakte indruk als student aan het gerenommeerde Berklee College of Music in Boston, waar ze haar virtuositeit op de akoestische gitaar en banjo etaleerde.

Haar carrière in de muziek kreeg echter pas een vliegende start toen ze zich vestigde in Nashville en ook haar stem ontdekte. De afgelopen jaren maakte ze vanuit Boston al muziek met The Goodbye Girls en verdiende ze de titel “Instrumentalist of the Year” bij de 2018 editie van de Americana Music Awards met haar eerste EP Rise, maar haar debuutalbum moet gaan zorgen voor haar definitieve doorbraak.

Molly Tuttle kreeg thuis de bluegrass met de paplepel ingegoten en speelde al op jonge leeftijd in de bluegrass band van haar vader, maar de afgelopen jaren verbreedde ze haar blik en verwerkte ze ook steeds meer invloeden uit de folk en country en een vleugje pop in haar muziek.

Haar debuut When You're Ready is geproduceerd door Ryan Hewitt, die eerder werkte met onder andere The Avett Brothers en The Lumineers. De openingstrack is direct opvallend, want Million Miles is een track waarvan de basis lang geleden werd geschreven door Steve Poltz en een nog piepjonge Jewel. De twee maakten de track nooit af, maar dat is nu wel gedaan door Molly Tuttle en Steve Poltz, die de Amerikaanse singer-songwriter nog een paar keer bijstaat op haar debuut.

Million Miles is een bijzonder aangename track met vooral invloeden uit de countrypop en doet wel wat denken aan Jewel, maar misschien nog wel meer aan Suzanne Vega. Molly Tuttle flirt af en toe met countrypop, maar ze blijft ook de bluegrass trouw in flink wat tracks. In deze tracks, waarin de banjo net wat nadrukkelijker aanwezig is dan de akoestische gitaar, schuift Molly Tuttle in muzikaal, maar ook in vocaal opzicht op richting Alison Krauss en ook in dit segment maakt de jonge Amerikaanse singer-songwriter flink wat indruk.

Molly Tuttle schrijft songs die afwisselend in de smaak zullen vallen bij rootspuristen en rootsliefhebber die net wat minder strikt in de leer zijn en maakt indruk met lekker in het gehoor liggende songs die meestal de zon laten schijnen.

In muzikaal opzicht is het smullen, wat ook niet anders kan gezien de imposante lijst met muzikanten die bijdroegen aan het album, de productie van Ryan Hewitt klinkt prachtig, maar de meeste indruk maakt Molly Tuttle met haar zang. De singer-songwriter uit Nashville beschikt over een stem die net zo helder klinkt als die van Alison Krauss, die net zo verleidelijk is als die van Suzanne Vega en die ook nog eens de twang van Jewel toevoegt.

When You're Ready voelt net zo aangenaam als de eerste lentezon en overtuigt daarom bijzonder makkelijk. Ook wanneer je het debuut van Molly Tuttle veel vaker beluistert, blijft het album echter sprankelen. Molly Tuttle bestrijkt het hele gebied tussen Gillian Welch en Kacey Musgraves en doet dit met de authenticiteit en muzikaliteit van de eerste en de verleidingskracht en het gevoel voor perfecte popliedjes van de tweede. Het levert een debuut op dat van de eerste tot de laatste noot imponeert en je humeur ook nog eens een positieve boost geeft.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt When You're Ready hier kopen:

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


zaterdag 15 juni 2019

Lightning Tiger Running. Steve French

Who is Steve French? Rumours are Dawn's younger brother, but they remain unconfirmed. No, Steve French is a band from Amsterdam that plays extremely pleasant alternative rock songs. The kind that suggest circa 30 years of influences and for connoisseurs there will be no issue at all identifying them.

Having that out of the way, I can concentrate on Lightning Tiger Running as the album deserves all the attention given to it on these pages. Any lover of alternative, ramshackle guitar rock with a singer that sings slightly hesitatingly is at the right address with Steve French. Almost all of the songs have that tingly sound that makes them so delightful to listen to.

Steve French is a trio Cees, Killian en Ruben morphed into one person who in a rainy, grubby Scottish suburb feeling despondent or perhaps worse, does a Von Münchhausen by pulling himself out of the swamp by his own hairs and writes this set of great songs.

Don't get me wrong. Steve French's mood doesn't change much. Things remain glum in outlook, but the therapy of making music certainly works. I bet that Cees, Killian and Ruben, once de-morphed, had some huge smiles on their faces when these songs started to come together.

What I notice in the nine song album is that Steve French is able to create a few moods. First there is the ramshackle vagueness. Secondly, very direct songs. Finally there is an alternative ballad, just one man and one guitar, no matter how short the song is. Through mixing the song sequence just right, these mood changes change my perception of the album, giving me the feeling that the album not only seems longer than it actually is, but certainly makes the album better as well. The balance is simply right. Now the latter is a deciding factor on my route to give you a positive advice on the album.

Having listened to Lightning Tiger Running several times now, the conclusion is that Steve French adds its own blend to a well known segment of rock music. Although I said I would refrain from naming others, I can't refrain from mentioning Boudewijn de Groot. The verse of 'Country Bleed' could have been a De Groot song over 50 years ago. The grunge like guitar explosion in the chorus was unimaginable then though. It only underscores how diverse Lightning Tiger Running is.


You can buy Lightning Tiger Running here:

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

vrijdag 14 juni 2019

Makers Of Mountains. Def Robot

The cover of this album immediately reminds me of that photo of the human lint of people waiting to reach the top of the Himalayas recently. A photo that I thought to have been shopped for fun. No, it was reality and it told me once again that we are reaching the limits of what this world is able to sustain. Makers of mountains indeed.

So is the album of Def Robot an analogy for all of this? No, far from. The band has produced an album that searches for pleasant points of view in all things alternative and indie rock without being a nuisance to my ears in any way. In fact regularly Def Robot seems to be doing a lot of things just right.

If the bio is to be believed Def Robot's Paul Taylor and David Hancox only got together at the beginning of this year and started working on songs together. Written, recorded, produced, mixed and mastered all by the duo itself. DIY indeed. The two have worked together in three other bands before collaborating as Def Robot, so they're not exactly strangers to one another. In the sound there isn't much left to be desired, so job well done.

That sound is not one with a light touch or a happy outlook on life. The sound is simply dark, the singing serious. That sound was inspired by 90s indie rock according to Taylor and Hancox. I can go along with that, but also can point to the 60s pop feel in the singing in 'Sweet And Sour'. Like e.g. 'The Letter' of The Box Tops and even some Tamla/Motown like The Four Tops. There is more to find for those who care to listen. The 90s may be the foundation, it is also the starting point for other influences to be woven into the fabric of Makers Of Mountains.

Photo/artwork by Paul Taylor
Def Robot is not afraid of taking the mood down. The already mentioned 'Sweet And Sour' and certainly in 'Fortune Cookie Writer', a short sweet song with a distorted voice to give at a little eeriness. And an interesting topic to say the least. On those moments I am reminded of Indian Askin. This band also plays in different ways with the listener's mood. The change to 'Ferman Saved My Life (Cut!)' is something Indian Askin is not afraid of presenting as well. The slide guitar takes the listener in a totally different direction and lifts the album to another level.

It is in moments like this that Makers Of Mountains grows. Def Robot is exploring many sides to indie rock. Although some songs are more interesting than others, as a whole the album works totally. There's time for reflection and time to rock without much need for anything else. 'Gordon from Gordon' ought to satisfy indie rock guitar aficionado's instantly. Including a little madness along the way. Just another angle to Def Robot.

The conclusion is simple but justified. Makers Of Mountains is a good record, so all views from this specific top are recommended and come without health nor environmental issues.


You can buy Makers Of Mountains here:

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

donderdag 13 juni 2019

Hawk Hill. Para Lia

A new single from an album that never reached me, 'Soap Bubble Dreams', released in March of 2019. If anything the three songs of Hawk Hill make me curious to hear more from Para Lia. (παραλία in Greek, meaning coast or beach).

Hawk Hill is a great rock song but with loads of pop hidden into the fabric of the song, making it quite infectuous. This is not an exception, as proven the song that follows, 'Over It'. One of those bittersweat rocksongs that manages to capture the longing for and expectation of a better situation and the pain of the current one perfectly. "We will get over, me and you". The optimism shows in the sorrow, while the acute pain is captured in the outro guitar solo. Soaring it is.

Para Lia is a duo, René and Cindy Methner who both come from a former East-German town called Falkenberg (hawk mountian). If anything Para Lia shows the opportunities the east has been offered after die Wende. Good things do come from it, but like all in the west, you have to grab, even create your own opportunities offered by the building blocks society offers all. Like Talk Talk sang decades ago "Life's what you make it". Para Lia certainly has made something worthwhile. If the album is as good as the three songs on Hawk Hill, it must be extremely good.

Promo photo: Mrs. Agnes Sommer
In Para Lia René creates all the music, playing all the instruments, his wife Cindy singing background vocals. In Hawk Hill they look back on Falkenberg and how the town went under after die Wende. The school closed, the factories closed and they both left, only afterwards meeting each other it seems. "Goodbye Hawk Hill Lane, I don't miss you ... I still love you", the inner conflict on a past long gone captured in a few lines. And above all in a good song. If this was René Methner's "Penny Lane moment" it was one to be proud of.

It seems I have some more listening cut out for me. If things are all this good, I will come back with the whole album to you.


You can buy Hawk Hill here:

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