Aaron Parks was born in Seattle “” though he currently lives in Brooklyn with the rest of his taste-making hipster brethren “” and you can almost hear the city in his music. The pitter-patter of rain in the cymbals, the grey swoop of fog in the guitar, and the occasional glimpse of sun in the piano; “Nemesis” is a Mt Rainier in the haze, and “Roadside Distractions” is a fish flying through the air at Pike Place Market. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it all. But either way it’s a nifty album “” take a listen and see for yourself.
The Symmetric Orchestra reflects the spirit of Mali’s new democracy since 1992— a spirit of equality, and creativity. There’s a public in Mali today that loves traditional music — griot music — but not the griot milieu. With the Symmetric, they feel free to enjoy this music without the obligations of tradition. And this gives us the freedom to present the tradition in new ways.
That quote is enough, I’m sure, to make any Cultural Studies critics reading wet themselves, and I’m going to give them a little more: TDSO is one of those deftly textured creations that evokes equal parts timeless and contemporary, diffuse and situated. Try listening to the soft chants on ‘Mamadou Diaby’ without thinking of Four Tet, and the virtuoso piano on ‘Africa Challenge’ without hearing the tango. It’s beautiful.
The repertoire of Swedish singer-songwriter Fredrika Stahl consists of elegant jazz compositions and dreamy vocal textures. “Monumental Mismatch”, the opening track of Tributaries (2008), possesses this certain element of playfulness and simplicity that works so well with Fredrika’s flirtatious jazz approach. Accompanied by accordion and delicate piano arrangements, lyrical “Pourquoi Pas Moi” is a true homage to French chanson, while her yearning vocals bring to mind the critically acclaimed Lisa Ekdahl.
At 11 years old, Hervé Poudoulec begins hearing and feeling music over the radio. His mind collects fragments and wonders what to do; pondering from Rock to House, Dance and Jazz; amassing over 4000 samples before experiencing The Cinematic Orchestra’s ‘Motion‘ – helping to align hidden vibrations. Kira Neris graciously strides from downtempo and jazzy affairs to voluptuous dance vibes with an earnest underlining.
Mansfield.TYA is a duo of musicians Julia Lanoë (voice, guitar, piano) and Carla Pallone (violin, piano, harmonium, voice) from Nantes, France. The duo was seen and noticed for its intimate, beautifully tensed music at the openings of such artists as Cat Power, Erik Truffaz, Camille, Elysian Fields, Cocorosie and others. Their album June (2005) is a magnificent combination of dark and sombre yet beautiful ballads with folk elements enveloped in a romantic and melancholic atmosphere. The raw and sincere vocals and instrumentation are comparable to the fine collaboration of Shannon Wright and Amélie composer Yann Tiersen. Or to quote one of the reviews it is une possible réponse française aux Cocorosie.
We started our morning with the hypnotic strings and vocals of Anomie Belle. Anomie Belle is classically trained violinist and songwriter Toby Campbell, who toured North America with such artists as Little Dragon, The Album Leaf and legendary trip-hop artist Tricky. “Down”, featured here, displays her Trip-Hop experimental aesthetics, while its production brings to mind the clear and smooth downtempo vibe of Zero 7.
Oren Lavie Featured on Aurgasm two years ago, Israeli born Oren Lavie gave a warm and intimate performance that didn’t disappoint. Attached below is Aurgasm’s favourite track “Her Morning Elegance”, which was recently featured on Brian Williams’ “Inside the Obama White House” Special on NBC.
We were happy to catch probably the most playful and colourful show of the festival, Aurgasm’s favourite Lenka. Despite Franz Ferdinand playing at the same time, Lenka had a full house and her music was received with much support and enthusiasm.
She was born in Cuba, grew up between Senegal, Angola, Germany and finally settled down in Cape Verde. You can feel the influence of all these locations her music; a soft and friendly accessibility met by a very developed melodic intellect. In much of her music, she sings in Cape Verdean Creole, which is a derivative of Portuguese. She’s not surprisingly up for Best Newcomer in the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards. Her song “Lua” is a warm tropical treat; while “Regasu” is a somber ballad in the style of Cuban son Cape Verdean Morna. (Thx, Andre!)
If you’ve been paying attention Cibelle (see-BELL-ee) has already caught your attention, I’m a little late on this but didn’t want to not post this songstress. São Paulo raised Cibelle crafts tunes that tell stories embellished by an instrumentation that won’t disappoint; ½ her album was produced by ½ of indie folk outfit Tunng. Her approach to song construction (somewhat explained on her myspace) reminds me of The Books and Psapp. You won’t hear her lovely vocals in Portuguese in the songs below, but that’s a treat, just the same.
Ben Sollee, cellist for the band The Sparrow Quartet, recently released his aptly titled debut, Learning to Bend. Whether he is plucking the strings, or playing his cello like a percussive instrument, Ben’s truly unique playing style belies his classically trained background. Though the entire album wanders between bluegrass, folk and jazz, his deep Southern influence is unmistakable. Soulful vocals, combined with his sharp lyrics (seen in his politically critical “A Few Honest Words” and adaptation of “A Change Is Gonna Come”), result in a deeply honest, playful, and ultimately hopeful debut album.
Driving electro bassline. Enough synth action to fulfill your inner moog. My cohort Molly turned me onto these electro-boys from the States. Their lead, Keith Ruggiero, helped produce a couple songs for Erlend Øye (Kings of Convenience). He also wants to completely dispell the idea that Soviet is “electroclash”. This song will make you glee-ful, guaranteed. Latch your ears onto the chorus at 1:02. It’ll make you makeOUT.