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Monday, January 31, 2011

Anouar Brahem live in Athens... tomorrow, Feb. 1st

February 1, 2011
20:30 at "Onassis Cultural Centre" - Main Stage

World art with Arab roots which do not dominate, but give his works a pan-Mediterranean feel. Phrases and colours mixed in with jazz—and other—traditions. Born in Tunisia (Tunis, 1957), Anouar Brahem studied under the celebrated Ali Sriti, who initiated him into the complexity of Arab music theory.
Speaking through his oud, he tells his tales of journeys and voyages of the heart in a cinematic style. Abstractive, concise and sensitive, he shows us the way into another Sahara... His discography is a paradigm of creative fellow travelling and journeys to familiar places along unfamiliar paths: makams tried and tested down the ages, but placed within a new and innovative framework. His music and musicians (Garbarek, Katché, Galliano, Holland, Sherman, Dibango) put him in a world jazz context, but his range of references makes his sound personal and unclassifiable. His collaborations with Gavras, Béjart and others, and records like the masterful Thimar, have made him more widely known.

His newest and enigmatically titled work The Astounding Eyes of Rita is rooted in an unprecedented melding of eastern and western instruments. Apart from his masterful oud, we have Klaus Gesing’s bass clarinet, with its multitude of still-to-be-explored potentials and timbres, the bendir and darbouka of the Lebanese percussion virtuoso Khaled Yassine, and the essential base line provided by Björn Meyer on double bass. The orchestration and the musicians’ musical roots call Brahem’s older discography to mind, though sources beyond jazz exert a significant pull. A passionate, perhaps dark, sound straight from the soul leavened with overtones which transcend geography to interact convincingly in Brahem’s full yet concise phrases. The record is dedicated to the memory of the Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish.

Anouar Brahem Quartet
Anouar Brahem: oud
Klaus Gesing: bass clarinet
Björn Meyer: bass
Khaled Yassine: darbouka, bendir

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Morning Disc - Dudu Pukwana & Spear - In The Townships on Caroline (1973)

South Africa gave to British jazz and, to a larger extent, whole jazz music, A LOT... Chris McGregor and his Brotherhood of Breath were the spring which generated (almost) everything... on this SUPERB disc from 1973, Dudu Pukwana (also part of Stevie Winwood's Traffic in "The Low Spark of...") is with his long-time friends Mongezi Feza, Louis Moholo, Harry Miller and Bizo Mugqikana and the music is 100 percent Mother Africa - i.e. same joyful, rough, singing, sincere character, always felt like a work-in-progress, unfinished magma, yet containing the same seed as ALL African music owns.

Like Hugh Masekela's, it's Mama Africa's ancient voice and soul, but proudly thirsty of Western tradition... its sounds and feeling, BUT without loosing the "beat"... THAT beat!

Funky... and highly recommended.

Friday, January 28, 2011

WJAAS - Alex de Grassi and Yasujiro Ozu

The AMAZING, nothing short of a-m-a-z-i-n-g, soundtrack to classic b/w film by Ozu-san 'A story of Floating Weed'...

Great, classy, Zen-like, poetic...

... beautiful!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The tree which felt itself an horn...

... like in a Tolkien's tale, have a look at these pixes... a mutation, human artifact... a joke?!?!

A mushroom?!?!

... or an elf horn system...

Thanks to my friend Diego;-)

Music and its tools - where "all" begins... the humble pick!

An obsessive, extremely interesting topic..., also for a fingerpicker like I am...

Thanking Paul Hostetter, luthier extraordinaire, and his well-made site.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Shoah - a musical way to remember, without forgetting...

Schindler's List Theme

Double-Bass - a compendium

This is the first of many to come hintings about my beloved double-bass... as a neglected instrument, and a way of life, as per Patrick Suskind's book (The Double-Bass) I wrote about few weeks ago...

First, it's ABSOLUTELY necessary I'll link you to Bassmaniac's archives - i.e. a japanese musicophile and double-bass lover, who compiled an extensive, quite complete guide to d.b. music, authors and musicians.

Furthermore, next reviews will cover, one at a time, the discs in my collection, under the sonic, musical and historic facets and as I "promised" some months ago - i.e. with 100+ different titles available - I'll try to cover, BETTER open, a window on some obscure authors, musicians, labels and compositions.

Will I survive to this?!?!

All for now, leaving with the tip: go and buy Suskind's book and... welcome in a very esoteric club of lunatics.

Greetings from Ludwig Streicher in Japan

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Designing a new turntable...

... in 2011 it's really a dandy choice... at least trying it is better than nothing!

Thanks to that truffles-dog named Holger Barske;-)

Maurizio Cattelan's middle-finger and Milan Stock Exchange

WOW, folks... not everything is lost, if an artist - a tough one, I mean - (italian) Maurizio Cattelan, was allowed to put such a "memento" just in front of the temple of italian economy - i.e. Milan's Stock Exchange.

The artistic, BUT also socially and globally moving, act is MUCH more welcome in a moment so full of winds of changes, like we're actually living, as Stock markets sure were guilty enough to deserve such a "compliment"... this, to my flawed eyes, do not look like an offense or something, but a friendly suggestion, a fond understatement to something which rules the world and it's nearer to hounds or horses races and bidding, where words like outsourcing sounds cool, BUT for the people who loose his/her job, fired by market laws, another cool word to describe the end of Middle Class and the tycoon and slums (possible) era.

A BIG "THANKS" to Maurizio Cattelan for reminding this with his provocative, strong opera... and to the nice people at Milan's Assessorato alla Cultura which allowed this to happen, instead of placing a Berlusconi's aequestrian statue:-)

Monday, January 24, 2011

... neue Telefunken rohren!

... a beautiful vintage ad from

... thanking both Jochen and Holger for hinting...

EMT 930st and Beyer DT-48...

... seldom seen pixes - i.e. what the pro used with EMT 930st in those weird, 99% of times unused female sockets... plus a period console with EMT 927st, always showing Beyer DT-48 monitoring tools/earspeakers.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Saturday Morning Song - "Prayer for Jimbo Kwesi" by Art Ensemble of Chicago

... from "The Third Decade" on ECM, an early '80s AEOC's effort, this was (one of) my yesterday passionate listenings...

Roscoe Mitchell, Malachi Favors, Don Moye and Lester Bowie, all dressed in traditional African appareils, blink from the beutiful cover - Roscoe Mitchell did the cover artwork - and the music is simply awesome: beautiful as it can be, funky, innovative and classic at the same time.

The above mentioned "Prayer..." is fondly dedicated to Jimbo Kwesi, the VERY first Black officier to serve (and to be unfortunately killed by his own troop...) Her Majesty The Queen of England... the first Black to serve in the (almost, early U.S.) Army was William Appleby in 1776, BUT he was only a soldier... strange, quite obscure choice, as also "poor" Appleby sure perished in the battlefield and suffered and he someway was an example against racism, excluding wars involved, of course ...

The Music... yes, better talking about it... first choice, despite early digital ECM's recording, so full of nuances and flavours... small and larger percussions, horns and a simple melody, both african and european in its heritage...

This is THE merit of AEOC's... mixing and blending american, african and european traditions... it's universal music.

A superbly epic and lilting, timeless melody... and, as always, ABSOLUTELY not reviewing, BUT... hinting!

... so, take your chance.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Maurizio Angeletti and his 12 strings... on video, at last!

Maurizio has been an huge lighthouse for me and a master for almost one year... it was 1983... eons ago.

Loose yourself in the beauty of this music... Angeletti didn't perform in 24 years... but, nonetheless, Music flows, sincere and pure...

Happy New Year, dear Maurizio... and thanks...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ivan's Choice - Boards of Canada - The Campfire Headphase

... you're a devil, Ivan... you DID know I'd fall in love with this group, album AND music, as well...

This group was ABSOLUTELY unknown to yours truly...

A nice, NICE atmospheric soundscape for my loner soul... AND for everyone daring enough to order/download it after my.. aehm... Ivan's hinting.

Simply beautiful.

Daniel Seddiqui? Job-trotter for one year: genius or lunatic?

Young Daniel did virtually everything: fireman, painter, wine-cellar attendant, dog-sitter...

Is it a return to sabbatical-year or "choose something you love doing" vs. get your Ph.D. and earn your first million dollars?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Iggy the Eskimo

A misteryous '60s swingin' London half-Eskimo blooded model, groupie, name-her... after appearing in her naked beauty on Syd Barret's "The Madcap Laughs", and after about three decades of family life, she recently re-appeared on Mojo's pages... she also was interviewed last February 2010 and gave her personal cent about the many she knew at the time: Jimi, Rolling, Beatles, Who, Rod Stewart, Pink Floyd and many others.

Nothing special, indeed... only, funny she had her (nice) "B-Side" photographed and "used" on Harvest/EMI's Barrett's disc cover and she, when asked about the (still unknown) model identity (...), playfully exclamed: "Ÿes, "THAT" bottom is mine!"

... it's only rock'n'roll...

... but I like it!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

... most "poetic" cover artwork ever?!?

Skylarking is a quasi "perfect" album by Andy Partridge's XTC, recently reissued as a 2 x 45 RPM discs, with original (untamed, pubic/floral) cover, in its gorgeous vinyl original format... a must-have disc, pals!

... and please don't ask "Why?", but I SIMPLY love this cover...

Hidden treasures - Keith Jarrett "Spirits"

Every music collector has dusty, unexplored shelves, seldom listened discs and music...

Being no exception, I recently (re)discovered among the several Keith Jarrett's discs I own, his double record-set "Spirits" on ECM.

Issued in 1986, it's an awesome soliloquy, music he played - more than composed - in perfect solitude, multi-tracking and painstackingly layering it in his New Jersey home-studio... sparingly played piano and a lot of percussions and ethnic flutes, a soprano sax, a (badly played) acoustic-guitar, and multi-tracked drone voices and... melodies to die-for.

Everything he plays, mr. Jarrett, seems to own the key of humankind truest deepness, a memory of long-forgotten tunes, plaintive chanting, epic campfire songs which simply trascend musical labels.

It's not Codona, it's not Tibbetts, yet its Nana Vasconcelos and Egberto Gismonti and Gurdijeff and de Hartmann's eternal music... from first grooves you think: "Hey, where I already listened to this?!?!?!" and "here" is the mistery!

It's naked inner voice(s), a spiritual trip inside a musician soul... a very private affaire given a public appearance and life.

Same happens when you listen to Jo-Ann Kelly's blues... it's - yes, UNFORTUNATELY "was"- a white British singer, yet her voice was so true and black and baaad and sincere you simply enjoy her playing and music... same happens for the Master of Cerebral improvisation, "mr. don't use a flash at my concerts"... his craft, mr. Jarrett's, I mean, is superseding the innegable no-empathic character of the musician.

"Spirits" lives of its own huge beauty... it's something immediately recognizable...

... so, please, DO NOT waste your time reading my bad english elucubrations:-)))... go and find this recording... download it... I simply had to find it on K. Jarrett's bin and possibly never listened to it because... who knows?!?... maybe I wasn't ready.

... BUT I'm "now"- hic et nunc - listening to it, singing-along and loosing - desperately and joyfully - loosing myself into it... and it's not important the disc existed for 25 years, now... (this) music and - I trust - humankind are timeless.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hard Ground - Michael O'Brien and Tom Waits' new book due soon...

The legendary singer and songwriter Tom Waits is due to publish a book of poetry in collaboration with photographer Michael O’Brien about “those who live on hard ground.”

There are no concrete details as to when the book, titled "Hard Ground", will be published - whispers say on next March, 2011 - but the project has reportedly been conceived as a modern version of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, the famous collaboration between writer James Agee and photographer Walker Evans, which documented the hardtack lives of dust bowl sharecroppers and was first published in 1941. Rather than Mid-Western farmers, however, Waits and O’Brien’s book should examine the lives of the homeless.

Waits, unlike other contemporary musicians including Billy Corgan and Jewel, has never published a book of poetry before, despite being widely considered one of the greatest American song writers of recent decades. But in recent years Waits has embraced publicity more than he had previously, releasing a triple album, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards, in 2006 and earlier this year endorsing a 78 record player for the Preservation Hall charity in New Orleans.

Michael O’Brien is a photojournalist based in Austin, Texas. O’Brien has won two Robert F. Kennedy journalism awards, among other honors. He has contributed photos to Life, Geo, the New York Times Sunday Magazine, National Geographic, Esquire, Fortune and other publications. His celebrity subjects have ranged from Willie Nelson and George Bush. More recently, O’Brien designed and photographed the Apple Power Book campaign.

Waits has long been known for his portrayals of the down and out, hard-luck lives of the homeless, drunks, racetrack enthusiasts, jockeys and carnies, so one can only hope that this latest project bears fruit that retains the flavor of his famed earlier work.

Winfrid G. Sebald, Patti Smith and The Maltings

Saturday 29 January 11am/7.30pm

Towards Re-Enchantment Max: A Tribute by Patti Smith

Symposium The iconic musician, poet, and cultural activist

A day-long enquiry into the landscapes of Suffolk, the spirit of place and its various meanings, taking Sebald as its foundation. Presentations, discussions and readings with Robert Macfarlane and other leading writers.

Britten Studio, Snape 11am-5pm

Tickets £15 Under 27s half price

Two-course buffet lunch available for £12 - please book in advance on 01728 687110.

Internationally renowned for her visionary creativity and commitment, the iconic musician, poet, writer and cultural activist Patti Smith needs no

In an exclusive concert created for this weekend, she will respond to Sebald’s book-length poem After Nature in an intimate evening of song and spoken word performance.

Nature and whole-food for the soul... art: poetry and music from a truly "naked", sincere artist.

New Marianne Faithfull's "Horses and High Heels" on Naive... upcoming!

Award winning English singer, songwriter and actress Marianne Faithfull is set to release her 23rd solo album, Horses And High Heels, in January 2011 in France and Germany and March in the UK. The album, which was recorded in the New Orleans French Quarter in September and October, features eight cover versions and four original new songs co-written by Marianne, four songs which feature the virtuoso guitar playing of John Porter, a musician/producer friend most noted for his work with Roxy Music, Eric Clapton and The Smiths.

The Hal Willner, produced album also includes one song with lyrics specially written for her by Irish playwright Frank McGuiness (the evocative ‘The Old House’), two cameo appearances on guitar from another old friend, Lou Reed, plus further cameos from Dr. John and MC5’s Wayne Kramer.

Speaking about the album, Faithfull says: “Conventional happiness isn’t my way, you know. But this is a very happy record. I’m not depressed anymore. And I think it’s all been well worth it. I did have a bit of a bad time in the 70s but I think things have been wonderful. So I suppose this album is a bit of a breakthrough. I’m incredibly lucky, don’t think I don’t know it. I’m so grateful to be able to still write songs and express my emotion in music. And the best thing of all is working with such great people. It’s inspirational.”

... hoping for another "Before the Poison"... but... "THAT" cover, with its Cinderella-like red-shoes?!?!?!

Why not a more villain-hinting, female "high-heeled" shoe in a stirrup... a close-up or something...

Brian Eno's "Another Green World" documentary on BBC4

Mr. Eno's wisdom about music and its fruition...

Thanking Silber Records' people...

... and Brasil's flooding...

... heavy weather - from Australia to India, and Europe, South and Central America, the USA... virtually everywhere on the Planet - is REALLY a mess and a BIG pain-in-the-ass we ALL will have to deal with in the future, more and more...

The best wishes to everyone, straight from my heart.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Brisbane's Flooding!!!

Water... rain and water... again and again... and mud and pain and losses and death...

I'm VERY near to everyone risking flooding Downunder...

I wish everyone a prompt recovery and drier weather...


Musings - "Pardon, sir?!?"

Thanking my friend Gab and his dadaist "eye"...

John Lennon's Ferrari to be auctioned soon...

John Lennon's 1965 Ferrari 330 GT. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- A 1965 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 Coupe, which was the first car that John Lennon bought on passing his driving test in 1965, is to be sold at Bonhams’ Paris sale of Motor Cars at the Grand Palais on 5 February 2011. It has attracted a pre-sale estimate of €120,000 – 170,000.

Philip Norman recounts in his biography "John Lennon – A Life": 'In February 1965, John passed his driving test, an event that made headline news across the nation. Within hours, every luxury car dealership in the Weybridge area, hoping for business, jammed the road outside Kenwood's security gates with Maseratis, Aston Martins, and Jaguar XK-E. John strolled out to inspect this gleaming smorgasbord, eventually selecting a £2,000 light blue Ferrari.'

Better known is Lennon’s Rolls-Royce Phantom V Limousine, which he had delivered two months later and, subsequently, had painted in psychedelic colours. In the same garage, he also kept a Mini. In his book, "John Lennon Imagined: Cultural History of a Rock Star", Janne Mäkelä records that Lennon’s stable consisted of a Mini ‘for pottering about in’, a Rolls-Royce 'for relaxing' and a Ferrari 'for zoom'.

However this ‘stable’ was soon to change. On November 12 of the same year, The Autocar Magazine recorded Brydon Cars as offering for sale a 'Ferrari 330 GT fixed head coupe. 2+2 opalescent silver blue, electric windows, 3,000 miles. Ex-property of John Lennon MBE.’

The Ferrari’s provenance after this is unclear, but by the late 1980s it was with Modena Engineering, from whom the current vendor bought the car. In the mid 1990s, it underwent a comprehensive restoration to original specification.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Musical (forgotten) treasures - Bruce Langhorne

... you know: chance rules...

One evening of several years ago, I was back home at 1 A.M. or so, I remember, and wasn't willingly wishing for a bed... so, turned ON the TV-set... and a younger me was captured by a siren-like acoustic guitar sound... it was an LSD-hinted, visionary western, something TRULY strange... at the very end of the movie, like petrified, I discovered I just saw "The Hired Hand" by Peter Fonda - his first movie as a director... music was by Bruce Langhorne.

A very, very long time hiatus... and I remembered that late-night experience and tried for a looong time to find the soundtrack, often badly mispelling the movie title - consider italian distributor translated the original title as "The return of Harry Collings"!!! - or the soundtrack composer... and ALWAYS unsuccessfully, for years.

Only some years ago, while lazily browsing, I found an UK-based little company re-issued the about 20 minutes long soundtrack...

WOW... it was like I took a time-machine... the OST was still, decades after my first and only exposure, a MUCH worthwhile listen.

Some searches and I discovered "who" really Bruce Langhorne was... second guitar with Bob Dylan (Freewheelin', Bringing it All Back home, etc...), he knew and played with the very best - i.e. Richie Havens, Joan Baez, Eric Andersen, Odetta, Buffy St. Marie, Tom Rush, Dick Rosmini, etc. etc...

... now, as Brother Bru-Bru, he's DEEPLY into exotic super-hot, chilli sauces home-brewing!

A wise man and an humble, funny and relaxed hero.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The BEST site ever? Stefan Wirz's

Stefan's is since a looong, loooooong time among the very fave of mine in music searches... it virtually covers every American and English folk, blues, acoustic... whatever... discographies, discs covers, infos and trivia...

A masterpiece!

"You can hear the difference"

... from early '60s Neumann's literature, an honest, seldom read, understated point-of-view.

BTW: the two gizmos are REALLY superbly sounding trannies for my Lumiere DST!

If someone find them, buy'em.