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Posts Tagged ‘trip hop


Tosca had for a very long time a big problem: the band was always presented as the side-project of Richard Dorfmeister and everyone just wanted to get a new Kruder & Dorfmeister record. 1998 K&D dropped their epochal “K&D Sessions” album and since then we’ve heard nary a peep from the duo. Peter Kruder has his Peace Orchestra project, Dorfmeister has Tosca, and they’ve both done piles of remixes. Just not together, not anymore. But of course it takes some time to get the focus away from a group like Kruder & Dorfmeister, a duo that revolutionized downtempo music, reinvigorating both acid jazz and trip-hop in one fell swoop with a series of blisteringly hot remixes and a precious handful of original tracks.

Finally with “j.a.c.” the new duo from Richard Dorfmeister stepped out of the shades of K&D, forever. Tosca showed with this album from 2005 that the Viennese G-Stone sound was alive and well, and the label’s trademark luscious basslines, funky jazz breaks and infinitely deep percussion are in full effect on the record. The album plays well as a cohesive unit, beginning slowly before ramping up to a more energetic middle section, and finally sliding into a relaxed denouement.

The half of the twelve tracks are with vocals,which is a very high rate for Tosca, but it is working out very well. There’s not much else to report on the novelty front, but Tosca remains in excellent form. The record is just one of the stonemarks of downtempo music in its later phase, not starting a revolution anymore, but perfected the sound. But if Kruder & Dorfmeister would reunite, well, that would be just great – but maybe they never could fullfill the expectations. And it is not fair to Rupert Huber, who surely deserves to get recognized not only as a the other guy from Tosca, the sideproject from Richard Dorfmeister.

The big sleep.



The cover artwork remembers me of the legendary CTI records and that is not a bad start. But Dom Um Romão is not needing authenticy, the drummer and percussionist was one of the best from Brazil. He played drums from childhood on and recorded with legends like Elizete Cardoso, Ron Carter, João Gilberto, Cannonball Adderley, Annette Peacock and Vinícius de Moraes. He played in the band of Sérgio Mendes and in the 70s joined fusion jazz supergroup Weather Report. And this legend also participated in the groundbreaking Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim colloboration record. He passed away in Rio de Janeiro 2005, but left this record with great rhythms and soul before. I will continue with name dropping, on “lake of perseverance” pianist Luciano Alves, vocalist Ithamara Koorax, guitarist Dorival Caymmi, keyboardist Eumir Deodato and saxophonist Jose Carlos Ramos participate, a good mix of young brazilian talents and old heroes. What can go wrong with musicians like these? Well, not much. Only slightly based on post-bop jazz Romão brings his distinctly Brazilian style of drumming to Kenny Dorham’s “blue bossa” as well as two gems from John Coltrane’s repertoire. But “lake of perseverance” is not an album for jazz snobs, many tunes have trip-hop, hip-hop or even house influences, Jorge Ben´s world famous “mas que nada” even is played in a exuberant version. But for all its diversity Romão manages to give this album a certain continuity, certainly a eclectic taste will help to enjoy this great record!

House Carnival!


Mário de Andrade is one of the most important brasilian writers and poets. His book “Macunaíma” has for sure an outstanding impact on brasilian literature until today and is one of the novels which build up the own brasilian literature which cutted off the dominant european influences. Not coincidental Mário de Andrade was one of the driving forces behind the famous “Semana de Arte Moderna” in São Paulo 1922, which bundled all the uprising brasilian avantgarde artists and presented an brasilian art scene that mirrored the brasilian society with all its african, indigenous and european influences. Sadly from this art movement later a nationalist group splitted off, which wanted to create a “purely Brasilian” form of art (always the same sick idea, create art on a national base…). But the original movement declared that they would “eat” all influences, digest it, and throw out new things – like the brasil society with its indigenous, african, european and asian origins – and don´t want to ignore any influences from Northamerica or Europe.

“Macunaíma” as part of the Brasilian Modernism reflects also the experiences of Mário de Andrade as an Mulatto in the brasilian society at the beginning of the 20th century. A time when politics in Brasil where strongly dominated by white men from the oligarchy, who dreamed of an “white” or “more white” brasilian society and looked with suspicion to the black influences or even ignored them at all. A view on Brasil which also was reflected in the dominant arts, the “Semana de Arte Moderna” was the outburst of a new, more honest view on the brasilian realities, which for sure wasn´t only white-european-based.

But Mario de Andrade also was a pioneer of the field of ethnomusicology. Macunaima, the black protagonist of the same named novel, is on the search for an amulet and travels from the jungles of the North-East to the modern megacity São Paulo. Mário de Andrade processed the oral history of the indigenous people, the folkloristic music of the interior into this novel and confronts the two sides of modern Brasil.

80 years later Iara Rennó, a young musician from São Paulo, decided to to set the novel to music. It is a very obvious idea, with all that ethnomusicologiest influences in it, and it is a wonder why nobody else did it before. But Iara Rennó did it in a wonderful way, mixing the classical folkloristic influences with a modern production and music influences, with deep roots in the most experimental arrangements in the history of MPB (Música Popular Brasileira). The lyrics are all taken from the book and more than 60 musicians took part in the recording sessions. What can you expect? Afrobeat, Dub, brasilian Folk, Trip Hop, slight Hip Hop influences, Psychedelic…. no, you just can´t name this eclectic record with a few genres. Well, better explore this fantastic record on your own.

Dói Dói Dói

Tom Zé, Arrigo Barnabé, Dante Ozzetti, Simone Soul, Bocato, Siba, Biu Roque, Mané Roque, Guizadoman, Maurício Alvez, Anelis Assumpção, Funk Buia, Gustavo Souza, Mariá Portugal, Alzira Espíndola, Tetê Espíndola, Sergio Espíndola, Jerry Espíndola, Décio Gioielli, Marcelo Monteiro, Simone Julian, Tiquinho, Amílcar Rodrigues, Andréia Dias, Gustavo Ruiz, Da Lua, Gilmar Bola 8, Toca Ogan, Tom Rocha, Rian Batista, Barbatuques: Marcello Pretto, Dani Zulu, André Hosoi , Mairah Rocha, Flávia Maia, Fernando Barba, Bruno Buarque, João Taubkin, Guello, Dimus Goudaroulis, Zezinho Pitoco, DJ Marco, entre outros…

This record is almost 15 years old, released 1994, but sounds until today very fresh. Former Yakuza apprentice and school dropout Hideaki Ishi started DJing in the 80s and is today better known to the world as DJ Krush. Soon DJ Krush, at this time member of the Krush Posse, broke through the invisible wall between Japan and the outside world. Today DJ Krush is the most famous from Japan and also one of the most famous in Europe and North America, selling twice as many records abroad than he does at home. Ironically he barely speaks a word of English or any other language but Japanese. His albums are abstract and got very left-field influences. The beat is from hip-hop and the intensity of it all takes from many different areas — from jazz to ambient. He collobarated with many artists, from Toshinori Kondo to Company Flow. On “bad brothers” the moody sparse landscapes you usually associate with Krush are pushed to one side as fresh bouncy hip hop is set against Ronny Jordan’s jazz, with wicked deep burbling bassline, gentle guitar, piano and synths. When remixing Ronny Jordan, a guitarist at the forefront of the acid jazz movement, DJ Krush creates a symbiosis between Acid Jazz, Trip Hop, Downbeat and Hip Hop.

Comes with no date of expiry.

Honestly, until a few weeks ago I didn´t know that Pelican City was an early project from DJ Dangermouse, which you might know from his amazing work with/as Gorillaz, Dangerdoom (him with MF Doom), his legendary “grey album” and of course Gnarls Barkley, which are boring in my opinion. And Pelican City was yet another of Brian Burton’s a.k.a. Dangermouse projects.

Burton collaborates on this record with guitarist Todd Monfalcone, horn player Josh Perry, and sax player John Bell. The combination of deep & heavy Hip Hop beats, melodic guitars, cinematic string arrangements, and chilled out horns create the scenery for the Pelican City, a cinematic backdrop of moody, downtempo trip hop sounds. This charming album sounds more like early Tommy Guerro instrumentals than his more recent stuff. Very spacey and laid back in the sense of Portishead and Kruder & Dorfmeister, pure dope and mellow beats.

“Rhode Island” is the musical description of a place: Pelican City, Rhode Island is the city that the film “The Chilling Effect” (the debut record, which was a soundtrack for a film that remains a mystery) took place in. The city on this album sounds dark and mesmerizing. The music takes you on a journey through different places in the city. Whether the scenery is beautiful or haunting, each place in the city represents an emotional experience.

I guess you best start your own urbanologistic research.

Erlend, for now, is going it alone, Mr. Garfunkel don´t want to be Garfunkel anymore. The concept of Unrest is a result of Oye’s nomadic tendencies, as well as his growing infatuation with the mellow electronics of Versus, the remix album of the “Quiet is the new loud” record from the Kings of Convenience duo. After this successful record Erlend Oye worked together with Royskopp, moved to Berlin and started to travel the world. His destinations: 10 different producers from all over the word, with every laptop-head he recorded one track and for an album where each track is under new management from the one before it, Unrest remains remarkably consistent in tone and quality, Oye lends his melancholy but confident voice to every song. Most everything is soft focus, slightly downcast, and heavily reliant upon mid-tempo rhythms that are danceable; however, this is definitely a home-listening album, or one that would also work well during night train trip. Sounds much like a more considered version of the Kings of Convenience remix album.

Unrest is an exercise in restraint; very little overt sentiment is displayed throughout the album. But in the same way that anticipation is often better than the real thing, the smoldering emotion buried just below the surface works beautifully on Unrest. Oye has produced a seductive collection of songs that are, for the most part, described by the title of the closing track: “Like Gold.”

The involved producers: Morgan Geist (New York, USA), Soviet (Shelton, USA), Kompis (Uddevalla, Sweden), Jolly Music (Rome, Italy), Mr. Velcro Fastener (Turku, Finland), Prefuse 73 (Barcelona, Spain), Minizza (Rennes, France), Björn Torske (Bergen, Norway), Kilogram (Helsinki, Finland), Schneider TM (Berlin, Germany)

Every party has a winner and a loser.

Norway´s duo Kings of Convenience, Eirik Glambek Bøe and Erlend Øye (he also released solo records), handed over source material from their folky “Quiet is the new loud” record to a batch of remixers that included both people they knew, as well as others suited for the task that they hadn’t yet shaken hands with. The source record you can pick up at the me myself and mary jane blog, here you´ll get the reinterpreted versions by artists like Röyksopp, Four Tet, Alfie, Riton and many more. And if you might ask yourself now if electronica remixes of acoustic folk songs can be worth a try or just have to be trash, I can assure that versus is a fantastic remix compilation. This is masterful; a piece that should be viewed as a model for what remixes of folk should look like. The artists on this disc recognized the essence and soul of the music it is derived from and the experience this creates is an even more passionate rendition of the same emotions of the first album. Taking the brilliant originals, recognizing the reason they exist as their own exceptional works, and reworking them to make those points even more prominent. The group of remixers picked for the disc seem to be on the same wavelength as the duo. While they’re for the most part in completely different genres usually, most of the time the feel of the original track – even if completely different elements are introduced – is kept intact. A perfect example of this is the remix of “I Don’t Know What I Can Save You From” by country-mates Röyksopp. The group keeps the almost flamenco guitar bit of the track and the vocals, but they add a subtle groove and some sampled wind noises that keep the track light yet slightly on the pensive side. And after you have listened to both records you have a dilemma. Which one is better? The original “quiet is the new loud” which defined the neo-acoustic sound with their Nick Drake meets Simon and Garfunkel diamond sharp songs and managed to sound new and surprising although traveling in a well-established path (you might say this made their achievement even greater)? Or the electronic remixes? I just love both records.

Leaning against the wall.

always open minded! feel free to leave a comment if you like or dislike the music, the review or just this blog in general. make the monologue a dialogue! (and receiving some responses keeps me motivated)

normally I try to post new stuff once a week, quality not quantity, so the front page shows you the posts of the last month, but there is a lot more to discover, just click your way thru the older entries.

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