Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Georgian Folk Songs

Since I'm in Georgia, I thought I'd share with you all our folk songs:

Ananuri (previously posted on here as "Eg Saxe"):

Patara Qalo:

Mta Tusheti:

Unknown Tushetian song:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bugge Wesseltoft & Henrik Schwarz - Duo


This fantastic duo's album, Duo, is the perfect synthesis of piano and synthesizer/electronics. In all honesty, I don't think I've heard anything quite like it.

"Bugge Wesseltoft is a jazz musician of some repute. Making music for over a decade now, the Norwegian is probably best known to electronic listeners for his work with Laurent Garnier. (He's not the "Man with the Red Face," but he helped record it.) Henrik Schwarz is a name who needs less introduction. The German producer has dozens of singles and collaborations under his belt, including a live album on !K7 in 2007. His most recent project saw him team up with Jesse Rose under the banner of "Black Rose," producing the live hit "Anthem," which was released due to repeated audience requests. With Schwarz moving increasingly towards improvisation, and Wesseltoft towards electronica, their pairing makes incredible sense.

Duo's concept is simple—Wesseltoft on piano, Schwarz on electronics. Simple on paper, anyway. The absence of musical notation for synthesisers—and their huge palette of sounds—can make stylistic syncronisation tough. Thankfully, the duo take the high road, crafting intricate and often imperfect pieces, rather than resorting to simplistic programming and predictability. "First Track," for example, is a live recording of their very first collaboration (Berlin, 2009), which shows their commitment to spontaneity. To ensure results, the pair frequently seem to provide backing for one another, rather than actually play in tandem. In "Kammermusik," for example, Schwarz lays down a bed of shuffling white noise, with his partner's elegant key work resting on top. The latter half of the same song sees Wesseltoft retreat, with wistful synths and a rubbery arpeggio taking over. The final piece "One One"—live from Cologne—even seems to be entirely electronic.

Without doubt, the most breathtaking sections are those in which the two accomplish true syncronicity. "Dreaming" has a lifelike pulse, moving ever upwards with shunting hits of ivory and filtered synth. In "Where Is the Edge," Schwarz provides 8-bit bleeps, and for "See You Tomorrow," a slow-ticking LFO which mutates into frantic rolling, or else a constant tone. Both sounds pair unexpectedly well with Wesseltoft's jazzy noodlings. Given the Norwegian's background, this style of piano was always going to be his contribution, and it's one which he excels at. However, given the modernity of the project itself, it seems a shame that more avant-garde techniques weren't given room, as heard on recent compilations Enjoy the Silence.

To conclude the constant presence of piano makes the album "samey" would be ridiculously crude; akin to criticising a rock album for using just drums, guitars and vocals. However, the duo show tasteful restraint with the synthesised elements, meaning there's less diversity than many electronic listeners would be accustomed to. In the hands of poorer musicians this could be a crippling blow. For Wesseltoft and Schwarz, it's a minor niggle."

Listen to a live show from the RBMA's London edition:

*Thanks to Sarath for sharing this!

Vinyl, CDs, and downloads available here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


It takes tremendous discipline, takes tremendous courage, to think for yourself, to examine yourself. The Socratic imperative of examining yourself requires courage. William Butler Yeats used to say it takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on the battlefield. Courage to think critically. Courage is the enabling virtue for any philosopher – for any human being, I think, in the end. Courage to think, courage to love, courage to hope.
-Cornel West

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Eldar Shengelaia's "Sherekilebi"

Sherekilebi (Crackpots or Eccentrics) by Eldar Shengelaia (1973)
Found it on Google Video with English subs, but fairly shitty quality:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Devojko Mala

Devojko mala
Little girl
Pesmo moga grada
you are the song of my city
Sto si mi dala
you gave me
Srce puno sna
a heart full of dream

O sto se setih
Oh why did I think of
Kisu da ti kupim
buying you rain
I oblak mali
and a little cloud
Pod kojim stojim ja
under which I'm standing

Nemoj da budis
Don't wake
Oci moje snene
my dreamy eyes
Kad kisa pada
When it's raining
Ti si oblak sna
you are the cloud of dream

Devojko mala
Little girl
Pesmo moga grada
you are the song of my city
Tvoju bi senku
Your shadow
Vecno da ljubim ja
I would kiss forever

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Palais Schaumburg

This band has been on repeat for the past couple of days now. Another NDW gem, with an unbelievable lineup of members.

"Palais Schaumburg were formed in Hamburg by Holger Hiller (who had already published a solo single and EP) and Swiss keyboardist Thomas Fehlmann The band debuted with the singles Macht Mich Glucklich Wie Nie, Telephon, Rote Lichter and Wir Bauen Eine Neue Stadt, mostly compiled on Das Single Kabinet. Their style was a bizarre kind of dance music. Hiller left after their debut album, Palais Schaumburg(Phonogram, 1981). Fehlmann led the band through two more albums, Lupa (1982) and Parlez Von Schaumburg (1984).

Holger Hiller released the solo album Ein Buendel Faulnis in der Grube/ A Bunch of Foulness in the Pit (Ata Tak, 1983 - Mute, 1985), a frenzied, non-stop carnival of "lo-fi" pop and sampling, the "Vietnamese" EP Hat Voi Quehuong (Zick Zack, 1983) and the mini-opera Guten Morgen Hose (Ata Tak, 1983). The album Hyperprism (Wave, 1985), reissued as Oben Im Eck (Mute, 1986), upped the ante by employing samples, besides keyboardist Izumi Kobayashi and vocalist Kaori Kano, to mercilessly deconstruct the song format. The EP Ohi Ho Bang Bang (Mute, 1988) explored the manic aspect of the art of sampling (both the music and the video are made of cut-ups of a home video about making noise with house furniture). As Is (Mute, 1992) was an eclectic mess of pop, dance, industrial, electronic and world music. Mainly, this album adapted Hiller's extreme aesthetics to the scene of techno music.Demixed (1993) is a remix album. Little Present (1995) is an audio documentary about his son. Holger Hiller (Mute, 2000) continues his experiments with sampling.

After disbanding Palais Schaumburg, Thomas Fehlmann converted to techno with the albumUro Breaks (Wau Mr Modo, 1986), credited to Ready Made. Felhmann became a respected Berlin-based techno and house producer, and joined Orb. Good Fridge (Apollo, 1998) is an anthology of assorted tracks. The albums credited to Fehlmann in person, One To Three(R&S, 2000), Visions Of Blah (Kompakt, 2002) and Lowflow (Plug, 2004), reaffirmed Fehlmann's leadership in the German "microhouse" scene (a fusion of house music and glitch music). Honigpumpe (Kompakt, 2007) documented his ambient/cosmic soul.

Moritz Von Oswald, better known as Maurizio, a percussionist of the last incarnations of Palais Schaumburg, went on to become one of the most influential producers of techno music, first as 3MB (with Thomas Fehlmann) and then as the co-founder of Basic Channel Records (with Mark Ernestus), whose various releases (Cyrus'Inversion, 1994; Quadrant's Dub, 1994; Phylyps, Radiance, etc, all aliases for Von Oswald) specialized in dub-inflected Detroit techno. Von Oswald mutated into Maurizio withPloy (M, 1993). Basic Channel (EFA 11110, 1995) is a compilation of the Basic Channel releases. Maurizio (EFA 22222-2, 1997) is a compilation of the Maurizio releases. Basic Channel (producers Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus) de facto pioneered micro-techno." -Piero Scaruffi

Band members:
Holger Hiller (founder), Guitar, Vocals: 1980 - 1981
Thomas Fehlmann (founder), Synthesizer, Trumpet: 1980 - 1984
FM Einheit, Drums: 1980 - 1981
Chris Lunch, Bass: 1980
Timo Blunck, Bass: 1981 - 1983
Ralf Hertwig, Drums: 1981 - 1984; Vocals: 1983 - 1984
Walter Thilesch, Vocals: 1982 - 1983
Stefan Bauer, Vibraphone, Piano, Trumpet: 1982 - 1983
Moritz von Oswald, Drums & Percussion: 1983 - 1984

Das Single Kabinett (ZickZack, 1981)

From The Fader


1. Kinder Der Tod (Erstversion)
2. Rote Lichter

3. Glücklich Wie Nie
4. Telefon
5. Kinder Der Tod
6. Aschenbecher

...courtesy of Soundhead

Lupa (Phonogram, 1982)

From The Fader


A1. 3 Nach 9 (3:09)
A2. Nett Sein (3:33)
A3. Lupa (4:11)
A4. Sprung Über Vier Pferde (3:08)
A5. Sieg Auf Knien (2:51)
A6. Rosen (3:40)

B1. Nationen (3:00)
B2. Der Tiger Und Die Stimme (3:13)
B3. Stich Auf Stich (5:43)
B4. Europa (3:30)
B5. Papperazzo (5:10)

...courtesy of The Commercial Zone

Beat of Two (1984):

Rosen (1982):

The Tart (1984):

Sunday, April 10, 2011

50th Anniversary of the Beatnik Riot at Washington Square Park

As my 200th post, I'd like to share with y'all Dan Drasin's short film Sunday. This short captures what became known as the Beatnik Riots on April 9th, 1961 where 3,000 beatniks came out to riot in the Village after the police denied them the right to sing and play music in the park.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cornel West and the Fight Against Injustice on Riz Khan

Cornel West on Obama:
"he punched on the first down, and not the 4th down"
"you can't have bipartisanship if you don't have partisanship as a way into it"
"opportunist to the core- a Clintonite!"