Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My charts for 2013

Let's wrap up 2013! What a surprise: Again, in retrospect the music of last year was extremely good. I made a lot of brilliant new discoveries. This year I added 131 albums to my library, which is again less than compared to last year (171 in 2012). Within the last 2-3 years I changed my listening habits quite a bit. Nowadays, I am way more picky on the items that will enter my library. The "oldest" record to enter the charts has been Chris Thile's "Stealing Second" from 1997 which I believe is so much better than his new releases.
My trends: World Music was extremely strong and there was quite a bit of Metal as well. As a small surprise there is no electronic music record on the list even thought there have been some serious contenders.
So Ladies and Gentlemen here are my winners:

January Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar - Covek i truba (2012) World Music, Serbia
February Emel Mathlouthi - Kelmti Horra (2012) World Music, Tunisia
March hAND - Breathing (2011) Metal, England
April Youn Sun Nah - Lento (2013)Jazz, South Korea
May Tales Of Evening - Hajléktalan Lélek (2012) Metal, Hungary
June Mojácar Flamenco - Mojácar at the Madrid (2007) World Music, USA
July Chris Thile - Stealing Second (1997) World Music, USA
August Alborosie - Escape From Babylon To The Kingdom Of Zion (2010) Reggae, Italy
September Dark Tranquillity - Construct (2013) Metal, Sweden
October Anush & Inga Arshakyanner - Tamzara (2006) World Music, Armenia
November Chico Trujillo - Gran Pecador (2012) World Music, Chile
December S°unduk - Наше время (2013) Alternative, World Music, Belarus

What can I say once more a year of amazing discoveries - just hit the play button on the youtube play list below and enjoy!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

La Cherga: Revolve (2011)

Balkan music and especially the fusion styles have become very popular in recent years with all kind of blends and styles. La Cherga’s “Revole” is a true jewel of this genre with its grooving mixture of Eastern European jazz tradition, Jamaican dub rhythms, a crisp horn section and powerful vocals. Based on Eastern traditions, the group is not limited to this but also integrates sounds that come from very different musical genres.

All band members are from former Yugoslavia a seven-piece with their base in Graz, Austria where they had ended up there after the outbreak of war. “Revolve”, La Cherga’s second album is presented by a new singer Adisa Zvekic and she is well known for her extraordinary voice having been a part of the crossover band “Dubioza Kolektiv”. The line up is completed by guitarist and bassist Nino Muamer Gazibegovic Skiljic from Bosnia- Herzegovina, the electronic mixer Nevenko Bucan and the drummer from Croatia, the two wind Kiril Kuzmanov and Trajce Velkov from Macedonia.

My favorites are the extremely groovy songs "Sufi Dub" and "Rise Up". If you like La Cherga please also have a look at the band's label webpage at asphalt tango. They have all kinds of other great (balkan) music assortments over there.
Preview | Buy!Facebook | discogs

Monday, October 21, 2013

Youn Sun Nah: Live at the Women of the World Festival 2013


In April this year I had the pleasure to attend a concert of Youn Sun Nah in Frankfurt, Germany. It was such an outstanding performance. I was especially happy because the concert has been recorded as well as it was held in a radio studio. The radio recording was streamed on a German radio station and I was lucky to record.

Youn Sun Nah is originally from South Korea and she chose Paris as a second home from where she started her Jazz career. She has been categorized as singer songwriter Jazz and in France her previous album "Same Girl", was the best-selling jazz album of 2011 where she received a couple of high ranking awards in Europe. Recently, she released her new record "Lento" which she took on a tour throughout the summer.

The concert was part of the festival "Women Of The World" and it took place at the radio studio of the "Hessischer Rundfunk" accompanied only by Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius. Given the fact that the studio was quite small the two musicians produced a very intimate atmosphere. Wakenius was an excellent match and he contributed also compositions to the new album.

The concert featured new songs from the album "Lento". One of the most striking songs was the interpretation of the new cover song "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails and the excellent duet "Memento Magico". What I enjoyed the most of the concert was Nah's ability to control an expression of her voice and to perfectly articulate and reproduce the mood of her original recordings. That made it such an unforgeable experience. So if you have the chance to see her on a concert go and enjoy!

Preview 1 2 | You Sun Nah Live | Official

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Indica: Valoissa (2008)

Here comes an "oldie" of mine: Indica is an all woman band from Finland, which has been around since 2001. The music is best described as something between pop and alternative rock with a melancolic metal like sort of appeal. Valoissa (Finnish for "In The Lights") is the band's fourth album and it was produced by Nightwish's Tuomas Holopainen (which is easily identifiable). The artist's classical music experience is also easily audible influences within the beautiful arrangements.

What I especially like is that the songs are sung in Finnish (of which I understand only some words) and which makes this release special. Finnish lyrics have a great melody and rhythm. The band decided to re-record in 2010 older material with lyrics in English and thought this fosters international success it makes the music less special. It's hard to pin down favourites but 10 H Myöhässä (10 H Late) and Sanoja (Some words) are certainly outstanding. According to the facebook page the new album is already mixed now and waiting for the mastering. Let's hope that it is going to be with Finnish vocals again... 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

hAND: Breathing (2011)

Progressive Metal music has been around fore quite some time now. Quite often I find this genre of music too technical - missing feeling. hAND is on the contrary: it has been certainly one of my best discoveries in the metal genre for quite some time. According to their bio hAND are a 4 piece progressive, alternative metal band from Sussex, England and it has been founded by Kat Ward and Kieren Johnstone in 2004.

They produce a musical fusion that is simply breathtaking: The music consists of very elaborate sound structures with female vocals adding a Gothic element. Where other bands are getting sidetracked in their technicality of their sound compositions, hAND finds the perfect balance between progressiveness and melody. The music constantly wanders between calmer passages and more technical passages which maintain a certain level of tension in the music.

The albums musical quality is so high that it is difficult to name individual tracks that stand out but if I had to pick one "The pier" is certainly excellent. The band is currently in the preparations of their new album. While waiting for the new album I am sure the band could use all your support at bandcamp. Preview after the break.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Etwas Unders: Etwas Unders (2007)

Ukraine again... I got quite stuck in music from the Ukraine and Russia recently. This time it is extremely energetic alternative music with female vocals from Kiev. The band name derives from German "Etwas anders" meaning something different. Thought having an English name lyrics are entirely in Ukrainian language. 

"Etwas Unders" was the first and only self-titled album, which was recorded in 2007. The album included most of the songs performed by the group in concerts between 2004 and 2007. The band is no longer active but from guessing from youtube their live performance must have been really awesome and full of energy. Convince yourself with the soundcloud set below!

Download | Web | Youtube | Myspace † | discogs

Saturday, February 2, 2013

My charts for 2012

2012 is already long gone history - so it is once again time for a wrap up of the year. Musically, this year was extremely interesting and I could easily have picked more favourites each month.
This year I added 171 albums, which is slightly more compared to last year (160 in 2011).  Evaluating what I added I can identify two trends: World music was quite strong last year with surprisingly high number of excellent releases from the Ukraine / Russia (5 times). This time, the oldest top addition is just from 2007.

So here are the winners:

January Dazkarieh - Ruído do Silêncio (2011) World Music, Alternative , Portugal
February Sonceklyosh (Сонцекльош) - Герої (Geroi) (2011) World Music, Ukraine
March Jacek Kleyff - Znaki (2009) World Music, Poland
April r.roo - There Is No Yesterday And No Tomorrow (2012)Electronic, Ukraine
May Romengo - Kétháné (2011) World Music, Hungary
June A Moving Sound - A Moving Sound (2011) World Music, Taiwan
July МЕЛЬНИЦА (Melnitsa) - The Best (2012) Alternative, Russia
August Tha Blue Herb - Total (2012) Hip-Hop, Japan
September Etwas Unders - Etwas Unders (2007) Alternative, Ukraine
October Ghosthill - Flying Through Imagination (2012) Metal, Russia
November Youn Sun Nah - Same Girl (2010) Jazz, South Korea
December La Cherga - Revolve (2011) Raggea / Dub, World Music, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia

What can I say once more a year of amazing discoveries - just hit the play button on the youtube play list below and enjoy!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Good Music Is Good Music World Music Compilation (2012)

With Christmas approaching I wrapped up a very nice World Music compilation. It contains favorites that I discovered in the last three years with songs from all over the planet! There would have been at least six more hours but I will skip those for the next compilation ;) If you like any of these songs I recommend you to dig into the full albums as well! For the credits please check the full post. The youtube playlist contains most of the songs if you want to access all just hit the download button.

Happy Christmas and a happy new year!

Download | Mirror

Saturday, November 10, 2012

МЕЛЬНИЦА (Melnitsa): THE BEST (2012 - my version)

Melnitsa (the Russian word for windmill - Мельница) - is a Russian folk rock band from Moscow. Founded in 1999 by lead singer and primary songwriter Natalia O'Shea the band is famous for its powerful singer songwriter songs featuring a very rich instrumentation and intensive hook lines.
Natalia being an academic and a specialist in medieval European languages and cultures by day creates complex fantasy-laden Russian lyrics and also masters harp.

Within Russia the bands seems to hold a pretty big fan base but there seems to be a fair amount of fans  abroad as well. This compilation is a modified version of the official "The best" album released in 2008 as selected by me. With the last two albums the band took a different route stylistically by heading more into a rock direction and thus "The best" does not feature any songs from this period. On her solo project Natalia still performs folk rock under the moniker "Хелависа" (Helavisa) and the 2009 release "Леопард в городе" (Leopard in the city) is an equally outstanding record as well.

Preview | Buy! (iTunes back catalog) | Web | Facebook | discogs (original)

Monday, April 30, 2012

N.O.H.A.: N.O.H.A. (2012)

Usually, I don't get a lot of inspiration from the radio: this is one of the few exemptions: N.O.H.A. from the Czech Republic. They utilize a pretty wide range of styles with drum n bass being the most prominent one. N.O.H.A. received a lot of airplay for the 2007 song "Tu Café" with its extremely sense making lyrics ;)
The project was founded by Philip Noha with different singers and MCs and they started with a self titled album back in 1997. The band itself is extremely diverse with members from Prague, New York and Sao Paulo.

N.O.H.A.'s releases cover a pretty wide range of styles from trip hop to drum n bass and this is a self compiled selections of their best songs distilled out of their regular releases. On this compilation my favourites are the extremely funky "No Slack" and the pop track "Nasty".
N.O.H.A. appears to be also an excellent live band and you can convince yourself with the live tracks at the end of the youtube list. Unfortunately it appears that they are only performing in the Czech Republic this year.
The cover of this compilation is "stolen" from a Reed Danziger painting which I found through the amazing inspiring blog Basic Sounds.

Preview | Buy! | Myspace | facebook | discogs | youtube | Web