Embedding The Unseen Scenes

Now this is a record I’ve been waiting to hear for some time now –  the new, second album by Greek pianist Tania Giannouli.

I first stumbled upon her music in a video art exhibition in Tel Aviv, where it was used in one of the works presented. Her style had immediatley caught my ear.
It was mysterious, cinematic, alive. It was brilliant.

Tania Giannouli - Transcrnde

The new album Transcendence (out on Rattle Records from NZ) is exciting, inspiring and one of the most beautiful records I’ve heard this year. Hey, it’s an album that inspired me enough to write about it after a long period of time that I hadn’t written here, right?

Obsession. That was the tune that first caught my ear. Tania is writing music for films, features and documentaries, dance and as I mentioned – art project. The reason I like her music so much is because I can see the scene, the actual visual scene behind the music, that in this case wasn’t written for picture.
When I heard Obsession, it sound as the main theme of a lost Almadovar film. Something between The Skin I Live In to Talk To Her. Strange, a bit disturbing, made me shrink a bit, but very beautiful.
Tania Giannouli - Transcendence

When I heard the full album, I realized there’s more to it then just the cinematic scenes embedded in the music. It was that refreshing new take on modern jazz , classical, and a correct dose of experimental minimalistic mood expression by the ensemble players.
The album is rich with sounds and colors and hides surprising moments throughout, and the arrangments are beautiful.

Everytime I hear this album it reminds me, in a most positive way, of Eberhard Weber‘s masterpiece Later That Evening. Music that gently sits on a cloud, hovering above. Not touching the earth and thus, keeping itself clean. It also brought to my mind some of the late Bernardo Sassetti works, especially his brilliant Unreal:Sidewalk Cartoon.
To me, it sounds like a lost ECM album, but by browsing around Rattle Records’ catalog, it seemed that she’s in good hands.

You can buy the album (mp3/cd) at Rattle’s website  and listen to it online below

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Alan Courtis / Aaron Moore: Bring Us Some Honest Food

The automatic mechanism in me is trying logically to analyze the music that I listen to.
Maybe it’s a relic of the time where I used to work as record store Jack Black kind of guy and all music was first categorized, analyzed, indexed, and only then – listened to with attention, if at all. It wasn’t a very musical time in my life.

CourtisMooreCoverFront

So in order not to hurt the attention, I’m trying to keep the left hemisphere of the brain out and embrace signals coming from the right. And from listening for the last month or so to the new Alan Courtis / Aaron Moore album Bring Us Some Honest Food (Dancing Wayang Records) – the right hemisphere says – party on man.

And it’s an album of complexity, pushing and pulling. The music starts and stops as if it was touching an open wound of a great friend, aiming to heal but end up hurting. It’s melancholic and functions as a defective lung, works only upon certain energies that come from the brain.

The music belongs to one of the greatest invention of modern music writing – the ‘post-everything’ title. I wouldn’t be able to hum one tune, because the music is not lyrical, it doesn’t speak in musical phrases, it speaks in changing consciousness states, and in sounds who hope to capture what was there in the room at one moment in time. It’s random, it’s a living organism.

The album is now out and here’s a little taste of it.

 

Courtis Moore

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On Missouri Skies and The Art Of Storytelling

So it happened, I’m writing again about a ‘jazz guitar’ album. Twice a week? Am I looking at a new musical path? Well, no.
I do, however, looking for lyricists, people whose melodic phrases, emotions and sensitivity are outstanding. Or in short, like in folk music, I’m looking for storytellers to feed the child in me with stories about far away places and forgotten people.
Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories)
Along comes Pat Metheny and Charlie Haden and release Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories) in 1997.

I haven’t been to Missouri so I don’t know how the skies there, but it is indeed, very much, an album of short stories.

 

You know stories. They carry a mission. They should take your essence in a specific time and transform your being into something slightly different. You don’t have to become a changed person, just slightly different. You get that extra information in your brain, banging in the cells, trying to find correlation to your own life, memory, existence. When it finds, the info and your past or present collide. Sometimes they bring new resolutions, sometimes they are just a plain emotion simulators. The art of storytellling is sacred and should be done with a great care. Like baking. Put exactley the right amount of sugar, just a tiny bit of oil, not a whole lot of pecans and careful with the raisins. Storytelling in music, is exactley like that.

Some of the tracks are cover versions, some are original. Pat and Charlie’s playing is hypnotizing. I find myself staring at the stereo with a stupid smile. You know how weird you sometimes feel when you’re spending too much time in the sun? like half stoned-half empowered by the strengths of the sun? This is in a way how the album makes me feel.

When a guitarist-composer write with the task of storytelling in mind, playing less notes, allow some fresh air to exist between the notes – it passes a feeling of lying in the park for four hours in the sun. You’re ready to go home, and you’re not the same person for the rest of the day.

It’s funny, in the end, we’re all kids.

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