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As a kid I had a postcard of a saxophone player standing outside New York’s Birdland. It was taken by William Claxton and I found out recently that it’s a still from the John Cassavetes 1959 film, Shadows. The subject is the raccoon-eyed actor Ben Carruthers (who later played screen-busting character parts in The Dirty Dozen and Riot with Gene Hackman). It’s the same Ben Carruthers who was friends with Bob Dylan, introduced Bob to Nico in Paris, which in turn inspired “I’ll Keep It With Mine”.

In mid-’60s London, Carruthers decided to record a 45 and used a poem lifted from the liner notes of Another Side Of. The single was called “Jack O’ Diamonds” backed with a jazzy blurt called “Right Behind You”. Shel Talmy producing, Jimmy Page and Nicky Hopkins playing. They play like Them, Carruthers sings like Richard Hell. It was released then quickly withdrawn because of the illegitimate nature of the Dylan-Carruthers co-write. It was later covered by Fairport Convention on their debut album, but they dropped the fabulous handclap part. words / c hollow

Ben Carruthers & The Deep :: Jack O’ Diamonds

Moon_Duo

Moon Duo are something of a 21st century Suicide – a synth swelled duo occupying a dreamscape drive down a dark highway. It’s a very specific kind of atmosphere and mood and on Shadow of the Sun, their third long player for the Sacred Bones label, it is perhaps best encapsulated by the slow and spacey “In a Cloud.” Synth washes over the tape in undulating waves as members Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada chant in floating, hazy harmony. Flowing ragged guitar gleams like a spectacular, DeLillo-esque sunset – orange, pink and brilliant.

It brings to mind one of the band’s finer early moments – their atmospheric rendition of the Rolling Stones “Winter.” A rendering adrift in the negative space, it is weightless, out of focus and sublime. words / c depasquale

Moon Duo :: Winter

soft After a spell of uncertainty following the release of Soft Cat’s promising debut LP in 2010, it was unclear whether principle songwriter Neil Sanzgiri would continue the project at all. Slowly returning to his craft while immersing himself in the Baltimore music community, he began to compile the material and players for it’s follow-up, Lost No Labor, a captivating collection of baroque-pop serving as a glowing introduction to Sanzgiri’s knack for building patient, pastoral orchestrations rich with hope. Despite managing a constant rotation of collaborators, each Soft Cat release and performance saw Sanzgiri shedding nervous energy, simultaneously becoming an unwavering songwriter capable of weathering any misfortune set to blow his way. This grit would become of note, as mere days after the release a fire would ravage the artist-run gallery space where Sanzgiri along with other Soft Cat members lived.

Rather than succumbing to the events, Soft Cat emerged galvanized capturing the spirit of grief and loss into the deeply moving, spiritual album that is All Energy Will Rise. On his first proper studio effort recorded with producer Craig Bowen, these songs are nothing if not brave. “Somebody,” a truly heart-wrenching number relies on a fairly simply arrangement allowing Sanzgiri’s lyricism to shine. Delivering a far more mature vocal delivery than on previous efforts. Recorded inside of a historic cathedral in downtown Baltimore, the natural room captures the richness of each player, allowing the arrangements to flourish with purpose rather than remain trapped inside a bedroom studio. On “Diana”, possibly the most fully realized Soft Cat track to date, new sounds are planted. A large collaboration spanning six months and four different states, the track culminates in a moment of unbridled jazz-folk that grooves hard, bringing to mind the work of contemporary Ryley Walker. “A Disturbance on the Surface of A Body of Water”, welcomes the first appearance of a primarily distorted-guitar, a risk that works surprisingly well in contrast to the plucked, nylon-string Sanzgiri tends to favor. Though most of these songs speak to the tribulations of everyday existence, this is Soft Cat’s magnum opus. words / j silverstein

Soft Cat :: Diana

Carsten-Meinert-Cover

Restored from the original mastertapes, Frederiksberg Records 2015 reissue of To You — the 1968 Danish jazz LP by Carsten Meinert Kvartet. In addition to the vinyl release, the cd version (marking the albums first time on compact disc) includes a 24-page booklet with fresh liner notes, unpublished photos and four bonus tracks.

Check out a taste below — track one off the lp; Kvartet’s take on Coltrane’s “Naima“.

Carsten Meinert Kvartet :: Naima

Blossom Dearie

Blossom Dearie :: That’s Just The Way I Want To Be

ReRVNG05_PROMO_PIC_PRINT_07_1417462029_crop_550x715Our weekly two hour show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35, can be heard twice every Friday – Noon EST with an encore broadcast at Midnight EST.

SIRIUS 382: Jean Michel Bernard – Generique Stephane ++ Whitefield Brothers – Rampage ++ JD & The Evil’s Dynamite – Beer (So Nice, Right On) ++ Ebo Taylor & Uhuru-Yenza – Love And Death ++ Mor Thiam – Ayo Ayo Nene ++ Nora Dean – Angie La La (Ay Ay Ay) ++ Alex Chilton – Jumpin’ Jack Flash ++ Rob Jo Star Band – I Call On One’s Muse ++ Bo Diddley – She’s Fine, She’s Mine ++ Alton Ellis – Whiter Shade of Pale ++ Nina Simone – To Love Somebody ++ Los Issufu & His Moslems – Kana Soro ++ Michael Kiwanuka – Tell Me A Tale ++ Roy Ayers – Pretty Brown Skin ++ De Frank & His Professionals – Waiting For My Baby ++ Junior Parker – Tomorrow Never Knows ++ Lil’ Ed & The Soundmasters – It’s A Dream ++ Willis Earl Beal – Take Me Away ++ Tom Waits – Books Of Moses (Skip Spence) ++ Africa – Paint It Black ++ Black Rock – Yeah Yeah ++ Yaphet Kotto – Have You Ever Seen The Blues ++ King James Version – He’s Forever (Amen) ++ The Budos Band – Up From The South ++ Dorothy Ashby – Soul Vibrations ++ Kukumbas – Respect ++ F.J. McMahon – Sister Brother ++ Sandy Denny – Late November ++ Sweet Breeze – Good Thing ++ The Samurai – Fresh Hot Breeze Of Summer ++ Howlin’ Wolf – Smokestack Lightning ++ Billy Lamont – Sweet Thang ++ Simon & The Piemen – Cut It Out ++ Ike & Tina Turner – Cussin’ , Cryin’ & Carryin’ On ++ Serge Gainsbourg – Requiem pour un Con ++ Vanessa Paradis – Paradis ++ Nancy Sinatra – Drummer Man ++ Ryley Walker – Sweet Satisfaction ++ Arthur Verocai – Sylvia ++ Scott Walker – On Your Own Again ++ Henri Debs – Bidonville ++ Bonnie “Prince” Billy & Tortoise – It’s Expected I’m Gone ++ Ariel Kalma

*You can listen, for free, online with the SIRIUS three day trial — just submit an email address and they will send you a password.
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ariel

Some creative unions take time and labor to coalesce. For Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe and Ariel Kalma, an artistic connection was established at lightning speed. A few conversations, a meet up in San Francisco, and then to Byron Bay, Australia, where the two took a few walks, got some coffee, and created We Know Each Other Somehow, the twelfth volume in RVNG Intl.’s FRKWYS series of collaborative albums. It’s a gorgeous LP, a gentle unfolding of astral jazz and cosmic drones.

As electronic composers, the two are accomplished individually: Lowe is known for his Lichens project and work with bands like 90 Day Men and Om; The French-born Kalma began making music in the late ‘60s and has continued since, exploring Eastern modalities, ecstatic melodies, synth soundscapes, and jazz-inflected free sounds. Coming together, the elder Kalma immediately recognized a shared spirit in Lowe.

“The interesting part was I felt this familiarity with Robert through conversations we had, from the first moment,” Kalma says.

Following the release of RVNG Intl.’s archival collection of Kalma’s work, An Evolutionary Music: Original Recordings: 1972 – 1979, label founder Matt Werth expressed interest in releasing new music by Kalma. Werth suggested a collaborative effort with Lowe, whose admiration of Kalma’s 1978 album Osmose served as reference point for the project.
Osmose was “a record I had cherished for quite a while,” Lowe says. “When I first heard that record it really resonated with me, I think because of my particular aesthetic and how I listen to things and sort of take them in…it was something that resonated very strongly with me.”
Osmose featured Kalma’s ambient musical textures blended with Borneo rainforest field recordings by Richard Tinti, and the incorporation of natural sounds gives We Know Each Other Somehow a hypnotic quality, featuring bird calls on “Miracle Mile” and the gurgling sounds of moving water on “Magick Creek.” The process of “tuning” synthesizers and reeds to the sounds of nature is one Kalma has long employed.

“That’s what I’ve learned to do with Osmose,” Kalma says. “That’s why we call it ‘osmosis,’ because it’s really the intimate connection between nature and instruments.” The approach has roots in Kalma’s first visit to India, and his impression of the natural harmony he observed there. “You know, they have the sacred cows in the streets — but they are silent — but the halls, the bicycle rings, the trains, the hoots; everything is relatively tuned,” Kalma says. The same can be said of the album. Occasionally it drifts from meditative drones toward a kind of cosmic dance music, but there’s an internal logic that shapes and unites each sound.

A film, Sunshine Soup, by directors Misha Hollenbach and Johann Rashid, serves as a companion piece to the album. Capturing serene scenes from Byron Bay and moments between Kalma and Lowe on handheld HD and 8 mm cameras, the film offers a visual display of the spiritual intimacy Kalma and Lowe share. It’s this connection which inspires the title, We Know Each Other Somehow, a phrase Lowe came across in a science fiction novel.

“For this particular instance, coming together in this way,” Lowe says, “those words together made a lot of sense.” words / j woodbury

Ariel Kalma / Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe :: Mille Voix

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Native American tones and folk meditations. A thirty seven minute guiding light through April.

American Dreamer – A Medley

DeFrank

“Waiting For My Baby”, via Psychedelic Man — Ghanaian drummer and percussionist De Frank Kakrah’s 1976 lp with the Professionals.

De Frank & His Professionals :: Waiting For My Baby