►The Alternative Music Lounge: John Surman

Sometimes, it just strikes you: how come I’ve never heard anything at all about this great musician until now? Have I been living hiding somewhere on a deserted musical island or what? But then again, I don’t consider myself that ignorant, I mean, I know quite a few musicians, bands and composers from lots of different genres, even way back in musical history. And still, if it wasn’t for my mom suggesting me to have a listen, I might as well never have discovered the music of John Surman.

So, let’s talk a little more about this John Surman. He actually is from the same generation as my mother (little coincidence hehe), so has been a musician for a long time and achieved great things, another reason I’m so “upset” about not having heard of him before. I mean, how is it possible, some south korean girls band launches a video that you can’t even listen to until the end for being so impossibly bad (this didn’t even happen to me with Lady Gaga, so go figure…), but it has 16 million views in a week and everyone talks about it. And who talks about real great musicians like John Surman? Anyway, back to focus: he especially plays saxophone and bass clarinet and has been playing in lots of different projects with many other great musicians (just to name a few: Dave Holland, Richard Galliano, John McLaughlin, John Taylor, Jack DeJohnette) and although his main genre is located somewhere between Jazz and Ambient / Fusion, he does not limit himself to this, his compositions and performances cover a large spectrum of inspiration, from English folk music, Choral and church music to songs of John Dowland. He also has written music for quite a few movies and dance performances.

But well, if you want to know more about his biography, read on over here.

Wait, while you’re reading, have a listen to some of his tracks:

Winter Wish

 

Portrait of Romantic!

 

Whistman’s Wood

 

Enjoy! :)

 


About this series:

One of the ideas I have for this blog is to start periodic post series about a few interesting topics. Like one post a week or a month, about the same topic but always bringing you new (or classic but little known) musical discoveries.
This series that I gave the name “The Alternative Music Lounge” is about presenting you bands and projects that I like a lot or respect much because of the quality of their music although they haven’t made it into the so called “main stream” and therefore probably will remain unknown for many people.
Whatever might be the reasons for this (sometimes their creations are just too good, too unique, lacking any “commercial characteristics”, othertimes it’s just another case of being disregarded by the music industry, we all know what’s usual to happen…), I think the’re more people out there who might like their music but just didn’t have a chance to discover it yet, so I hope these publications of mine might be helpful.
By the way, if you’re a musician and think I might like your music and would like to propose your creations for being featured in a post of this series, you’re welcome to comment this post or any other future post of this series, stating your project’s name, a link to where I can listen to some tracks and a way to contact you.
I promise to try and listen to everyone’s tracks and respond, even if I happen to not accept the proposal.

 

 

►The Alternative Music Lounge: Chill Out special edition

It’s been a while that I have been thinking of doing a special edition dedicated to Chill Out music, after all, it’s one of the main objectives of this site / blog, to specialize on Chill Out music. So, here are several listening suggestions, from the classics to some less well known projects, I didn’t organize them in any particular order. I hope it gives you a starting point for further exploring the world of Chill Out.

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Moby – Porcelain

 

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Massive Attack – Teardrop

 

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Zero7 – In the Waiting Line

 

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Air – Universal Traveler

 

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Nightmares On Wax – Passion

 

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Chris Coco – Starlight

 

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St. Germain – Rose Rouge

 

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Mr Scruff – Music Takes Me Up  (Ft. Alice Russel)

 

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Triangle Sun – Buddha

 

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Groove Armada – At The River

 

 


About this series:

One of the ideas I have for this blog is to start periodic post series about a few interesting topics. Like one post a week or a month, about the same topic but always bringing you new (or classic but little known) musical discoveries.
This series that I gave the name “The Alternative Music Lounge” is about presenting you bands and projects that I like a lot or respect much because of the quality of their music although they haven’t made it into the so called “main stream” and therefore probably will remain unknown for many people.
Whatever might be the reasons for this (sometimes their creations are just too good, too unique, lacking any “commercial characteristics”, othertimes it’s just another case of being disregarded by the music industry, we all know what’s usual to happen…), I think the’re more people out there who might like their music but just didn’t have a chance to discover it yet, so I hope these publications of mine might be helpful.
By the way, if you’re a musician and think I might like your music and would like to propose your creations for being featured in a post of this series, you’re welcome to comment this post or any other future post of this series, stating your project’s name, a link to where I can listen to some tracks and a way to contact you.
I promise to try and listen to everyone’s tracks and respond, even if I happen to not accept the proposal.

 

►FMM Sines 2012 – the aftermath

First of all: the few (but invaluable) fellow readers of my blog might have been wondering if this blog has died a premature death. No, not at all, fortunately I can assure you, my friends, that it is not dead. This post can be taken as a factual proof, right?

On a more serious note, I can explain the long absence from posting (two months): in July I had to take care of the last (but most complicated and most stressing) tasks related to my job as a music teacher in public school, like preparing exams, watching some more exams and judging some more exams, again. And add to this the usual meetings. On the other hand, me and my wife had to take care of moving out of our (temporary – that is, for one school year) home. At the beginning of this year, we promised each other we would NOT take more stuff than we needed into this home, but I guess we failed a little. About three cars went full with stuff. In the meantime, the month was coming to an end and finally, we had some (very) deserved holidays, of which we spent two days at Sines.

Sines is a rather smallish town at the portuguese west coast, something like mid-way between Algarve and Lisbon. Normally it is known for its very important international harbour and its petrol raffineries. On another hand it also has a nice beach and pitoresque streets and houses, as well as an old castle to offer. But more important than all this (at least for me):

It is the setting of FMM (“Festival de Músicas de Mundo“: something like World Music Festival).

I’ve already been there two years ago and became instant fan. Absolutely great venue, very nice atmosphere, nice people, no stress or hectic masses of audiences (although it does get really crowded) and fantastic choice of bands and musicians from all around the globe. So, I had to come back this year, and will try to go almost every year, too.

This edition, I managed to attend the following concerts:

Portuguese traditional music meets the classics from Brazil with the very musical and alternative interpretation of two brazilians who came to Portugal:  Luanda Cozetti (vocals) and Norton Daiello (bass) with the help of Ruca Rebordão (percussion) and José Peixoto (guitar) recreate their own versions of all-time classics and also some originals of their own, where they play from soul to jazz-funk.

Bosnian band emerging from the ashes of civil war and becoming one of the most popular projects in eastern europe, mixing folclore with reggae, hiphop and plain, hard and noisy rock. Original and interventional lyrics paired with strong rhythms.

This promising project from Argentina might be one of the best examples for the modern state of Tango, aware of the traditions but inspired by the crowded and uncensored life on the streets of Buenos Aires, taking their tools from Jazz, Rock and even contemporary instrumental composition.

A very talented lady from Mali who grew up with the ancestral blues music from the Wassolou region and although having started as an actress, never stopped believing in herself and made her dream come true: become an internationally known singer.

All members of this ensemble from Republic of Congo have some kind of physical handicap, in fact most of them appear on stage in wheel chairs, making this project a great demonstration of courage and winning the most difficult adversities in life.  Their music, pairing traditional rhythms with Funk and Rumba, won’t leave anybody indifferent.

A portuguese Folk-Rock project with unusual compositions and also a unusual line-up: from a Hurdy-Gurdy (strange instrument, but sounds great… look here if you don’t know what it is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurdy_gurdy) to traditional flutes, bagpipes, concertinas, mandolin and “cavaquinho“.

Definitely the best concert of all, and one of the greatest I’ve ever been at. Absolutely soberb performance, great musicianship and perfect sound. Stunning. I’ve already dedicated one chapter of my series “Alternative Music Lounge” to Dhafer, check it out here for more details. That’s also why I include the video-report of the actual concert he gave at FMM Sines 2012, rather than one of his music videos, those you can find on the article or directly on youtube.

In 2010 (at FMM as well) I heard for the first time one of the very special “throat-singers” of the Norwegian Swami people (Wimme), now it was time to hear Mari Boine, also representing these unique Shaman music traditions.

 

And that’s it. I wish I could have stayed longer… See you next year, FMM Sines!

►The Alternative Music Lounge: Daniel Mille Quintet

Finally a new episode for this series =)… This one is about french Jazz Accordionist Daniel Mille who I happened to “discover” while listening to a radio program that was transmitting a recording of a live concert at OndaJazz Bar.

I really enjoyed his tunes… dreamy and inspiring, very melodic and showing great musicianship of him and also all other members of the quintet (Alfio Origlio – piano, Jérome Regard – double bass, Julien Alour – flugelhorn, Pascal Rey – drums).

On YouTube I was not able to find videos of the same combo (first two videos is Daniel Mille together with André Ceccarelli, Jérôme Regard, Stéphane Belmondo while the third is with Remy Vignolo, Eric Legnini and Pascal Rey and the last features Alfio Origlio, Jérôme Regard, Julien Alour, Andy Barron) but the music is as good as what I heard on radio, so have a listen by yourself right now:

L’Attente

Les Beaux Jours

Ouro Preto (original by Daniel Goyone)

At Montreal Jazz Fest (video is an excerpt)

To finish this post, here are some more links about him:

http://www.myspace.com/danielmille

http://daniel-mille.artiste.universalmusic.fr/

 


About this series:

One of the ideas I have for this blog is to start periodic post series about a few interesting topics. Like one post a week or a month, about the same topic but always bringing you new (or classic but little known) musical discoveries.
This series that I gave the name “The Alternative Music Lounge” is about presenting you bands and projects that I like a lot or respect much because of the quality of their music although they haven’t made it into the so called “main stream” and therefore probably will remain unknown for many people.
Whatever might be the reasons for this (sometimes their creations are just too good, too unique, lacking any “commercial characteristics”, othertimes it’s just another case of being disregarded by the music industry, we all know what’s usual to happen…), I think the’re more people out there who might like their music but just didn’t have a chance to discover it yet, so I hope these publications of mine might be helpful.
By the way, if you’re a musician and think I might like your music and would like to propose your creations for being featured in a post of this series, you’re welcome to comment this post or any other future post of this series, stating your project’s name, a link to where I can listen to some tracks and a way to contact you.
I promise to try and listen to everyone’s tracks and respond, even if I happen to not accept the proposal.

 

 

►The Alternative Music Lounge: Jon Gomm

This time, I’d like to present you a musician who until quite recently was almost unknown, the moment that Stephen Fry (an english actor and television presenter) discovered him and decided to share his music to his 4 million twitter followers, saying just one word: “Wow” (read more here). So, by now I might have about 50% of my readers thinking:

« ah, another of those “assisted fame victims”, who raise to world fame and then fall down into the gutter quicker than you can say “G sharp minor seven” and in reality show nothing special »

But the other half of you (hopefully!) waiting with expectation for more details and, obviously, for hearing his music.

Well, if you’re still with me, here we go:

His name is Jon Gomm, he is a guitarist living in Leeds, England and until recently used to do about 200 gigs per year in very small venues or even on the street, just to survive.

Now he is touring Europe and received offers from around the world.

I got to “know” him yesterday, on the portuguese tv talk show “Herman“, where he was guest and played one of his songs.

I was impressed, he manages to combine several special techniques with great virtuosism and musicality, making his guitar sound like three or four instruments at the same time.

This includes complex percussion patterns on the guitar’s body and strings (the drums part), tapping, slurs and harmonics combined with pedal effects and a very neat trick with the tuning pegs, changing forth and back the tuning of the actual note in a way that sounds like a pitch bend (the electric-acoustic guitar part) and adding walking bass lines on the 6th string (the bass part), finishing it all up with his voice, which sounds really nice aswell.

But enough said, have a listen for yourself:

Jon Gomm – Passionflower

Here’s his website: Jon Gomm


About this series:

One of the ideas I have for this blog is to start periodic post series about a few interesting topics. Like one post a week or a month, about the same topic but always bringing you new (or classic but little known) musical discoveries.
This series that I gave the name “The Alternative Music Lounge” is about presenting you bands and projects that I like a lot or respect much because of the quality of their music although they haven’t made it into the so called “main stream” and therefore probably will remain unknown for many people.
Whatever might be the reasons for this (sometimes their creations are just too good, too unique, lacking any “commercial characteristics”, othertimes it’s just another case of being disregarded by the music industry, we all know what’s usual to happen…), I think the’re more people out there who might like their music but just didn’t have a chance to discover it yet, so I hope these publications of mine might be helpful.
By the way, if you’re a musician and think I might like your music and would like to propose your creations for being featured in a post of this series, you’re welcome to comment this post or any other future post of this series, stating your project’s name, a link to where I can listen to some tracks and a way to contact you.
I promise to try and listen to everyone’s tracks and respond, even if I happen to not accept the proposal.

►The Alternative Music Lounge: Dhafer Youssef

After quite a while without anything new in this series (since I started to work full-time I have found it more difficult to have time to write on the blog, unfortunately), know here’s finally one more listening suggestion.

In this series, I’ve already presented to you a great musician who plays the Oud (Rabi Abou Khalil), but here’s another one, and I think the only things they have in common are the instrument, their interest in Jazz and the quality of their music…

His name is Dhafer Youssef and he was born in Tunisia but moved to Europe in 1990 to have more freedom and ways to perform his art – playing the Oud, singing and composing.

His music ranges from Jazz and World Music over Fusion right all the way to Avant-garde.

I especially admire his musicality (having listened to the album Malak (1999)  – where he performs with Markus Stockhausen and Renaud Garcia-Fons, among others), his impressive voice (listen to him singing unissono with a trumpet, for example, and you will feel that shivers going down your spine, I grant you) and the astonishing dynamic range of his music (right from ppp to fff, it’s like classical music – never had listened to something similar in Jazz or World Music before) aswell as the criativity of his compositions and the quality of his interpretation along with his other band members.

Have a listen for yourself:

http://www.dhaferyoussef.com/music/samples/malak/04-kind_of_love.mp3

http://www.dhaferyoussef.com/music/samples/malak/02-iman.mp3

Some more recent recordings of him (Dhafer Youssef Quartet):

Here’s the link to his official site: Dhafer Youssef

and the article on Wikipedia.

 


About this series:

One of the ideas I have for this blog is to start periodic post series about a few interesting topics. Like one post a week or a month, about the same topic but always bringing you new (or classic but little known) musical discoveries.
This series that I gave the name “The Alternative Music Lounge” is about presenting you bands and projects that I like a lot or respect much because of the quality of their music although they haven’t made it into the so called “main stream” and therefore probably will remain unknown for many people.
Whatever might be the reasons for this (sometimes their creations are just too good, too unique, lacking any “commercial characteristics”, othertimes it’s just another case of being disregarded by the music industry, we all know what’s usual to happen…), I think the’re more people out there who might like their music but just didn’t have a chance to discover it yet, so I hope these publications of mine might be helpful.
By the way, if you’re a musician and think I might like your music and would like to propose your creations for being featured in a post of this series, you’re welcome to comment this post or any other future post of this series, stating your project’s name, a link to where I can listen to some tracks and a way to contact you.
I promise to try and listen to everyone’s tracks and respond, even if I happen to not accept the proposal.