Trond Kallevåg Hansen’s new album Bedehus & Hawaii out today

Today sees the release of Bedehus & Hawaii, the new album from acclaimed guitarist and composer Trond Kallevåg Hansen, a stalwart of the Norwegian jazz scene. Bedehus & Hawaii had been a floating idea in Hansen´s mind for a long time and was originally commissioned for Sildajazz in 2017. He had this to say about it:

“I’ve deliberately used references and inspiration from my own upbringing on the west coast of Norway where I spent many summers with my grandparents on the little island of Bomlo, where both the chapel buildings and the music were central to life there. It’s funny because I noticed that music from this community can be very similar to Hawaiian music and this perception naturally directed me towards musicians that I’ve been really fascinated by, like Ry Cooder and David Lindley, and also Hawaiian guitarists Joseph Spence and Ray Kane. Simultaneously, I started to listen to the great Norwegian guitarist Geir Sundstøl, who is heavily influenced by this music. He was already a musical hero to me so when he agreed to join the ensemble for this project I was so happy. We even recorded the album in the same studio as his own ‘Brødløs’.”

In addition to longtime partners Alexander Hoholm on double bass, Ivar Myhrset Asheim on drums and percussion, and violinist Adrian Løseth Waade, Hansen also enlisted the help of guest Geir Sundstøl. “Pedal steel guitar is probably the most beautiful sounding instrument I know”, said Hansen, “and to have Norway’s most respected and in-demand guitarist playing on my album was surreal and amazing.”

‘Flukt’ serves as a wonderful taste from the record. Take a listen now.

Bedehus & Hawaii is out now through Hubro 

First wave of artists announced for Le Guess Who? 2019

Le Guess Who? has just announced the first round of artists for its 13th edition, taking place in various idyllic venues across Utrecht from 7-10 November. Joseph Shabason, Tyondai Braxton, Mary Lattimore, Conrad Tao, Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids, Minyo Crusaders and Angel Bat Dawid are amongst those confirmed to perform this year.

Le Guess Who? celebrates its 13th edition this year and so far, the organizers had only announced the list of its curators: Fatoumata Diawara, Jenny Hval, Patrick Higgins, The Bug, Moon Duo, and Iris van Herpen & Salvador Breed. Each year, Le Guess Who?’s curators contribute to the festival with their own selections, enriching an already magnificently diverse program featuring both emerging and well-established artists, traversing geography and genre. Today we get a first glimpse at some of their selections, as well as the first names from the general line-up.

Avant-garde composer, guitarist, and producer Patrick Higgins displays his creative vision with a sublime programme. His curation includes young pianist and composer Conrad Tao, whose work as a soloist includes recitals in Paris, London, Munich, Berlin and appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphonies, among many others. Also invited is Brooklyn based cellist, composer, and sound-artist Leila Bordreuil, experimental violin and harp duo LEYA, incredibly adventurous violist and violinist Miranda Cuckson and Berlin based vocalist Stine Janvin, who explores and stretches the flexibility of the voice and its surroundings. Higgins will also host the classical-electronics hybrid of prodigious composer and musician Tyondai Braxton and Canadian virtuoso Vicky Chow, who is also the pianist for Bang on a Can All-Stars, New Music Detroit, and a founding member of piano sextet Grand Band, and piano duo X88.

Prolific British musician and producer Kevin Martin aka The Bug returns to Le Guess Who? in 2019 as a guest curator, hosting Caspar Brötzmann Massaker, hot on the heels of their albums reissue program on Southern Lord, legendary duo Earth celebrating 30 years with their new album Full Upon Her Burning Lips and South East London-based Jah Shaka Sound System, active since the early 70’s and known as the king of the roots reggae Jamaican sound system. The Bug’s curation further includes multidisciplinary artist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, the hypnotic blend of jazz, country, noise and minimal electronica of Berlin based Polish instrumental trio LOTTO and Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force, the project of techno pioneer Mark Ernestus with a revolving cast of Senegalese sabar musicians. Some of The Bug’s other projects will also take to the stage at Le Guess Who?, including his trio King Midas Sound, featuring poet Roger Robinson and vocalist Kiki Hitomi, and Zonal, his duo with Justin Broadrick, set to perform with Moor Mother. He has also lined up the world premiere of his collaboration with London based Japanese vocal performer Hatis Noit, whose music draws from a variety of genres and traditions, including western classical music, Japanese folk, whispering, and poetry reading.

Known for performances and an artistic output that embraces a variety of arts forms and vehicles for expression, Jenny Hval´s curation reflects precisely that. Joining her bill is experimental composer and poet Félicia Atkinson, with a new album called The Flower And The Vessel coming out this July, the quirky and experimental Alina Astrova (Inga Copeland, Hype Williams) under her new alias Lolina, and the otherworldly experimental rock of Moon Relay,  a four piece orchestra who draw influences as disparate as krautrock, techno, no wave, surf rock and free jazz. The Norwegian multidisciplinary artist has also invited the wonderful and inimitable multi-instrumentalist and improviser Richard Youngs, whose album Belief was one of our 15 Album Picks of 2018, Canadian Los Angeles-based musician and musicologist Sarah Davachi, Swedish, Ethiopian-born, Oslo-based singer and composer Sofia Jernberg who describes herself as a “maker of things”, and DNA? AND?, the Oslo-based collective formed in 2013 that brings together kids with learning disabilities with professional musicians to play improvised music. Jenny Hval will present her new interdisciplinary piece The Practice of Love together with an ensemble of musicians and artists.

Psych-kraut stalwarts Moon Duo invited cosmic afro jazz mavericks Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids, minimal synthesist and experimental composer Michele Mercure with a recently released retrospective anthology, Beside Herself, featuring tracks from her early cassette releases, Liz Harris’ new project Nivhek, with a new record composed during and after residencies in Portugal and Russia, and experimental harpist Mary Lattimore who pushes the boundaries of her instrument using effects and an improvisational approach. On Moon Duo´s bill is also the blissful and pastoral sounds of Prana Crafter and Träd, Gräs och Stenar (Träden), hugely influential on Sweden’s DIY and ‘progg’ culture.

Le Guess Who? has become a privileged stage for rare performances and unique collaborations and continues to pride itself on nurturing them. Amongst those confirmed to play is singer-songwriter, producer and actress from Mumbai Asha Puthli, known for merging traditional Indian influences with contemporary Western pop and Pakistan’s 75-year old Ustad Saami, a master of the pre-Islamic vocal style known as Surti, passed on from generation to generation since the 13th century, and of which he is the only practitioner left in the world. There´s also an exclusive European performance in store with legendary Ethio-groove performer Ayalew Mesfin, performing with Boston´s Debo Band. Mesfin’s work came to prominence last year with the release of his compilation album Hasabe (My Worries).

There’s a lot more on offer for the 13th edition of Utrecht’s Le Guess Who?, with the first performing artists within the general line-up now announced. Appearing on the bill is talented Toronto based composer and multi-instrumentalist Joseph Shabason whose beguiling and affecting album Anne, in the realms of jazz and ambient, is among the finest releases of 2018, cult nurse-turned-musician Doug Hream Blunt, accomplished jazz composer and drummer Makaya McCraven, Chicago-based clarinetist, vocalist and composer Angel Bat Dawid, Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon, the loop-heavy, psychedelic groove of Chilean trio Föllakzoid, the afrofunk sound of Ghana’s highlife singer, composer and instrumentalist Gyedu-Blay Ambolley & His Sekondi Band and the Rajasthan folk of Lakha Khan mastering its traditional string instrument, the sindhi sarangi. Also announced are French collective Oiseaux-Tempête & Friends, Visible Cloaks, Yoshio Ojima & Satsuki Shibano, Tokyo based 10-piece big band Minyo Crusaders, and Somalia’s Dur-Dur Band with their exuberant pop funk.

Many more artists will be added to this initial tremendous line-up over the next few months, including the curated programs of Fatoumata Diawara and Iris van Herpen & Salvador Breed. But it is already clear it will be an adventurous musical paradise, covering just about all music spectrums. Full details of the line-up so far, tickets and other info can be found on leguesswho.com.

Watch Qasim Qasim’s new video for ‘No Tongue’

Pakistani-American percussionist and composer Qasim Naqvi has just released his debut solo record, Teenages, through Erased Tapes. Hot on the heels of his album release, Naqvi has paired the first single ‘No Tongue’ with a video, directed by Christina Burchard and performed by dancer Matthew “ET” Gibbs.

Burchard comments on the video:

“The track “No Tongue” is minimal, cerebral, and the harmonic shifts and strange sounds that appear throughout give it an otherworldly vibe. Qasim and I talked a lot about his relationship to this album and how he felt sometimes he was dealing with another consciousness inside the machine, and the experience was more like a conversation with a sometimes unwelcome host. These conversations conjured images in my mind of aliens, artificial intelligent machines, or parasitic organisms that affect the brain. There was also something about the song that felt computational, like mathematics and geometry
I immediately thought of dancer Matthew “ET” Gibbs. I had been following him on Instagram and am a big fan. ET is a bone breaker. Bone breaking involves mostly arm contortion, an optical illusion that makes it appear he is breaking his body to create new shapes. It feels unnatural, uncanny, and beyond. He also specialises in tutting which uses hand and arm gestures to create geometric shapes in space. Matthew choreographed his own performance and often pulls from movement found in nature, like jellyfish and spiders, to inspire his moves. He also pulls from fantasy and alien-like creatures.
I found a guy in East LA who owns three old bunkers from WWII and we used one of them for the location of the music video. I love how Matthew looks in the space, like he’s in a vortex swirling the energy around his body. His muscles flexing to every nuance in Qasim’s track as if in conversation with the sound. Our Director of Cinematography Lucas Gath did an incredible job building a milky atmosphere bringing us deeper into the void.”

Here’s the video.

Stereo Total announce new album Ah! Quel Cinéma! and share first single ‘Cinémascope’

Photo: Paul Cabine

French-German duo Stereo Total are back with their twelfth album called Ah! Quel Cinéma!, releasing on July 12th through Tapete Records. Formed in Berlin in 93 by Françoise Cactus and Brezel Göring, their upcoming record is “reminiscent of “rien de tout”, as the press release describes, and sees them “arriv[ing] in their very own musical universe which pays no heed to stylistic devices”.

‘Cinémascope’ is the first excellent single lifted from Ah! Quel Cinéma! and Stereo Total have paired it with an accompanying film.

Sarathy Korwar set to release second album More Arriving in July

London based, American born and Indian bred percussionist, producer and composer Sarathy Korwar is set to release his second album this summer. Entitled More Arriving, the album was recorded in India and the UK over the course of two and a half years and saw Korwar enlist a cast of South Asian artists, including rappers MC Mawali, Prabh Deep and Delhi Sultanate, and spoken word artists Zia Ahmed and Deepak Unnikrishnan. More Arriving, as the press release describes, is “an honest reflection of Korwar’s experience of being an Indian in a divided Britain.” He explains:

“This is a modern brown record. The kind of record that a contemporary Indian living in the UK for the past 10 years would make. This is what Indian music sounds like to me right now, and that means incorporating multiple brown voices. If anyone has a problem with that, they should be questioning what they think Indian music should be.”

Korwar also explained the title of the record:

“More Arriving comes from the scaremongering around Brexit. It’s a tongue-in-cheek play on the fact that there are more people coming and you’ll have to deal with it!

I want the idea of brown pride to come through. My voice is one amongst a thousand, but this record is a snapshot of something much greater than myself. It’s the chance to send a message.”

More Arriving will see the light of day on July 26th through The Leaf Label but we can already hear what he´ll be throwing at us with the fervent first single ‘Mumbay’, featuring Mumbai rapper MC Mawali and merging psychedelia, jazz and hip-hop. It comes with a video directed by Harshbir Singh Phull. Take a look now.

Circuit des Yeux releases Reaching For Indigo: GAIA INFINITUS: Performed Live at Le Guess Who? Festival

Circuit des Yeux live at Le Guess Who? 2018 | Photography: Erik Luyten

We loved last year’s edition of Le Guess Who? to bits and one powerful and beautiful performance that really stood out for us was that of Circuit des Yeux, closing the festival on Sunday November 11th at TivoliVredenburg. Haley Fohr, the immeasurably talented and adventurous vocalist, composer, and producer behind the project, cooked up a special one-off performance, an augmented version of her album Reaching For Indigo, a timeless favourite record and one of our 15 Picks of 2017. Entitled Reaching For Indigo: Gaia Infinitus, it was rearranged and performed with an eight-piece ensemble featuring members of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, as well as her bassist and drummer. Today, Circuit des Yeux unleashed the recordings of that performance in the shape of a live album and DVD, released through Drag City, and also available on her website and Bandcamp.

Circuit des Yeux’s Haley Fohr comments on Reaching for Indigo: GAIA INFINITUS:

“Let it be known that I (Haley Fohr) once walked the Earth and chose to sing my way through life. Let it be known that one of these many singing rituals transpired on Nov 11, 2018 at Le Guess Who? Festival. On this evening Cooper Crain rearranged works from 2017’s “Reaching For Indigo”, members of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra helped re-imagine this aforementioned music, Le Guess Who? Festival documented it, and here today we have Reaching For Indigo: GAIA INFINITUS: Performed Live at Le Guess Who? Festival.

Drag City & I have meticulously prepared a limited 300 count LP/DVD, featuring 100 different album covers, as well as a video documentation of the entire performance. It includes a previously unreleased song written during the Indigo era,”Four Limbs”, and is exclusively available on the vinyl version of this release.

Thank you for your continued support of independent music & the living artist.”

For a taste of the intense and staggering beauty of Circuit des Yeux’s performance, watch the live video for ‘Black Fly’ below: