sounds

Hot Sugar Reveals Unique Beatmaking Process

Dame Dash’s Creative Control recently caught up with producer Nick Koenig, a.k.a. Hot Sugar, to document his unique process of making beats and capture his charmingly awkward sense of humor.  If you haven’t checked out the premiere over at Prefix, click HERE to watch Koenig in action (and note that all the sounds used in this video were recorded live at this session.)  Hot Sugar is also releasing a new free mp3 for the song “F**kable” (Feat. Baghdaddy) off his forthcoming EP, Muscle Milk.  Stream or download it HERE and feel free to post and share both.

For the past several decades numerous musicians have created recordings using found audio.  It is usually done in a manner that highlights the unusual nature of the source. Koenig, on the other hand, manipulates his samples until they’re tweaked beyond recognition.  For example, if one of his kick drums sounds like it came from a drum set, it’s more likely to be the sound of a car running over a juicebox, if not a fire cracker pitched down and chopped up, etc.

Having mastered this experimental technique, Koenig has a nearly unlimited palette of sounds to work with and his beats cover a massive array of genres.  New track “F**kable” is a slice of oddball digital funk featuring the blue-eyed soul, come-hither vocals of Baghdaddy.  If you haven’t heard Hot Sugar’s previously released mp3’s, “The Seagull” is a whimsical indie-pop nugget anchored by a music box melody and “Color Wars” pairs a mellow, head-nodding groove with the gritty crooning of The Roots/RJD2 collaborator Aaron Livingston.

All three tracks will appear on the Muscle Milk EP, which will be released for free online later this year.  Hot Sugar’s debut full-length will be out next year and will feature some top secret surprise guests.  Stay tuned for more info!

Phish | Broomfield, Colorado | 10/10/2010

Phish is back in Colorado... just a mere two months earlier we were all out in Telluride to catch Phish at one of the most stellar locales in America.  1st Bank Arena, in Broomfield, Colorado might be in the middle of cookie-cutter American looking architecture -- but the promoters did get it right after renovating 1st Bank back in 2008>2009.  The place was a complete disaster when it first opened in 2006.  The place was riddled with parking problems, crummy acoustics and a real lack of interest from bands, special events, etc.   I guess the Colorado GOP had their little shindig there, which should give you an indication right away how lame this place was…

Now it’s still the same building in the same cookie-cutter location, but what has changed has made all the difference! This place sounds good! Really good…it’s small too, nearing about 6500 at full capacity.  You're not going to catch Phish in a smaller venue in 2010.  Sure us lucky folk who started seeing Phish in the early 90's will still boast seeing the band in a venue holding less than 500 (for me that was Liberty Hall in Lawrence, KS on 4/1/92 -- still my favorite Phish show.. get it!).  However, catching Phish in this relatively intimate venue is pretty cool considering the alternative…Pepsi Center or gag…Fiddler's Green (or whatever they're calling the schwaggy place nowadays).

Trey sounds great.  They really tore the roof off the place last night.  Highlights for me:  Julius was a rager – Golgi is always a lot of fun to hear.  Mike’s Song > Simple > Ghost > Weekapaug Groove had a little bit of everything.   Trey introduced a new song last night titled: “My problem Right There” – Sure Senior Ernesto is one of the most prolific song writers out there… I will confess on average, however, I am probably fond of only 1/3 new songs Trey has brought forth over the past decade or so – But this song I liked right away. Most songs take a least a few listens before I know the song well-enough to gauge if I truly dig it – but this song is catchy, bluesy and I enjoyed it from the get-go.

The band is hot. They sound great.  Check out Grateful Web’s videos from the shows – We’ll have more up on Tuesday as well as photos and phan interviews.

Rhythm Devils ft. Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann announce Summer Tour

For nearly three decades they were the two-headed, eight-limbed, polyrhythmic engine that drove the Grateful Dead. Now, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart are the Rhythm Devils, and when the veteran percussionists take to the road this summer, even the most Deadicated of fans will be in for some big surprises. “The music is quite different,” says Kreutzmann. “It’s real groove-based. It has lots of percussion and electronics. It’s very danceable. It’s gonna be quite a mix up there.”  Hart says, “This music will take you to a very special place, I think. It’s like a super friendly rhythm snake that has wrapped itself around the world a few times and now it’s coming our way. It’s electric; it’s got rhythm, has words and flies. It’s the Rhythm Devils.”

Joining Hart and Kreutzmann in the Rhythm Devils for this tour will be Nigerian talking drum master Sikiru Adepoju, returning from the last RD tour in 2006, Back Door Slam’s Davy Knowles (guitar, vocals) and Andy Hess (bass). Plus one-man-band Keller Williams (guitar, vocals) makes his first run as a Devil, joining the band on select dates, as does The Mother Hips' Tim Bluhm (guitar, vocals).

The Rhythm Devils name has its origins in the late ’70s. As Hart explains, “I remember Jerry looking at Bill and I one time. He shook his head and just said, ‘You guys are Rhythm Devils.’”

But the 2010 incarnation of the Rhythm Devils is guaranteed to be unlike anything that’s come before—the dynamic mix of the musicians’ individual but complementary styles and approaches is sure to lead to some serious sparks. “It’s a great combination,” says Hart. “You have the deep trance music from Nigeria and West Africa that Sikiru brings to us and there’s Davy who at any moment just might rip the sky apart with his guitar and Andy Hess is a real gem of a bass player. Joining us for the first part of the tour is the 'one man band' Keller Williams and on the second part of our tour is Tim Bluhm, who will bring his ferocious California guitar style and beautiful vocals to the mix.”

While both Hart and Kreutzmann promise that the music will be percussion-driven, another factor contributing to the Rhythm Devils’ special mojo is the troupe’s repertoire: Not only will they be reconstituting some familiar Grateful Dead tunes in their unique way, but the Devils will also be performing numerous tunes written exclusively for them by Robert Hunter, the legendary songwriter whose collaborations with the late Jerry Garcia provided the Dead with their most beloved and durable material.

“Robert Hunter is a major force in all of this. He has written his heart out in these new songs,” says Hart. “There will also be enormous, exciting electronic sections of pulsing, throbbing, beautiful zones. There are places and sounds still unknown and unborn that we will no doubt visit.”

Kreutzmann and Hart have been inextricably entwined as partners since they first met in 1967, two years after the formation of the Grateful Dead with Kreutzmann the sole drummer. On that first night, they literally “played the city,” walking around San Francisco with drumsticks banging on everything in sight. Hart joined them immediately and except for a brief hiatus in the ’70s, the pair remained with the Dead until 1995, when Garcia’s death signaled the end of an era. Since then, Kreutzmann and Hart have continued to make music both together (most recently in The Dead) and apart, but they both agree that a special chemistry takes place when their percussive minds are in sync.

“When we get together and we’re in the groove it’s a tractor beam,” says Hart. “Anyone around that will be drawn in. But we always thought of the Grateful Dead, and anything that we did together, as a work in progress. This too is a work in progress and that’s the best thing you could say. We’re looking to the future with this kind of music. In the Grateful Dead we created a body of work that we’ll not leave behind. But we also have an identity as the Rhythm Devils, and that’s who we’ll be.”

When they’re not working together as the Rhythm Devils, both Hart and Kreutzmann are involved in other projects. Kreutzmann plans to release a new album later this year with his other band, 7 Walkers, which features singer-songwriter Papa Mali (who has also been collaborating with Hunter on new material), multi-instrumentalist Matt Hubbard, and George Porter Jr. on bass.

Among Hart’s recent endeavors is the tentatively titled Rhythms of the Universe, a project of enormous scope. Hart is currently working with leading scientists to capture raw light waves from Space and then transform those light waves into sound waves. Hart then uses those sounds to compose Universal music. Hart's goal is nothing less than exploring what the universe really sounds like, from the Big Bang to the galaxies, to the stars and planets and beyond.

But for both Kreutzmann and Hart, it’s the upcoming Rhythm Devils tour that’s got them most excited. “It’s part of my lifelong partnership, my 40-year rhythmic experience, with Bill Kreutzmann,” says Hart. “It’s time for Bill and me to get together and explore new rhythms and take it to the next level. We share a unique rhythm and we’ve got some great guys with us who we’re going to explore what it sounds like on this planet…star date; 2010.”

Rhythm Devils current tour schedule is as follows:

Friday, July 16 Arcata Theatre Arcata CA with Keller Williams
Saturday, July 17 String Summit North Plains OR with Keller Williams
Sunday, July 18 Britt Festival Jacksonville OR with Keller Williams
Thursday, July 22 Ogden Theatre Denver CO with Keller Williams
Friday, July 23 Steamboat Springs Concert Series Steamboat Springs CO with Keller Williams
Saturday, July 24 Spud Drive In Driggs ID with Keller Williams
Sunday, July 25 Red Butte Garden Salt Lake City UT with Keller Williams
Tuesday, July 27 Orpheum Theatre Flagstaff AZ with Keller Williams
Wednesday, July 28 Rialto Theatre Tucson AZ with Keller Williams
Thursday, July 29 Soundwave San Diego CA with Keller Williams
Saturday, July 31 Gathering of the Vibes Bridgeport CT with Keller Williams
Tuesday, January 4 - Sunday, January 9 Jam Cruise 9 Fort Lauderdale FL with Tim Bluhm
Sunday, January 9 Revolution Fort Lauderdale FL with Tim Bluhm
Part two of the summer tour still to be announced.

Pete Francis Kicks off Summer Tour

New York City based singer-songwriter, Pete Francis, is set to release his new album The Movie We Are In this May 2010. Whereas Francis’ previous solo albums were largely self-produced, he uprooted his more traditional approach to album-making and assembled an entirely new crew with Los Angeles based producer Jeff Trott (right hand man to Sheryl Crow as writer and guitarist).

Says Francis, “In the past I’ve worked with acoustic guitar, bass, drums, B3 organ, but I wanted to bring a modern electronic element into my music. When first speaking with Jeff Trott, I quickly realized he had great musical instincts and that he was getting my tunes. And then, he brought ideas to the table that I hadn’t imagined. I saw a new musical landscape could be created with my songs by working with him.”

The musicians that Trott assembled for the recording sessions helped to create this colorful landscape. Having worked with artists such as Beck, Nine Inch nails, Gnarls Barkley, Willie Nelson, Queens of the Stone Age, Dr. Dre, and Scott Weiland, the musicians (Brian LeBarton, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, John O’Brien, Victor Indrizzo and others) provided an extraordinary musical palette of talent and sensibility.

When asked about the project, Trott says, “It really became apparent to me that Pete was a very creative and colorful song-writer. What I liked was that there was this very good sense of Pete’s personality from happy go lucky to dark and brooding. All these aspects were amazing to work with and the lyrics were very colorful. I think that’s one of the things I really enjoy about Pete’s songs… that it’s sometimes hard to really figure out what the meanings are and I think that’s missing in a lot of music - the mystery of what a song is.”

The opening track, “Glue”, generates a feeling of weightlessness by combining organic instrumentation with futuristic sounds. This song solidly represents what’s to follow on the album’s consistent mix of fresh and classic, electronic and acoustic, known and unknown… Each listen unlocks a new guitar lick, synth riff, bass groove, drum program, live drumbeat or horn swell, and even the sounds of the sparsely used Ethiopian instrument cumbus. Midway through the album, the listener gets catapulted into the up-tempo and joyous revelry of “Love Shakes You Down” a sing-a-long with the familiar bell sounds of Motown combined with a  string synth creating a modern and retro sound all at once. The slower, more melodic songs of the album like “St. Paul’s Fair” and “Didn’t Know I Built It” lure the listener into dream-states with rich deep vocals, sampled sounds from a town square in Italy, trance-like Wurlitzer pedaling, and vivid lyrics.

No one would deny that Francis has earned his stripes in the independent music scene. He formed the fiercely independent band Dispatch in 1995 whose uncommonly loyal fan-base bid them farewell at The Last Dispatch concert in 2004 with an attendance of 110,000 people from around the world. Since then, his career has infiltrated many musical worlds including performing his solo music at festivals around the country, reuniting with his Dispatch pals for three sold out nights at Madison Square Garden, having his solo music featured in films and television, and performing in the presence of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C..

Commenting on his new album and departure from his Dispatch days, Francis says, “It’s good to get out of your comfort zone. I tried to let this motto resonate at every turning point of this record’s evolution.” When asked if there is an overall theme to The Movie We Are In, Francis explains, “I like to leave this up to the listener. Hearing an album is similar to visiting a museum. The listener has to have his or her own conversation with the artwork and create their own interpretations."

--

US Spring / Summer Tour
(more dates to come)

May 18 World Cafe Live
Philadelphia, PA Doors: 7:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

May 19 Cafe 939
Boston, MA Doors: 7:30
Ages: All Ages

May 20 Wheel House
Narragansett , RI Doors: 8:00 PM
Ages: 18+

May 21 Red Square
Troy, NY Doors: 7:30
Ages: All Ages

May 22 The Stone Church
Newmarket, NH Doors: 8:00 PM
Ages: 18+

May 23 Fairfield Theatre's Stage One
Fairfield, CT Doors: 7:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

May 25 Jammin Java
Vienna, VA Doors: 7:30
Ages: All Ages

May 26 Joe's Pub
New York, NY Doors: 6pm
Ages: All Ages

Jun 01 Nightcat
Easton, Maryland Doors: 8:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

Jun 03 3rd + Lindsley
Nashville, Tennessee Doors: 8:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

Jun 05 Wakarusa Festival
Ozark, Arkansas Ages: All Ages

Jun 06 Wakarusa Festival
Ozark, Arkansas Ages: All Ages

Jun 08 SPACE
Evanston, Illinois Doors: 7:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

Jun 09 Rumba Cafe
Columbus, Ohio Doors: 8:00 PM
Ages: 18+

Jun 10 Club Cafe
Pittsburgh, PA Doors: 8:00 PM
Ages: 21+

Aug 10 Musikfest
Bethlehem , PA Doors: TBD Ages: All Ages

Turbine and Mason Jar Records team up for live release Sounds in the Hall

Breaking through the proverbial glass ceiling of the improvisational rock scene proves no easy feat for young bands. Burgeoning musicians lumped in the dare we say it, jamband realm, need to successfully marry a deep high-quality catalog of material, whimsical stage presence, diverse writing chops, virtuoso instrumentation, and a calendar containing upwards of 200 shows per year. Correction, breaking through the glass ceiling of the improvisational rock scene is damn near impossible.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, and Brooklyn’s Turbine would like to submit their CV. On their first official live release, Sounds in the Hall, as they have over the course of 8 songs checked off every single one of the preceding prerequisites. Comprised of carefully hand-picked selections of both Turbine classics and newer material, Sounds in the Hall covers all the bases, but the clear differentiating factor that sets Turbine far above the masses is their amazing penchant for writing memorable and distinctive songs across a variety of sounds and genres.

Just running through the eight song track list, Turbine touches on a bonafide hit-single in waiting “Blackout Song,” the slow summer groove akin to the Grateful Dead “Eddy From the Sea,” a thick extended funk jam on “Behind These Walls” that stretches all way to cow funk-era 1997, blazing bluegrass chops on Maritime Rag, and a handful of tunes that highlight the remarkable vocals and smoking harmonica leads.

Having played a seemingly infinite number of shows over the past couple of years, the Turbine boys took a lot of time in selecting their finest renditions of the material on Sound from the Halls, as described by guitarist and harmonica player Ryan Rightmire.

“There were so many factors in selecting the songs. Being that this is our first official live album, we wanted to include songs from our two studio albums as well as feature some unreleased ones. In the end, half the album is made up of unreleased tracks. Listening back to the performances, it was hard to ignore the energy of the big shows. Bonnaroo and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival brought out some great moments, so they are well represented. As for a specific memory, at one point during “Stand Down” I played the harmonica with a balloon, and you can hear the crowd erupt mid-song. It’s those mid-song responses that always tell us things are going well.”

It bears highlighting that Turbine’s Ryan Rightmire incorporates the harmonica like it’s never been used in a rock context. Not only does he employ some trickery like playing with a balloon, but it’s not uncommon to hear him layer on some effects and turn his harp into a synth-laden rhythm instrument. Alternatively, he possesses to chops to play it clean and go toe-to-toe with John Popper and perhaps remain the last man standing. While it’s probably not wise for the bands’ publicity to start entering them into fights, these guys are pretty scrappy so keep your guard up, Popper.

Turbine is by no means any one trick pony either, guitarist Jeremy Hilliard plays law-running lead guitar and cranks out definitive melodies throughout  his lead playing as well as helping shape Turbine’s wide reaching sound with his song-writing talents. Bassist Justin Kimmel and drummer Octavio Salman hold down the low post like Abdul-Jabar, as both are trained musicians with the ability to run the offense and take over the game at any moment.

Sometimes these things just feel meant to be; when Turbine showed up to perform their show at Bonnaroo, from which three of these tracks were taken, they found a bit of encouraging irony. “There was a giant wind turbine spinning next to the stage. As of matter of fact, it powered our entire show including all of the recording equipment. We made the announcement that this was the first turbine-powered Turbine concert. I kept expecting the songs to speed up every time a gust of wind made it spin faster.”

Taking the name from the lyrics of one the album’s highlight tracks, “Behind These Walls,” Sounds in the Hall evokes a sense of the live experience the overall feel for this tour, which included some big venues. We can only hope that with the help of a successfully release, that the halls will keep growing and the sounds will just keep getting better.

In support of the album, Turbine will host a record release party on May 22nd at the Mercury Lounge in New York City (with the Brew).

Listen to Turbine sing "Blackout Song"

{play}images/mp3/blackout_song.mp3{/play}

Sounds in the Hall Tracklist:

Eddy the Sea – Telluride Bluegrass Festival, CO

War of 9161 (The Pledge) – Breckenridge, CO

Invited – Bonnaroo, TN

Behind These Walls – Boulder, CO

Doing to Me – Bonnaroo, TN

Stand Down – Bonnaroo, TN

Maritime Rag – Telluride Bluegrass Festival, CO

Blackout Song – Breckenridge, CO

Pete Francis | Summer Tour 2010 | New LP

New York City based singer-songwriter, Pete Francis, is set to release his new album The Movie We Are In this May 2010. Whereas Francis’ previous solo albums were largely self-produced, he uprooted his more traditional approach to album-making and assembled an entirely new crew with Los Angeles based producer Jeff Trott (right hand man to Sheryl Crow as writer and guitarist). Says Francis, “In the past I’ve worked with acoustic guitar, bass, drums, B3 organ, but I wanted to bring a modern electronic element into my music. When first speaking with Jeff Trott, I quickly realized he had great musical instincts and that he was getting my tunes. And then, he brought ideas to the table that I hadn’t imagined. I saw a new musical landscape could be created with my songs by working with him.”

The musicians that Trott assembled for the recording sessions helped to create this colorful landscape. Having worked with artists such as Beck, Nine Inch nails, Gnarls Barkley, Willie Nelson, Queens of the Stone Age, Dr. Dre, and Scott Weiland, the musicians (Brian LeBarton, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, John O’Brien, Victor Indrizzo and others) provided an extraordinary musical palette of talent and sensibility.

When asked about the project, Trott says, “It really became apparent to me that Pete was a very creative and colorful song-writer. What I liked was that there was this very good sense of Pete’s personality from happy go lucky to dark and brooding. All these aspects were amazing to work with and the lyrics were very colorful. I think that’s one of the things I really enjoy about Pete’s songs… that it’s sometimes hard to really figure out what the meanings are and I think that’s missing in a lot of music - the mystery of what a song is.”

The opening track, “Glue”, generates a feeling of weightlessness by combining organic instrumentation with futuristic sounds. This song solidly represents what’s to follow on the album’s consistent mix of fresh and classic, electronic and acoustic, known and unknown… Each listen unlocks a new guitar lick, synth riff, bass groove, drum program, live drumbeat or horn swell, and even the sounds of the sparsely used Ethiopian instrument cumbus. Midway through the album, the listener gets catapulted into the up-tempo and joyous revelry of “Love Shakes You Down” a sing-a-long with the familiar bell sounds of Motown combined with a  string synth creating a modern and retro sound all at once. The slower, more melodic songs of the album like “St. Paul’s Fair” and “Didn’t Know I Built It” lure the listener into dream-states with rich deep vocals, sampled sounds from a town square in Italy, trance-like Wurlitzer pedaling, and vivid lyrics.

No one would deny that Francis has earned his stripes in the independent music scene. He formed the fiercely independent band Dispatch in 1995 whose uncommonly loyal fan-base bid them farewell at The Last Dispatch concert in 2004 with an attendance of 110,000 people from around the world. Since then, his career has infiltrated many musical worlds including performing his solo music at festivals around the country, reuniting with his Dispatch pals for three sold out nights at Madison Square Garden, having his solo music featured in films and television, and performing in the presence of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C..

Commenting on his new album and departure from his Dispatch days, Francis says, “It’s good to get out of your comfort zone. I tried to let this motto resonate at every turning point of this record’s evolution.” When asked if there is an overall theme to The Movie We Are In, Francis explains, “I like to leave this up to the listener. Hearing an album is similar to visiting a museum. The listener has to have his or her own conversation with the artwork and create their own interpretations."

GNU VOX: SARA SERPA Tonight At Cornelia Street Cafe

Sara Serpa is a vocalist wielding an instrument as favorably unadorned and pure as any in jazz. She's the freshest vocalist on the scene at the moment, not just because she's new to it at age 28. It's certainly not because of the way she delivers a lyric, since there usually aren't any. Being from Portugal is also irrelevant, for like much of the great jazz coming our way in the past few years from Lisbon, there is nothing overtly ethnic about the music; it's sensuous, transporting, sultry and warm.

A main reason is that with one recording in, she raises profound questions regarding the previous role of the vocalist in jazz. What's radical, is that it's not about the ridiculous chops or inhuman gymnastic training or trickery. She sings as an instrumentalist, as a member of an ensemble with a bold conception, moving seamlessly as would a saxophonist from melodist to soloist, or from a front line horn to an ensemble voice—not the star of some show. Serpa sounds as if she's talking right to you, even though she's singing, not just in terms of the intimacy quotient, but in terms of the actual sound of it—literally, she sounds as if she must sing whenever she speaks." (Phil DiPietro, All About Jazz)

Thu  Apr 22nd 8:30PM   
GNU VOX: SARA SERPA

CORNELIA STREET CAFÉ
29 Cornelia Street, NYC, New York| 212-989-9319
http://www.corneliastreetcafe.com

The Contribution: -- 'Which Way World'

When members of New Monsoon, Railroad Earth and String Cheese Incident come together to create an album the result is Roostsy Americana bliss. Contribution, an appropriate name for a group whose members have bestowed many a musical gift to the masses with their previous bands, will drop Which Way World on March 30.

An album bursting with country gumption and raw poetic flare, this debut showcases the artistic veracity and harmonious nature of some of the best musicians on today’s jam circuit. A balanced blend of old-time charm and aggressive string-heavy muscle, this collaborative effort exemplifies the razor-sharp skills of Tim Carbone (violin, vocals Railroad Earth), Jeff Miller (guitar, mandolin, vocals, New Monsoon), Phil Ferlino (keyboards, New Monsoon), Keith Moseley (bassist, the String Cheese Incident), and Jason Hann (percussion, the String Cheese Incident).

From the initial notes, “Come Around” takes off like a tumbleweed in a dust storm, moving with force, freely charting out its own territory in a sandy soundscape of earnest handclaps, vocal harmonies and a fierce web of strings. Chameleon-like in nature, this opening track captures both a mischievous apathetic side and one of comforted hope. The dichotomous lyrics of “Never mind/never mind/why?” and “Sometimes you gotta lose yourself/find yourself/come around again” play out like a fencing match of internal conflict. The track rounds things off with a whiskey soaked “I don’t care!” from Carbone.

“Time Was Only Yesterday” initially breathes saloon-singer vulnerability, and holds that vintage desire to relive the past. Unexpectedly, lyrics about a “carnival parade” are quickly met by a collage of festive circus-esque clamor. The colossal racket is spiked with the scream of brassy horns and faded shouts you would imagine escaping from the lips of a vagabond ringleader.

“Better Days” proves to be one of the most lyrically poignant tracks on the album. The need for nostalgia, once again, resurfaces. While it gets off to a mellow start, the harmonized sturdy chorus of ‘Gone gone away are better days,’ which culminates with the tinge of tambourine, stands out like a mighty oak left upright after a forest fire.

Brilliance isn’t limited to the instrumentals when you stop to absorb the momentous metaphors and similes just swimming around in the ocean of sound – “Couldn’t see the danger there/ like children scaling rocks beside the sea…”

“Fear of Nothing” hits the listener like a sun shower on a sweltering day. Cool, refreshing and unapologetic, it reigns down with honky tonk tenacity. The upbeat, electrifying piano-laden, tune exudes a sense of rock n’ roll, gospel and blues. Sprinkling a ferocious feminine energy to the mix, are the Black Swan Singers who come equipped with fierce pipes—strong enough to stir a corpse. By far the most danceable tune on the disc, it resembles a hybrid of Great America Taxi meets the Black Crowes.

‘Wind Me Up’ is more spoken then sung and comes across like a sincere monologue of someone who has grown tired of, but accustomed to, going through the motions. The accompaniments and vocals are reminiscent of something quirky country alt-rockers Wilco would create.

“Which Way World,” the title track of the album, captures a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young vibe and yet at times it sounds more like a top ten contemporary country radio hit. Slow, steady and straight up Zenful, it’s a letter to our spinning sphere inquiring bout the very nature of its direction.

“Samsara” opens with piano playing that is rapidly coated by the lush emotion-evoking violin, proving that there is nothing like strings to set a melancholic mood. Capturing a rather dark tone, it sounds like a Celtic pagan homage to the earth— “I am the sky/speak through the wind/I am a shadow/darkness within...”

Let the musical monsoon of earthy cheese-coated goodness splash full force in a downpour that will have you tossing the umbrella and caution to the wind.

Jazz & Sounds Festival | Gent, Belgium

Beginning in 2010, Gent Jazz Festival, De Bijloke Music Centre, Vooruit Arts Centre, University College Ghent - Faculty of Music and the University College Ghent - Faculty of Fine Arts (KASK) will work together in the annual initiative, the Jazz & Sounds Festival. This new festival will focus on the versatility of contemporary music. The first edition takes place from March 22 - 28, 2010.

Improvisation and creation are important mainstays of the Jazz & Sounds Festival combining the interaction from and to jazz, contemporary, classical, alternative rock, electronic music, improvised music, non-western music and more. The festival offers not a linear but an organic whole of concerts each day, where several concerts and performances can coincide. Visitors will have to make choices within the programme or will be guided by the surprise of the moment.

The festival starts March 22 in the University College Ghent – Faculty of Music with Impressions of a Blue Kind, a prestigious project spotlighting students from the faculties of music of Ghent, Tilburg and Maastricht. The next day, March 23, a presentation by Eddy Van Oosthuyse is planned in the University College Ghent – Faculty of Music with soloists from the Brussels Philharmonic showcasing the role of contemporary clarinet in chamber music.

From then on the Jazz & Sounds Festival moves to Arts Centre Vooruit March 25 and 26. The first day starts with a documentary about Han Bennink. The same day Jazz & Sounds delivers a jazz and literature project by trio Ben Sluijs/Jules Deelder/Remco Campert and concerts featuring saxophone player Colin Stetson and the duo of Erik Truffaz/Malcolm Braff. The festival concludes this first day by presenting Hairy Bones with among others Peter Brötzmann and Toshinoro Kondo.

Friday March 26 in Arts Centre Vooruit finds the duo Eric Thielemans/Josse De Pauw in performance, double bass player Joëlle Léandre and the premiere of Flat Earth Society’s new venture with John Watts. Elliott Sharp’s Carbon concludes the Jazz & Sounds Festival in Arts Centre Vooruit.

March 27 and 28 the festival is hosted by Music Centre De Bijloke. Saturday starts with Cage Aria by Françoise Vanhecke. Afterwards, visitors can choose between a documentary on Charlie Haden and a creation by Sophie Allour and Jozef Dumoulin together with drummer Dré Pallemaerts. This project was crafted especially for the Jazz & Sounds Festival in collaboration with the Tourcoing Jazz Festival.

Later that day on the programme, there is Dutch cello player Ernst Reijseger, Spectra with work by Mantovani and Alexandros Markeas, a project by El Negocito Records and Foundation Logos, Fred Van Hove together with Barry Guy and Wilbert de Joode, and a presentation by the students of the University College Ghent – Faculty of Music on Julius Eastman conducted by Alexandros Markeas. Ending this festival day is an improvisation workshop by Joëlle Léandre with students of the University College Ghent – Faculty of Music and Miroslav Vitous with his Remembering Weather Report.

Sunday March 28, is the last day of Jazz & Sounds and it starts with a concert by Ellery Eskelin and his group. Following this, the students of the University College Ghent, Faculty of Music play John Cage’s Songbooks and attendees can view a documentary on photographer Leonard Herman. Continuing the programme  on  this last day, there is trombone player Wolter Wierbos, a project by El Negocito Records in collaboration with Foundation Logos, and the duo of Ben Sluijs/Tom Van Bauwel exploring the writings of Paul Van Ostaijen. Nadar, Arsis4, Peter Jacquemyn and Jan Pillaert will interpret work by Daan Janssens and Stefan Prins.  Music by Rik De Geyter performing clarinet artistry for Stockhausen’s ‘Little Harlequin’ will be also be presented. Enescu re-Imagined by Lucian Ban & John Hébert is the closing act for the first edition of the Jazz & Sounds Festival. Pianist  Lucian Ban revised the musical legacy of Romanian composer George Enesco and created a bold contemporary jazz composition. Ban gathered an impressive group of musicians from the New York jazz scene around him for this project: among others featured are John Hébert, Nasheet Waits, Tony Malaby, Mat Maneri and Ralph Alessi.

On March 22 the University College Ghent – Faculty of Music organises an Open Lab on artistic research in Music Centre De Bijloke. March 26, a panel discussion on the same subject is organised in the Bijloke. Both activities are free and were organised in collaboration with IPEM-UGent, Foundation Logos and Ghent University Association.

Students and teachers of the University College Ghent – Faculty of Fine Arts (KASK) will participate as well in this first edition. Different departments of the faculty helped to create a visual festival identity and installations which serve as communicative machines were created. The Media Art Department confronts visitors to the festival with installations in which sounds, rhythm and timbre call the tune.

Mickey Hart discusses sounds from space

During The Dead’s Spring Tour, Mickey Hart debuted the UNIVERSE OF SOUND. Each night of the Tour Hart connected audiences with the universe's most celestial vibrations from the Big Bang to the rings of Saturn to the Black Hole. Hart said, “The idea was to take our audience on a nightly tour of some part of our universe during our “space concerto” section. The next day we put it up on our website so the kids could follow it.”  This got the interest of the folks at the History Channel who produce the acclaimed “The Universe” series. They came out to Hart’s studio and spent an afternoon doing interviews for the segment being produced on Pulsars and Quasars.

Hart is known for his high quality recordings of music from around the globe and his collaborations with the world’s great percussionists. His Grammy Award winning Planet Drum (1991 Best World Music) and Global Drum Project (2008 Best Contemporary World Music) featured the finest acoustic percussion, enhanced with the latest audio processing and editing technologies. As he begins to record his next project, the frontier of space inspires Mickey's compositions and he is thrilled to be collaborating with a number of the world's leading astronomers and astrophysicists along with his Global Drum Project band mates, Zakir Hussain, Giovanni Hidalgo and Sikiru Adepoju in creating other worldly music emanating from a universe of sound.   Connecting the arts and sciences is another piece of Hart’s latest works. Mickey hopes to inspire the next generations and feels it is essential that young people understand the science of their times. He strongly supports the Obama administration’s STEM initiatives to prepare the next generation in science, technology, engineering, and math. Mickey has been a pioneer in supporting engineering for the arts including the development of field recording systems, loudspeaker arrays, and has made various appearances at AES (Audio Engineering Society) conventions.   Please find a brief of the show on THE HISTORY CHANNEL WEBSITE