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Date

February 12, 2019

New podcast Merzcast sets out to listen to the discography of Merzbow

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DAM announce tour and album release

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letters@jazzwise.com (Mike Flynn)

The names for the 2019 Jazz FM Awards were revealed at a special nominees’ announcement ceremony on 12 February, with the wide range of artists selected reflecting a year which saw a significant resurgence for the music from its grassroots to the mainstream. Alongside the emerging names, jazz giants Wayne Shorter (above centre), Charles Lloyd and the late great John Coltrane (for his posthumously released best-selling Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album) also received nominations.

The resurgent British jazz scene, which has been making waves in the US and Europe, is reflected with nods to the likes of Sons of Kemet (above left), Nubya GarciaEmma Jean-Thackray, Joe Armon-JonesMoses Boyd and Sarah Tandy (above right), while live events such as Jazz Re:fest (Brighton edition) and The Cookers at Church of Sound, are also recognised.

The innovative use of social media platforms and digital technology was also highlighted, with nominations for extrovert LA drummer Louis Cole and tech-savvy UK sticksman Moses Boyd. Also featured across several categories were highly respected UK-based musicians Orphy Robinson, Ian Shaw and Jean Toussaint, as well as cutting-edge US artists such as trumpeter Jaimie Branch and drummer Makaya McCraven.

Public voting is open now at http://bit.ly/2UWPeM2 will close on Monday 12 March 2019

The full list of nominees is as follows:

Breakthrough Act
 
Cassie Kinoshi
Emma-Jean Thackary
Sarah Tandy
 
The Digital Award with Oanda
 
Blue Lab Beats
Louis Cole
Moses Boyd – 1Xtra Residency
 
The Innovation Award with Mishcon de Reya
 
Orphy Robinson – Freedom Sessions at Vortex
Steam Down
Tomorrow’s Warriors
 
Instrumentalist of the Year
 
Camilla George
Jean Toussaint
Rob Luft
 
International Jazz Act of the Year with Lateralize
 
Jamie Branch
Makaya McCraven
Wayne Shorter
 
Soul Act of the Year
 
José James
Leon Bridges
Poppy Ajudha
 
Blues Act of the Year
 
Eric Bibb
Errol Linton
Roosevelt Collier
 
Vocalist of the Year
 
Cherise Adams-Burnett
Ian Shaw
Judi Jackson
 
UK Jazz Act of the Year (Public Vote) with Cambridge Audio
 
Jason Yarde
Joe Armon-Jones
Nubya Garcia
    
Album of the Year (Public Vote) with Arqiva
  
Charles Lloyd & The Marvels and Lucinda Williams – Vanished Gardens
Jean Toussaint Allstar 6Tet – Brother Raymond
John Coltrane – Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album
Sons of Kemet – Your Queen Is A Reptile
Various Artists – We Out Here
Wayne Shorter – Emanon
 
Live Experience of the Year (Public Vote)
 
Jason Moran: The Harlem Hellfighters – Tour
Jazz Re:Fest 2018: Brighton Edition
Makaya McCraven and Nubya Garcia – EFG London Jazz Festival
Orphy Robinson presents Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks – Tour
Steam Down featuring Kamasi Washington
The Cookers – Church of Sound

 – Mike Flynn

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letters@jazzwise.com (Mike Flynn)

The names for the 2019 Jazz FM Awards were revealed at a special nominees’ announcement ceremony on 12 February, with the wide range of artists selected reflecting a year which saw a significant resurgence for the music from its grassroots to the mainstream. Alongside the emerging names, jazz giants Wayne Shorter (above centre), Charles Lloyd and the late great John Coltrane (for his posthumously released best-selling Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album) also received nominations.

The resurgent British jazz scene, which has been making waves in the US and Europe, is reflected with nods to the likes of Sons of Kemet (above left), Nubya GarciaEmma Jean-Thackray, Joe Armon-JonesMoses Boyd and Sarah Tandy (above right), while live events such as Jazz Re:fest (Brighton edition) and The Cookers at Church of Sound, are also recognised.

The innovative use of social media platforms and digital technology was also highlighted, with nominations for extrovert LA drummer Louis Cole and tech-savvy UK sticksman Moses Boyd. Also featured across several categories were highly respected UK-based musicians Orphy Robinson, Ian Shaw and Jean Toussaint, as well as cutting-edge US artists such as trumpeter Jaimie Branch and drummer Makaya McCraven.

Public voting is open now at http://bit.ly/2UWPeM2 will close on Monday 12 March 2019

The full list of nominees is as follows:

Breakthrough Act
 
Cassie Kinoshi
Emma-Jean Thackary
Sarah Tandy
 
The Digital Award with Oanda
 
Blue Lab Beats
Louis Cole
Moses Boyd – 1Xtra Residency
 
The Innovation Award with Mishcon de Reya
 
Orphy Robinson – Freedom Sessions at Vortex
Steam Down
Tomorrow’s Warriors
 
Instrumentalist of the Year
 
Camilla George
Jean Toussaint
Rob Luft
 
International Jazz Act of the Year with Lateralize
 
Jamie Branch
Makaya McCraven
Wayne Shorter
 
Soul Act of the Year
 
José James
Leon Bridges
Poppy Ajudha
 
Blues Act of the Year
 
Eric Bibb
Errol Linton
Roosevelt Collier
 
Vocalist of the Year
 
Cherise Adams-Burnett
Ian Shaw
Judi Jackson
 
UK Jazz Act of the Year (Public Vote) with Cambridge Audio
 
Jason Yarde
Joe Armon-Jones
Nubya Garcia
    
Album of the Year (Public Vote) with Arqiva
  
Charles Lloyd & The Marvels and Lucinda Williams – Vanished Gardens
Jean Toussaint Allstar 6Tet – Brother Raymond
John Coltrane – Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album
Sons of Kemet – Your Queen Is A Reptile
Various Artists – We Out Here
Wayne Shorter – Emanon
 
Live Experience of the Year (Public Vote)
 
Jason Moran: The Harlem Hellfighters – Tour
Jazz Re:Fest 2018: Brighton Edition
Makaya McCraven and Nubya Garcia – EFG London Jazz Festival
Orphy Robinson presents Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks – Tour
Steam Down featuring Kamasi Washington
The Cookers – Church of Sound

 – Mike Flynn

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spencer@jazzwise.com (Spencer Grady)

 MatanaRoberts MG 3019

Matana Roberts (above) is so relaxed tonight her short opening set is almost a lullaby. Playing alto-sax unaccompanied, she investigates melodic wisps with leisurely calm, occasionally breaking off to chat informally to the audience: she tells us she’s annoyed to find herself thinking about Donald Trump while she’s trying to “play the blues,” and goes on to encourage all of us to stop watching the news if we want to improve our mental health. A few more simple fragments of melody and she ends with a series of spoken homilies read from a battered notebook. “Let that shit go,” she advises. It’s everyday wisdom from the most laid-back preacher in town.

MoorMother MG 3134

All of which makes Irreversible Entanglements (above) seem even angrier by comparison. Poet/vocalist Camae Ayewa, also reading from a notebook, pours forth scalding jets of furious hellfire rage. “What are you doing in my neighbourhood? You don’t have the training to survive here,” she mocks, conjuring an undeclared civil war ripping the heart out of American cities. The rest of the band, too, seem wound up in a state of militant tension and ready to blow. For over an hour, without pause, they navigate a shifting, spontaneous terrain. Upright bassist Luke Stewart and drummer Tcheser Holmes are the engine, locking into fierce, urgent grooves while trumpeter Aquiles Navarro directs the musical flow, blowing barbed hooks that flutter like pennants on the battlefield. Saxophonist Keir Neuringer holds back, reluctant to crowd the theatre of operations, adding splashes of chiming percussion like a warrior priest inventing new rituals.

For the encore, Matana Roberts joins them on stage, dropping abrupt phrases into the melee while Ayewa’s scorched lyrics focus to a diamond hard sharpness. I can’t think of anyone else making music this tough right now.

Daniel Spicer
– Photos by Roger Thomas

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Freya Parr The best recordings of Tippett’s A Child of our Time

Rating: 
0

With the 1944 premiere of his oratorio A Child of Our Time, the 39-year-old Tippett finally came to public attention. Hitherto an obscure choral conductor of left-wing sympathies, Tippett wrote Child in 1938 on reading of the Nazi pogroms in Germany triggered by the fatal shooting in Paris of a German diplomat by a 17-year-old Jewish refugee.

Tippett penned the libretto, influenced by TS Eliot and Jungian psychology. Like Eliot’s poetry, Tippett’s music is full of allusions, including to the three-part structure of Handel’s Messiah; he also followed Bach’s use of a soloist as an Evangelist-style narrator, and of the chorus as commentator, though using North American spirituals instead of Lutheran chorales.

After discouraging feedback from conductor Walter Goehr, Tippett consigned the work to a drawer until Britten, on seeing it, urged Tippett to get the work performed.

 

 

The best recording

Indra Thomas, Mihoko Fujimura, Steve Davislim, Matthew Rose; LSO and Chorus/Colin Davis (2007)
LSO Live LSO 0670

A leading Tippett champion, Sir Colin Davis recorded Child three times. His final attempt, though, is the most compelling and exciting of all (not just Davis’s). There are some solecisms: Davis’s jaunty treatment of ‘Steal Away’, which follows the mother’s lament, hardly suggests the necessary consoling quality found by other conductors. He can be quite cavalier, too, over Tippett’s instructions for articulation. The pay-off, though, is a powerful and moving performance.

Key to Davis’s achievement is in the crucial central section, dramatising the brutal events that first moved Tippett to write his oratorio. ‘The Terror’, for once, lives up to that description: the London Symphony Chorus not only takes the alarmingly angular writing in its stride, but also delivers the words with venom. Equally, its steely delivery of the ‘Spiritual of Anger’ (‘Go down, Moses’) fulfils its title.

Respectively balancing and resolving this are the oratorio’s first and third sections, the orchestra’s playing exuding nobility and expressiveness, yet also providing muscular precision in the syncopations accompanying ‘The soul of man’. The soloists are characterful – even if Fujimura’s words verge on the incomprehensible – and blend beautifully in the final ensemble leading to the serene ‘Deep River’.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/7HMwXf543kqP6FGjRIh7vm

 

 

Other great recordings

Jessye Norman, Janet Baker, Richard Cassilly, John Shirley-Quirk; BBC Singers; BBC Choral Society; BBC Symphony Orchestra/Colin Davis (1975)
Decca 478 8351

Davis’s earliest recording of Child is a classic, and ticks many boxes. If one discounts André Previn’s superb but unavailable RPO recording, Davis’s 1975 version has the most stellar soloist line-up: Jessye Norman is formidable as the mother, while Janet Baker and John Shirley-Quirk are compelling and sentient narrators.

American Wagnerian tenor Richard Cassilly, however, sounds out of place in Tippett’s mix of neo-classical oratorio and vernacular style. Given the tenor’s central role, this is a more crucial shortcoming than Fujimura’s diction in the LSO Live recording. And the BBC Singers and Choral Society, while technically faultless, do not match the fire of the London Symphony Chorus.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/0VSiFnotMlCJJ4yiTXSOtI

 

 

Elsie Morison, Pamela Bowden, Richard Lewis, Richard Standen; RLPO and Choir/John Pritchard (1957)
Decca

This account of Child, the earliest recorded, still sounds good. John Pritchard and his musicians’ fluent, natural-sounding projection of the oratorio’s drama comes into focus with Elsie Morison’s affecting performance of ‘How can I cherish my man’; as it segues into the consoling ‘Steal away’,

Morison’s lamenting melismas are a continuation from her aria rather than mere decoration of the spiritual. Mezzo Pamela Bowden and tenor Richard Lewis are almost as fine, and the choir is remarkably good. Two caveats: first, the bass soloist Richard Standen’s plummy tones have all the personality of a hired footman’s; second, the download’s rumble and pops betray its transfer from LP rather than original tape.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/0EFtdxlRV3rGpdRFZEu4lp

 

 

Faye Robinson, Sarah Walker, Jon Garrison, John Cheek; CBSO and Chorus/Michael Tippett (1991)
Naxos 8.557570

Recorded by the composer less than three months from his 87th birthday, this is not surprisingly both a loving performance – both in terms of detail and atmosphere – and generally a rather slow one.

Tippett has a fine line-up of soloists, with characterful singing from mezzo Sarah Walker and bass John Cheek, while both orchestra and chorus are well prepared. The chorus sometimes sounds tentative, possibly due to uncertain cues from the elderly Tippett. In theory, one might have expected this recording to be near the top of the pile. Unfortunately the leisurely tempos rather sap any dramatic urgency.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/7l8R031bDWvWNOnhDusW35

 

 

And one to avoid…

In Richard Hickox’s 1992 account, all his soloists are veterans of Trevor Nunn’s landmark Glyndebourne Porgy and Bess; but actor-singer Damon Evans, so effective as Sportin’ Life in the Gershwin, fails to appear sympathetic as the persecuted Jew, let alone cope with the part’s lyricism. Add to that Hickox’s rather lumbering way with Tippett’s linear and lean scoring, and the result is hectoring rather than moving.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/0LCRbTWgjSZKIpduSCwxkP

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Moon_Ray From the Archive: Kléo Digs Through 300,000 Records

Discogs is working with RE:VIVE and Red Light Radio in Amsterdam, following renowned DJs as they mix together a selection from one the biggest record collections in The Netherlands. RE:VIVE is an initiative from The Netherlands Institute For Sound & Vision that brings archives and musicians together to create new productions inspired by old collections. You can read a full account of our exploration of Sound & Vision’s archive here. This write up is based on a conversation I had with Kléo right after her set.

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Parisian Clélia Zida, AKA Kléo, has been manning the bar and programming the music at Amsterdam’s Café Belgique since she finished art school. They’re pretty old school in that they only have turntables (no CDJs) and the only way to know who’s playing that week is to check the back door of the bathroom upstairs. There are a lot of vinyl heads in Amsterdam so she manages to arrange a wide array of selectors. “We’re always open for anyone to play at Belgique. It should feel like a café, it should fee approachable.” This sentiment also comes through her style as a DJ and in everything we spoke about when exploring Sound & Vision’s 300,000 records.

“I was always into music, although in the beginning I was buying mostly CDs, I would buy them from the local CD store. I never started DJing until much later. When I was studying art I had no time, no space, no budget – no nothing. It would have been impossible even to think about it. I barely had a room and even then I had to move every 6 months, ‘Amsterdam style’”. Having just joined the roster of artists at Wilde Artists she plays gigs pretty regularly now, although she stuck with the physical formats of music. “I don’t use any streaming services, I only really listen to my records. I listen to mixes online but that’s really it for digital. I only play with vinyl as well, no CDJs.”

When I asked her about why she doesn’t play anything digital she says she simply never learned how. “I learned to play with turntables, and I buy records because I like to go to stores and to dig, and I guess that’s just what I’m the most comfortable with.” She says friends have tried to get her into CDJs but she finds it all too complicated, it’s not her comfort zone, which is where she likes to be.

Since her boyfriend is also a DJ, she says her house is literally just full of records. “Right now we’re in the middle of reorganising our records because the libraries are full, so there are a lot of piles on the floor! Basically it’s just growing all around the libraries. Lately I’ve noticed I’ll just have like five piles on the floor, which are basically just five of my bags, and these are the ones in my hands and I’m busy with these records so I just keep switching them around. But then I don’t go back to my library for a while, and then when I go back I’m like whoah shit I have this!?. But it’s fine, just being busy with one thing at a time, you know. And it’s always nice to rediscover your own stuff. I like that too.”

Clélia still does a lot of digging though. “I dig mostoy in stores but, but also some online digging. I mostly use Discogs to find stuff I don’t have from a label or artist I like. I’ll go through the whole catalog because I’ll keep hearing stuff about a label or I’ll have one track I like, and you think maybe there’s more of this, you know. And then you’re going to go and dig for it.” She’s never counted her own collection, but assumes there must be at least a couple of thousand in there. “Nothing like this though” she says scanning the Sound & Vision archive. “This place is incredible, I think it’s really important to archive stuff. A lot of the stuff I found in here is classic music and belongs to be in an archive. It will be classic in 200 years still and I hope someone has a copy of it.”

Join 6 million vinyl collectors using Discogs.

 

For this mix it was impossible to take the obsessive compulsive route of checking every release from an artist or label, 300,000 records is just too many to go through. I asked her what her approach was; “I just hit the shelves. I’m quite organic in my approach, I really try to go with the feeling. It’s important to me to be intuitive. I don’t think too much about this stuff basically. I don’t want to. I just want to keep going my direction and see how it goes. The most important thing to do is to look for the music that you like. Not everybody’s going to like it but hey that’s how it is, you know?”. She did come with a bit of an idea of what she was looking for, she even printed out her Discosg Wantlist and asked the archivists to check their digital register to see if anything matched. “I was also hoping there would be a lot of releases from The Netherlands, labels like Injection Disco Dance Label, but actually it’s a really big mix.” In the end she just followed her ears. “The possibilities here were just so wide, there was so much variety in the archive. In the end I just had to stick to what I know as a DJ. Certain grooves that I like, basically what I would buy myself or play in a set. Otherwise I would have gotten lost in there.”

The first record she brought to the table was This Is The Place by T-R-P, released on MG Records, a Belgian dance label specialising in New Beat and Acid House that was very active for a brief period in the late 80s. Thierry, Ronald and Peter (T-R-P), only released a few other records together, but were all heavily involved the technical production of a lot of Belgian Europop and Euro House. “You can hear in the track that I played from this one that these guys had access to some pretty serious gear”. The classic Acid House combo of a Roland TB-303 and a TR-606 will be familiar to most, but New Beat is a little more niche. It was quite specific to the Belgian club scene from around 1987 and into 1990, with its greatest popularity in 1988 and 1989, right when MG Records was releasing. It typically has a slower beat than later club music, just like the ‘Dance Mix’ Kléo played here. According to the Discogs Reference Wiki, New Beat had a significant, reciprocal influence on the stabby, buzzy “rave” aesthetic in techno music, and influences from New Beat evolved into the foundation of trance music (e.g. Age of Love’s “The Age of Love” and Revelation’s “First Power”/”Synth-It”).

“1982, 1983 – these are my bingo years!” She says pointing at Laurice Hudson’s  Feel My Love. “I can’t really explain why but for me a lot of stuff I find from these years is just right, you know? The sound is right, the vocals are right, the grooves are right. It’s out of the Disco sound of the 70s so it has this feeling of a turn in it. It comes right out of the 70s but there’s something already starting to shift in the arrangement and even in the vocals that’s starting to go towards where Electronic music ended up.” This release will fetch a handsome sum on Discogs if you’re one of the lucky few to own a copy. “I already knew it, it’s a bit of a classic in some circles. It’s not that rare but also not that well known, it’s just one of my favourite Boogie tracks.” She’s quick to mention that for her playing records is not about rarity. “It’s also nice to shed light on things that are just classic dance records, hits from other eras that have been a bit forgotten about. They are also classic and they now belong in an archive, as well as the rarities.”

The last record she showed me was a UK pressing of Do You Know Who You Are? by US duo Virgo.“I knew the instrumental version of this one, it’s pretty well known, but I’ve never heard the vocal mix. Like the other stuff it just has that feel, but here there’s something vulnerable and sensitive to it as well. It’s not all locked together, it’s really organic. That’s what I like, organic feeling dance music.”

 

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Moon_Ray From the Archive: Robert Bergman Digs Through 300,000 Records

Discogs is working with RE:VIVE and Red Light Radio in Amsterdam, following renowned DJs as they sift through one of the biggest record collections in The Netherlands. RE:VIVE is an initiative from The Netherlands Institute For Sound & Vision that brings archives and musicians together to create new productions inspired by old collections. You can read a full account of our exploration of Sound & Vision’s archive here. This write up is based on a conversation I had with Robert Bergman right after his set.

https://www.mixcloud.com/widget/iframe/?hide_cover=1&feed=%2FRedLightRadio%2Frobert-bergman-from-the-archive-for-rlr-beeld-geluid-02-06-2019%2F

Not that many people are actually from Amsterdam. A lot of people come to live here because of the opportunities and the culture – the music in particular. But Amsterdam native Robert Bergman was born and raised there, and has cut out a name for himself as a quintessential crate-digger, interested in all sorts of music. This palette is reflected in his wide-ranging sets, and his encyclopedic knowledge made him a great partner for strolling through an archive of 300,000 records.

He’s really not phased by much, except maybe the sleeves used in the archive. “These thick plastic ones are no good… especially not when you have to dig through a lot of them. The nice flexible ones are the best.” He started collecting records because they were cheaper than anything else, but I sense he’s also attracted to the format because things can remain unknown and unspoilt when they’re only on wax. “Sure, I like to find rare stuff that no one else knows about.” When I push him a little further he says there’s probably something similar in all DJs, and relates finding cool rare records to being something like an astronaut – something no one else is. But he is in no way precious or egotistic about this, he’s just a switched-on, no nonsense guy who cares about music and doesn’t want to see good music turned stale via the hype-machine

This probably explains why we detoured into a conversation about a record label he really looked up to when he was growing up: Bunker Records out of Den Haag. Check out the label profile on Discogs for some ‘interesting’ (read: NSFW) background on the squat parties they used to run to fund the label. “I really looked up to labels like Bunker because they would release stuff on black vinyl with no artist and no track names, just to be able to play their own music at their own parties. They didn’t do it for fame, just for the love of it”.

Robert has a large collection but doesn’t catalog it with any great rigor. “To me it’s more like a photobook or something. It’s organised roughly by time of purchase so it’s something like a personal history. I can always recall when and where I bought a certain record, although the stories are not always good!” He says he can also always find what he’s looking for, but admits there must be things in there he has forgotten to look for. “To prevent memory loss you need to revisit your collection.” I guess that’s kind of what we’re doing in the archive – trying to prevent cultural memory loss.

Join 6 million record collectors using Discogs.

 

One thing that really caught me was his comment about music not being eternal. Maybe working at Discogs has made the past more sacred to me, but Robert sees it differently. “I like records, I like people to play them, but they’re not for eternal keeping”. There’s a lot of sensationalism and mythicism injected into music these days, to artificially pump it up. “Stuff gets coveted, you see old Bunker records that were once worth a few cents now going for hundreds of Euros just because the story of Unit Moebius is cool nowadays”. Note that you can tell they’re one of the earliest Artists cataloged on Discogs by the “Artist ID” at top right of their artist page. In Robert’s eye’s a lot of this stuff is just “functional”. It has a time and a place and outside of that it actually doesn’t make that much sense. “There’s nothing wrong with that, it just is what it is”.

He deliberately didn’t prepare anything in particular for his dig in Sound & Vision’s archive, he wanted to be surprised by some things. I guess when you know as much about music as he does you can do that. When we stepped into the record storage room in the archive he went straight to the dutch section, hoping to recognise something, or at least to find something crazy. “Since the popular stuff tends to outlast the crazy stuff, there’s a higher chance of finding the crazy Dutch stuff in an archive that preserved a lot of Dutch stuff. I’m also hoping to find some old demos that might have been sent in for the radio stations to play.” Apart from that he relied on the standard triggers like cool looking covers, familiar labels and artists. He has a really broad musical knowledge so he brings a lot with him to the digging process.

The first record he showed me was a compilation from Amsterdam based label Stichting Stopontact (‘Electric Socket Foundation’), Contactdisc 1. “I picked up this compilation piece because I have some records from some of the other artists like De Fabriek and Doxa Sinistra. These are really good bands so I thought I should have a look at the rest.” De Fabriek are a prolific Experimental / Industrial / Abstract  outfit from Zwolle in The Netherlands. Even though they have 117 Releases listed on Discogs the average number of Wants is almost twice that of Haves. Doxa Sinistra are a little less well known, but no less influential. Back in the 80s they also pioneered Experimental and Minimal sounds that were “ahead of their time”. “A lot of these bands probably only did stuff on tape, and it was common for them to just make songs for one release like this. It’s not a compilation of existing material, this is probably the only record it was released on.” Digging around Discogs confirms Robert is right on this one.

“The other reason I picked this up is because it says on the back ‘All material mastered at hero wouters studio brouwersgracht 205, amsterdam’, and I have another Dutch Wave record from the 80s recorded at the Brouwersgracht, and I’m not sure if it’s recorded at the same spot. This is also where I grew up.” Robert and I spent some time digging through Discogs and managed to find the other release recorded at Brouwersgracht. It turns out Edward Ka-Spel ‎– Eyes! China Doll was also produced by Hero Wouters at his studio at Brouwersgracht 771, Amsterdam. Just down the road! Thanks watzmann for adding the address to the Release notes so it was searchable.

Next up was Biotop by Asmus Tietchens. “This whole record is incredible. I really want this now, it’s even on my Discogs Wantlist now” he says holding it up to the light. “This was released on Sky Records, although this is a bit ‘tougher’ than most of their output.” Asmus Tietchens, born in 1947, is a  German Electronic musician whose music is often inspired by and refers to the texts of the philosopher Emil Cioran. He pursued ‘absolute music’ through an almost mathematical process of rigid formal exercises, and his sounds have strong ties with the hugely influential (but controversial) work of Karlheinz Stockhausen. He’s the kind of pioneer that took music so far to its limits that people even write about him. A really important figure in the evolution of Electronic music. This album and the four others he released on Sky are unique in his body of work for their focus on rhythmic set pieces. “I know Sky really well but I had never seen this so it caught my attention”.

Thanks a lot to the team at Sound & Vision for holding on to all these records for so many years, and for opening the vaults to let us all have a peek. And thanks to all the Discogs Contributors that catalogued the releases, artists and labels mentioned throughout this series. Without you we wouldn’t be able to connect the dots. There’s always more music to catalog so if you have anything in your personal collection that’s not yet on Discogs, add it to the Database so everyone can find it.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

 

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Moon_Ray From the Archive: Loma Doom Digs Through 300,000 Records

Discogs is working with RE:VIVE and Red Light Radio in Amsterdam, following renowned DJs as they sift through one of the biggest record collections in The Netherlands. RE:VIVE is an initiative from The Netherlands Institute For Sound & Vision that brings archives and musicians together to create new productions inspired by old collections. You can read a full account of our exploration of Sound & Vision’s archive here. This write up is based on a conversation I had with Femke Dekker after her set.

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“Music was always around us”. Femke Dekker, AKA Loma Doom, tells me her dad was a big jazz head and bought Femke her first record player when  she was just 5 years old. “It was one of those ones where you would have to slot in a 7” and it would spit it back out. And the sound quality was horrible. But I would spend hours, and hours in my room, dancing.” Today she’s still a big record head, one of the longest running DJs on Red light Radio, an artist, a curator and an avid radio fan. Basically a really, really interesting person to walk through 300,000 records with.

“When I was super young I was dancing to like, Jackson 5.” Then, one day, in her teens, when she naturally needed to rebel, she started listening to hardcore punk, which her dad hated. Her DJ name is in fact inspired by bassist Lorna Doom of legendary Punk band Germs. These days things seem to have come full circle, as she has a monthly show on Red Light Radio, ‘Tuesday night Prayer Meeting’, the name of which is inspired by Jazz legend Charlie Mingus’s Wednesday night Prayer Meeting.

Charlie Mingus was also a notable activists, so it’s no surprise our conversation swung in that direction. “I’ve been really interested in the role of archives and archivists as activists. I was very much influenced by friends of mine who have based a lot of their work on using archives from the 60s.” She says they take images from the Provo counterculture movement in The Netherlands, and build on them to create their own new works with a similar activist layer. Because it’s such hug encyclopedia of history and culture, she also considers Discogs a really vital catalogue. Amen.

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“But It’s not just the fact that things are stored somewhere, and that they might get lost. The preservation side of things is not necessarily what I’m interested in.” Indeed, preservation is just a means to an end, and it seems the end is what she’s more interested in. “History really comes alive through archives. You can build the bridges to your own times, and you see all these parallels. Of course we’re in a completely different day and age but the problems we’re facing a very similar”. Obviously it’s hard to build those bridges, and before she made her mix Femke admitted there would be little if any hard activism in it. “I just want to build a radio show and I really want it to be Dutch in some way. I want to give the listeners a taste of great Dutch music and to try to tell a story to weave the threads together.” But in the end I think her selections actually managed to tell a story and to shed light on some important but perhaps under-recognised activism in music.

The first record she wanted to show me was Cinema by Fay Lovsky. “Maybe she’s just a household name in The Netherlands for the older generations, but apart from a couple of hit singles she was always a little bit more experimental. She ended up doing a lot of work with experimental theatre groups. I don’t think she was interested in being a pop star, she was just interested in this kind of sound that was a little bit poppy.” Femke retells how she came to know Fay’s music through a friend who knew a lot about Dutch music, and it inspired her to do her own digging and get to know her country’s musical background a littler better. “I knew a little bit about Fay but I really got to know her through a friend of mine. He was responsible for the music in the design studio where my partner worked. He used to burn compilation CDs, complete with really well designed Digipak sleeves.”

Next she pulled out the self-titled album by Sammie America’s Mam. “This one I wanted to bring because it’s a little bit forgotten. It’s a weird combo of experimental and pop music.” This one is also quite special to Femke. Sammie America is just another name for Tom America, one of the group’s members. He was Femke’s drawing teacher during high school, although at that time she had no idea he was a musician. “Only years later did I find out.” This album is also produced by Henny Vrienten, who was at that time the bassist of one of the most popular bands from The Netherlands in the 80s, Ska and Synth Pop outfit Doe Maar. “They were like The Beatles of The Netherlands. Sometimes they couldn’t even play the girls in the concert halls were screaming so loud!”

It wasn’t until we spoke about the last record she wanted to show me that the activist agenda re-emerged. “I played two songs from this one, because these guys were huge; they were totally instrumental in the early Post-Hardcore and very early Emo scenes in the United States” she says as she holds out Joggers & Smoggers by Dutch anarcho-punk band The Ex. “Another band that I totally adore is Fugazi, and The Ex was really influential on them and I’m sure on a lot of the stuff that came out via guitarist and vocalist Ian MacKaye’s label Dischord Records. Basically The Ex are a punk band but not just any punk band. They were totally Punk in their first few records but then they started to move into Noise and then in the late 90s they started getting really interested in the African Diaspora.” They have recorded a few releases in Ethiopia, and in the early 2000s they recorded a spree of collaborations with cult Ethiopian saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria (promo-copies of which were handed out to the local taxi-drivers, the best guarantee for good publicity). Apparently some members of the band actually own an Ethiopian Restaurant on Overtoom! “There records were about so much more than music. They were extremely punk. There was always a message in their music. There’s actually a really really great documentary [Building A Broken Mousetrap – see below] about their 2004  live show at The Knitting Factory in New York. It wasn’t just 4 chords and an activist agenda, they actually managed to bring that activism into the music itself, which is why I think they’re so important.”

Femke and I spent the last 20 minutes going over two booklets that were found tucked away in the sleeves of Joggers & Smoggers, preserved for 30 years in pristine conditions inside Sound & Vision’s temperature controlled archive. According to some comments on the Discogs Release Page these inserts might actually be a bit rare. We took pictures and uploaded them to another favourite archive tool of Discogs Contributors: Internet Archive. You can find links to these booklet images the Release Edit History Page.

Thanks a lot to the team at Sound & Vision for holding on to all these records for so many years, and for opening the vaults to let us all have a peek. And thanks to all the Discogs Contributors that catalogued the releases, artists and labels mentioned throughout this series. Without you we wouldn’t be able to connect the dots. There’s always more music to catalog so if you have anything in your personal collection that’s not yet on Discogs, add it to the Database so everyone can find it.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

 

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The post From the Archive: Loma Doom Digs Through 300,000 Records appeared first on Discogs Blog.

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