Thursday, 21 October 2010

A Week In Music (Part 1)

Autumn is our favourite time of the year around here at Paradigms HQ. London is getting cold right now. Darkness is creeping in earlier and earlier and we've been spending the nocturnal hours losing ourselves in more music old and new.

The Union Chapel - Islington, London (18.10.10)

We had the pleasure on Monday evening of experiencing Anja Franziska Plaschg (aka SOAP&SKIN) perform with a full ensemble at the intimate Union Chapel. Her debut 'For Vacuum' last year was a bit of a revelation and her brooding gothic overtones, haunted wails and frantic piano captured something rather unique and foreboding. Maybe falling somewhere between Bjork (for her leftfield quirkiness perhaps) and a young Diamanda Galas. With strings, trumpet and the chill of the chapel, the whole atmosphere was a triumph whilst her knowingly awkward and naive stage persona and delivery erupted on the Marche Funebre finale. Blissful blackness to start the week. Perfect.


Elsewhere, we've really been digging the ECM and RUNE GRAMMOFON stuff (as usual) this week, continuing our exploration of contemporary Norwegian jazz; what with the Nordic scene surely being hands-down the most potent and exciting right now. TRYGVE SEIM's 'Sangam' album from 2004 on ECM Records and ARVE HENRIKSEN's 'Chiaroscuro' from 2005 being current favourites. Atmospheric, dark and more in common with modern classical composition, both are rather restrained works. Arve Henriksen's muted trumpet especially reminding us of Miles Davis on 'Sketches Of Spain', but played against a vast, ethereal ambience. Quite beautiful. And on an Arve Henriksen side-note, we're super excited about the new Supersilent record which is released next week too...


DIRTY PROJECTORS from NYC and their 'Bitte Orca' album from 2009 on Domino Records have also been getting some heavy rotation here this week. Their euphoric, obtuse pop music which recalls the songsmith genius of David Byrne and the Talking Heads at their most energetic; layered African rhythms, krautrock percussion and seriously spellbinding, off-kilter guitar playing. As has the new ANTONY AND THE JONHSONS 'Swanlights' album. I must admit, his unarguably fascinating voice and rich songwriting has never really appealed to us, however this new album sees Antony Hegarty take a more expanded, vangardist approach to his songwriting. It's haunting, sad, spooky, decadent, intimate, beautiful and it just works. This will be played alot this Autumn.


So, our favouritist favourite new record of the moment must be the second album from Norway's SILJE NES. 'Opticks' was released last month via Fat Cat Records. Oh so beautiful, so delicate Scandinavian warmness. It buzzes with that rare kind of haze that Mazzy Star were so renowned for, Silje's gentle voice reminding us of Stina Nordenstam perhaps. Shimmering melodies which sound like they were played on tiny little instruments. Xylophone, viola, electronics. A bit indie, a bit 'post-rock-y', a bit electronica-y, totally Norse. Those underlying bass-lines make us smile. Oh, we love this record SO much!

Silje Nes on Myspace

And finally, two of the electronic records that have been enrapturing us lately and are well worthy of your time if you are so inclined. Hamburg's Hendrick Weber (aka PANTHA DU PRINCE) delivered an absolute minimal German techno / electronica classic in 'Black Noise' earlier this year. Rich, intelligent, organic and glacial, this is one beautiful sound. On an experimental angle, the recently released new album 'Mimikry' from ANBB is a wonder to behold. Anbb being the collaboration between German electronic composer / visual artist Alva Noto and modern day renaissance man Blixa Bargeld (Einstruzende Neubauten / Bad Seeds). Musically it's minimal, rhythmic, it glitches, it clicks, it drones, it roars in walls of static noise and is all round quite mesmerizing. But it's the dialogue, drive and tone of Bargeld's voice that really does make this complete. Quite amazing. The previous EP 'Ret Marut Handshake' is well worth tracking down too.


So, we've been getting all excited about the Norwegian Jazz scene, left-field pop records, Norwegian girl singers and German electronica / IDM, but TOM G WARRIOR has been fueling our metal this week. Always one for a commanding vision of music working closely with bold aesthetics, the new TRIPTYKON video for 'Shatter' is no exception. Personally, Triptykon could never eclipse the epic genius of CELTIC FROST's 'Monotheist', but this video is a visual wonder. Thanks and enjoy.

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