As you know, I mainly show a collection of my photographs here – so I will start this post with a The Concert – a picture I’ve taken in Istanbul some years ago and which you might have seen here already. You might have seen my post Greatest Hits as well, where I wrote about the music I liked in 2013 – and as you can guess, here I will write about great music I discovered in 2014. Though, this time around I don’t really have one or two favorites, so I would like to introduce you to 10 artist/records I discovered, ordered alphabetically:
Marc Almond was really busy last year, publishing three albums. The most accessible is probably The Dancing Marquis (SFE) where he successfully combines strings, glam rock guitars and some electronic beats. But the highlights were the other two records. The Tyburn Tree (recorded with John Harle / Sospiro Music) evokes the ‚Dark London‘ of the 19th century with pop, classical music and a little jazz – whereas his Ten Plagues (SFE) are more minimalistic piano music. As you might guess, it evolves around an outbreak of the plague – so prepare for something more sinister.
Strangely, when you mention Aynur in Turkey, no one knows who you are talking about until you mention her last name: Doğan. She is one of many talented Kurdish artists in Turkey – though what makes Hevra (Sony Music) stand out is the production by Javier Limón who adds a spark of Spanish music and therefore takes the musical traditions Aynur incorporates in her music to a whole new level.
Einstürzende Neubauten: Lament
On Lament (Mute Records) Einstürzende Neubauten tried to evoke World War I with different musical forms that remind you of their early industrial/noise phase, as well as their later phase which you might nearly call pop music. But there are also poems, hymns and animal noises to be found.
Elena Hristova & Goran Trajkoski: Bioscopia
As far as I know, Bioscopia (SJF) is the only record Elena Hristova & Goran Trajkoski recorded together. The recording from 2011 combines Macedonian music with classical and jazzy elements to an atmospheric piece of music.
Norberto Lobo: Fornalha
With Fornalha (Three Four Records) Portuguese artist Norberto Lobo recorded an album with experimental guitar sounds. As I play guitar myself, I think you probably have to forget everything your teacher ever told you about how to use this instrument to create such intense soundscapes.
T.R. Mahalingam: Portrait Of A Prodigy: His Early Years, 1940s-1950s
His Early Years (EM Records) is an interesting collection of early recordings by the Indian flautist T.R. Mahalingam, also known as Mali. What makes these recordings so special is his sense for melody and rhythm. The music here was beautifully remastered, though as it was taken from old records, prepare for some cracks and noises. However, I think they only give a nice vintage feel to the music.
The new album Pineal (SFE) by Greek artist Othon Mataragas starts basically where he left off with his previous albums and takes us back to some futuristic cabaret where we can here incredible voice of Italian singer Ernesto Tomasini. But in the second half of the album Othon takes us over the ocean and deep into the Brazilian rain forest. To me, the whole album feels a bit like a trip back to nature.
Umay Umay & Cem Adrian: Cam Havli
Cem Adrian is probably one of Turkey most talented singers. But he also is a good songwriter and since his album Emir he also developed the his ability for beautiful and original arrangements. On Cam Havli (Dokuz Sekiz) he teams up with Umay Umay and delivers another collection of wonderful music.
Scott Walker + Sunn O))): Soused
Since I first heard the 1960’s recordings of Scott Walker I was fascinated by his music. I also remember when I bought his album Tilt and was introduced to his new sound, which is most brilliant, but certainly difficult to digest. When I heard that he recorded Soused (4AD) with Sunn O))) I was sure it would be another difficult affair. And though the darkish soundscapes might sound somewhat disturbing, it is definitely the most accessible album he has recorded since the 1980s. Nonetheless, it is another brilliant work.
Ruben Zahra: Arabesque
The music Ruben Zahra creates on Arabesque (Soundscapes) you would probably file under contemporary classical music. Though I also discovered some traditional Maltese elements as well as some sparks of jazz and so, the musical genres start to blur to an interesting composition.