Thursday, August 31, 2006

Home Videos # 2

Madonna - Lament (live)

Madonna - Music (live)

Tomorrow I'll be flying to Amsterdam and, besides other good things, my visit will also include seeing Madonna live once again, this time on the Confessions Tour. For the meantime, these are two videos I made two years ago, during the Re-Invention Tour stop in Lisbon.

(filmed on the 13-09-2004 in Pavilhão Atlântico, Lisbon)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Niobe - White Hats

Sometimes there are albuns sounding so intimate and special that we want them to be our little secret. So here's this year's secret. Based in memories from her holidays while skiing in the swiss alps, Yvonne Cornelius (the distinctive voice behind this project) gives us a collection of electronic and acoustic sounds where her voice is used as another instrument in delicate songs, creating complex harmonies out of inventive and unusual structures. With so many micro details, it lives in the same universe as Laurie Anderson or Hanne Hukkelberg but it sounds so unique as if exploring unknown territories and being mesmerized by the never-seen beauty of what's around us.

Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit - Secret Rhythms 2

From Germany, more solid proofs that most of the times "less is more". Burnt Friedman has been responsible for essential music for over a decade, using multiple identities in electronic music projects such as Drome, Nonplace Urban Field, Flanger or Nine Horses, always creating sonic poems with minimum resources. Jaki Liebezeit is the former drummer of the legendary group Can and that's enough said. So it comes as no surprise that the second volume of this project is nothing short of a paradigm in a fluid, transparent and minimalistic language. Jazz, dub, electronic programming and live instruments are used to create smooth aural structures that seem so simple and yet, hide hypnotic powers.

Double D Force - Enforce The Funk

They start the first song saying "We're the Double D Force, we enforce the funk, so turn the volume up and let the speakers bump" over vintage synths and cowbells and there couldn't be a better introduction for this portuguese project. To put it in a few words, this is a lesson on how to create the perfect groove in 3 easy steps. Firstly, take inspiration from late 70's and early 80's electro, as introduced by pioneers such as Afrika Bambaataa. Mix some 70's house and disco elements with early hip-hop techniques, as heard in the compilation "Big Apple Rappin'". And then, the Midas touch: update it all to the year 2006, with contemporary electronic effects and sounds, giving special attention to the funk molecule. Genuinely addictive.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Polaroids # 5

Back in Madrid! But this time only for a few days...

(pictures taken in Madrid between 12th - 15th August 2006)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Some music for summertime

El Perro Del Mar - El Perro Del Mar

Coming from Sweden, here's a wonderful surprise set to become this summer's perfect soundtrack, full of beautiful and ethereal pop melodies sung by a (not-so) innocent voice. To hear by the river/sea during sweet melancholic sunset afternoons.

Gilles Peterson Digs America - Brownswood USA

As a music fanatic, his record collection is so huge that he has to keep it all in a separate house known as Brownswood. Out of nowhere, here's another one of his selections, this time presenting 16 rare and vital funk/blues/soul/jazz lost pearls for us to discover.

Seu Jorge - The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions

First heard in the magnificent movie that was "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou" by Wes Anderson, these are the versions that Seu Jorge, from Brasil, did for some classic David Bowie songs, armed only with an acoustic guitar, reinvented and inspired portuguese lyrics and the beautiful charm of the simplest things.

Phoenix - It's Never Been Like That

Elegant and simple melodies played with a natural teenage enthusiasm, in an album of infectious rock anthems by this french group. Fans include people like Sofia Coppola, who uses their songs in her movie soundtracks or Hedi Slimane, who designs their album covers.

Richard Dorfmeister vs Madrid De Los Austrias - Grand Slam

Nothing really new in this collection of remixes, but the "Vienna sound" trademark elegance is intact to keep us interested after so many years.

Four Tet - Dj-Kicks

Most recent installment from the DJ-Kicks series, this time coming from Kieran Hebden, a music scientist eclectic enough to mix Madvillain with Animal Collective, Cabaret Voltaire with Gong or Syclops with Curtis Mayfield. And it does so much sense.

Buraka Som Sistema - From Buraka To The World E.P.

Still not the album, but a good soundtrack for crazy nights with no inhibitions, from the "Progressive Kuduro" ambassadors.

Jay-Z - The Blueprint

From 2001, I've been listenning to this one a lot again. One of the best hip-hop albuns of all time, the perfect symbiosis between classic soul samples and innovative beats. Kanye West was one of the producers.

Wordsong - Pessoa (Dual CD+Book)

Summer is the perfect time for reading, so there couldn't be a better time to consume this multimedia project around Fernando Pessoa. It includes songs recreating his words, videos inspired by his imagery and a book with poems and an essay about this enigmatic portuguese writer.

Madonna - I'm Going To Tell You A Secret (DVD + CD)

A DVD documenting her previous 2004 tour, showing us how's life on the road for a world icon and what's in her mind these days. Features a bonus CD with some audio selections from the Re-Invention shows, bringing back good memories (and a good aperitif while waiting to see the Confessions Tour in September).

Plan B - Who Needs Actions When You Got Words

Ben Drew is only 23 years old but he's already being considered as the Bob Dylan of grime. It makes sense. The beats, rhythms and synths that are grime's trademark are still here, but over them we have a man armed with an acoustic guitar, telling us his brilliant tales of violence, sex, drugs and family traumas which sometimes remind us of the best Eminem. It's not a feel-good album, even though some songs - "Kidz", "Mama (Loves a Crackhead)" and the suberb "No Good" - are so damm catchy but the miserable situations he describes keep the atmosphere dark enough to avoid big parties. Words can really be the best weapon.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

TV On The Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain

Can we make a party out of the apocalypse? According to TV On The Radio's second album, we must, so let's celebrate today, while we can, because there could be no tomorrow. Let's do it in a dense and intense way, invite our ancestor's ghosts and talk about death, chaos, life and beauty. Like some of the best recent rock albuns (Arcade Fire, Liars, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Broken Social Scene), "rock" is only the beginning and the end is an overdose of emotions that takes into life our most primitive feelings. Abrasive guitars, soul atmospheres, gospel emotions, pop vocals, jazzy-funky constructions, experimental noises and an out-of-this-world music, so rich and powerful as only the most urgent things in life. Celebrate while you can.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Kudu - Death Of The Party

Coming from Brooklyn in New York, Kudu are Sylvia Gordon (lyrics, vocals and synths) and Deantoni Parks (drums, programming and synths) and their latest album is the complete opposite of what its title suggests. Loaded with gigantic and addictive anthems, their sound could be described as early 80's post-punk inspired, reinvented with a very physical and sensual mood, full of intelligent elements and rich details that put it into a whole new category. Over hypnotic sounds and powerful beats that seem like punching the air around them, Sylvia sings mostly about domination, submission and physical desires, all with a voice that exults sexuality in a lascivious way, sometimes reminding us of 80's gothic divas like Siouxsie Sioux. A brilliant surprise that gives new meaning to expressions like "gothic rave" or "post-punk chic", here's our new fetish.