Autumn Leaves

For my second recognizable tune on my next album I wanted to do “Autumn Leaves”, a standard made initially famous when it was sung by Yves Montand.

For the song, I wanted to make it sound a bit like a Mechanical Orchestra, so instead of having one part play the melody, I split it between 4 instruments. Then had them hold the chord which is created.

The second time through, the 4 clarinets are assigned the notes, but given no indication when to come in, sounding a bit like the Mechanical Orchestra has broken down.

For the final time through, a single clarinet plays the melody with the bass clarinet accompanying.

These are the original French lyrics for “Les Feuilles Mortes” by “Realist” poet Jacques Prévert, translated by google translate. This is the version Yves Montand sang in the soundtrack to the movie, “Les Portes de la nuit”.

Oh, I wanted you to remember
Happy days where we were friends
At that time life was more beautiful
And the sun is more hot than today
Dead leaves gathered by shovel
You see, I have not forgotten
Dead leaves gathered by shovel
Memories and regrets also
And the north wind prevails,
In the cold night of oblivion
You see I have not forgotten,
The song you were singing
Dead leaves gathered by shovel
Memories and regrets too,
But my silent and faithful love
Still smiles and thanks life

I loved you so much, you were so pretty,
How do you want me to forget you?
At that time life was more beautiful
And the sun is more hot than today
You were my sweetest friend
But I do not regret
And the song you were singing,
Always, always I will hear it
This song reminds me of us,
You loved me, I loved you
And we lived, both together,
You who loved me, I who loved you
But life separates those who love each other,
Gently, without making noise
And the sea erases on the sand
The footsteps of disunited lovers

The American songwriter, Johnny Mercer wrote the English lyrics most associated with the tune “Autumn Leaves”, and performed by a wide variety of Jazz and Pop vocalists, from Jo Stafford to Frank Sinatra to The Everly Brothers. They’re a little lame, in comparison to the French lyrics.

The falling leaves drift by my window
The falling leaves of red and gold
I see your lips the summer kisses
The sunburned hands I used to hold

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

2017-09-01 The Tower

The Tower

The Tower by Xetas.

Tower, as in the Tarot Card, going from the cover illustration.

[The Tower] …follows immediately after The Devil in all Tarots that contain it, and is associated with sudden, disruptive, revelation, and potentially destructive change.

Shouty vocals, distorted guitars, blistering tempos, and a tight band. Somewhere in the vicinity of Albini’s bands. Located somewhere South of Superchunk and West of Discord, (but my references for this type of music are so stale, they’d probably say they’re from a completely different state. Well, Austin, Texas, to be exact.) Noisy and not particularly anthemic, the closest they get to sing-a-long is the pleasantly syncopated chorus of “The Silence”, “Is it easier to die, than try, rotting on the vine?” A motivational sentiment I can get behind.

#Xetas #TheTower #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

2017-09-01 Dreaming in the Non-Dream

Dreaming in the Non-Dream

Dreaming in the Non-Dream (Great Title!) by Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band.

Two long songs and two shorter songs, on this new album from Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band.

The longer songs are instrumental jams, and often have a feeling of familiarity about them. “Wait, is that a Byrds Riff? Boy this sounds like Television. What the!? Is this section really a jam on the ‘Sing Women’ section of Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On’?” The best song, and the one where they seem most to throw off their allusions and influences, is, “Have We Mistaken the Bottle for the Whiskey Inside”. #Chris Forsyth #TheSolarMotelBand #ChrisForsythAndTheSolarMotelBand #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

2017-08-29 Segu Blue

Segu Blue

Segu Blue by Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba.

Bassekou Kouyate is a modern master of the Ngoni, a ceremonial stringed instrument from Western Africa that’s a little like a banjo, with a drum over the resonating chamber, and a little like the Chinese Erhu, in that it can be bowed or plucked. He and his band, Ngoni ba, have attracted attention for doing crazy things like electrifying the Ngoni and playing blues & rock riffs on said electrified instruments.

Segu Blue was their first record, and produced by London based ethnomusicologist and radio presenter Lucy Durán.

The confluence of sympathetic European production values and African talent make it a compelling listen. 
I could go on (and on) about the complex polyrhythmic web of interactions between the Ngoni and percussion. Or exclaim over the beautiful vocal harmonies, but really you should just listen to the album for yourself.

#BassekouKouyate #NgoniBa #segublue

2017-08-28 Seven Pieces – Live at Willisau 1995

Seven Pieces – Live at Willisau

Seven Pieces – Live at Willisau 1995 by Evan Parker, Daunik Lazro, and Joe McPhee.

Three Saxophonists, one American, one British, and one French, improvising freely. Some wonderful and surprisingly lyrical interplay.

One of those records, where it reaches the end, and you want to go back and start over, to listen for more of the details and technique.

#EvanParker #DaunikLazro #JoeMcPhee #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

2017-08-25 Ikonostasis


Ikonostasis by Kari Ikonen, Mathias Eick, Ra-Kalam Bob Moses, and Louis Sclavis.

Duo and trio settings with Ikonen on Piano, Prepared Piano, and Synthesizer.

Despite some passages of, I’m sure, well meaning ethno-tourism, this is a very pleasant release. I especially enjoy the prepared piano pieces and duets between Sclavis on clarinet and Ikonen on Synthesizer, with Sclavis matching Ikonen’s alien tones and bent notes. Evocative music, food for thought.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #KariIkonen #MathiasEick #RaKalamBobMoses #LouisSclavis

2017-08-24 Cymande


Cymande (Sometimes called “Dove”) by Cymande.

Sparsely arranged percussion and bass driven groove based funk with Jazz, Soul, and Reggae influences.

Saxophonist Matt Nelson posted a photo of recent vinyl score of this album, with the comment, “Oh yes. One of the best ever.” So, I thought I should check it out.

And, man, it is great! Once one of these tracks kick in, you get the feeling they could go forever, the groove is so powerful. Yet the playing is relaxed and poised, with every song given the time it needs to develop organically. I also like the feel of space conveyed by the production and engineering.

Just makes you feel good to listen. I bet they were kick-ass live. “But it’s all right, we can still go home.” 

#Cymande #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

2017-08-23 Xe

Xe by Zs.

Since I’ve been recently playing with digital tools for recording and manipulating sound, it is interesting to listen through a release like Xe where nearly every track involves some sort of effect or looping.

I can’t quite decide how I feel about listening to albums where it almost seems more like a showcase for digital effects than a recording of people playing together.

Said the pot to the kettle.

In any case, a very interesting album.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #Xe #Zs

2017-08-22 Dark Days & Canapés

Dark Days & Canapés by Ghostpoet.

It’s usually worthwhile to check out audio artists shortlisted for the Mercury Prize. Obaru Ejimiwe, aka Ghostpoet, is no exception.

A master of the artistically deployed vocal fry, his soundscapes have been sounding more and more rock-ish lately, while still maintaining a pleasant noisiness.

The Guardian describes this release as, “languid and assured,” which is about right.

#Ghostpoet #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #DarkDaysAndCanapés #graffitti

2017-08-21 Strange Days II

Strange Days II

Strange Days II by Wolf Eyes.

A new EP or album by Wolf Eyes, one of my favorite purveyors of electro-acoustic skronk, (or PyschoJazz, as they like to put it,) is always a cause for spending some time zoning out and contemplating the phase shifting of time and space through acoustic alchemy.

My main complaint about this new two song EP is that it is far too short. Or maybe it is too long. Who can say?

#Wolfeyes #PsychoJazz #JimBaljo #JohnOlson #NateYoung