Music: Four Tet – Morning / Evening (TEXT Records, 2015)

Kieran Hebden is a very busy men these days. He works as a producer for his long time colleague Jamie XX and for his first solo record “In Colour”. He also plays extended DJ sets on festivals around the world (Dekmantel, Boiler Room…). For his second music project called Percussions (more club oriented like Four Tet) he also releases new tracks in the last months. Now he is back with a new main release as Four Tet.

It’s his first release on the independet online music store bandcamp. There was no press hype and no marketing campaign for the new record. The new record Morning / Evening is very different from his latest releases. It only has 2 tracks with a playtime of 20 minutes for each one. That’s one thing. The other thing is the music himself. On Morning / Evening Kieran goes back to his roots. Hebden is half-Indian on his mother’s side and for the first time, he says, his music finds him considering his roots. And these influences you can listen to just from the beginning of the record. It sounds a lot like a Bollywood record from Side A (Morning Side). And that’s very difficult to get into it. But don’t get me wrong it is not terrible but it’s miles ahed from his latest releases. The second track (Evening Side) has another feeling but also these Boolywood elements in it. But this track has a great gain in intensity. The last third was amazing – these percussions are great – Kieran Hebden at his best! In my opinion it’s not his best record and miles away from his master pice “There Is Love In You” (Dominio, 2010) but with the new release he explores a new format. I’m not sure if his music is ready for these long tracks but we will see what comes next.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

TV Show: Sherlock (BBC One, Season I – III)

The old detective stories from Sherlock Holmes and his colleague Dr. Watson were often filmed in the past. There are two newer movies by Guy Ritchie with Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. John Watson. But one of the main differences between the movies and the new tv show is the time period. While the movies represented the original time era from writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the new BBC TV Show plays in the modern times of London.

This scenario brings a lot of new possibilities for the stories of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Another difference is the format. Normally a TV Show episode provides a length of 40-60 minutes but the Sherlock episodes has the lengh of a feature film (90 minutes). I would like to introduce just the basics of the show and avoid some spoilers. The main actors will be played by Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness, The Imitation Game) as Sherlock and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, Fargo) as Dr. John Watson.

At the beginning of the series the main characters set up a commune in london city. The new home of both, the traditional 221b Baker Street. The stories are mainly based on the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle with a modern touch. At the beginning of the show they introduced the main characters. Holmes a intelligent young man with the ability to known things much earlier then his colleagues and Dr. Watson an old war veteran with a trauma. The great strengh about Sherlock is the interaction between the main characters. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman interact perfectly together. But that’s not all. Sherlock has also an older brother called Mycroft played by Mark Gatiss and he works for the government. In some cases he needs the help of Sherlock to solve problems. The small desputes of both brothers were represented very enjoyable. But every hero needs a miscreant. In this way it was played by Andrew Scott as Jim Moriarty. I will not reveal to much about Moriarty but what I can say is, he is definitly crazy! And there is also room for a small love story between Sherlock and Mooly Hoper played by Louise Brealey, a pathologist at St. Bart’s Hospital occasionally assists him in his cases. It is very clear that Mooly has feelings about Sherlock, but he is not very interessted in love.

One of the main problems of the show is like every other good tv show: If you are into it you can’t stop to watch it. Yes the format is different you’ve got 3 episodes per season, but that’s all and you have to wait more than 2 years for another season because the main cast has also other movie projects. But this year there are good news for Sherlock fans like me. In December Sherlock comes back to the program with a special episode. This episode is excluded from the main story and acts in the vicorian era of london. I’m very exited about the setting. Hopefully this new epidode can cut down the time until Season 4 comes out.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Music: Nils Frahm – Solo (Erased Tapes, 2015)

After his great live album “Spaces”, Nils Frahm returned with a new effort called “Solo”. He released “Solo” as part of the celebration of the Piano Day, a day created by Frahm to pay a homage to this intense instrument. You can get “Solo” as a free download or on vinyl.

The new piono-based tracks are more intimate and reduced as his live shows. You can call “Solo” definitely as a personal record. It’s the perfect music for a relaxed sunday morning. But that’s not all about Frahm. If you have the chance to see him live, you should buy a ticket. His live shows are totally different to his studio records. I have seen him in May this year in Hamburg and it was phenomenal. The switches between the intimate piano tracks and the heavy synthesizer stuff are a totally success. It’s the art of Nils Frahm to create a rising suspense. For me, he can’t play a better closer track than “Toilet Brushes – More”. It was absolutely gorgeous! Yes I like the new record, but I also like his electronic stuff. Hopefully we will hear some new tracks in the near future. But Frahm does not only create new music by his own, he also create the soundtrack for the one-take movie “Victoria”. The soundtrack reinforced the feelings in the movie from Sebastian Schipper (Absolute Giganten, Ein Freund von mir). The movie is about a spanish young girl, which is new in berlin and there experiences on one special night. I haven’t see the movie yet, but I will do it in the future and will share my feelings about it here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Music: Nicolas Jaar – Pomegranates (Other People, 2015)

There is a kind of mystery in the music of Nicolas Jaar. The American-Chilean musician is the head of the label Clown & Sunset and also the owner of the subscription-based imprint Other People. Jaar’s music is ruminative and emotional (he calls it “blue-wave”), drawing inspiration from fellow Chilean Ricardo Villalobos and minimal techno.

My first contact to his music I’ve got with “Space Is Only Noise” his debut record in 2011. I can’t say that I like it from the beginning but it grown on me after the time. But Jaar is not only a great composer, he is also a fantastic dj. One of the greatest dj sets I’ve ever seen is his Boiler Room set from 2013. It was mindblowing! In 2014 he released the debut album from Darkside with longtime collaborator Dave Harrington. And now he’s back with another solo release by his own. “Pomegranates” is an alternative soundtrack for the classic avant-garde movie “The Color of Pomegranates” by Sergei Parajanov from 1969. The soundtrack included 20 tracks and in combination with the pictures by Parajanov it is very intense and dramatic. No word, this movie is not for people they can’t see blood or have generally weak nerves. The power from Jaar’s music is impressive. In some tracks he remind me about Ben Frost and otherwise like in the ending score “Muse” he sounded like pianist Nils Frahm. This soundtrack by Jaar is definitely a masterpice but maybe it takes some time if you into it. But it is worth it!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Music: Alessandro Cortini – Risveglio (Hospital Productions, 2015)

At the beginning of this year two of my best friends recommended me Alessandro Cortini. First, I never listened to his music, so who is that guy? What I know is that he is a member of the alternative group Nine Inch Nails. His primary role in the band was to play the keyboards. He also formed the band SONOIO as his first solo project in 2010.

The newer releases by himself are comes under his own name. One or two month ago I have noticed that he will release a new record called “Risveglio”. I’m listening to the first teaser song “La Sveglia” via his soundcloud page and was blown away. This song has a special dark and hypnotic John Carpenter style in it. I love it! After that I have no change to ignore the past releases from him. I decided to start with the direct predecessor “Sonno”. After the first tracks I’m into it. Very intense atmosphere! Cortini is a master in the usage of the synthesizer. For the sucessor “Risveglio” he also create his intense drone sounds by only one instrument, the Roland MC-202—a monophonic synthesizer/sequencer. “Risveglio” is a immersive record and you should listend to this via good headphones. The first three tracks are massive until the short sequence of track four. It’s a little bit strange that this track stoped suddenly after 30 seconds. But yes this is a planned cut according to Cortini. This kind of music is definitely not suitable for standard listener. You have to be into that kind of drone music. If you like artists like Tim Hecker, Roly Porter or Lawrence English you will also like the work of Alessandro Cortini. There is no way to ignore his work. For me “Risveglio” could be one of the best releases in this year, but we will see what comes next.

Rating: 4 out of 5.