Thursday, April 30, 2009

Conference of the birds

This might be the start of a new series in the blog, focusing on some classic albums (and hereby tagged "The Classic"). A classic here is a record quite often placed in the basement these days, I've played it a lot or just a few times, and it has opened my heart and ears. OK I'm pretty ego oriented, but this stuff will bring joy and happiness to all of you (sorry it's the weekend feeling getting to me). Robert Wyatt's albums will not be represented in this series, since I've already hailed them as classics anyway.

The first choice combine three things I've enjoyed listening to: Jazz, ECM and birds. David Holland Quartet released "Conference of the birds" on ECM in 1973. According to Holland the music is inspired by the birds he heard singing early in the morning "each declaring its freedom in song". The birds probably tried to find a sex partner or were scared to death by some hawk, but that doesn't matter as long as they inspired this music.

The quartet is David Holland (bass), Sam Rivers (sax, fløyte), Anthony Braxton (sax, fløyte) and Barry Altschul (trommer). I was so impressed then (being around 18 years old) and still am. "Conference of the birds" is a real classic.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Nils Petter Molvær's new album is called "Hamada" (Sula 2009). You get 10 tunes with quite familiar Molvær music, most of them quiet and beautiful. Only two of the tracks make a bit of aggressive noise ("Friction" and "Cruel Altitude"). The choise of titles like "Monocline", "Anticline" and "Lahar" (do the Googling yourselves), may indicate some geological interest! The title "Hamada", is the name of a desert type.
I've given this advise earlier, and I think it's still good: Buy the new album, and work yourselves backwards in the discography.
Musicians on the album are: Nils Petter Molvær, Audun Kleive, Jan Bang, Eivind Aarset og Audun Erlien.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Robert Wyatt's "Just as you are" was used in the TV series "Skins". I know nothing about this series, but "Just as you are" is on the soundtrack to (what YouTube call) "Series 3 Episode 6 Part 5 Naomi". See here after around 50 seconds (Embedding disabled).

Monday, April 27, 2009


David Byrne invited Norwegian Katzenjammer to his curated stage at Bonnaroo. Even in Bergen we've had sunny weather for a couple of days now, and all this gives me quite a good excuse to post a summer video of the girls of Katzenjammer (yes it does!). Here they are on a boat trip on Trondheim's Nidelven river. "Ain`t no thang". Not so sure about that!

Concerts and festivals (again)

- I've mentioned Moldejazz 2009 (13-18 July) several times, but will add Marianne Faitfull and Maja Ratkje with Joelle Leandre to my concert plans too.
- Circulasione Totale Orchestra are touring again, starting off in Oslo this Wednesday. Hamid Drake (dr) and Per Zanussi (b) replace Pål Nilssen-Love and Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten.
- Check the Oslo Jazzfestival (10 August - 15 August) program. You may hear Antony and the Johnsons on the roof of the Oslo Operahouse. I also mark off Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten and Håkon Kornstad with veteran drummer Jon Christensen!
- Kongsberg Jazzfestival is worth a visit. Fred Frith is coming and Jackie Leven with Norwegian Hardanger fiddle player Knut Buen, might just be the show to visit!
- And this week it's Bergenfest! Artist list here.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Robert Wyatt live!

I just received an e-mail from a friend, that made me jump here in front of the computer! Check out the program for Ornette Coleman's Meltdown, and focus in on Saturday 20 June: "Charlie Haden: Liberation Music Orchestra with guests Carla Bley and Robert Wyatt + The Bad Plus. Royal Festival Hall".

Mary Halvorson Trio

This was just the music I needed right now! Mary Halvorson Trio: "Dragon's Head" (Firehouse 12, 2008). Mary Halvorson (guitar), John Hebert (bass) and Ches Smith (drums) play some mean trio jazz. I see it's filed under Avant Garde (Halvorson worked with Anthony Braxton), but there are no reasons to let that scare you from picking up this album (or "clicking on this album", as they might say these days). Some of the tracks even make me think of John McLaughlin arund "Extrapolation" time, but that might be all my fault. I'll get som more Halvorson albums, no doubt about that. And the trio will be at this summer's Moldejazz too!

Inspired by Wyatt?

We haven't had much news on Robert Wyatt lately, so let's just make up some on a Sunday morning (not really!).
- "Balky Mule" is Sam Jones, and the record "The Length Of The Rai" "is a bubbling, bleeping romp of toy-shop psychedelia and likable shy-boy vocal", they say over at "Noise". And more: "Still, the disc is very much a bedroom creation, and one can almost imagine Jones skipping and grinning from behind the safety of his teetering piles of instruments; behind that wall is a bashful, boyish warble, pitched somewhere between Robert Wyatt and a more lucid version of Syd Barrett".
- is interviewing Luke Temple, who listens (or at least listened) a lot to Robert Wyatt.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Zu: Carboniferous

OK here comes another album that is hard to place on the genre map: Zu and "Carboniferous" (Ipecac 2009). 10 tunes walking the borders of rock, metal, noise, prog and jazz (?), and it works fine (even if I'm not sure I'll be able to listen to the whole album in one go lots of times). My guess is that this is music for people who like Shining, The Thing (see blog post from Night Jazz 2007) and King Crimson. Check them out on Spotify, if you haven't heard this band (I shopped at eMusic). Zu is Jacopo Battaglia (drums), Massimo Pupillo (bass) and Luca T. Mai (sax), and Mike Patton's on "Carboniferous" too . They have toured with Patton, and let's see a video from Rome, where Danny DeVito is introducing the musicians!

Friday, April 24, 2009


Thursday evening I had finally gathered enough courage to visit my old student club Hulen in Bergen. The beer was just a bit more expensive than in the 70s, but the people in there were so much younger now! Visiting band: Shining. Shining do some serious rock-metal-jazz-progging on stage, and they play loud! Works real fine! Today I even heard they played a great version of King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" and they even played some exciting new material from the album scheduled for release this autumn. The problem is that I had already left then. The band started playing around midnight and a hard working man like me, just have to get the last bus home. The 35 first minutes of the show were great.
More pictures on Flickr.
Shining are visiting the The Netherlands, UK and Denmark in May (see here).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lille Stille

How about giving some young Norwegian guys a chance? Stian Around a Hill Quartet just released "Lille Stille" (Aim Sound City, 2009). Stian in the band name is trumpet player Stian Omenås and the rest of the band is Svein Magnus Furu (reeds), Jo Berger Myhre (bass) and Øyvind Skarbø (drums).
The record has 9 compositions by mentioned Stian, and I think they sound just fine. Some of the tunes are even a bit sad ("Vals", "Ballade"), and I like that too. You'll find this both on eMusic and iTunes, and the title means something like "Little Quiet One".

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Live Warrior

Richard Thompson has released a live CD called "Live Warrior". The material is recorded in different cities in UK and USA during the Sweet Warrior tour of 2007. Eight songs are taken from "Sweet Warrior", including a beautiful version of "Take Care The Road You Choose" and there are great versions of older Thompson songs like "Read About Love", "Wrong Heartbeat" and "Man In Need". Buy the record at Beesweb.
Musicians: Richard Thompson, Michael Jerome, Pete Zorn, Danny Thompson og Taras Prodaniuk.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hairy Bones

I heard Massimo Pupillo (Zu), Peter Brötzman, Toshinori Kondo and Paal Nilssen-Love at the Landmark Club in Bergen 3 September 2008. That was a great concert, and three days later they played one just as good, or even better (at least with better sound)in Amsterdam. This show is now documented on "Hairy Bones" Okkadisk 2009. Cover: Peter Brötzmann.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Jon Hassell

Jon Hassell is back with "Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the streets" on ECM. This is a record with the usual "not easy to classify" Hassel, but Wyattandstuff will file it under "world ambient". The music floats like a river, often with Hassel's trumpet and a steady bass (Peter Freeman) up front. Chauvinist as I am, I'll just mention the Norwegians on the record: Jan Bang, Eivind Aarset and Helge Nordbakken. This might be boring stuff for some people, but I think it's beautiful, peaceful and emotional, and it's not the party album of the year! In a blindfold test I'm sure some people will go for Arve Henriksen or Nils Petter Molvær.
The album's got a nice title, but it doesn't beat "The Surgeon of the Nightsky Restores Dead Things by the Power of Sound" (1997).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rip It Up

The punks didn't last very long (thank God?), and Simon Reynolds describes what came after the spitting hordes in "Rip It Up And Start Again. Postpunk 1978-1984" (Faber and Faber 2006, my paperback 2007). We talk about bands like PiL, Devo, The Fall, The Slits, Wire, Talking Heads, Pere Ubu, Joy Division and Cabaret Voltaire, and lots of others. Robert Wyatt is in here too, in the chapters on Scritti Politti and Raincoats.
This is great reading, also the part of the book on "New Pop and New Rock" (the wildest ones: Frankie Goes To Holywood). See also Totally Wired, and hear this sampler, whith Robert Wyatt's "Grass" (Ivor Cutler).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Yael Naïm

On my daily search for Robert Wyatt stuff on the net, I ended up in the I-Tunes store, where I for some reason got a hit on the record "Yael Naïm & David Donatien". I can't see that RW is on this record, but Yael Naïm sings on several tracks on ONJ's Wyatt tribute.
I shopped a couple of tunes, one of them a beautiful version of Britney Spears' "Toxic". A vocalist who can do a Britney cover like that, is welcome to sing Wyatt for me. Listen to some tracks on MySpace, and you may have heard her in a commercial too.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sunny's Time Now

Drummer Sunny Murray has got his documentary, called "Sunny's Time Now" (director: Antoine PRUM). Our friend Robert Wyatt is in the film too.
The film will be shown (director present) in London 18 April.


Sonore is Ken Vandermark (ts), Mats Gustafsson (bs) and Peter Brötzmann (ts). This was recorded in Japan last autumn. Stormy weather indeed.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dead serious

Bengt Frippe Nordström's "Creative Addition" was out on Ayler Records in December 2008. These tracks are live recordings from Sweden in 1987 and 1988, and the musicians are Bengt Frippe Nordström (clarinet, tenor sax, voice), Lars Svanteson (violin), Björn Alke (bass) and Peeter Uuskyla (drums). This is a great album, and I'm sure it's free jazz (or something thereabout), but we also get small melody lines from folk tunes and evergreens. From the stage we even get a clear message that this is dead serious music (in Swedish). Nice!
Nordström (1936 - 2000) was unknown to me before I got this album, and after the first hearing I really thought the music was quite new too, and not more than 20 years old.

I shopped my "Creative Addition" at eMusic, but I have to say it again (I must have said it before?): I want all my info at the sellers and record companies' sites! I know it's always (almost) possible to find what you want after some serious net searching, but I miss my cover if I can't find the producer's name, when and where the music was recorded and the record on sale, the musicians on each track and so on! Damn it, I'm getting a bit grumpy here. (Thanks to AAJ for some info).

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Jazzfest in Trondheim

Trondheim might be a good place to stay 1. - 5. June when (among others) John Surman - Jack DeJohnette Duo and Dave Holland Quintet will visit for Jazzfest 2009.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Originally uploaded by svennevenn

I've been "collecting" street art from Bergen for a couple of years now (on Flickr that is), and have noticed lately that we get more stickers or paste-ups. One of my favorites is Muskelpust (meaning "Muscle Breath"), and you'll find more of his robot figures, and other sticker artists in this Flickr set.


Later: Muskelpust got his own set!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ask Emily asked Emily Haines 13 questions. Emily Haines is a member of Metric, she makes her own solo albums and is a friend of Robert Wyatt. We have written about her "Knives Don't Have Your Back", and that album is still a good one!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Edgar Broughton Band

Edgar Broughton Band
Originally uploaded by svennevenn

I was a big fan of the Edgar Broughton Band in my younger days, and loved albums like "Wasa Wasa", "Sing Brother Sing" and the self titled third album. They seem to tour regularly these days, and are returning to Norway this May. Rumors tell that they are really good, but let's go back "Love in the rain" from 1970.

Added 20 April: The concert is cancelled!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Street art on the cover

Originally uploaded by svennevenn

Sometimes, and perhaps more often than I'm aware of, I shop music because I like the cover. Monday I fund this mini CD in a shop called Robot in Bergen. The stencil art on the cover is made by MIR, and the music isn't bad either! Will I ever shop music files because they have nice web sites?

Monday, April 6, 2009

When Jazz Cats Meet Rockers list a dozen surprising combinations of jazz musicians and rock artists. You get Sonny Rollins with Rolling Stones, Chick Corea with Rick Derringer, Ornette Coleman with Yoko Ono, Stan Getz with Huey Lewis & The News and more.
One day I might look through my own record collection to see if I find som wild combinations, but at first glance, most cooperations seem quite natural. Robert Wyatt's fond of jazz as we know, and has worked with among others Evan Parker, Gilad Atzmon and Gary Windo, and let's mention one more with John Surman guesting on "Point Scarlet" on Christine Collister's "The Dark Gift of Time".

In Norway we have the band Datarock, and it seems like saxman Kjetil Møster is a regular member of the band, red tracksuit and all! The video is a cover of Devo's "Mongoloid".

Sunday, April 5, 2009

More on the Molde Jazz Festival

The program for the Molde Jazz Festival 2009 is looking better and better (only in Norwegian so far), and I just want to mention that Arve Henriksen will be "Artist in Residence" and Atomic will do a club concert.
Let's look at some old stuff from the festival too. The video is from the Molde Cinema 5 August 1967, and show Cadentia Nova Danica. The musicians are: John Tchicai (as), Karsten Vogel (as), Hugh Steinmetz (tp), Kim Mentzer (trb), Finn Edler von Eyben (b), Piet Kuiters (p), Giorgio Monsoni (perc) and Bo Thrige Andersen (dr) (according to books on the festival by Terje Mosnes).

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Dark Stuff

I've been a sucker for novels most of my reading life, and I might be a bit behind schedule with a lots of other stuff. These days I'm reading Nick Kent's "The Dark Stuff". Originally it's from 1994, but my edition is an updated version from 2007 (Faber & Faber). Nick Kent wrote for NME in the 70s and later for Melody Maker, so i've probably read parts of this earlier. Several of the pieces are from The Face.
You get a good mix here, with artists like Iggy Pop, Roky Erickson, Miles Davis, Roy Orbison, Syd Barrett, The New York Dolls, Sid Vicious, Johnny Cash and lots of others. Kent is writing from the inside of the cirkus, he is not an outsider describing what he sees. My favourite piece in the book is the longest one, on Brian Wilson ("The Last Beach Movie Revisisted: The Life of Brian Wilson"). Not only perfect waves, sunshine and California Girls there.
If you are as slow as me on reading up on your "must read" music books, this is a good one for Easter.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Wyatt Variations autumn 2008

At the 39. Deutsches Jazzfestival Frankfurt in 2008, an evening was dedicated to "The Wyatt Variations - An Evening curated by Robert Wyatt".
It's now possible to get a listen to this happening, all legal I presume. Just look over at "Live Jazz Allowed".

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Los Bastardos

- "The Worms Will Get In" by Jazkamer is on the soundtrack of Amat Escalante's "Los Bastardos".
- Spunk's "Kantarell" is out on Rune Grammofon 20 April.
- Three new albums I'll have to get my ears on:
Brötzmann/Kondo/Pupillo/Nilssen-Love: "Hairy Bones" (Okka).
Grenager/Hegre/Fetveit/Olsen S.: "Ute" (AIM Sound City).
Zu: "Carboniferous" (Ipecac).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Shindig! (vol 2, no 9, 2009) run a six pages long piece and interview with Kevin Ayers. It's on the usual stuff from the Canterbury days with Soft Machine and Robert Wyatt and onwards. Ayers, not the man to promote himself in any way, deserves every journal and newspaper article he can get. These days you may also buy new editions of "Sweet Deceiver", "Yes we have no Mananas" and "The Confessions of Dr. Dream", all of them with bonus tracks (EMI).
Shindig! was unknown to me until yesterday, when I found it in the Apollon record store in Bergen. Psychedelia and garage rock seem to be their main stuff, and here's what they say: "Psych, Garage, Beat, Powerpop, Soul, Folk... For People Who Want More!" Sounds good.