Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Robert Wyatt: The next step

When I am searching through old school media (newspapers and such) and social media like Twitter, blogs and Facebook, for news on Robert Wyatt, I´m always happy to see all those people who like our man. Most people dig his latest albums and lots of them mention "Shipbuilding" (written by Elvis Costello) or the album "Rock bottom". Not strange at all!

If any newcomers to Wyatt end up in here for some reason, let me suggest you try some of his not so rock or pop influenced stuff too. I have already mentioned Wyatt´s works with Michael Mantler in this blog, but one more time won´t hurt (look here and here).
Please check Un DIscographie de Robert Wyatt for albums where Wyatt participates.
How about Wyatt singing John Cage on "Jan Steele/John Cage", on Eno´s Obscure label (1976), or a reading/singing of Harold Pinter´s "Silence" (Watt 1976)?
You know I dig Robert Wyatt as a pop singer just as much as all of you, but I would not mind some more with a touch of contemporary classical or jazz either.

I am a bit surprised that I have hardly mentioned "Nick Mason´s Fictitious Sports" (1981), with Michael and Karen Graft, Carla Bley, Nick Mason, Chris Spedding, Gary Windo, Gary Valente and Howard Johnson! Borrow or buy this together with the horror album "The hapless child and other inscrutable stories", with Michael Mantler´s music and lyrics by Edward Gorey (with Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Terje Rypdal and Jack DeJohnette).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Classic Vuvuzela

A couple of you may find it strange that I have not blogged from the the soccer world cup, but today we are getting close! The vuvuzela may turn into a popular concert instrument too! Or, perhaps not?
Ravel´s Bolero will never be the same again.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sirens and Us

The Norwegian music library blog Musikkprat made me aware of the band Sirens And Us. On their MySpace page their music is described like this: "With deep roots in early progressive rock ( King Crimson, Van der Graaf Generator, Procol Harum, Yes, Genesis) Sirens and us meets a more approachable genre in the alternative rock (Radiohead, dEUS, Sonic Youth). This mixture of genres results in a brand new honest sound."

I must admit I´m not a big prog fan, but appreciate the prog flavors in bands like Jaga Jazzist and Shining, and since Sirens and Us list Soft Machine and Robert Wyatt among their favorites, let´s listen to these guys.

The band is: Bård Ingebrigtsen / voc, guitar, different things, Eirik Øien / guitar, bass, voc, things, Kjetil Bremer / drums og Øystein Frantzvåg / bass.

Album: "The Trap" (RRM 2010), with Sissy Wish and Mathias Eick guesting.

Stian Westerhus BBC session

I better watch out so this blog is not turning into Stian Westerhus and Stuff, but I just have to post a part of his BBC session from last autumn (?) too!
Watch the whole thing over on his YouTube channel.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Soft Machine and Caravan

Esoteric Recordings offer remastered versions of two post-Wyatt Soft Machine albums: "Bundles" (1975) and "Softs" (1976).
The musicians on "Bundles" are Mike Ratledge (keyboards), Karl Jenkins (Oboe, Piano, Soprano Sax), John Marshall (Drums), Roy Babbington (Bass) and Allan Holdsworth (Guitar). Ray Warleigh plays flutes on one track.
Reg Cartwright painted the man with the dove.
The band on "Softs" is: Mike Ratledge (keyboards), Karl Jenkins (Oboe, Piano, Soprano Sax), John Marshall (Drums), Roy Babbington (Bass), John Etheridge (Guitar) and Alan Wakeman (Sopran sax, Tenor sax).

You may also get (if you hurry up I guess) remastered Caravan albums "Cunning stunts" (1976) and "Blind dog at St Dunstans" (1976), in vinyl replica format. Take a look over at Burning Shed.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Aaron Parks on a very strange guy

The piano player Aaron Parks is interviewed in Ottawa Citizen. He is talking about liking different kinds of music, and mentions a friend of ours: "There's a songwriter, a very strange guy from the '70s, he's still working now, Robert Wyatt, I really like his work".

Parks is now playing in James Farm, the band being Joshua Redman (sax), Aaron Parks (p), Matt Penman (b) and Eric Harland (dr).

Friday, June 25, 2010

Big Sun Falling In The River

I have already mentioned this, but let me just repeat that Richard Thompson´s new live album "Dream Attic" will arrive in August. You may download one of the songs (Big Sun Falling In The River) already, all for free and all legal, if you just agree to hand over your e-mail adress.
Check it out!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Moldejazz jubilee book

Please excuse this post if you are one of those people who do not understand Norwegian at all. I might reach some people from Sweden or Denmark here if I´m lucky (they are able to read Norwegian!).

Check out the new Moldejazz book over at Wyatting.

You other guys, visit Molde for the festival some time, or check out the book if you are a nutty jazz collector. At least there are lots of great photos from 1961 and onwards.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stian Westerhus at Bylarm 2010

I´m sorry if this blog is turning into a video collection these days (not that sorry, to be honest), but we just have to have Stian Westerhus solo at Bylarm (Oslo, 2010) too. We have come a long way since Chet Atkins, but enjoy some 2010 guitar playing from Westerhus.
If you ever get a chance to see him live, just do it!

The Old Guys and Bicarbocop

I need no excuse to post any stuff on Ivor Cutler of course, but I will use every opportunity to do so (as you might have noticed already).
The fantastic song "I´m happy" was used in the BBC series "The Old Guys".

And let´s see a mashup too, with Robocop and Cutler´s "Bicarbonate of chicken"!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Brief History of Mathematics

I don´t know how the situation is in all your countries, but in Norway some people claim that we do not teach our children and youth enough hard science. You know, too much focus on drama, music and literature and other kinds of waste of time. Anyway, the blog is trying to do something about the situation today! At least you grown ups may listen to the BBC4 series "A Brief History of Mathematics", and please note the episode on Joseph Fourier. Fourier was Napoleon´s man, he described the greenhouse effect, and he even had theories that musicians may use today.
Why am I not surprised that Brian Eno is in this episode?
And hurry up, I think they remove these episodes after some time.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Loud & Rich

Enjoy "At The End Of A Long Lonely Day" with Loudon Wainwright III and Richard Thompson, from Richard Thompson's Meltdown festival in London.
And here is "Smokey Joes Cafe".

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Charlie Haden on Black Saint - Soul Note

Please note these reissues from the (not so distant) jazz history:
"The Complete Remastered Recordings on Black Saint & Soul Note".
So far I have heard The Charlie Haden box (thanks to the Bergen music library!), with:
Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, Ed Blackwell: "Old and New Dreams" (1976).
Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, Ed Blackwell: "A tribute to Blackwell" (1990).
Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, Geri Allen: "Etudes" (1988).
Charlie Haden, Chet Baker, Enrico Pieranunzi, Billy Higgins: "Silence" (1989).
Charlie Haden, Billy Higgins, Enrico Peranunzi: "First Song" (1990).

What a box of great music! I might prefer the "Old and New Dreams" band, with the Ornette Coleman sidemen Haden, Blackwell, Cherry an Redman (and love their two albums on ECM too!),but I was quite happy to hear the beautiful "Silence" with Chet Baker. That one was new to me.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Koboku Senjû

Koboku Senjû is Tetuzi Akiyuma (g), Espen Reinertsen (sax, flute), Eivind Lønning (tp), Martin Taxt (tuba) and Toshimaru Nakamura (no-input mixing board). On the album "Selektiv hogst" (SOFA 2010) they play some kind of ecological improv, where the track titles may make you experience life and death in the woods. Since the track titles are in Norwegian, I guess non-Norwegians will hear some nice soundscapes, as I did the first time I heard the record, but after connecting the sounds and music to the titles, I was struck by claustrophobia listening to "Fanget under giftig bark" ("Trapped under poisonous bark" and was a bit sad listening to "Dyr som blir spist av andre dyr" ("Animals being eaten by other animals"). Some of the other titles mean "Growing downwards", "Looking for shadow", "Winter sleep" and OK, you get it!
I gladly admit that I do not know what a "no-input mixing board" is, but the music is a fascinating mix of spooky electronics and no standard use of acoustic instruments. Check out this album if you have got the nerves!

Visit SOFA on the net,they seem to have realised the importance of offering decent info, and even publish the liner notes (written by Jenny Hval (Rockettothesky) for this album).

On YouTube you may see several videos from a Koboku Senjû concert in Dallas 30 May 2010.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Nils Petter Molvær on stamp

To celebrate the 50th Molde Jazz Festival (happening later this summer), the Norwegian Postal Services today released a stamp with a photo of Nils Petter Molvær (links to Norwegian text).
The stamp is designed by Benjamin Stenmarck, Neue Design, and I got myself one of the 3000 golden envelopes made for the occasion (photo).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Maja Ratkje movie

Ingo J. Biermann is making a movie called "Voice - A Sound Journey with Maja Ratkje", planned for release in 2011. I just steal this description: "A cinematic feature documentary about Norwegian composer and performer Maja Ratkje. It is not only the portrait of a singular musician and singer, but the film will explore the sound and the nature of the human voice in all its facets".
A tweet on Ratkje´s Twitter seems to indicate that a small (?!) amount of money is needed to finish it, but hopefully that will happen!

(Video added to the blog post 24 August 2010)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More or less Wyatt related links

- DM Stith "Heavy Ghost" (Asthmatic Kitty, 2009) in Pithchfork. "As for just what those songs constitute, well, that's a tall order. As a vocalist, Stith shares some soft-spoken similarities with the ever wistful Robert Wyatt, .."
- Brechon Jazz Festival with Orchestre National de Jazz´s project "Around Robert Wyatt". More in Jazzwise.
- Villagers: "Becoming Jackal" (Domino, 2010) in NPR Music. "Comparisons will inevitably be made between Conor O'Brien of Villagers and Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst — not only because of the similarity in their names, but also for their similar voices and tentacles that reach back to shared heroes such as Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Robert Wyatt."
- Hot Chip in The National: "He’s most enthusiastic, though, when discussing the revered artists Hot Chip have collaborated with, after they teamed up with Robert Wyatt and Peter Gabriel for two projects. He describes the collaboration with Wyatt as “the best two music-making days of my life”. Pausing, he adds: “He hasn’t got a trait of rock ’n’ roll to him. He’s very down to earth, very kind and thoughtful. Just very capable – one of the most capable all round musicians I’ve ever met."
- Mel Croucher & Automata UK Ltd "PIMANIA" in The Quietus: "Listen to Pimania and the diverse arts of Laurie Anderson, Monty Python, Robert Wyatt, The Shadow Ring, Daniel Johnston and, ahem, Jim Davidson (check the ill-advised ersatz Jamaican accent on 'Pi-Balled') readily spring to mind."
- The Unthanks review in The Guardian: "Their appeal is broadened too by a love of the songbooks of English left-fielders such as Robert Wyatt and Nick Drake."
-Gilad Atzmon in Arab News.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Thing + Joe McPhee

The meat eaters of The Thing are on their "Smoked Meat & Barbeque Tour" in the US now, with Joe McPhee.
While waiting for some videos from that tour, let´s see Joe McPhee (trumpet, saxophone) with Miriam Parker, Mario Zambrano & Jason Jordan (dance), Cooper-Moore ( hand-made instruments) and Henry Grimes (bass) (recorded at Vision Collaborations Festival, March 2010).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Milt Jackson

It might not be too obvious for readers of this blog, but I´m really quite fond of straight old fashioned jazz! To be honest, the great vibraphone player Milt Jackson´s visit in this blog post is just a coincidence, since I´m still a bit childish, and try to win free CDs! This time the people at the music library in Stavanger were kind enough to let me win Milt Jackson & The Jazz Giants´collection of two original albums "Bean Bags" and "Bags´ Opus" (EJA 2009).

I have to admit that vibraphone was one of the instruments I really couldn´t stand when I was young (the other one was organ), but luckily things change over the years, and this is just fantastic music! The cover booklet is fine to, containing the original liner notes by Nat Hentoff, and the Down Beat reviews ("Bags´Opus" score a half star more than "Bean Bags").

All the music was recorded in 1958, and here are the musicians:

"Bean Bags": Milt Jackson, Coleman Hawkins, Tommy Flanagan, Kenny Burrell, Eddie Jones and Connie Kay.
"Bags´Opus": Milt Jackson, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Tommy Flanagan, Paul Chambers and Connie Kay.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Fred Frith will receive one of "The University of Huddersfield’s 2010 Honorary Awards", and I´m glad to see that Frith will do three concerts in Norway this year. He performs with Art Directors (6 August) and Hild-Sofie Tafjord and Paal Nilssen-Love (7 August) in Oslo, and with Evelyn Glennie in Bodø (9 August).

John Cale has been awarded with an Order of the British Empire!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Live at Henie Onstad 2010

The good people at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter gladly share videos on YouTube! Stian Westerhus, Paal Nilssen-Love and Rockettothesky (Jenny Hval) performed in the sun at the "På med ørene" Festival 30 May. ("På med ørene is Norwegian for "Put your ears on")

Thursday, June 10, 2010

En En En

In September 2009 I accidentally fell into the Robot shop in Bergen, where the trio En En En played.
I just want to remind you now that Michael Francis Duch (bass), Tor Haugerud (drums) and Eirik Hegdal (sax/clar) is here with an album called "Rød og blå" (Øra 2010) (meaning "Red and Blue"). You may download from eMusic.
I see I had trouble classifying their music after the concert, and still have after the album, but it´s jazz and it´s improv of the not so noisy sort. Cosy improv? Buy it and see, it´s nice!

The album has 13 tracks with titles like B8, B9, R11, and I might be slow, but I would not have minded if some of them were a bit longer (five tracks last less than two minutes).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Singing a song in the morning

Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals) does a cover version of the Kevin Ayers song "Singing a song in the morning", live in Mexico (2010).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Syd Barrett. A very irregular head

Syd Barrett (1946 - 2006) is surrounded by so many myths, that at least half of them could be demythified (not a word, is it?), and that´s just what Rob Chapmann seems to be doing in his book "Syd Barrett. A very irregular head" (Faber 2010).
I like the way he describes the man behind the myths, and the way he places Barrett´s life and his work (music, lyrics, "hobby" painting) in his time and culture. Barrett was a good looking psychedelic rocker, Pink Floyd member on their first albums and with two solo albums out (that totally got me in the early 70s), before he left the rock circus to try to live in peace in Cambridge.
Of course stories and myths are built around such a man, but Chapman questions the level of Barrett´s madness in the Floyd period, and kills some of the crazy stories about the man, a couple of which he takes the blame for!
Some of the strongest parts of the book are about the life of a lonesome man, trying to get away from downright stupid fans and evil press people, while the family and neighbors try to protect him.

Since this is a Wyatt (and stuff) blog, let me mention citations (good index!) from Soft Machine members (Robert Wyatt included) who actually played on the first solo album ("The Madcap Laughs"), Fred Frith and Kevin Ayers. Kevin Ayers had plans to start a band with Syd Barrett and wrote "Oh wot a dream" for him.

Syd Barret´s lyrics was inspired by old nursery rhymes and poems, and every chapter of this book starts with parts of "The wind in the willow" by Kenneth Grahame. "A very irregular head" used in the book title, is the way Barrett described himself to the photographer Mick Rock.

Enough, just read the book!

And another book on Syd Barrett will be released this autumn, coffee table format and lots of illustrations too, and called nothing but "Barrett".

JazzNorway in a Nutshell 2010

John Kelman from All About Jazz visited Norway again for "JazzNorway in a Nutshell 2010". He has lots of fine reviews from the Bergen Nattjazz festival, but it seems like the organizers made the vistors for the Nutshell experience make their own sausages! We´ll see if they will come back after that.
Kelman seems to like several of this blogs favorites, among them Stian Westerhus and 1982. And since he does not offer any 1982 YouTube videos, you might want to check them out here.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rookie Blue

Jeanette Lindström and Robert Wyatt´s "River", from "Attitude and Orbit Control", is to be used in the new TV show (USA/Can) "Rookie Blue". The show is about police just out of the academy.
The song is great, no matter what!

Follow Jeanette Lindström on Twitter.

Added 8 June, message from Jeanette Lindström on Twitter: "PS. For those who are wondering; "River feat. Robert Wyatt" will appear in episode 13, the season final of Rookie Blue".


Domino reissues the Robert Wyatt collection "His greatest misses" today. This is a great intro (and a great collection for people who don´t need the intro to) to the fantastic Wyatt universe! If you still haven´t got the Japanese version, please go shopping.
It does not seem like it will be on vinyl, but how about a "limited edition deluxe rigid mini gatefold wallet"?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Nattjazz 5 June

The Bergen Nattjazz festival ended last night, and I got to hear Jonas Kullhammar Quartet. They delivered great hard swinging jazz, with fantastic solos all the way through, for a packed house.

Kullhammar´s quartet this night was the boss himself on tenor saxophone, Torbjörn Gulz (piano), Jonas Holgersson (drums) and Ole Morten Vågan (bass). Kullhammar is a great entertainer, telling silly stories between every number, so I´m not sure if this one is true (even if he claimed it was), but the regular bass player Torbörn Zetterberg had to be replaced by Vågan because he had entered a monastery.

Kullhammar also wanted everyone to get their new album "Från och med herr Jonas Kullhammar" (Moserobie 2010), not only for the music, but because the world´s most sexy man was on the cover!
And the album sounds great too!


If you should happen to visit Bergen before 15 June, make sure you visit Bergenhus to see the results from the Bergen International Wood Festival. It´s all about construction of spatial wooden structures, and being a man equipped with thumbs only, I might be easy to impress, but I´m quite sure you will find the structures beautiful too!
Official pictures from this year´s festival here, and my pictures from the festivals of 2008 and 2010 here.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Arne Nordheim (1931-2010)

Sad news indeed: Norwegian composer Arne Nordheim died this morning.
Video: Ksenija Sidorova plays Arne Nordheim´s "Flashing" at the Royal Festival Hall (28 Jan 2010).

Friday, June 4, 2010

Festival news

The Moldejazz program (19 - 24 July) is complete! I hope I can manage to squeeze in more concerts there, but I know for sure that I don´t have tickets to anything else when "artist in residence", Nils Petter Molvær, is teaming up with Biosphere for an outdoor concert Saturday at 07:00 in the morning!

You should follow the Kristiansand festival Punkt on Facebook, but I guess their web site will be updated soon too. Punkt is happening 2 - 4 September, and so far Frøy Agre, Rockettothesky, Maja S.K. Ratkje, Sidsel Endresen/Stian Westerhus, Helena Tulve and Unni Wilhelmsen are on the program.

NuMusic in Stavanger 8 - 18 September will have Lee "Scratch" Perry, Grandmaster Flash, Steve Reich (in person) and Calexico (!) (and more are to be announced).

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Asphalt from Tone Åse on Vimeo.

Check out this beautiful song by Bol! The words for "Asphalt" are written by Norwegian poet Rolf Jacobsen. Bol is Tone Åse, Ståle Storløkken and Tor Haugerud, but let me just steal Tone Åse´s info on Vimeo:
"Bol with Snah (Hans Magnus Ryan) and Stian Westerhus at Blæst, Jazzfest 2010, Trondheim
Tone Åse vocals and live electronics, Ståle Storløkken keyboards, Tor Haugerud drums, Hans Magnus Ryan guitar and vocals, Stian Westerhus guitar. Video by Andreas Schille and Martin Sæther.
Music by Tone Åse, Lyrics Rolf Jacobsen, transl. by Olav Grinde"

Paul Weller Digs Unlikely Collaborations

""I've never encountered many disasters," Weller says, citing eccentric English songwriter Robert Wyatt as his all-time favorite collaborator".

"He asked me to come play on [1997's 'Shleep'], and I never would have thought I'd play on Robert Wyatt's records," Weller says. "That really blew my mind. That opened me up to lots of musical possibilities, and since then, I've played on all his records. So it was great."

Paul Weller in Spinner.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cosa Brava live

Cosa Brava perform "Blimey, Einstein" (Amsterdam 2010). Fred Frith (guitar/bass), Carla Kihlstedt (violin), Zeena Parkins (synthesizer/sampler/accordion), The Norman Conquest (mixing/processing), Matthias Bossi (drums) and Shahzad Ismaily (guitar/percussion/electronics).

Don't forget this album!