In 2020 I started a new one-year project:
The idea is to concentrate on albums that I always wanted to hear (in-depth). Albums that, for example, have been recommended to me by friends, that I discovered by chance or that you just need to listen to but for unknown reasons never found the time to do so.
My plan is to focus on albums that are new and undiscovered to me, those albums that are inspiring and encouraging to listen to more of the music of the artist or the genre. Exactly one album per week the whole year 2020.
The article is arranged into five parts:
Manuel Göttsching: Inventions for Electric Guitar (1975)
Manuel Göttsching (born 1952 in Berlin) is a multi-instrumentalist (main instrument guitar) and composer. He is considered one of the pioneers of electronic music and the scene known as the Berliner Schule (Along with the Düsseldorfer Schule, the Berliner Schule is one of the two main styles of German electronic music from the mid-1970s onwards)
The English daily newspaper The Guardian gave him the nickname The Göttfather.
As the leader of the groups Ash Ra Tempel and Ashra in the 1970s and 80s, as well as a solo artist, he is one of the most influential guitarists of the Krautrock (also known as Kosmische Musik) genre.
The album Inventions for Electric Guitar exclusively uses the Gibson SG. Through many effects like reverberation, delay etc. as well as multi-track recording, an effect is achieved as if several electric guitars were playing together at the same time.
In addition, the sound is partly alienated in such a way that it no longer sounds like an electric guitar, more like a synthesizer of early 1970.
According to his own statement, Göttsching was inspired a lot by minimalist composers, especially Terry Riley, who used a similar technique in combination with a Hammond organ for several of his albums.
I highly recommend watching him talking about the story of Ash Ra Tempel, the meaning of Krautrock or how he met and recorded an album with Timothy Leary.
Since there are no albums by him or Ash Ra Temple directly available on Spotify, have a listen to the following ones & don’t forget to go to his concert if that’s possible again:
Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians (1978)
Stephen Michael Reich (born October 3, 1936) is an American composer known for his contribution to the development of minimal music in the mid to late 1960s. Reich’s work is marked by its use of repetitive figures, slow harmonic rhythm, and canons.
If Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians is simply described in terms of its materials and organization — 11 chords followed by 11 pieces built on those chords — then it might seem utterly dry and monotonous. The actual music, though, is far from lackluster. When this recording was released in 1978, the impact on the new music scene was immediate and overwhelming. Anyone who saw potential in minimalism and had hoped for a major breakthrough piece found it here. The beauty of its pulsing added-note harmonies and the sustained power and precision of the performance were the music’s salient features; and instead of the sterile, electronic sound usually associated with minimalism, the music’s warm resonance was a welcome change.
[Review on allmusic]
I prefer the 1996 over the original 1978 version because of its sound quality, but I definitely go with the classic minimal cover from the 70s.
Please also note the re-interpretation from Erik Hall, which was recently released.
Miles Davis: In A Silent Way (1969)
Needless to say, Miles Dewey Davis III (1926–1991) was one of the most influential and celebrated figures in the history of jazz.
I want to be honest: I’ve recently started stepping into his world at last, and I’m kind of fascinated like a little child listening to something it’ s never heard before. It is above all the fusion genre, the stunning music that has evolved since the mid-1960s, combining the sophistication of jazz with the rhythmic intensity of funk and the power of rock music.
In A Silent Way was released over 50 years ago, on 30 July 1969 and marked Davis’ entry into jazz fusion. He once again led the world of jazz into a new era of fusion by making use of more electric instruments and post-production effects on this album. In A Silent Way and its follow-up Bitches Brew would prove to be the standard to which all jazz-fusion albums are measured, and the assembly of musicians who created these albums would all depart to create their own famous jazz fusion bands.
[Review on sputnikmusic]
I also recommend listening to The Complete In a Silent Way Sessions release. It details a six-month stretch in 1968–69 when the various advisors in Miles’ life would see their seeds sprout into fauna so full of life and outrageous fertility that the face of his idiom would be forever changed. Of course, the final product of all this investigation and experimentation has been the subject of countless essays on Miles’ genius, but it bears closer inspection to reveal that the trumpeter didn’t just up and create this music out of thin air. He spent months in the studio rehearsing on tape, midwifing his ideas. In late ’68, Miles was a painter using one canvas to try and retry his masterpiece, continually repainting over areas where, though the ideas were fresh and the colors vibrant, the concept was yet immature.
[Review on pitchfork]
Andrew Alli: Hard Workin’ Man (2020)
Andrew Alli is a Richmond, Virgina native. He took up music relatively later in life at the age of 20. After being inspired by a busker playing harmonica on the street one day, he hit the local music store and a harmonica of his own. From that point on, Andrew committed himself to learning the history of the instrument. He very soon fell in love with the blues and began studying all of the harmonica greats including Big Walter Horton, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Junior Wells and more. He has developed his own unique style of playing, while still paying his respects to his biggest influences from the past. Throughout the years he has toured with dozens of musicians both domestically and abroad.
Alli’s dazzling debut Hard Workin’ Man is a fully realized artistic statement of Blues, played in a traditional way, that honors the heritage while also being thoroughly personal and unique.
It is fully realized, original music (only 3 covers) played in the post-war Blues style of Helena, Memphis and Chicago.
[Full review on bluesblastmagazine.com]
Le Trio Joubran: Randana (2005)
Le Trio Joubran (Arabic: الثلاثي جبران) is an oud trio playing traditional Palestinian music. The trio consists of the brothers Samir, Wissam, and Adnan Joubran, originally from the city of Nazareth, now dividing their time between Nazareth, Ramallah and Paris. The Joubran brothers come from a well-known family with a rich artistic heritage.
Randana is the First album by Le Trio Joubran, released in 2005 labeled “daquí”, by Harmonia Mundi. The album title comes from the contraction of the words Ranna meaning “resonance” and Dandana meaning “hum”.
Get to know the trio better in this interview.
Various Artists: I’ll Be So Glad When The Sun Goes Down (2010)
In 1959 and 1960, at the height of the Folk Revival, Alan Lomax ventured through the American South to document its still thriving vernacular musical culture. He traveled through Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, and North Carolina, making over 70 hours of recordings. The trip came to be known as Lomax’s “Southern Journey” and its recordings were first issued for the Atlantic and Prestige labels in the early ‘60s.
Alan Lomax (1915–2002) was an American ethnomusicologist, best known for his numerous field recordings of folk music of the 20th century. He was also a musician himself, as well as a folklorist, archivist, writer, scholar, political activist, oral historian, and film-maker.
If you would like to learn more, please take a look at the very informative Liner Notes with lots of interesting facts and background information.
Favorite tracks are Three Little Babes by ballad singer Texas Gladden with her stunning voice, Jesus On the Mainline by James Shorty & Viola James with the Independence Church congregation (their repertoires were comprised primarly of modern gospel composition from the 1920s and’30s) and Woke Up This Morning by famous blues guitarist Fred McDowell.
There is more: Make sure to listen to Lomax other four recordings from that field trip and time. What a magnificent and authentic contemporary document!
The Ramsey Lewis Trio: In Chicago (1960)
Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis Jr. (born May 27, 1935) is an American jazz composer, pianist and radio personality. Ramsey Lewis has recorded over 80 albums and has received five gold records and three Grammy Awards so far in his career.
By 1966, Lewis was one of the nation’s most successful jazz pianists. In the 1970s, he often played electric piano, although by later in the decade he was sticking to acoustic and using an additional keyboardist in his groups.
The Ramsey Lewis Trio in Chicago is a live album featuring tracks recorded in 1960 during a performance at the Blue Note and released on the Argo label.
The trio stretches out a little more during the live date than they did in the studio, and they seem inspired by the audience.
If you want to know more about the album have a look at this great review on flophousemagazine (Yes, i want to have a Bach sweater, please!)
My favorouite track at the moment is his Jazz version of the popular Yiddish song Bei mir bist du schön.
The Meters: Look-Ka Py Py (1969)
Look-Ka Py Py is the second studio album by the American funk group The Meters.
You can’t even begin to discuss the topic of New Orleans drumming without paying homage to the groundbreaking grooves of Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste. As the original drummer with the earthy funk group The Meters, Modeliste crafted a tricky style based upon confounding parts that managed to be both active and laid back at once. His beats often turned around, linear fills were divided between the four limbs, and second-line clave was always implied in his syncopation.
(Review/Transcription on drummagazine.com)
Jacques Loussier, C. Garros & P. Michelot: Play Bach №1 (1951)
In 1959 Jacques Loussier founded the “Play Bach Trio” with bassist Pierre Michelot and percussionist Christian Garros. They used Bach’s compositions and transformed them into jazz. Loussier played piano instead of a harpsichord or clavichord and divided the music between piano and bass, dotted with percussion.
Improvisations on the original Bach themes followed. What began as an experiment became a great success.
Various Artists: Panama! 2 (2018)
Soundway Records is a British-based independent record label founded and run by English DJ and collector Miles Cleret. It started in 2002 with the release of a compilation of Ghanaian music from the 1970s: Ghana Sounds: Afrobeat, Funk & Fusion in 70’s Ghana.
Panama! 2 showcases the unique tropical music created in Panama during the fertile decades of the 1960s and 70s offering a non-stop journey through the afro-rhythms and carnival sounds of Panama, the gateway to central America.
It is little known that Panama was a central spoke in the wheel of Caribbean music. The dance-floors and bars of Colon spat out a heady mix that took in the raw vallenato of neighboring Colombia, the soul and funk of America, the calypso of Trinidad and the son and rumba of Cuba.
From Calypso Funk to Tipico Soul, from hard Descargas to rustic Cumbia-related styles, Panamanian musicians fearlessly combined and brilliantly executed styles that reflected their multi-cultural environment during a turbulent time in the young country’s history. This collection presents more of the golden age of Panamanian music and the music of the Combos Nacionales on rare recordings that have never been released outside the Isthmus until now.
The article is arranged into five parts:
- Part A: Week 01–10
- Part B: Week 11–20
- Part C: Week 21–30 (You are here)
- Part D: Week 31–40
- Part E: Week 41–53
Enjoy listening, share this one or our other articles with your music friends. Of course, you can also write your personal inspiration in the comments section if you like. Stay curious!