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29 novembre 2008

Legendary Drummers Kits And Grooves

Sonic Reality Announces the Release of Drum Masters Silver, Gold & Platinum Editions


Sonic Reality, the sound development company that co-created the Ocean Way Drums and Miroslav Philharmonik has announced the release of the Studio ProFiles "Drum Masters" Silver, Gold and Platinum Editions featuring legendary drummer's kits and grooves.

Here's all the details in their own words....

For the first time, multi-track drum kits and multi-track Rex 2 grooves are playable from one virtual instrument plug-in for creating the most realistic drum tracks ever. Bundled with Sonic Reality's new Infinite Player powered by Native Instruments Kontakt, the Drum Masters range of products offers the authentic sound of legendary session drummers recorded in some of the best studios in the world.
Drum Masters Silver Edition

Featuring legendary drummer's drum kits and grooves in 24 bit Stereo Rex 2 format mapped in beat mode across the keyboard and as playable kits in the supplied "Infinite Player" plug-in. It includes sample material from Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson), Steve Gadd (Paul Simon, Steely Dan), Danny Gottlieb (Pat Metheny Group), Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel), John Blackwell (Prince, Diddy), Nick D'Virgilio (Genesis, TFF, Spock's Beard), Bun E. Carlos (Cheap Trick) and Ed Greene (Barry White, Steely Dan).

Users will be able to continually expand their bundled Infinite Player with additional stereo and multi-track drum kits, and grooves.

Drum Masters Gold Edition

The Drum Masters Gold Editon includes everything from the Silver Edition plus a variety of multi-track drum kits and grooves.. From the powerful 3 snare Yamaha kit of Jerry Marotta with world pop rhythms in the style of Peter Gabriel to the R&B pop sound of John Blackwell to the classic funk rock sound of Ed Greene to progressive rock drumming with Nick D'Virgilio and modern jazz with master cymbalist Danny Gottlieb, the Gold Edition offers a wide variety of killer drum sounds for every need. With 150 multi-track grooves from each drummer and the associated drum kit from the session you can build a drum track with seamless transitions between the midi playable kit and the original audio grooves all while having full discrete mix control of the mic channels in both. Stick, brush, blastick/hot rods and mallet played kits are also included.

Drum Masters Platinum Edition

The Drum Masters Platinum Edition includes everything from the Silver and Gold Editions plus additional multi-track and stereo grooves and more stellar sounding studio drum kits with discrete control of the mics. Special additions include samples of a 6-tom Gretsch® kit in a large room modeled after the famous Town House studio in London as well as a vintage Premier kit with the addition of Roto Toms and Timbales as toms similar to those played by drummers Bill Bruford, Phil Collins, Nick Mason, Neil Peart and other great drummers. Includes extra drum sampling sessions done with the help of the "Drum Doctor" Ross Garfield and recorded at the esoteric Lawnmower Studio in Pasadena where Nick D'Virgiilio and Dave Kerzner of Sonic Reality used to record with Kevin Gilbert.

The Platinum Edition includes over 2,000 multi-track drum grooves plus additional midi grooves will be made available for all three versions.


* *Stereo Kits : Multi velocity stereo drum kits sampled at the same session as the loops. These kits have been mixed in stereo for use with the matching grooves and have been mapped in both GM and IMAP formats.

* **Multitrack Kits : These multi velocity multi-track drum kits have entirely discrete mix control. They were recorded along side the grooves for seamless integration and can be played in both GM and IMAP formats.

* **Stereo Grooves : Artist grooves menu mapped in Kontakt for easy use. These grooves are Rex2 format and adjust to your host tempo. Use these grooves with the matching drum kit for the ultimate drum sequencing experience.

* **Multitrack Grooves : Multi-track drum grooves in Rex2 format. These grooves are menu mapped for easy use with your midi controller. They are the same grooves as the Stereo version but with fully discrete mix control between microphones. (HH, BD, SD,Toms, Percussion, etc...)

Pricing and Availability:
Availablilty: November 2008
Drum Masters Silver Edition MSRP $299.
Drum Masters Gold Edition MSRP $499. (or "Kits Only" for $399)
Drum Masters Platinum Edition MSRP $995.

More information:

Hector Zazou & Swara

by Deanne Sole, popmatters

Hector Zazou & Swara In the House of Mirrors (Crammed)

US release date: 18 November 2008
UK release date: 22 September 2008

Hector Zazou died in early September at the age of 60. “[A] legendary figure in contemporary French music,” mourned World Music Central. Jon Lusk at The Independent called him “an adventurous, eclectic and prolific musician.” Zazou, he wrote, “made an international name for himself with his sensitive and accessible world music fusions.” In Lusk’s obituary there is a translated quote from the French journalist Jean-François Bizot: “In England they have Peter Gabriel, in America they have David Byrne, in France we have Hector Zazou.” (“Les anglais ont Peter Gabriel, les américains David Byrne, les français Hector Zazou”)

Idolator admired Zazou’s “well-loved body of work,” which accommodates collaborations with Värttinä, Björk, Siouxie Sioux, Laurie Anderson, various Inuits, Nanai, and Ainu, the Zairian singer Bony Bikaye, and Uzbekistan’s Sevara Nazarkhan. “[O]ne of world music’s great adventurers,” reported RFI Musique. He “travelled to the four corners of the globe, bringing his musical finds back to Paris. Here, he would reconstruct, rebuild, rework and remix his raw material into albums that proved to be both innovative and timeless.” His discography is not only innovative, it is also large. Between 1976 and his death, he released 20 albums and worked as a producer on nine others. In the House of Mirrors was the last. This is album 21. There will be no more.

Zazou was an eager cross-cultural collaborator. It seems right that his final album should be a cross-cultural collaboration. For Mirrors, he travelled to India where he worked with a core group consisting of three Indians and an Uzbek. The guest musicians come from Spain, Hungary, and Norway. There is an oud, a violin, a Gaelic-sounding pipe. Zazou was never timid in his choice of instruments. He liked music that flowed and engulfed: swimmy washes of sound, veils and curtains of it, miasma like scented candlesmoke. I sometimes found him cloying. When I heard the backing he provided for Sevara Nazarkhan on Yol Bolsin, I wished that she had worked with someone else. Other people thought differently. “It’s a difficult trick, to protect a distinctive regional style while rendering it accessible to a more general audience, but French studio wizard Hector Zazou has pulled it off here,” wrote Charlie Gillet, reviewing Yol Bolsin for the BBC.

House of Mirrors is India-themed. The swimmy washes have a raga sound, but declassicalised and shortened. The spaciousness of this music is an Indian spaciousness, the sound of notes plucked and left to linger and be contemplated. The first noise we hear is the sound of slide guitar strings being struck. They are allowed to fade slowly. Little murmuring electronic effects nose their way in. The guitar goes on: more strings are struck, there are more long, lingering die-aways, more electronic murmurs, and the noise of tiny insectoid electronic peeping. Eventually the guest musicians make their appearances. None of them stay for very long. Diego Amador and his piano arrive, vamp for a while, spar with a flute, then go away. The piano is too loud. A gong sounds. Why a gong? Why the piano? There’s a war going on here between the simplicity of the composer’s evocative soundscape ambition and the obstacles he keeps throwing in to make it more complicated, these pianos and gongs. They are distractions. They’re in the music for a little too long, or they leave before we have a chance to relax into them and soak them up. (This is an album made for soaking and wallowing.)

In Debashish Bhattacharya’s Calcutta Chronicles, which was released earlier this year, you had two men, one with a guitar, one with a tabla, also working with the idea of raga spaciousness. With only two instruments to draw on they had to be ingenious. The opposite seems to have happened in House of Mirrors. With a larger stable of instruments and a library of electronic noises, Mirror sounds lazier. It might have been better if they had left the three Indians and the Uzbek to provide all of the acoustic instrumentation, and limited the ornamentation to a controlled palette of Zazou’s electronics. A more delicate contrast between roominess and precision might have stopped this itch of mine, this longing for something less cushiony, less flumpy and spreading and soft.

However. If Zazou is your man there’s nothing here you won’t like. In the House of Mirrors is a roomy, enveloping, generous work. This is probably the way he would have imagined his last album sounding, if he had thought at all, years and years ago, of death—if he had imagined that he would have to stop making music as regrettably soon as he did.

28 novembre 2008

U2 producer Daniel Lanois hits Boston with his own tunes

By Jed Gottlieb | Saturday, November 15, 2008 | | Music News Photo

Daniel Lanois was the Phil Spector of the ’80s (minus the murder charge).

A rare producer with a distinctive, recognizable style, Lanois stamped Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel and Neville Brothers records with his dreamy atmospherics and wall of white noise. With mentor Brian Eno, he’s helmed six U2 albums, including “The Unforgettable Fire” and “The Joshua Tree.” The latest Lanois/U2 collaboration will be released early next year.

Between making other people’s masterpieces, he’s recorded solo records and toured the world - he plays the Berklee Performance Center tomorrow to kick off his stint as a Berklee artist-in-residence.

Herald: As a producer, your longest association has been with U2. What’s kept that relationship going for so long?

Lanois: I like those people for their appetite for innovation. They want things to be new and fresh, and they never get stuck on how the band should sound. They’re very smart people. And Eno and I just have a lot of fun with them, especially for the first 20 or 30 percent of the record. During those first sessions, it’s no-holds-barred, we take on anything that comes our way. I also think Bono’s lyrics get better with every record.

What’s U2’s new stuff like?
The president of the company is singing better than ever and the tracks are wildly innovative. I would never have thought things would have gone this way. I believe, well, rock ’n’ roll has been reinvented one more time. (Laughs)

You, Eno and U2 have worked together for 25 years. How do you avoid falling into old habits or old patterns?

Nobody wants repetition within this group of folks. We want to grow as artists and innovators and people. Life is not dull to us (Laughs). So I can’t imagine that we’d ever get stuck in our ways.

Have you ever encountered any kind of resistance with the people you’ve worked with? You’ve had to corral some legendary personalities from Bono to Dylan.

I’ve never encountered any resistance in the production arena because I use a very simple technique. I let ideas be brought to fruit. Once you’ve given a person an opportunity to do that there will never be any resentment. After a few days go by, egos fall by the wayside.

Where did this dreamy aesthetic come from?

I had a liking for melancholy pretty early on. I like it on David Bowie’s “Heroes” and I like it when David Byrne sings “Take a look at these hands” (on the Eno-produced “Born Under Punches”). No matter how celebratory a song is I like a hint of melancholy in it.

You didn’t begin a solo career until your 30s.

I didn’t want to jump into anything without my own voice. That’s what I noticed from the people I worked with. They had their own voice, and that’s what allowed them to stand out. Even embracing their own limitations put them on a road to discover what was unique in their music. All my favorite artists that I’ve worked with can’t do everything. Instead they do certain things very well and that’s what we love them for. I decided to follow through with philosophy. I embraced my bilingualness and mixed my French-Canadian side into my songs and didn’t try to copy anyone.

You also have a unique spin on New Orleans that touches your sound. Did that come from working with the Neville Brothers on “Yellow Moon”?

Growing up in French-speaking Canada, I was very much aware of the Acadia movement to Louisiana. The music that exists in rural Louisiana, the Cajun music, the zydeco music, a lot of that comes from up north when the Brits drove the French-speakers out of Canada. I wanted to trace that exodus and went to Louisiana looking for a reliable source of roots to draw upon. Then of course working with the Neville Brothers introduced me to a lot of rhythms that I had not been hip to. To be in an environment where music lives in the neighborhoods was really great for me because that’s how I remember it in Quebec as a kid. I don’t look to schools to get my music, I look to neighborhoods.

At first your pairing with the Neville Brothers seemed odd, but “Yellow Moon” may be their greatest achievement as a group. How did you approach working with them?

What got me through the Neville Brothers’ door was wanting to build a masterpiece. One thing we Canadians are good at is observing. I spent a lot of time going through the Neville Brothers’ archives try to understand where they came from and what they were about. I wasn’t looking to presuppose anything on the Brothers, I was looking to enhance something they already had.

What do you consider your best work?

I’ve always liked (Dylan’s) “Time Out of Mind.” I always thought that record to have an emotional depth and a depth of field in terms of sonics. I think it’s a tour de force. Especially for ’90s records when technology had pushed things to a place where sounds were so similar. I believe “Time Out of Mind” was the opposite of that. The characters and the placements of the ingredients create a picture you can keep looking at for a long time and still find interesting.

You don’t work with a lot of people and you take your time between producing albums. Is that because you work slow or because you’ve spent a lot of time on your solo career?

I’ve made some fast records. I made a record with Willie Nelson in four days called “Teatro” and it’s a beautiful record. I made a jazz record with Brian Blade in five days.

Your solo career must limit you from producing more often.

I am busy. I’ve got a Web site, Red Floor Records, that I just created for people to download my music. And I’m doing regular episodes on the site that pair music and images. I did a film last year called “Here’s What Is,” essentially a music documentary, a secret window into the recording studio, and there are some great exchanges with Brian Eno. And it’s not always easy to write. Sometimes I’m jealous of people like Bob Dylan or Ron Sexsmith. They’re not connected to technology and don’t necessarily know how to make records, but they pour all their creative energy into their songwriting and as a consequence are very prolific. There are times when I think it would be fascinating to see what I’d come up with if I didn’t burn all those hours in the studio and instead burned them in the songwriter’s chair.

How did you and Brian Eno become such good friends and working partners?
It started out in an innocent way. He booked some time in my studio and we hit it off. First we made some ambient records together in the early ’80s and thought we were a great team. Brian is a great innovator and a great catalyst. He can have a full track pouring out of the studio speakers in 30 minutes. But there are some disciplines that I grew up with that help Brian demystify some of his arrangements. We found that we got quick results together.

24 novembre 2008

Metropolitan Opera: The Auteur of Opera

By Elena Park, playbillarts,14 Nov 2008

With his new production of La Damnation de Faust - running at the Met through Dec. 4 - Robert Lepage creates a cinematic vision of Berlioz’s groundbreaking work. But, he tells the Met’s Elena Park, the state-of-the-art technology is at the service of the singers.

Robert Lepage’s new production of La Damnation de Faust is an inventive marriage of traditional stagecraft and visionary technology. The creative wizard behind visually stunning shows for artists and companies ranging from Peter Gabriel to Cirque du Soleil to Seiji Ozawa, Lepage is at heart a master storyteller with the gift of being able to develop and harness technology to serve his intimate, human stories. In his hands, state-of-the-art video techniques are used to intensify the essence of a story, its emotional impact, and the work’s theatricality. Lepage brings his visionary style to the Met for Berlioz’s “dramatic legend” (last heard here in 1907), which will be conducted by Music Director James Levine.

Read the interview here


AZG Armenian Daily #211, 14/11/2008

Armenian Genocide

Famous musicians Jivan Gasparian and Peter Gabriel visited the memorial to the victims of the Armenian Genocide and laid a wreath at the memorial in commemoration of 1,5 mln innocent victims. "We should go on raising the question of the Armenian Genocide in order the whole world recognizes the Armenian Genocide", J. Gasparian told "Armenpress". Peter Gabriel mentioned that he is aware of the first genocide of the 20th century. "It is important and it’s time Turkey, United States of America and England recognize the Armenian Genocide", underlined the well-known musician.

23 novembre 2008

Tribute: Maestro Jivan Gasparyan welcomes friends in Yerevan as he turns 80

By Marianna Grigoryan, ArmeniaNow reporter, 12 November, 2008

With a long red carpet and stepped up security measures, a series of tribute concerts marking the 80th anniversary of prominent Armenian duduk player Jivan Gasparyan opened at the Sports and Concert Complex Tuesday night. Both Armenian artists and internationally renowned musicians took part in the event.

“All have come here without any fee or remuneration, all are my friends,” the Maestro said from the stage. “And I am thankful to all.”

Despite chilly November weather and a high price of tickets (between 10,000 and 50,000 drams, which is about $30 to $165), the concert hall was full of local fans and guests who have come to honor the man who made Armenian music known worldwide with plaintive melodies of the duduk.

“I am fascinated. I don’t know when I will come to Armenia next time. But Armenia is in my heart and I hope to come back here again. I am grateful to him [Jivan Gasparyan] who allowed me to be his pupil. He is like father to me and I am proud to have known him,” Pedro Eustache, who astounded the audience with his skill of playing different wind instruments during the concert, told ArmeniaNow.

Such well-known musicians as Peter Gabriel, Andreas Vollenweider, Grammy winner Alan Parsons, Zucchero, as well as celebrated guests from other spheres had come to honor the great duduk player.

“Happy birthday, Maestro. You give us strength to score victories,” said unbeaten International Boxing Federation middleweight champion Arthur Abraham, who came to Yerevan after a signal title defense on Saturday. Yuri Vardanyan, a famous Armenian weightlifter who held numerous world records in his sport, gifted one of his records to Gasparyan. “I flew for 16 hours to reach Yerevan and congratulate you,” he said addressing the Maestro. “Now you are also a sport champion.”

The Maestro’s grandson, his full namesake Jivan Gasparyan, also performed during the evening. Jivan Gasparyan, the Master of the Duduk, the winner of four world-wide gold Medal UNESCO competitions (1959, 1962, 1973, and 1980) and the WOMEX (World Music Expo) lifetime achievement award in 2002 embarked on his “champion” career many years ago. (See more on the artist’s official website

He says that he had given numerous concerts, played for famous people, made friends all over the world. And in 1947 he received an award from Stalin, which he had to sell to make ends meet.“I had a difficult childhood. I lost my parents early on and lived in an orphanage,” Gasparyan told ArmeniaNow in a short interview before the concert. “Since I was a child I had to go through so many hardships that later I could overcome the challenges of life.”

Gasparyan says that he did everything for the duduk to get worldwide recognition so that “people love and feel the sorrow of the duduk.” But he says he feels there is something unfinished. The Maestro says that he wants to set up a school first of all for orphaned children. “I caught a cold a week ago and have not recuperated yet. We will celebrate my 100th birthday anniversary as well,” he smiles. “I still have a lot to do.”

David Byrne & Brian Eno : Everything that happens will happen today

Hugo Cassavetti, Telerama n° 3070 - 15 novembre 2008

La dernière fois que David Byrne et Brian Eno ont enregistré en tandem remonte à 1981. A l'époque, le révolutionnaire My life in the bush of ghosts, avec ses rythmes afrobeat concassés et ses samples avant l'heure de chants ethniques, a posé les jalons du crossover world, qui allait irriguer tout un pan du rock des années 80, de Peter Gabriel à Sting. Sans oublier, bien sûr, Paul Simon et son impérial Graceland.

Dans un curieux mais peut-être logique retour des choses, ce nouveau projet semble partir des derniers travaux de Simon - dont le Surprise fut coproduit par Brian Eno - pour chercher un point d'équilibre entre les habillages sonores du cofondateur de Roxy Music (Eno) et la facette crooner de l'ancien leader des Talking Heads (Byrne). Car Everything that happens... est d'abord un disque de chansons, avec ses envoûtantes mélopées qui rappellent autant la veine mélodique d'un Here she comes (Before and after science) que d'un Heaven (Fear of music).

Eno, on a tendance à l'oublier, n'est pas qu'un sorcier du son mais aussi un amoureux éperdu de la voix. Il a conçu ici un somptueux écrin « gospel folk électronique » pour celle clairement stimulée de Byrne. Bercé par les mélodies hypnotiques, on découvre progressivement les subtils échafaudages rythmiques et paysages sonores élaborés par le plus instinctif des producteurs et compositeurs intellos.

Peter Gabriel 'free' music service launches today (Nov 11)

NME, Nov 11, 2008

A new music service that allows fans to listen to songs and albums in their entirety for free has been launched today. Peter Gabriel co-founded the venture called We7 - a free advertising-funded music streaming service which will have music from four major labels and hundreds of indies available to listen to.

While fans get to listen to tracks in full for free before they buy, rights owners and artists will get paid by We7 from audio and digital advertising revenue. Website goers can create their own playlists, share favourites with friends and also buy music at the download store. There are millions of tracks available now from acts including Kings Of Leon, Pink, Nickelback and Estelle. For more information go to

We7 Challenges Piracy With Biggest Ever Free Music Giveaway

LONDON, November 11 /PRNewswire/

Listen Free and Buy What You Love at We7's Big Listen

Today is great news for music fans and bad news for piracy, as millions of tracks from artists including Kings of Leon, Pink, Nickelback, and Estelle will be legally and instantly accessible on, as We7 launches its full music service.

We7's 'Big Listen' Launch Campaign delivers:- - On-demand, unlimited and Instant access to full tracks and Albums - FREE - "Search, Click & Play"- an easier and better alternative to piracy - A 'Celestial Jukebox' of millions of great tracks - 'Play Anywhere' - new link and play system empowering blogs and websites - Rights Owners and Artists get PAID

As an easier and better alternative to piracy, We7 gives music fans unlimited access to millions of great tracks from major record labels and Independents across all genres, to listen to for FREE and on-demand. The We7 difference is that while fans get free music , rights owners and artists get paid by We7 utilising both audio and digital advertising, so it's a win-win situation for all.

Whatever their music taste, all music lovers have to do at is 'Search, Click and Play' and they can listen to full tracks and albums of their favourites artists instantly, We7 also delivers the choice music fans have come to expect, by adding up to 30,000 tracks a day to its outstanding 'celestial jukebox' of over 3 million licensed tracks, including many new releases as they become available.

Music fans can create personal playlists, share their favourites with their friends and buy the music they love at We7's download store, where they can download high quality mp3 downloads which are compatible with iPods and most other digital players.

We7 introduces its 'Play Anywhere' dream, where any web reference to music, tracks, albums or artists in any article, blog or website can be played instantly, wherever you are online. This will allow music fans, websites and bloggers to share and play music anywhere on the web via We7 widgets and links.

We7 CEO, Steve Purdham, said: "It was just 18 months ago that we had the dream of delivering great music that's free and legal for consumers and where artists and rights owners get paid. Today that dream's a reality. We7 has great music and that builds great audiences which will be highly valuable to brands and advertisers. We're hugely proud of our great service and very excited to be delivering it to the benefit of music fans, artists and brands alike".

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive at the BPI commented: "Record labels are licensing a wide variety of new business models so music fans can access the music they want, when, how and where they want it, while respecting the rights of artists. We7 is a very good example of how the music business is leading the digital content revolution. But for digital entrepreneurs like We7 to continue innovating and investing in new services for consumers, we must tackle illegal downloading, which undermines the business case for all legal services. The BPI's new partnerships with Government and internet providers aim to ensure that digital Britain can realise the enormous value that music and other creative works offer, if their value is respected."

Womad 08

Written by Reporter Thursday, 06 November 2008

Tony Allen

If you wanted to attend the UK WOMAD Festival (held in July) it would have set you back 125 of your English pounds for a weekend ticket. WOMAD Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (6th-9th November), however, is an altogether cheaper affair as entrance is entirely free; good news in these credit-crunch times, I’m sure you’ll agree.

WOMAD stands for World of Music, Arts and Dance. First held in 1982, it’s a festival pioneered by Peter Gabriel and other lovers of global beats and grooves. The venue for the Gran Canarian version, as for the past nine years, will be the Parque de Santa Cantalina. As well as performances from artists from all over the world, you’ll be able to enjoy DJ sessions and creative workshops for both adults and children. The childrens’ procession on Sunday is a highlight, with kids displaying what they have made over the weekend (last year’s parade included kites, flags, and a veritable orchestra of musical instruments) to a wider audience.

Although stage times have yet to be confirmed, major draws include Femi (son of Fela) Kuti & The Positive Force. The finest living exponent of Afrobeat, Kuti never fails to work a crowd up into a frenzy. That genre’s co-creator, Tony Allen, the funky drummer himself, likewise makes an appearance. Originally Fela’s sticksman, Allen has also collaborated with the likes of Damon Albarn and Art Blakey. For the benefit of the many ex-pats who enjoy WOMAD Las Palmas de Gran Canaria each year, the UK music scene does not go under-represented. Delivering a big shout from the Bristol Massive are DJ Mr Benn and MC Souls Liberation. Marrying the beats of hip-hop to the booming bass of reggae, this is music to shake your booty to.

Another master turntablist making his way from British shores comes in the shape of DJ Yoda. Billed as one of the ‘top 10 DJs you must see before you die’ by Q Magazine, Yoda is the king of the cut and the paste. There are few other DJs, one would imagine, who could get away with splicing the Indiana Jones theme tune with dubstep. And Canarian artists feature prominently too. From the traditional El Guincho, to the new, The FEOS (The Funky Experience Orgasmic Sound), there’s something for everyone. Although special mention must be reserved for Tenerife’s The Good Company, a gutsier version of Coldplay, who sing their emotional rock songs entirely in English.

Although you may not quite feel like the WOMAD goer who wrote “Someone, please take me back to last Friday and put the weekend on loop!” after returning from this year’s UK festival, you’re bound to have heartily enjoyed yourself by the time Sunday evening comes around. Good times are here again; for all.

Ray LaMontagne is back on tour

Ray LaMontagne is back on tour with his current album, "Gossip in the Grain," which blends acoustic country, folk and blues tunes.

LaMontagne's 2004 debut, "Trouble," was a haunting, deeply personal album that secured his place among New England's contemporary singer-songwriters. "Gossip" follows a period of decompression for LaMontagne after the success of "Trouble" and "Till the Sun Turns Black." The new album was recorded in England with producer Ethan Johns at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios.

M for Montreal hits the ground running

Jamie O'Meara,,November 6th, 2008

M for Montreal pulls on Winter Gloves

The third instalment of popular Montreal music showcase M for Montreal has announced its dates for 2008: Nov. 20 to 22. Founded by Glastonbury Festival programmer Martin Elbourne (who also co-founded the long-running WOMAD Festival with Peter Gabriel) and Sébastien Nasra of Avalanche Productions, M for Montreal describes itself as an "export and network" showcase that brings together about 50 hand-picked international delegates representing buyers, journalists and other music industry players for the purpose of promoting Montreal music and artists. It also has a talent for selecting the best and brightest of Montreal's expansive independent music scene for its live music showcases.

The final lineup of bands selected to play at this year's M for Montreal is as follows: Winter Gloves, Duchess Says, Beast, Pas Chic Chic, Radio Radio, Chinatown, The National Parcs, Les Dales Hawerchuk, Arkells, Woodhands, CLAASS, Gatineau and Red Mass. Also, playing at the closing party titled M for Métropolis are big names Karkwa, We Are Wolves and Pierre Lapointe (with still others to be named soon).

Delegates representing NME, XFM, The Guardian, Spiegel Online, Dour Festival, Central Park Summer Stage and the Coachella and Glastonbury Festivals, among many others, will be invited to two industry panels: one "exploring the work of music supervisors," and the other "discussing the state of the French live show industry." Ticket and other information may be found at

Robert Lepage prepared for Wagner in Las Vegas

By RONALD BLUM –AP- Nov 6, 2008

To prepare for his Metropolitan Opera debut, Robert Lepage went to Las Vegas.

The Canadian director perfected "the toys," as he called his technological gadgets, while preparing Cirque du Soleil's "KA" at the MGM Grand four years ago. The audience was not exactly the jewel- and tuxedo-wearing crowd he'll see under the Met's starburst Lobmeyer chandeliers.

"The first preview, the first preview everybody has a cowboy hat on," he said. "The second preview, they're all porn stars because there's a porn convention next door. And the day after, you have the born-again Christian crowd. And then the day after that they're all Japanese with their little, `Hi, my name is Masamoto.' It opens your eyes that this is actually going to be seen by everybody on the planet, every culture. It's vitriolic. It really puts you in boiling water. And it's good. It reconciles you with the pretensions of opera in the early days, which was to be a universal, open form of art."

Lepage's production of Berlioz's "La Damnation de Faust" opens Friday night, a staging first seen at the Japan's Saito Kinen Festival in 1999 and the Paris Opera two years later. It will be telecast in high definition to theaters around the world on Nov. 22.

Berlioz's composition, often heard in concert, is performed less often than more familiar versions of the tale, Gounod's "Faust" and Boito's "Mefistofele." Even Busoni's "Doktor Faust" has been at the Met more recently than the Berlioz version, last staged by the company during the 1906-07 season.

"I like anything that has to do with the devil, not that I'm a devil worshipper," Lepage said before rehearsals, a week before the opening. "What I find is that in the theater, the devil is an interesting character."

In an interactive staging, singers' voices and movements will set video in motion from regular and infrared cameras. Small transmitters attached to the performers will trigger events.

"If you don't approach it in a cinematic way, in a more contemporary way, it's very tricky," he said.

And while preparing this opera, he's presenting concepts for perhaps the biggest event at the Met in the next decade. When Peter Gelb was hired to become the Met's general manager starting with the 2006-7 season, he hired Lepage to direct the company's new Ring Cycle, which will start appearing with "Das Rheingold" on opening night in September 2010 and lead to full cycles in starting in the spring of 2012, a year ahead of the 200th anniversary of Wagner's birth.

"He was my first choice for the Ring because of his uniquely creative approach to staging music and theater," Gelb said. "He is a great storyteller, who is never short of new and virtuosic stage and visual ideas that range from the latest in motion and sound-control technology to old-fashioned theatrical techniques. In Lepage's world, things happen on stage that you wouldn't think were possible if you didn't see them with your own eyes."

Met audiences have flocked to Otto Schenk's Ring, which premiered from 1986-89 and will appear for the final time next spring. Schenk took a realistic approach, counter to the avant-garde Rings that have been in vogue since Patrice Chereau's centennial Bayreuth production in 1976. Some critics called Schenk's staging empty, but Wagner fans around the world have been attracted to it.

Lepage has viewed it on DVD and plans to attend live performances next spring.

"It's not by chance that it was very successful," Lepage said. "Now I'm trying to be an antenna and say, `OK, how would people want to see this? How can I help them understand, enter into this kind of mythology, into the psychology of the characters?'"

His starry cast has Deborah Voigt singing Bruennhilde for the first time, Bryn Terfel in his first complete Ring as Wotan, Ben Heppner as Siegfried, Jonas Kaufmann as Siegmund and Met music director James Levine conducting. Lepage said the production will evoke Iceland and Nordic influences.

Lepage already is working on the Ring with dancers and acrobats in place of the singers at his Ex Machina company in Quebec City.

"It will be fresh and thrilling yet, like Schenk's, it will adhere to the mythology and the very human relationships and motivations of these unhappy figures trapped by their destinies," Gelb said, promising "storytelling presented in a magical setting which our audiences will not have experienced previously."

"KA" had a $30 million budget, which enabled Lepage to experiment with innovation. He spent about six months in Las Vegas.

"It feels sometimes like Florence during the Renaissance. There's just a lot of people with a lot of money. They don't know what do with it and they compete in hiring artists," Lepage said. "And now the people who go to Vegas are not the people who went to Vegas 20 years ago. The people who go to Vegas are 30-year-old multimillionaires, Silicon Valley people who know what designer food is, who want to see opera. It's a different crowd."

A theater and film director, a solo performer and stage director for Peter Gabriel, Lepage has worked on relatively few operas: the double bill of Bartok's "Bluebeard's Castle" and Schoenberg's "Erwartung" first appeared at the Canadian Opera Company in 1993, followed by Lorin Maazel's "1984" at London's Royal Opera (2005) and Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress" at Brussels' Theatre Royal de la Monnaie (2007).

You will not find the 50-year-old directing "Carmen," or "La Traviata." In the future, "Wozzeck" and "Pelleas et Melisande" may attract him.

"I'm attracted to the tough stuff, the ugly ducklings," he said. "I like playing with the ugly duckling and trying to make it become a swan."

Return to Goree

By Ken Eisner,, November 6, 2008

A documentary by Pierre-Yves Borgeaud. In English, French, and Wolof, with English subtitles. Unrated. Plays Friday to Wednesday, November 7 to 12, at the Vancity Theatre

The title Return to Gorée refers to a small island off the coast of Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour’s home country, from which slaves were bound to a brutal new life in America—the upshot of which we are seeing played out in this month’s U.S. election.

Famous for his work with Peter Gabriel and Bruce Springsteen, our high-voiced musician undertook the journey captured here less for its sociopolitical historicity than for his desire to learn more about jazz. This took him to Luxembourg, where he hooked up with Austrian avant-guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel and Swiss piano wiz Moncef Genoud (a blind elf of goodwill), and New Orleans, to grab veteran soul-jazz drummer Idris Muhammad.

Together, they recruit a gospel quartet in Atlanta and folksy young female singer Pyeng Threadgill (daughter of saxman Henry) in New York. The Manhattan stop also finds the musos at an upscale Harlem house party, where there are awkward attempts to revive the fierce spirit of the 1960s. This is rectified by a visit with Amiri Baraka (née LeRoi Jones), who poetically sums up the violently interrupted relationship between Africa and its American offspring.

This is evoked in the ad-hoc group’s return to the place of the title for an emotional outdoor concert. Some of the resulting music, well captured by documentarian Pierre-Yves Borgeaud, is not as memorable as some sounds the well-named N’Dour encounters along the way. The most affecting moment is a painfully beautiful hybrid that occurs spontaneously when the transplanted Georgians spy the stone portal through which Africa’s children were sent to sea. For a few holy minutes, the white-haired churchmen put aside Jesus and sing an Old Testament hymn at sunset. In that moment, you know—and they know—that God was looking the other way.

Daniel Lanois affirme que le nouvel album de "U2" est incroyablement innovateur

La presse Canadienne, 6 nov. 2008

TORONTO — Si vous demandez au producteur d'origine québécoise Daniel Lanois ce qu'il pense de l'album sur lequel U2 travaille présentement, il vous répondra qu'il est "incroyablement innovateur" et qu'il compte parmi ce que le groupe a fait de mieux.

Mais avant de rafistoler les chansons du groupe - l'album est l'un des plus attendus en 2009 -, Lanois se concentre sur son vrai "projet de rêve", celui de partir en tournée pour interpréter sa propre musique.

Celui qui vient tout juste de terminer deux semaines de travail d'enregistrement à New York avec le groupe irlandais donnera plusieurs spectacles en Ontario et à Boston avant de s'envoler à Londres pour dix jours en studio avec U2.

"En me produisant en direct, cela m'aide vraiment à faire un meilleur travail en studio puisque l'on devient attentif à ce qui marche en présence d'un public", a affirmé M. Lanois au cours d'un entretien téléphonique.

Daniel Lanois a quelques albums et une dizaine de productions à son actif. Il a travaillé avec les plus grands noms de la musique, comme Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel et Emmylou Harris.

Dans un court vidéo récemment mis en ligne sur le site, on le voit en studio avec les membres du groupe. C'est un aperçu du procédé d'enregistrement, dit M. Lanois, qui peut représenter "un des nombreux moments exaspérants" qu'ils ont vécus ensemble, même si l'album est "très près" d'être complété.

Mais parce que U2 est un groupe connu pour apporter des changements significatifs aux compositions à l'étape finale d'enregistrement, le producteur n'a aucune idée du moment où le disque sera réellement terminé.

"Dans le dernier mille, les artistes arrivent souvent avec ce qui sera leur meilleur travail", a affirmé Lanois, même s'il croit que l'album est déjà incroyable à ce stade-ci de la production. "Il brise de nouvelles bases acoustiques et je crois que les paroles de Bono et ses performance vocales sont meilleures que jamais. Je suis content qu'il progresse et qu'il parle de ce qui le touche."

Dans son "laboratoire" de Toronto, il a mis sur pied il y a dix mois sa propre étiquette de disques, Red Floor Records. Il peut ainsi partager sa musique avec la planète sans avoir à se soucier de la bureaucratie des grosses maisons de disques.

Ceci étant réglé, M. Lanois prévoit lancer, dans les prochaines semaines et via son site Internet, trois de ses CD de musique instrumentale, et trois autres l'an prochain. Quelque chose qui n'aurait certainement pas été possible par le biais des voies conventionnelles.

"Ce sont des pièces très touchantes, très belles, mais je n'aurais pas aimé qu'elles soient lancées par des compagnies de disque", a-t-il dit.

Il songe également à la manière dont il pourrait utiliser sont site Internet afin qu'il devienne une fenêtre permettant de voir son travail derrière la scène. Mais M. Lanois ne veut pas complètement passer au numérique et continuera à performer en direct et vendre des copies physiques de ses CD.

"Même si tout devient électronique, je crois que fondamentalement, les êtres humains aiment les choses tangibles comme tenir quelque chose dans nos mains et sentir que l'on reçoit quelque chose. Nous ne devrions jamais se fatiguer de donner ou de recevoir un cadeau", a-t-il dit.

Excursions to the outer edge of contemporary jazz

By James Scanlon, For The Prague Post, November 5th, 2008

Trumpeter Jon Hassell brings his 'Fourth World' soundscapes to Prague

For three decades, American trumpet player and composer Jon Hassell has been pioneering atmospheric soundscapes that transcend all the possibilities of conventional jazz, avant-garde and world music. It’s earned him unending plaudits from artists of the ambient persuasion, and many more.

In an interview in The Guardian last year, Brian Eno revealed the huge debt he owes Hassell after hearing his 1977 debut album Vernal Equinox. “This record fascinated me,” Eno said. “It was dreamy, strange, meditative music that was inflected by Indian, African and South American music, but also seemed located in the lineage of tonal minimalism. It was music I felt I’d been waiting for.”

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1937, Hassell fine-honed the art of “vocal trumpet” after meeting Indian vocal master Pandit Pran Nath. His technique of rousing ethereal, digitally altered trumpet lines forms the basis of what Hassell calls “Fourth World” music. It’s a concept that combines minimalism with African and Asian styles through the use of electronic instrumentation.

Listening to albums like Vernal Equinox, the curiously titled The Surgeon of the Nightsky Restores Dead Things by the Power of Sound (1991) and Maarifa Street (2005), you get a sense of being sucked into a vortex of hypnotic sounds that transports you to other worlds. It’s all part of the ambiguity of Hassell’s Fourth World, which he defines as “an attitude, something that happens when a respectful, intelligent and creative mind meets the tension between north and south. … I think of north and south not only in global terms, but also, for example, within the body.”

Classically trained in composition at American conservatories, Hassell expanded his musical palette considerably after further studies with the likes of electronic genius Karlheinz Stockhausen in Darmstadt, Germany. It was there that he met classmates Holger Czukay and Irwin Schmidt, who went on to form the wildly feral and experimental Can.

It wasn’t until he returned to the States in 1967 that Hassell started to concentrate on playing the trumpet again. His first recording duties came the following year when he was asked to help out on Terry Riley’s In C album. As Hassell’s reputation grew, so did the collaborations. Some highpoints include performing at Peter Gabriel’s first-ever WOMAD Festival in 1982, and contributions to Eno’s Ambient 4: On Land (1982) and Talking Heads’ Remain In Light (1980). He’s also worked with the Kronos Quartet, Ry Cooder and Ibrahim Ferrer, and pop stars like Bjork, Lloyd Cole and Tears For Fears.

For all that, there are critics who say that Hassell has borrowed too heavily from Miles Davis’ use of electronics and modal harmonies. Hassell’s response: “After years of trying to make the case for an improvisational music which is not jazz, and staying away from the clichés of jazz instrumentation and styles, I started to feel free enough to let more obvious elements of my respect for Miles creep in from time to time.”

Like Davis’, a lot of Hassell’s compositions are open-ended. But the unpredictability is one of the best things about them, not knowing what’s going to happen next.

This past May, Hassell surprised many by performing “In Tsegihi,” a choral piece for 100 voices and a chamber group in the atmospheric surroundings of Norwich Cathedral, England. At 71, he is still breaking new ground as he comes to Prague, armed with material both old and new. While it’s impossible to say what he’ll do with it, it’s guaranteed to be fresh and inventive.

Cape Cod, Whassa Kwassa?

By Bree Barton, Special for cctoday, 03/11/08

(...) So what IS CCKK?

What is Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa? It's a song about love, labels, and Peter Gabriel. Apparently, Peter Gabriel himself has expressed interest in doing a cover, though he's not yet sure whether he would keep this part of the lyrics - "Peter Gabriel too" - or substitute something different. In a sense, having Peter Gabriel sing "Peter Gabriel too" would be the most logical, thematically appropriate thing in the world; still, it's getting a little meta for a pop song (...)