I have an old Oberheim OB-X that I love madly. I have used it on many recordings, and it always sounds unbelievably well. Crazy old machine, it’s wild and unpredictable, one of the very first Oberheim polysynths, from before the production was tidied up with the subsequent OB-Xa and OB-8 synths.
It’s getting to be too old, big and precious to carry around to studios these days, let alone taking it on stage, so this week I’ve been painstakingly sampling and looping every note on the keyboard. Dual-oscillator sawtooth waves with the filter wide open, to be used inside my Nord Stage 2.
At first I was tempted to keep these samples to myself, but actually the right thing to do is the exact opposite: http://tinyurl.com/jyb64jb
Any Nord Stage users wanting to use these, feel free. Only 8mb and an enormous sound reminiscent of the Bladerunner soundtrack and early Prince recordings.
One of my favorite small clubs around Paris is Aux Petits Joueurs. Olivier David, Christine and everyone working there do such a remarkable job welcoming bands and the audience. You always eat very well, and you can be sure to catch a quality band there practically any night of the week. I would recommend anyone to go spend an evening there – musicians, tourists and Parisians alike.
Olivier and the team have been going through a lot of trouble with their landlord over the last years. It’s very unfair, and they need all the help they can get. You can read more and chip in by clicking here if you want to support one of the quality venues around town. There aren’t that many, and having places to perform, learn and listen is so important to keep a music scene alive.
Tomorrow night, October 23rd, almost every musician in town including me is going to come play for a marathon, 5 set evening of blues/rock/soul in support of this special place. It should be a fun, rare occasion of everyone getting together at the same time. I’m particularly looking forward to hearing all the keyboard players I never get to hang out with, since it’s rare to have two keyboards players in a band – the brilliant Jean-Luc Leonardon, Vincent Bidal, Laurian Daire, Thierry Eliez, Michel Lecoq and certainly many others.
I hope to see you there!! 59, rue Mouzaïa, 75019 Paris.
Greg Zlap, the Polish-French harmonica player I have worked with many times over the years even wrote a melody about “Aux Petits Joueurs” that we recorded at the Polish radio studios in Warsaw in 2005 with the fabulous contribution of Piotr Wojtasik on trumpet:
I’m happy to have once again participated in a Tété album. I think he’s had a remarkably high standard over the past 15 years, and manages to navigate these changing times for artists very well. This year’s album is a pretty intimate deal; hardly any drums or bass. I think it suits his voice and songs well, have a listen here:
How about a roundtable of Larry Goldings, Steve Porcaro, Money Mark and Jeff Babko? Spending a few hours exchanging stories from their incredible, history-making careers and discussing everything from equipment to intellectuel property rights? It’s right here: Caffeinated Keyboardist. There are also many other great episodes on this podcast run by Jeff Babko. Love this stuff.
Sometimes a project comes along, and it just seems so original and innovative, and yet so perfectly mature and obvious. Delgres, the brilliant trio of Pascal Danaé, Baptiste Brondy and Rafgee, is definitely in this category. I’m blown away by this – the sound is original, the musicianship is of the highest level, the energy is explosive yet there is a lot of profound emotion throughout their songs.
The concept is an exploration of the influence of slaves from Guadeloupe fleeing to Louisiana in America in the 19th century, whose music became one of the key ingredients in the creation of blues and jazz.
Raw talent is rare, and if you’re looking for someone who on top of having an extraordinary talent has put in the years and years of practice and focus necessary to become a true master of his or her craft, you’re down to just a handful of people around the world.
In Denmark when I was growing up, there were a few such representatives of the absolute world class of musicians. One of them is a guitar player called Aske Jacoby. He has been active since the early 80’s, has played on more than 400 records and has toured with some of the best acts in Denmark. I have strong memories of seeing and hearing him play as a teenager and just marveling at the sounds coming from his amplifier. Witnessing such powerful playing at a young age was inspiring to the point that it made me dream of becoming a musician one day myself.
A few years ago I became acquainted with Aske through social media. He has established himself as a talented singer/songwriter over the past years, and has made some great albums as a leader in trio with two other members of that rare breed of absolute excellence, Tony Scherr and the legendary Jim Keltner. We randomly talked about maybe setting up some gigs for him in Paris one day. Now the loose talk has turned into hard fact, and we have four club gigs coming up at the end of May.
Aske is bringing some of the top representatives of the Copenhagen music scene, and I’ll be joining them as well. My old friend from back when I just arrived in Paris in the late ’90’s, the brilliant drummer Raphaël Chassin, will be with us on three of the gigs. From my Danish/French perspective this project really makes a lot of sense, and I believe there is a real chance of building a bridge between the music scenes in Paris and Copenhagen.
I sincerely hope that a lot of you will come out and see the shows, and that you’ll appreciate Aske as much as I do. Thanks in advance for your support! And thanks to our friends at the Fondation Danoise who have been instrumental in making these events happen.
We are a few weeks into the tour now with Louise Attaque, and the response from the audience has just been overwhelming. The energy is incredibly positive, I’ve rarely experienced such kindness and warmth from the crowd. The guys in the band are generous and fun, and the songs speak to some of the best sides of the human nature, so I suppose there is a logic to the fact that the band draws a positive, open-minded audience. Still, it’s a privilege to be a part of.
If you like music in any shape or form, and if you have 15 hours to spare, you should check out this extraordinary series of lectures by Leonard Bernstein from 1970. It is a true tour de force. The level of musical sensibility, historical knowledge, analytical capacity, musical and linguistic virtuosity, wit, passion and most importantly the ease with which he transmits some very complicated concepts in easily understandable and unpretentious terms is truly awe-inspiring. A master at work.
Most of the time, one of the hardest things in this job is to manage times and calendars – options moving around, cancelled gigs, postponed events, last minute proposals etc. But things have fit well together this month – the available days in the Louise Attaque schedule coincide with a few TV promotional things with Keren Ann for her cool upcoming record, “You’re Gonna Get Love”, produced by Renaud Letang. Here’s the title track from the record from last Friday’s “Ce soir ou jamais” on France 2.
I’m very proud to have been associated with a brand as cool as Nord for many years now. I strongly believe they are the best keyboard instrument makers around. That is why it is such an exceptional honor to have been picked for artist of the month on their website. I am indeed in very good company with these guys and their amazing roster of artists.
I’m as sensitive as the next person to the arguments of New Criticism, a movement in literary criticism that argues that any piece of literature should be regarded as an isolated aesthetic object, detached from the author, his or her intentions, the historical context, etc. And I believe that it is important to appreciate any piece of art or creative content in this way from time to time.
But I’m also a complete sucker for anything that gives a peek backstage. I love to watch or listen to documentaries, interviews or articles that lift the veil on what the artist actually intended, what life was like when the a work was created, who ordered it, how it was received at the time of its conception, and so on.
In the realm of recorded music there are several ways to get behind the scenes. The “Classic Albums” documentaries are an obvious example of how well the TV format works for showing how recordings were made. It turns out that radio is just as good. I’ve been a fan of the Song Exploder podcast for a while. I discovered the show as it happens to be a part of the same Radiotopia collective as my sister’s wonderful podcast “Strangers”. Song Exploder episodes are 15-20 minutes of an artist taking us through the creation of a song, and letting us listen to the individual tracks that make up the song, and the thoughts behind them.
Last year, one of the records I enjoyed the most was Björk’s Vulnicura, and Song Exploder rounded the year off with a nice christmas present: an insight with the lady herself into one of the strongest songs on the record: Stonemilker. Hearing her explain how she wanted the strings to give the impression of standing inside a monument of equilibrium is just great. Click here to listen to it.