Scandinavian singer-songwriter Ane Brun's music is always personal, touching on themes of love and life's tribulations. But on her latest album, When I'm Free, Brun sings songs of empowerment. Brun has been a fixture on the Swedish music scene for years and has sung with Peter Gabriel. Her song "Don't Leave" was the most Shazammed song during the 2014 Super Bowl. When she visited Echoes, she discussed her struggle with Lupus, and how she has used it to set herself free. We hear about her new album and the dynamically different direction she's taken.
John Luther Adams is the Pulitzer and Grammy award winning composer whose work is always connected to the environment. He talks about his award-winning composition, Become Ocean, and how he left Alaska because the landscapes that inspired him were melting away due to Global Warming.
Miranda Lee Richards' parents were 70s underground comic writers. Metallica's Kirk Hammett gave her guitar lessons and she was discovered by The Brian Jonestown Massacre. On her new album, Echoes of the Dreamtime, she has taken folk sounds and deployed them through delayed guitar and psychedelic hues. Miranda Lee Richards talks about her latest recording.
Ashley Capps created the Bonaroo Festival, but at the other end of the spectrum, he's also created Big Ears, a festival in Knoxville that embraces Sun Ra, Yo La Tengo, Philip Glass and The Gloaming's Celtic aires. Join John Diliberto when Ashley Capps charts a course through this year's Big Ears Festival on Echoes.
Tim Gane was a founding member of the post-rock group Stereolab, who were underground darlings for the better part of 25 years. Gane played guitar and keyboards in the group and it's the electronic side that comes out in a recent project called Cavern of Anti-Matter. This is a group steeped in analog synthesizers and they worship at the electronic altar of 70s German groups like Neu! Harmonia, Cluster and Can. Their debut album, Void Beats Invocation Trex, is a wild journey into electronic ecstasy. We talk to Tim Gane about plugging in to the sound of his youth.
Nana Vasconcelos was a master of the berimbau, the percussion instrument that looks like a long archery bow stuck into a gourd. Nana was a member of the seminal world-fusion jazz group Codona, with trumpeter Don Cherry and multi-instrumentalist Collin Walcott. Both musicians left the planet long ago, but not before recording some great albums on ECM, re-released as a boxed set called The Codona Trilogy in 2009. Nana played on albums with Paul Simon, Laurie Anderson, Milton Nascimento, Jon Hassell and Talking Heads. He also recorded an ambient jazz epic with Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, the album titled As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls. Nana played all manner of percussion instruments, and at the time of this interview, in 1989, he was putting out an electronic world fusion album called Rain Dance. Nana plucked his last berimbau string on March 8th, 2016, after a struggle with lung cancer.
Deborah Martin is a shadowy figure in the electronic music world. She has been behind the scenes since 1991 at Spotted Peccary Music, purveyors of lush electronic sounds. In that time, she has also released conceptually-driven albums taking up themes of mysticism and spirituality. And she has a country western album on which she sings. That's a long way from her latest, Eye of the Wizard which may be her best yet, a mix of acoustic and electronic fantasies. We cast a spell with Deborah Martin.
Forty years ago, no one ever suspected that Brian Eno's ambient works would make such beautiful vehicles for acoustic ensembles. Yet, Music for Airports and Apollo-Atmospheres and Soundtracks have been magnificently covered by acoustic ensembles, Bang on a Can All-Stars and Icebreaker respectively. Now Discreet Music, arguable the first of Eno's ambient works, has entered the acoustic canon, via the Canadian group, Contact. They turn Eno's Discreet Music into an immersive meditation. Contact's Jerry Pergolesi talks about making contact with Discreet Music.
Bella Gaia is a project put together by Kenji Williams, using NASA images of Earth from Space, quotes from astronauts and and music from around the world. Williams has assembled a multi-media performance work that makes an environmental, philosophical and spiritual statement. We first heard of Kenji Williams when he was working as ABA Structure, making electronic trance music. He came by several years ago with a project called World Spirit that featured him playing his main instrument, the violin. At that time he was already talking about the grand vision he had for a project called Bella Gaia which would marry world music, images of earth from space and an environmental message. He's finally turned that vision into reality. We go into orbit with Kenji Williams and singer Kristin Hoffman.
You don't usually find academic composers making music that you might find on a dance floor or in a chillout room, but J. Anthony Allen breaks that convention. His compositions have been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra and he is a specialist in composing and performing with Ableton Live software. Unlike most academic composers who enter contemporary pop derived worlds, his music actually sounds like it belongs next to Bassnectar or Aphex Twin. J. Anthony Allen talks about his kinetic music and latest album, Anascorcia.