As some of you know Italy has played an important role in my life. It all began with a contrary teenager who wasn’t going to study no stinkin’ French like everybody else in high school and ended with an unfinished master’s thesis 15 years later. In many ways I fell in love with il bel paese but as I got to know it better, I slowly became more and more disillusioned. In the end I had to move on to other things.
One thing I always felt ambiguous about was the music. Filled with bombastic romantic clichés it never really stuck with me and I rarely listen to Italian music except for a few artists. In fact only two of the artists on today’s list are artist I got to know when I lived in Italy. The others I’ve once again been introduced to by people who are more knowledgeable than me.
Paolo Conte – Max
Petra Magone & Ferruccio Spinetti – Guarda che luna
Fabrizio de André – Crêuza de mä
Mike Patton – Il cielo in una stanza
Renato Carosone – Tu vuò fà l’americano
Listen on Grooveshark
This is my ‘new’ piano.
I know where to find middle C.
That’s about it. I don’t know how to play the piano but I intend to learn.
Maybe not this year or even the next but some day.
In the meantime it’ll be here.
Reminding me of what’s important in life.
I’m beginning to think that my returning interest in music is developing into a full- fleshed obsession. Not only am I listening to music whenever I can but I’m also getting into all sorts of technology I never used to cared for. Suddenly I know words like bit rate and sampling frequency and I’m beginning to wonder what all the fuzz about vinyl records is about. I’m of course reading reviews on Pitchfork and listening to radio shows like Kosmo on DR P2. Oh, and did I mention the old piano I’m getting from a friend?
Yeah, when I get obsessed about something I really get obsessed. I’ve got the yarn and the books to prove it.
I’m still a novice, though. If it weren’t for my friends, online or in real life, I wouldn’t know a single artist on the list below. Thank you!
The Welcome Wagon – But For You Who Fear My Name
Sigur Rós – Góðan Daginn
CocoRosie – Trinity’s Crying
Mimicking Birds – Rivers, Veins and Roots
The National – Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks
Listen on Grooveshark.
It’s been one of those weeks. You know the kind where everything and everybody conspire against you to reduce life to an endless stream of work, headaches and tiredness. Rinse, wash and repeat.
Music has been an annoyance much of the time but here are five songs that that didn’t get skipped or turned off in the past week. First is an obscure Canadian musician from Toronto, Matthew Maaskant, who I’d never discovered had it not been for the Canadian gentleman. Vocals, a piano and a double-bass. So simple and so beautiful.
The second song is by an artist I’ve managed to discover all on my own. At the fitness center of all places. Rather a nice break from pumped up Carmina Burana and such, if I must say so. It’s Sufjan Stevens.
Another friend of mine has introduced me to the next two songs. Usually there’s an iPod connected to a loudspeaker playing at her house and last summer Jan Johansson happened to show up in the shuffle. He was a Swedish jazz pianist who died quite young in a car accident. The chosen song is from the album ‘Jazz på Svenska’ which is one of the best-selling jazz albums in Sweden of all times. All the songs are reinterpretations of Swedish folk music and share that special Scandinavian melancholy tone. You probably already know some of his music even if you didn’t know it.
The other song is from the Tango group Gotan Project. I only really listened to them yesterday by sheer coincidence and don’t yet know much about them. It’s tango but with an electronic element.
The last song is by Jaga Jazzist, a Norwegian experimental jazz group. And when I write experimental, I mean very experimental but not unlistenable. I got see them in concert recently and can’t recommend seeing them live enough.
Matthew Maaskant – Fall to Pieces
Sufjan Stevens – Holland
Jan Johansson – Visa från Utanmyra
Gotan project – Una Música Brutal
Jaga Jazzist – Going Down (Spillejobb Remix by Kim Hiorthøy)
Listen to the first song on Youtube and the rest on Grooveshark.