Cathartic

Royal Blood- Out of the Black.

JUST what I needed this morning.

SL

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River

What great pop. Ibeyi are a French/ Cuban duo made up of twin sisters Naomi and Lisa Kainde Diaz. I first heard them when on holiday with pals last summer; and love the mix of influences that they draw upon.

They are playing at Rough Trade East on February 17th, I have a feeling they will make for a great live show.

SL

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Audivi

I’ve been having a brilliant time recently preparing for a programme of English Tudor Reformation music I am working on with the North Downs Consort this term.

This Stile Antico recording of Audivi by John Taverner is particularly sublime:

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Roscoe

Just spent a blissful few minutes enjoying this remix of Midlake’s ‘Roscoe’ by Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve. Gorgeous stuff.

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The Truth

One man’s flash of lightening, ripping through the air, is another’s passing glare- hardly there…

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Modulation

Modulation 360 for snare drum is written by Serge Vuille, a percussionist with the group Kammerklang, for two percussionist sharing one snare drum. This is a mind-altering piece, both sonically and emotionally.

“The piece makes a clear division between the production and the definition of sound. One of the players hits the drum, the other touches and moves it to alter the sound, creating together textures and rhythms out of a regular and constant material.”

SL

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San Fermin

An astonishing video of the New York based chamber- pop group San Fermin on the streets of Paris:

SL

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Magpie

I have been listening to quite a lot of Joe Duddell compositions recently, and have been finding his arrangements particularly inspiring.

This is a beautiful song with some masterful string writing for quartet. I particularly like the juxtaposition of major and minor chords in the piano part echoed by the strings; and the surprising harmonies towards the close.

SL

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Requiem Fragments

Last week, on Monday 4th August, on the centenary of the start of WWI I saw a late-night prom featuring the late John Tavener’s ‘Ikon of Light’ followed by a new commission- entitled Requiem Fragments.

Tavener’s setting of the Requiem Aeternam text was revelatory, and immersed in stillness:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04dg1lx

An extraordinary evening.

Prom 25_CR_BBC Chris Christodoulou_2

SL

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The Little Match Girl Passion

The Little Match Girl Passion by David Lang (2007, for SATB & percussion) has been in my life for a few weeks now, and I can honestly say that I have never been as affected by the first listen of any piece of music.

I recommend buying the whole album- a brilliant performance by the Danish- based Theatre of Voices, under the direction of the amazing Paul Hillier.

SL

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Wednesday

Upneet Singh’s use of the Tabla in this part- improvisatory session with guitarist Giuliano Modarelli is incredible- the duo create a fusion between indian classical tradition and a trip-hop drum pattern. What an unexpected delight

SL

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What a voice

Woman’s Hour- Conversations

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Cover up

Wow, I LOVE Lucy Rose’s new track. Can’t wait to hear more from the new album…

SL

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Jai Paul- BTSTU

What a tune.

SL

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Heavenly

Stile Antico.

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Red

This is a gorgeous video of the brilliant Phoria playing an acoustic version of their track ‘Red’, with just a piano and a string quartet featuring two of our string players. I absolutely love the way the textures layer and build in a natural way in this arrangement.

SL

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The future

Just saw this vid of violinist Giles Apap improvising with a chamber group at the 2009 Sonoro Festival in Budapest and it made my week. His sheer delight in playing is an utter joy to watch and listen to.

What all music should be like.

SL

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Sleep Sound

Incredible new track from Jamie XX. My kind of dance music. ❤

SL

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Thom Byles

So if you read our ‘Beautiful’ blog post from earlier in March you might remember this name.

Thom Byles has such a wonderful and soothing sound. It’s the kind of thing that demands your full attention without having to be loud or in your face.

Listen to his latest single ‘Lighthouse’ and you’ll get it:

 

 

Also, if you get chance to see one of his lives gigs, go.

– AL

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Francois

They were playing some incredible French music on BBC 6 on Friday night, courtesy of a guest playlist by Francois and the Atlas Mountains.

My favourite track:

La Mal Coifée – Aquo’s Donc Fait

SL

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Smooth

If I say ‘dancehall’ would you think, ‘mellow’, ‘shimmering’, ‘fragile’? Palmistry would.

AL

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Simplicity

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuZwzoj85C0

This Sinfini session of Oliver Coates playing a piece by contemporary British composer Laurence Crane is, to me, utterly mesmerising. Written for solo cello and performed using a curved bow which can reach all the strings at once, the piece moves through a sequence of long, full bodied chords that repeat with seemingly endless slight variations in pressure and note emphasis. The silence at the end leaves my ears ringing.

SL

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Sponsorship

So I was convinced for a while that Jungle’s new track was actually sponsored by the Irish tourism board.

With lyrics like “It’s time to visit Ireland” and a chorus that continually repeats the message, no wonder I had my suspicions.

You think that all your time is used
To visit Ireland
You can’t get enough

Just visit Ireland

(You can’t get enough)

Just visit Ireland

(You can’t get enough)

If you’re tempted, have a look for cheap flights here: http://www.ryanair.com/en/ireland-flights

SL

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So it goes

I have been singing a lot of Requiems recently, which can get rather overwhelming in terms of the emotion, fear and drama that they provoke.

The antidote is Fold’s track ‘So It Goes, which deals with the subject of death in a clear and refreshing way. The Leeds-based four-piece use samples of the author Kurt Vonnegut reading extracts from his own book ‘Slaughterhouse-five’, set above a beautiful trip-hop beat. Each verse details a different famous death, and concludes with the beautifully simple phrase ‘So it Goes’, before a chorus sung by the author himself.

I particularly like the closing lines…

SL

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Beautiful

Mutual Benefit are more a collaborative collective than a band, which may account for their stunning and unusual sound. Advanced Falconry shows off their delicate, almost ethereal instrumentals matched by the vocals of Jordan Lee and so worth a listen. For anyone who’s had the chance to see singer-songwriter Thom Byles perform (a regular on the London gig circuit, he’s a bit great) you can definitely hear cross-overs in calming style and fragility of sound.

I don’t know if the last few days of sun have warped my mind but I can’t imagine anything more perfect for a summer evening listen.

Also, the video is gorgeous.

-AL

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Atlas

This is a such a great song!

SL

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SUMMER IS HERE!

SL

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Today

I got to sing Victoria’s Requiem all day. It was great.

This is my favourite movement- I love the interplay of vocal lines and the suspense written into the harmony.

SL

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Connections

In the last week I’ve discovered Kelela and Elli Ingram – both really interesting in their own ways. Today I heard Jhené Aiko for the first time, and I think she might be the missing link between the two, particularly in this song, The Worst. Melodic vocals with a beautiful, gentle tone accompanied by discordant harmonies in places as well as a syncopation that gives the whole thing a slightly unsettling feel.

Really great – please listen.

– AL

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Kelela

I just think this is so captivating.

-AL

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