start with a transcendental vision. wrap that around the cosmic pulsating rhythms of creative electronic trance, with organic and pranic world beats, creative keyboards and guitars, occasionally elegant and sweet vocals, and an overall feel for the unknown, and you've got shpongle.
shpongle is the brain and heart child of simon posford--classically trained brit, producer, writer, keyboards, and guitarist, and raja ram--psychedelic pioneer from australia, flutist, and all-around ambience-maker.
and better still, they'll be in des moines on march 23rd.
as the title of their 2nd cd asks, one should always ask oneself--in the jimi hendrix sense--"are you shpongled"? soon you will be.
appearing with shpongle (on my show and in concert) is desert dwellers. an amazing, psyambient band with a equally cosmic sound.
this week i take a look back at an interesting time...
it's hard to think of the mid-90s as 20 years ago. i mean that was almost the new millenium, right? that's just right over our shoulder. but there's no getting around 1994 being a long time ago. sfunny how that decade just kind of flew by...i guess i must've been busy...
the year kurt colbain joined the 27 year old category in the rock n roll hall of fame, also gave us one of the greatest heavy rock albums of all time: soundgarden's "superunknown." [pictured] the music was creative, heavy, and retro, with a strong flavor of psychedelia.
1994 also featured a then-unknown virtuoso guitarist, buckethead, who took heavy guitar playing to another level of creativity and speed.
so this week, all the new age ambient mellowness i've been playing recently, recedes into the distant present, as i share the loud roots of modern hard retro-rock from 20 years ago. (though i'll sprinkle in some relative 20 year old mellowness from pink floyd, frank zappa, enigma, and the eagles).
oh yeh: you'll definitely want to catch my mashup of "hotel california" and "return to innocence."
remember watching the joaquin phoenix movie "her," and feeling like there was something very subtle going on?.... like you were experiencing the loneliness, ambivalence, love, and longing of his character....they became really real. well, a lot of the emotional ambience from that movie came from the incidental music throughout, by arcade fire [left]. i was so impressed with the feel of it, that i'm featuring several tracks on this week's ambient show (by popular request i do at least one ambient show every month). it's worth checking out because it's not their lyrical indie-pop sound, but some delicate ambient ... feelings, is the best way to describe it.
you'll spend an hour getting very incidentally emotional on my show this week. other spacey but melodic artists: sarah mclachlan and delirium, murasca and duke b, and (also by popular request) lemon jelly's "his majesty, king raam." very trippy, very lovely.
warm up thursday evening and sunday morning with some acoustic chill sounds...
i've come to realize that if you can't beat the chill, go down tempo with it.
this week's show will feature aimee mann, the shins, broken bells, neil young, kacey musgraves, chris isaac, jonathan edwards, the swell season, a soufully sweet song by jack johnson, an amazing, powerful song from the group stateless, and other classy acoustic songs to sip a cup with...
it's hard to define the changes in all kinds of music that began in 50 years ago this week -- when the beatles' appearance on ed sullivan had the world shaking its head, going, "wow. i never thought of that!"
apart from the social, spiritual, sexual, and cultural changes that were begun, musically, this marked the revolutionary shift from rock and roll to rock; from nice to heavy, from the 50s to the 60s. it's that change that i explore this week.
this revolution does need to be discussed every once in a while, because it's easy to forget, simply because so much of the music of the last 50 years has sprouted from that seed. in addition to creating entirely new genres of music (more on those later), the beatles brought a heavier electric sound to what had been (for the entire half-century of popular music) a light and polite style.
on my show this week, you'll actually experience the transition from 50s cute sexism and goofiness (frank sinatra's "wives and lovers [hey, little girl]," dusty springfield's "wishin' and hopin'") to the beatles' heavy bass, drums, and guitars ("i feel fine," "you can't do that,"), which quickly opened the door for other heavy sounds as well (the dave clark five, the kinks, the animals, the yardbirs--even the beach boys got heavier).
in case you missed it the first time, be sure to enjoy hearing and experiencing this evolutionary, epochal shift.
here are the songs you'll be hearing: 1964
one of the interesting musical styles that has evolved recently is what i call neo jazz, or "electro swing." some people give credit to the star of this week's show for having invented it: austrian dj-turned producer/composer, parov stelar (think a "pair of stellar objects"). in an evolutionary leap, he released 3 cds last year.
when you hear it, you'll wonder why you didn't think of it first.
the music is a natural merging of 30s swing, 70s disco, 90s electronica, 00s production, with some josephine baker thrown in for style. you won't know if you're laughing, dancing, or remembering. running bootlegs to speakeasies, or tripping with your headphones...
you'll also hear the influence in several songs from the great gatsby.
here's the playlist.
last year is still overflowing with great music. i haven't begun to touch on it all.
at the request of a few, this week, i'll share some of the best acoustic music from the last year or so. there's been a virtual rennaissance of the rennaissance of the post-folk americana-rock, bluegrass flavored, country gospel, that you all love and know so well.
in the performing of this week's show: (almost) no electricity was needed in the amplification of any sounds heard on this show. to the left is the lone bellow from ... (get ready for it) brooklyn, ny. they sound old, but sparkle their music with fresh energy.
leaders of the americana folk roots music scene is (go figure) english band mumford and sons. they're perhaps leading the rennaissance, along with irish glen hansard. and new boundaries in country are being made by americans kacey musgraves, ashley monroe, and darius rucker.
then i'll play some acoustic music from pearl jam, tom jones (yes, that one), and eric clapton (playing a ledbelly classic).
all the songs are here.
there was a lot of great new music released in 2013. lots of new artists, and plenty of old artists as well, all released new music.
believe it or not, the flaming lips [left] were formed 30 years ago, so they're practically a classic-rock band. their album "the terror" is a new direction of their psychedelic style.
creedence clearwater's john fogerty's "wrote a song for everyone" is a collaboration with other artists, playing some of fogerty's classic songs with him. it shows how fresh his music was and is.
there was some outstanding new music by david bowie, paul mccartney, pearl jam, eric clapton, and the seemingly immortal todd rundgren.
this week: the rest of the best of 2012.
if you haven't already heard, be sure to hear: authentic emo from john grant (in which his r-rated "gmf" is magically transformed into pg-13's "greatest living creature"), what can only be called uniqueness from the flaming lips, classic harmonies from the lone bellow, the acapella voices of pentatonix, the accoustic and screaming guitars of buckethead, and the very real and profound voice of lorde.
and the cd of the year (i know i said last week that it was snoop lion's reggae cd "reincarnation") is the technological funk mixes of daft punk's "random access memories." [pictured]
or maybe the cd of the year was arcade fire's "reflektor." or perhaps vampire weekend's "modern vampires of the city." or maybe...i'll continue this next week.
here's what you'll hear.
and you can watch...
while you listen...
to this week's show...
here, on youtube.