Friday, January 29, 2016

Max Richter: Path 5 + Dream 13 + Dream 3

Today's post features music somewhat different than what I normally blog about here on The Nightfly: three tracks by acclaimed German-British composer/producer Max Richter, all taken off the one-hour work 'from Sleep' (his 31-track album 'Sleep' is no less than eight hours long; it should be noted that it does not contain the seven tracks found on 'from Sleep'.)

Featuring stunning vocals by renowned British soprano Grace Davidson, "Path 5" is my favorite of the three, as is the accompanying video by award winning film maker Yulia Mahr, creative director at Studio Richter Mahr; she also created the clips that accompany the instrumental tracks "Dream 13" and "Dream 3".

Grace Davidson will be performing May 14 - 29 with Richter at seven UK concerts (two of these are at the Barbican in London; one has already sold out): on the program is 'from Sleep' as well as 'The Blue Notebooks', his 2004 album.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Phlake: Pregnant + So Faded + Like You

Despite having been introduced four years ago by mutual friends, it took a while for established producer Jonathan Elkær to officially team up with then unknown singer Mads Bo to create music that began to generate well-deserved buzz in their native Denmark last year. Going by the name Phlake, the two were signed to Sony Music which released two singles in May and September: the über chill "So Faded" and the flawless "Pregnant". A third excellent track "I Like You" will be included on the debut EP, set to drop this year. All of the duo's lyrics are co-written by multi-talented Gisli Gislason, also based in Copenhagen.

Phlake has a show coming up February 12 at Stars in Vordingborg. October 28 and 29 they have two prestigious gigs at Train in Århus and Store Vega in Copenhagen, respectively. A number of additional dates will no doubt be announced on their Facebook page as we get further into 2016.

I'm also posting a outstanding live stripped-down performance of "So Faded", recorded in Copenhagen June 10, 2015 as part of the ongoing intimate concert series Sofar (Songs From A Room).

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Aurora: Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)

I became familiar with Norwegian artist Aurora a year ago, and although I definitely took note, it wasn't until I watched the live stream of the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo on December 11 last year that I truly became a fan. The night was packed with stellar contributions by Kygo, a-ha, Mø and more, but when the 19-year-old sang her original composition 'Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)', expertly accompanied by fellow Bergen singer-songwriter Odd Martin Skålnes on acoustic guitar, you could hear a pin drop, the melody and lyrics filling the large space as she told her haunting tale, one which easily holds a candle to those penned by two of her biggest idols, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan.

Aurora´s 12-track debut full-length 'All My Demons Greeting Me As a Friend' drops March 11; a deluxe edition containing 17 tracks will also be available.

She has a string of shows lined up in the UK, continental Europe, and the U.S. between February and May. NOTE: She'll also be performing at the Roskilde Festival (June 25 - July 2.)

Update February 2: ten additional UK dates have been scheduled between October 3 and October 16.

Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie: Lazarus + Heroes

David Robert Jones, age eight, 1955, Bromley, Greater London

I was as surprised as anyone when I read the news that David Bowie died from liver cancer yesterday, only two days after his 69th birthday; the same day he released his twenty-fifth studio album 'Blackstar'.  Utterly unique and a bona fide genius, he created a treasure trove of music throughout five decades, an accomplishment hard to fathom.

For this blog post I chose an early school picture rather than a photo showing one of his many fascinating recording/stage personas because it freezes a moment in time when not even lil David Jones could have predicted the brilliant career of David Bowie. Or could he? Is that why he's smiling?

The beautiful second single "Lazarus" dropped December 17 and is a fitting swan song from Bowie. The stellar video, published January 7, was directed by Johan Renck (who also directed the clip that accompanies the first single "Blackstar".)

Everyone has their favorite Bowie songs: mine is "Heroes" and so I am also posting his classic from 1977.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Choir Of Young Believers: Jeg Ser Dig

Choir of Young Believers mastermind Jannis Noya Makrigiannis has an eagerly awaited new full-length coming out February 19; the twelve-song 'Grasque' album is the first since 'Rhine Gold' dropped in 2012.  Three teaser tracks have been unveiled so far of which the most recent is my favorite. "Jeg Ser Dig" [I see you] is six minutes and eight seconds of gorgeous vocals and music: the perfect way to kick off 2016 here on The Nightfly music blog.

The black-white video is decidedly low-key yet strangely effective; the clip was directed by Sara Laub, a graduate of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design.

COYB aka Jannis and friends have a show on January 23 at Bremen Teater in their hometown of Copenhagen. An April 5-13 eight-city tour starts in Zürich and ends in Berlin. April 22 there's one date in Helsinki and three gigs have so far been scheduled at Danish venues for the last week of April and first week of May (see Facebook link below for details.)