Articles by John Kelman

INTERVIEWS

Tim Bowness: Ghost Lights and Life Sentences

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As much as it's something most would prefer to avoid, when a pair of musicians share a lengthy musical history together it's difficult not to compare and contrast the work they do when apart. Beyond contributing added clarity to their individual work, it helps to articulate what each of them bring to the table when they're collaborating. Singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Tim Bowness may have yet to achieve the same degree of commercial success that his partner in the currently ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Tim Bowness: Lost in the Ghostlight

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It's a somewhat hidden truth that a sizeable percentage of any musician's fan base believes that the music their favorite artists make is a direct reflection of their tastes. While an artist's music ought, indeed, be a reflection of what moves them, it's another truth that, more often than not, their listening habits run much farther afield. One way to develop a more thorough appreciation for an artist's tastes, touchstones and influences is to look at their entire ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francois Couturier / Tarkovsky Quartet: Nuit Blanche

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Following their sublime duo outing, Moderato Cantabile (ECM, 2014), cellist Anja Lechner and François Couturier reunite in the pianist's quartet responsible for two-thirds of a recorded trilogy for ECM Records, all devoted to Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, whose name would ultimately become synonymous with the group: Tarkovsky Quartet. Bookending Couturier's second album of the trilogy, 2010's solo piano session Un jour si blanc, 2006's Nostalghia--Songs for Tarkovsky and 2011's Tarkovsky Quartet established Couturier's quartet--also featuring soprano saxophonist Jean-Marc ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Chicago II (Steven Wilson Remix)

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It's rare that an opportunity presents itself to directly compare a high resolution remaster with a high resolution remix, but with last year's Quadio (Rhino) box set containing Blu Ray Audio versions (at 24-bit/192KHz) of its first nine studio recordings (including, curiously, a completely superfluous, early Greatest Hits package) and the recent, single-disc reissue of Chicago II, featuring a brand new stereo mix by remix go-to-guy, Porcupine Tree founder and now-successful solo artist Steven Wilson, there's a chance to do ...

REDISCOVERY

Five Classic ECM Titles in High Res

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If ever there were a label that deserved to have its catalog released in a high resolution format, it's Munich's ECM Records. Since its inception in 1969, the multiple award-winning record label headed by producer Manfred Eicher has truly redefined how, initially, jazz and improvised music recordings could--and, at least for some, perhaps should--sound. Attention to the minutest detail and creating albums of such pristine clarity that every layer is clearly audible--from the loudest roar to the softest decay--has garnered ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Theo Bleckmann: Elegy

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While ECM is a label largely renowned for its subtlety, attention to space and detail, and overall understated, “less is more" aesthetic--an early sampler titled, even, The Most Beautiful Sound Next To Silence--it's hard to imagine a label debut as a leader that could be less about virtuosity and more about creating soft atmospheres and ambiences than singer Theo Bleckmann's delicately moving, aptly titled Elegy. Bleckmann is no newcomer to the label: he was an important guest on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ingrid and Christine Jensen: Infinitude

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While they've often recorded together over the years--from the collective Nordic Connect quintet and trumpeter Ingrid Jensen's early albums including Now as Then (Justin Time, 2003), to many of saxophonist Christine's recordings, from her two much-lauded Jazz Orchestra albums (most recently Habitat (Justin Time, 2014)) to earlier, small group dates including Look Left (Effendi, 2006)--the two Jensen sisters (separated by four years) have never recorded an album collaboratively, with both names sharing the marquee equally...until now. While sharing has never ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Abercrombie Quartet: Up and Coming

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Starting the new year with, if not precisely a bang, a nevertheless unforgettable record whose strength lies in pristine lyricism, nuanced group interplay and writing that capitalizes on the entire quartet's appreciation of subtlety over gymnastics and refined lyricism over angularity, John Abercrombie's Up and Coming--ECM's first release of the year--is also founded strongly on the concept of relationship. The guitarist has been playing with Marc Copland since the pianist's days in the early '70s as a saxophonist ...

REDISCOVERY

Greg Lake & Keith Emerson: Their Best Work Together

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While it should come as no surprise that musical heroes from across all genres are beginning to die off, some of the highest profile losses are, in particular, in the rock/pop world, where many of its biggest stars are now in their mid-to-late sixties...or older. Few would disagree that one of the years biggest losses happened just ten days into 2016, when David Bowie passed away at 69 just two days after the release of Black Star (Sony)--an album that ...


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