Thu, 30 Mar 2017 12:00:00 GMTNow that they are being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate the Progressive Rock band, Yes. Their album Close to the Edge is one of the most renowned recordings in Progressive Rock. Released in 1972, it’s an epic work with three expansive compositions that established part of the Prog Rock vernacular. Author Will Romano has written an exhaustively-detailed book about it called Close to the Edge - How Yes’s Masterpiece Defined Prog Rock. We talk to Romano to explore its meaning. We also hear interviews with Bill Bruford, Jon Anderson and Roger Dean.
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:00:00 GMTTrumpeter Jon Hassell’s Fourth World music concepts were brought to popularity in collaborations with Brian Eno, and his distinctive trumpet sound has been adopted by musicians like Mark Isham. Ever since his 1977 debut album, Vernal Equinox, Hassell has pursued a singular vision that sounds deeper, more profound and more sensual with each passing year. John Diliberto has interviewed him many times since 1988, when his Power Spot album came out. Combining interviews with Hassell spanning those years with comments from Brian Eno, Steve Roach, Robert Rich, and former bandmate and film composer Jeff Rona, we look back on a musician who is still pushing the sonic envelope as he celebrates his 80th birthday.
Thu, 16 Mar 2017 12:00:00 GMTThe iconic French electronic musician Jean-Michel Jarre returns to the solo track after two albums of collaborations. He picks up the threads, sequencers and wires of his 1976 album, Oxygene and returns with Oxygene 3. Jarre talks about the evolution of the electronic landscape and the contemporary influences on his latest work. He’s touring America for the first time ever in the spring of 2017
Thu, 09 Mar 2017 12:00:00 GMTMike Oldfield is best known for his 1973 epic, Tubular Bells, but one of his most beloved recordings is his third album, 1975’s Ommadawn. Like Tubular Bells it was two side-long journeys, this time venturing into a sound that was pastoral, Celtic and African. Oldfield spins back to that time with a new album, Return to Ommadawn, on which he plays over 20 instruments, crafting a new composition that echoes the original without retreading it. From his home in the Bahamas, Oldfield talks about his Return to Ommadawn.
Thu, 02 Mar 2017 12:00:00 GMTDaniel Voth is a two-handed-tapping finger-style wizard, but with a composer’s sense of arrangement and melody. His album, Trancendance is the Echoes March CD of the Month. John Diliberto reviews this album in the Echoes Podcast.
Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:00:00 GMTDjam Karet has been carrying the progressive music torch for 33 years. But in that span, they have pushed the envelope of modern instrumental music. Although they are in a lineage that includes King Crimson, Gong, The Soft Machine and The Mahavishnu Orchestra, among others, they aren't mired in Prog Rock's past, but point to a possible future. They have just put out one of their most concise and meticulous albums, Sonic Celluloid.
Thu, 16 Feb 2017 12:00:00 GMTFrom Western Australia comes Laliya, the duo of James and Melissa McGuire. Since 1995 they’ve been creating an acoustic based sound with electronic extensions, like delays and loops, to create a world fusion of the imagination, using dulcimers, didgeridoo and hand percussion. After many years’ absence, they’ve released a new album, The Middle Way.
Thu, 09 Feb 2017 12:00:00 GMTErik Scott has played bass with Alice Cooper and Flo and Eddie. He also co-founded the band Sonia Dada. But in his case, past wasn’t prologue to the instrumental soundscapes of his album, In the Company of Clouds. Erik Scott talks about gospel choirs, pedal steel guitar and survival on Echoes.
Tue, 31 Jan 2017 12:00:00 GMTWe celebrate the 80th birthday of one of the Holy Trinity of Minimalism. Philip Glass turns 80 this year and it’s hard to imagine the music of the last 50 years without him. He virtually reinvented the opera, brought minimalism into the concert hall and provided the ground upon which space music, EDM, and ambient chamber music were sown. We look back at the career of this pioneer who shows no signs of letting up, featuring interviews with Glass, Ravi Shankar, Godfrey Reggio and more.
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 12:00:00 GMTRy X is a musician from Australia. He’s in that zone of ambient folk music like Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens and Fink. He released a beautiful album last year called Dawn that draws from his surfer boy childhood in Australia, life in Berlin, and his global travels. But it all started when he was playing grunge in an Australian surf town.
Thu, 19 Jan 2017 12:00:00 GMTLos Angeles singer Alu has carved out a unique world of verbal wordplay and sonic illusion, creating a gothic cabaret for songs that often have bizarre, horror show imagery. There really is no other singer like Alu, though you can find elements of Kate Bush drama, Siouxsie Sioux doom, Liza Minnelli cabaret, and Lambert, Hendricks and Ross wordplay in her work. Her lyrics have a lot of wit, but her imagery is often macabre. Alu’s life was recently sent into a tailspin, resulting from a fraudulent marriage and a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, but she’s come out of it with one of her most biting, but also most witty albums.
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 12:00:00 GMTJane Siberry came to renown in the 1980s with albums like The Speckless Sky, The Walking, and Bound by the Beauty and was spoken of in the same breath as artists like Kate Bush and later, Bjork and Tori Amos. She’s been recording for 35 years, released 15 original albums, been signed to a major label and collaborated with many musicians and film directors including Brian Eno, k.d. lang and Wim Wenders. But she still feels relatively unknown. She’s just released a new album called Angels Bend Closer. John Diliberto spoke to Jane Siberry from her home in Canada.
Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:00:00 GMTIt has been 25 years since Enigma debuted with their hit album, MCMXC A.D. It was a recording that mixed Gregorian chants with space synthesizers and heavy breathing female vocals. Now Enigma creator Michael Cretu has returned with a new album, The Fall of a Rebel Angel that pays homage to the first in every way.
Thu, 01 Dec 2016 12:00:00 GMTBefore it was corporate music for spas and yoga studios, New Age music had adventurous, experimental Indie roots. Producer Douglas Mcgowen unearths them in two collections: I Am The Center, Private Issue New Age Music in America, 1950-1990 and The Microcosm, Visionary Music of Continental Europe, 1970-1986.
Thu, 24 Nov 2016 12:00:00 GMTSyrinx was an obscure Canadian band making an electronic space music a few years before Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze’s seminal works. They released two albums in 1970 and 1971 and then faded away. But now those records have been unearthed and packaged as a collection called Tumblers from the Vault. John Mills-Cockell talks about his psychedelic electronic odyssey.
Thu, 17 Nov 2016 12:00:00 GMTUpon the release of Pink Floyd’s Early Years box set, the band's drummer Nick Mason takes us back to the seminal days of this iconic rock group, talking about light shows, happenings, and sonic experiments that exploded the concept of pop. Join Echoes in the early psychedelic days of Pink Floyd with Nick Mason.
Thu, 10 Nov 2016 12:00:00 GMTIn the early days of Trip-Hop, right alongside Massive Attack, was the trio Morcheeba with Skye Edwards on vocals over the trippy, seductive grooves and moods of the Godfrey brothers. Morcheeba is gone by Skye Edwards and Ross Godfrey have created a new entity, Skye and Ross that goes a bit more to the acoustic side, but still topped by Skye’s sultry, woman of the world voice. We talk about their new approach to music and the end of Morcheeba.
Thu, 03 Nov 2016 12:00:00 GMTDanish singer Agnes Obel’s third album, Citizen of Glass is a conceptual work that takes the fragile singer into new musical terrain, from muted pianos to choirs. She talks about the stories behind the album.
Thu, 27 Oct 2016 12:00:00 GMTThe enigmatic English ambient electronic band Marconi Union have given very few interviews. Most of them have been on Echoes. We look at sonic wraiths and audio spirits when Marconi Union talk about their latest album, Ghost Stations.
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 12:00:00 GMTNicholas Gunn got bullied as a young flute player but that’s not why he’s put down his instrument in favor of electronics. He has a new album called Nature Under the Influence of Music with no flute at all.
Thu, 13 Oct 2016 12:00:00 GMTEd Harris is another musician who was raised on metal but went into ambient electronic music instead. As Edamame uses field recordings made on his phone for some percussive sounds samples of birds chirping and outside chatter. His latest album is called Ochre and it’s an electronic journey into organic sound that he called songs to make you float.
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 12:00:00 GMTHannah Georgas started out as kind of a very peppy pop artist, but now she’s gotten a bit more introspective and intimate recently. She has a wonderful new album called For Evelyn, named for her grandmother. It’s a launching point for themes of identity and mortality.
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 12:00:00 GMTFor many years, Swiss born musician Martin Tillman was the first call cellist for Hollywood film scores, especially if they wanted sounds that went beyond cello. On his own, Tillman has created chamber music world and electronica world fusion. He’s just released a new album called Superhuman that continues his musical evolution, creating an electro-acoustic orchestra where there is lots of cello, but rarely something that sounds like cello. Tillman talks about the album and his wife Eva, whose struggles with multiple sclerosis inspired much of the album.
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 12:00:00 GMTFans of The Exorcist will recognize the names of Merrin and Karras as the two priests in the Stephen King novel and horror film. It’s a moniker adopted by Irish musician Brendan Gregoriy. He started out as a heavy metal musician before plugging in and creating techno music as I Am an Exit and Chymera. Merrin Karras is his vehicle for more ambient electronic sounds born in analog synthesizers. He’s more influenced by the German electronic sounds of Klaus Schulze than current EDM. He’s just released his debut album, Apex.
Thu, 22 Sep 2016 12:00:00 GMTOnDeadWaves, a duo formed by Polly Scattergood and James Chapman, creates a Western noir music. It’s a long way from the styles they usually work in. James records driving electro-pop as Maps, and Polly is a moody, but energetic, pop chanteuse. But as OnDeadWaves, they evoke tumbleweed expanses, highway nights and dark dive bars.
Thu, 15 Sep 2016 12:00:00 GMTThe band of sisters called SHEL takes us into their new album, Just Crazy Enough, to explore themes of faith, depression, love and musical explorations.
Thu, 08 Sep 2016 12:00:00 GMTOn the 10th anniversary of his death, we remember electronic composer Richard Burmer. Burmer was among the California electronic scene of the early 1980s that included Steve Roach, Robert Rich and Michael Stearns. Creating his own instruments through sampling, Burmer composed orchestras of sound that were dynamic, epic and unrelentingly melodic. He died on August 9, 2006. We remember this artist whose music still sounds so true. We hear archival interviews with Burmer, as well as remembrances from musicians Steve Roach, Michael Hoppé, and Hollan Holmes, and Hearts of Space founder and host, Stephen Hill.
Thu, 25 Aug 2016 12:00:00 GMTAl Jewer plays flutes. Andy Mitran plays keyboards and percussion. When they aren't crafting commercial jingles in Chicago, they create music that ranges from world fusion to pure ambient. Echoes talks with Al Jewer and Andy Mitran.
Thu, 18 Aug 2016 12:00:00 GMTHans Christian is a musician of the world. Classically trained on cello in his native Germany, he now plays Indian instruments like the sarangi and sitara and the Norwegian hardanger fiddle. With expert looping and electronics, he brings it together on his many solo albums and with the duo, Rasa. At this year’s ZMR Awards, Hans talks about music and the world.
Thu, 11 Aug 2016 12:00:00 GMTPeter Baumann was a member of Tangerine Dream during their classic era that included albums like Phaedra, Rubycon, Stratosfear and Ricochet. He put out a few solo albums, then founded the influential Private Music label that launched the solo careers of Patrick O’Hearn, Yanni and Andy Summers as well as albums by Philip Glass, Suzanne Ciani, Ravi Shankar and Tangerine Dream. Ironically, Baumann never recorded any music himself for the label. He sold the company in 1996 and then disappeared from music. For the last 20 years he’s been running a philosophical think-tank, the Baumann Institute. But now he’s returned with his first new music in 33 years, an album called Machines of Desire. We plug in with Peter Baumann.
Thu, 04 Aug 2016 12:00:00 GMTDave Preston is a journeyman guitarist who makes repetitive, hypnotic, minimalist-driven albums. They’ve found their way into the hands of people like Justin Timberlake. Dave Preston talks about his brush with stardom and his low-fi approach to high concept music.
Thu, 28 Jul 2016 12:00:00 GMTAeTopus is the name used by Bryan Tewell Hughes to create his electronic music soundscapes. He has degrees in Fine Arts and Psychology, but the music of science fiction and space music got him into synthesizers and soundscapes.
Thu, 21 Jul 2016 12:00:00 GMTRon Korb has been making instrumental world music for three decades. The Canadian musician and composer plays flutes from all over the world, but especially Asia. His latest recording is called Asia Beauty. Ron Korb goes on a flute journey on Echoes.
Thu, 14 Jul 2016 12:00:00 GMTAukai is the vehicle of East German born Markus Sieber. He performs in a chant duo called Mirabai Ceiba, but Aukai is an all-instrumental project operating in an area of pristine sound, rustic roots, and soulful melodies. Some of it should bring film composer Gustavo Santaolalla to mind, mostly because on more than half the tracks, Sieber plays Santaolalla’s signature instrument, the ronroco, a South American lute. Markus Sieber talks about his westward life journey and his global music journey.
Thu, 07 Jul 2016 12:00:00 GMTElectronic Music has often lent itself to contemplation of our place in the universe. That's one of the reasons, besides drugs, that German electronic sounds in the 1970s were called cosmic music. Julius Dobos is a Hungarian composer living in America and he’s steeped in those sounds. He’s developing a concept called Forgotten Future that’s a vehicle for his philosophical concepts.
Thu, 30 Jun 2016 12:00:00 GMTSteve Kimock is a veteran of the jam band scene, although he hates that term. He’s played with just about every member of the Grateful Dead, and has a long history in the psychedelic music scene. Steve Kimock talks about his musical journey and new ambient album, Last Danger of Frost.
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 12:00:00 GMTMoby has been an iconic figure in pop, electronic, and dance music for three decades. Now Moby has written a memoir titled Moby: Porcelain. We talk with Moby about his book, and his recent Long Ambient recordings.
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 12:00:00 GMTSinger-songwriter Haroula Rose’s Here the Blue River is an album of poetic beauty, both in the lyrics and the music. Its title is from a Ralph Waldo Emerson poem, and it leads to the water imagery that dominates the metaphorical language of the album.
Thu, 09 Jun 2016 12:00:00 GMTCellist Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble is in its 16th year and its music horizons just keep getting broader. Their new album, Sing Me Home, features guest performances by guitarist Bill Frisell, banjoist Abigail Washburn, African kora players Toumani Diabate, Balla Kouyate and eight other musicians from around the world. We talk with Yo-Yo Ma, Kinan Azmeh, Johnny Gandelsman and Wu Man of the Silk Road Ensemble.
Thu, 02 Jun 2016 12:00:00 GMTThe Gloaming could be the first wave of a new Celtic sound, one that’s part chamber music, part experimental and yet, still very traditional. The Gloaming is also something of a supergroup that includes Iarla O'Lionaird from Afro Celt Sound System, virtuoso fiddler Martin Hayes and Thomas Bartlett, also known as Doveman.
Thu, 26 May 2016 12:00:00 GMTSinger Maia Vidal has had an interesting life and career. She was born in America but has traveled the world and now resides in Barcelona. She started in music playing hard edged punk rock in an all girl group from Ithaca called Kiev. They gained some notoriety when Coca Cola based a series of TV spots around them. Now she makes reflective dream pop, playing instruments like the autoharp. Maia Vidal talks about her life and her new album, You’re the Waves.
Thu, 19 May 2016 12:00:00 GMTJohn Heart Jackie is the duo of Jennie Wayne and Peter M. Murray. There is no one named John or Jackie in the group. They make a trippy psychedelic folk with country harmonies, ambient textures and electronica loops. They recently released a new album called Episodes that started out as singles, but one episode led to another. They talk about the origins of their name, growing up listening to Echoes, and how they channel Johnny and June into John Heart Jackie.
Thu, 05 May 2016 12:00:00 GMTKiasmos is the electronic project of ambient chamber music composer Olafur Arnalds and fellow Icelander, Janus Rasmussen. They started out playing minimalist techno music but over the course of time, the classical elements of Olafur have filtered in, creating a more melodic electronic music. At the Big Ears Festival, the two musicians talk about why they think they were really bad at making techno music, and discuss their latest recordings, Looped and Swept.
Thu, 28 Apr 2016 12:00:00 GMTScandinavian singer-songwriter Ane Brun's music is always personal, touching on themes of love and life's tribulations. But on her latest album, When I'm Free, Brun sings songs of empowerment. Brun has been a fixture on the Swedish music scene for years and has sung with Peter Gabriel. Her song “Don’t Leave” was the most Shazammed song during the 2014 Super Bowl. When she visited Echoes, she discussed her struggle with Lupus, and how she has used it to set herself free. We hear about her new album and the dynamically different direction she’s taken.
Thu, 21 Apr 2016 12:00:00 GMTJohn Luther Adams is the Pulitzer and Grammy award winning composer whose work is always connected to the environment. He talks about his award-winning composition, Become Ocean, and how he left Alaska because the landscapes that inspired him were melting away due to Global Warming.
Thu, 07 Apr 2016 12:00:00 GMTMiranda Lee Richards’ parents were 70s underground comic writers. Metallica’s Kirk Hammett gave her guitar lessons and she was discovered by The Brian Jonestown Massacre. On her new album, Echoes of the Dreamtime, she has taken folk sounds and deployed them through delayed guitar and psychedelic hues. Miranda Lee Richards talks about her latest recording.
Thu, 31 Mar 2016 12:00:00 GMTBig Ears is one of the most expansive, eclectic and challenging music festivals in the world. On the weekend of March 31-April 3, 2016, in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, musicians from around the world and across genres convene in concerts that test the limits of sound and music. This year's festival includes Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Yo La Tengo, Andrew Bird, Kiasmos and dozens more. The Composer in Residence is John Luther Adams. The festival was created in 2009 by Ashley Capps who also produces the famed Bonnaroo rock festival. Ashley Capps, John Luther Adams and Laurie Anderson open up your ears when they talk about their music and the Big Ears Festival.
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 12:00:00 GMTTim Gane was a founding member of the post-rock group Stereolab, who were underground darlings for the better part of 25 years. Gane played guitar and keyboards in the group and it's the electronic side that comes out in a recent project called Cavern of Anti-Matter. This is a group steeped in analog synthesizers and they worship at the electronic altar of 70s German groups like Neu! Harmonia, Cluster and Can. Their debut album, Void Beats Invocation Trex, is a wild journey into electronic ecstasy. We talk to Tim Gane about plugging in to the sound of his youth.
Thu, 10 Mar 2016 12:00:00 GMTNana Vasconcelos was a master of the berimbau, the percussion instrument that looks like a long archery bow stuck into a gourd. Nana was a member of the seminal world-fusion jazz group Codona, with trumpeter Don Cherry and multi-instrumentalist Collin Walcott. Both musicians left the planet long ago, but not before recording some great albums on ECM, re-released as a boxed set called The Codona Trilogy in 2009. Nana played on albums with Paul Simon, Laurie Anderson, Milton Nascimento, Jon Hassell and Talking Heads. He also recorded an ambient jazz epic with Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, the album titled As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls. Nana played all manner of percussion instruments, and at the time of this interview, in 1989, he was putting out an electronic world fusion album called Rain Dance. Nana plucked his last berimbau string on March 8th, 2016, after a struggle with lung cancer.
Thu, 25 Feb 2016 12:00:00 GMTDeborah Martin is a shadowy figure in the electronic music world. She has been behind the scenes since 1991 at Spotted Peccary Music, purveyors of lush electronic sounds. In that time, she has also released conceptually-driven albums taking up themes of mysticism and spirituality. And she has a country western album on which she sings. That's a long way from her latest, Eye of the Wizard which may be her best yet, a mix of acoustic and electronic fantasies. We cast a spell with Deborah Martin.
Thu, 18 Feb 2016 12:00:00 GMTForty years ago, no one ever suspected that Brian Eno’s ambient works would make such beautiful vehicles for acoustic ensembles. Yet, Music for Airports and Apollo-Atmospheres and Soundtracks have been magnificently covered by acoustic ensembles, Bang on a Can All-Stars and Icebreaker respectively. Now Discreet Music, arguable the first of Eno’s ambient works, has entered the acoustic canon, via the Canadian group, Contact. They turn Eno’s Discreet Music into an immersive meditation. Contact’s Jerry Pergolesi talks about making contact with Discreet Music.
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 12:00:00 GMTBella Gaia is a project put together by Kenji Williams, using NASA images of Earth from Space, quotes from astronauts and and music from around the world. Williams has assembled a multi-media performance work that makes an environmental, philosophical and spiritual statement. We first heard of Kenji Williams when he was working as ABA Structure, making electronic trance music. He came by several years ago with a project called World Spirit that featured him playing his main instrument, the violin. At that time he was already talking about the grand vision he had for a project called Bella Gaia which would marry world music, images of earth from space and an environmental message. He's finally turned that vision into reality. We go into orbit with Kenji Williams and singer Kristin Hoffman.
Thu, 28 Jan 2016 12:00:00 GMTYou don't usually find academic composers making music that you might find on a dance floor or in a chillout room, but J. Anthony Allen breaks that convention. His compositions have been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra and he is a specialist in composing and performing with Ableton Live software. Unlike most academic composers who enter contemporary pop derived worlds, his music actually sounds like it belongs next to Bassnectar or Aphex Twin. J. Anthony Allen talks about his kinetic music and latest album, Anascorcia.
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 12:00:00 GMTEmile is Emilie Kahn. Ogden is her harp. Together they create a chamber folk music featuring Kahn’s winsome, childlike voice that still manages to find depth and authority. The Canadian singer came to a bit of renown for covering Taylor Swift’s song "Style" but her own music is far from over-produced pop, tending towards a rough-hewn sound with rustic atmospheres and powerful rhythms. She has just released her debut album, 10,000.
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 12:00:00 GMTMany singers have stacked their voices in choirs, from Meredith Monk to Enya. Briana Marela is from a younger generation creating ethereal pop from the sound of her multi-tracked voice. She talks about her eclectic roots and new CD, All Around Us.
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 12:00:00 GMTSmoke Fairies have released the best seasonal album of 2015 with Wild Winter. They avoid all the usual sentimental traps and over-warmed chestnuts of Christmas music. Instead, this introspective and evocative English duo explores personal themes of the season: lost love, dysfunctional families, religious ambiguity and seasonal sadness. That sounds dark, but Wild Winter is actually incredibly beautiful. Smoke Fairies talk about their unique take on Christmas and how they’ve been together since age twelve.
Thu, 17 Dec 2015 12:00:00 GMTThe Mynabirds is the vehicle of singer Laura Burhenn. She is a widely traveled musician who started in Washington, DC as half of the Georgie James pop duo, before trekking to Omaha and touring as a backup singer with Bright Eyes and The Postal Service. Her new album moves from a country soul sound into a darker electronica direction. It comes on the heels of a break-up, a cross country trek and journey to South Africa. We talk to Laura Burhenn about her musical journey.
Thu, 10 Dec 2015 12:00:00 GMTLaurie Anderson is a true icon of modern music, creating a sound that brings together cultural observations, acute humor and ambient textures. She is the poet laureate of the digital age, the first digital diva. In the 1970s she virtually defined the concept of performance art and her song, ”O Superman”, was a fluke hit in the UK in 1981. Her debut album, Big Science, remains a signature, and frequently referenced work. Following the death of her husband, rock musician Lou Reed, in 2013, Anderson is hitting a new period of creativity with large-scale works like Landfall, Habeas Corpus and her new album, and film, Heart of a Dog.
Thu, 26 Nov 2015 12:00:00 GMTIconic Irish singer Enya talks about her new album, Dark Sky Island. It's her first album of all-new material in 10 years. Enya played with the band Clannad briefly before going solo, and came to renown in 1989 with her second album, Watermark, which featured the hit single "Orinocco Flow." Notoriously reclusive, living in a castle outside of Dublin, Enya, along with producer Nicky Ryan, talk about the evolution of Enya’s multilayered vocal approach, her fondness for synthesizers over symphony orchestras for her music, and the echo in her castle.
Thu, 19 Nov 2015 12:00:00 GMTGuitarist Todd Tobias is best known for his work with alternative rock bands, Guided by Voices and Circus Devils. But on his own, he creates a more ambient, exotic sound, mixing his many guitar voices with manipulated samples. He's appeared on dozens of albums as a guitarist and producer and released six solo recordings including Tristes Tropiques and Moorea.
Thu, 05 Nov 2015 12:00:00 GMTImagine yourself in a smoke-filled bar, hazy saxophone billowing from the stage, surf guitars twang, and a drop-dead gorgeous singer seduces you into doing something bad. Could be a Raymond Chandler novel or in this case, a David Lynch film. With the revival of TV's Twin Peaks in the air, there couldn’t be a better time for a band like Silencio. Named for a theater in David Lynch’s film, “Mulholland Drive”, the Pittsburgh-based band plays music from Lynch films and Angelo Badalamenti’s scores for them. In fact, their two albums are called Music Inspired by the Works of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti and She’s Bad: More Music Inspired by the Works of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti. The band creates a film noir soundtrack that traverses atmospheric instrumentals, surf guitar grooves and sultry torch songs. We talk to founding members, Kirk Salopek and David Jamison and singer Dessa Poljak about their evocative and haunting sound.
Thu, 22 Oct 2015 12:00:00 GMTTwilight Archive is a trio of musicians from Southern California exploring an ambient jazz sound. The group includes drummer Chris Mancinelli who has played with Nels Cline and Osamu Kitajima and electronic artist Tom Vedvik who has recorded as a solo artist and with cellist Martin Tillman. They're joined by trumpeter John Fumo, a musician steeped in jazz who has played with Mel Torme, Crosby Stills and Nash, Smokey Robinson and Celine Dion while also playing outside jazz with Vinny Golia and his own group, Fumosonic. They get together to make a dark, swampy ambient jazz channeling Miles Davis through Jon Hassell third world grooves and electronica modes. They talk about their evolution and new album, Mood Chain.
Thu, 15 Oct 2015 12:00:00 GMTLegendary French electronic musician Jean-Michel Jarre has his first album in 8 years and perhaps his best since 1984’s Zoolook. Jarre is renowned for his best-selling debut Oxygene in 1976. The son of famed film composer Maurice Jarre and a student of French musique concrete pioneer Pierre Schaeffer, Jarre is steeped in the lineage of electronic music. So on his new album, Electronica 1: The Time Machine, he creates his own trip through electronic history, collaborating with contemporaries like Tangerine Dream; electronica artists M83, Moby, Massive Attack and Air; and techno artist Armin Van Buren. In an exclusive interview, Jean-Michel Jarre plugs us in to an electronic history lesson.
Fri, 09 Oct 2015 12:00:00 GMTThe English duo Anima is a band steeped in shamanic mysticism, psychedelic plants and electronic music. They have released several albums over the last 13 years, their latest is called Sacred Alliance. The band is singer Daniela Broder and multi-instrumentalist Ali Calderwood. They have made their serene, sweeping albums in the northern climes of Scotland and on a laptop in a thatched hut in the Amazon jungle. They talk about living with a South American shaman, and making music inspired by Ayahuasca as much as Atlantis.
Thu, 01 Oct 2015 12:00:00 GMTSteven Halpern has been called the Godfather of New Age music and there's a lot of evidence to validate that claim. He released his first album of electric piano modalities, called Spectrum Suite, in 1975. That makes 2015 his 40th anniversary as a recording artist. He recently released the album Among Friends: 1975-2015, a 40 year retrospective of works with collaborators, including the late flutist Paul Horn and reed player Paul McCandless, and a new recording called Ambient Alchemy with guitarist Michael Diamond and bassist Michael Manring. We talk to Halpern about the evolution of his music from the "anti-frantic alternative" to his concepts of sound healing.
Thu, 24 Sep 2015 12:00:00 GMTSlow Meadow is the performance name of Matt Kidd. He started out as a guitarist playing in church and Christian music bands before venturing out on his own ambient journey. He recorded a couple of albums as Aural Method before falling in with the ambient guitar band Hammock. He emerged from that with his own approach to ambient chamber music, mixing effects-laden guitar with strings and piano to create a sound like Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings sent into deep space. He just released his debut album under the name Slow Meadow, which includes a collaboration with Hammock. We walk through the fields of Matt Kidd's Slow Meadow.
Thu, 17 Sep 2015 12:00:00 GMTIt's not all country picking in Nashville. Michael Spriggs is an A-list session guitarist in Music City who has played on, and written, dozens of country hits. But when he goes home, he plugs in to a different sound, turning country into Ambient Americana, with touches of Celtic music. He'll talk as passionately about Sigur Ros as about Chet Atkins. Spriggs has just released a new CD called Back to 1 that continues his instrumental explorations, including a bonus CD of a long composition in the style of Steve Roach’s Structures from Silence. Michael Spriggs talks about his ambient country roads.
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 12:00:00 GMTChad Kettering started out as a classical trumpet player, but something happened on the way to the concert hall. He discovered synthesizers and started creating an orchestral electronic sound that’s part progressive rock and part New Age. His latest album is an epic journey of self-discovery called Pathways that is full of symphonic orchestrations and propulsive rhythms that recall Vangelis. Chad Kettering talks about the path he’s taken.
Thu, 03 Sep 2015 12:00:00 GMTArstidir is a band from Iceland with an organic, acoustic sound that has roots in the harmonies of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Playing guitars, violin, piano and cello, these musicians create introspective songs on their latest album, Hvel, along with vocal harmonies that will leave you breathless. At times they sound like they could have come right out of the 1960s folk revival, but this is a modern band whose influences include Philip Glass and Olafur Arnalds. In fact, Arnalds produced their second album, and their cellist played with Arnalds on his Echoes session 5 years ago. They talk about their evolution, and we get a tour of their psychedelic tour bus.
Thu, 20 Aug 2015 12:00:00 GMTAndrew Dobson started performing as Digitonal in 1997 and began recording with the 2002 album, 23 Things Fall Apart. With the addition of Egyptian violinist Samy Bishai, Digitonal hit its stride with the 2008 album, Save Your Light for Darker Days. That album was a definitive ambient chamber music exploration with haunting melodies and enveloping atmospheres. Bishai created soaring solos and lush orchestrations while Dobson mixed synthesizer moods with sometimes searing, anguished clarinet playing. They found a common ground between chilled electronic grooves and the modern classicism of Steve Reich and Arvo Part. That sound continues on their first album in seven years, Beautiful Broken.
Thu, 13 Aug 2015 12:00:00 GMTChronotope Project is Jeffrey Ericson Allen, a musician who has made a few transformations in his life. He began his recording career as New Age artist Jeff Defty, before taking on his family name as a person, and Chronotope Project as an artistic identity. He also started out on cello before hearing electronic sounds from Brian Eno, Tangerine Dream and The Orb. As Chronotope Project, he mixes mystical, philosophical, fantasy and sci-fi imagery into haunting soundscapes. He’s just released a new album called Dawn Treader. We talk to Jeffrey Ericson Allen about a music of Time and space.
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 12:00:00 GMTSteve Roach is an iconic electronic musician from Southern California via the Arizona deserts. He long ago transcended his roots in the early electronic music of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, to create his own distinctive sound explorations. He's the Doyen of Drone, the Architect of Techno-Tribal and the Sultan of Sequencers. It's that later sound that brings him to us to talk about his album, Skeleton Keys, a new exploration of sequencer sounds using modular analog synthesizers. Steve Roach talks about the genesis of this probe into a hypnotic and kinetically pulsing sound world.
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 12:00:00 GMTAscendant is a duo of Californian musicians exploring the Big Bang, and other mysteries of the universe, through meticulously-crafted synthesizer soundscapes. They live hundreds of miles apart, but don’t find that to be an obstacle, exchanging ideas and sound files over the internet. They’ve just released their second album Aethereal Code, which depicts the early organization of the universe with upbeat, melodic electronica. Don Tyler and Chris Bryant of Ascendant talk about their cosmic collaboration, on Echoes.
Wed, 22 Jul 2015 12:00:00 GMTIn the world of progressive space and ambient music, the German group called Cluster are eccentric wizards, musical alchemists who defied traditions, even the ones they helped create during the space music days of 1970s Berlin. Hans Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius have released dozens of albums as Cluster, and under their own names, over the last 45 years. Now, one half of this influential band has flipped the off-switch for the last time. Dieter Moebius died on July 20 at the age of 71. We remember Dieter Moebius through a look back at an interview with Cluster from 1997.
Tue, 21 Jul 2015 12:00:00 GMTWhen we first started playing Olafur Arnalds five or so years ago, he was a little-known secret. But in the last couple of years, he has exploded as an avatar of a new neo-classical sound, ambient chamber music. He’s been especially prolific in the last year, releasing three albums in three different genres: The Chopin Project, with pianist Alice Sara Ott, the all-electronic Kiasmos, and the soundtrack to Broadchurch.
Wed, 15 Jul 2015 12:00:00 GMTSince the 1980s Forrest Fang been crafting an experimental world fusion, playing violin, synthesizers and an array of exotic stringed instruments. His music sounds like it was made by a global orchestra, but it's all made in a bedroom in his home in San Francisco’s East Bay. Out of that bedroom comes an explosion of surreal sounds, a world music ensemble beyond imagination. He has a new album called Letters To The Farthest Star.
Thu, 09 Jul 2015 12:00:00 GMTSinger-songwriter Kristin Hoffmann has been recording since she was 17 with a music she called Ethereal Renaissance Pop. Her latest solo album, The Human Compass, is a spiritual exploration through a tumultuous time in her life. On her new album, Amazing Space, she scores an electro-acoustic journey that accompanies images of the universe from the Hubble space telescope.
Thu, 02 Jul 2015 12:00:00 GMTGet your dictionary out and your thinking cap on as we talk to Robert Rich, one of the most conceptual and cerebral of electronic artists. He discusses the deep scientific theories behind his new album, Filaments, an exploration of "the strands of condensed energy-matter that formed out of the earliest inflationary period in our universe, and helped pull together the gasses that eventually became our cosmos." That concept inspired Rich to create one of his most inviting and enveloping albums.
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 12:00:00 GMTTerry Riley, along with Philip Glass and Steve Reich, is among the holy trinity of minimalism. His compositions In C and A Rainbow in Curved Air are seminal works of that genre. He was creating tape loops works in the early 1960s, laying the foundation for over 50 years of looping artists. He has continued composing and performing, notably working with Kronos Quartet on several collaborations. We celebrate the incredible, enduring legacy of this new music icon.
Tue, 16 Jun 2015 12:00:00 GMTThe Pipa is a Chinese lute known for its light, pastoral sound. Wu Man plays it with a different kind of energy, she's often found playing new music, collaborating with explorers such as the Kronos Quartet on a composition by Terry Riley. She recently released an album of children's songs, Our World in Song, with Hawaiian guitarist Daniel Ho and percussionist Luis Conte, that transforms familiar melodies from around the world into something deeper and richer. We caught up with her at the Big Ears Festival this past March where she talked about her remarkable life, from the cultural revolution to music revolution.
Tue, 09 Jun 2015 12:00:00 GMTSwedish singer Rebekka Karijord is a musician of rare vocal gifts and a conceptual approach to music represented on her latest album, We Become Ourselves. It's a poignant meditation on the men in her life, illustrated by heartbreakingly beautiful songs like Oh Brother. Karijord draws from many traditions: her father was a priest, which exposed her to hymns, which in turn opened her up to gospel songs, then work songs from America's days of slavery. It all comes together on this introspective, emotionally-wrought album. Rebekka Karijord talks about it when she comes into Echoes.
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 12:00:00 GMTAngela Sheik is a compelling 21st century singer-songwriter who doesn't just sit at a piano or play a guitar but with live looping creates her own elaborate orchestrations using those instruments plus autoharp, theremin, flute and whatever else she can get her hands on. Her album, Home Before Dark, is a miraculous construction of provocative, sometimes humorous songs where she tackles themes of romance, religion and hardship. It’s all built around her theatrical approach, often drawing comparisons to Kate Bush as she layers her voice into soothing choirs and Andrews Sisters style choruses. Angela Sheik talks about music, life and looping.
Thu, 28 May 2015 12:00:00 GMTAnother Fine Day is the performance moniker of Tom Green, an English musician who came to renown playing early morning sets at the Big Chill Festival for most of its 18 year run. He hasn't been prolific. He put out his first album in 1994, his second in 2000 and now has a new CD called A Good Place to Be. A seductive album of ambient jazz explorations with Tom Green as the only member of this virtual ensemble, it’s a meeting ground of Bill Evans and Miles Davis dripped through an Enoesque haze. From his studio, Tom Green talks about his music and his Array mbira, a modern take on the African thumb piano.
Thu, 21 May 2015 12:00:00 GMTTrumpeter Jeff Oster was a lounge jazz musician playing clubs until he bailed for a career in finance. But in the early 2000's he decided to start creating his own music. He connected with Windham Hill's Will Ackerman who produced his first album, At Last. Five albums later, he's still working with Ackerman and has a new CD of ambient jazz called Next. Playing mostly flugelhorn, Oster creates atmospheric, slow motion songs and moves into a bit of lounge funk with the legendary Rhythm and Blues rhythm section of Chuck Rainey and Bernard Purdie. From his home in Northern California, Jeff Oster talks about putting together his new album and exploring new directions.
Thu, 14 May 2015 12:00:00 GMTNels Cline is best known as the guitarist with Wilco, but long before he joined that band he had a burgeoning solo career as a an outside jazz guitarist. He still maintains that path with groundbreaking albums with his group the Nels Cline Singers and experimental work that pushes the boundaries of electric guitar. In between sets at the Big Ears Festival where he rewired the audience's heads with fractured guitar synapses, he reflects on a career that embraces the contemplative and the chaotic and complains about the street musician outside his window. I would too.
Thu, 07 May 2015 12:00:00 GMTThere isn’t anyone named Bing or Ruth in the band called Bing and Ruth, and their sound is as mysterious as their name. Headed up by pianist David Moore, they mix reed instruments, two double basses, cello and delay electronics in a haunting, hypnotic ambient chamber music sound, influenced by Brian Eno, minimalism, Arvo Part, and ambient jazz, and born from composed improvisation. Last year they released their album, Tomorrow Was the Golden Age, a title that is as enigmatic as their music. They talk about their unusual and contemplative path.
Thu, 30 Apr 2015 12:00:00 GMTLanterna is Henry Frayne, a journeyman guitarist who was in the shoegaze bands Area and The Moon Seven Times. But he struck out on his own years ago and began producing Americana-shaded, country-tinged guitar works, painting landscapes that seemed to rise out of the desert plains and roar down the SoCal surf guitar highway. He's put out a string of wonderful albums including Desert Ocean and Highways. It’s been nine years since Lanterna released an album, but he’s finally returned with Backyards. Henry Frayne talks about his time away and the music it helped produce, a sound that was born on acoustic guitar.
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 12:00:00 GMTJohan Agebjorn is like an undercover agent living three different lives. By day, he's a father and is studying to become a psychologist. At night he's the mastermind behind Sally Shapiro, a Swedish pop project that has had several hits in Europe. But when everyone is asleep, Agebjorn slips into his studio to make ambient music. He recently released the album Notes, an ambitious song cycle exploring chamber and electronic moods with singers, including Sally Shapiro and Loney Dear. We talk to Johan Agebjorn about music that’s influenced by his children, and their toy instruments.
Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:00:00 GMTSonomad is a project of keyboardist and programmer Ramin Sakuria and guitarist Geoffrey Brandin. Both musicians were in the electronica band The Supreme Beings of Leisure. For Sonomad, they go downtempo, combining rich melodic compositions, a bevy of guest singers and deep ambient atmospheres. Those sounds set the scene for a conceptual work about the character, Sonomad, or sound wanderer, that involves concepts of life, infinity and beyond. They talk about it tonight on Echoes.
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 12:00:00 GMTInnovative and influential guitarist Kaki King talks about her daring new project called The Neck Is a Bridge to the Body. It's a conceptual project using the guitar as a metaphor for life. It's accompanied by an ambitious projection system that uses the face of the guitar as a screen. She talks about the many musical paths where this leads her, most of which are far from the solo acoustic guitarist paradigm.
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 12:00:00 GMTDarin Mahoney started out as a cowboy roping cattle and riding broncos in rodeos. A near-death experience with cancer and an encounter with guitarist Will Ackerman's music changed his life. Now he creates dreamy guitar music as a solo artist and in a duo with flutist Sherry Finzer.
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:00:00 GMTFernwood's album Arcadia was our CD of the Month in February. Now we talk to the two musicians behind this unique project. Gayle Ellett and Todd Montgomery are modern musicians purveying a backwoods Americana global music fusion. Arcadia is their second album of mostly acoustic ruminations, orchestrated with everything from sitars and guitars to bouzoukis and dilrubas in a global music of the imagination. They talk about the meeting of the Ganges River and the Swanee River.
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 12:00:00 GMTThe Big Ears Festival might be the most adventurous music festival in the country. Taking place at several venues across Knoxville, Tennessee March 27-30, it brings together artists on the cutting edges of music. This year it will include Laurie Anderson, Nels Cline, Bill Frisell and A Winged Victory for the Sullen. We talk to Big Ears founder Ashley Capps and David Harrington from the Kronos Quartet, this year’s festival Artists In Residence.
Fri, 13 Mar 2015 12:00:00 GMTDaevid Allen, founder of Gong, announced a few weeks ago that he was dying of cancer and today, March 13, he has left the planet. Allen was 77 years old. Gong influenced everyone from Ozric Tentacles to Steve Roach. A few years ago, after a Nearfest performance, David Allen and guitarist Steve Hillage talked about the daze of Gong.
Thu, 12 Mar 2015 12:00:00 GMTChopin is in the air lately. Pianist Chad Lawson has turned the classical composer’s compositions into ambient chamber music on his 2014 album, The Chopin Variations. He comes in to talk about his impressionistic take on this classical icon.
Thu, 05 Mar 2015 12:00:00 GMTMax Richter was among the first in the second generation of ambient chamber music composers, creating haunting themes based in minimalist strategies. He recently recorded a reimagining of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and has scored films and TV shows like HBO's The Leftovers. Deutsche Grammophon has released a four-CD box set of his early recordings called Retrospective. He sits down to talk about his new take on classical paradigms.
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 12:00:00 GMTSherry Finzer is a classical flute player who has discovered another path, creating ambient chamber music with electronic orchestration and flute choirs. But her stops along that path include being an aerobics instructor and playing in a duo with a cowboy. Her album, Sanctuary III: Beyond the Dream was the Echoes CD of the Month in January. She talks about her musical concepts.
Thu, 19 Feb 2015 12:00:00 GMT7and5 is the recording moniker of John Nixon, a Detroit-based artist who came up recording techno music and commercial jingles before turning into a more electronica and New Age sound. He has released several albums and appeared on the Buddha Lounge and Buddha Groove collections. His latest album is Themes for a Grey Day. He talks about his electronic journey from Techno to jingles to chill.
Thu, 12 Feb 2015 12:00:00 GMTRicky Kej is an Indian musician steeped in the Bollywood sound. Wouter Kellerman is a South African world music flutist. They got together for a global exploration called Winds of Samsara, which just won the Grammy Award for best New Age album. It merges Indian, African and Middle Eastern sounds into a hymn for peace dedicated to Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. They talk about their trans-global collaboration.
Thu, 05 Feb 2015 12:00:00 GMTHe played bass with Alice Cooper and Flo and Eddie, and was a founding member of art-rock group, Sonia Dada. On his own, bassist Erik Scott creates atmospheric music centered on his melodic, bending bass lines. He talks about his new instrumental collection, Spirits and his attempt at vocal music on And the Earth Bleeds.