Monthly Archives: January 2015

Etienne de Crécy – Super Discount 3

Etienne de Crécy is a French Producer/DJ who has just released his new album “Super Discount 3”. This album features collaborations with Pos and Dave from De La Soul, American vocalist Kilo Kish, fellow French DJ Alex Gopher and Cults vocalist Madeline Follin.

One of the pioneers of French house music, Etienne de Crécy has continued to sporadically release albums during the last two decades. His first album called “Super Discount” was released in 1996 and followed by “Tempovision” in 2000. Four years later saw the release of his third album called “Super Discount 2” and finally after an eleven year wait, his fourth album surprisingly called “Super Discount 3” has finally been released this January.

Was “Super Discount 3” worth the wait? I’m pleased to report the answer is a resounding yes. This album maintains the highest standard of quality and continuity from start to finish, with not one bad track on the whole disc.

Many dance or club albums that tend to focus on collaborations can lose character and become unfocussed and indistinct but “Super Discount 3” is the very opposite. Etienne de Crécy has avoided the production line mentality that has cursed many recent Electronic Dance Music albums. Instead he presents the listener with an album of collaborations that bring out the best in each other. “WTF” is the prefect example of this where French Electronic blends seamlessly with the warm charismatic Rap of Pos and Dave from the legendary De La Soul.

There are so many highlight on this album but one of the outstanding moments is “Follow” featuring Kilo Kish. This finds Etienne de Crécy channelling Nile Rodgers against a gorgeous backdrop of synthesizers which builds into a discotastic delight.

This album reminds the listener of the classic French House sounds of the late 90’s but it’s most certainly not an exercise in nostalgia. Etienne de Crécy remains true to his roots in house music but with “Super Discount 3”, he is still capable of creating some of the most exciting, vibrant and memorable electronic music of recent years. Stream or buy it but don’t miss it.

Malcolm

Super Discount
Super Discount 2

Lucy Kaplansky – 18th January 2015 – Black Box – Belfast – Out to Lunch Festival – Nanno

Reunion

It was way back in 2004 when I first became a fan of Lucy Kaplansky and since then I have heard a couple of her albums and have also played them to death. Apart from those albums, I didn’t know much else about her.

Lucy, 55, is a very talented musician. Although originally from Chicago, she resides in New York  and has been singing and playing the guitar from a very young age. She has played alongside singers such as Suzanne Vega and Nanci Griffith.

I had never seen her play live. In fact I have never even watched her play on YouTube so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. She walked on stage carrying her guitar looking like the average girl you might find sitting at the end of the bar in a t-shirt and jeans having a wee pint.

She began to sing and the profession in her voice was effortless. After a couple of her owns songs, she moved over to the keyboard where she played and sang her ‘Lovely’ version of Leonard Cohan’s Halleluiah. It was lovely. Afterwards she was brave enough to admit that she’d only heard of that song for the first time a few years ago. Where had she been? Very odd coming from her folk and musical background, nonetheless she did have a giggle about that as did the audience.

Next she sang a song which was  written while riding on the Subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I have to say I loved this. I found myself riding the London Tube and in my thoughts I could see every word she sang.

Freeze-frames in time
Move through me
Moments in life I
Wont see again

‘Down Below on iron Veins
Rolling waves of Subway trains
Rails of mercy
Cross the lives of men
Safe in the body of New York again’

Lucy’s songs are all very much stories which you can loose yourself in the words, listening along intently as though you want to know the ending.

She seemed quite keen on doing requests and kept throwing it out to the audience. It was a little odd, as she didn’t appear to know many of the requests, although in her defence she did attempt most along with a little help from the audience. She wanted to sing an Irish song but didn’t know one which I thought a little strange of course as she knew that she was coming our way. She had played in Scotland the night before and so did sing Loch Lomond which was great but still not Irish, but I think we can forgive her.

Lucy’s father was a mathematician and also quite musical in his own right and so she treated us to a song about pi as in π  that her father had written. Im not quite sure it’s for me, but I guess it might tickle some of you in the right places. You can find the official video below:

Her Father had written quite a few songs in his time and Lucy has recorded an album singing only his songs. So if you fancy it this album is called ‘Kaplansky sings Kaplansky’.

Her latest album below is called Reunion and is available from usual outlets. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get any photos from the gig, however follow the link below and you can see her perform her song ‘The Gift’ from the actual show, filmed by Gerry McNally.
Enjoy
Nanno

 

The Red Thread
Flesh & Bone

Simple Minds – Big Music – Review

Big Music

February 2015 marks the return of “Simple Minds” to Europe, who are on tour to  promote their latest album “Big Music”. The band was formed in Glasgow back in 1977 by 2 childhood friends,  Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill. Since then,  they have gone on to release 16 studio albums, scored 6 consecutive top 3 albums and filled stadiums worldwide. In October of last year the band released their latest album “Big Music” , which has presented their fan base with an assured and confident return to their creative heights of the early eighties.

“Big Music” is an extremely impressive collection of songs and I personally think it’s their best body of work since “New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)”. Very few artists or bands could maintain the dazzling heights as that of “Sons And Fascination” and “New Gold Dream(81,82,83,84)”. Although not all of Simple Minds albums may not be on the same par as the above mentioned albums, I would argue that most of their albums have a few outstanding songs worth the purchase alone. “Good News From The Next World” had the pulsing “Hypnotized” and the 2002 album “Cry” is an embarrassment of riches shockingly ignored by the press and public. Over the last 10 years, Simple Minds have continually reinvigorated themselves with each album, reconnecting themselves with their strengths and losing some of those “U2″ tendencies that slightly handicapped their output in the late 80’s and 90’s.

“Big Music” is the sound of a band comfortable in their own skin playing to their strengths. Simple Minds have accepted, unlike many of their peers that they are unlikely to trouble the top of the singles charts and perhaps they are not relevant to the streaming generation. They have not attempted to recruit super-producers or rent-a-rapper in a desperate attempt to get on the radio. Instead Simple Minds have offered their fans an album that focuses on great songs and musicianship.

“Big Music” comes into the world with a bang in the shape of “Blindfolded” and is undoubtably one of the bands finest songs in years. This track can hold it’s own even with the cream of “New Gold Dream(81,82,83,84) “.  I heard not heard the band so vibrant in many years, and the effect is highly addictive with making it hard not to play this song repeatedly. The next highlight on the album is the first single “Honest Town” which came about after a conversation the lead singer Jim Kerr had with his dying mother as they drove through their home city of Glasgow.  With each location she relayed a nostalgic memory of their lives, referring  to it as an “honest town”. It is one of the most heartfelt Simple Minds songs which is neither cloying or saccharine, instead its earnest and sentimental soulfulness makes it the emotional centre of the album.

The next outstanding song for me is “Blood Diamonds” which had previously premiered on their greatest hits compilation “Celebrate” on the double or triple disc edition. This sees the band in a reflective mood with soaring background of synthesizers, textures and some outstanding toning by the extremely underrated Charlie Burchill. Another two songs included on the album that some fans might already be familiar with are the unnecessary cover of The Call’s “Let The Day Begin” and “Broken Glass Park”.  Closing the album is another outstanding song called “Spirited Away” which ends the album and continues the reflective and almost slightly melancholy feel to the lyrics and vocal performance. “Spirited Away” is a beautiful down-tempo song with Jim Kerr seeming almost world weary, resigned to loss and is the perfect way to close what seemed to me a very introspective piece of work.

So 36 years since the release of their debut album “Life In A Day”, Simple Minds remain a band that can offer their fans an album of sleek and contemporary sounding songs that still has that quintessential magic. Personally I can’t wait to hear the “Big Music” live on the forthcoming tour and hope to see you there.

Malcolm

Big Music

Celebrate Greatest Hits