Wednesday, January 18, 2006

FELIX LAJKO (ES ZENEKARA)


Felix Lajko is a Serbian born violin and zither player. I might as well give you the virtuoso warning right here. Lajko is largely self taught and was kicked out of a prestigious music school due to the uncompromising instinct of his craft. The rigid classical music gentry has since learned that they must love him or die of shame, the guy is amazing. From his origins, you can guess that Lajko's music is largely influenced by Gypsy and Klezmer, sounds and rhythms typic of the Balkans with accents at the same time uplifting and celebratory but deeply melancholic. The tracks that him and his orchestra (zenekara) play together blend genres not to play on modernity but to expand the scope of emotions of their music, leaving room for improvisation and the freedom for the members to reach emotional peaks. So, classical and popular but not in the pop sense more in a way that music can sometimes tell people's history. The tradition of popular orchestras in the "ex" Yougoslavia is inherent to the cultural history of the country and yet so alive compared to how "folklore" is considered in other countries. The passion of Lajko's music is best fulfilled there, where the audiences match what he gives out with their own energy but that probably doesn't happen in concert halls when you're likely to see him play across the rest of Europe.
Please try these, even if classical's not your bag! The tracks are from a now deleted 1998 self titled album and they'll take your breath away.

Felix Lajko Es Zenekara - el cavillo
Felix Lajko Es Zenekara - hosszu

Monday, January 16, 2006

Copyrighted MP3s, moi!?


"Well sir, your account was temporarily stopped due to copyrighted MP3s being hosted on it." Oops, of course you think, everybody's doing MP3 blogs these days, they're actually a great way for artists to be promoted. Well Kate Bush for example does not need me to be talked about, and easyspace know that (well me too). Easyspace wanted to see a paper from EMI saying I had the authorisation to post these songs. I did try to explain to them that 4/5 songs were not actually copyrighted by EMI but it was a tough one to prove. However, if you're a Kate Bush fan, look here. The songs I had posted along with the whole of the pre "kick inside" sessions were available on the net even before I grabbed the bread from Kate Bush's mouth (french expression, may not make sense). Oh well maybe it was something to expect, they have no problems with people who "aren't signed" though. I mean yeah, what is it like being signed these days? Untouchable sound? Anyway, I'm just going to be a little wiser, juggle with providers and make the songs available for a limited time only (10 days sounds about right).

As Lesbo Pig are not signed (EMI begged and begged though) but are DIY goddesses, the songs are still available on the related post here.
Also I'm going to repost some of the previous tracks that appeared on here bit by bit. For the moment, please listen to the songs from the excellent Billy Childish and Holly Golightly album here and check out Lizzy Mercier Descloux under her Rosa Yemen disguise here.
The Electrelane video is still available on this post.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

This is it

Wow so long without an update.....laziness, noooooooooo. I'm doing more music of my own now with my friends Rinser Boy (Dan) and Slag Bite (Jamie). Hell, we even have a name: Failed Rockets; and a My Space page where people can listen to the improvs we recorded last week end. I'm a bit shy about it and about these particular songs being online as they are complete improvs and we haven't been playing together for that long but we thought what the heck, we were having fun while doing it! This will kinda be like a work in progress and we'll probably share our sessions through the My Space thingy. I'm very excited about this at the moment, it's ace to play music with your friends and to share it with people.
So no time for 2005 retrospectives! Who cares, the best from 2005 will remain the best in 2006. I'm looking forward to post songs by Shoplifting (whose album I'm waiting for with sheer excitement), Neptune, Gang Gang Dance, Bonga Kwenda and Felix Lajko very soon but for now, an overdue Christmas presents for all Electrelane fans out there.
I can't stress enough how much I like what Verity, Emma, Ros and Mia have achieved as a musical unit, especially with the 2005 album Axes. It's actually very hard to talk about a band you like so much... I'll have several attempts as there will definitely be other posts about Electrelane with more rare footage and live cuts (in agreement with the main protagonists of course).
In October 2003, Brighton saw its first Brighton live week, an event which was then organised in association with BBC Radio 1 live, a radio promoted annual festival always taking place in a different city in England. One of the highlights was the Electrelane gig at the Old Market, a Peel Session where the band played tracks from their yet unreleased album "The Power Out". To date, this is the only live performance of the song The Valleys, a wonderful choir based song with a Jazz feel. 6 men and 6 women joined the ladies on stage to peform it (but you couldn't see the boys very well due to lack of space on stage). Ros was not in the band yet for this performance, Rachel Dalley was then handling the bass lines. Here is a video of the track filmed with my trusty (but now broken) DV cam (I'm not a pro, sorry about the shakes). This goes out to all the people from the Electrelane forum. Enjoy!
WARNING: it is a large file and will take a while to download (if you have a dial-up connection, I would suggest that you ask one of your friends with Broadband to download it for you). PC users can play this video in Windows Media Player (to save, right click and choose save target as). Mac users may not be able to play this in Quicktime (I'm not so sure, you can try anyway but save it by doing a control click, I know that much!). A tip: if you have Windows Media Player for Mac it should be fine. If not, please proceed and download the Mac OS X version of VLC PLayer from VideoLan, it's a very safe and useful media player, you can play absolutely everything with it.

Electrelane - The Valleys