CD reviews

Momentum, Trio Dhoore

[by Ken Hunt, London] One of the most life-changing discoveries of my life was being handed a linguistic skeleton key in the spring of 1971. Turning 20 working in the print on the German-Danish border, every day it was Hochdeutsch to management and Plattdütsch or Low German to nearly everybody else. Plattdütsch is a working-class language that straddles the Schleswig-Holstein boundary between Germany and Denmark.

13. 12. 2016 |

Kula Kulluk Yakışir Mı – Kayhan Kalhor & Erdal Erzincan

[by Ken Hunt, London] “How unseemly it is to follow anyone slavishly,” was ECM’s press release’s free (one suspects) translation for the title track in 2013. Performing Muhlis Akarsu’s Kula Kulluk Yakýîir Mý therefore could be perceived as a pointed choice since he died in a firebombing in 1993 aged 45 or so.

30. 11. 2015 |

Broadside II – an echo from 2001 and 2013

[by Ken Hunt, London] Back in New York, Seeger enthused about what he had seen and heard. Broadside, a publication with a tiny circulation – using, as Cunningham recalled, a hand-cranked mimeo machine “we had inherited when the American Labor Party branch closed in our neighbourhood” – became a vital conduit for song. Originally published fortnightly, very soon monthly, topicality was a major goal. It published its first issue in February 1962 and folded in 1988.

12. 5. 2013 |

Best of 2012

[by Ken Hunt, London] Another fine year for music. The evidence of this list to the contrary, much of 2012 flashed by in a blur owing to illness in the family that wiped out most of the year’s listening hours. As to recorded music, the pile of unlistened to music grew, thanks to having to prioritise paid reviewing work. Yes, strange though it may seem, if one’s livelihood depends on paid writing, it is astonishing how a paying commission focuses the mind. And this is just the best logged over the course of 2012. No doubt it excludes recordings that still await their time to be heard.

31. 12. 2012 |

An Ace ten (2003) – Part 2

[by Ken Hunt, London] Originally written on the eve of London’s post-Valentine Peace March on 15 February 2003, this with little taken out or added.

Ace’s catalogue is a growing and contracting – call it pulsating – reminder to reinforce why I decided to specialise and limit my listening and writing habits for sanity’s sake.

16. 4. 2012 |

An Ace ten (2003) – Part I

[by Ken Hunt, London] Originally written on the eve of London’s post-Valentine Peace March on 15 February 2003 with little taken out or added.

Ace’s catalogue is a reminder why I decided to specialise and limit my listening but especially writing habits for sanity’s sake. Not all the people I wrote about in this piece are still alive, notably Ali Akbar Khan, one of my hugest musical influences.

2. 4. 2012 |

Broadside I – an echo from 2001

[by Ken Hunt, London] It’s 2001. You open the paper at an article about the underground strike. Par for the course, the same old politicians are lip-synching the party line. Substitute the specific till the capitalist or metropolitanist becomes local to you. The London Underground is being turned into another public-private partnership. The workers are striking about compulsory redundancies, fears over safety, etc. You get incensed.

4. 12. 2011 |

The Raga Guide

[by Ken Hunt, London] When Joep Bor of the Rotterdam Conservatorium first conceived of a project that would take a selection of those “complex and abstract musical entities” known as ragas and present them in an accessible form, he had no idea that fifteen years would flit by. What eventually became The Raga Guide, launched at London’s Nehru Centre in April 2001, was little more than a pipe dream in 1984. By 1990 Bor was in partnership with the Monmouth, Welsh Border-based Nimbus label.

30. 5. 2011 |

Shirley Collins and Within Sound (3)

[by Ken Hunt, London] This concluding section departs from the previous structure. In this coda Shirley Collins compares then and now. She recollects what it was like starting out for her, with the recording of her first two LPs Sweet England (1959) and False True Lovers (1960) back-to-back in 1958. With Alan Lomax and Peter Kennedy presiding, she cut the tracks for those two records over two days in a house in the north London residential district of Belsize Park. She reflects on what is happening now, especially her concerns about fast-tracked success and its disadvantages.

25. 4. 2011 |

Shirley Collins and Within Sound (2)

[by Ken Hunt, London] In this second part we pick up the story of the out-of-print classic retrospective Within Sound at a point after the 1970 masterpiece Love, Death & The Lady (1970).

Despite everything in the years 1955, when Shirley Collins had first appeared on record, to 1970 , there was no grand plan behind the continually shape-shifting projects that she was delivering. “I have to say,” she explains. “it ‘happened’ rather than it was planned in advance that one would do something different the whole time. Things did evolve.

18. 4. 2011 |

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