Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Various - Chants & Danses Yougoslavie (Le Chant Du Monde - LDX 74384)

For the last two months, I have been in an inevitable mode of my record collecting frenzy. I had World Music records before, but a limited collection of known artists. This time I had an urge to go deeper and the result have been numerous records from prestigious labels like Arion, Ocora, and Lyrichord with more records from lesser known labels.

I am saying inevitable since due to my keen interest in 20th century Classical Music, ethnic melodies was to be a major point of interest. The main reason is modern classical music has gained huge momentum by Folk music and in due time ethnic music. Balinese, Java, African music have all shared important weight in the new developments not only on musical terms, but also on philosophical side (Here especially Chinese and Japanese).

The first record that I wanted to review is from a French label called La Chant Du Monde. Even though my French consists of several words, I can still guess what this label is about. This particular record is the native songs and dances from the former Yugoslavia region. Although it is called Yugoslavia in general, all tracks in the album have been detailed with region names which are now the small countries.

Honestly spoken, all the music on the album have a distinct gypsy flavor to it. This is all the natural since this area and also including the Balkans have been culturally rich and diversified with gypsies taking the main stage in the musical aspect. There are also small traces of Russian folk music with some emphasis on musical instruments, but it is negligable.
I cannot understand any of the names of the songs, but I can easily relate to all of them. Being Turkish and having breathed tons of gypsy origin music all my life, all the similarities directly strike me. The only thing that I found hard to grasp was the absence of a really powerful brass band. Brass bands are the key aspect of ethnic Yugoslavian music or at least I thought so. I may still have a lot to learn. I'll come back with more ethnic records in the not so distant future.

It is hard to find this record, therefore I cannot provide any link. However, you can search it regularly on Ebay. You might just get lucky.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Frederic Chopin - Waltzes 1-14, Dinu Lipatti (EMI - HLM 7075)

I should openly say that Waltzes were never an enthusiastic musical structure that encaptures me before. I still own a triple CD set of Johann Strauss's Waltzes. Blue Danube is probably the one everyone knows. My knowledge seemed to be somewhat similar. I didn't know much about Waltzes in detail which didn't really bother me until now. Now is the key word.

2-3 weeks ago, I was in another shopping spree from one of my favorite sellers from UK and there I saw Chopin's Waltzes being listed. The performer on the record was also another name unfamiliar to me, Dinu Ripatti. This somehow aroused an interest in me for which I still cannot find an explanation. On the other hand, I am still grateful for that moment of weird interest.

I started listening to this record the day that giant package arrived (8 Kg in total) from UK. Out of all the records I've bought with full intent on listening directly (Including Boulez, Elgar's symphonies, old DGG releases and etc), I chose to listen to this record which I bought out of sheer curiosity. What a fruitful purchase it has become.

Starting first from the composer, Chopin never composed Waltzes for dancing and you can also tell this after you start listening in 5 minutes. They are either too fast or too slow. It seems like Chopin chose to compose Waltzes just to direct his perfectionist ideas on another stage. He openly disliked the Viennese style and openly criticized Strauss along the way. When you listen, you can get the point why. Just not to forget to note, the record includes the first 14 Waltzes Chopin composed out of 18 total. .

The second point to mention is Dinu Lipatti. It is somewhat normal for me not to know a pianist who lived a total of 33 years. He was also a child wonder having earned international fame early on in his career, but this was disrupted during WWII and he died only 7 years after he fled to Geneva. He has an exceptional technique with fast and accurate, but still full of feeling touches. This is exactly the skill he needs to perform these Waltzes of Chopin. These are very good performances. I stood in awe in some passages as Lipatti literally throws the roof open and his fingers start flying all over the piano in breathtaking speed. Still, he gives the sudden turns and twists of the Chopin style Waltzes in crisp detail. Considering that he made these recordings some time prior to his death probably around 1945-6, it is even the more remarkable. There seems to be one more record from this recording series under the catalogue HLM 7046 which includes Grieg and Schumann's Piano Concertos. That will also be a record which I will seek from now on.

To buy this record:

@ Ebay

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Various - Grime (Rephlex - CAT 156 LP)

Grime is one of the children of UK underground where other notable styles like Drum And Bass, Breakbeat, Jungle, UK Garage and Dubstep has also fledged into life. Actually these are all quite integrated in their musical backgrounds where they are originated from Dub music and the philosophy of Dub and then melted into a pot with a mixture of Electronic music.

Grime is a style which has been prominent in the music scene after more or less 2003. However, it was always there since the 90's under different style names and monikers. Many of the early Grime tracks you listen are either very close to Uk Garage or Breakbeat.

The three names featured in this 3 LP release are Mark One, Plasticman and Slaughter Mob. These were the new comers when this compilation was released and since Grime was still a baby, these people were the sought after names of those times. Unfortunately when you look at today's standing point, they are not like that anymore. The scene has developed rapidly and brought up young and quite vicious talents which took the genre to another level.

The tracks clearly show a direction for Grime from it's starting point to where it came now today. They are generally milder than what we listen today and the kicks are sharper.Producers like Caspa, Coki, Cotti, Skream, Benga, Rusko, and believe it or not a little Modeselektor are more agressive since they are directly aiming the dancefloor which has been dominated in UK by the two genres of Dubstep and Grime. Even in many other countries, this new musical approach has taken a strong foothold.

This set is surely not the best Grime music you can hear, but it is surely a good lecture in showing the connection between UK Garage, Breakbeat and Grime itself. The artist selection could have been a little wider than 3, but Rephlex is a label which has earned the utmost respect from me over the years, so I can directly forget about this.

To buy this record set:

@ Ebay
@ Discogs