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I is for Istikhbar

November 28, 2017
1965 solo piano  improvisations. By and Algerian maestro Mustapha Skandrani. Originally only released in France as “Musique Classique Algérienne – Stikhbar” and rescued from obscurity by the corusculant EM Japan.
Why post this record? Glad you asked. It’s outside my comfort zone – I am quite unaware of the Algerian musical heritage. It’s introspective and meandering autumn listening. And it sounds like a lost relative of the Goldberg Variations and Canto Ostinato.
This LP is exclusively made up of so-called istikhbar. Traditionally the vocal prelude to a Nawbah suite, They are never performed alone. Or on a piano. Skandrani, raised within the tradition, chose istikhbars close to him and performs them on this album.

Each istikhbar is followed by an improvisation using the traditional composition as a starting point.

The result is a constant ebb-and-flow in the structure and melody of the music, always receding when your ear moves towards it and creeping up on you when distracted by other things. A special record. Dig in.



Autumn Street

October 22, 2017

frank minion – the soft land of make believe (bethlehem lp, 1960) album

This vocal jazz album is perfect for autumn listening and should be all up in your playlist.Warm, playful and full of unexpected moments, it is a personal go-to for some peace and quiet. Since I don’t do Spotify I have no clue if this is available to the streaming crew… so let me help bring this Minion to the masses.

The Soft land of make believe” is made up of two distinct sides: the first features a suite that sketches out a musical landscape through interconnected themes and songs. This is much more fun and engaging than it sounds btw. Side two features original vocal versions of compositions from Kind of Blue, a Thelonious Monk. Two high-quality original compositions close out the record.

And yes, this is the same Frank Minion that recorded this popcorn classic. Let me know how you like the album, ok?

[mix] Old paint / New feet

September 8, 2017

Time for a new sonic footprint – the last one is from feb 2017. “Old paint / New feet” is hosted by longtime friend DeLuca and his Royal Groove platform. Old-fashioned download-lovers check here.


1. jaimie branch – theme 001 (international anthem)
2. willie dale – let your light shine (athens of the north)
3. bruce – the trouble with wilderness (idle hands)
4. collins oke elaiho – deroruewo (melody)
5. emanative – ominous shanti (home planet recordings)
6. christian schwindt quintet – karibaldi (fredriksberg)
7. vivian jackson and the prophets – covetous man (blood & fire)
8. lord echo featuring mara tk – just do you (soundway)
9. pearson sound – robin chasing butterflies (pearson sound)
10. arthur russell – goodbye old paint (audika)
11. sir valentino con combo los esclavos allegres – masters are gone (padisco)













Organ-shifting vibrations

August 14, 2017

ali chukwuma & his peace makers international – odi ofele special (editions namaco lp, 1977) album

Nigerian highlife continues to be a source of wonder – and not only to me! Check out what a fellow musical nut wrote in response to me sharing this album with him:

This deep highlife sound has been my favourite thing for ages. but it is scary when you’re really wasted, because I think it is sacred music that can act on your internal organs. no joke. I think that the ensembles are attuned to the vibratory wavelengths of the body, instrument by instrument, so that each element is acting on a different organ. so if you’re wasted and a bit susceptible, it can start to get very deep inside your body, and you start to not be very in control. I think this might be how possession works.

I get freaked out at d***’s if I’m too wasted and he starts playing this kind of shit. ‘organ-shifting highlife’ is my name for it lol

I’m not sure if I feel the exact same way, but agree that there is something special about the way the groove builds, loops and folds in on itself in these tunes. Check out the full thing above.

Asia Minor

July 12, 2017

dizzy reece – asia minor (new jazz 1962 lp) album

I have been into jazz for 15+ years now, and often feel like I have hardly scratched the surface. The upside of this is the constant promise of everything that is still out there…the downside is that the process can feel Sisyphean.

Do you like record X by artist Y? In most musical genres, seeking out his or her previous / next album will often deliver more of the same. Not in jazz – in my experience, a record by the same artist, playing with the same side men, in the same year and on the same label will often result in a completely different experience.

So maybe jazz as an art form is all about capturing a moment;  Asia Minor certainly does.

NY- via London – via Jamaica trumpet player Dizzy Reece composed and arranged six tracks into a coherent whole where originals with Eastern influences logically follow an interesting cover of Summertime(!). Both the individual playing and the feel of the album seem to predate the free and spiritual explosion of a few years later. In that context, Asia Minor connects the dots between Lateef’s 1957 “Prayer to the east” and an album like 1974’s “At the helm

Full rip at the top, comments open below 😉

Egyptian comms

April 4, 2017

va – cairo calling #2 by milan hulsing

Didn’t see this one coming: a sequel to 2008’s “Cairo Calling” by illustrator (and globe-trotting music lover) Milan Hulsing. He says “the first one was more of a data dump. This is an actual mix

I agree with the latter – this is an excellent way to spend 66 minutes. Sweeping strings, unexpected funkiness and loads of Eastern flair. Thank you Milan!

[mix] Snakes in my boot

February 24, 2017

va – snakes in my boot, a mix by cortez / mixcloud stream

Yes. Time for a new instalment in my irregular musical diary. Here’s an 11-track multi-genre traipse trough old and new, major and minor, glossy and gritty.. you catch the drift. Download or stream above, curious to hear any and all feedback!


1.    sun ra – trying to put the blame on me (live in rome 1977)
2.    shabaka and the ancestors feat shabaka hutchings – mzwandile
3.    tommy mcgee – now that I have you
4.    awa poulo – poulo warali
5.    omar ft mayra andrade – deja vu
6.    dej loaf – snakes
7.    a made up sound – half hour jam on a borrowed synth
8.    jay daniel – paradise valley
9.    count ossie and the mystic revelation of rastafari – four hundred years
10.   solange – borderline (an ode to self care)
11.    jeff parker – slight freedom