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macedonia on 03/06/2010 at 12:15PM

There is always comfort in Choklate...

It's always wonderful to stop by the Archive and find some new soul or R&B that hadn't been there before.  It's even better still when it's a live recording from one of the great radio stations serving as curators for the FMA.  Today, let's get to know Choklate, Seattle-based singer and songwriter.  Her voice is Godiva sweet and equally as smooth, stirring the listener's emotions and causing them to reflect upon the ups and downs within their own lives.

While not a widely known name within mainstream circles, her 2006 self-titled debut was the toast of soul music's underground.  Her latest album, To Whom It May Concern, was released last year and many of her fans and peers agree that it avoids the sophomore slump.  I encourage you to check her interview with Fave of the Friday Favecast to learn more about this talented songstress.  In the meantime, here's a selection from her debut album recorded last October in the live studios of KEXP...

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soul, live recording, kexporg
jason on 03/01/2010 at 03:15PM

Burkina Electric & Lukas Ligeti's Marimba Lumina

Lukas Ligeti playing the Marimba Lumina with Burkina Electric, live on KEXP (photo by Elena Polson, view full set)

Lukas Ligeti really caught my ear in 2008 with Afrikan Machinery, his second release for John Zorn's Tzadik label. The avant-composer's brilliant solo percussion album was performed on the Marimba Lumina -- a MIDI percussion synthesizer built by Don Buchla. The Marimba Lumina is also featured in Ligeti's newest project, Burkina Electric, whose debut album Paspanga is out now on Canteloupe Music.

The label calls Burkina Electric "the first electronica band from Burkina Faso," which is slightly misleading since Ligeti was born in Austria and resides in New York along with the majority of the six-piece. But in this era of 140 character bite-sized thoughts and music that defies categorization, it gets the point across about this unique collaboration.

The idea for Burkina Electric started in the mid-90s, when Ligeti met guitar Wende K. Blass, and vocalist Maï Lingani in Burkina Faso. The new album also credits backup vocalists Vicky and Zoko Zoko as "dancers", alluding to a fluidity of music and movement that is charactaristic of West African musical traditions.

Expanding the electrified elements of Burkina Electric is legendary German new wave pioneer Kurt "Pyrolator" Dahlke. Pyrolator was a founding member of the D.A.F, and co-founded the seminal Ata Tak label. In April 2009, Pyrolator stopped by WFMU for a DJ set and live performance on Daniel Blumin's show, which can be heard here. Pyrolator's live performance incorporated the Lightning II, another MIDI controller built by Don Buchla. This one's sort of like a lightsaber, check it out.

Hear all these elements at play live on KEXP from New York's Cutting Room Studios. "La Voix du Boulgou" was engineered by Anthony Gallo, and originally broadcast on Jon Kertzer's The Best Ambiance program at KEXP.

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macedonia on 01/23/2010 at 12:18PM

Phantogram Live At KEXP

Phantogram, 2009. Photo taken by Doron Gild.

I've been absent from posting since my year-end mix, so this will mark my first for 2010.  And if there's any group that people should consider getting to know this year, I will suggest one name more than any other:  Phantogram.

Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel are a pair of upstate New York kids (Saratoga Springs, to be exact) who made good in 2009, releasing their debut album Eyelid Movies on BBE Music.  Equal parts shoegaze, electronic, hip-hop, rock, and pop, it was a bit of a departure for the label, but a risk that proved impossible to ignore.  It quickly became my favorite album of 2009 and judging from the customer reviews in iTunes and Amazon, they are amazing live.  In fact, people have said that Phantogram (as the opening act) was better than the band they actually paid to see.  TEN TIMES OUT OF TEN.  I fully agree with an iTunes customer suggesting that "this is what music will sound like in 2010."

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macedonia on 11/28/2009 at 10:42PM

Give Thanks For New Orleans (by way of Raphael Saadiq)...

Raphael Saadiq at Sugarhill, 2008. Photo by Dom Brady.

When I fired up my computer yesterday and made my way over to the Free Music Archive, I almost fell off my chair upon seeing a tune by the one and only Raphael Saadiq amongst the new arrivals.  Singer, songwriter, and producer best known for his work with Tony! Toni! Toné! and Lucy Pearl, he has been a torchbearer for quality soul and R&B since the mid-1990s.  His 2008 album The Way I See It has garnered loads of critical acclaim for its immersion in classic soul production and composition.

"Big Easy" is a selection from that album, written for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.  Like New Orleans itself, it's a bittersweet mixture of instrumental joy and lyrical sadness, heightened several times over in this version captured live in Seattle.  Serious thanks and gratitude to the good people at KEXP for sharing this gem with us.  Allow Brother Saadiq and company a few minutes to take you to Bourbon Street...

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Irene_Rible on 11/13/2009 at 02:42PM

Living, Dying, and Gothifying With Marissa Nadler

Marissa Nadler Live at Nouveau Casino, November 2009 (photo Creative Commons by-nc 2.0 Kris | Au Bout Du Chemin via flickr)

In anticipation of Marissa Nadler's upcoming New York show, I was reminiscing this morning about the first time I heard her in 2004 when her album Ballads of Living and Dying appeared in the bins at my local record store.  Back when I was still in denial of my inner goth, I was a little wary of purchasing this record due to it’s uber-goth black and white cover. At first glance we are greeted by a mysterious woman, eyes downcast in sorrowful contemplation, draped in a long black dress, feathery raven hair curling around alabaster neckline, walking along a desolate country trail surrounded only by the stark branches of winter trees. Instead of stooping to such insensitive clichés such as naming the two record sides “A” and “B”, Nadler gave us the “Moon” side and the “Sea” side. The photoshopped inclusion on the back cover of an enlarged, out-of-proportion dead bird was particularly suspicious.

I’ll admit, I was instantly hooked.  Picking up this album on a whim, I was delighted to find that Nadler's music was everything I hoped it would be - fusing the poetic balladry of Leonard Cohen, the narcotic lullabies of Hope Sandoval, and the old world nostalgia of Shirley Collins to create haunting, ethereal songs that hark back to a time and place long ago, but with just enough psychedelic flourishes to bring us into the present.  I still find myself yearning for Marissa to liberate me from my practical, yet painfully tacky, Adidas ski parka and initiate me into that far off land of Edwardian riding jackets.  So spellbound by Nadler's hypnotic ballads, sometimes I even consider the benefits of rechristening myself to a name more appropriate for a Nadler song, Violet Bramble being my preferred alias.

Since her first release Nadler continues to make her singular brand of psych-folk.  Nadler is currently touring and will be playing in the New York area tonight at Le Poisson Rouge.  "Rosary" is a track from her latest album Little Hells that she performed live for KEXP.

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macedonia on 11/07/2009 at 04:51PM

the afro-jazz flow of NOMO...

NOMO. Photo by Doug Coombe.

If you have been following this year's output from Ubiquity Records, then I don't need to tell you that it's been another banner year for them so far.  Ann Arbor, Michigan's NOMO is included in their superior roster, releasing the Invisible Cities album back in May.  Almost a year after their Ghost Rock album and recorded during those same sessions, NOMO carves a path through jazz, afrobeat, rock, and electronica.  Large enough to be a jam band, their discipline gives them the flexibility to be tight yet loose.  They can wail with the best of them and remain open to those moments of improvisation where magical things happen.

It's a world party whenever NOMO is on the scene, as evidenced by this live performance in the KEXP studios shortly after Invisible Cities dropped.  Dig the title track below...

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astarkey on 06/02/2009 at 07:26PM

Explore the roots of American music on KEXP

Jason Isbell (photo by Ron Henry)

Every day KEXP spins a diverse mix of music, spanning many genres and styles, which you'll see reflected in our in-studio performances. In the evenings during the week, our DJs focus on specific genres like World, Hip Hop and Rockabilly to dig deeper each body of music. Recent additions to the FMA from KEXP show a lot of Americana, Folk and Country from artists exploring rock roots traditions, artists like Jason Isbell, formerly of the Muscle Shoals-founded Drive-By Truckers; Justin Townes Earle, the son of Steve Earle with a penchant for old-timey songs from the Carter Family and his other namesake, Townes Van Zandt; and Bobby Bare Jr., the son of Nashville legend Bobby Bare. These influences can also be heard in other artists not so directly linked to Country royalty, like Clem Snide, The Tallest Man on Earth, Blind Pilot and Cotton Jones. Take a stroll through the roots and influences of American music as there were performed live in the KEXP studio.

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astarkey on 04/08/2009 at 02:45PM


KEXP is proud to participate in the Free Music Archive initiative. Every year, nearly 400 artists stop by the station in Seattle, our studio in NYC, and at the various cities where we broadcast remotely during events like CMJ and SXSW. We get a wide range of musicians in genres of independent rock, hip-hop, country, African and world music, reggae, and many others. If you're interested in more live music in addition to what you find here, be sure to head over to and check out our live stream and music On Demand, which includes a 14-day Streaming Archive and numerous podcasts.

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