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The cover series: The Unthanks & King Crimson

Playing a cover song is not as easy as one might think, at least not if it’s to be done well. Many bands try to sound as identical to the original artist as they can, and to me this is usually quite pointless. To make a cover interesting in my opinion, you have to add your own character to the song, not try to be a jukebox. In many cases this happens when artists cover a song from a totally different genre than they usually play.

This post introduces The cover series, where I present artists who do precisely this.
British sisters Becky and Rachel Unthanks, vocalists of The Unthanks, have their roots in English folk singing, and use that as the foundation for their music as it expands in different directions. Their rendition of one of King Crimson‘s most wonderful tracks, Starless, is utterly beautiful and haunting, with piano and a string quartet providing the accompaniment for the vocals and trumpet.

 

 

Below is King Crimson’s original song.

 

Refused live 2015

When I was a teenager in the 1990’s, punk was one of the genres of music that I was into the most, and I went to hundreds of punk gigs in those years. One of the bands that I saw over and over again was Refused. They toured pretty much constantly until they split up in 1998, and during a period of three to four years I saw them live probably 15 times or more.

Most of those gigs took place in tiny cellar clubs, and since Refused always put on a great live show and were moving around on stage almost all the time, the small room very quickly became steaming hot.

The band reunited in 2012 to do a world tour, and in the summer of 2015 they released their first album in 18 years, entitled Freedom. The live show below was taped when the record had just been put out and features some of the new songs as well as old ones. As you can see, Refused have still maintained quite an intensity on stage.

 

 

Andrea Piccioni & Glen Velez – Conversazione per due tamburelli

The world of percussion instruments is neverending and full of contrasts and diversity. Instruments range from tiny shakers and bells to huge drums and marimbas, from simple objects like stones or kitchen bowls to highly sophisticately constructed drum kits. Even the seemingly simple tambourine exists in numerous versions around the world, and many of these are vital in both folk and classical musics.
Two of the greatest performers on different types of tambourine-related instruments are featured here. Andrea Piccioni from Italy is a master of the tamburello and is also the composer of this piece. Glen Velez from the United States is pretty much the founder of contemporary frame drumming. He plays many different instruments and has created new styles and playing techniques as well as fused together those of various traditional frame drums and tambourines to make something new. Here he plays the Arabic/Middle Eastern riqq.
The performance is from the percussion festival Tamburi Mundi in Germany in 2015.

 

Hohka – Mailla/halmeilla

 

The first band to be featured on Rasmusic is the Finnish folk rock group Hohka. This rather heavy, pulsating tune is entitled Kertalaaki and is written by their bassist Enne Purovaara. The video was shot earlier this year at the release concert for the album Mailla/halmeilla, which is Hohka’s second record.

 

 

This is my Lira review of the album (in Swedish):

 

Den finska kvartetten Hohka gillar uppenbarligen kontraster. På denna deras andra skiva finns exempelvis den riktigt tunga schottisen Kertalaaki, med en dragspelsmelodi över distade, malande kompriff och något som låter som en theremin. Den följs direkt av en vacker vals med nyckelharpsmelodi och skimrande kanteleklanger, vilken börjar mycket lågmält men sedan stegras i intensitet. Hohka spelar enbart egna kompositioner med utgångspunkt i folkmusik och har sättningen fiol/nyckelharpa, dragspel, kontrabas/elbas samt kantele/gitarr, men tar även hjälp av en slagverkare och en hornist i några spår. I polkan Suurin pudottaja samsas tvåtaktstrummor och ett pulserande elbasriff med orgel och en charmig melodi, som ännu ett exempel på gruppens musikaliska bredd.

 

Below is the whole album on Spotify.

 

Welcome to Rasmusic

I am Rasmus Klockljung from Stockholm, Sweden, and I’m a musician, a music critic for Lira music magazine, and most of all a huge music fan for 20+ years.
At Rasmusic I present my favorite artists from around the world, with no geographical, temporal or genre boundaries. 

If I would describe my taste in music in on word, it would definitely be ”eclectic”. During my two decades as a percussionist, I have played klezmer, extreme metal, folk/traditional music from Sweden, Turkey, the Balkans, France and many other regions, medieval music, free improvisation, Chilean folk songs, funk, folk pop, jazz, punk, singer/songwriter tunes, heavy blues rock, and much more.

At Rasmusic, you will find most of the above, as well as baroque and black metal, gnawa and big band jazz, solo percussion and progressive rock, and tons of other music.
Again, ”eclectic” is the keyword, and I tend to enjoy artists who do not stick to one genre.

Rasmusic will introduce you to music that you had no idea that you liked, or did not even know existed.

 

Are you a musician and want your music to be featured at Rasmusic?

I will listen to all music that is sent to me, and if I like it I might write a post about it. Send an email to rasmusic (a) rasmusic (.) net for further details.