Archive for the ‘France’ Category

Ibrahim Maalouf - 2013 - Illusions

Paris-based Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf learned a Middle Eastern quarter-tone technique from his brass-playing father, started out winning classical competitions, and then taught himself jazz. Following a prestigious classical career sanctioned by several international awards (France, Hungary, Finland, USA), and the diploma of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, Ibrahim became a well-known figure on the music scene thanks to his collaboration with singers such as Sting, Amadou et Mariam, Lhasa de Sela, Matthieu Chédid and many others who wanted to use his sound and his unique playing style to colour their music. Ibrahim was rapidly recognized by the jazz world and his three first albums “Diasporas” (2007), “Diachronism” (2009) and “Diagnostic” (2011) were unanimously acclaimed by the national and international press. His music and his trumpet playing are strongly inspired by his Arabic culture, but the instruments around him (bass, electric guitar, drums, Arabic percussion and vibraphones) and the musicians with whom he performs give a more contemporary rock, electro and jazz-funk flavor to his music. His concerts are generally built around stimulating music that makes people want to get up and dance. But there is always a short, more contemplative, mystical interlude during his concerts, which he calls “a collective universal prayer”. Maalouf gets a lot of his inspiration from his culture of origin. His latest album “Wind” (2012) featuring his New York Quintet: star sidemen Mark Turner (sax) and Clarence Penn (drums), seems certain to broaden his audience. After “Wind”, a purely acoustic jazz album, Ibrahim Maalouf comes back with a more electric album, called “Illusions”, to be released in November.


  • Ibrahim Maalouf: Trumpet, composition & arrangements
  • François Delporte: Guitars
  • Frank Woeste: Keyboards
  • Laurent David: Bass
  • Xaxier Rogé: Drums
  • Youenn Le Cam, Martin Saccardy: Trumpets
  • Yann Martin: Lead Trumpet


  1. Illusions (03:38)
  2. Conspiracy Generation (08:57)
  3. InPressi (04:08)
  4. Nomade Slang (06:05)
  5. Busy (10:24)
  6. If You Wanna Be a Woman (06:42)
  7. Unfaithful (04:26)
  8. True Sorry (04:52)
  9. Illusion (03:20)

Duration : 52:29 | Bitrate : 320 Kbit/s | Year : 2013 | Size : 128 mb

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Ibrahim Maalouf - 2011 - Diagnostic

The Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf sometimes performs completely solo, but this album explores the epic side of his compositional output. Even though this might be the case, much of the recording involves the layering of his multi-instrumental prowess. Besides employing a four-valve horn variant, this adopted Frenchman has built up these pieces with piano, percussion and electronics, as well as inviting occasional guests to add guitar, violin, tuba, accordion and harmonica.
Everything has been hurled into the trans global pot, and the results are stylistically unbound. The main characteristic of this hour-plus work is an oscillation between ruminative calm and torrid marching. Maalouf opens with some thoughtful piano, with Lily merging into Will Soon Be a Woman, which inhabits the realms of an imaginary French movie soundtrack. Café serenading melds with gentle gypsy, the powdery softness of Maalouf’s tone dominating the foreground. It’s similar to the romantically tinkering world inhabited by Yann Tiersen.
Maalouf roves from France through Eastern Europe to the Middle East; or maybe he’s moving in the opposite direction. Each piece is dedicated to a member of his family, and the final tune is dedicated to the Lebanese family at large. As the third and fourth pieces develop, there are already frissons from the Andes and the Bronxian salsa tenements, overlaying a We Will Rock You drum-crash. Everything or Nothing invokes another filmic master, this time sounding akin to the epic work of Goran Bregović: crashing war-drums, massed choirs, cutting to just trumpet and piano.
There’s even more mashing to come. Never Serious is Balkan Led Zep, whilst Michael Jackson’s They Don’t Care About Us theme is used on We’ll Always Care About You, the result like a Balkan Slayer interpretation. The two extended pieces arrive towards the close, All the Beautiful Things featuring prominent Chinese erhu (two-stringed fiddle), and Beirut is also tranquil and spacious, the closest piece to a jazz ballad; throughout, the dispersed elements just about manage to cohere. Maalouf’s trumpet always has an Arabic tinge, but it’s as if he wants it to be a softer flugelhorn, as if Jon Hassell were meeting Kenny Wheeler.


  1. Lily (is 2) (02:08)
  2. Will Soon Be a Woman (05:31)
  3. Intro (01:20)
  4. Maeva in the Wonderland (06:47)
  5. Your Soul (02:23)
  6. Everything or Nothing (07:05)
  7. Never Serious (04:25)
  8. We’ll Always Care About You (04:26)
  9. Douce (feat. Oxmo Puccino) (05:45)
  10. All the Beautiful Things (11:01)
  11. Diagnostic (02:55)
  12. Beirut (10:43)

Duration : 64:29 | Bitarte : 320 kBit/s | Year : 2011 | Size :170 mb

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Aufgang - 2009 - Aufgang

An experimental electronic-acoustic trio associated with the French label Infiné, Aufgang made their eponymous album debut in 2009. Comprised of Francesco Tristano (piano; born Francesco Tristano Schlimé in Luxembourg in 1981, based in Barcelona, Spain), Rami Khalifé (piano; born in Beirut, Lebanon), and Aymeric Westrich (drums, programming; born in France), the trio made its performance debut in 2005 at the Sònar festival in Barcelona.

Aufgang were founded several years earlier, however, when Tristano and Khalifé were students at the Juilliard School in New York. Billing themselves as Aufgang, they performed a piano duet at the Julliard School’s Morse Hall in 2000 and performed other duets there in 2002 and 2003. They also performed duets elsewhere, from Luxembourg to Lebanon, but it wasn’t until 2005 that they added Westrich to the lineup and expanded to a trio. Meanwhile, Tristano established himself as a solo recording artist, recording the full-length album Not for Piano in France in October 2005 with producer Fernando Corona. Eventually released in 2007 on the French label Infiné, Not for Piano includes a few techno-inspired songs: “Strings,” based on Derrick May’s “Strings of Life”; “Andover,” based on Autechre’s “Overand”; and “The Bells,” based on the Jeff Mills track. Several other songs on the album were written by and feature the piano of Khalifé. In addition to Not for Piano, Infiné released a couple EPs, Strings (2006) and The Melody (2008), the former including a techno remix by Apparat and the latter including one by Carl Craig, and the full-length album Auricle / Bio / On (2008), a collaboration with Moritz von Oswald. Following these techno collaborations, Tristano teamed up with Khalifé and Westrich for Aufgang (2009), the trio’s eponymous album debut, and Sonar (2009), a four-track remix EP, both released on Infiné.

he links between classical training and electronic music have always been apparent, at sometimes more clearly than others, so Aufgang’s contribution to the field, given two of its three members’ training at Juillard, is in many ways not surprising at all. The pianos that dominate much of the album range from the frenetic to the softly romantic, casting all of Aufgang in a slightly chaotic light. On balance, it is something of a frustrating album, certainly not terrible, but neither does it seem fully comfortable with itself, often feeling more like a showcase for the accomplished keyboard work than its own self-contained experience. Thus the opening “Channel 7” can’t seem to decide whether it’s meant to be contemplated as a soundtrack or used as a dance number or something else again, crunchy synths and the build-up of drums into bells creating another mood that’s pleasant enough. At the band’s most straightforward, they are often their most successful — “Sonar,” which almost feels like a salute to the early-’90s work of 808 State at points, isn’t a re-creation of that sound or of the piano’s driving role in so many early house records, but it comes close enough in feel to succeed in its own right. Similarly, the extremely calm “Prelude du Passe” and the swirling space rock drive of “Barok” add a little something more to the styles that the trio explores. In contrast, songs like the chaotic “Channel 8” has a lot of elements going for it, from synth zone to pulsing beats, but finds itself all stitched together under some sparkling touches that almost induce sugar shock. If not a full success, it is at least an interesting start on a full-length basis for the group.


  1. Channel 7 (05:36)
  2. Channel 8 (09:11)
  3. Barock (04:52)
  4. Sonar (07:45)
  5. Prélude du passé (05:39)
  6. Good Generation (04:50)
  7. 3 vitesses (05:04)
  8. Aufgang (06:31)
  9. Soumission (10:41)

Duration : 60:09 | Bitarte : 192 kBit/s | Year : 2009 | Size : 86 mb

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