I'm just loving a few things that I'm listening to right now and not only wanted to share them with you all but wanted to know what people are currently listening to. 1) When I was in Zurich, I got the chance to go see Nik Bartsch's RONIN play at their legendary 'Montags' shows (with a really nice opening solo looping set by our own Bernhard Wagner). I was just blown away. It's the best live instrumental music I've seen in a very long time. Minimal, textural compositions/improvisations exploring the realms of polyrhythms and odd time signatures. Every member of his ensemble firing on all cylinders (bass and contrabass clarinet. innovative percussion, fretless 6 string bass and traspset) all mixing with Nik's amazing grand piano/prepared acoustic piano/ electric piano improvisations. Two fisted on two instruments he was playing simultaneously in two different time signatures in waves of acoustic 'loops' that cycled to and from each other. The sound was amazing to boot. They record every night so they have the sound in this venue dialed in. Nik Bartsch's RONIN ---- 'Holon' just doesn't leave my car stereo for very long. I'm in love and it's also inspiring because this music is just made for live looping experiments (as Bernhard's lovely and funky set in Rome and Zurich proved. 2) All day (and as I type) I've been listening to the lovely new John Hassell CD , "Last Night the Moon Came Dropping its Clothes in the Street" . This record is as good as any past Hassell records and that says volumes as he has a half dozen that are in my top 50 list of favorite CDs of all times. It is beautiful, haunting, melancholy, foreign and even alien sounding and as intelligent as it gets for a close to ambient record. And thanks, Massimo, for hipping me to this little gem. 3) Just recently I discovered the music of the superlative and creative jazz drummer/composer Brian Blade so I've purchased both of his jazz CDs with Brian Blade and the Fellowship. In the past I've tended to avoid drummer led jazz projects (a horrid prejudice since I'm a writing drummer) but Blade completely avoids having his records sound like vehicles for drumming. He's a really good writer and these are as good as any recent releases in jazz. Then when I heard that he was also writing singer songwriter material I was, again, skeptical. Brian Blade "Mama Rosa" is just a revelation! He has written a beautiful melancholy meditation on growing up. He has a lovely voice. The songs are really well written. His chordal vocabulary is sophisticated so the record is really interesting but it doesn't sound sophisticated. It's just simply put, lovely. 4) Chris and I are driving down to Los Angeles (500km) to see the British pop band, Elbow's only west coast appearance. There first three CDs are fantastic and incredibly inventive. The production is a marvel, full of fascinating timbral choices of traditional instruments, found sounds and electronics. Imagine if a band with the stylistic scope of the Beatles were playing in the Naughties only further north in England and with a decidedly darker/moodier and more melancholic vibe. Elbow "Asleep in the Back' Elbow "One of Thousands' Elbow "Leaders of the Free World" (which I'd start with first, it's there third) I'm actually not as enamored of their latest release but it doesn't matter because the first three are so good. 5) Then I sit not 100 feet away from the window of my brother's studio. He's writing, recording and developing material for his new CD. For having played frequently with someone for a very long time, I"m always amazed that every couple of days I hear music come out of his studio (and it wafts through our compound on these hot summer days when the windows are open) that is beautiful thought provoking and which has me constantly asking him, "how did you do that". I promote and demonstrate the Looperlative LP-1 but Bill is just becoming a master at using it and leaves me far in the dust in terms of his creative depth in using it. It's not out yet and I'd probably get one free for being family, but I"m gonna buy this sucker when it gets released. Bill Walker "As Yet Untitled" What are you guys and gals listening too?