What’s New 3/29/11

•March 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Strange lights have been seen coming out the work shop at all hours, and a low, steady thrum has been emanating deep into the night from the subterranean lair of the elves, as the final preparations for the birth of Electric Moroccoland/So Below are made.

On April 5, 2011 the band will release it’s tenth CD, and first on its own label, Face Pelt. Not content with merely ONE album, the release consists of TWO complete albums, with D’Elf Does Maghreb on Electric Moroccoland, and So Below representing the sample-heavy, DJ & electronica-driven side of the band’s sound. Primarily instrumental in nature, there are also vocal turns by Gnawa music legend Hassan Hakmoun on Electric Moroccoland, singing the Cream classic “Sunshine Of Your Love” in Moroccan Arabic as D’Elf gives the tune a decided North African slant, as well as D’Elf’s own oud maestro Brahim Fribgane singing his haunting “Sidi Rabi”; and dubbed-out & psychedelicized versions of blues & spirituals “Pharaoh” & “I Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down” from the field recordings of Alan Lomax, sung by Boston roots rocker David Johnston featured on So Below.

The band pays tribute to inspirations from all corners, including seminal Moroccan band Nass El Ghiwane (“Ghir Khoudouni” on EM), Berber musician Hadj Belaid (“Ambib” on EM), Squarepusher (“End of Firpo” on SB), psychedelic avatar Terence McKenna (“Trance Meeting” on SB) and Morphine (“Rope On Fire” on EM). Special guests abound, with John Medeski appearing on many tracks, as well as DJ Logic, Duke Levine, Dave Tronzo, ex-Bowie guitarists Reeves Gabrels and Gerry Leonard, Ghanaian master drummer Dolsi-naa Abubakari Lunna, XTC drummer Dave Mattacks, John Brown’s Body drummer Tommy B, Dana Colley and the late Mark Sandman of Morphine, in some of his last studio performances before his death. D’Elf regulars Erik Kerr, Dean Johnston, Mister Rourke, Alain Mallet, Tom Hall, Jerry Leake, Paul Schultheis & bassist/leader Mike Rivard are amongst a roster of over 25 musicians who appear on the 25 tracks (150 min of music!). Artist Doug Sirois (who did the cover art for Now I Understand) returns with yet another stunning cover image, and the sounds were captured by long time D’Elf audio engineers Randy Roos & Tom Dube.

Produced by Rivard and recorded over a period spanning 11 years and in over a dozen studios, it represents the true D’Elf Manifesto, with the band’s take on the myriad types of trance music – Moroccan gnawa, dub, hip hop, psychedelic rock, jazz & electronica – fully realized and glowing like a red-hot charcoal from the fire sizzling in your lap. Publicity for the CD and subsequent tour is being handled by Rock, Paper, Scissors, with radio promo handled by Powderfinger Promotions. A string of east coast April tour dates w/ Medeski joining the band can be found on the Shows page. The touring band will consist of Medeski, Brahim Fribgane, Mister Rourke, Mike Rivard & Dean Johnston, with special guests along the way including Hassan Hakmoun, Dave Fiuczynski, Steven Bernstein, Duke Levine, Dave Tronzo & more.

This is an exciting chapter in the annals of D’Elf and we look forward to taking many a face pelt along the way, be it live audience or over the airwaves and interwebs. Tell your friends and enemies alike that the spaceship is a-comin’!

What’s New (Jan 2011)

•January 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment

WWW Shibuya, Tokyo 12.18.10 w/ John Medeski, Steven Bernstein & Dave "Fuze" Fiuczynski

Club d’Elf’s long-awaited studio follow-up to 2006’s Now I Understand is due to be released April 5. Not content to release just a single CD, the band completed enough music for TWO separate CDs which will be packaged together. Titled Electric Moroccoland/So Below, it showcases the diversity of D’Elf’s music, and represents two distinct sides to the groups sound: unplugged, Moroccan trance; and dark, sci-fi-dosed funky electronica with DJ-driven beats. Give a listen to excerpts from each one: Electric Moroccoland & So Below.

The band toured Japan at the end of December to celebrate the release in Japan on Akashic-Ensemble of Electric Moroccoland (So Below to follow). With special guests John Medeski, Dave Fiuczysnki & Steven Bernstein along, the band rocked shows in Chiba, Tokyo & Gunma. Check out Micro’s blog about the tour here.

Hassan Hakmoun makes a guest appearance on Electric Moroccoland and has been joining the band for live shows recently, including this one from 12.13.10 at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, where the band held a benefit for musician friend (and contributor to Electric Moroccoland) Kousmat Mohammed. Moroccan music, and especially Gnawa and Berber music, has increasingly become a dominant flavor in the tagine of the band’s sound, and the group has been setting it’s eyes on more cultural events such as the Mimouna festival hosted by the New Center for the Art & Culture, where D’Elf was featured in April ’10 and plans to return this year.

Bassist & leader Mike Rivard received a 2011 Somerville Arts Council arts fellowship grant, which he plans to use for the purchase of a new sintir. His trip to Morocco in Dec 2009 is detailed in several blogs, found here, here & here, and was financed by the University of The Middle East & the US Dept of State. He also received an Iguana Music Fund grant to help finance completion of Electric Moroccoland.

Oud player & percussionist Brahim Fribgane just returned from Senegal, Africa, where he performed Jan 3rd with Hassan Hakmoun at the World Festival of Black Arts in Dakar.