NPR Tiny Desk Concert Series

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Postby hunkster on Wed May 16, 2018 7:46 pm

Banks - I watched this one at least 20 times. Amazing vocals and cute, too :)



Tiny Desk Concerts often require creative and logistical transformations, from electric bands going acoustic to big bands squashing into a tiny space to many players gathering around a single microphone. But the setting is particularly challenging for vocalists, especially those accustomed to heavy production, effects or — in the case of recent guest T-Pain — generous dollops of Auto-Tune. T-Pain's effects-less set grabbed more attention at the time, given the extent to which digital alterations are expected of him, but this performance by Banks is, in its own way, an even greater high-wire act. Banks' terrific full-length debut, Goddess, is constructed out of layer upon layer of electronics, beats, samples and other means of submerging the singer's voice in swirling accoutrements. With assistance from keyboardist/guitarist John Anderson and percussionist Derek Taylor, she's not all alone behind the Tiny Desk, but her expressive voice is fully exposed here. Kicking off her three-song set with "Beggin For Thread," Banks sets the scene in vulnerable, breathily seething fashion before opening the throttle in her choruses. On record, she's placed at the center of lavish productions, each suitable for throbbing remixes and banks of swirling lights. At the Tiny Desk, though, she serves notice that she's a powerful singer in her own right — and that heavy production needn't be the product of necessity. --STEPHEN THOMPSON

Set List:
"Beggin For Thread" 0:01
"Alibi" 4:23
"Brain" 8:04
Last edited by hunkster on Thu May 17, 2018 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby hunkster on Thu May 17, 2018 11:37 am

Thanks mfaith - updated

Here's John Legend's performance. His voice is SOOOO incredibly good.



At 34, John Legend has sold millions of records, won nine Grammys, collaborated with many of the biggest stars in music (Jay-Z, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, The Roots, et al), and achieved the kind of statesmanlike musical-ambassador status usually afforded to artists twice his age. He is, in short, the sort of star who doesn't usually perform behind desks in offices. But once we'd wedged a piano back there, Legend sounded perfectly at home. His rich, soulful voice never suffered for a lack of processing and production as he performed three songs for NPR Music and a few hundred of our rapt coworkers, loved ones and hangers-on. Though he recently released a fine new album titled Love in the Future, from which "Made to Love" and "All of Me" were drawn for this set, Legend took special care to provide the backstory for "Move," which he'd recorded for the soundtrack to 12 Years a Slave. Legend executive-produced that soundtrack himself — don't be surprised if you wind up hearing him perform "Move" again on Oscar night — and recorded the album version with U.K. musician Fink. Here, though, it's stripped down considerably, with just Legend's piano and the acoustic guitar of guest Bobby Anderson providing accompaniment. Legend doesn't play settings this intimate very often, and it's not as if he has anything to prove at this point in his career. But, just in case he did, he retains a busker's lung capacity, the charisma of a born star and the easygoing grace of a performer fit for any stage — even a tiny one. --STEPHEN THOMPSON

Set List
"Made To Love"
"Move"
"All Of Me"
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Postby jamel-d on Thu May 17, 2018 2:24 pm

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Postby mfaith on Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:37 pm

For the DMB fans



Stephen Thompson wrote: When you go to a Dave Matthews Band concert, you expect a super-sized performance, complete with expansive solos and a nice, long set list. So when Matthews shed his backing players to swing by the Tiny Desk for a solo gig, he couldn't just knock out three songs and bail. Instead, he played a set so long — so defiantly un-Tiny — that his between-song banter could have filled a Tiny Desk concert on its own.

After a bit of judicious trimming, we're still left with this warm, winning, utterly game, happily overstuffed performance, which balances songs from Dave Matthews Band's new album Come Tomorrow ("Samurai Cop," "Here on Out") with older material (1998's "Don't Drink the Water," 2012's "Mercy") and a deeper cut from his 2003 solo album ("So Damn Lucky"). And, we had to leave in some of Matthews' banter, which includes a priceless bit in which he enthusiastically illustrates some of the many differences between playing on stage with a band and sitting at an office desk with an acoustic guitar.


SET LIST
"Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin)"
"Here on Out"
"Don't Drink the Water"
"Mercy"
"So Damn Lucky"
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Postby mfaith on Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:37 pm


Abby O'Neill wrote:It had been nearly a decade since Rakim released new music, but that drought ended Friday when the godfather of rap lyricism and one half of the revered duo Eric B & Rakim released a new song, "King's Paradise." The track was written for Season 2 of Marvel's Luke Cage, which premiered on Netflix the same day, but it wasn't entirely new to select NPR staff; they heard it days earlier when the God MC performed at the Tiny Desk.

The New York rap icon wasn't the only legend in the building that day. Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest — who produced and co-wrote "King's Paradise" with keyboardist Adrian Younge under their new project The Midnight Hour — played bass, and rising blues torchbearer Christone "Kingfish" Ingram sat in on guitar.

"King's Paradise" pays homage to the heroes of the Harlem Renaissance as well as its fictional superhero, the bulletproof Luke Cage. Rakim tipped his hat to Philip Payton Jr., Joe Lewis, Lena Horne, Malcolm X, Maya Angelou and Louis Armstrong, before concluding with a few bars about the comic book-inspired series.

Younge then led the nine-member backing band through two of Rakim's undeniable classics: "Paid in Full" and "Know the Ledge." For the former, drummer David Henderson rolled right in with the unmistakable breakbeat, — originally sampled from The Soul Searchers "Ashley's Roachclip." Muhammad, who's been playing bass since age 19 despite being known for his production and DJ work, provided the low end for "Know The Ledge."

Rakim released his first single 32 years ago, yet the timbre of his voice and Dali Llama aura remain strong. Let's hope this is the beginning of another renaissance.

Set List

"King's Paradise"
"Paid In Full"
"Know The Ledge"

MUSICIANS
Rakim (vocals), Adrian Younge (keys), Ali Shaheed Muhammad (bass), Jack Waterson (guitar), David Henderson (drums), Loren Oden (vocals), Saudia Mills (vocals), Angela Munoz (vocals), Stephanie Yu (violin), Bryan Hernandez-Luch (violin), DeAndre Shaifer (trumpet) , Jordan Pettay (saxophone), Joi Gilliam (vocalist), Christone Ingram (Kingfish) (guitar)
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Postby mfaith on Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:24 pm

This was pretty rad! Wasn't sure what to expect when they all came in dressed like that. I'd say the music fit the wardrobe pretty well. :D



Bob Boilen wrote:It was a late night at an unfamiliar club in Austin, Texas when the spirit, sound, lights and costumes of the Golden Dawn Arkestra put a huge, dreamy smile on my face. It took more than three years to get ten of the players and performers in this band (there are often even more) to my desk. I tried to transform the bright daylight of the NPR office with some of my handy, previously used holiday laser lights. But honestly, it wasn't until their psychedelic jazz kicked in that the office transformation felt real. Band leader, Topaz squawked through his megaphone to join them on their journey, while singing "Children of the Sun."

Topaz told me that the band's inspiration for both the name and the spirit of the musicians is loosely based on the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The organization, devoted to the study of the occult and paranormal activities, has been around since the 19th century.

Both of Topaz's parents were heavily into spiritual movements and what happens here falls somewhere between high art and a circus, with music that feels connected to Sun Ra's jazz, the extended musical adventures of The Doors and the surprise elements of Parliament-Funkadelic. You can dance and/or trance, or sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

SET LIST
"Children of the Sun"
"The Wolf"
"Masakayli"

MUSICIANS
"Zapot Mgawi" Topaz McGarrigle (Vocals, Organ, Synth), "Zumbi" Chris Richards (Trombone, Vocals), "Malika" Sarah Malika Boudissa (Baritone Sax, Vocals), "Isis of Devices" Laura Scarborough (Vocals, Vibraphone), "Yeshua Villon" Josh Perdue (Guitar), "Shabuki" Greg Rhoades (Bass), "Lost In Face" Rob Kidd (Drums), "Oso the Great" Alex Marrero (Percussion), "Rosietoes" Christinah Rose Barnett (Vocals, Tambourine)
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Postby mfaith on Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:10 am



Bob Boilen wrote:It's as if the pianos were haunted. Somewhere about midway through this Tiny Desk, as Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds performed on his electronic keyboard, two upright pianos were playing lilting melodies behind him, absent any performer at the keys. And yet these "ghosts," along with Ólafur's band of strings and percussion, put together some of the most beautiful music I've heard at the Tiny Desk, made all the more mysterious through its presentation.

About ten minutes into the performance Ólafur looked behind him at the two pianos, looked to the NPR crowd and said, "well I guess you're all wondering 'what and why,' to which there's no easy answer." He hit the keys on his electronic keyboard and the two pianos behind responded with cascading, raindrop-like notes. "What I can say," he continued, "is that I've spent two years and all of my money on this — to make my pianos go bleep-bloop." What Ólafur was referring to is software that he and his coder friend, Halldór Eldjárn developed. A computer, loaded with this musical software (which Ólafur calls the Stratus system), "listens" to Ólafur's keyboard performance and responds by creating patterns that are musically in tune with the chord or notes Ólafur performed.

So why do this? Basically, it's a way to break out of the box musicians often fall back on as performers — the familiar responses that years of playing can reinforce. With that is the hope that the computer will create a response that is unfamiliar and, in some cases through speed of performance and the sheer number of notes played, impossible for a human to have made. So, it breathes new life into the music for the listener and the performer.

It was a gently stunning and memorable Tiny Desk. More of these creations can be heard on Ólafur Arnalds' brilliant, fourth solo album re: member. The full album is out August 24 on Mercury KX.

Set List

"Árbakkinn"
"Unfold"
"Saman"
"Doria"

Musicians
Ólafur Arnalds (keys), Viktor Arnason (violin), Unnur Jónsdóttir (cello), Katie Hyun (violin), Karl James Pestka (viola), Manu Delago (percussion)
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Postby piper27 on Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:44 am

love me some alt-J



Bob Boilen wrote:As the primary booker of the Tiny Desk Concerts, I have this self-imposed rule: No artist can come back for a second visit unless there's something wholly different about what they're doing. The first time alt-J played the Tiny Desk, in 2012, they came as a four-piece; electric guitar, bass, keyboards and drums. They were a pretty new band, their album had been out a few months and they were playing in clubs for a couple hundred people, not much more.

In the five years since the band visited it has found quite a few new fans. When I heard cuts from the newest album Relaxer a few months ago I flipped and tried to think of a way to bring them back. So I wrote them, saying I'd love to have them again but that it would have to be wholly, out-of-the-box different. I told them I'd hire a brass band, an African kora player if need be, a string section... They took up the challenge. They told me to find a cellist and two violinists.

I wrote to my friend Carol Anne Bosco, a cellist, who turned out to be a huge fan of the band and helped find two violinists for the performance. About four days before the performance the band sent the string parts, written by their friend Will Gardner.

On Monday morning, the English band met the American string players and they all gathered behind my desk. As they worked their way through a first pass at "Three Worn Words," I noticed them and relieved — alt-J had actually never heard the string arrangements, this was the first time. They sounded beautiful. By noon, NPR employees and friends gathered around my desk to witness this astonishing concert from alt-J, including two new songs and two old favorites. Magic.
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Postby squalie on Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:09 pm

The best!
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