photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
i recently came across the longstanding GERMAN live performance series CARDINAL SESSIONS on YOUTUBE that showcases singer-songwriters in UNIQUE settings (parks, backstage, sound-checks, side-streets, restaurants, etc.) with very much scaled-back, MINIMAL setups. from what i could gather online, CARDINAL SESSIONS is a series conducted by a private company IMPRINT at whose SPARE production aesthetic puts the focus on the songs themselves and the HUMAN ELEMENT. no reverb, no EQ padding, no trickery, bullshit.
i remember in an interview DANIEL LANOIS once spoke about the fact that when musicians play together in ACOUSTIC settings sans amplication, they are able to naturally balance themselves relative to each other organically through mutual INTERACTION and active listening. for me this series is built on that level of INTIMACY and really celebrates the power of the HUMAN VOICE. minus all the usual sonic decorations and embellishments, its interesting to see if the songs themselves and their performances still stack up to the originals. from what i have experienced watching this series, such is the case.
CARDINAL SESSIONS is definitely worth checking out, especially performances by the likes of PETE DOHERTY (of THE LIBERTINES), MAC DEMARCO, THE BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE, MIKE HERRERA (of MXPX), CONOR OBERST (of BRIGHT EYES), IRON & WINE, THE AVETT BROTHERS, TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB and STELLA DONNELLY among many others. very cool stuff.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
i know as a music fan there are times i feel jaded, like i've heard everything before. and then you come across something new and unexpected like MY BLOODY VALENTINE, APHEX TWIN, MASSIVE ATTACK or even A TRIBE CALLED QUEST at different stages of your life which just seem to open doors and make you reconsider whole genres of music.
at a certain point the swedish duo FIRST AID KIT did that for me with regards to modern country music, a genre i openly despise. the Söderberg sisters and their lilting haunted harmonies are jaw-dropping and transcend genre. i can't listen to them and not get emotional.
and i'm not the only one. in recent years they've played formal affairs honoring past cultural icons like PATTI SMITH and EMMYLOU HARRIS and brought them to tears. think about that, they made PATTI SMITH cry listening to her own song.
please do yourself a favor and check them out.