Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the displacement of more than a million Ukrainians from their home country, tQ is putting together a continuous guide of charity releases, events, livestreams, fundraisers and resources from the music community to help those affected.
We'll continue to update this post as more material comes through. If you are a record label, artist or promoter that is raising money in some way for organisations helping those affected by the war, feel free to let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep reading below for the latest information, and find a list of key charities and donation-based NGOs to support here. Keep up to date with protest demonstrations taking place near you here, and find a guide on further ways you can help Ukraine, with local tips for a number of nations, here.
• Skee Mask has released a compilation of previously unreleased tracks produced between 2015 and 2019. All earnings from sales of A will be donated to humanitarian Ukraine relief organisations, the producer says. Find the release on Bandcamp here.
• Latvia-based hardware synth company Erica Synths is donating all of its income, including its own manufacturing costs, to Ukrainian humanitarian aid organisations. The company says the donations will continue until all stock is sold out. Visit Erica Synths' online store to support its Music For Peace initiative.
• London's Space289 is hosting a fundraising event on March 11, with all proceeds from ticket sales and the bar set to be donated to Vostok SOS and Ukrainian Red Cross. Giant Swan, DJ Bus Replacement Service, Bok Bok and a special guest affiliated with Hessle Audio and Timedance will DJ at the event. Get tickets here.
A month or so after hearing Ann Eysermans’ magnificent album For Trainspotters Only for the first time, I am still totally enthralled by its sonic combinations and emotive strength. Beyond her skill as a musician and composer, Eysermans interest in trains is a central component of this album. It’s an unlikely combination – the harsh tones of locomotives with flickering harp escapades – yet she makes it work. I’ve never heard anything quite like it and can’t imagine anyone else putting these elements together in such an inviting and listenable manner. It’s one of my favorite albums so far in 2022.
I always start interviews asking about early memories and experiences with music and sound and I am going to ask you about that, but I’m first curious to know about your interest in trains and how that started? Does it go back to when you were a child?
Yes, that is true. When I was about 5 years old, I was allowed to go with my uncle in the driver’s cab of the train, from Antwerp to Ostend. That was a great experience. I have always been fascinated by trains: how they look, how they sound, the specific smells, their functioning, … When I was 20, I worked as a sleeping-car assistant on the international night trains, at the Compagnie des Wagons-Lits. And a few years ago I did a Ph.D. [P-TRAINS (Astrin Phosphora)] (2010-2014) on trains and experimental music. The train is – still – always present in my life!
And what about music then – what are some of your earliest memories when it comes to music and sound that have stuck with you?
Train sounds = music. When I was young, I was already fascinated by these different sounds: from horns, departures, and brakes to the slamming of a train. But I have always found the train sighing, the rumble and roar particularly beautiful. During my teenage years, I started looking for those different types of locomotives, each of which produces its own sound. When I was 18 I had a dictaphone. Then I went to Antwerpen Dam, where many locomotives drove back and forth. I recorded these sounds. Now it would be impossible to just get there…
From old diesels to the charming green train carriages of the NMBS. I did not go to sleep until I heard the last train (a diesel type 62, or with a lot of luck a type 55) stop and depart again around midnight. I was completely enchanted by those sounds.
Endless energy courses through Agadez, the second album by Etran de L’Air. It’s named for the city the band calls home, long an important center for the Tuareg people, a traditionally nomadic group that has produced some transcendent guitarists, including Tinariwen, Abdallah Oumbadougou, Mdou Moctar, and Les Filles de Illighadad. All electrify Tuareg stylings, fusing folk tradition with rock & roll sensibility. Etran is family band—formed over 25 years ago when current band leader Moussa “Abindi” Ibra was only 9 years old, steadily amassing hometown fans by playing weddings, sometimes walking 25 kilometers to desert parties.
Etran’s 2018 debut, the live LP No. 1—released on Sahel Sounds—captured the joy conjured by the group’s musical playfulness. While Agadez ditches field recording for a mobile studio, the record plays no less spontaneous. There is a giddiness to Etran’s hymns, guitar riffs sneaking out from behind the band’s wall of sound and sliding back seamlessly into place. Each solo is eventually eclipsed by the whole, every song gathering power atop steady, rapid percussion. Though Tuareg-influenced music is often labeled “desert blues,” there are no 12-bars to be found on “Agadez.” The opener, “Imouwizla” (“Migrants”), begins with a hook-worthy guitar line quickly ensconced in echoes and haze. And though the song’s plaintive ring and conversational cadence suggests the blues, the relentless drums offer no formulaic resolution.
Michael A Gonzales looks back at the life and work of the uncategorisable songwriter, performer and producer
Betty Davis has long been a legend, that “voodoo chile” that her friend Jimi Hendrix sang about, even when very few folks knew her name. Riding a multicoloured wave of blaring guitars, booming bass and heavy drums, the singer-songwriter made Black magic music that straddled genres (rock, funk, soul and blues) while also contributing a beyond compare voice to the soundscape. On wild-styled songs “If I'm In Luck I Might Get Picked Up”, “Nasty Gal” and “He Was a Big Freak”, she wailed, screamed, screeched and roared provocative lyrics that detailed one-night stands, sexual liberation and S&M loving men who didn’t mind being beaten with a turquoise chain. Though there were a few other rocking Black women on the scene during Betty Davis’s brief run as an album making artist from 1973–75 – namely LaBelle and Chaka Khan – Davis was rawer, raunchier and rhythmically on a different level.
“In Betty’s music, you can hear the passion and artistry as well as the complexity and discipline,” singer-songwriter Joi Gilliam told me in a 2015 interview for an online feature on Davis. In 1996, Gilliam covered “If I'm In Luck I Might Get Picked Up” on her brilliant, but unreleased Amoeba Cleansing Syndrome. “Most of all there is also a sense of freedom. Prior to hearing her, the only people I felt kindred to in that way was Minnie Riperton, LaBelle and Sade, but Betty Davis was the missing link. Listening to her voice, I felt as though I’d been adopted, but now I had found my natural soul mama.”
It wasn't until over a decade later, in 2007, that reissue champs Light In The Attic made Davis’s small catalogue available to the public, renewing interest in her personal brand of Black music that still sounds as cutting edge as it did damn near 50 years ago.
The 77 years old former performer Betty Davis died on 9 February in Homestead, Pennsylvania. Though she hadn’t recorded or performed since falling out with the industry at the end of the 1970s, when she retreated from the public eye and returned to Pennsylvania, she still had a cult following that continued to grow steadily. In 2017 the documentary Betty – They Say I’m Different, named after her second disc, was released to critical acclaim. That same year, her chapter in the HBO musical animated series Tales From The Tour Bus aired, and featured friends, collaborators and soul scholars Nelson George, Greg Tate and Vernon Gibbs riffing about her history and legacy.
11th March : Piotr Kurek (pl) + Valentina Magaletti (it) at les ateliers claus