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Thread: Tal Wilkenfeld - Under the Sun

  1. #1
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    Tal Wilkenfeld - Under the Sun

    Has anyone heard this? Not strictly "prog", but excellent straight-ahead songwriting and first-rate playing.



    I knew of her as a superb bass player - we all did - but I had no idea she was this good a songwriter and vocalist.

    And here's the sad, ironic downside: She's been playing professionally at the the highest level for the last ten years. She knows half the big artists out there - this track was recorded on her tour as support band for The Who, a gig she got by sending her music to Pete Townsend, who loved it. She's been mentored as a songwriter by Jackson Browne. She's played with Jeff Beck. And yet, she needed to crowd-fund the album she has coming out. Music this good, connections at that level, and apparently the Big Time Music Biz wouldn't take a chance because she can't be given the hard sell to ten-year-olds.

    Now maybe there's more to it than that. Maybe they wouldn't sign her unless they could saddle her with a "hit-oriented" producer, someone who'd dumb-down her music and cram a disco beat onto it. Maybe they'd only do it with an aggravating and insulting "image makeover." Maybe she could only get a really bad business deal, and is savvy enough not to. But still...

  2. #2
    Is this only available via streaming? Where can we buy CD-quality?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    And here's the sad, ironic downside: She's been playing professionally at the the highest level for the last ten years. She knows half the big artists out there - this track was recorded on her tour as support band for The Who, a gig she got by sending her music to Pete Townsend, who loved it. She's been mentored as a songwriter by Jackson Browne. She's played with Jeff Beck. And yet, she needed to crowd-fund the album she has coming out. Music this good, connections at that level, and apparently the Big Time Music Biz wouldn't take a chance because she can't be given the hard sell to ten-year-olds. .


    There are plenty of current artists who simply prefer to crowd-source. If you have a strong following (which she does), and have control-freak tendencies (which she does), it allows for more freedom and potentially more profit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bRETT View Post
    There are plenty of current artists who simply prefer to crowd-source. If you have a strong following (which she does), and have control-freak tendencies (which she does), it allows for more freedom and potentially more profit.
    I can see that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    apparently the Big Time Music Biz wouldn't take a chance because ...
    what big time music biz? You mean the Spotify label?

    They are all out or getting out of the releasing Music Biz and getting into the 360 degree deal biz and no one who is established and/or knows what they are doing, wants that.
    Last edited by Steve F.; 01-21-2019 at 03:33 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    They are all out or getting out of the releasing Music Biz and getting into the 360 degree deal biz.
    And that also makes sense - that she might not be interested in such a thing.

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    ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

    She doesn't need to sign away a part of everything she does. She's already established and constantly working, even if she isn't established & constantly working as a solo artist.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
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    "You run a great label, but sometimes you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    "The older I get, the more I realize that cynicism is just realism spelled wrong."

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

    She doesn't need to sign away a part of everything she does. She's already established and constantly working, even if she isn't established & constantly working as a solo artist.
    Exactly. And for her, crowd-funding isn't a desperation move done out of poverty, so much as it is taking out a loan to make the album from her fans instead of the record company.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    I knew of her as a superb bass player - we all did - but I had no idea she was this good a songwriter and vocalist.
    From where did you know of her?

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    Jeff Beck?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    From where did you know of her?
    Jeff Beck, and a bunch of other people - she's played on a lot of records, and in a lot of artists' live bands.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    Has anyone heard this? Not strictly "prog"...
    I enjoyed it very much thanks for posting... she's as prog as 90% of the music on this forum, imo. Different voice, and nice instrumentation. I am familiar with her on the Ronnie Scott dvd w/ Jeff Beck. Monster bass player, looks very young, but would think she could make a living on the tour circuit for any band.

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    I really enjoyed her bass playing with Jeff Beck but not so keen on this vocal music I'm afraid.

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    I find her voice utterly intriguing and beguiling. Never heard her sing before; she's actually got a "vocal" baryton.

    Thanks for posting this, John.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

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    Here's another track, from the same concert:



    Note that she plays acoustic guitar, not bass on this one (while he's never in any of the shots, I think the keyboardist is playing left-hand bass). And that it's an equally excellent song, and that while it threatens to have the same structure and chord changes, it does not, and thus confirms that she is no one-trick-pony.

  16. #16
    I have her first solo album, Transformation, and its a nice jazz release but her bass is understated throughout, which is a shame given how amazing she is. I've been waiting for her to release another solo album now 10 years later. Hopefully these songs are an indication that a new album is coming although I will say that these two songs are completely different from whats on Transformation but that may be a good thing for us prog fans.

  17. #17
    This is from that first record, and this was recorded in Australia before she really hit big, so she has to be around 19 or 20 here.

    I'm not lazy. I just work so fast I'm always done.

  18. #18
    I liked her better doing jazz/fusion with no vocals.
    NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF STUPID PEOPLE IN LARGE GROUPS!

  19. #19
    She's definitely come along as a vocalist. I remember seeing some clips when she started the vocal bit, and it wasn't very listenable.

    She's a killer bassist, to be sure. Maybe she's inspired by Esperanza Spalding to branch out into vocals.

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    From what I understand, she wrote songs, with vocals, when she was just starting out. But then she switched to bass, got interested in just playing it as well as possible, did that for a number of years, and became quite successful at it. Five years ago or so, she started getting interested in writing and singing her own songs, and began thinking about starting a career as a singer-songwriter. Jackson Browne said he'd never heard of anybody doing that, moving from being an instrumentalist-for-hire to a singer-songwriter; and in a specific way he's right: The several counterexamples I've thought of didn't follow the same trajectory or become her (and his) type of lyric-focused artist. Esperanza Spalding and Meshell Ndegeocello were both vocalist-writers as well as top-rank bassists from the start, Dave Grohl became a straight-up rocker, and Phil Collins mostly a Soul Man.

    Quote Originally Posted by bRETT View Post
    If you.....have control-freak tendencies (which she does)
    Where did you hear that? I don't think you're wrong or uninformed and I'm not saying that, but it doesn't seem like something anyone would know about her at this point - since most of her career has involved playing other peoples' music, she'd be playing it at their direction, and probably not expressing an opinion unless they asked for hers or were obviously stuck.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    I liked her better doing jazz/fusion with no vocals.
    Let's face the facts here...
    She is an excellent bassist. Not one of the greats, but excellent as a solid pro player for live or studio work.
    What is (was) unique about her is that a few years ago (with Beck) she looked like she was 12, literally. It was shocking to most,
    just as a youtube vid of a Japanese 8 year old ripping through Ritchie Blackmore's "Highway Star" note for note panders to sensationalism.

    As a vocalist, she's not great either technically or uniquely stylistic enough to raise an eyebrow, but it's certainly far from bad.
    The other vid with her on acoustic guitar is utterly unoriginal and sounds like she's pandering to Courtney Love fans. It's the same trap millenials keep falling into.

    Too much reverb on her voice shows an insecurity that bleeds through. The keyboards sound cheezy and the guitarist is trying to sound like Jeff Beck which is a huge mistake to go after that.

    The music "industry" Steve described properly, so no need to comment more on that.
    Last edited by Skullhead; 01-23-2019 at 12:50 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    Let's face the facts here...

    The other vid with her on acoustic guitar is utterly unoriginal and sounds like she's pandering to Courtney Love fans. It's the same trap millenials keep falling into.

    Too much reverb on her voice shows an insecurity that bleeds through. The keyboards sound cheezy and the guitarist is trying to sound like Jeff Beck which is a huge mistake to go after that.
    Those are not "the facts", they're your opinions; and are only "facts" in the sense that it's a fact that those are your opinions.

    And yes, the second song does sound a bit like a Soundgarden or Alice in Chains tune. But she's 32, and that's classic rock to her, that's the music she grew up on, the way you might have grown up on British Invasion, mainstream 60s-70s rock, and prog. (I did.) Of course it's going to influence her, she probably hears those droning, dissonant minor chords as especially moody and emotional, and that's why she uses them. Otherwise, I don't see how you can ascribe "insecurity" to the amount of reverb she uses; the keyboardist is probably using the stock Roland patches everybody does and might not have had the time to program his own (programming on those big workstation keyboards can be a real hassle); and finally, if you're a rock guitarist, I can't think of anyone better to emulate than Jeff Beck.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    Those are not "the facts", they're your opinions; and are only "facts" in the sense that it's a fact that those are your opinions.

    And yes, the second song does sound a bit like a Soundgarden or Alice in Chains tune. But she's 32, and that's classic rock to her, that's the music she grew up on, the way you might have grown up on British Invasion, mainstream 60s-70s rock, and prog. (I did.) Of course it's going to influence her, she probably hears those droning, dissonant minor chords as especially moody and emotional, and that's why she uses them. Otherwise, I don't see how you can ascribe "insecurity" to the amount of reverb she uses; the keyboardist is probably using the stock Roland patches everybody does and might not have had the time to program his own (programming on those big workstation keyboards can be a real hassle); and finally, if you're a rock guitarist, I can't think of anyone better to emulate than Jeff Beck.
    Everything you described is exactly the problem with today's music. A complete lack of originality. Copy cat this, copy cat that. Certainly Tal has the chops to do something original, both as a fine player and composer, but she for some reason chooses not to. Just like Joe Bonamassa, great technical player who can copy cat the greats of the past but lacks an original voice.

    I know you don't like to take my word for it.... so take Greg Lake's word instead.
    Listen to Greg at the 4:40 mark where he talks about musical currency being originality.... not what is going on today.


    You don't have to agree with me, but you have to agree with Greg if you are interested in the proper progressive rock mindset.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    Everything you described is exactly the problem with today's music. A complete lack of originality. Copy cat this, copy cat that. Certainly Tal has the chops to do something original, both as a fine player and composer, but she for some reason chooses not to. Just like Joe Bonamassa, great technical player who can copy cat the greats of the past but lacks an original voice.

    You don't have to agree with me, but you have to agree with Greg if you are interested in the proper progressive rock mindset.
    In 1969, when King Crimson were formed, there were 10-to-15 years of rock history. You could be "original" just by being ambitious beyond pop song form, and by pulling in influences from left field, from jazz and symphonic music. Today, there are more than 60 years of it. It's a hell of a lot harder to be "original" when so many more things have already been done. Today, it's more likely than not that if you devise some musical approach on your own and think it's something new, it will turn out to sound exactly like XXX who never got of Des Moines ten years ago. To be "original" these days (at least by your definition), you don't just have to work hard at sounding like yourself, you have to work much harder at consciously NOT sounding like anybody else. That becomes exhausting. And ultimately, pointless - why sound like Zs or Normal Love (who really don't sound like anybody else, and ARE "original" by your definition) unless you have a deep need to make music that extreme.

    I don't think she's intentionally imitating other music, so much as playing the music that feels right to her, that says what she wants it to say. And if it borrows a bit, so what? Everybody borrows. All things considered, I don't think she's doing too bad a job of sounding like herself, and not exactly like anyone else.
    Last edited by Baribrotzer; 01-23-2019 at 10:12 PM.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    All things considered, I don't think she's doing too bad a job of sounding like herself, and not exactly like anyone else.
    She is no better than Phil Chen. I don't think she is nearly as good. For those who don't know of Chen, a Jamacian bassist that played on Jeff Beck's "Blow by Blow". So Tal has copied his style a lot... but Chen was playing Reggae mostly up until that point. He was bringing in a lot of influence from that. Tal is just copying the usual stuff. Nothing unique about her playing... unlike Chen who was much more original.

    Sure, people have their influences, but we don't need to see another "Starcastle".... or at least I hope not. Just too much like YES that it's just ridiculous.

    There are all kinds of things Tal could be doing creatively. How about teaming up with Anoushka Shankar and maybe her sister Norah Jones on keys.
    Then bring in a fusion drummer and call up Andy Summers and see how that sounds. I mean that is the correct spirit of a progressive rock mind. Find a new chemistry in that... play in odd meters and then call Johnny Marr for the second record.

    Look what Fripp did on his solo album... bringing in Daryl Hall... I mean that's an odd pairing right? But it worked... or Fripp playing with Andy Summers.

    You bring in people with different backgrounds and styles... and mix them up.... that is what can be interesting. You don't form a band were everyone is trying to sound like Genesis or Nirvana for that matter. This is where Millenials are not getting it... and they are failing miserably in their creative output.

    Radiohead is probably the best example of a band that just does what they do... and don't seem to care about what people think about them. They do try to be creative and it feels honest. It might help if they learned to play their instruments better or took lessons or something. The right spirit is there, just very mediocre musicianship at best. I want to like them.. but I don't really. Too much noise and not enough substance.

    ELP had it right.... lot's of noise, but Emerson could play like a mofu.... he threw in the noise, but didn't drown in it like Radiohead is doing.

    You can be weird, weird is good, but weird is even better if first you are good. Gentle Giant. Really weird, really good, output was amazing. Why are we not seeing something as amazing today as Gentle Giant? Who sounds like they did? I mean you couldn't even do it if you tried. Amazing chemistry band.

    The Beatles were a great chemistry band. They just did their thing. They wrote great songs and very unique. They supported one another and everything was for the song, never going over the top into musical masterbation. A lot can be learned from them.... what not to do.
    Last edited by Skullhead; 01-24-2019 at 02:26 AM.

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