Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nation of Ulysses - 13-Point Program to Destroy America

Very influential yet short-lived DC political punk/post-hardcore band. Known for their intensity, they weren't afraid to show their varied range of influences from Ornette Coleman to political instigator Guy Debord and his "Situationist International" collective. It's more proof that Dischord is one of the best indie labels ever.

They also published a zine called "Ulysses Speaks" which was handed out at their shows.  You can read some of them here.

Get the album HERE.

Black Flag - My War

Henry, your stand up and spoken word fucking suck. Sorry man. You also can't hold a candle to Chavo (of Puerto Rican descent!) when it comes to Black Flag singers. Too bad he lost his mind and is now a born again Christian. 

Anyway,  you will get my props for having the guts to play this muddy, sludgy, Sabbathy, slow as shit noise in front of a bunch of punk kids all while getting cigarettes, spit, and piss thrown at you.

Ginn's guitar playing is as atonal as ever and the 3 song barrage of Nothing Left Inside, Three Nights, and Scream is some of the most intense shit Black Flag ever did.

Fania All-Stars - Live at the Cheetah Vol 1 & 2

I was digging through my Dad's closet a few weeks ago looking for any old records he had. Amongst the big pile of shit that is Boston, REO Speedwagon, and Kenny G I found a few gems. A live Donna Summers record, The White Album, an old Menudo album (mine when I was little), and Vol 2 of this legendary piece of music. 

Recorded live at the NYC club the Cheetah, a few years prior to their famous Yankee Stadium gig, it features one of their best line-ups ever performing so tight even the paraplegics must have been dancing. Larry Harlow, Ray Barretto, Willie Colon, Johnny Pacheco, Roberto Roena, and Bobby Valentin all provide the musical backdrop with their coke fueled grooves while Hector Lavoe, Ismael Rivera, among others provide the vocals.  

Here we have both Vol 1 and 2 originally released as separate records. There's a reason they became some of the highest selling Latin music albums ever.

Young Nico

One of Arnaldo Lozada's (aka AJ Davila from the band Davila 666) side projects.  It mostly consists of avant garde, avant/free jazz, and Badalamenti/John Cage like experimentation sometimes with vocal samples and loops over it. Every instrument from sax, to piano, to percussion, ext.. was played and recorded by Arnaldo.

Young Nico is also part of a collective that consists of Isabel Borbon, General Jackson Jackson, and Yussef Aranasky.  I'll put up some of their albums later on. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Arthur Brown - The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

FIIIIYAAAHHHH! Arthur was one fucking madman, and this, his first effort, proves it beyond a doubt. Sublimely excessive psychedelic soul produced by Pete Townshend. And of course who can forget that famous single: FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! On the Dementor Hall of Fame fo' sure.

Come and buy

Mu. - Arecibo Psycodelic Classics 17: Abortos Musicales

Compilation of work by Puerto Rican drummer (and friend to the blog) Nomar Díaz. Ranges from free jazz, to concrete, to noise, to overall sonic dementia.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Butthole Surfers - Locust Abortion Technician

I'll let the Seth Man go ballistic over this cornerstone of underground music and the Alternative Nation:

"...and we're shot headfirst into a sludgy, slow, bashing mangling of Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf", with Gibby snarling something that sounds like "RAPE!!! OF DESIRE!!!" through a pile of delays and other electronic rubble. The effect of going from that intro to THIS is about as close as you get musically to the experience of being thrown into a pit of alligators. Welcome to "Locust Abortion Technician", of the two arguable peak products of the Texan juggernaut of sheer psychosis known as the Butthole Surfers. To attempt to describe everything on this album is pretty much impossible. Just trust me when I say that ANYWHERE you put the needle down on this slab is going to be totally over-the-top insanity, like some deranged miswiring of rock machinery from Cologne, Detroit, Houston, and Alpha Centauri hooked up in some way that's almost certain to cause the whole mess to explode! Let's hit the high points, shall we? After "Sweat Loaf", the first version of "Graveyard" lurches and crawls all over your forebrain, tape running at the wrong speed, everything dragging like some sort of hybrid of NEU!'s "Super 16" and The Stooges on dental anaesthesia. "HAY" features drunken yelling, tracks running the wrong way, a vortex of severe weirdness. A great lead-in to the thrash-out "Human Cannonball"...a straight-up punk slammer as only them Butthole Boys can do 'em. The first track of side 2 was my first intro to the Buttholes. I had spent the previous evening on some particularly heavy acid, and while coming down paid a visit to my collaborator in my ambient ensemble at the time. Jim had this manic grin on, and said "Have a seat...I have something YOU need to hear...RIGHT NOW!" And he dropped "USSA" on at full-blast. I have yet to recover from this. The whole thing starts off with industrial hammering while Paul Leary spuzzes along in the key of R. Then some sadistic bastard grabs the tape speed controls, and everything lurches violently, then Gibby starts screaming "USSA!! USSR!! USA!! USR!!!" through a fatally-damaged prison PA system as someone starts scratching a record. No, not as in hip-hop. Literally. Brutally dragging the tone arm back and forth as 'percussion'. Good Christ. Leary returns to play such great notes and "KREEANNG!!" and "SPRAIIIGNNN!!!" and "BLEAAANNNGG!" over the whole demonically-possessed mess before it all just stops. "The O-men" is another hardcore skankorama, with lyrics that may be related to the Pentacostal act of faith known as 'speaking in tongues'. Or maybe Gibby's got a bottle of pure liquid amyl in the vocal booth and he's taking big huffs between phrases. Or both. "KUNTZ" takes a Vietnamese pop tune and subjects it to electronic manglery to get the vocalist to start going "KUNTZKUNTZKUNTZKUNTZ..."...which gets worse and worse and more brain-damaged as this short treatise on what NOT to do with effects continues. Then "22 Going on 23" gets started with a snippet of radio psychology about someone who 'cannot sleep' before the sludge-o-tastic Surfers kick in over the top in a groove that sounds like a poppy and upbeat...ahhh...Melvins? Yeah, that's a stretch for the mind, I know. Over this, swirling around in stereo like evil spirits, are voices repeating fragments: "...sleep problem...", "...anxiety...", "...medicine...", and the woman at the beginning who keeps releating "I cannot sleep..." It sounds like pure insanity. It IS pure insanity. And with the sound of cows mooing, the whole episode is over. You're safe. It stopped. This thing is a total mental meltdown. That's really the only term for it. It's beyond psychedelia, and off into some turf that would land average people in the rubber room. Musically, it's primal, primitive, assaultive...and damn close to unique. Even their previous effort, "Rembrandt Pussyhorse", while still being a real brain-roaster, doesn't have the attack stance this does. There was once a rave sampler called "Only for the Headstrong"...but those who thought they were down with that would probably be psychologically incinerated by "Locust Abortion Technician". It just ain't right, as they say down there in the Lone Star state. If you think you can handle this, be my guest, but don't come complaining to me when the back of your head explodes JFK-style all over the wall behind your couch. I _warned_ you, dammit."


The Zombies - Begin Here

Seeing as most everybody's already heard Odessey & Oracle, their landmark debut album. "Begin Here" is a collection of early singles that includudes the hypnotic classic "the way I feel inside" amongst other feel-good tunes from these Psych-Pop masters.

Can't nobody love you like I do.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Magazine - Real Life

One of the first (and best) post-punk albums ever by Howard Devoto's Magazine, which he formed after he left The Buzzcocks. It's full of classics from top to bottom with songs such as "Shot by Both Sides" and "Definitive Gaze" which you've probably heard somewhere without even knowing it. Magazine aren't the gloomy Joy Division-esque post-punk or the dancy PIL/Gang of Four post punk, they remind me more of Roxy Music with a certain theatrical grandeur(at times), catchy piano/synth riffs and vocal melodies.

Syd Barrett - Wouldn't You Miss Me?

A well-curated comp of Syd's best solo work. Some mighty fine and demented songs here. Enjoy the work of the world's most notorious psychedelic casualty.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tarantula Hawk - Untitled (2002)

Spaced out prog with elements of doom/drone, psychedelic rock, post rock, and Neurosis/Isis-esque metal. It's on Neurot, what else do you need to know? 

"Instrumental super heavy ritual music, bass-heavy majestic murk with grinding prog rock keyboards and intense, energizing drumming, spacey stretches of ominous gloom... it's ambitious, intense, creepy, and ultimately "prog" in the best sense of the word."

Mars - 78+

Gabo requested some DNA on my birthday post (thanks for the kind wishes people), and while I look for "DNA on DNA" on my disorganized shitpile of cds, i'll give you a compilation of rare material from another of No Wave's big 4, Mars. Includes the savage rush of "Puerto Rican Ghost". Happy holidays!

"Their music catches you off guard. It's frightening, bordering on creepy. The kind of fear you get when you're home alone and hear soft footsteps on the cellar stair. It's deliberate fear, the kind that hits you in the left side of your brain and makes you see shadows out of the corner of your eyes." - Lydia Lunch


Friday, December 26, 2008


happy birthday to our mate: Kemuel(Sandunga Cat). I wish you the best in the next revolution 'round the sun. Thanks for all the tunes and the laughs.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

De Facto - Megaton Shotblast

If you're a fan of the mars volta and their previous band, At the Drive-In, then by now
you problably like jazz, latin, psychedelic and experimental music. The twist on De Facto's music is that they use these elements but with a more "dubby" feel to it. I fuckin personally love this fuckin album, I think it's a underappreciated piece of work from talented people. And while I'm at it, I recommend it's a good listen while you're stoned.

happy holidays.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Grails - Burning off Impurities

Another excellent Grails offering, released in 2007.

Soft Temple

Eddie Palmieri - Live at the UPR

One of The Sun of Latin's Music most zonked out sets. Palmieri punishes that Fender Rhodes into pure utter craziness and conjures some nasty Tropical Cosmic Grooves with his scorching ensemble. Features white hot versions of "Bilongo" y "Pa' Huele". Features his brother Charlie "El Gigante de las blancas y las negras" on equally demented electric organ. Personal fave: "La Malanga". Respect to a true master of Caribbean Music.

Un Cachito

Tom Verlaine - Warm and Cool

A few days ago Abe asked me about albums similar to Ry Cooder's soundtrack work in "Paris, Texas". I told him some few names and albums, but I totally forgot about this glorious solo effort by Television guitar maestro Verlaine. He crosses all moods from aggressive to deeply melancholic in his brilliant playing while the original Television rhythm section (Billy Ficca and Fred Smith) give rock solid support, even throwing some krautrock rhythm pulses here and there. But it's Verlaine who's the one allowed to shine, and they know it, so they just stand back and let him soar. Awesome.

w & c

T_e R_v_o_e_t_s - R_m_x_d (2008)

Remixed! MMMMMMmmmmmMMMmmmm!

coquito cocotazo y2k

T_e R_v_o_e_t_s - W_s_i_g Y_u a R_v_ C_r_s_m_s (2008)

Hurry up and get this EP before I take it down on the 25th! Tis the season bitches! If you don't like the band, don't even bother! This is some poppy cozy stuff.


William S. Burroughs in Music.

William S. Burroughs is easily one of the most important writers of the twentieth century, friend and colleague of Allen Ginsberg & Jack Kerouac which comprise the Beat Generation of litterate's and poets, a group of singular influence. He is characterized by his ill-bred subject matter: drugs(most importantly heroin), homosexuality, guns, the dark corners of society and the innards of the soul. Some of his works include: Junky (an insiders guide to the life of a heroin addict), Queer, The Soft Machine(which inspired the band of the same name and the Soft Boys) and Naked Lunch his best known work which received a cinematic adaptation by David Cronenberg. I cannot stress his infamy enough. Here i've collected some of his musical endeavors:

Gus Van Sant & William Burroughs - The Elvis Of Letters

A collaboration between Burroughs and director and musician Gus Van Sant. Burroughs also appeared in Van Sant's movie Drugstore Cowboy. Van Sant plays drum machine, bass and guitar, while Burroughs reads four short pieces with his voice often being electronically manipulated.

William S. Burroughs - Dead City Radio

A collection of readings from many of his works, including Naked Lunch, Tornado Alley and The Cat Inside. Behind his low unmistakable voice lies the musical company of such fellows as John Cale, Donald Fagen of Steely Dan(a Naked Lunch reference) and Sonic Youth.

William S. Burroughs & The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy - Spare Ass Annie & Other Tales.

"Burroughs' dusty, sandpaper-dry readings from several of his works, including NOVA EXPRESS, are augmented with a combination of hip-hop tracks and found music, such as schmaltzy orchestral pop from the '50s, cheesy synthesizer versions of Bach airs, and Christmas carols."

William S. Burroughs & Kurt Cobain - The "Priest" They Called Him.

More readings, this time accompanied by Cobain's aural dissonance.

William S. Burroughs & Material - Seven Souls.

My personal favorite. A reading of his essay on the final death, the death of the soul and the super secretive purpose of the atom bomb, accompanied by Bill Laswell's musical genius.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Material - One Down

Second album from Laswell's collective, going into a hard edged, streamlined Disco/Funk direction. Nicky Marrero, Nona Hendryx, Nile Rodgers and Fred Frith all contribute. It also features the curio "Memories", a song penned by Hugh Hopper of the Soft Machine that features some nasty sax from Archie Shepp and the lead vocal by the one and only Whitney Houston. Laswell sure liked to bring incongrous elements together, bless his heart. Not their best by any means, but i like it a lot.

Busting out

The Lounge Lizards - The Lounge Lizards (1981)

More from these guys. This is what I listen to when I'm demented.


Big Black - The Rich Man's Eight Track Tape

This album is a CD compilation of Big Black's Atomizer album & the Headache EP. For anyone not familiar with Big Black's sound imagine an afternoon in the woods with a serial rapist about to sodomize you with a chainsaw when all of a sudden a rock slide engulfs you both.
"Big Black was a band that went where few bands dared to go (and where many felt bands shouldn't go), and for good or ill their pervasive influence had a seismic impact on indie rock. At the same time, Big Black was a group who maintained firmly held ideals when it came to doing business; they paid for their own recordings, booked their own shows, handled their own management and publicity, and remained stubbornly independent at a time when many independent bands were eagerly reaching out for the major-label brass ring." [Allmusic]

I think I fucked your girlfriend once, maybe twice I don't remember.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cecil Taylor - Unit Structures

More a force of nature than a musician, Cecil Taylor is the most advanced piano player in existence, in jazz or any other music. The innovations he has brought are so vast that only a few have ever been picked up by other players, and yet even those are not quite being grasped in full. This is "Unit Structures", one of his two Blue Note masterpieces of the 60s.

"...Taylor developed a radical improvising style at the piano that indulged in tone clusters, percussive attacks and irregular polyrhythmic patterns, a very "physical" style that required a manic energy during lengthy and frenzied performances, a somewhat "cacophonous" style that relished both atonal and tonal passages. The dynamic range of his improvisations was virtually infinite.

It took three years for Taylor to release another album, and it presented a larger ensemble and an even wilder sound, as violent as garage-rock, bordering on hysteria: Unit Structures (may 1966) featured (mostly) a septet with Lyons, Eddie Gale Stevens on trumpet, Ken McIntyre on alto sax, oboe and bass clarinet, two bassists (Henry Grimes and Alan Silva) and Andrew Cyrille on drums. These pieces (or, better, "structures") were conceived as sequences of polyphonic events rather than, say, series of variations on a theme. Nonetheless, Unit Structure, Enter Evening and Steps were highly structured compositions, and therein lied Taylor's uniqueness: his "free jazz" was also "free" of the melodrama that permeated Coltrane's and Coleman's music. Despite all the furor, Taylor's music always sounded firmly under the control of a cold intelligence." - Scaruffi

unit structures

Material - Memory Serves

"One of the most high-profile projects of the endlessly prolific bassist and producer Bill Laswell, Material pioneered a groundbreaking fusion of jazz, funk, and punk that also incorporated elements of hip-hop and world music well before either's entrance into the mass cultural consciousness."

More Material material to come. heh.

what a great cover

The Lounge Lizards - No Pain For Cakes.

"Initially conceived as entertainment for a downtown New York art community (which, at the time, was knee-deep in no wave), the Lounge Lizards spent more than a decade with various lineups playing so-called fake jazz with pop and avant-garde rock tendencies. The band's initial incarnation was led by saxophonist John Lurie, with brother Evan on piano, Arto Lindsay on guitar, Steve Piccolo on bass, and ex-Feelie Anton Fier on drums; this lineup appeared only on the band's acclaimed, all-instrumental, self-titled 1981 debut. Lindsay and Fier left shortly thereafter, each embarking on a lengthy series of projects, and the Luries recorded Live From the Drunken Boat in 1983 with a different and less compelling lineup. In 1985, during a hiatus in which Evan Lurie recorded his first solo piano album, the collection Live 79/81 was released; the group also recorded with producer Teo Macero and the London Philharmonic. The Lounge Lizards regrouped in 1986 with both Lurie brothers, saxophonist Roy Nathanson, trombonist Curtis Fowlkes, guitarist Marc Ribot(a local chasm filler favorite), bassist Erik Sanko, and drummer Dougie Bowne. This lineup recorded Big Heart Live in Tokyo (1986) and the studio LP No Pain for Cakes (1987), the latter of which featured the group's first vocal number. 1989's Voice of Chunk was initially sold only through the mail, but has since been reissued on CD. John Lurie has also done scoring work for several Jim Jarmusch films, including Stranger Than Paradise (1986), Down By Law (1988), and Mystery Train (1989)." -from:

this is one hell of a record even for the most trepidous jazz fan.

jazz schmazz

Live Skull - Dusted

Live Skull were from NYC and specialized in art-damaged, feedback-drenched noise rock, Contemporaries of Sonic Youth, Swans and Band of Susans, they fell in line stylistically. In this album they bring to the fore an unknown vocalist from Boston called Thalia Zedek, and sparks flew. Her delivery meshed perfectly with group's menacing sound, and helped push "Dusted" into the upper echelon of Live Skull releases and NYC groups.


Bohren und Der Club of Gore - Dolores

Requested by Chokabert. The excellent new album from Bohren.

"Bohren's habit of making music which often makes the listener feel like he or she is stuck in some dark room in which the oxygen is slowly and mercilessly being extracted has changed with "Dolores". When listening to "Dolores", listeners are sure to get feeling that, after all these years, the shutters are being raised, the windows thrown open, fresh air and sunlight are flooding into the room. Quite by chance, the most natural thing in the world, cool, crisp and brazen."-Ulrich Kriest


Saturday, December 20, 2008

My albums of the year.

Here are some of my favorite albums of 08':

Titus Andronicus - The Airing of Grievances

"So there's pissed off youth in Puerto Rico?" It was fitting that Titus front man Patrick Stickles answered my question of whether they would be willing to play in the island with that question of his own. You don't have to be young or pissed off to enjoy Titus' nihilistic yet anthemic songs......but it couldn't hurt.

Like "The Replacements" before they've managed to create an angst ridden record about being young, growing up, and not knowing what the fuck will happen next or if there's even a purpose. It's full of punky, sing along, shout out load moments with raw emotion and energy. Never has existentialism sounded so fun.

Portishead - Third

I like trip hop. Maxinquaye is one of my favorite records of all time. That said, Portishead were never really a band that I listened to a lot. I know that's blasphemy to a lot of people but for the most part they never blew my mind like some other artists did. Because of that I ignored this record for a while. I thought it would be more of the same. It wasn't till months later that I decided to give it a listen and I couldn't believe it. As soon as I put it on my first reaction was: Portishead go krautrock? Wait a minute, Portishead go krautrock and post punk?...... Fuck! Portishead go krautrock, post punk, and industrial? I proceeded to hang my head in shame and feel dumb for ignoring this for so long.

The Bug - London Zoo

Post-apocalyptic dancehall. The world is going down the shitter, we're surrounded by urban decay, and hope seems scarce. At least we can go down dancing. More about it here.

Rounding out my top 10 are:

Grails - Doomsdayer's Holiday
El Guincho - Alegranza
Flying Lotus - Los Angeles
TV on the Radio - Dear Science
Lindstrom - Where You Go I Go Too
Santogold & Diplo - Top Ranking
DJ Rupture - Uproot

Honorable mentions to: Steinski, Karl Hector & The Malcouns, Nomo, Arthur Russell, and Hercules & Love Affair.

Sandunga Cat:

Well, 2008 was full of apalling trends and bullshit disco releases (kids, you'll never surpass Moroder, Chic and Larry Levan, so just stop) but it also had plenty of good shit hovering around. Let's see:

Kevin Drumm - Imperial Distortion

Noise master Drumm starts to see the beauty among the charred ruins and produces a stark, overwhelming but wondrously beautiful work that hits you strong in the chest.

Arthur Russell - Love is Overtaking Me

Singular proof of Russell being one of the best songwriters of the 20th century, shame we had to realize it on the 21st and 18 years after he died. His country, folk and pop songs still feature his amazing wit, self deprecation and nostalgia for open spaces that feature in other works, but structured within easily digestible formats, they can pack a punch twice as big. Amazing shit.

Sightings - Through the Panama

Andrew WK comes to the fold as producer and provides an astonishing clarity to this trio's uncompromising, punishing sound. Guitars slash your aorta, bass turns your intestines into jelly and drums make the Guggenheim collapse into itself. Music to make you fibrillate.

Valet -Naked Acid

Honey Owens of Nudge and Jackie-O Motherfucker dips her songs into delicious drone bliss, producing a ghostly spacedelia that sounds like it contains the secret of America's dark endeavors. Laudanum for your ears.

And others:

Pinch - Underwater Dancehall
Gas - Nah Und Fern

Braxton/Parker/Graves - Beyond Quantum

The Bug - London Zoo
Aethenor - Betimes Black Cloudmasses

Seun Kuti and Fela's Egypt 80

Honorable mentions to Steinski's long awaited retrospective, El Guincho, Portishead, Grails, A Handful of Dust box, Zomby, Excepter's Debt Dept, Peter Rehberg, Bohren's Dolores, Fennesz's Black Sea and Juaneco y su Combo. Yeah, looking back, it was a pretty good year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Damned - The Black Album.

Long before jay-z, The Damned spat out this lil gem of an album. Anyone not familiar with these mongrels, The Damned rose from the cesspool of early UK punk rock. One of the best and most persistant of the bunch. They burst out with the first ever (UK) punk rock single "new rose" and shit just hasn't been the same since. They're charectarized by a hokey goth influence which never overshadows their raw rock and roll energy. This is one of my all-time favorite bands, and this is The Black Album, one of their most overlooked and really my favorite, after that would have to come Machine Gun Ettiquette. Here we have some of their better known singles including "wait for the blackout" & "history of the world" one of their catchier tunes. If I ever were to make a top ten list of fav songs ever, which i hesitate to do, "Curtain Call" the apt-titled closer would be on the top of the list, a 17 minute mammoth of a track. Enjoy.

shadowboxing with yourself just seems to get you nowhere.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

John Cale - Music For a New Society

For Howard. John Cale's most challenging, difficult and (to me) his best solo work.

"It's difficult – it's enormously difficult. It might have been expected from a master ironist that music for a new society turns out to resemble a series of requia. Songs begin to take form and crack and dissolve like angels of icing. There is no hopeful circumlocution. When, halfway through the second side, 'Changes Made' seems about to give birth to the optimism of a fresh world, the following 'Damn Life' breaks it down again.

It would be unbearable – parts of it are, particularly the sluggish agonies of 'Santies' – if not for Cale's elegiac touch. It's a heartless gesture to include a snatch from Beethoven's 'Ode To Joy' during 'Damn Life', but compassion finally overtakes despondency. The people in Cale's world are blind and sorrowful creatures destined for unpleasant ends, yet he is at pains to stress that it needn't be so.

In the extraordinary lyricism distilled in 'Taking Your Life In Your Hands', the cautionary 'Close Watch' or the frozen beauty of 'Broken Bird' the point of the music takes hold – from these lessons something better should come forth. The atmosphere of baroque meditation renders it a half-brother to Nico's Desertshore, which Cale also produced.

The final frame is 'Rise, Sam and Rimsky-Korsakov', a tiny and ghostly lament sung by Cale in a manner that actively recalls Desertshore's 'Le Petit Chevalier'. It sinks out of sight to fit in with a world wound down... to die in." - Richard Cook

The Chinese Envoy was here

Harold Budd - The Pavilion of Dreams

Budd's first proper album, originally released on Eno's label Obscure and produced by him. With contributions from Marion Brown, Michael Nyman and Gavin Bryars, among others.

"The debut album of ambient composer Harold Budd, who is perhaps best known to progressive fans for his collaborations with Brian Eno, who produced this as well. The music of Pavilion of Dreams is a cycle of work composed from 1972-1975, marking Budd's resurgence as a composer after a period of disillusionment with contemporary avant-garde music. Budd's trademark is the major seventh chord (e.g., for a C chord, play these notes on the piano: C-E-G-B), which invariably lends his work a warm, sighing quality and can also be found liberally on this album.

In describing this period of his career, Budd said that he was "in full revolt" against the truculent, "tough" music of the avant-garde. The opening "Bismillahi 'Rrahman 'Rrahim" immediately sets the mood of the album, with the sax of Marion Brown (who played on John Coltrane's Ascension) bathing in a pond of warmth established by marimbas, harp, celeste, and the very celeste-like Fender Rhodes. The final piece of the album, "Juno," brings this mood to its conclusion, with Budd's gushing waterfalls of piano. In the intervening 45 minutes or so, you have music whose primary goal above all else is to be devastatingly beautiful.

"Madrigals of the Rose Angel" remains my favorite track on this album, and indeed, I still think it is one of Budd's greatest contributions as an artist. A work initially conceived for performance by "piano, harp, celeste, topless choir, and lights" is bound to be controversial. In a 1997 interview, Budd himself called it with a grin, "blatantly sexist." Maybe so, but there's a flip-side to that observation. I am convinced that if women really want to rule the world, their best shot is to get together, collectively listen to and study this track, for there is no greater example of the power in the female voice to bring swooning males irrevocably to their knees. Anyway, "Madrigals" implements an interesting technique of using the choir and the instruments as pivots to guide the music along. Typically, the choir is static in melody while the instruments change chords, and the next moment the instruments are static as the choir continues along with the melody.

Though Budd also uses the adjective "shallow" in describing this, I do not have that experience at all as a listener receiving these sounds. There is one moment in "Madrigals," right after the choir hits their first note (i.e., a C# minor seventh chord ripples with a gentle crescendo into C# major seventh) that always gives me chills. There is something hypnotic and mystical that reaches in deep for just that one ripple alone. The logic in my head tells me it's a simple change of sustained chords. But what I feel — it's like the sound of a portal opening to a new place — undefinable. Maybe if you listen to it to you'll discover a similar feeling as well. It's those kind of moments that make listening to music such a rewarding thing.

The use of primarily acoustic instruments lends this album an organic quality that increases its already burgeoning appeal. There are many that cannot get into the basic, Paradisic sensibility of this album, possibly because they feel it's too over the top. While I can't fault them for their opinion, I sure as hell don't agree with it. For those who are interested in exploring Budd's work, I feel this one is pretty much a given. After Pavilion of Dreams, Budd would concentrate primarily on solo and collaborative work in various settings, before returning to ensemble writing in the early 1990s." - Joe McGlinchey


Mammatus - The Coast Explodes

These California fuckers spit out some insane Heavy-ass Psych Rock which combines Sabbath chug, Hawkwind craziness, Red-era Crimson Prog Brutality and Ash Ra Tempel mindfuck in one neat little package. The soundtrack for fly agaric eating soap dodgers the world over. No wonder they're named after some fuckin' giant cloud of doom.

Lick the frog

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thelonious Monk - Misterioso

One of his most celebrated works, and it has De Chirico's Seer on the cover. What more do you want? More Monk perhaps?

'Round Midnight

King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King

The debut album of the incredible band that changed the lives of rock musicians and rock fans everywhere around the world. This album doesn't need and introduction.

fuck yes.

Robert Fripp & The League Of Crafty Guitarists - Show Of Hands

After Fripp disbanded King Crimson he went in a 1o month hiatus and entered the American Society for Continuous Education where he took many classes that challenged his intellect and gave him a new sense of discipline. Fast forward ten months and he was offered a place in the board of directors of this society. He later went on develop a method he called Guitar Craft. Consequently, in 1985 Guitar Craft seminars started to take place world wide by the same time he was offered a teaching position in the ASCE. As a result of the seminars came this league of musicians that went by the name Crafty Guitarists wich recorded albums that include a live one. This is a true show of hands.

Crafty Guitarists.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Durutti Column - The Return of the Durutti Column

Abelardo request. First album from Vini Reilly's somber, melancholic post punk outfit.With heavy involvement from Martin Hannett and vocal contributions from Clock DVA's Jeremy Kerr. A masterpiece.

"Reilly himself was a devoted student of the six stringed kind of ambience that had more to do with the krautrock stylings of Ashra’s Manuel Gottsching than anything that emerged from a Detroit garage. This was (originally) an album of singularly pretty instrumentals, drenched in reverb and chiming in some kind of delicate, yet still somewhat chilly imaginary space.

The two men worked as co-musicians on this project, and it was hannett’s synth washes underpinning Reilly’s arpeggios that anchored the work which in future years become more ethereal and less rooted in grim Noerthern reality.

The Return a bloody-minded contradiction of everything Factory stood for at that time. As if to underline its refusal to sit happily with its playmates, initial copies came housed in a sandpaper sleeve that would rub horribly against its neighbours: A situationist trick that, while as arch as the band’s name (appropriated from the Spanish civil war), still signalled Hannett and Reilly’s extreme faith in their vision. Hannett’s wayward nature would prove his undoing, while Vini merely kept on spiralling into some crystaline alternative universe. The Return is a perfect meeting of minds." - Chris Jones


Defunkt - s/t

"Defunkt has been active since 1978. They merge avant-garde aesthetics with punk rock and funk, and have produced 15 recordings on various independent labels. It is also worth noting that the band has traveled throughout the world as an opening act for such artists as James Brown, David Byrne and Talking Heads, The Clash, Hans Dulfer, Candy Dulfer, Isaac Hayes, Prince, Larry Graham, Me'Shell NdegéOcello, Maceo Parker.

The band has also performed at Jazz Festivals, as well as Rock & Soul venues throughout the world, gaining a small but devoted cult status."

One of the coolest covers ever.

strangle me with your love.

Rachel's - Selenography (1999)

I crashed a car with this one playing in the background. Yeah I was pretty fucked up. Here is a review of this album taken from Pitchfork:
"Rachel's is a band with an impressive pedigree and a spotty discography. They're part of one of the more interesting band complexes around these days-- one which includes June of '44, the Sonora Pine and the now- defunct Rodan-- and both the core of this band and its many satellite members have proven themselves as excellent players and songwriters.
Even so, Rachel's recordings have managed to disappoint and frustrate as often as they've managed to please. Their debut, Handwriting, was a solid record, pretty throughout and very often surprising; it's best moment, the 14+ minute- long "Full on Night," is possibly the most satisfying fusion of strings, jazz guitar and found sound ever to grace my earholes.
Their sophomore record, Music for Egon Shiele, stuck to a pretty straight- forward chamber music format and is in equal parts sublime and interminable. And then there was 1996's The Sea and the Bells, a double LP featuring a full orchestra of both traditional and bizarre instruments that should have been epic and expansive, and ended up being a little obnoxious. (Truth be told, I've never made it through to the album's last quarter.)
Still, there are very few other bands doing what these guys are doing-- that being modern chamber music with an indie rock sensibility. For this reason, I continue to look forward hopefully to each new release. And with Selenography, Rachel's finally lives up to the promise suggested by Handwriting.
Superficial details first: Selenography is a really great word, isn't it? The study of the physical features of the moon, the idea of selenography connotes a sort of Victorian hybrid of science and mysticism that perfectly fits the album's sound. The chamber music feel is still prevalent this time out; Christian Frederickson's violin continues to occupy the foreground, but the bottom end has filled in a bit, more tracks were recorded with a drum kit, and there's freer use of samples and other goodies. Tracks range from the vibraphone- and bleep- filled ambience of "Artemisia" to the more simple and lush piano/ strings/ trumpet combo of "Cuts the Metal Cold" to "Honeysuckle Suite," which despite being a solo harsichord piece amazingly manages to avoid sounding like Mannheim Steamroller.
Selenography, while covering a pretty wide range of instrumental textures, presents a more cohesive vision than anything Rachel's have offered so far. They've tightened their focus this time around and the payoff is substantial. If you're expecting something as highly experimental as The Sea and the Bells, Selenography will probably be kind of a letdown. But if you appreciated the austerity of Handwriting and have been searching for more, your hunt is over."

- Zach Hooker, December 31, 1999


Monday, December 15, 2008

Crimson Jazz Trio - King Crimson Songbook Vol. 1 (2005)

«A jazz piano-bass-drums trio performing the songs of the rock group King Crimson? That's what the Crimson Jazz Trio accomplished on this intriguing CD, King Crimson Songbook, Vol. 1. By re-harmonizing the music a bit, adding vamps, and digging into the grooves, the Crimson Jazz Trio transforms the pieces from rock anthems into viable devices for jazz improvisations. Electric bassist Tim Landers has nearly as much solo space as pianist Jody Nardone; the trio (which also includes drummer Ian Wallace) works together very closely and they not only create new versions of unexpected material, but show that they have developed their own group sound. Recommended, particularly to listeners who are familiar with King Crimson's recordings.

The band were working on a second album, The King Crimson Songbook, Volume Two, with assistance from Jakko Jakszyk and Mel Collins (Wallace's colleagues in 21st Century Schizoid Band; Collins is also a King Crimson alumnus) when Wallace died on February 22, 2007.» (AMG & Wikipedia)

feather your bangs
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