Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Anyone wondering what Ian Mckaye, lead-singer of Minor Threat/Guitar player for Fugazi/Founder of Dischord Records, has been up to lately; look no further. The Evens are a punk rock-ish duo, formed of Ian on Baritone guitar and Amy Farina (The Warmers) on drums. They play a unique brand of acoustic punk the DC way. The Baritone guitar is a real show stealer and the drumming is the best i have ever heard coming from a lady. The songs are sung by both and are charged with socio-political commentary that never comes out as preachy. They've released two albums on Dischord which are both excellent and played a number of shows 'round the globe. Give em a go.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Cassiber consisted of Christoph Anders on vocals and guitar, Chris Cutler on drums and Heiner Goebbels on piano, sampler and violin, all long established veterans of art-rock, contemporary composition and improv circles.
"This album, the last studio album from this group, is their most complex. For their first two albums (Man or Monkey and Beauty and the Beast), they entered the studio with prepared texts and improvised the music. On their third album, Perfect Worlds, they preconceived the pieces ahead of time and did the final arrangements in the studio. Here, not just the pieces, but the album's "plot" and some of the texts were written by Chris Cutler in the summer of 1988, six months prior to recording and two years before the final mix was complete. The length of gestation and the attention to detail show in the finished product. There is a great deal more overdubbing and sampling than in any previous album, especially in the voices. Christoph Anders' voice is perhaps an acquired taste, as he passionately declaims texts by Cutler, American novelist Thomas Pynchon, and German playwright Rainald Goetz, but his delivery is unique, and ultimately gripping. Cutler also recites some of his own texts, and the voices are layered in many places to the point of unintelligibility. Goetz's texts in German are another difference from their previous work, where all texts have been in English. The tracks here are divided into three long pieces, two related suites sandwiching a third with texts taken from Thomas Pynchon's great novel Gravity's Rainbow. Themes and texts recur in the first and third parts, providing a unity that makes this the group's most powerful album." - C. Deupree
Girl Talk, master of the layered karaoke
Some antipodean faves of mine.
Formed as an outgrowth of New Zealand noise-exploration trio the Gordons, Bailter Space was, in the late '80s, doing something similar to what Sonic Youth sold in the '90s — hard, droning, unforgiving guitar music with occasional lapses into verse/chorus regularity. Only Bailter Space wasn't quite as interested in accessibility. Right from the band's debut EP, Nelsh, guitarist John Halvorsen specialized in an abrasive, almost pitchless assault that could feel as polished and smooth as sheet metal, and his foils — ex-Gordons guitarist Alister Parker, Clean drummer Hamish Kilgour (later replaced by Gordons drummer Brent McLachlan when Kilgour settled in the New York area and formed the Mad Scene) — worked to feed that sound, contributing feedback gales and arty, disjointed backbeats that never felt fully settled.
Tanker takes baby steps toward convention. The songs have recognizable forms, and there are times when the disaffected vocals actually penetrate, revealing Bailter Space as unexpectedly subversive students of pop. This aspect of the band's personality is evident on some subsequent projects, and curiously missing from others: it's there on the hooky 1988 EP Grader Spader and in spots on the morose and dissonant Thermos, but absent from the curiously cold Robot World. (B•E•I•P pairs up two songs from Robot World with "X" and "Projects" from the same sessions.)
The Aim marks the first time these divergent strains unite. The result is music that has distinct melodic character atop a supple and more listener-friendly sheen of noise. This balance defines Bailter Space's later works. Never lapsing into imitation, the group's muddy and apologetic vocals and multi-layered guitar textures manage to wink at everything from the Velvet Underground to the Beatles without subordinating mood-setting skills all its own." - Tom Moon
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
the first recording of a power trio coming out of the slums of Puerto Rico.
god damn its good. may this recording reach all the corners of earth.
"Waaargh! WWAAAAAAAAAGH! Yessir, we got some serious noise right here, comin' straight outta Puerto Rico! A band obsessive about makin' a racket enough to make '7&7 Is...' look like the lamest Radio 2 schmaltz you ever did hear... ladies and gents, Campo Formio are here and they're taking names and numbers.
Before the CD even hits the tray and a single fuzz assaults your ears, the EP cover takes care of business. Screwed up paper with a grinning mouth fulla rotten teeth greets your eyes... then the sound hits you like a claw-hammer in the top of your skull. 'Intro del Outro Tedioso/Outro Tedioso' kicks things off with a stream of wails, a barrage of noise and cranked up surf over three million miles an hour rhythms. Tight and tough, just the way you like it... before slowing down into a languid Sonic Youth style jam.
It's not even the tuffest track on the EP. 'La Meira' is a ferocious attack of lightspeed snot-punk which sounds like a whole buncha hooligans rioting in your head. 2 seconds in, these little fiends are throwing chairs through your synapses, kicking the backs of your eyeballs, giving the old grey matter the hack and slash treatment. Supreme fuzz onslaught, megaphone vocals and jaw-shattering goodness all 'round.
There's more of the same with instro 'Dying Breed' which sounds like The Fall... if players took more speed and kept it together... and invested in some Big Muff pedals. Still, it's not all No-Fi kickass rock 'n' roll... Campo Formio have time for some tuneful Television/Richard Hell jangly pop-punk. 'Ambigud Soledad' is a tuneful racket that couples the sneers with the hooks... 'El Joke' starts off like some Tropicalia track, before ripping off the shirt to kick on with some more jangled nerve janglepop.
This is one tough nut of an EP, one you'll dig a lot if you like noisy American rock from either '66 or '93. It ticks the garage punk boxes of MC5 nuts... it'll tick the boxes of fans of New Bomb Turks and The Saints... it'll tick the boxes of those that dig Sonic Youth and CBGB's bands... it's all killer. Murderous even. Go buy it. Prepare some space in the house for leaping around and trashing everything in sight. [mofgimmers]"
get this shit now, fucker.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
For those recently struck by the genius of This Heat and Charles Hayward, I give you his first group, formed with none other that Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera and Matching Mole's Bill MacCormick (who also were part of Eno's post-Roxy group 801, Eno guests here also). The music falls in line with the Canterbury style of psychedelic, exploratory jazz rock with plenty of instrumental prowess. Top-notch.
Bloody Beetroots? HAHAHAHAHA
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
This Heat ended their musical experiments with their album Repeat. Well, actually, the John Peel sessions and other live bootlegs surfaced the music world years later. But after ending This Heat, drummer Charles Hayward and bassist Trefor Goronwy joined their former sound technician Stephen Rickard who brought with him a "tape switchboard" that made sure the stage they were playing sounded exactly like the recording studio. The lineup? drums, bass, keys and... umm.. a sound engineer? sounds pretty interesting huh? it sure is.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Kosugi and Co., melting brains and liquefying bones.
Takehisa Kosugi is a hippie become avantgarde composer. Born in Tokyo in 1938, and graduated in 1962 at the Tokyo University of Arts, Kosugi founded the Japanese equivalent of the Fluxus movement, called "Group Ongaku", a group devoted to improvisation and multi-media performances. In 1969 he formed the Taj Mahal Travellers, a psychedelic-rock group that played lengthy improvised jams that can be summarized in three principles: a Far-eastern approach to music as a living organism, an intense electronic processing of instruments and voices, a semi-mathematical overlapping of frequencies. Basically: LaMonte Young on acid. Kosugi mainly played violin. He was on the road with this group between 1971 and 1972, traveling in a Volkswagen minibus from Holland to the Taj Mahal itself. Two albums were made out of that experience: Taj-Mahal Travellers (Sony, 1972), also known as July 15 1972 (reissued in 2002 by Drone Syndicate) and performed by a seven-unit line-up, and Taj Mahal Travellers (Denon, 1983), also known as August 1974 (reissued in 1998 by P-Vine), four tracks over two LPs performed by eight players, plus one side (two tracks) of the legendary double-LP bootleg Live At Oz (Oz, 1973 - OZ Days, 2001), which also includes live performances by obscure Japanese musicians Acid Seven, Minami Masato and Hadaka no Rallizes. Thirty years later the Live Stockholm July 1971 (Drone Syndicate, 2001), a two-hour long jam, also resurfaced from the vault.
The four sides of August 1974, each about 20-minute long (the length that fit on an LP side), present the Travellers at their most sophisticated. The first jam is a concert of cosmic hisses that ebb and flow, distortions that scour the abysses of the psyche, sinister wailing and rattling that create a metaphysical suspense. At first, it straddles the line between Pink Floyd's Astronomy Domine and Klaus Schulze's Irrlicht, but then it becomes more and more abstract, recalling Sun Ra's extraterrestrial jazz-rock. Percussions are used sparingly. Violin, harmonica, bass, tuba, trumpet, synthesizer, mandolin duet in a subliminal and obscure manner. There is no melody, there is no logic. Just "voices", both subhuman and supernatural, that resonate with a universal inner voice. The second jam is a cacophonous gathering of timbres and gamelan-like tinkling, over which Tibetan chanting and droning intone a demented psalm. Halfway into the piece, the band seems to lose interest in playing, so the rest of the track is a rarified wind of tenuous sounds. The third track continues this silent journey into the unknown, with odd percussive patterns and random dissonance. As the chaos increases and exuberant voices join in, the bacchanal turns into a surreal pow-wow dance.The last jam continues the program of eerie noises and unlikely counterpoint in an atmosphere that is both dreamy and austere. We are transported to a floating zen garden, traveling on a flying saucer. A wavering harp-like melody invites to meditation, and, for a while, the spiritual mood prevails. Then the percussions break the spell, introducing the usual element of indeterminacy and heresy, and the trip ends, one more time, in the resonating depths of distant galaxies.- Scaruffi
Monday, June 15, 2009
"Bert Jansch, is a Scottish folk musician and founding member of the band Pentangle. He was born in Glasgow and, in the 1960s, he was heavily influenced by the guitarist Davey Graham and folk singers such as Anne Briggs. He is best known as an innovative and accomplished acoustic guitarist but is also a singer and songwriter.
He has recorded at least 25 albums and has toured extensively starting in the 1960s and continuing into the 21st century. His work has influenced such artists as Johnny Marr, Bernard Butler, Jimmy Page, Ian Anderson, Nick Drake, Donovan and Neil Young, and earned him a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2001 BBC Folk Awards."
Nick Drakies might recognize "Strolling down the highway"
Sunday, June 14, 2009
My friend Arnaldo from Davila 666 loved this record when I burned a copy for him a few years back. Hope you love this resurrected piece of protopunk/avantrock history too.
"Initially comprised of only Flynt on vocals and electric guitar accompanied by his sculptor friend Walter De Maria on drums, the duo was nevertheless a superb and highly volatile agit-punk outfit that soon went by the name of Henry Flynt & the Insurrections. Rehearsals initially took place at De Maria’s downtown loft, where the duo swung rhythms around against each other and battered smart 13/8 and 5/4 tempos so hard that they sounded like old vinyl caught in a locked groove. Released temporarily from his LaMonte Young-fixated violin drones, but still determined “to reject the claim of cultural superiority which musicology made for European classical music”3, Flynt’s spangly and disorientating guitar licks and tumultuous Reedian rhythm playing came on like Armand Schaubroeck’s Churchmice playing frenetic Bulgarian wedding music, or John Fahey as fed through the Boards of Canada filter. Moreover, this neo-New Yorker’s refusenik motor-mouthed verbal onslaughts were delivered in an ultra southern preacher twang said to have been far stronger than when he’d first stepped off the train from North Carolina several years previously. Behind Flynt, Walter De Maria’s drumming was a swirling and bruising snare-led dervish dance, inspired by a desire to jettison the indolent thuggery of his previous band The Primitives, whose now legendary 45 ‘The Ostrich’ had almost been an accidental hit in 1965 for its writers Lou Reed and John Cale.4 And such was the musical effect of Henry Flynt & the Insurrections on its protagonists that they soon attempted to validate their group in the eyes of the New York art community by adding a bass player and organist. However, both Flynt and De Maria were overtly paranoid of the possible unbalances that could be wrought by unsympathetic playing from any new members. And so it was with some trepidation that they asked their friends organist Art Murphy and upright bassist Paul Breslin to extend The Insurrections into a quartet. We shall never know, however, quite how the four piece incarnation of The Insurrections would have fared in a live situation, for, due to Flynt’s wariness of the commercial music business, they were disbanded after recording just one LP’s worth of material in 1966. Flynt would later claim that it was the music hall approach of The Beatles that was to rid pop music of the essential ethnic qualities that had attracted him in the first place, whilst the assassination of Martin Luther King would – for Flynt – be the final nail in the coffin of the civil rights movement that was to drive this delicate soul underground forever.
Flynt’s assumption that his ‘playing would entail commercial success as a by product’ was severely battered by the absolute commercial failure of The Velvet Underground, so recently championed as the New York avant gardists’ answer to The Rolling Stones. It all seemed evidence enough to Flynt that popular rock’n’roll had become “uniformly loud in a way which was vulgar, mechanical, and bloated.5” Here was a perfect excuse for Henry Flynt to bow out of mainstream culture entirely and disappear for good, rather than “competing with musicians for whom the last step in composing a piece is the sale—musicians for whom a bad piece that sells is a good piece.” Thereafter, this marginalised (and highly shell-shocked) artist chose a strictly non-combative path, still quietly exploring his theory of a new American ethnic music in the face of what he called the ‘Youth Disintegration Industry’, but damning all post-’69 rock’n’roll as a ‘one-way march towards grotesquerie and defilement.’ By 1984, Henry Flynt had given up playing music of any kind and had retired inwards into his art theories. He appears to have gained some kind of solace in the notion that all Western art movements were equally pervasive, equally brutal and equally unjust.
But where does this leave Flynt’s sole recorded statement made with The Insurrections? At times, this guy is as much of a Zoroaster staring down the Iranian charioteers as is Van Der Graaf Generator’s Peter Hammill, and – after eighteen months of repeated listening - I personally consider the record to be a truly dislocated and barbarian classic. Moreover, although I’ve attempted several times to make I DON’T WANNA into Album of the Month, I have always previously backed down at the last minute in case it was just my ultra-compassionate, or overly romantic side talking. But still I’d come back for one more spin and fall in love all over again.
The recorded evidence contained within the grooves of this album reveals such an astonishing quicksilver energy of interplay between the guitar and drums that it all sounds contemporary even today. Whilst De Maria’s drumming ricochets around the heavens and, at times, makes no more attempt to keep down the beat than did Mickey ‘Circle Sky’ Dolenz at Monkees concerts, Henry Flynt’s guitar melds Sterling Morrison’s cyclical mantras to Lou Reed’s freerock abandon with effortless ease, all the while his vocalising conjuring up a bucolic and Biblical imagery utterly at odds with the downtown New Yorkscape in which the recordings were made. Except for the seven minutes of ‘Dream Away’, each of the songs is concise – most being under three minutes in length - and each inevitably sounds somewhat reminiscent of L. Reed’s playing in his pre-Velvets groups (which I could never get enough of anyway). But does I DON’T WANNA truly qualify as having been made by a group? Perhaps not. For “Jumping” is a duel between Guitar Henry and an overdubbed Violin Henry with ne’er a thought for the other three guys in the band, whilst “Dreams Away” is virtually solo Henry throughout its entire seven minutes. It seems that, in choosing a double bass jazzer such as Paul Breslin over an electric bassist, Flynt was clearly intending his sideman to be seen (for credibility’s sake) and not heard (as Leo Fender commented in 1951, the double bass was always ‘the doghouse’ – inaudible to all but the front rows of the audience and NEVER in tune). Perhaps the highly-respected Breslin was put in place to make the Insurrections FEEL more like a ‘proper’ group to outsiders. But you can strain your ears all you wish and barely hear a pulse from that double bass, other than the occasional boogie down on ‘Sky Turned Red’. Furthermore, that Art Murphy’s organ playing was equally secondary to the powerhouse of Flynt and De Maria is also clearly evidenced on I DON’T WANNA, being audible only during the unnecessary and slight instrumental ‘Corona del Max’ (which sounds more like the work of a typical organ-led garage rock band such as The E-Types than hefty musical dudes from a NY seminary). However, as Murphy went on to play with both Steve Reich and Philip Glass in the 1970s, perhaps he too was added to the line-up to infuse a psychic heftiness to this otherwise guitar’n’drums-only ‘quartet’.
But whatever his reasons, Henry made his single most magical statement with this self-styled ‘protest band’ The Insurrections, and mighty thankful should we be for the release of this hitherto unknown gem. Indeed, so should our man Flynt. For, with such a substantial statement now in place, much of Henry Flynt’s other performance work (from the ‘Dreamweapon’ appearances with LaMonte Young to the recent slew of releases via the Locust Music label) will be much easier to access by utilising this record as the gateway to his skewed and elliptical underworld. My compassion for this anguished theorist grows with everything new I learn about the man, especially as his own writings reveal no anger at his lack of commercial success, but instead betray all the compassion for modern humanity of a prophetic voice truly crying out in the desert. As Mr Flynt so percipiently commented back in 1980:
“I have to believe that the audiences which support the deluge of crass, gross music experience a far greater misfortune than I… Under the circumstances, the horrible symbiosis represented by mass culture cannot be upstaged by one iconoclast.”dark destroyer-Julian Cope
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
"Favoring chaotic squalls of guitar noise and avant textures over the dynamics of conventional songcraft, the New York-based Band of Susans formed in 1986 around the core duo of singers/songwriters Robert Poss and Susan Stenger, longtime friends who reunited only after pursuing dramatically different musical paths: while Poss became a fixture on the N.Y.C. punk scene in the Clash-inspired Tot Rocket before joing Rhys Chatham's guitar ensemble, Stenger relocated to Prague, where she studied the theories of John Cage. Originally, Band of Susans featured Poss on lead guitar and Stenger on bass, rounded out by guitarists Susan Tallman and Susan Lyall (hence the outfit's name) and drummer Ron Spitzer; four months after forming, they issued their debut EP, Blessing and Curse.
In 1988, Band of Susans released their first full-length album, Hope Against Hope; both Tallman and Lyall departed soon after, and were replaced by Page Hamilton (a former student of Glenn Branca, a frequent Susans reference point) and Karen Haglof. After 1989's Love Agenda, Hamilton too left the group to found Helmet; he was replaced by Mark Lonergan, and following Haglof's exit, Anne Husick stepped in for 1991's The Word and the Flesh, which employed a more focused attack, typified by a lesser emphasis on reverb and feedback, to arrive at a more accessible sound.
Without the usual attendant line-up changes, Band of Susans issued 1993's dense, droning Veil, followed two years later by Here Comes Success, a uniformly strong collection of lengthy pieces including the instrumental "In the Eye of the Beholder (Song for Rhys)," a tribute to Poss' mentor. In mid-1996, Band of Susans dissolved, although Stenger and Poss continued working with Wire's Bruce Gilbert in the trio GilbertPossStenger in addition to mounting other projects. - J Ankeny
A record that directly affects your synapses, making electrical impulse and biological rhythm go haywire. Don't listen to it in altered states or you'll pay dearly.
"On another cathartic exploration of the outer regions of noise rock, Japanese guitarist Keiji Haino leads his trio into untouched territories of noise and abstraction. The Fushitsusha sound picks up on the tail-end freak-outs that closed songs by Blue Cheer, the Stooges, MC5, and the like and uses them as launching pads for free-form mantras that touch on Cecil Taylor and John Coltrane on their way to the center of the sun. Little Longer Thus is one of the darker and more oblique recordings of the Tokyo group, and is surprisingly produced in a pragmatic high fidelity that surpasses previous albums Pathetique and A Death Never to Be Completed. While Fushitsusha can produce the effect of hearing the group playing at excessive volume in another neighborhood, hearing the group captured in studio reveals extraordinary detail in their interplay. Avant-garde, experimental, noise, and psychedelic rock are terms often thrown around Keiji Haino and Fushitsusha, yet no genre definition comes close to describing the invention and uniqueness of this group." - Skip Jansen
Berklee muso cuts down ponytail
Monday, June 8, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
After Dinner were the vehicle for japanese vocalist Haco's sublime decompositions of songform, using signal processing, extended techniques, unique instrumentation and improvisation, among other things. More info about them here.
st. vincent me hace cafe en las bolas
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Mac Rebennack's most demented album. Overshadowed by the epochal "Gris Gris", but in my opinion this one beats it with its sheer sonic chutzpah. The true otherwordly sound of a haunted, magickal city. Glorious heat-warped psychedelics from N'awlins.
No fucking tags!