Monday, September 28, 2009
Ahh the Kalimba, what a wonderful little apparatus. Im dying to get my hands on one myself. The Kalimba or electric Likembé, is an african instrument also called a thumb piano or lamellaphone, it is featured in the following clip. I am absolutely infatuated with its singular and mesmerizing sound.
Konono No. 1 is a musical group from Kinshasa in the African Congo. They are a testament of the resilience of the d.i.y. aesthetic on a global scale. Their first album gained worldwide recognition in the marginally esosteric, dance music and even rock circles for its fresh and hipnotizing quality.
Congotronics 2 is more of a compilation featuring Konono No. 1 and other fairly similar but no less noteworthy artists.
[#1 is in .m4a format]
Sunday, September 27, 2009
For fans of Jamie Lidell.
"Super_Collider, the head-on collaboration of Brighton-based producers (and friends) Cristian Vogel and Jamie Lidell, results in an album of delightfully skewed dance-pop. Undoubtedly accomplished only after weeks at the computer (as the haggard faces and bleary eyes on the sleeve attest), Head On consists of ten songs mashing up P-Funk- and Prince-styled vocals into an electro-shredder similar to the one employed by Autechre and Oval. Though his experimental bent is well-known, Vogel's solo productions rarely forsake the almighty beat and thankfully, it's no different here. The old-school electro beatbox is in full effect, and while that usually makes for a stark quality to any throwback affair, Vogel and Lidell throw so many goofball effects and percussion detritus into the mix that most of the tracks here sound positively beefy."
Saturday, September 26, 2009
A great and forgotten British Hiphop crew, with a dystopian, decaying sound not unlike prime Tricky or New Kingdom.
"The debut LP for the three-piece British crew New Flesh for Old certainly qualified as foreign rap, but from the sound of it, hardly even sounded like it was created on this world. Tracks featured a nearly hoarse ragga shouter (Toastie Tailor) trading rhymes with a metaphysical dramatist (Juice Aleem) over a barrage of tough tech effects and cellar-level beats that sounded as though lifted from outer space. Equilibriums certainly owed few debts, whether to diggin'-in-the-crates hip-hop or digital rap of the Timbaland variety. It had the rough-edged reverb of ragga, effects with the sound of rusty pipes. Of any in the rap world, their style was closest to Company Flow; it had the same cold, alien production sense (harsh in a completely different way than DMX or Eminem), but was remarkaly focused, rarely sounding as deliberately difficult as El-P and crew. Toastie Tailor shone on nearly indecipherable yet immensely powerful tracks like "Invisible Ink" and "186000 Miles," while Juice Aleem matched the lyrical and verbal skills of Gift of Gab (from Blackalicious) on his standout, "Adoration of Kings." Meanwhile, Part 2 programmed cold, funky beats and filled in all the gaps with ominous, paranoid samples from a variety of sources. One of the best, most distinctive debuts in the brief history of British rap. - John Bush
Thursday, September 24, 2009
One of the best jazz albums ever made, a truly revolutionary record by the great bassist. This album rearranged my head and nothing was ever the same.
"The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady is one of the greatest achievements in orchestration by any composer in jazz history. Charles Mingus consciously designed the six-part ballet as his magnum opus, and -- implied in his famous inclusion of liner notes by his psychologist -- it's as much an examination of his own tortured psyche as it is a conceptual piece about love and struggle. It veers between so many emotions that it defies easy encapsulation; for that matter, it can be difficult just to assimilate in the first place. Yet the work soon reveals itself as a masterpiece of rich, multi-layered texture and swirling tonal colors, manipulated with a painter's attention to detail. There are a few stylistic reference points -- Ellington, the contemporary avant-garde, several flamenco guitar breaks -- but the totality is quite unlike what came before it. Mingus relies heavily on the timbral contrasts between expressively vocal-like muted brass, a rumbling mass of low voices (including tuba and baritone sax), and achingly lyrical upper woodwinds, highlighted by altoist Charlie Mariano. Within that framework, Mingus plays shifting rhythms, moaning dissonances, and multiple lines off one another in the most complex, interlaced fashion he'd ever attempted. Mingus was sometimes pigeonholed as a firebrand, but the personal exorcism of Black Saint deserves the reputation -- one needn't be able to follow the story line to hear the suffering, mourning, frustration, and caged fury pouring out of the music. The 11-piece group rehearsed the original score during a Village Vanguard engagement, where Mingus allowed the players to mold the music further; in the studio, however, his exacting perfectionism made The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady the first jazz album to rely on overdubbing technology. The result is one of the high-water marks for avant-garde jazz in the '60s and arguably Mingus' most brilliant moment." - Steve Huey
"Touch my beloved's thought while her world's affluence crumbles at my feet".
Extraordinary composer, improviser and founding member of Henry Cow, Massacre and Skeleton Crew, Frith is my kind of guitar god. This is his third solo guitar album, from 1981.
"In 1975, Fred Frith's Guitar Solos album was a bolt from the blue, a hitherto undreamed-of combination of the free improvisation aesthetic of Derek Bailey and, even more importantly, Keith Rowe, with a sensibility that owed more than a little to prog rock. In many ways, Clearing is a belated follow-up to that recording. The pieces are remarkably varied, from the shakuhachi-like freedom of the opening "White" to the folksy "The Bow Moon" to the frenetic, how-on-earth-does-he-do-that "Minimalism." Unlike many with his facility, Frith's technique, masterful though it is, never gets in the way of his storytelling; it's always subservient to the purpose of the composition. That said, his playing is nothing short of astounding. On "Theatre," a torrential piece with an Eastern European flavor, one would swear that his furious picking is being accompanied by a fiddle, so clear is the myriad of sounds. There are also several tracks, such as the closing "Blue," that feature some wonderfully heartfelt, almost romantically yearning strains. For longtime Frith fans, Clearing is a no-brainer pickup, certainly the most thoroughly enjoyable of the albums spotlighting his guitar playing in many a year. But it's also a fine introduction to the work of one of the more outstanding and influential experimental guitarists of the last 30 years and an accessible entryway for newcomers. Recommended." - Brian Olewnick
Culo de Reina
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Deranged 70s motherfuckers kickin' out the mindmelting jams. If you like dross like Vivian Girls or Jay Reatard, steer clear.
THE Charles "Chuck Poison" Ivey: Low frequencey modulators, synthesizers, 'detonic guitar on "Flight Taken", sequential screams and marvelous moans.
O.Powers (Rectomo): Vibraharp, variable multi-stringed electronic exasperator coupled with various electronic special operations devices, b-flat coronet, vericose verbalizations and gruesome groans.
Johnny Gregg: Drum, drums, visceral vocals and gorgeous grunts.
Dirk E. Rowntree: Triangle ("Manhattan"), Chinese Wood blocks ("Flight Taken"), composed and delivered Lizard King's dream speech ("Flight Taken"), composed dramatic readings ("Female Tracks")
Richard Davis: Sax, Organ, and 8" Circular Saw
deanna 'D': Sensuous mouthings on "Female Tracks"
Dana: Prisoner of Rock 'n' Roll
"Name-checked in the now legendary Nurse With Wound list and originally released in 1976, this one of a kind Dada/punk/psych masterpiece from Chickasha, Oklahoma is a must for fans of raw, twisted and beautiful pre-punk psychedelia. Influenced by bands such as Captain Beefheart, the Stooges and early Roxy Music but more akin to contemporaries such as Hearthan era Pere Ubu, Siren-era Chrome, Indiana-era MX-80 Sound and Canadian miscreants Simply Saucer, Debris'sole LP is a slice of truly mind altering sonic mayhem.
Tracks 1-11 taken from the original 1/4" 15 ips mixdown master tapes and were recorded on December 10 and 16, 1975 at Benson Sound Studio, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and mixed at Benson's on January 20, 1976.
All tracks digitally mastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, May 1999."
I cringe every time i hear/read the tag "indie-tronica". "Indie" in itself is flawed terminology or can fall prey to misrepresentations. Here there is a lil more than the name allows, theres some jazzy hints here and there and yes, plenty of electronically conceived noises, but still.
To me, this is The Notwist at the top of their game, Neon Golden is weak by comparison.
Kinda Svankmajer-esque no?
This one's jazzier.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
For Abelardo, another masterwork from The Dark Prince of Reggae aka the Reggaedontologist.
"Virgin thought it had snagged the next Bob Marley when the label signed Hudson in 1976 -- and it did, in terms of artistry. But the hard-core Rastafarian wasn't malleable like the pop-conscious Marley. That said, Rasta Communication is the most refined record in Hudson's awesome discography. But it's still heavy; they didn't call Hudson "the dark prince" for nothing. Virgin was disappointed, and Hudson explained why on "Felt We Felt the Strain" -- "Never change me, never change me, I never change..." - Justin Farrar
My eyes are red
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Italian Magi, mapping new zones in rock.
3/4HadBeenEliminated was founded in Bologna, Italy, in 2002. Starting as a trio (guitarist/double bassist Stefano Pilia, turntablist/sound assembler Claudio Rocchetti, sound architect Valerio Tricoli), the drummer Tony Arrabito was added to the line up in 2004.
Their first self titled record (bowindo, 2003) was released after playing a series of live concerts in which the group attention was strongly focused on the performative/theatrical/ecological aspects of the event. Comprised of a large number of electronic and acoustic instruments, the album mirrors the disparate musical influences and aesthetics of the group: live electronics, electroacoustic composition, field recordings, drones...
In the following two years, after exploring and experimenting with self invented recording techniques, 3/4’s modus operandi focused on live interaction between electronic and acoustic instruments within a context in which the studio itself (tape machines, mixers, effects...) and the actual space in which the interaction took place (weird microphoning, feedbacks...) were considered and manipulated as instruments themselves (not by chance 3/4’s are fans of musicians such as This Heat, P16.D4, Todd Rundgren...). In this process, improvisation and group playing were the main issues, whereas 3/4’s first release was more based upon electroacoustic découpage.
"“A Year of the Aural Gauge Operation is the second album by Italian quartet 3/4HadBeenEliminated. Like recent music from their peers Renato Rinaldi and Giuseppe Ielasi, 3/4HadBeenEliminated transpose buzzing pools of insect chatter with rich, swelling drones and movements that gesture toward song. It’s another kind of ‘post rock’ that’s far removed from the genre’s typical signification. Where previously the term may have evoked slack-wristed, head-nodding fusions of jazz, electronics and rock, groups like 3/4HadBeenEliminated engage in nothing less than the molecularization of rock music, reducing it to a dense, evocative slurry of phantom tones and fleeting, melancholy phrases guaranteed to induce déjà vu.
The quartet often disrupts their own compositions, with several pieces dipping abruptly into silence only to gradually recharge on a different plane. The most engaging moments on the album occur when Claudio Rocchetti’s turntables and electronics inject ghostly voices, gritty noise and other incidentals into slowly developing themes. Building edifices of sound that threaten to topple even as they reach a graceful peak, 3/4HadBeenEliminated remind me of This Heat in their concrete approach to rock and improvisation, as they repeatedly let frayed ends disturb the pieces collected on this quietly stunning disc.” - Jon Dale
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
A reissue of the debut album by alpha-dementors Nurse With Wound. It includes a bonus track which consists of Current 93's David Tibet reading off the Nurse With Wound List, hearing Tibet namedrop my idols gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.
This is for Alex, thanks for the kind words.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Themselves are Jel & Doseone, a no-nonsense DJ & MC duo hailing from anticon records which has spawned such disparate yet similar artists as Why?, Tobacco, Son Lux and Passage.
This shit is sick.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I love 80's Wire. After their initial epochal trilogy, most people think Wire quit or became a shadow of themselves. Quite the contrary in fact, while indulging experimentalism in their alternate guises (Dome, P'O, AC Marias etc) and their solo excursions, they crafted some of the most beautiful and contemplative pop of the era, of which "A Bell..." is the gold standard. Sell your kidney bingos.
"The British postpunk pioneers of Wire were one of the prime influences on bands like the Cure, Hüsker Dü and R.E.M. They have survived long enough to see their influence bear fruit while moving on to a more trancey, hypnotic kind of music that just might inspire yet another generation of musicians.
Wire weaves intricate textures out of the most basic materials; the components of a song are almost as fascinating as their interplay. On this record, timbre is as important as any other facet of the music.
You need a special decoder ring (not included) to understand the lyrics, but maybe they were designed to be misunderstood. Even "Kidney Bingos," the most poppy song on this album, has a chorus that runs, "Money spines paper lung/Kidney bingos organ fun." You might very well find yourself singing along, and the tune will haunt you for weeks, but what the heck does it mean?
Someone once said that architecture is frozen music; Wire's music is animated architecture. Wire won't blow you out of the room; it'll just keep you from leaving it." - Michael Azzerad
David Toop: master improviser, sound artist, instrument builder, scholar, living encyclopaedia and renowned journalist and author (go read "Rap Attack", "Exotica: Fabricated Soundscapes In A Real World" and "Ocean of Sound").
"...But these animadversions didn't cure my need for a respite, and like the linear guy I am I found one in a book. Subtitled "Aether Talk, Ambient Sound and Imaginary Worlds," David Toop's Ocean of Sound (Serpent's Tail) reminded me of what a glut of vapid electronica had made me forget--that pretechno and trance and the quiet stuff Brian Eno dubbed ambient all fit into a contemplative sensibility I'd rooted for since Terry Riley's A Rainbow in Curved Air in 1969, a sensibility that knows the uses and pleasures of rhythm even when it means to transcend them. Starting from Debussy and (tell 'em about it, David) Sun Ra without conceding a thing to the diachronic, Toop explodes the boundaries of that sensibility. Though he's suitably world-historical about "this alternately disorientating and inspiring openness through which all that is solid melts into aether," he's neither messianic nor polemical, which given the openness he's down with is only meet. And he's not too polite to mention when Stockhausen or the Aphex Twin or My Life in the Bush of Ghosts or Alice Coltrane fall short. From the short-lived Collusion to The Rap Attack to The Face to The Wire, Toop has always been an adventurous, knowledgeable critic. In a subculture that credits DJ Spooky's ridiculous spiels, he qualifies as a master sage.
Hopping from history to interview to description to memoir to analysis, hooking up Miles Davis and Kraftwerk and Lee Perry and Pandit Pran Nath, Toop has assembled a book that evokes and encapsulates simultaneously, a perfectly imperfect model of the kitchen-sink structures he'll convince you we can no longer live without. A fan of Sun Ra's comic grasp as well as his cosmic reach, Toop knows the dangers of political passivity, mind-body dualism, avant-garde bullshit, "the fine tribal and class divisions of leisure pursuits," and electronic "communities" that are no such thing. "What is ambient music?" he has the sense to ask early on. "Calm, therapeutic sounds for chilling out or music which taps into the disturbing, chaotic undertow of the environment?" Yet in the end he believes he is onto the future: "Music--fluid, quick, ethereal, outreaching, time-based, erotic and mathematical, immersive and intangible, rational and unconscious, ambient and solid--has anticipated the aether talk of the information ocean."
For Toop, ambient answers a need that's postmodern and millennial, synthesizing insecurity and hope, "bliss" and "non-specific dread." Together or separately, these examples are what he's talking about. They're designed as microcosms to dive into, not magic carpets to escape on, and gently or subtly or harshly or esoterically or whimsically or just plain oddly they accommodate the disturbing and the chaotic. Anybody whose notion of ambient is conditioned by the diverting sounds, swelling textures, and lulling grooves of the chill-out room may never buy another Quango collection again. Toop shows no interest in the 19th-century certainties so denatured by the new agers, whose complacent futurism and comfortable relations with a Higher Being the quieter postdance will get to eventually. Nor does he buy into the fuzak swing that signifies hip refinement not just in acid jazz, the lamest of the postdance subgenres, but in most drum-and-bass and a chunk of ambient as well. Although it's conceivable that Ocean of Sound will piss off postdance loyalists by downplaying their electronic experiments, it ought to do the opposite--point middle ways between a Hi-NRG with inevitable limits and the unobtrusive schlock the scene is just too vivid for.
Toop is a pretty vivid guy himself. Since 1995, he's assembled two additional two-CD sets for Virgin as well as recording two albums of his own music. Crooning on Venus, the vocal counterpart to Ocean of Sound, seems unnecessarily willful--mostly, I suspect, because the popular song Robert Wyatt and Chet Baker and Stina Nordenstam and Sheila Chandra think they're improving on is still far more vital formally than ambient house ever could be. Sugar and Poison, however, bears the same relation to the quiet-storm makeout-music comps where labels now recycle soul also-rans as Ocean of Sound does to ambient house--these come-ons are literally edgier, beset by an anxiety smoover grooves muffle and no less sexy for that. On Pink Noir (Virgin U.K.) and Screen Ceremonies (The Wire Editions U.K.), Toop plays guitar and anything else he can get his digits on, mixing in the worldwide sounds he's celebrated since he co-edited Collusion and bending the improvising community he's been part of since the '70s toward trad ambient. Besides how well they can or can't play, what distinguishes improvisers from mere jazz guys is their disdain or incapacity for swing or any other kind of pulse. So I'm delighted to report that Pink Noir, which features collaborators such as Hassell, is like an improviser's hodgepodge with a pulse, which usually makes all the difference. Screen Ceremonies's music for a postmodern sex ritual is even better--very Hassell-like in its tension, mystery, and organizing groove, and Hassell is as good as trad ambient gets. Tell me about a chill-out room where they play "The Psychic" and I'll do my damnedest not to nod off there." - Robert Christgau
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
I'll let Mr. Dreyblatt give an explanation of his working methods and theoretical background of this, his debut recording.
"In the spring of 1979 I was approached to perform at a downtown performance festival in New York. I had been developing a repertoire of isolated percussive and bowed attacks, and these evolved into a continuous rhythmic technique in which I could excite chords of overtones above the fundamental. This technique is a combination of bowing and striking, in which a short portion of the bow is brought into contact with the string in a forward and backward motion. If the striking aspect is emphasized, the inharmonic nature of the attack overwhelms the sound and little resonance is excited. If a long section of bow hair is brought into contact with the string, the resulting sound is lacking in resonance.
"The performance is a careful consideration of the location and influence of the acoustic Nodal Regions as identified on #12 and #11 unwound Music Wire stretched on a double bass (40.5" speaking length). The integrity of a fundamental vibration is maintained for both strings at all times; all movement of pitch occurs in the overtone structure. A shorter speaking length is never created through "stopping" or "fretting" techniques. Rather, harmonic, partial vibrations are calculated, coaxed, and are occasionally isolated at the nodes of the string." - from program notes, 1979.
"The 1996 album entitled Animal Magnetism is a logical progression on the work presented here, where repetition and rhythm are explored to fastidious degrees. Nodal Excitation could be said to be a quintessential study in minimalism with a small ensemble performing on Dreyblatt's modified string instruments, which are hammered in art-brut fashion, resulting in a deep and complex array of overtones and harmonics. Nodal Excitation is a vital recording, essential to listeners with both passing and in-depth interests in minimalist and avant-garde music. The eight untitled tracks form a deeply hypnotic suite over a total length of 38 minutes and result in a piece that is overall as strong as his other recorded works, such as The Sound of One String and Animal Magnetism. " - Skip Jansen
The Ambitious Lovers were Arto Lindsay and Pete Scherer, playing art-damaged, serrated pop. Contributors to this album include: Naná Vasconcelos, John Zorn, Vernon Reid, Bill Frisell, and Joey Baron.
"The Ambitious Lovers then settled down to a duo of Lindsay and keyboardist Scherer, although John Zorn, Vernon Reid, Nan� Vasconcelos and others make contributions to Greed. Still frequently spattered with nutty noises, the album is surprisingly accessible; Arto's singing (again in English and Portuguese) rarely requires listener indulgence. So if "King" contains some impressive chicken squawk guitar and a houseful of Latin percussion instruments, the song itself is reasonably mainstream. Whether Greed is viewed as a commercial compromise or a more subtly subversive undertaking than the first LP, the mixture of normalcy and extremism gives it fascinating dynamic tension." - Mark Fleischmann
Saturday, September 5, 2009
More GOD, as requested.
"Anatomy of Addiction, the second God studio album, turned out to be the last, but it made for a good way for the band to go. Instead of continuing the previous releases' exploration into open-ended group jams, this time around God -- with a mostly unchanged line-up, interestingly enough -- focused much more (if not entirely) on brusque, heavy-duty techno metal with some free jazz touches. It's clear that Broadrick had a much greater say in the album this time out, especially with his massive, clipped riffing, but one or two songs aside (check "White Pimp Cut Up") it's not Godflesh redux, since Martin's own particular style remains intact. Squalling sax breaks and contributions mix with his extreme, echoed shouts, but he does also throw in more growling, low-end singing. Mixed with the crisp, industrial strength (and sometimes styled) beats from Kiehl and Ciccotelli, which are generally arranged as tight, focused rhythms and pumped up at high volume, it makes for a fine new avenue for God to explore. Where Anatomy resembles Possession the most, it ends up taking some interesting chances, like the droning sax start of "Lazarus" or the notably slower paced "Bloodstream," which actually also has one of the brightest, gentlest breaks ever in a God song (kudos to Kiehl's enjoyable percussion). In terms of overall sonic impact, though, it's hard to complain, and certainly Anatomy's not a commercial album by any standard. Martin's new emphasis on lyrics that are at points perfectly understandable certainly makes things a touch more accessible, but only just, while the blasting rhythms and feedback remain the undeniable center of attention. The addition of electric viola and, via guest performer Alex Buess, bass clarinet adds even more roiling chaos to Anatomy, and the album as a whole is a fantastic listen. " - Ned Raggett
Mr. Pincho, protegido por la UNESCO
Friday, September 4, 2009
A towering achievement, more SHJ explorations of free improv to follow.
"When the U.K. hard drum 'n bass "duo" Spring Heel Jack began collaborating with Thirsty Ear and their Blue Series curator Matthew Shipp, one doubts they had any idea that their own sense of proportion and direction would shift so far away from their source material as it has. Sweetness of the Water is the band's fourth outing in the Blue Series, and as such, it is their most provocative, challenging, and beautiful yet. John Coxon and Ashley Wales have become musicians in the old-fashioned sense of the word on this completely improvisational outing. Their guitars, vibes, keyboards, trumpet, and hand-percussion chores equal and even surpass their sampling and electronic contributions. In realizing this project, the "duo" once again turned to saxophonist Evan Parker (who has been a fixture since 2000) and brought together a rhythm section consisting of Mark Sanders on drums and John Edwards on bass. In addition, trumpeter and vanguard composer Wadada Leo Smith is present this time out. There are eight pieces on the set, none longer than eight minutes, the shortest of which is just under three. Sweetness of the Water exists in a far less controlled environment this time out, and since the language is free improv, Smith and Parker dialogue with one another uninhibited, and often, in unhurried, non-confrontational language. There are no intense flurries of engagement, but the lyrical communication is stunningly intuitive. Coxon's electric guitar on "Track Four" that opens the set walks slowly through the center as a bridge between the rhythm section and Smith's gorgeously long lines. Harsh feedback and improvisational elements are underneath the two main instruments, but they simply fill space with texture and layers of dynamic possibility. On "Quintet," Parker and Smith begin the first of their dialogues, with Coxon again creating an edge for them to walk along. Pace, tension, and texture are the points of congress here, and they come together seamlessly as Sanders and Edwards dance around the edges, bringing them into sharper focus. Harsh electronic sounds, drones, and an organ usher in "Lata," as Parker solos in the middle register. Pulse is the language of rhythm, though drums are absent. Think My Bloody Valentine meeting Gavin Bryars with Evan Parker soloing and you have it. The intricate guitar and drum encounter on "Duo" is a wooly and thoroughly engaging exercise in control and listening. But the recording's grandest piece, "Autumn," closes the set. Coxon's church organ blares out a majestic series of open chords as electric guitars, shimmering drums, and a confluence of lines by Parker and Smith punctuate the Wall of Sound. It's eerie, strange, and crystalline in its strange elegance and shifting dynamics where elements of drone and pulse are woven with multi-dimensional sonics and tight, restrained harmonics. The sonorities as they mutate and change shape are so haunting and pervasive they become their own esthetic. Sweetness of the Water is not for everybody, but for those who like their free improvisation drenched in beauty, this is your album." - Thom Jurek
Lord of the Sword
The sound of Chilton's mind unraveling completely. A very fucked up and wastoid rock record, it's also a personal fave of mine and for me towers over everything else Chilton has released as a solo artist. To some of you it might sound like utter shit. Your loss.
"Like Flies On Sherbert" is one of the weirdest records in my entire collection. If you think Big Star's "Third/Sister Lovers" sounds fucked up then wait 'til you hear the former BS mainman Alex Chilton's 1980 solo 'masterpiece' of drugged up, sloppy rock 'n' roll covers and bizarre original songs.
After spending a few years in the wilderness following the break up of Big Star, Chilton staggered into the studio with a band seemingly as wasted as him and knocked out this set which, in it's chaotic 35 minutes veers from happily stoned ("Waltz Across Texas") to wired and psychotic, with Chilton screaming his lungs out over stabbing piano chords (the title track).
Elsewhere we get such treats as "My Rival" (the best song on offer) and "Boogie Shoes" in which Alex's lazy vocal deliveries are juxtaposed against guitars so bleedin' LOUD and chunky that they wouldn't go amiss on a death metal record (I kid you not!).
The nearest thing to a sane, balanced song on the album is the catchy stomper "Hey! Little Child" which features some pretty melodic guitar lines that bring back vague glimmers of early Big Star (not for long though as the song descends into near chaos with discordant piano stabs and wiry guitar solos).
"Hook Or Crook", another Chilton original, is also pretty cool while "Alligator Man" is probably the best of the covers.
Anyway, before my review gets as scrambled and incoherent as the album itself I'll wrap it up- basically if you're into shambolic garage rock or albums that sound a little bit wasted, bleary and dangerous then you'll love this." - R, Argyle
Composer, Heal Thyself!
Thursday, September 3, 2009
"One of acoustic music's true innovators and eccentrics, John Fahey was a crucial figure in expanding the boundaries of the acoustic guitar over the last few decades. His music was so eclectic that it's arguable whether he should be defined as a "folk" artist. In a career that saw him issue several dozen albums, he drew from blues, Native American music, Indian ragas, experimental dissonance, and pop. His good friend Dr. Demento has noted that Fahey "was the first to demonstrate that the finger-picking techniques of traditional country and blues steel-string guitar could be used to express a world of non-traditional musical ideas -- harmonies and melodies you'd associate with Bartok, Charles Ives, or maybe the music of India." The more meditative aspects of his work foreshadowed new age music, yet Fahey played with a fierce imagination and versatility that outshone any of the guitarists in that category. His idiosyncrasy may have limited him to a cult following, but it also ensured that his work continues to sound fresh."[AM]
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
"I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice and I am going to play it back into the room again and again until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed. What you will hear, then, are the natural resonant frequencies of the room articulated by speech. I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but, more as a way to smooth out any irregularities my speech might have."
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
"Under the name Dinosaur, avant-garde cellist/composer Arthur Russell and a number of his New York City based associates were responsible for the first disco single released on Sire. That 1979 single, “Kiss Me Again,” featured guitar from David Byrne (Talking Heads), bass from Wilbur Bascomb Jr. (a seasoned session hand), drums from Allan Schwartzberg (another journeyman who had worked with the likes of Yoko Ono, Bob James, and Tom Verlaine), vocals from Myriam Naomi Valle (a member of Desmond Child & Rouge), and cello and production work from Russell. Though the spectacular single failed to catch fire commercially, it — like many of the other disco releases overseen by Russell — became an underground dance classic, thanks in no small part to Paradise Garage DJ Larry Levan." [AM]