Friday, May 28, 2010

Pearls Before Swine - Balaklava

One of PBS's best (their 2nd album), a perfect introduction to the songwriting and soundcrafting genius of Mr. Tom Rapp and co. True Cosmic American Music.

" A record that virtually defies categorization, Pearls Before Swine's 1968 epic Balaklava is the near-brilliant follow-up to One Nation Underground. Intended as a defiant condemnation of the Vietnam War, it doesn't offer anthemic, fist-pounding protest songs. Instead, Rapp vented his anger through surrealist poetry, irony, and historical reference: Balaklava was the 1854 Crimean War battle that inspired Alfred, Lord Tennyson to write his epic The Charge of the Light Brigade; in reality, the "Charge" was a senseless military action that killed scores of British soldiers. Balaklava begins with "Trumpeter Landfrey," an 1880's recording of the actual voice and bugle charge of the man who sounded the charge at Balaklava. It makes the transition into "Translucent Carriages," a mix of acoustic guitars, a basic vocal, and ghostly narration ("Jesus raised the dead...but who will raise the living?"), all the more stunning. "Images of April" continues the mystical feel, combining flutes, cricket chirps, and frog croaks for a nether-worldly effect. Rapp virtually cries "I Saw the World," backed by a powerful string arrangement that makes the song even more impassioned. Like One Nation Underground, Balaklava is somewhat unfocused: "There Was a Man" is a little too Dylan-esque, and Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" detracts from Rapp's compositions. Unfortunately, the record closes with "Ring Thing," a morbid piece that refers to Tolkien's famous Lord of the Rings trilogy. Still, this is superb psychedelic music, successfully merging exotic instruments like marimba, clavinet, French horn, and swinehorn with Rapp's unique lisping vocals. But Balaklava isn't just acid-trip background music. It's probably the best example of what Rapp calls "constructive melancholy" (also the name of a recent CD collection of Pearls songs), a combination of the real with the surreal, and it's indispensable to any serious '60s rock collection." Peter Kurtz

Max and Noodles

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Foetus - Hole

You've enjoyed Steroid Maximus, now try Mr. Thirwell's main thing, the viciously funny and at the same time quite disturbing roar of FOETUS.

"WHAT DO we want to hear of pop?

A sense of danger, a danger to the senses, passion (bruised and abused), humour, sexuality. They’re all here, if not as smoothly blended as some might like – a pot pourri rather than a puree. If there’s some less palateable additions – horror, murder, death and disease – it adds to the fatal attraction. One swig from this will send you head over heels off lover’s leap. ’Hole’ is somewhere between a terminally sick joke and a masterpiece.

Masterpiece? There’s been enough unwarranted hyperbole splattered on the bathroom tiles of 1984, but in the middle of the confusion, two LPs have arisen that genuinely aspire to classic status. Nick Cave’s lovesick ‘From Her To Eternity’ (inevitably) was the first; and now rasping, coughing and grunting over its head comes the conflict-charred ‘Hole’.

It’s not the job of Foetus to be the resurrection of modern music (he makes it clear enough that crucifixion’s his addiction) but his flaring human torch act is a brilliant light in this gloom.

But just what is this Foetus? The maverick spirit that’s manifest itself through Foetus over Frisco, Philip And His Foetus Vibration and You’ve Got Foetus On Your Breath. There are indeed many faces of Foetus and throughout ‘Hole’, his masks are many and lurid; from (Iggy) Pop parody to torured dictator. He can be an adept joker, a terrifying atrocity exhibitionist, wretch and retcher; but never a waste of time.

The Foetushow twists and turns the cliches of everyday conversation and the familiar shapes of rock, soul and pop and fashions out of them a new and unique form – by turns funny and horrific, often both at once. Humour to Foetus is a weapon – and what use is a weapon unless it’s off it’s offensive?

Throughout, there’s scarce a chance for a Foetus to gasp a breath: ‘Clothes Heist’, with its bizarre juxtaposition of found voices and its blend of the relative cacophonies of Einsturzende Neubauten and James Brown, lurches straight into the Iggy parody ‘Lust For Death’. Mounted on a testy snatch of an organ melody, Foetus spouts forth on the myth of the Pop: “Libido in Limbo – Legs Akimbo/Never even read a word of Rimbaud/The walls of my stomach think they’re Jericho/I’m about to meet my MEXICO/Make mine a double TEXACO.”

The barb of the parody is that Pop’s mantle of literate figure of self-destruction could rest so easily on the f lesh of Foetus. He sunk in the commotion not the myth – in railing Iggy, he’s excising a part of himself.

From the heights of satire we’re dropped without warning into the landmined terrain of ‘I’ll Meet You in Poland Baby’. The ease of the transition from something as superficial as the ‘Rock and Roll edge’ myth to the chillingly realistic evocation of the horror of World World War II is shocking enough in itself. But even without such cold ironies of juxtaposition, ‘Poland’ is possibly the most flesh-crawling sound put to record.

Presented as a lover’s tiff between Hitler and Stalin, accompanied by the sound of falling bombs and cheering rallies, it recognises the fact that nothing is more pornographic than sentimentality and nothing more terrifying than the banality of evil. At its climax it slips out as easily, back into the mode of more overt humour in ‘Hot Horse’, with Foetus playing the slobbering hillbilly, hunting for a human headscarf.

The game of flippant humour versus tendchant horror is continued on the second side.

In the analogy: pop music in the ’80s is a tattered circus shooting-stall, the gaudy, peeling paint no longer attractive. Along the target line run a series of plastic heads, each one more or less the same as the other and for the most part beyond the range of anyone with the guts to try and shoot at them.

As for Foetus – he’s a whole different rolllercoaster. ’Hole’ will leave you exhilarated, slightly shaken and maybe just a little nauseous. But more than ready to go through it all again." Don Watson

Link removed by request.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yuca Tapes.

Surveying humid interzones between free improv, merengue, musique concrete, dub, cracked Manati sidewalks, warm Keystones, L & M cigarettes, 1st generation antipsychotics, Echoplexes, Grand Puma Masters, Mr. Pincho and the Miguel Cotto Republic, Yuca Tapes is devoted to releasing junkyard cultural artifacts from the depths of the Rican Parcelas and Barrios where people stage cockfights in their lawns for their own amusement and still celebrate Candelaria Day. Our first release in digital form is this borischizo effort by Mu., aka Nomar Diaz the pride of Sector Quemados and the Maria Cadilla High School. Also a compilation of jam tapes from defunct marquesina Can-obsessed psychonauts Flow Notion, Arecibo represent. Capéalo. More to come oh soon soon...

La terraza boricua

Campo-Formio - AZ`s

now here is a nice new interesting punky ass album full of screaming madness that reeks through your nostrils? recorded in just 5 hours in our hometown of San Juan, comes the second album by a band of friends that sounds like a kick in the face. hell yes.

candyflip = el mas raver

Watch Segundo CD Release Campo-Formio in Music | View More Free Videos Online at

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chasm-Filler: Disco Funk Party

Put on your boogie-shoes and join the gang from Chasm-Filler as we bring "the funk, the whole funk and nothing but the funk."

Layin' down the tracks'll be Howard Roark, Sandunga Cat, Raoul Duke, Abelardo Diaz Algaro & guests.

Thursday, May 27
9:30 til tha break'a dawn.
Cafe-103, Rio Piedras

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Durutti Column - Another Setting

More Vini Reilly greatness.

Sandunga Reflections

The Golden Palominos - Dead Inside

Grumpy Oldman aka Pops request. Not what you expect from a GP album, this was quite a detour for Fier's project, very dark and brooding. And also only Fier, Laswell and Knox Chandler (Psychdelic Furs, Siouxsie and the Banshees) play. Poetry by Nicole Blackman.


The Golden Palominos - S/T

Anton Fier's "revolving-door band", in their first stellar effort, comprised of such masters as Bill Laswell, Arto Lindsay, John Zorn & Fred Frith. This shit is absolutely essential.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Steroid Maximus - Ectopia

Jim Thirwell of Foetus/Clint Ruin/Manorexia/Venture Bros./etc. fame, in one of his main projects, exploring hard-nosed big band arrangements and spy film soundtracks to malevolent ends.

"Another twelve outbursts from this alter-ego of JG Thirlwell, aka Foetus. It may be safe to say that nobody else can so successfully create a symphonic or big band song via samplers and programming. Having been a Foetus fan for longer than I'd care to admit, I've found it interesting to trace his progress and the divergence of personalities in his various projects. In the days of "Nail", misanthropic lyrics, heaviness, and orchestral abandon mixed together. Later, Thirlwell seemed to decide that Foetus was the place for loud guitars and rock star excessiveness, while Steroid Maximus was his forum for instrumental expression. Nowadays, he's also got his Manorexia project for more experimental and electronic work, and with Ectopia, Steroid Maximus continues to delve further into methods of modernizing the big band, symphonic, and jazz genres.

"The Trembler" opens things here with a deceptively calm atmosphere. Echoing, distant drums begin to pick up the beat, then horns and woodwinds give things a feel akin to a 70’s cop show, all suspenseful and cool. "Seventy Cops" begins quite differently, with a synth-bass pulse and synthesizer tone over tribal percussion. Chanting voices enter, then the horns, and finally the drums kick in more heavily, turning the song into a fast-driving piece of energy.

This album is all about drama and setting a mood. I'd bet a fair amount that Thirlwell's a film noir fan, as there's quite a bit of that feel spread throughout this music. The frequent use of horn breaks and percussion, mixed with fat synth lines, immediately places me in that "someone's double-crossing me" frame of mind.

"L'Espion que a Pleure" is based around a spy-movie horn break with strong drums and delicate percussion, together with a goofy, cool synth line. The pounding piano may make you drive well over the speed limit if you drop this in your car. Somewhat unique here, "Chain Reaction" is a heavier electronic hip-hop/big band conglomeration, if you can imagine such a thing. Excellent synth bass over powerful drums leads into horn and keyboard imaginings. Another odd bird on the album is "Wm," a strange, quiet piece filled with buzzings, distant minimal drums, and eerie sounds. A repeated electronic tone wavers through like a warning as the song progresses.

"Bad Day in Greenpoint" is a slower, ominous piece with operatic vocals, clanking percussion, and doom-laden strings. It would be a fine soundtrack to a really good horror film, while "Pusher Jones" is clearly an exploitation flick soundtrack, some guy selling drugs to kids outside a high school. It sounds just like that. You know what I mean. Suddenly halfway through we hit the chase, as the guy runs through the back alleys with the cops right behind him.

"Chaiste" picks up the pace again with fast drums and a thick synth progression. When the drums kick in even heavier, it's like a boot to the head, and things really take off. Then "Enzymes" concludes the album on a quieter, mysterious note. Couldn't tell you what the title might mean, but the delicate woodwind-like sounds and xylophone over a gently insistent rhythm provides a cloudy, rainy-day feel. Perhaps this is musical accompaniment to a chemical reaction.

For someone like me who cherishes instrumental music, and what it can say without words, Ectopia is like a long-awaited prize. I admired Thirlwell's prior Steroid Maximus releases, but with this one he's combined all of the big band bombast of those with a wider sound palette and a perfect feel for dynamics. Each song is structured just so, and the album perfectly balances quiet moods with outbursts of energy. As much as I love the Foetus releases, and was impressed by the recent Manorexia album, this is certainly one of Thirlwell's finest achievements." Mason Jones

Link removed by request.

African Head Charge - Off The Beaten Track

One of the main acts of audio-shaman Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound collective, formed around African percussionist and vocalist Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah. pioneering the use of dub tricknology into ethnic patterns and styles years before the shit was common, and while respecting and undiluting the mainline.

"In the intervening years between the 1986 release of “Off The Beaten Track” and its immediate predecessor 1983’s “Drastic Season”, African Head Charge had been moulded into a live blood-pumping band by its main man Bonjo lyabinghi Noah, who had truly come out of the shadows where percussion usually resides, fuelled by a righteous desire to occupy that front-of-stage position. Also during that time producer Adrian Sherwood had volunteered to be fed through the funk-mangle by Messrs.

(Skip) McDonald, (Doug) Wimbish and (Keith) Le Blanc, had come out the other end more disciplined and focused on what fresh sounds might be possibly created through the blatant use and abuse of state of the art technology, where he had previously generated samples as a “captured sound” by-product of the studio hardware or bled all over the old Studer decks as a result of a thousand razored edits. The result of this “great leap forward” was the fourth actual, but first “modern”, African Head Charge album – “Off The Beaten Track” – which sounded like nothing else around at the time, and whose combination of fat beats and ethnic chants was to provide the template, which many lesser lights were to attempt to emulate over the ensuing years.

Compared to previous efforts the "new" AHC rhythms were less abstract and more direct, with continuous and flowing percussion lines and more managed tempo shifts. The application of loops and samples of increased time duration made all the difference when combined with the more fluid and confident approach of the musicians involved in the build of the tracks. Sherwood shows up once more under his by now redundant guise as "The Prisoner". Skip McDonald makes an early non-funk entry and the reappearance of Jah Wobble makes clear his creative commitment to his old friends at On-U. But most remarkably, and making his debut as a recording artist, is the twentieth centuries most radical scientist - the super-cool Albert Einstein, laying down a sweet rap with the most conscious of lyrics in "Language And Mentality". Of course, Albert was in the studio in spirit only and the exercise, to my knowledge, has never been repeated.

The title “Off The Beaten Track” was not just an example of a great piece of wordplay, but also incredibly apt as the music was not only a departure for On-U Sound, but also a landmark album for what was to become the whole new ethno-beat strand within the commercial category of what we now know as “World Music”. – Steve Barker


PD: Also, re-upped this.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma

The latest from the low flier, this time he brings it with a badass bassist, Thundercat a.k.a. Stephen Bruner. This album shows how much flylo's concept of time has changed in the past few years, with unquantized loops streaming freely over each other, you might get confused at times, but the pocket is ALWAYS there. This reminds me of Zach Hill's (Hella) "hidden pocket" technique, where the beats are not so easy to follow, so pay close attention to where the downbeats are. The impressive thing is that even though some songs are very intricate, they won't let you go.

A mi entender, esto no es un link a cosmogramma.

Flying Lotus - Los Angeles

Released in 2008, Flylo returned with sweeter tones and even better progressions. He also lets us know how much he likes his synths. This album sets a darker and more melancholic vibe than it's predecessor.

Los Angeles

Flying Lotus - 1983

Debut album from the nephew of the man himself, John Coltrane. Without putting too much weight on the fact that he is so close to musical genius, Flylo has been known to produce some of the more interesting electronic/hiphop oriented music. I don't know if he has any musical training, but he seems to be able to go much further than the standard for producers of this genre. This is what happens when you soak in lots of music from Koji Kondo's Zelda compositions, Bruce Lee movie soundtracks, 70's orchestral works, Karlheinz Stockhausen's Elektroniche Musik, et cetera.

You might have heard some of his stuff while watching Adult Swim (I always asked myself who made those interludes).


The Bad Plus - Suspicious Activity?

Hands down, one of the best recordings ever. The maximum expression of The Bad Plus (and I include Tchad Blake). This is one of the albums that keeps me interested in music. Enjoy.

Esto no es un link ni pal carajo

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Jon Hassell - Vernal Equinox

Master of trumpet and electronics, disciple of Pandit Pran Nath and creator/developer of the Fourth World approach.

"Recorded in 1976 at the York University Electronic Media Studios in Toronto, Ontario, Vernal Equinox is Jon Hassell's first recording as a solo artist and sets the stage for his then-emerging career as a trumpeter, composer and musical visionary. "Toucan Ocean" opens the album with two gently swaying chords and delicate layers of percussion that provide a cushion upon which Hassell unfurls long, winding melodic shapes. His trumpet is sent through echo and an envelope filter, producing a stereo auto-wah-wah effect. "Viva Shona" features accompaniment by mbira, subtle polyrhythmic layers of percussion, and the distant calling of birds. Again filtered through echo, Hassell's gliding trumpet lines sound remarkably vocal. "Hex" features a bubbling, filtered electric bass part with a denser web of percussion. From his horn, Hassell elicits moans and sighs that are at first unaffected and later filtered. "Blues Nile" is a long, blue moan. Hassell's breathy, multi-tracked trumpet lines call and respond to one another, weaving a web of deep calm over an ever-present drone. This track clearly points the way to his later work with Brian Eno, in particular, their "Charm Over Burundi Sky." On the title track, Hassell's "kirana" trumpet style is in full bloom as he dialogs with the percussion. Hassell's most elegant melodicism blossoms forth here, and his unaffected horn often sounds disarmingly flute-like. The influences of his study of raga with Pandit Pran Nath are clearly discernible in the curvaceous melodic lines and overall sense of meditative calm within harmonic stasis. Throughout the album, percussionists {$Naná Vasconcelos} and David Rosenboom add subtle, supple grooves and colors. "Caracas Night September 11, 1975" is a beautiful field recording featuring Hassell's plaintive trumpet commentary, subtle percussion interjections, and the sound of caracas humming and buzzing in the background. The first several tracks of Vernal Equinox bear the imprint of '70s-period Miles Davis, in particular the quiet ambience of "He Loved Him Madly" and parallel passages from Agharta. The envelope filter on Hassell's horn similarly draws a reference to Davis' use of the wah-wah pedal from that time. Nonetheless, in 1976, Vernal Equinox was remarkably unique and ahead of its time, and sowed the seeds of Hassell's influential Fourth World aesthetic, which he would continue to develop and refine. Decades after its release, Vernal Equinox still provides an enchanting and entirely contemporary listening experience." - Mark Kirschenmann

Keystone v9