Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hawkwind - 1972 - Doremi Fasol Latido

"Doremi may not be Hawkwind's most renowned album, but it carries the same type of prog rock spaciness as their first two releases. Even though the keyboard playing is trimmed down just a tad, the introduction of Ian Kilmister, otherwise known as Lemmy of Motörhead fame, makes up for it. With Lemmy's hard-lined guitar playing and Del Dettmar's synthesizer stabs, tracks like "Space Is Deep" and "The Watcher" are infused with elaborate instrumental meanderings in perfect Hawkwind fashion. The longer tracks, both "Brainstorm" and "Time We Left This World Today," have Lemmy getting settled in the band's extraordinary milieu, but end up being the album's strongest cuts. There's a harder feel to the songs all the way through, with the guitar and drums coming to the forefront ahead of Dik and Mik's "generators" and "hot electronics." Doremi is the inaugural album for drummer Simon King, and with guitarist Dave Anderson and percussion man Terry Ollis now departed, Hawkwind still manages to muster up a firm intergalactic space-metal atmosphere...only with a more rugged thrust." ~ AMG

Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice - 2006 - Gipsy Freedom

"The continuing career of Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice could almost be described as that of enjoyably amused willfulness — they seem all too readily to be lumped into the neo-psych/folk collective ramalama of the early 21st century, but then they start an album like Gipsy Freedom with a song consisting of nothing but low-key free jazz sax and female singing and all of a sudden the spirit of Patty Waters reincarnated proves a better touchstone than Syd Barrett. With the sax being provided by guest Daniel Carter, the five piece band takes the title of this album seriously — in fact it could arguably be a perfect phrase for their career of multitudinous releases, labels, and incarnations. Two lengthy explorations provide near bookends for the album: "Didn't It Rain" is part steady pluck-and-drone, part scrabbling collapse, while the twice as long "Dead End Days With Caesar" has a great stoned-poetry rap which Iggy Pop probably would love to use sometime if the reunited Stooges ever did a show of nothing but "We Will Fall." In contrast are two tracks under two minutes, including "Don't Love the Liar," which might be as close as Wooden Wand get to a garage/punk number — at least, in an alternate universe, and with a suddenly shrill start to the chorus. The various explorations throughout reach a level of exultance that show the group is much more than just a bunch of folks thinking the height of improvisation is a drum circle: "Hey Pig He Stole My Sound," with its collage of melodies and clattering beats culminating in a final minute of fierce, insistent rhythm, while the skeletal death folk of "Dread Effigy" has all sorts of drone, feedback, and more lurking in the mix which evolves into a richer, wordless singalong by the end of the song." ~ AMG

Deltron 3030 - 2000 - Deltron 3030

"The heir apparent to eccentric production wizard Prince Paul, Dan the Automator's left-field conceptual brilliance rapidly made him a hero to underground hip-hop fans. For the Deltron 3030 project, he teamed up with likeminded MC Del tha Funkee Homosapien and turntablist Kid Koala, both cult favorites with a similarly goofy sense of humor. Deltron 3030's self-titled debut is exactly what you might expect from such a teaming: a wildly imaginative, unabashedly geeky concept album about interplanetary rap warriors battling to restore humanity's hip-hop supremacy in a corporate-dominated dystopia (or something like that). It's difficult to follow the concept all the way through, but it hardly matters, because Deltron 3030 is some of the best work both Del and Dan have ever done. In fact, it's the Automator's most fully realized production effort to date, filled with sumptuous, densely layered soundscapes that draw on his classical background and, appropriately, often resemble a film score. For his part, Del's performance here revitalized his reputation, thanks to some of his best, most focused work in years. Long known for his abstract, dictionary-busting lyrics, Del proves he can even rhyme in sci-fi technospeak, and the overarching theme keeps his more indulgent impulses in check. Plus, there's actually some relevant commentary to be unearthed from all the oddball conceptual trappings; in fact, Deltron 3030 is probably the closest hip-hop will ever come to an equivalent of Terry Gilliam's Brazil. The album boasts cameos by Damon Albarn (on the proto-Gorillaz "Time Keeps on Slipping"), Prince Paul, MC Paul Barman, and Sean Lennon, among others, but the stellar turns by its two main creators are the focus. It's not only one of the best albums in either of their catalogs, but one of the best to come out of the new underground, period." ~ AMG

John Zorn - 2004 - Magick

Further explorations into the worlds of Magick and Alchemy, here featuring the long awaited premiere recording of Zorn's new string quartet. Necronomicon is a transcendent five movement work of unparalleled ensemble virtuosity and formal beauty, brilliantly played by the Crowley Quartet. Also included is an astounding piece of witchcraft and sorcery for two bass clarinets, one of the most difficult yet written for the instrument, performed with passion and precision by two of the greatest players in the world.

- Tzadik

1. Conjurations
2. The Magus
3. Thought Forms
4. Incunabula
5. Asmodeus
6. Sortilège

Fugazi - 1999 - Instrument

Fugazi - Instrument

A feature-length film/video about the band, Fugazi, directed by Jem Cohen and Fugazi.

115 mins. color. stereo. March 1999.

The new "+ extras" DVD includes three extra live tracks and two Jem Cohen short films.

A collaboration between filmmaker Jem Cohen and the Washington DC band, the project covers the ten-year period from the band's inception in 1987. Far from a traditional documentary, the project is a musical document: a portrait of musicians at work.

Says Cohen: "With no desire on my part or the band's to create a factual career survey or any kind of promotional vehicle, the project presented an opportunity to cut things loose. Mixing sync-sound 16mm, Super-8, video, and a wide range of archival formats, the piece includes concert footage, studio sessions, practice, touring, interviews and portraits of audience members from around the country. Piecing it together over the course of about 5 years, I thought of bringing "dub" to documentary -- of a project where unadulterated real-time performances, abstract, rough-hewn Super 8 collages and archival artifacts would collide and conjoin in a way that honestly represented musical experience. The project was edited with band members and extensively uses soundtrack elements provided by Fugazi specifically for the film."

Boris and Sunn 0))) - 2006 - Altar

From Dusted Reviews:

"The only problem with Altar, the new collaboration between doom merchants Sunn 0)) and Japanese metalloids Boris, is that the union is likely not permanent. The record is brilliant, a curiously seductive merging of each act’s monstrous strengths.

Frankly, it’s tough to distinguish who’s responsible for what sound – both bands are recalcitrant drone fiends with a taste for the titanic. Typically, Sunn 0))) specialize in sub-glacial riffs, while Boris serve up mountains of distortion and the occasional harmonious passage. But I suspect Altar’s track sheets would illustrate a broadened palette for each group.

Following a shuddering intro, opening cut “Etna” erupts in percussive thunder. Downtuned guitars wrestle as squalls of feedback are volleyed over chaotic snare rolls. It’s unusual to hear drums on a disc bearing Sunn 0)))’s imprint, but the addition is more than welcome.

“N.L.T.” would make a fine soundtrack to the black-robed ritual of the listener’s choosing. With reverse cymbal washes and gut-rumbling frequencies, the song seems ready-made for DIY conjurings. Southern Lord would do well to release an accompanying coffee-table grimoire.

Guest vocalist Jesse Sykes is a big part of Altar’s chilly charm. Gifted with a hollow, honeysuckle voice, she drops cadaverous couplets like the petals from a decaying rose. If that sounds overly hyperbolic, listen to the record in the dark, and tell me what sorts of visions appear. This is a fucking spooky-ass disc, full of bleak resonances and chimerical beauty. Its release date of Oct. 31 is more than fitting.

The ghostly outlines of “The Sinking Belle (Blue Sheep)” are drawn with silvery guitar and dreamlike piano. Sykes’ autumnal melodies put a tender spin on doom music, with spellbinding results. She followed them to their lair – can’t they keep her?

The Thrones' Joe Preston provides treated vocals to the monolithic “Akuma No Kuma.” Sections of the song evoke Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” or perhaps a deep-space battle between Godzilla and his rubber-suited nemesis Ghidorah. Rarely has humor been part of Sunn 0)))’s repertoire. Must be the Japanese influence.

Not long ago, I found myself wondering what ex-Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil has been up to. Wikipedia provided little info about his post-grunge activities, but here he is on Altar. Thayil adds gory fretwork to the album’s closing track, the dense and harrowing “Blood Swamp,” It’s an apt title, to be sure.

I’ve long expected Sunn 0))) to run out of ways keep their grim drone interesting. And Boris’ last record, Pink, was hardly as revelatory as previous releases. By joining forces, however, both bands have delivered the finest work of their respective careers. Best call off the funeral procession; there’s plenty of life in these undead riffs.

By Casey Rae-Hunter"


Disc one: Altar

1. "Etna" – 9:51
* Greg Anderson: guitar
* Atsuo: drums
* Stephen O'Malley: guitar
* Takeshi: guitar & bass
* Wata: lead guitar
2. "N.L.T." – 3:49
* Atsuo: bowed cymbal & gong
* Bill Herzog: upright bass
3. "The Sinking Belle (Blue Sheep)" – 7:37
* Jesse Sykes: vocals
* Takeshi: guitar
* Wata: guitar, space echo
* Stephen O'Malley: piano
* Greg Anderson: bass guitar
* Atsuo: traps
* Bill Herzog & Phil Wandscher: vocals
* Adrienne Davies: percussion
4. "Akuma no Kuma" – 7:52
* Atsuo: lead drums
* Joe Preston: vocoder
* Greg Anderson: Moog Rogue
* Stephen O'Malley: Korg MS20
* Bill Herzog: snare
* Steve Moore: trombone
* TOS Nieuwenhuizen: oberheim
* Troy Swanson: oberheim
* Randall Dunn: Korg MS20, sherman filter bank, echoplex
* Mell Dettmer: Roland SH101
5. "Fried Eagle Mind" – 9:47
* Wata: vocals & space guitar
* Stephen O'Malley: clandestine guitar, califone
* Takeshi: bottle lead guitar
* Greg Anderson: bass guitar
* TOS Nieuwenhuizen: Moog Taurus
* Troy Swanson: oberheim 4 voice
* Randall Dunn: Korg MS20 & natural trouble
6. "The Sinking Belle (Black Sheep)" - 5:05 (Japanese CD bonus track)
* Wata: space echo guitar
* Eyvind Kang: viola, violin
* TOS Nieuwenhuizen: Moog Taurus
* Randall Dunn: Korg MS20
7. "The Sinking Belle (White Sheep)" - 4:36 (Japanese 3LP bonus track)
* Takeshi: guitar
* Wata: guitar, space echo
* Stephen O'Malley: piano
* Greg Anderson: bass
* Atsuo: traps
* Eyvind Kang: viola, violen
* Tos Nieuwenhuizen: moog taurus
* Randall Dunn: korg MS20
8. "Blood Swamp" – 14:46
* Atsuo: gong
* Greg Anderson: guitar
* Stephen O'Malley: guitar
* Wata: guitar
* Takeshi: guitar & bass
* Kim Thayil: guitar
* Rex Ritter: Moog Taurus
* TOS Nieuwenhuizen: Moog Rogue

[edit] Disc two: Altar: prelude (SatanOscillateMyMetallicSonatas)

1. "Her Lips Were Wet With Venom" – 28:14
* Atsuo - drums
* Greg Anderson - guitar
* Stephen O'Malley - guitar
* Wata - lead guitar
* Takeshi - guitar & bass
* Dylan Carlson - guitar
* Tos Nieuwenhuizen - Korg MS20
* Rex Ritter - Moog Taurus

Boris - 2005 - Akuma No Uta


"People are edging their way into and out of the crowded music section of the bookstore. It's just a few days before Christmas and shoppers, "approved music" lists clutched tightly, are looking to score. "Do you have the soundtrack to Dreamgirls?" "I heard this song on NPR by a folk singer. Uhm...Kris Delmhorst? Can you recommend anything by her?"

The guy behind the counter fields all questions (though I did help out with the Delmhorst thing) while wishing that the season was over. Because Eric's views of Christmas music align perfectly with Michael Stipe's views of love songs (in a word: odious), an endless stream of un-holiday tunes eases out of the music room speakers.

"Hey, you have got to hear this!" What followed at first came across as a slightly more aggressive and electrified version of Godspeed You Black Emperor. After almost ten minutes of "Intro," during which an ominous guitar figure is slowly repeated and joined by reverb-laden shards of guitar scrap, the music exploded into a heavy duty psychedelic/metallic freakout that was decidedly not in the holiday spirit. The best way to describe it is this: imagine what it would have sounded like had those gigantic amplifiers been real on Neil Young's Live Rust stage.

Heavy is the word.

But it was more than that. The second track ("Ibitsu") shifted gears from its early, trippy metal to more of a hardcore kind of thing. Things get so loud at one point that you can actually hear some clipping and breakup going on as either the microphones or the amplifiers are pushed beyond their limits. Later on, songs downshift into that buildup mode, often spending several minutes circling around ideas before again going aural supernova with noise, dissonance, and sheer energy. That Boris took their name from a Melvins song should come as no surprise. This Japanese power trio can sling the sludge along with the best of them. Think of them as a kind of Sonic Youth on steroids. Turn this record up loud and not only will it annoy the neighbors, it just might rearrange their living room furniture!

When some of the heavier parts of Akuma No Uta kicked in, a big grin spread across my face. I'll admit that I felt a little like Barry from the movie High Fidelity as I looked around the room actually hoping to see one or two irritated looks on the shoppers' faces. No such luck. People appeared to be less stressed and more blissed out. Apparently, not even the aggressive art-squall of Boris could ruin the mood.

Maybe I was just trying to cultivate my inner Grinch. Or something."

An awesome album, pretty much mixing together all their styles, from drone to doom to stoner rock. Highly recommended.


1. Introduction
2. Ibitsu
3. Furi
4. Naki Kyoku
5. Ano Onna No Onryou
6. Akuma No Uta


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Def Squad - 1998 - El Niño

"In the late 1990s so many rappers are appearing on each other's records that it becomes easy to forget just whose album it is. On El Niño, Keith Murray, Erick Sermon, and Redman--all lethal MCs--took the next logical step and joined forces. The result? Chemistry class is in session. What cannot be understated is how reenergized the trio sound together. They appear invigorated with a sense of focus and duty: "Full Cooperation" is pure park-after-dark rhyming; "The Game" is the trio at its freshest, freely trading four bars each over classic cuts, breaks, and beats; and then there's "Ride wit Us," with one of the most surreal exchanges on the album, when guest rapper Too Short passes the mic to Murray over a Sermon beat. Juice Crew veteran Biz Markie also adds some old-school spice to a cover of "Rhymin' with Biz" that pairs the original hook with James Brown's "Payback" guitar." ~ Todd Inoue


01 Shower (Intro)
02 Check N' Me Out
03 Countdown
04 Full Cooperation
05 Ride Wit' Us
06 Lay 'Em Down (Skit)
07 Rhymin' Wit' Biz
08 The Game (Freestyle)
09 World Announcement (Skit)
10 Can U Dig It?
11 You Do, I Do
12 Ya'll Niggas Ain't Ready
13 Say Word!
14 No Guest List
15 Babies Father Committee (Skit)
16 Def Squad Delite

Elliott - 2000 - False Cathedrals

"The initial Radiohead comparisons are unavoidable, albeit lazy. Yes, the drummer sounds like Phil Selway at times. The bassist occasionally invokes Colin Greenwood. There is the tasteful use of keys throughout, as well as some sampling and programming. Elliott, however, is a whole different beast. Along with Radiohead, you could point out some elements of Sensefield, the Foo Fighters, and even Bowie, but this does not do justice to the amazing noise that Elliot creates. False Cathedrals is a densely-layered sonic masterpiece of texture and emotion that is made even more transcendent by the band's use of choir-like background vocals on many of the album's tracks. These perfectly complement Chris Higdon's soaring vocal stylings, which come across as Lindsey Buckingham crossed with Garret Klahn, and are also a nice counterpoint to the driving guitars. And I mean driving -- not with just a little bit of overdrive, mind you; these guitars are of Hum-like stature. I can tell that this is one of the discs that won't collect dust in my collection. Absolutely mind-blowing from beginning to end." (MHo)

Jonathan Mobley: Bass
Chris Higdon: Guitar, Vocal
Jay Palumbo: Guitar
Kevin Ratterman: Drum Kit, Piano, Samples


01 Voices (1:06)
02 Calm Americans (4:25)
03 Blessed By Your Own Ghost (5:00)
04 Drive On To Me (3:27)
05 Calvary Song (5:14)
06 Lipstick Stigmata (4:50)
07 Dying Midwestern (5:28)
08 Shallow Like Your Breath (4:30)
09 Superstitions In Travel (4:12)
10 Carving Oswego (4:31)
11 Lie Close (3:51)
12 Speed Of Film (4:35)

Yngwie Malmsteen - 1984 - Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force

"Rising Force was a revelation upon its release in 1984; Eddie Van Halen had introduced dazzling speed to the realm of rock guitar technique, and the compositions of Randy Rhoads had begun to fuse heavy metal with neo-classical influences, but no one before Yngwie Malmsteen was able to combine those elements with such blinding virtuosity. Malmsteen's innovative guitar style made Rising Force a mandatory primer for '80s metal guitarists, with its classical chord progressions and Malmsteen's use of harmonic minor scales, a wide vibrato imitative of classical violinists, and impossibly fast picking techniques, including the sweep-picked arpeggio (sort of a cross between strumming a chord and picking each note individually). Malmsteen's obsessions with Bach, Beethoven, and Paganini are used in the service of a dark, stately, gothic atmosphere and sent guitar students scurrying to learn their works as well as Malmsteen's own. The true inauguration of the age of the guitar shredder." ~ AMG

Credits: Drums - Barriemore Barlow
Guitar, Bass - Yngwie Malmsteen
Keyboards - Jens Johansson
Vocals - Jeff Scott Soto


01 Black Star (4:51)
02 Far Beyond The Sun (5:49)
03 Now Your Ships Are Burned (4:09)
04 Evil Eye (5:12)
05 Icarus' Dream Suite Op.4 (8:30)
06 As Above, So Below (4:36)
07 Little Savage (5:21)
08 Farewell (0:48)

The Smiths - 1984 - Hatful of Hollow

"Several months after releasing their first album, the Smiths issued the singles and rarities collection Hatful of Hollow, establishing a tradition of repackaging their material as many times and as quickly as possible. While several cuts on Hatful of Hollow are BBC versions of songs from The Smiths, the versions on the compilation are nervy and raw — and they're also not the selling point of the record. The Smiths treated singles as individual entities, not just ways to promote an album, and many of their finest songs were never issued on their studio albums. Hatful of Hollow contains many of these classics, including the sweet rush of "William, It Was Really Nothing," and the sardonic "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now," the tongue-in-cheek lament of "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want," the wistful "Back to the Old House," "Girl Afraid," and the pulsating, tremolo-laced masterpiece "How Soon Is Now?" With such strong material forming the core of the album, it's little wonder that Hatful of Hollow is as consistent as The Smiths and arguably captures the excitement surrounding the band even better." ~ AMG

Credits: Producer - John Porter (tracks: 1, 5, 9, 12, 13, 16) , Roger Pusey (tracks: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 14, 15)
Notes: From the BBC Radio 1 John Peel Show: What Difference Does It Make?; Handsome Devil and Reel Around The Fountain first broadcast 31/5/83. This Night Has Opened My Eyes; Still Ill; This Charming Man and Back To The Old House first broadcast 21/9/83. From the BBC Radio 1 David Jensen Show: These Things Take Time; You've Got Everything Now first broadcast 4/7/83 and Accept Yourself first broadcast 5/9/83.


01 William, It Was Really Nothing (2:10)
02 What Difference Does It Make? (3:11)
03 These Things Take Time (2:33)
04 This Charming Man (2:43)
05 How Soon Is Now? (6:44)
06 Handsome Devil (2:45)
07 Hand In Glove (3:15)
08 Still Ill (3:34)
09 Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now (3:34)
10 This Night Has Opened My Eyes (3:39)
11 You've Got Everything Now (4:18)
12 Accept Yourself (4:02)
13 Girl Afraid (2:48)
14 Back To The Old House (3:02)
15 Reel Around The Fountain (5:51)
16 Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want (1:52)

One Last Wish - 1986

"A document of the beautiful, short-lived urgency of the phenomenon known as One Last Wish. The fleeting and desperate nature of the band's existence emerges in this, their one and only recording, made in the few months they were together in 1986. The sound is like a hybrid of all the elements of their other musical projects — sort of a logical extension of where Rites of Spring's latest material left off, mixed with what Happy Go Licky and Fugazi would later do. Guy's poignant and stirring vocals are as fierce/delicate as ever, and the music is churning, well composed, and compassionate all at once. And yet there's something else to this music — some feeling that is indescribable, something that can only be felt." ~ AMG

Michael Hamptonguitar, vocals
Brendan Cantydrums
Edward Janneyvocals, bass
Guy Picciottovocals, guitar
Released:November 1999


01. Hide
02. Burning in the Undertow
03. Break to Broken
04. Friendship is Far
05. My Better Half
06. Loss Like a Seed
07. Three Unkind Silences
08. Shadow
09. Sleep of the Stage
10. One Last Wish
11. This Time
12. Home is the Place

Recorded November 6th, 7th and 8th 1986at Inner Ear Studios
Engineered byDon Zientara
Produced byIan MacKaye and OLW

Herbie Hancock - 1974 - Thrust

"At this juncture, 1974, it is interesting to compare the progress of the Miles Davis alumni in their respective fusion projects. Whereas John McLaughlin and Miles Davis himself kept things relatively difficult and aggressive, Weather Report and Herbie Hancock belatedly chose the populist route. Joe Zawinul, however, appears to have been influenced by his beliefs in an art/commerce dichotomy: Sweetnighter and Mysterious Traveller experimented with danceable rhythms but also featured artsy set-pieces. By cautiously navigating a path that sought greater popularity while remaining acceptably high-brow, Weather Report's mid-1970s albums were very good, in my opinion, but fell short of excellence. Herbie Hancock, on the other hand, does not seem to have had any angst at all about making music that fully embraced whatever people were dancing to at the time. There is nothing inherently superior about this approach, I guess, but in Hancock's case I'd estimate that it was his purity of commitment to his sources that resulted in his achieving higher highs than Weather Report. It also contributed to lower lows during the disco era, but that's a story for another day.
Thrust is a refinement of the direction that Hancock took on his breakthrough album, the previous year's Headhunters. It largely dispenses with the "ethnic" touches (although Bill Summers is retained to provide percussive breadth) and, in so doing, more honestly displays its sources of inspiration. Like Headhunters, Thrust is comprised of four long jams. The collective improvisation that distinguished Hancock's earlier electric albums is gone — the foundation of these tunes is the groove, upon which funky riffs and solos are laid. The lead track, "Palm Grease," recalls the first half of Headhunters' "Chameleon" in that it is simple, catchy and mostly scripted. It's toe-tapping party music with minimal soloing, although any party that played it these days would have to be '70s-themed — this sound is pretty dated. "Palm Grease" probably goes on a bit longer than it should given the limited development of its musical ideas, but it's still a fun listen.

The rest of the tracks more intricately flesh out Hancock's mission. "Actual Proof" is a steaming display of chops that reminds me a bit of what Chick Corea was doing with Return to Forever at about the same time. "Butterfly" lusciously slows things down and is foremost a showpiece for Bennie Maupin's versatile skills on reeds; his breathy bass clarinet passages are especially memorable. This track practically oozes from your stereo speakers and is one of the period's ultimate chill-out grooves. With "Spank-A-Lee," Hancock basically updates the style of Fat Albert Rotunda for the mid-'70s: it's a brisk, churning, slyly humorous ode to funk.

I suppose that many observers decried Hancock as a sell-out when Thrust revealed that Headhunters was not to be an abberation in his artistic development. In retrospect, though, Thrust enjoys a solid reputation and I personally think it is really good. True, Hancock's Headhunters band was not nearly as experimental as his Mwandishi band; true, the funk influences seriously date the sound. But it's an exuberant kind of datedness that brings a smile to my face, not the stale sort that makes me groan. Thrust may not be a great album, but I do think it is a very fine artifact from the era." ~ Prog Reviews

"The 21st Century has arrived and this album has reached the new generation. One can draw lines to the '70s, when jazz, rock, funk, soul and African rhythms started to mix in the United States. We noticed this process during the '90s. With this notice we started to understand where the roots of groove are situated. Hopefully after some years we can see that the same process is taking place in the beginning of this century.

Modern life and jazz groove are strongly connected. On this album the word “jazz” is emphasized.

The first track, “Palm Grease,” takes us to the noise of every city fitting in with the lifestyle of both—the coevals of the musicians playing on this 1974 CD and modern teenagers. Mike Clark and Paul Jackson create a steady beat, which is also polymetric. This beat is supported by Herbie Hancock, who varies it and improvises on it. Bill Summers takes the role of a ticket checker by creating some thinking pauses but at the same time not losing the main beat. With the help of Bennie Maupin's alto flute, we start to understand the melody of this track. Switching to tenor saxophone, he repeats the main subjects, reminding us the most important idea and at the same time being an inseparable part from the groove. And that way—grooving together—the musicians enjoy life and let each other live and breathe.

The second track, “Actual Proof,” is a bit more complicated and modern. The extensive melody is based on a complicated, subtle, and syncopated foundation. Fireworks presented by Herbie Hancock, Paul Jackson and Mike Clark follow this. Hancock plays very good modern jazz on a good groove. The period of this tune is complicated and after every chorus the instruments help each other by summarizing the information. At the end of the track Bennie Maupin steps in with some solo fills and after that presenting the final melody. During the outro Herbie Hancock demonstrates on a synthesizer what happened to wah guitar during the following thirty years'

Hancock's and Maupins's “Butterfly” floats peacefully with the help of bass clarinet and soprano saxophone. Herbie Hancock adds a gentle extra to Bennie Maupin's solo. He uses the wide sound of the synthesizer to present the flight of a butterfly. After that the peace is interrupted by active moods, which are added to the static groove. The structure of this track is still jazz-like—at the end of the tune the melody is presented. A very good and calm track.

“Spank-A-Lee” is related to “Palm Grease.” The phrase that describes this track would be ”groove, groove, and more groove.”

In “Palm Grease” and “Spank-A-Lee” we can hear many elements, which have moved on to modern danceable jazz. Paul Jackson's Jaco Pastorius-like bass playing and cooperation with Mike Clark and Herbie Hancock create an inspiring solo base for Bennie Maupin's tenor saxophone.

The rhythm, improvisation and feeling inspire many young musicians nowadays and hopefully will do the same in the future.

Track listing: 1. Palm Grease 2. Actual Proof 3. Butterfly 4. Spank-A-Lee

Personnel: Herbie Hancock : Fender Rhodes electric piano, Hohner D-6 clavinet, Arp Odyssey synthesizer, Arp Soloist synthesizer, Arp 2600 synthesizer, Arp String synthesizer; Mike Clark : drums; Bennie Maupin : soprano & tenor saxophone, saxello, bass clarinet, alto flute; Paul Jackson : electric bass; Bill Summers : percussion." ~ All About Jazz

Friday, September 28, 2007

Gellers - Gellers

I've been on a bit of a Japanese music kick lately and thanks to all the freetime I have at work, I've been able to search around the net for new music to listen to. While searching the other day I was fortunate enough to come across this debut album from the band Gellers, and it's really good. The band seems kind of like a Japanese version of "The Greys," with a group of musicians from the Japanese music scene coming together to collaborate on an album. Fortunately, this grouping resulted in something a bit more satisfying than "Ro Sham Bo," (though "The very Best Years," is my jam). The Gellers make no secret of their many influences, clearly displaying a love for American 90s indie rock bands, and especially a strong affinity for the early Pavement records. The group has a lot of fun on the album by staying creative and keeping things interesting with the implementation of subtle electronics, the occasional Beach Boys harmony, math rock tendencies, Hawaiian themes, and the shifting between more intense and softer vocals. If this is a sort of Japanese "The Greys," then Shugo Tokumaru is clearly the Jon Brion of the group, adding his warm touch to all of the songs and giving them an inviting appeal. It's no suprise that the "prettiest" and most heartfelt tunes here, were penned by him. There's a bit of quality control going on with the album being a brief 8 songs long, but each of the songs here are strong, and the three songs that start the album make for one of the most enjoyable beginnings to an album I've heard this year.

Flying Lotus - 2006 - 1983

We all love a bit of Dabrye - and since the man's hiccupping electro-hop was used on a high-profile mobile phone advert, it seems the rest of the world does too. It was only a matter of time then before we heard other producers utilising the much-lauded producer's template for vintage synth sounds and booty-shakin' rhythms, but although Dabrye may be the first name to spring to mind when listening to Flying Lotus's debut album, further listening reveals something far deeper than you could imagine. Maybe that is in part due to the fact that Flying Lotus is a member of the Coltrane family... yep he was brought up around musicians, and not just any musicians - with John and Alice Coltrane as close family what more could you have asked for growing up? It's hardly surprising then that the man condenses a world of influences into his loose quasi-hiphop structures - I can hear funk, psychedelia, tropicalia, blues, electronica... it's breathtaking how much is distilled on '1983' and yet it never feels cluttered or overdone. Quite the opposite in fact, the album is a masterful show of restraint - in the same way that much 'instrumental hiphop' has got self-congratulatory and bogged down by it's own scene, '1983' seems to be honest, passionate and full of vibrant life. There are tracks to dance to ('Shifty', the typically insane Daedelus remix), tracks to get smoked out to ('Sao Paulo', '1983') and even a gorgeous slice of louge-pop for good measure ('Unexpected Delight'). I can't say enough good things about this album, maybe conjuring the sound of Madlib, Dabrye and Stereolab would have me in fits whatever the music was like, but Flying Lotus has done something truly beautiful with '1983'. Proof that instrumental hiphop can still be fun and hugely enjoyably, Flying Lotus has taken us back to the 1980s without any of the fashion faux-pas. Now all that's left for me to do is hear this played extremely loud indeed... -

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Pay it Forward

Today, someone was so very kind to give me their one day bus pass as she was done using it for the day. This post is dedicated to that very kind person and all of the other people of this nature.

Pay it forward!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

DiVinci - 2007 - PUSH BEAT

This is DiVinci, the god of the MPC. Here we see him on 3 MPCs and a mixer tearing it up at the Knitting Factory on May 22, 2007. I saw him perform for the first time in Paris when he opened for Sage Francis. He is by far the most skilled MPC artist I've ever seen. There are times during his set that he plays with his face and feet.

DiVinci plays full time with Solillaquists of Sound and frequently performs live with Sage Francis.

Sorry for the guy yelling throughout the video. I also have his album, so if you all like what you see let me know and I'll upload the full album.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Yoshimi and Yuka - Flower With No Color

This is a really special album that's hard to categorize, but that i've found beauty in, in a way unlike many albums i've heard before. The different labels one might attach to this recording would be ambient, jazz, tribal, field recording, or spiritual, but all that really matters is how captivating the music is.

This album is a collaborative effort between Yoshimi P-We (Boredoms, ooioo, pyscho-baba, etc) and Yuka Honda (Cibo Matto). For the recording of this release, Yuka Honda stayed with Yoshimi at her home in Okinawa. While in Okinawa they cooked all their meals together, connected on a higher level, and then loaded a multitude of instruments into the back of a truck, and with a bottle of plum wine that Yuka’s mother had made, ascended Mount Ikoma. With Shoji at the wheel and Spy riding shotgun, the two girls began recording this music in the back seat of the truck as they drove toward a temple at the mountain's peak. This is evidenced in the fact that you can even hear the truck's engine at times on the recording. Once they arrived at the temple they begin to record an album that's one of the most organic and moving pieces of music I can recall hearing.

Using their surroundings as the foundation of the music, Yoshimi and Yuka then sparingly add layers of piano, keyboard, trumpet, bass, bamboo flute, percussion, and their own vocals. Though they do use these various instruments throughout the recording, their role in this album is shared equally with the sounds around them. The temple dogs barking, the birds chirping, the insects, the trees, they're all audible and it's these sounds that really transport you to the place of this recording. You can feel the warmth of the sun and the cool of the breeze, it's like you're right there atop Mt. Ikoma with them, sitting in the grass as they perform.

This description might make the album seem like a bit of a drag, or a somewhat difficult listen, but that's not at all the case. The music on this album is, to me, very accessible and an extremely pleasant listening experience. Infact, I find it to be more listener friendly than any other Boredoms related project I've heard. Though the music is totally improvised, there is the feeling of structure, and I do consider this to be an album of "songs" and not just wilderness sounds with piano, though i don't doubt some may see it that way. These are enchantingly sun-kissed songs, and the washes of keyboards, light synth noises, occasional trumpet playing, and Yoshimi's pleasant vocals, as apposed to her normal shrieks and squeels, all make for an album that anybody with tastes that occasianly lean a bit left of center, should be able to easily enjoy. The track "SPY said ONE," even sounds reminiscent of "Bitches Brew" era Miles Davis, at times.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Golden - 2002 - Apollo Stars

"Featuring members of Trans Am, Royal Trux, and Six Finger Satellite, Chicago semi-supergroup Golden always tends to come up with something interesting. On their third disc, it's manifested as a cross-the-board mix of styles and sounds, from the proto-funk of the opening "Feel This Flow" to the slow but soothing and technically intricate "Henry Earl Ansell," and even the wah-wah grooves and speedy lyric work in "Goldenization." And that's all on side one! The eight-track disc is almost impossible to pin down outside of the fact that all the tracks have especially well-played guitar sections, and they all tend to take major chances with the vocals...from straight rock presentations to Spanish-inflected choruses. Most of the members of the quartet have already proven their chops in their other bands, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that they really seem to be having fun with this project. It doesn't necessarily stick with a single mood, but the stylistic changes from song to song are part of Golden's style, and anyone who dug their earlier efforts will not only enjoy Apollo Stars, but should also recognize how much more successful the band is becoming in each of its endeavors." ~ AMG

1. Feel This Flow
2. Napenda Judy (Lakini Bad)
3. Henry Earl Ansell
4. Goldenization
5. Ma Petite Est Mariee
6. Vitamin G
7. The Other Side Of The Sun
8. Nikki

Juliet of the Spirits - Federico Fellini

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

142 Minutes
Comedy Drama/Fantasy

"Juliet of the Spirits is a fantastical showcase for Federico Fellini's vibrant imagery, starring his wife, Giulietta Masina, as the titular leading character. Juliet is a wealthy housewife who constantly fears her husband, Giorgio (Mario Pisu), is cheating on her. While she yearns for a peaceful intimate evening on the night of their 15th anniversary, the egotistical Giorgio has forgotten about it and instead arrives home with his eccentric friends. After a trip to a séance, Juliet is haunted by images from the spirit world, including obsessions from her past involving religion and her late relatives. With her sisters and mother prying into her life, Juliet seems to be seeking an inner peace amidst all the sexual temptations surrounding her. She meets her neighbor, Suzy (Sandra Milo), a showy pleasure-seeker who lives in a sensual playhouse. It appears that all of Juliet's family, friends, and fantasies demand that she loosen up and embrace sexual freedom, yet she remains chaste and dowdy, lamenting over her unfaithful husband. The reasons for Juliet's repression are not clearly defined by the narrative, despite glimpses into her supposed imagination. Forced to endure the constant bombardment of sexually charged imaginings, the demure Juliet retreats on her own." ~AMGb



Moonstarr - 2002 - Dupont

Dupont is laced with breakbeats, broken beats, jazz, bossa nova, and hip hop production. Drawing on influences from around the world and the emerging west London broken beat scene, Moonstarr forges his own identity, creating a new and unique sound along the way.

Bossa- and hip hop-laced tracks such as “Dust” and “Duplex” have already been well-received on dance floors at Moonstarr's live performances and dj gigs. Techno and broken beat-inspired tracks like “Workin Man’s Hustle” and “Interplanetary Thoughts in Flight” combine smooth melodies and frenetic beat programming with Moonstarr’s patented synthesizer solos. Creating a diverse musical landscape, Moonstarr’s Dupont will keep your head and feet bouncing while attacking you on a deeper level.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Can - 1973 - Olympia, Paris


May 12th - or possibly May 22nd - 1973
Olympia, Paris

I believe this to be the finest Can recording of all time - though May 17th 1975 and Colchester 1972 come incredibly close. "queueing down" is an indisputable all-time Can highlight that has everything from slithering guitar solos to screeching feedback, and, oh yeah, mile-a-minute Damo Suziki ranting.

To my shock and horror, I couldn't find this on Dime! But don't worry, ladies and gentlemen, here it is once again, for all the newbies and the oldbies who missed it the first time around.

This is, as the title implies, the "remastered" edition - but fear not. There are no watery artifacts of NR or the booming bass of a bad EQ.

The original version of this had some volume fluctuations and repeated portions, which were the main focus of this remaster. I would not spread this if I did not feel it was a sonically acceptable product. I'm a Zappateer - I'm sure a good portion of DIMErs know how insane we are about this whole "remastering" business. There is mention of, quote, "a little noise reduction". I can't hear any artifacts, and the SA looks fine. Still plenty "natural" sounding, trust me.

Or, fine, don't trust me, but try to trust the mp3 samples!

Just to make this perfectly clear - this is not my work! I am only the re-seeder!

What follows are the original notes, from "tom_phillips", who handled the re-mastering work (partially at my request - thanks, tom_phillips!)

Olympia, Paris
May 12 or 22, 1973

Source: Dime, SBD > ANA(?) > CDR(?) > EAC > WAV > FLAC (level 6)
Ripped, encoded and seeded by humanoidboo on October 19, 2004
Re-seeded by Vierstein91

Editing (Nero6)
Selected Right channel (mono) after comparison with Left
Fixed dim / quiet first 2.21 of d1t2
Fixed the tape flip / glitch d2t1
Inserted track markers in d2t1 after the glitch
Fixed extreme volume fluctuations
Eliminated applause fragments
Crossfaded between tracks for smooth transitions
Faded out aubrupt end of last track
Now fits on a single CD-R90 (or split before Spoon for 2 CD-R80's)
Gentle 2db Nero noise reduction, without affecting the music

Transfer: flac > Nero > burn > EAC > Flac Frontend (level 6)
Quality: Worth the A+ now

The original seeder 'humanoidboo' said..
"This is a great probably my all-time favourite live CAN recording, right up there with the 1972 WDR broadcast) show in excellent soundboard quality, though a bit hissy in places...and it's got Damo on vocals!"

Well...I already upgraded his other favorite (WDR 1972) and the original seeder (booomboom) commented... "Respect, the result is more than excellent"

So...Now here is the Paris 1973 upgrade with the encouragementof both 'humanoidboo' and 'Vierstein91'. Quick attempts at remixing determined that the original is a mono recording with heavy 'fake stereo' processing, confirmed by A/B comparison of L-mono and R-mono versions, of which the Right channel is significantly clearer, especially as you can now hear Holger's bass better, so that is the basis of this upgrade.

I also did other fixes (above), added track markers, a little noise reduction and smoothed track transitions, resulting in an even more enjoyable listen, especially on headphones, that fits on a single CD-R90 if your burner / software can handle them (most can now), so...


Holger Czukay - bass
Michael Karoli - guitar
Jaki Liebezeit - drums
Irmin Schmidt - keyboards
Damo Suzuki - vocals

Set List (89.20)
1. 'Queueing down' (35.59)
2. One more night (08.49)
3. Spoon (16.06)
4. Stars and Lines (14.41)
5. Vitamin C (13:41) - fades out

Notes / Credits:
1. Thanks again to 'Vierstein91' and 'humanoidboo' for their posts and encouragement !!
2. I've included the original artworks - can anybody update them?

Brian Eno - 1975 - Discreet Music

Brian Eno’s concept of ambient music builds upon a concept composer Erik Satie called "furniture music". This means music that is intended to blend into the ambient atmosphere of the room rather than directly focused upon.

The inspiration for this album began when Eno was left bed-ridden by an accident and was given an album of eighteenth century harp music. After struggling to put the record on the turntable and returning to bed, he realized that it was turned down toward the threshold of inaudibility and he lacked the strength to turn it up. Eno said this experience taught him a new way to perceive music.

This album is also an experiment in algorithmic, generative composition. His intention was to explore multiple ways to create music with limited planning or intervention.

The a-side of the album is a thirty minute piece titled "Discreet Music". It was originally intended as a background for Robert Fripp to play against in a series of concerts.