Well, if the bridge construction didn’t make traffic around here bad enough, 124th is just plain silly now with Groat Road completely shut down. But the good news is, if you are going to be stuck in traffic, you might as well park and came dig through the racks. Loads of great stuff coming in these days!
Also, Record Store Day is quickly approaching. The ‘official’ RSD list has been posted…. here. Please take a look at it and if there is something you’d like to be able to pick up on RSD here, please let us know ASAP. While we obviously order everything we thing our customers would be interested in, if you want to pick up that Dolly Parton LP as much as I do let us know so we can be sure to order enough so you and me aren’t fist fighting in the parking lot over it. The cut-off for orders is quickly approaching so let us know if you will be looking for something random sooner than later.
…..picks of the week…..
Piero Umiliani: Tra Scienza e Fantascienza (WRWTFWW) LP
First vinyl reissue of a highly-sought after electronic abstract future jazz release by Italian soundtrack and library music composer Piero Umiliani, originally released on Umiliani’s label Omicron in 1980 under the pseudonym Moggi. Umiliani’s releases are generally expensive and hard to find, and Tra Scienza e Fantascienza is no exception. Umiliani was a master, gifted with a never-ending passion for music, and an experimental innovator who manipulated synthesizers with ease, forging a sound that could be reductively termed avant-garde. Timeless atmospheres and alien hypnotic sonorities that are modern and charmingly retro; minimal and complex; arranged with precision. Umiliani was way ahead of his time; hear, for instance, “Happy Accompaniment”: it sounds like a 2015 minimal house track.
File Under: Electronic, Library, Italian, Raerz
Mutamassik: Symbols Follow (Discrepant) LP
FILE UNDER: AfrabiroQ.+Martial MelanQ.+Qubti FunQ.+… Mutamassik aka Giulia Loli: producer, musician, improviser, artist, synesthete. The follow-up to 2012’s Rekkez (ini.itu). “…uneasy… uncompromising… unapologetic” –Sam Davies, The Wire. “Deftly maneuvering the space between tradition and innovation, acoustic and digital, familiar and unexpected” –Okay Africa. “The headiness of the treated strings and clattering percussion sets her mixes apart from anyone culling beats” –Owen Strock, CMJ. “From the jungles of Brooklyn to a cave in the mountains of Italy via Cairo; Mutamassik keeps relocating headquarters for immigrant punkjaw revolution” –Anna Gavanas. MELANQOL BAROQUE parq dunq ARABIFIED SWAMP MUSIC darq punq QUBTI BEATS in addition to transcendental sonic experiments. From liner notes: “There born the excitement, from the loins of broken gear and deft midwife. Music for disinfection, in order to heal. To build a dream on. Because before we or they or us learned to ignite and harness fire existed. It only let us. Aggressive Atheists are being used to show how inevitable structured reverence is by inadvertently establishing their own religion by way of dogma, righteous conviction, intellectual punishment, headed by scientists as the new priests, technology as the ritual tool of salvation. With or without their knowing it Religious Zealots are being used to martyr their own religions on altars of utter faithlessness by carrying out just icing, consequentially projecting an image of a weak, untrustworthy god. With or without their knowing it.” “Plosive polyrhythmic instinct deep cut with ancient future inscriptions fashioned by hand — unfashionably — beveled metal revealing wood grain anima(l). Proof of origin. Lines of red paint on volcanic rock. Syncopathic shimmering soundtrack + magnetic tension. Symph slam somber chroma + hymns. Melancholic and sanguine and faith. Purposeful Anachronism for new dance. New spirituals.” –Mutamassik
File Under: Electronic, Ethnic, Collage, Experimental
Andrew Bird: Weather Systems (Wegawam) LP
Described by Pitchfork in 2003 as “music for the ages that demands to be heard”, the songs on Andrew Bird’s second solo album reveal themselves at a confidant, unhurried pace reflecting the thoughtfulness with which they were conceived. Weather Systems originated in a barn converted to studio/living space in remote western Illinois, as creating music was becoming central to Bird’s everyday life. The virtuoso instrumentalist employs violin, glockenspiel, organ, whistling, and tape loops to set the scene for the intimate, haunting stories he tells through his lyrics. It’s a lush, gorgeous collection of seven original songs plus Bird’s own adaptation of a Galway Kinnell poem and a Handsome Family cover “Don’t Be Scared” (which Andrew recorded again on his 2014 covers album, ‘Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of”), showcasing his gift for conveying subtle emotional states purely through music. Originally released in 2003, Weather Systems is now available on vinyl for the first time (150 gram/re-mastered for vinyl) through Wegawam Music with reimagined art by Jay Ryan.
File Under: Indie Rock
Anna Caragnano & Donato Dozzy: Sintetizzatrice (Spectrum Spools) LP
Sintetizzatrice is the first recorded document of the collaboration between veteran DJ and producer Donato Dozzy and female vocalist Anna Caragnano. Through his solo work, and in his collaboration with Giuseppe Tilleci (Neel) as Voices from the Lake, Dozzy has achieved some of the most remarkable vistas contemporary electronic music has seen since the turn of this century. By removing himself from his areas of mastery to shift his focus on the voice, he has achieved a new peak with Sintetizzatrice. Over nine tracks, Dozzy works exclusively with the voice of Rome-based vocalist Anna Caragnano, with no other instruments. Heavy layering and effects processes are used to display an astoundingly versatile voice-centric vocabulary. Rarely can a record morph from R&B to kosmische, through traditional Italian folk music, to Fluxus styles and traditional chamber choir with no additional instrumentation. Just a singular, beautiful voice. The results are simply phenomenal. With the opening, “Introduzione,” an immeasurable cosmic weight arrives and remains through the duration of the album. “Star Cloud” ascends with melancholy extended drones that evaporate concepts like time and being, rendering basic human perceptions void all the way through “Parallelo.” “Parola” dances around the stereo field with dazing rhythms and melodies, while “Festa (A Mottola)” is an homage to the traditional music found in the rural region where, coincidentally, both Dozzy’s mother and Caragnano were born and raised. The album’s closing pieces “Love Without Sound” and “Conclusione” hit hard in a way to which no words can do justice. By fearlessly entering uncharted territories, Dozzy and Caragnano have made a collaboration which is truly experimental. Sintetizzatrice is a grand debut for Anna Caragnano and a fantastic twist for Donato Dozzy. Produced and mixed by Dozzy at Alaska Studio, Rome, in 2014. Mastered by Giuseppe Tilleci at EnissLab Studio, Rome. Transferred to tape by Pietro Micioni, Angelo Compagnoni, and Massimo Zuccaroli at Village Studio, Rome. Cut by Christoph Grote-Beverborg at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. Front cover painting by Angela Scaramuzzi. Cover design by Koto Hirai.
File Under: Electronic, Experimental, Vocal
Alessandro Cortini: Forse 3 (Important) LP
Forse 3 is the final release in Alessandro Cortini’s Forse Trilogy. Like parts 1 and 2, Forse 3 has a distinct sound and feeling. Edition of 500. Alessandro Cortini (Nine Inch Nails, How To Destroy Angels) recorded Forse using a Buchla Music Easel; of which only 13 are known to exist. “Forse,” meaning “maybe” in Italian, is a series of three double LP releases. “All pieces were written and performed live on a Buchla Music Easel, in the span of one month. I found that the limited array of modules that the instrument offers sparked my creativity. Most pieces consist of a repeating chord progression, where the real change happens at a spectral/dynamic level, as opposed to the harmonic/chordal one. I believe that the former are just as effective as the latter, in the sense that the sonic presentation (distortion, filtering, wave-shaping, etc.) are just as expressive as a chord change or chord type, and often reinforce said chord progressions. Of all the years with Nine Inch Nails, the period spent writing and recording the instrumental record Ghosts I-IV is probably the one which changed my approach to music-making the most. After that record I started getting more into instrumental composition, although I tried to approach it in a different way. While we had a vast array of tools and instruments at our disposal then, I decided to approach my pieces limiting myself to one instrument only, as I found myself being more decisive when faced with a limited creative environment.”
File Under: Electronic, Synth, Ambient, NIN
Lee Fields: Emma Jean Instrumentals (Truth & Soul) LP
“Instrumental version of Lee Fields & The Expressions’ Emma Jean record.”
File Under: Soul, Funk
Fort Romeau: Insides (Ghostly) LP
Like many others, Ghostly International became enamored with Fort Romeau’s idea of “slow listening,” the concept of enriching relationships with music through careful attention and focus. His understated take on deep, groove-friendly house started pushing this practice three years ago, when the producer’s debut LP, Kingdoms, appeared via 100% Silk. The native Londoner, born Mike Greene, has evolved considerably since then, finessing his sound over the course of three breezy 12″s, one EP, and lengthy DJ sets at some of the best clubs in Europe – not the least of which were Berlin’s famed Panorama Bar, London hotspot Plastic People, and Robert Johnson in Frankfurt. Those years Greene spent immersed in his craft and new inspirations have generously informed the eight stunning productions which comprise Insides, Fort Romeau’s long-awaited sophomore album. “Playing in those clubs definitely had an affect on how I approach composition and pacing,” Greene shares. “I want to allow things to breathe and develop gradually over longer track lengths, rather than cram everything into four or five minutes.” His patient methods are a central component to the billowy house music on Insides, though this isn’t an indulgent album of gratuitous buildups and tiresome breakdowns. Each production is pointed and purposeful, as the artist crafts every second of analog electronics with rich detail, nuance, and refinement. Throughout Insides, Fort Romeau guides us down misty corridors lined with supple synth pads, quietly thumping kicks, and elastic low-end sequences reinforced by an emotive confidence.
File Under: Electronic, House
Francis the Great: Ravissante Baby (Hot Casa) LP
Rare funk and avant-garde soul from a seven-year-old kid singer featuring the best musicians of France and the Cameroonian diaspora, recorded in Paris in 1977. The album contains two nicely dramatic tracks: “Ravissante Baby (Negro Phasing)” is a long, hypnotic, funky soukous track with a tremendous lead guitar and a long spoken-word and soulful kid vocal about the beauty of nature; “Look Up in the Sky (Negro Nature)” is a stretched funk groove with psych synth by Michel Morose, bubbling bassline by the great Victor Edimo, the famous Toto Guillaume on guitar, and a brilliant poetic lyric by Francis the Great, who at that time studied in Ménilmontant, Paris. Originally produced by his father, a great impresario of African artists in Paris during the ’70s, and coordinated by his mother, this album is unique, fresh, and almost unclassifiable. It’s universal funk! Hot Casa Records is proud to reissue this holy grail after years of research. Includes interview; officially licensed with Francis Mbarga himself, in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
File Under: Funk, Soul, Avant-Garde
Gaussian Curve: Clouds (Music From Memory) LP
Music from Memory’s fourth release sees the Amsterdam-based label taking an exciting sidestep with the release of Clouds. It’s the debut album from Gaussian Curve, a collaboration between Italian ambient pioneer Gigi Masin, Land of Light’s Jonny Nash, and Marco Sterk (also known as Young Marco). The trio came together during a weekend-long recording session in April, 2014, with no preconceived ideas. Developed around improvised jams, the eight tracks on the album are all single-take live recordings. The three musicians succeed in developing a musical language all of their own, with Gigi Masin on Rhodes and piano; Jonny Nash on guitar, melodica, synths, and trumpet; and Marco Sterk on synths, rhythmic structures, and production duties. Recorded in the heart of Amsterdam’s red-light district, the album reflects the unusually warm spring and the buzz from the open windows that filled the derelict downtown studio space during that particular weekend. And on the more introverted late-night compositions, the music quietly soars, reflecting the brooding melancholy of an evening in that particular part of the city. Clouds is a simple, heartfelt record of an inspired meeting of unique souls in unique surroundings.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress (Constellation) LP/CD
Out March 31st! Godspeed You! Black Emperor (GYBE) returns with its first single LP-length release since the group’s earliest days in 1997-99. Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress clocks in at a succinct 40:23 and is arguably the most focused and best-sounding recording of the band’s career. Working with sound engineer Greg Norman (Electrical Audio) at studios in North Carolina and Montreal, GYBE slowly and steadily put the new album together through late 2013 and 2014, emerging with a mighty slab of superlative sonics, shot through with all the band’s inimitable signposts and touchstones: huge unison riffage, savage noise/drone, oscillating overtones, guitar vs. string counterpoint, inexorable crescendos and scorched-earth transitions. Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress finds Godspeed in top form; a sterling celebration of the band’s awesome dialectic, where composition, emotion and ‘note-choice’ is inextricable from an exacting focus on tone, timbre, resonance and the sheer materiality of sound. LP is pressed on 180 gram virgin vinyl at Optimal (Germany) and comes in a heavyweight gatefold jacket with full-color printed dust sleeve, pull-out art poster and download code for 320 kbps MP3 copy of the album.
File Under: Rock, Post Rock, Drone
Komodo Haunts: Suijin (Aguirre) LP
Komodo Haunts is the psychedelic drone solo project of Ollie Tutty (aka Mt. Tjhris), from Lincolnshire, UK. With his music he explores drone structure, sonic textures, meditative zones, and personal fictions. Making use of analog and digital technologies; tape jams playing on human familiarity, natural ambiances, faux-exotica, mythologies, “reality therapy.” Taking inspiration from drone masters and new-age wanderers, the Suijin album is all about getting into “the zone” and could be the soundtrack to an unreleased Tarkovsky movie. Building up from a basis of minimalistic stylings in the vein of Terry Riley’s Persian Surgery Dervishes and adding rich instrumental and vocal layers later. Notes on Suijin/notes on water: liquid forms; Suijin, the Shinto god of water — water as a force — the symbolic status of water — people-water relationship. Instruments range from shifting tape loops to reverb-laden electric guitar and dark synths, human voice, wind, distorted bass, ceramic ocarina, acoustic strings, processed electronics, and oscillating waves. Artwork by Tutty. Glossy finishing. Limited to 250 copies.
File Under: Drone, Ambient, Minimalism
Yannis Kyriakides/Andy Moor: A Life A Billion Heartbeats (Discrepant) LP
A Life Is a Billion Heartbeats continues Yannis Kyriakides and Andy Moor’s exploration and mining of the rich and mysterious terrain of Greek rebetika music from the early 20th century. Their first release of this project (simply titled Rebetika (2010)) was for the most part taken from a live recording at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, in 2006. In the years that they have been performing the set since, the songs and improvisations featured on this LP have grown and expanded in repertoire and range of expression, giving more space for rhythmic and hypnotic elements to come to the fore. The music ranges from more composed and arranged renditions of the old tunes to completely improvised pieces that try to capture a sense of the gesture and tonalities of the source music, albeit with a contemporary edge. The material derives again from the golden period of rebetika music, the late ’20s and early ’30s, including voices such as Rita Abatzi, Markos Vamvakaris, Giorgos Batis, and the great guitarist and singer Kostas Bezos. Mastered by Kyriakides. Limited to 500 copies.
File Under: Avant Rock, Greek, Rebetika, Collage
Fabiano do Nascimento: Danca Dos Tempos (Now Again) LP
“Dança dos Tempos is the debut album from thrilling, young Brazilian guitarist Fabiano do Nascimento, and it features legendary percussionist Airto Moreira in his first album project in over ten years. Dança dos Tempos follows folkloric Brazilian music as experienced through the mind and able fingers of an expansive musician, not yet thirty years old, and combines the heady ’60s and ’70s experimentalism of Hermeto Pascoal and Baden Powell with the childlike elegance of music played and passed down by native Brazilians for generations. It is the second Brazilian album released on Now-Again, following Seu Jorge and Almaz. Moreira, the bandleader, songwriter and producer who recorded a bevy of titles under his own name, with his wife Flora Purim, and whose resume contains the names of — seriously — every musician worth mentioning from America or Brazil from the past 50 years — plays percussion on the album and is joined by do Nascimento’s long time drummer, Ricardo ‘Tiki’ Pasillas on trap drums. Do Nascimento and Kana Shimanuki handle vocals on what is otherwise an airy instrumental album that allows the guitarist’s virtuosity to shine through originals, folkloric Brazilian songs, and select covers by the likes of Pascoal and Powell, both formative influences on the guitarist. These duets show the camaraderie that two master Brazilian musicians — of two different generations, but of the same spirit — share with comrades of ages past as they imagine music for the years to come. These tracks were recorded live in the studio with no overdubs, straight to 2″ analog-tape, and only sparingly mastered to focus on the subtleties of the performances.”
File Under: Brazilian, Folk
Bruno Nicolai: La Dama Rossa Uccide 7 Volte (Dagored) LP
First time ever on vinyl – Exclusive remastering – Exclusive artwork – in collaboration with Beyond Horror Design – Bonus poster (first pressing only) – Bruno Nicolai met Morricone when they were both studying at Rome’s Santa Cecilia music academy. Nicolai was the conductor on many of the maestro’s scores from For a Few Dollars More onwards, but also found himself with plenty of composing work of his own throughout the 60s and 70s. Nicolai became almost as prolific as the maestro himself, particularly within the western and giallo genres. The Red Queen is a great example of his giallo work. It has a distinctive and memorable main theme, and a second ascending piano-led theme that accompanies some of the suspense sequences. The first instance of the main theme comes right at the beginning, hauntingly sung by a small child on ‘Preludio & Titoli’. In ‘Minaccia’ we find that heavy suspense/chase bassline that Nicolai so often used in his giallo and Jess Franco scores, lush, atmospheric, and decidedly ‘euro’.
File Under: OST, Italian, Giallo
The Notwist: Messier Objects (Alien Transister) LP
When The Notwist returned with their acclaimed seventh studio album Close to the Glass in early 2014, many were enchanted by the epic instrumental track “Lineri.” It was the only instrumental track featured on that album, but according to Markus Acher, the band’s vocalist, instrumental works had an important role in the album. Indeed, while the band’s members pursued solo projects between 2008’s The Devil, You + Me and 2014’s Close to the Glass, The Notwist also composed instrumental works for several theater productions and radio plays, some of which are compiled here as The Messier Objects. The collection obviously brings to mind the ghosts of library music and ’70s soundtracks, but can also be heard as a summary of the band’s ever-evolving musical cosmos. The 17 featured pieces range from sample-based electronic collages to the buoyant post-rock of “Das Spiel ist aus.” Whether the band is experimenting with modular synthesizers, analog percussion, or even horn sections (“Object 11″), there remains a constant flow of gentle grooves that makes this open-minded collection more than just a companion piece to Close to the Glass. The double LP edition is presented in a screen-printed cover, features an etching on side D, includes a download code, and is limited to 2000 copies worldwide.
File Under: Electronic, Instrumental
OST: The Twilight Zone (Sonitron) LP
Released on Columbia Records in 1960. The Twilight Zone is a cornucopia of space age sounds and great space age pop names. Jerry Murad on harmonica, Mundell Lowe on guitar; Lois Hunt sang the ethereal wordless vocals, while Harry Breuer played the vibes and Phil Kraus covered miscellaneous percussion. Manning himself covered keyboards, using both Ondioline and Ondes Martenot. The album also earns a footnote in musical history as one of the very few recordings to use a serpent, the instrument, that is. Manning got his start during the Big Band era, and he was working as a freelance arranger by the early 1940s. He worked in radio, arranging and conducting for a variety of NBC and CBS shows, and began a long relationship with Columbia Records in the early 1950s. He arranged and conducted on many of Tony Bennett’s earliest hits, such as “Rags to Riches,” and he went on to provide backing for most of Columbia’s roster of singers through the late 1960s, including Vic Damone, Buddy Greco, Andy Williams, Robert Goulet, and Barbra Streisand. His arrangement for Bennett’s biggest hit, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” won a Grammy Award in 1962, and he was nominated several other times for other arrangements for Bennett, Perry Como, Brenda Lee, and others. The Twilight Zone opens with a version of the show’s well-known title music and is a very odd and different approach to “space pop.” Band leader Manning plays the Ondioline and the “Martinot” (sic), accompanied by a stellar cast of studio helpers including Mundell Lowe (guitar), Jerry Murad (harmonica), and Harry Breuer (percussion). There is so much percussion, in fact, that at times this sounds like “jungle exotica” gone to outer space. Special effects are attributed to Attilio J. Macero. Song selections include “Forbidden Planet,” “The Unknown,” “The Moon Is Low,” and “Far Away.” The industrial-sounding arrangement on the latter is referred to in the liner notes as a “tuned motorboat.” The effect-laden “Night on Bald Mountain,” featuring screams by vocalist Lois Hunt and electric guitar by Lowe, is another highlight. Limited edition of 300 copies.
File Under: OST, TV
Charlemagne Palestine/Rhys Chatham: Youuu + Mee = Weee (First) (Sub Rosa) LP
Sub Rosa presents Youuu + Mee = Weee (First), a vinyl edition of the first disc of the three CD set Youuu + Mee = Weee. Youuu + Mee = Weee is the first recorded collaboration between Charlemagne Palestine and Rhys Chatham. And it’s precious. Following the musical meetings with Z’ev (Rubhitbangklanghear Rubhitbangklangear), and with Tony Conrad, these new Sub Rosa sessions create a sort of trilogy. Rhys Chatham began his musical career as a piano tuner for avant-garde pioneer La Monte Young, also working as a harpsichord tuner for Gustav Leonhardt, Rosalyn Tureck, and Glenn Gould. He soon studied under electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick became a member of Young’s group, The Theater of Eternal Music, during the early ’70s. Chatham also played with Tony Conrad in an early version of Conrad’s group, The Dream Syndicate. In 1971, while still in his teens, Chatham became the first music director at the experimental art space The Kitchen in lower Manhattan. His early works, such as Two Gongs (1971), owed a significant debt to Young and other minimalists. His concert productions included experimenters Maryanne Amacher, Robert Ashley, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, and early alternative rockers such as Fred Frith, Robert Fripp, Arto Lindsay, and John Lurie. He has worked closely with visual artist and musician Robert Longo, particularly in the 1980s, and with visual artist Joseph Nechvatal on an experimental opera called XS: The Opera Opus (1984-6). By 1977, Chatham’s music had become heavily influenced by punk rock after an experience at an early Ramones concert. He was particularly influential upon the group of artists music critics would label “no wave” in 1978. Members of the New York City noise rock group Band of Susans began their careers in Chatham’s ensembles; they later performed a cover of Chatham’s “Guitar Trio” on their 1991 album, The Word and the Flesh. Chatham began playing trumpet in 1983, and his more recent works explore improvisatory trumpet solos employing amplification and effects. Youuu + Mee = Weee (First) features Charlemagne Palestine on Bösendorfer piano, Yamaha organ, and voice and Rhys Chatham on trumpet, loop pedal, and electric guitar. This first edition is pressed on clear red vinyl and limited to 500 copies.
File Under: Drone, Minimalism, Experimental
Papir: Live at Roadburn (El Paraiso) LP
After four studio albums, Papir unleash their first live album. It’s surprising it took so long, since the band’s shows have long been revered among fans. Recorded at the 2014 Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, Netherlands, where Papir were asked to perform three times. It’s the complete recording of the first and finest of these shows that Papir have chosen for this release, and it’s all here: Christoffer Brøchmann’s jaw-dropping drum chops, easing from delicate jazzy drumrolls one second into deranged math-psych explosions the next; Nicklas Sørensen’s vast array of guitar styles, blending post-rock drones with majestic wah-drenched soloing; and Christian Becher keeping it all together with his bouncing and booming bass lines, as well as utilizing his groovemaker to make blistering ethereal soundscapes. From the first note, Papir show just how far they’ve travelled over the span of a few years, catapulting a motoric track off their 2010 self-produced DIY self-titled debut into new soaring heights. The show also reworks “Monday” and “Sunday #2″ from Stundum, their first El Paraiso release, and drops a highlight from 2014’s IIII into the equation. As if this wasn’t enough, they premiere two tracks with the same stamina, making sure that Live At Roadburn is not just a roadmap of where they’ve been, but very much an up-to-date snapshot of one of Europe’s hardest working instrumental outfits. The album was mixed and mastered by Causa Sui’s Jonas Munk from a 24bit multitrack recording.
File Under: Rock, Psych
Raica: Dose (Further) LP
A former globetrotting DJ, Further Records founder Chloe Harris shelved that lifestyle and aesthetic for a more stable family life in the Seattle area and a more cerebral approach in the studio. With this collection of exploratory compositions, originally released as a limited cassette in 2012, she decided to experiment with an array of synthesizers, mainly the Waldorf Q. Working on the eight tracks here in her home setup, Harris would “layer as much as I could or sometimes there was no layering at all. I tried to let the machines talk. I was trying to find my own voice. It was sad and melancholy because I stopped DJing and decided to try something new in my career.” This change had financial and creative risks, but Harris has transitioned boldly into this more adventurous musical mode. Each track on Dose is a distinctive foray into beatless sound design. There’s too much happening here to describe this album as “ambient” or “chillout,” yet it’s not typically academic-sounding, either. Harris lets her intuition guide her and those finely calibrated instincts lead to gripping pieces that subtly evolve over their three- to six-minute durations. A thrilling sense of otherworldliness becomes the norm on Dose. “Water Dragn” achieves an aquatic grandeur with its teeming drones beneath elastic pulsations, throbbing with the subliminal ominousness of mid-’70s Tangerine Dream. “Tiwie” is the most up-tempo track here; marked by a wonky motif of what might be pitch-shifted seal utterances or some other sea-life’s emissions, it generates a woozy pattern that nudges the listener into a delirious reverie. “Couchfire Dron” is a deeply poignant and morose atmospheric work that suggests an infinite expanse of paradoxically exhilarating gloom. Similarly, the dank, frigid auroras of “Skrt” are shot through with skittering rhythms not made by drums but rather what seem like rapid intakes of breath, their textures hitting the ear like frantically sweeping ice-scrapers on windshields. “Harchone” unspools a psychedelic mélange of tones and textures swirling in a chromium abyss, reminiscent of Nik Raicevic’s mind-altering synthesizer abstractions recorded in the early ’70s. When album-closer “Entrldam” blooms into earshot, its profound whorl of gray drones signifies a momentous conclusion to a work that proves Harris has reached a new peak. Further Records now presents a vinyl reissue of this opus, spurred on by the urging of Italian techno magus Donato Dozzy. Mastered by Rashad Becker at Dubplates and Mastering.
File Under: Electronic, Space, Experimental, Dub
Silence: The Silence (Drag City) LP
“Batoh announced the end of Ghost, a band whose first work reached back to 1984. Quick on the heels of this heady announcement, Batoh declared the beginning of The Silence. Still in need of direction, he turned to another old companion and original Ghost-mate of the many years gone by, Ogino. Tasked with the production and arrangement of The Silence, Ogino selected Jan Stigter on bass, Ryuichiro Yoshida on flute and saxophone, and himself on organ and piano. With Okano playing drums and percussion and Batoh supplying guitar and vocals, The Silence was complete. The debut album from The Silence is at last available! Drawing deep into a collective musical soul that extends many eras into the past, the songs of The Silence fill the air with the richness of powerful rock and roll and the deep mystic resonance of the ancient traditional musics of the world. From the rich melodies of Silence originals, ‘Lemon Iro No Cannibis’ and ‘Jewels in Tibet,’ to their flute-and-power chord-laden version of ‘Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair,’ to the flowing liquid psychedelia of ‘Triptycon,’ the guttural cabaret mutterings of Can’s ‘Tango Whiskeyman’ and the frantic, explosive dimensions of ‘Pesach,’ The Silence runs through instrumental colors like passing thoughts in the mind, making each one of them music and making an incredible rock album for this century!”
File Under: Rock, Psych, Prog, Ghost
Spectre: Ruff Kutz (Pan) LP
PAN digs into the archives of WordSound label founder Skiz Fernando Jr. (aka Spectre) to reissue for the first time his 1998 experimental hip-hop mixtape, Ruff Kutz, originally released as an extremely limited edition cassette. A definitive mixtape featuring hits, remixes, previously unreleased tracks, and dub-plate specials from Sensational, Mr. Dead, Bill Laswell, Jungle Brothers, Kevin Martin, and many more. The early ’90s witnessed a spike in mutant strains of future dub. In Bristol, trip-hop and jungle were on the rise; in Manhattan it was noise and breakbeat. But in Brooklyn, hip-hop experimentation was gaining momentum, led by Skiz’s independent label WordSound. With support from Bill Laswell, WordSound charted the experimental edge of hip-hop and dub, taking equal inspiration from Bronx rap and Jamaican roots music as they pioneered a lo-fi sound both primal and futuristic. By the turn of the decade, the combination of dub, ambient, and hip-hop aesthetics had been baptized by The Wire magazine as “illbient” — a short-lived classification now being exhumed in the form of Spectre’s obscure mixtape, Ruff Kutz. Ruff Kutz revisits the years between 1994 and ’98, a formative era for WordSound and experimental beats in general. The original cassette, according to Skiz, was composed of alternative mixes, obscure beats, and unreleased tracks and edits. Unsigned material from Dubadelic (supergroup of Bill Laswell, Ted Parsons, DXT, and others), rapper Sensational, Kevin “The Bug” Martin’s Techno Animal project, Professor Shehab as his lyrical alter-ego Psycho Priest, Djini Brown, Mr. Dead of the Metabolics, Doc Israel, Scotty Hard, and Slotek all appear throughout this vinyl reissue, fully mastered for the first time from the original DAT tapes in their original sequence. Mastered and cut at Dubplates & Mastering.
File Under: Hip Hop, Experimental, Illbient
Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty) LP/CD
Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty) is the newest offering from pop-art singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens. These are aggressive times. Each morning we awaken to a psychic blitz of breaking news, social outrage, and millions of images and voices shrieking look at me and this onslaught does not cease until late at night when the last glowing screen fades to black. This world demands our attention with one hand and destroys it with the other. That such a noisy age can deliver an album as graceful and honest as Carrie & Lowell should reassure anyone losing faith these days. Let no one say philosophy is dead, for here is a 44-minute meditation on mortality, memory, and faith. Carrie & Lowell sounds like memory: it spans decades yet does not trade on pastiche or nostalgia. Stevens’ gauzy double-tracked vocals wash across the dashboard of long-finned, drop-top Americana, yet as we race towards the coast we are reminded that sunshine leads to shadow, for this is a landscape of terminal roads, unsteady bridges, traumatic video stores, and unhappy beds that provide the scenery for tales of jackknifed cars, funerals, and forgiveness for the dead. Each track in this collection of eleven songs begins with a fragile melody that gathers steam until it becomes nothing less than a modern hymn. Sufjan recounts the indignities of our world, of technological distraction and sad sex, of an age without either myth or miracle – and this time around, his voice carries the burden of wisdom. If youth knew, if age could.
File Under: Indie Rock, Pop
Tredici Bacci: 13 Kisses (Feeding Tube) LP
Edition of 300. Originally released digitally in 2013. “First vinylization of the great debut by this large Boston ensemble, helmed by Simon Hanes (ex-Guerilla Toss) and dedicated to reinventing the sounds that drove Italian cinema throughout the ’60s and ’70s. Their touch is goddamn perfect, including technical tropes you’ll recognize as updates of everyone from Nino Rota to Ennio Morricone and way way beyond. Largely instrumental, the sound blends mysterious lone trumpets, plonking percussion twangers, syrupy organ bleeds, swathes of strings (real or imagined), and clomping rhythms in a way that’ll make you sit straight up in your chair and yell, ‘Ciao!’ A bunch of these players were also involved with Survivors Breakfast, who played with Anthony Coleman on his most recent Tzadik disc, The End of Summer (2013), but this project trumps all others. Great stuff. Can’t wait ’til they hook up with Asia Argento.” –Byron Coley, 2015
File Under: Pseudo-OST, 60s/70s Italian, Homage
Uneven Eleven: Live at Café OTO (Sub Rosa) LP
Supergroup power trio featuring drummer Charles Hayward (This Heat), guitarist Kawabata Makoto (Acid Mothers Temple), and bassist Guy Segers (Univers Zero) caught in wild act at Cafe OTO, London, on May 24, 2013.
File Under: Rock, Experimental
Joel Vandroogenbroeck: Biomechanoid (Aguirre) LP
Biomechanoid is the classic 1980 album by composer and flutist Joel Vandroogenbroeck. It’s 1980, in Munich, Germany. Upstart production music label Coloursound Library releases their debut album. Capitalizing on the success of Ridley Scott’s Alien film, the label dropped Biomechanoid, featuring cover art commissioned by H.R. Giger — whose horrific Necronom IV lithograph served as the basis for the design of Alien — and the music of the relatively unknown Joel Vandroogenbroeck. Comprised of bleak, cinematic synth soundscapes and percussion, the album served as an inaugural calling card for what would be a decade of dizzying solo releases by Vandroogenbroeck for Coloursound, running the gamut from Mesopotamian ethno-folk to synth sequencer funk to electro drum breaks to in-utero ambient delights. Though the Belgian-born Vandroogenbroeck, 74, may not be a household name, in an ideal world, he would be. As the founder, flautist, harpist, sitar player and keyboardist of the seminal acid-fried Swiss psych outfit Brainticket, he spearheaded the group’s three main (and collectible) releases in the early ’70s — Cottonwood Hill, Celestial Ocean, and Psychonaut. Combining a love of exotic instruments coupled with mind-bending out-of-body excursions, the ever-changing collective developed something of a cult following throughout Europe and earned a reputation as one of the heavier psych outfits on the circuit — which was something of a double-edged sword. While their experimental sound resonated with hippies everywhere, it didn’t with the authorities, who associated the act with heavy drug consumption and subsequently began a ban of their music, especially the Psychonaut album, if for the title alone. After that bitter brush with censorship, the group quietly disbanded in 1972. After the dissolution of Brainticket, Vandroogenbroeck departed for the island of Bali with the intent of learning to build and play the gamelan — an ensemble of primarily percussion instruments from Indonesia. It would become yet another weapon in his ever-growing arsenal of exotic instruments: he was already proficient on the sitar, harp, kalimba, assorted percussion oddities and all woodwinds by this point. Vandroogenbroeck became so enraptured with the frenetic sound of the gamelan that he subsequently left the tropics to start up a joged bumbung (a variation on a gamelan) band back in Switzerland. While playing small festivals and civic events with this group, Joel began to slowly gravitate towards the synth-heavy Kraut sounds of artists like Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze at the same time. And once he began dabbling with oscillators, he never turned back. After inking a library deal around this time with the nascent Coloursound label, who gave him complete creative control, Vandroogenbroeck began turning out releases at a rapid rate, often three to five a year, and under a variety of aliases like V.D.B. Joel, J.V.D.B, and Eric Vann. Starting with the desolate synth drone of Biomechanoid, he continued to expand his sound palette while on Coloursound, moving from early arpeggiators on Computer Blossoms to percussive sound collage on Birth of Earth; and from Oberheim DMX drum breaks on Video Games & Data Movements to Apple II ambient programming on Digital Project. Biomechanoid stands after all these years as an album full of dark, strange, disturbing soundscapes, the obscure side of Brainticket, proving how Joel was still a creative artist. Matte finishing. Double-sided insert. Pressed on 180 gram vinyl.
File Under: Electronic, Prog, Experimental
Vatican Shadow: Death Is (Modern Love) LP
Death Is Unity With God finds Dominick Fernow returning to the kind of feral, burned-out productions that dominated 2012’s Ornamented Walls. This double LP includes 12 of the 20 tracks included on the original 2014 limited six-cassette release of Death Is Unity With God, in advance of Modern Love’s triple-CD edition compiling all the material. It clocks in at an hour and a half and features some of the most compelling productions from Fernow yet. Nodding to classic Muslimgauze, but also inspired by the parallels between religious fundamentalism at home in the USA and abroad, the oppressive atmospheres and destroyed rhythms isolate the gutted toil and drone in “It’s to Come,” while “F.B.I. God” reduces the drums to scorched blasts against some harrowing, darkside chords. The quasi-speed torment of “Manufactured Silencers Under Direct Orders” ends the A-side with dread, flowing into the haunting chorales and chiming percussions of “Living On and Off At the Shadows Motel” and the scything techno roil of “Small Explosives and Blasting Caps Inside the Pages of a Phonebook,” before a particularly effective chamber-like meditation, “McVeigh Figure,” draws aesthetic lines between ambient black metal, Coil, and early Autechre. “Waco Postmortem (Murrah)” ends the set operating nearly out of earshot with those incredible, sashaying synth motifs persisting in their struggle against the patina of hiss and exasperated rhythms blurred around the edges. Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Industrial
Alan Watts: This Is It (Numero) LP
Wayyyy out there cacophony & tribal GLOSSOLALIA from 1962!! Psychedelic music all began with the tiniest possible bang: a minuscule pressing of a self-produced LP by Zen Buddhist scholar Alan Watts. In one cosmic flash of inspiration and group improvisation, the next two decades of musical innovation was pre-supposed: psychedelic rock, spiritual jazz, and even new age. As this micro pressing barely made it out of the ashram, it was his writings that actually spread his ideas, usually through osmosis: he was profoundly influential on the beat poets and the subsequent counter-culture. He became the forebear of ‘60s counter-culture’s spirituality, much as William Burroughs was the forebear of its hedonism. Released in 1962, This Is It is an imaginative cacophony of percussion, non-verbal chanting, and free-flowing expression, punctuated occasionally by leisurely passes at a terrestrial piano, marimba, or french horn. It is at once, experimental, intellectual, and experiential. Three years before Ken Kesey’s inaugural Acid Test, This Is It! constitutes the first transmission for a tuned-in counterculture of hippies, beats, and psychedelic revolutionaries of all stripes. For fans of Cromagnon, Nihilist Spasm Band, or maybe even Terrence Mckenna.
File Under: Psychedelic, Experimental, Ground Zero
Gary Wilson: Music for Piano (Feeding Tube) LP
“Although it might sound perverse to say so, Music for Piano may well be my favorite Gary Wilson record. Most people who dig Wilson are very into his lyrics, but I actually find them to be a bit taxing after a while. Those early records all sound and feel amazing, but what I really wanted was to hear the music without the words. I had high hopes when I found a copy of Another Galaxy, the 1974 Gary Wilson Trio LP, but it had a very different heft than that which Gary displayed on You Think You Really Know Me. It was really just a jazz LP. Well, here’s some instrumental material from the same mid-late ’70s time frame as You Think, and it’s pretty amazing. There’s one side of classic youthful piano destruction by Gary and the late Vince Rossi (one of Gary’s most dependable collusionists). And the second side has five shorter tracks with a trio, that moves like oddball soundtrack music from ’70s exploitation cinema (which is exactly what I’d hoped Another Galaxy would be like), before ending with the vocal track ‘I Love Gary’ — as maniacally collapsed a ‘pop song’ construct as anyone could hope for. It’s a great record. A bit more overtly avant than the other three GW LPs we’ve done. But surely you can handle that.” –Byron Coley, 2015
File Under: Piano, Weirdos
Ndikho Xaba & The Natives: s/t (Matsuli) LP
“Ndikho Xaba was born in 1934 in Pietermaritzburg, KZN, South Africa. For thirty-four years — 1964-1998 — he lived in exile in the US, Canada and Tanzania. Originally issued by Trilyte Records out of Oakland, California, this 1970 recording is bracing, freewheeling Now Thing, suffused with SA idioms, and focused by a political urgency wiring together US Black Power, Black Aesthetics and the anti-apartheid front-line like nothing else. You can hear Trane from the off — ‘a spiritual offering to my ancestors’ — and plenty of Sun Ra, with whom The Natives several times shared double-bills. (Xaba was to become close with Phil Cohran and the AACM.) Freedom is a gutbucket-soul rendition of the people’s anthem; Nomusa is dedicated to Xaba’s new wife, a poet and CORE activist from Chicago. The thunderous finale Makhosi features drummer Keita from the West Indies, and Baba Duru, who studied percussion in India, before winding up with Xaba blowing eerily through a horn made from a giant piece of tubular seaweed. Hats off to Matsuli for this outstanding reissue.”
File Under: Jazz, Spiritual, African
Michael Yonkers: Neverending Light-Beam From Planet 00’s (Mystra) LP
“Do you know the numbers on people who are in it for life? They’re small. Real, real small. Kids & jobs come along to make regular adults out of most musicians. Even the ones who get that glossy magazine coverage or score that signing bonus can usually be found selling insurance 10 years down the line. A select few balance against family time. Fewer still find jobs teaching, and often have no energy left for their own stuff. Nobody, and I do mean nobody, just keeps going. It’s too hard. Michael Yonkers makes the energizer bunny look bad. He started making his own distortion (by slicing speaker cones) in the mid-1960s, built his own pedals, souped up his own guitars, and he’s still making distortion now that he’s in his late 60s. Even more unusual, his sound has gotten, if anything, cruder along the way. This is a collection that Yonkers put together from CD-s that he gave out to friends once a year between 2001 & 2008. What’s here are hard rock songs, and they’re goddamn well-written. Most of what you’ll hear are huge, scratched up, convulsive whorls of distortion piled all on top of themselves until you can barely discern the pitch underneath. Wow…The guy also ran a record & ephemera shop named Loonland during the 80s. He’s been a sheep breeder & a dance choreographer. He’s built a home studio or two, at least one of which had to work while he was confined to a hospital bed that was installed in his house. Yonkers suffers from adhesive arachnoiditis, a nerve swelling that seizes up your back, brought on by a 1971 accident where 2000 lbs fell on him, and permanently exacerbated by a nasty dye used to get xrays of the spine…. His voice has aged a little, but It’s still got a vibrato to it, mostly masked by the guitar here. But it’s better suited for these lyrics, as they’re a kind of burned & haunted you rarely hear.” –excerpt from Angela Sawyer’s liner notes. Silkscreened and hand-painted covers. Limited edition one-time pressing.
File Under: Psych, Fuzz, Garage
Roland P. Young: Confluences (EM) LP
The fourth release from Roland P. Young on EM Records sees him moving ever deeper, earthbound and rooted, yet simultaneously flying further out, expanding his exploration of untethered celestial realms. Recorded in 2014 following a move to Tel Aviv, the title Confluences hints at the blend of cultures and histories in his new homeland, and is reflected in the music, which shows a range of cultural influences, filtered through Young’s unique sensibility and vision. This is a calm, spiritual set, evidencing an inner comfort that was less prevalent on his Brooklyn recordings. This is not to imply that RPY is no longer searching; this release brings to fruition the promise of earlier recordings such as Isophonic Boogie Woogie and Istet Serenade, made complete via Young’s multi-instrumental chops on sax, bass clarinet, kalimba, and keyboards working in tandem with his rhythm and bass programming skills, his multi-track studio mastery, and an ever-evolving sense of musical form and drama. The confluences of cultures are of course swirling throughout this release, but also the confluences, as noted above, of the earthy and the celestial, as well as the temporal confluences of the past, present, and future. Perhaps more than any of his previous releases, Confluences realizes Young’s description of his own work as “Afro spiritual minimal electronic space music.” This release is the next stage of Roland P. Young’s never-ending voyage.
File Under: Spiritual, Minimal, Space
Various: Boom-a-Lay (Stag-o-Lee) 10″
Vinyl-only 10″ release. Stag-O-Lee presents Boom-A-Lay: Blues & Rhythm, Popcorn, Exotica & Tittyshakers Volume 7, released alongside Chug-A-Lug: Blues & Rhythm, Popcorn, Exotica & Tittyshakers Vol. 8 (STAGO 071LP) and following volumes one through six, which sold out almost immediately. Amazing, danceable tunes from the late ’50s and early ’60s — a handful of popcorn dancefloor smashes, a few grinding tittyshakers, awesome rhythm and blues, most of them with an exotic twist! Includes tracks by Plas Johnson & His Orchestra, Chance Halladay, Nick Anthony, Nicky de Matteo, David Seville, Ted Jarrett & Band, The Astro-Jets, Titus Turner, Ronny Savoy, Malcom Dodds, Alan Arkin, and the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
File Under: B&R, Exotica, Party
Various: Charred Remains (Radio Raheem) LP
“In the annals of early 80’s American hardcore, no compilation holds more seminal weight than Charred Remains. Initially released in 1982 on cassette through Bob Moore’s Version Sound label and available in limited supply, the release served the world the first earfuls of such groundbreaking and legendary bands such as Hüsker Dü, Die Kreuzen, Void, Violent Apathy, Toxic Reasons, Articles of Faith, Rebel Truth, Personality Crisis, and Sin 34. Besides the actual sounds contained on the tape, Charred Remains was a testament to that primary quake of DIY ethics that empowered many a short-haired youngster to start bands, record labels, and fanzines and forge the underground to where it is today. To find an original copy of this compilation and not have to give up a kidney in exchange would be quite a feat, but now Radio Raheem waves their magic wand and Charred Remains is something for everyone to enjoy in the vinyl format. Re-mastered from the original master tapes with liner notes from Bob Moore and Die Kreuzen vocalist Dan Kubinski, Charred Remains is rescued from the collector ghetto and plopped right down into your lap to behold.”
File Under: Punk, Hardcore
Various: Chug-a-Lug (Stag-o-Lee) 10″
Vinyl-only 10″ release. Stag-O-Lee presents Chug-A-Lug: Blues & Rhythm, Popcorn, Exotica & Tittyshakers Vol. 8, released alongside Boom-A-Lay: Blues & Rhythm, Popcorn, Exotica & Tittyshakers Volume 7 and following volumes one through six, which sold out almost immediately. Amazing, danceable tunes from the late ’50s and early ’60s — a handful of popcorn dancefloor smashes, a few grinding tittyshakers, awesome rhythm and blues, most of them with an exotic twist! Includes tracks by Dick D’agostin & The Swingers, Don Carroll, Mike Shaw, Chance Halladay, Deane Hawley, Jim Burgett, The Viscounts, Bobby Scott, Malcolm Dodds, Trini Lopez, Jimmy Ricks, and Oscar Perry.
File Under: B&R, Exotica, Party
Various: Rise & Fall of Paramount Records Volume 2 (Thirdman) 6LP Box
‘Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, Volume 2 (1928-1932)’ contains: * 800 newly-remastered digital tracks, representing 175 artists * 90+ fully-restored original 1920s-30s Paramount ads from Chicago Defender * 6 x 180g LPs pressed on alabaster-white label-less vinyl, each side with its own hand-etched numeral and holographic image * 250 pg. large-format clothbound hardcover book featuring original Paramount art and the label’s curious tale * 400 pg. encyclopedia-style softcover field guide containing artist bios & portraits and full Paramount discography * Polished aluminum and stainless steel cabinet, evoking 1930s high art deco stylings and America’s own Machine Age modernism * First-of-its-kind music and image player app containing all tracks and ads, housed on sculpted metal USB drive. On Nov 18th, Jack White’s Third Man Records, in partnership with John Fahey’s Revenant Records, will unlock the second and final chapter chronicling the curious tale of America’s most important record label with ‘The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, Volume 2 (1928-1932).’ A stunning omnibus of words, music, art and design, ‘Volume 2′ picks up where the ”spectacular” (New York Times) and ”unprecedented” (Rolling Stone) ‘Volume 1′ left off. It documents the label’s final 5 year period between 1928-32, a stunning second act in which Paramount birthed the entire genre of Mississippi Delta blues and issued some of the most coveted recordings in the history of the medium: Skip James, Charley Patton, Son House, Tommy Johnson, Geeshie Wiley, The Mississippi Sheiks, Willie Brown, King Solomon Hill, and hundreds of others. ‘Volume 2′ contains six LPs, a sculpted metal USB drive with 800 songs and 90+ original hand-drawn ads from the Chicago Defender, a large-format hardcover book telling the label’s story via new writing and original images, and an illustrated Field Guide with biographies and recording information for each artist represented in the set. It is all housed in a streamline case of polished aluminum modeled after a portable phonograph in 1930s American ”Machine Age” Art Deco style. Like ‘Volume 1′, the collection was co-produced by leading Paramount authority Alex van der Tuuk. Paramount Records’ open-door recording policy led it to the very bedrock of America’s untamed blues, jazz, gospel and folk sounds. In the process the label provided the earliest and most representative snapshot of America’s sonic landscape. ‘Volume 2′ offers a magnificent conclusion to this story of how a Wisconsin chair company, despite producing records on the cheap, changed how America thought of itself by allowing this young country to hear what it really sounded like, in all its stripes, for the very first time.
File Under: Blues, Boxsets
Various: Slow Grind Fever Vol. 4 (Stag-o-Lee) LP
Stag-O-Lee presents the fourth volume of Slow Grind Fever. Compiled by London’s DJ Diddy Wah, who is known for his Diddywah Blog, his radio show, and his constant presence as a host and DJ for London club nights like Heavy Sugar, Get Rhythm, and others. The decade between 1953 and 1963 offers an endless supply of danceable, up-tempo tunes. We’re talking rhythm ‘n’ blues, and the phase in the early ’60s when it morphed into soul (now called new breed), as well as popcorn — Belgian music with a mid-tempo style and a high groove-factor. The Slow Grind Fever series highlights the slower side of this period, and takes its title and inspiration from an Australian club night billed as “Melbourne’s only slow dance party.” These events would include only the “slowest, spookiest, sweetest records” the DJs could find, with folks dancing “real slow in a haze of smoke and dim red light.” Stag-O-Lee was convinced that this was a great concept for a compilation series, and have collaborated with those behind the Melbourne club night to present Slow Grind Fever, the fourth volume of which includes tracks by Jay Hawkins, Yvonne Fair & James Brown Band, Nappy Brown, Bobby Peterson Quintet, Big Daddy and His Boys, Roy Brown, Varetta Dillard, John Greer and His Combo, Duane Eddy, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, The Jaguars, Yvonne Baker and the Sensations, The Stone Crushers, Cozy Cole, and El Pauling and The Royalton.
File Under: R&B, Dance, Sleaze
Various: Spiritual Jazz Volume 6 (Jazzman) LP/CD
The power of the human voice, especially when held in song, has long been known to be immensely influential, potent, and emotive across all of humankind. The sixth installment in Jazzman’s Spiritual Jazz series showcases jazz vocals in a collection of jazz messages that are united in voice. The majority of the tracks here are as political as they are theological, but they all share an inner sanctity. In fact, as the distinction between the theological and the humanistic is blurred, so is the definition of song — many of the tracks are atypical in that they do not possess lyrics with a beginning, middle, and end. Likewise the voices that convey them often can’t be said to be singing in the usual sense of the word; we hear solemn chanting, intense wailing, earnest poetry, and ardent recitation in between bouts of singing, the quality of which is often nothing short of exquisite. The styles of performance encompass modern jazz, the avant-garde, and jazz fusion, and include elements of styles from the long and winding path of the African diaspora, including Cuban, Brazilian, Caribbean, and other Pan-American rhythms. Spiritual Jazz 6: Vocals examines some of the rarest and most extraordinary vocal jazz recordings. The selection includes some well-known songs as well as some of the most obscure. There are tracks recorded for major labels and some that were issued privately. But all of them speak or sing of a better place or a better world, and the world can only be a better place when they are played. This is esoteric jazz, modal jazz, spiritual jazz — as performed with the human voice. Includes tracks by Max Roach, Charles Mingus, Sadaka, Norman Riley, E W Wainright, Clifford Jordan, Pharoah Sanders, Linda Theus, Dr Haki R. Madhubuti, Eddie Gale, Gary Bartz, Byron Morris, and Vibration Society. All tracks fully licensed and digitally restored from the original master tapes. Features comprehensive liner notes with notes for each track and original stories direct from the musicians involved. CD edition includes 24-page color booklet with in-depth liner notes, album cover scans, and previously unpublished photographs. Double LP edition presented in glossy gatefold sleeve.
File Under: Jazz, Spiritual, Free Jazz
Various: Tumba Rumba (University of Vice) LP
The most torrid tropic-o-Latin record ever! A collection of fast, hot and intense Latin songs played by Cuban, Puerto Rican, Venezuelan, Peruvian and Mexican wild dance orchestras. Recorded in the ’40s/’50s/’60s, and originally released on vinyl and 78rpm shellac records. Savage bongos, volcanic trumpets, atomic rumbas, mambo inferno and primitive boogaloo for a successful party of exotic ecstasy. Artists include: Tojo y su Orquesta, Orquesta Ciudad Trujillo, Chico Salas, Orquesta Riverside, Noro Morales, Tino Contreras, Beto Ovalle, Chino Ortiz, Miguelito Valdés, and Joe Valle.
File Under: Latin, Exotica, Tiki
Various: Ultra High Frequencies: Chicago Party (Numero) LP/CD
For 23 straight Saturday nights of 1982, The Chicago Party dance show assaulted Chicagoland UHF eyeballs with Spandex, Southside fly guys, tender tenderonies, magicians, contortionists, prismatic video gimmickry, and lip-synched singles by a rising regime of local postdisco casualties. Unfettered nightlife and outlandish humor poured out of oddball outpost The CopHerBox II and onto TV screens, presented here as a 100 minute video mixtape on DVD. Its companion compilation features five previously unreleased tracks, joined by music culled from a trove of self-released 45s and small-time 12″s. Die-cut cathode-ray jacket and six inpackage stills put the Party at your fingertips. Available on CD or 2LP, each edition of Ultra-High Frequencies: The Chicago Party will arrive in one of six cover configurations, all of which are interchangeable via printed inner sleeves and enclosed booklet. Both editions include our entertaining DVD mix tape, isolating the most absurd and outrageous moments from the original broadcasts. Play functions enable viewers to enjoy 23 unique musical performances, as well as a mini-documentary about the creation and realization of The Chicago Party. For fans of electronic soul with a public access aesthetic, Ultra-High Frequencies: The Chicago Party is the place to be.
File Under: Electro-Soul, 80s, UHF
A Winged Victory for the Sullen: s/t (Kranky) LP
Afrika Bambaataa: Planet Rock (Get on Down) LP
Algarnas Tradgard: Framtiden är ett svävande skepp, förankrat i forntiden (Subliminal) LP
Jorge Ben: Ben e Samba Bom (Doxy) LP
Sir Richard Bishop: Tangiers Sessions (Drag City) LP
Sir Richard Bishop/Bill Orcutt: Road Stories (Unrock) LP
Black Flag: Loose Nut (SST) LP
Black Flag: Who’s Got the 10 1/2? (SST) LP
David Borden: Music for Amplified Keyboard Instruments (Spectrum Spools) LP
Charles Bradley Victim of Love (Daptone) LP
Brand Nubian: In God… (Traffic) LP
Brotzman/Haino/O’Rourke: 2 City Blues (Trost) LP
Don Cherry: Eternal Rhythm (MPS) LP
Jordan De La Sierra: Gymnosphere (Numero) LP
The Drones: Miller’s Daughter (Bang) LP
Bill Fay: Time of the Last Persecution (4 Men With Beards) LP
Funkadelic: Maggot Brain (Westbound) LP
Goat: World Music (Rocket) LP
Jon Hassell/Brian Eno: 4th World: Possible Musics (Glitterbeat) LP
Kink Gong: Xinjiang (Discrepant) LP
Konstrukt/William Parker: Live (Holidays) LP
Ma_Doom: Son of Yvonne (Fat Beats) LP
Master Musicians of Bukkake: Far West (Important) LP
MDC: Millions of Dead Cops (Beer City) LP
Mr. Bungle: California (Music on Vinyl) LP
Mr. Bungle: Disco Volante (Music on Vinyl) LP
Mr. Bungle: s/t (Music on Vinyl) LP
Jonas Munk: Pan (El Paraiso) LP
Os Mutantes: s/t (Lilith) LP
Raekwon: Only Built 4 Cuban Links (Get on Down) LP
Souls of Mischief: 93 ’til Death (Traffic) LP
Spelljammer: Volume 2 (Riding Easy) LP
Ghedelia Tazartes: Hysterie (Holidays) LP
The Thing: Garage (The Thing) LP
Muddy Waters: After the Rain (Get on Down) LP
White Birch: Weight of Spring (Glitterhouse) LP
Various: Killed By Death #5 (KBD) LP