It’s that time of year alright, forest fire time. And you know what that means… time for me to close up for a few days and take a holiday…. So mark it on your calendar…
We will be closed July 28th – Aug 1st, just Monday – Friday.
…..pick of the week…..
Various: Ecstacy of Gold Volume 5 (Semi-Automatic) LP
The killer conclusion to this essential and peerless series! Selected from one of the most complete Spaghetti Western audio archives, this series showcases the most inspired tracks in this legendary genre. Digging deep to excavate a treasure trove of obscure and rarely-heard tracks by some of the genre’s greatest composers and vocalists, Ecstasy of Gold is the definitive series for aficionados of Euro-Western films and the music that they created. Loud gunshots with reverb and echo appear with the first image of a lawless killer riding a horse… a punchy & trebly bass guitar seeps into your brain as he draws his pistol… a hair-raising scream, half-melodic, half-banshee, spews forth from the speakers as blood splatters yet again onto the desert floor. The audio soundtrack to the Italian version of the American West is flamboyant, brutal, intense, and unforgiving. Songs composed for the Italian Westerns of the 1960s and 1970s have become a genre all unto themselves. There were hundreds of European Westerns during this period and the majority of them were made by Italian directors and scored by Italian composers. Crying trumpets, exploding surf guitars, thundering drums, droning organs, dramatic vocal performances, and innovative special effects were woven into a wild and violent desert backdrop creating that undeniable Spaghetti Western sound heard on this record. The most famous of all the Italian soundtrack composers is Ennio Morricone and his music for the Italian Western is guaranteed to inspire and amaze until the end of time itself. But there were many other great and legendary maestros who scored their share of Westerns, and this compilation presents transcendent, brilliant, and challenging tracks from the likes of: Bruno Nicolai, Gianni Ferrio, Francesco De Masi, Marcello Giombini, Luis Bacalov, Stelvio Cipriani, Alessandro Alessandroni, Nora Orlandi, Nico Fidenco, Piero Umiliani, and many others. 2LP gatefold in a limited edition pressing of 750 copies.
File Under: OST, Westerns, Psych, Italian
Christie Azumah: Din Ya Sugri (Superfly) LP
High-quality reissue of holy grail 70s Ghana Funk LP available for the first time in 30 years. Totally unique sound, a rare Funk attempt by an African female singer backed by the legendary Uppers International. 3 massive Afro Funk tunes plus some deep Highlife of the highest caliber. One of the nicest and rarest African records ever made in our opinion. Includes a nice insert with some amazing vintage photos. Strictly limited to 1000 copies. Don’t sleep!
File Under: Afro-Beat, Afro-Funk, Highlife
James Blackshaw: Fantomas: Le Faux Magistrat (Tompkins Square) LP
“In celebration of the centenary of Louis Feuillade’s Fantomas silent film series, James Blackshaw was invited by Yann Tiersen to perform a live score to the fifth and final film, Le Faux Magistrat, at the beautiful and prestigious surroundings of the Theatre de Chatelet, Paris on October 31, 2013. Fantomas — a master of disguise and symbol of terror — is one of the most popular characters in French crime fiction, as well as a favorite with the avant-garde, particularly the surrealists. Tim Hecker, Amiina, Yann Tiersen and Loney Dear also performed during the event (which was broadcast live on the European ARTE channel) each bringing their own unique sonic perspective to the other installments. Written during the course of a few months, Blackshaw drew influences from French impressionist composers, Brazilian guitar music, musique concrete and the works of other film composers such as David Shire and Pino Donaggio, to create a noir-ish score that is in turns sinister, quietly profound and thrilling. Personally invited by James Blackshaw, experimental musician Duane Pitre and Simon Scott (also of Slowdive) contributed drums, electronics, synth, bowed guitar, bass and more to Blackshaw’s nylon string guitar and grand piano, with multi-instrumentalist Charlotte Glasson adding violin, vibraphone and several wind instruments to the 75-minute long work.”
File Under: Modern Classical, OST
Bombay Royale: The Island of Dr. Electrico (Hope Street) LP
The Island of Dr Electrico” is the second soundtrack album from The Bombay Royale, originators of vintage Bollywood inspired surf, spy, disco and funk. Building on the worldwide success of their debut album ‘’You Me Bullets Love”, the band has unleashed its trademark sound and set off on an extraordinary musical safari that leaves the listener with booty thoroughly shaken. “The Island of Dr Electrico” is a varied musical landscape, at times lush and tropical, at other times an impenetrable swamp teeming with all manner of surprises. Migrating seabirds have long flown thousands of extra miles avoid Dr Electrico’s blighted isle, leaving him alone to experiment with dark beats, primitive synthesizers and the raw emotion of kidnapped souls. The result is a rich pallet of original sounds, from lonesome spaghetti to surf rock to spine-bending space disco, all overlaid with the voices of protagonists The Tiger and The Mysterious Lady. From their unlikely beginnings in the suburban wilds of Melbourne, Australia, The Bombay Royale have taken their unique sound to audiences in Europe, UK and the USA where their performances have been met with astonishment and critical acclaim.
File Under: Surf, Bollywood, Pseudo-OST, Funk, Psych
Haley Bonar: Last War (Graveface) LP
Haley Bonar had already recorded an album as a teenager before leaving Rapid City, SD for Duluth, MN – where she immediately recorded again. Alan Sparhawk heard her at a local Iron Range club one night and a week later, she was transformed from a college student to an ambitious dropout with her guitar and a drummer crammed into a Honda Civic opening for Low. She was nineteen years old. That’s a story already. But – there is more to this story. In the last decade, Haley has released eight more recordings to critical acclaim and mounting success: lots of touring, playing festivals, capturing awards and artist grants, inventive video productions, placing song tracks on prime TV shows and popular film, appearing on myriad Best-Of lists while continuing to write and perform locally. It’s no accident that her creative prowess drew the attention and respect of fellow collaborators like Dave King, Andrew Bird and Justin Vernon, not to mention the company she keeps in a rotating cast of premium band members including Jake Hanson (Halloween Alaska, Mason Jennings), Jeremy Hanson (Tapes ‘n Tapes), Luke Anderson (Rogue Valley), Jeremy Ylvisaker (Andrew Bird, Alpha Consumer) and Mike Lewis (Bon Iver, Alpha Consumer). Haley’s musical adventure took on a passenger in the wack theatrics of her no/new-wave punkish side project Gramma’s Boyfriend with an attention-getting album already behind them and an audience building in front of them. She is always throwing a curve ball or adding another dimension, akin to her heroes: Joni Mitchell, Mark Mothersbaugh, Laurie Anderson, Amy Sedaris, Maria Bamford, Louis C.K., Margaret Atwood and Cookie Mueller. Like them, she remains true to her artistry regardless of trend, politic or scripted gender barriers. Haley Bonar is more than a hard working musician. She is an innovator, creative ass-kicker and visionary dug into the trenches of living. She writes genuine, epochal and poetic tales that feel like our heartbreak, failure, frustration and joy. In a clear, insistent and often haunting voice, she tells real stories back to us, as if they were our own. It just doesn’t get much better than that.
File Under: Indie Rock
The Clean: Anthology (Merge) 4LP Box
Anthology serves as a celebration of The Clean, a band whose influence extends so far beyond their New Zealand home that even if you have never heard of The Clean before, you have surely heard of some of the bands (Pavement, Yo La Tengo, and Superchunk, to name a few) who have been influenced by their unique blend of homemade garage rock, hook-filled melodies, and psychedelic experimentalism. The album is a compilation from across The Clean’s legendary career, which began in 1981 and continues today. Merge originally released the 2-CD Anthology in 2003, but in celebration of our 25th anniversary, we felt the time was right to release this essential collection on quadruple LP. Anthology kicks off with The Clean’s call-to-arms debut ‘Tally Ho!’; the story of the infectious track’s $60 recording bill is now legendary. It continues with the early Eps Boodle Boodle Boodle and Great Sounds Great in their entirety. The hits – ‘Billy Two’, ‘Anything Could Happen’, ‘Beatnik’, and ‘Getting Older’ – and live favorites like ‘Point That Thing Somewhere Else’ and instrumentals ‘Fish’ and ‘At the Bottom’ all serve up memories of the joyous noise that characterized The Clean of that time. These recordings, mostly made by the band with Chris Knox and Doug Hood at the helm of the 4-track, capture the bright, raw sound of a classic garage band. After a brief breakup, the band recorded Vehicle in 1989. Vehicle was made in three days and engineered by Alan Moulder (Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, My Bloody Valentine). The sounds of Vehicle and the two albums that followed it, Modern Rock (1994) and Unknown Country (1996), make up the bulk of discs 3 and 4 of the vinyl Anthology. In addition to selections from these full-length recordings, Anthology includes two songs released only on an American 7-inch and two that appeared on a bonus flexi-disc with the Modern Rock LP.
File Under: Lo-Fi, Indie Rock, New Zealand, Classics
Mestre Cupijo e Seu Ritmo: Siria (Analog Africa) LP/CD
Cametá, a historical little Amazonian town on the shores of the river Tocantins, is the birthplace of the scorching music known as “Siriá”; a cross-pollination between the music of the inhabitants of the quilombos, a Brazilian hinterland settlement founded by escaped slaves of African origins, and the indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest. It is a breathing, pulsing, emphatic beat, and the modernized version of this local music, created by Mestre Cupijó, has been igniting street parties and traditional festivals across the state of Pará in Northern Brazil for decades. And at last in 2014, the combustible sound of Siriá will be celebrated internationally as the feverish, tropical sound of the summer. Foretelling his talent to flow between cultures, Cupijó was named after a local river when he was born in 1936, into a family of musicians. His father, Mestre Vicente Castro, was also known as Mestre Sicudera, the musical director of Centennial Euterpe, one of Brazil’s oldest bands, founded in 1874. At 12, Cupijó started to play the clarinet. He also became proficient at the piano, mandolin and guitar, although the instrument that came to personify his sound was the alto saxophone. Waltz, bolero, cha cha cha and an assortment of dance hall music became part of Cupijó’s repertoire, but it was Carimbó and Siriá, the music played by the black communities of Pará, that had the strongest impact on the young musician. To grasp the soul of this music, Cupijó went to its source and lived with the quilombolas (maroon) community of the Amazon. Upon his return, enriched by this life-changing experience, he founded the band Jazz Orquestra os Azes do Ritmo with the goal of reinventing Siriá and modernizing Samba de Cacete, Banguê and other folkloric music of the state of Pará. Airwaves from the Caribbean and Latin America had also brought the cumbia sound of the mighty Colombian orchestras, merengue from the Dominican Republic and Cuban music to the Amazon, all of which had an impact on the music of Northern Brazil, mambo especially! Mestre Cupijó took these influences and mixed them in with the ingredients he had studied in the Quilombos. That fusion — as we are witnessing on this record — had explosive effects. After the initial wave of enthusiasm, the first two LPs were recorded with rudimentary equipment in a dance club in Cametá. However, it was the third attempt, recorded in a studio in Belém, which would trigger a phenomenal success. “Caboclinha Do Igapo” and “Mambo do Martela,” included on this record, became instant hits. A year later, “Mingau de Açai,” one of Cupijo’s most popular tunes, took the region by storm. In total six LPs were recorded by Mestre Cupijó. Analog Africa is ferociously proud and honored to have the chance to present these carefully-selected tracks from Mestre Cupijó’s six studio albums, and hope that his music captivates you with the magic and bewilderment that it has them. Let go of your inhibitions and immerse yourself in the wonderful world of Mestre Cupijó… Segura!
File Under: Brazil, Mambo
Dalhous: Will To Be Well (Blackest Ever Black) LP
Will to Be Well is the new studio album by Dalhous, their second for Blackest Ever Black. This double LP reflects writer-producer Marc Dall’s continued interest in the life and arcana of R.D. Laing, but also alludes to more universal and enduring mysteries: the relationships between body and mind, illness and wellness, the physical and the metaphysical. The 15 tracks assembled here also showcase the maturation of a uniquely gifted and expressive composer: Dall’s stirring, efflorescent melodies and stately harmonic architectures, with their grievously honed simplicity, are a delight: lucid, lyrical, immediate. For all the modernity of Dalhous’ approach, the album recalls a bygone era in synthesized and sample-based music, a time when its practitioners were not just set-designers but storytellers, too. Will to Be Well arrives just one year on from the Edinburgh-based project’s tenebrous debut, An Ambassador for Laing (BLACKEST 003CD/LP), which was released to widespread acclaim in Spring 2013: The Wire praised “a frequently beautiful music, whose often calm surface belies the powerful currents moving beneath it,” while FACT called the LP a “wonderfully compelling head-scratcher… opaque, elusive … and fascinating.” Nonetheless, a notable shift in tone has occurred in the 14 months that have elapsed. If Ambassador was a tussle between darkness and light that ended in stalemate, with Will to Be Well it seems the light might just be winning. Pieces like “Transference” and “Her Mind Was a Blank” project a rapturous psychedelic intensity; “To Be Universal You Must Be Specific” and “Entertain the Idea” adopt the serene ambient register of recent Dalhous EP Visibility Is a Trap; while “Sensitised to This Area” goes about its business with an almost Balearic swagger. But light, too, can be oppressive: the sun that gives life can also burn, and bleach, and blind. And even amid the endorphin rush of the album’s most ebullient passages, there is the sense of a greater melancholy, an intractable doubt, lurking beneath the surface. Dalhous’ music is suitably paradoxical, managing to sound at once futuristic and folkloric, both technologically advanced and avowedly pastoral. The elegiac repetitions of “A Communion With These People” and the pagan drones of “Lovers of the Highlands” speak of Dall and his studio partner Alex Ander’s deep connection to the rugged contours of their native Scottish landscape, while on “Four Daughters by Four Women” and “Thoughts Out of Season” convulsive post-rave rhythms are employed to evoke ancient natural cycles. Though Will to Be Well is a less obviously eerie album than its predecessor, Dalhous’ nose for the uncanny remains. A defining album from a major young artist.
File Under: Electronic, Psych
Demdike Stare: Forest of Evil LP/Liberation Through Hearing LP/Voices of Dust LP (Modern Love)
Available again, although already sold out at the source, don’t miss out again! Demdike Stare is a project made up of two insatiable vinyl collectors based in the north of England: Sean Canty (who works for the esteemed Finders Keepers label) and Miles Whittaker (a long-time producer and DJ who has released music under the MLZ moniker and as part of Pendle Coven). The music Demdike Stare make is hard to pin down, based largely around archival musical sources ranging from obscure library records to long-forgotten jazz, early electronic, and industrial recordings, alongside an array of Iranian, Pakistani, Turkish and Eastern European material largely unknown in the Western world. Demdike Stare absorb and re-align these found sounds via their ever-expanding array of analog machines, ending with something that is in part plunderphonic, but ultimately completely new. Their music has sometimes been lumped in with the hypnagogic, hauntological and “witch house” movements, but ultimately, Demdike Stare should appeal to anyone with an interest in everything from classic KPM Library records through to the music of Basic Channel and all the way to the smudged, altered-realities of James Ferraro and The Caretaker. That is, at least until the next record, when the frames of reference might just change up and take them somewhere completely different. Mastered at Berlin’s Dubplates & Mastering. Artwork by Andy Votel.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Industrial, Library, Dub
Listen Here And Here And Here
Donato Dozzy: K (Further) LP
Few artists have crafted a catalog as rich and deep as Donato Dozzy has done in minimal techno’s more atmospheric realm. The Italian producer — who also performs in the excellent Voices From The Lake duo with Neel — has become revered for his unerring ability to create tracks that are at once ethereal and oceanic, inducing both a sense of tranquility and urgency. His debut album, K, which Further Records originally issued in 2010, stands as a towering example of Dozzy’s skill for electronic music that triggers profound feelings with only a few scrupulously-selected elements. K’s seven tracks offer a masterly seminar in subtly altering the grid-like beat programming that dominates techno. Dozzy puts odd emphases on certain beats and adds percussive eccentricities and effects to others. Which means that this isn’t a collection of bangers geared for hands-in-the-air, goofball moves. Instead, Dozzy’s working on a much more refined level, one where tricky, intricate drum patterns trump simple booming kicks — although “K3″‘s staunch, methodically funky kick and hi-hat pattern and “K5″‘s swift and elegantly propulsive beats could heat up a club. The greatest pleasures of K occur in the way Dozzy’s eerie, aquatic drones swirl around his well-wrought rhythms, submerging everything in a restorative, algae-tinged film. At their best, these pieces convey a Chain Reaction-like rigor and a cinematic quality (of the Jacques Cousteau variety) utterly devoid of cliché. This reissue of K reminds us that it remains a crucial component of Donato Dozzy’s catalog, the first major statement in a career that’s becoming a manifesto of understated, underground-techno brilliance.
File Under: Electronic, Techno
Lee Fields: Emma Jean (Truth & Soul) LP
Finally in on vinyl! Soul legend Lee Fields has re-teamed with The Expressions for new album Emma Jean. Coming at a time when many new artists are trying to emulate the soul and swagger of the 1960s, Mr. Fields showers us with authenticity on the 11-track set, highlighted by first single “Magnolia,” a refreshed cover of the J.J. Cale track that embodies the late, great American singer-songwriter and the Tulsa Sound he helped create. Since releasing his first album in 1969, Fields has continued to make music for the last 45 years. And having been on the road, touring non-stop for the better part of the last decade, it’s evident that Fields has hit an elevated stride both as a recording artist and live performer. Emma Jean is the follow up to Fields’ widely praised first two Truth & Soul albums – 2009’s My World and 2012’s Faithful Man. Lee Fields & The Expressions have forged a distinct soulful sound and a grown style with this album. They’ve pushed their sound in new directions, moving from being content as contemporary soul music royalty and instead delving into and exploring its next steps. There’s a sharper wisdom in the songwriting – from the having loved, lost, and learned vibe of “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” backed by crooning guitar and wailing horns, to the sophisticated arrangements and studio acumen that’s pared with Lee’s straightforward sincerity in “Just Can’t Win.” Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys wrote “Paralyzed,” and having Emma Jean mixed and partially recorded at his Nashville studio, country soul and bluesy rock are immediately noticeable. It brings a different kind of strut to the album, but Fields – born and raised in North Carolina – is right at home with the Southern soul sound. In fact, it feels like a natural progression: an organic, refreshingly pure next step. Like past releases from this matchless pairing of Fields’ warm-and-raw growl and The Expressions’ switched-on and sharp musicianship, Emma Jean takes soul music in a familiar but updated direction. “He’s 63 years old,” notes the album’s producer and co-owner of Truth & Soul Leon Michels, “he’s so focused, and has been working non-stop – he’s singing the best he ever has.”
File Under: Soul, Funk
Fire! Orchestra: Enter (Rune Grammofon) LP
It can’t be easy gathering 28 of Northern Europe’s finest jazz and improvising musicians in one place at the same time, which is why Sweden’s Fire! Orchestra has been one of the continent’s best-kept secrets so far. After playing rare shows a handful of times a year, this incredible mass ensemble is getting ready to unleash its full power with Enter, its first studio recording. This isn’t jazz: this is Nordic dynamite. Fire! originated as the trio of Swedish improv masters Mats Gusfasson (sax), Johan Berthling (bass) and Andreas Werliin (drums). None of them are what you could call jazz purists; they all play in many different groups and contexts, including The Thing (Gustafsson), experimental folk-electronica outfit Tape (Berthling), and skewed pop unit Wildbirds And Peacedrums (Werliin). Around 2011, the idea sprang up to expand a massive orchestra around the core trio, featuring the cream of Scandinavian jazz, improvisation and avant-rock players and vocalists. Key contributions come from keyboardists Sten Sandell, trumpeter Goran Kajfes (Oddjob, Subtropic Arkestra, Nordic Music Prize winner 2012), drummers Raymond Strid (GUSH, Barry Guy, Martin Küchen Ensemble) and Johan Holmegard (Dungen, The Amazing), guitarist David Stackenäs, electronicist Joachim Nordwall (Skull Defekts, iDEAL Records) and Fender Rhodes player Martin Hederos (Soundtrack Of Our Lives), to name just a few. Adding a crucial, soulful presence are the three vocalists Mariam Wallentin (Wildbirds And Peacedrums), Ethiopian singer Sofie Jernberg and Simon Ohlsson (Silverbullit). But Fire! Orchestra is a collective effort, with Gustafsson directing a tight, disciplined ensemble that enjoys its moments let off the leash. Following 2013′s live debut Exit!, Enter is Fire! Orchestra’s first time in the studio, and might surprise you with its slow, treacle-y funk dynamics, running through a kaleidoscope of moods, rhythms, and textures. Muscular rock rhythms flesh out texts written by singer Mariam Wallentin, inspired by the legendary free jazz saxophonist Joe McPhee, and sung in soured blues moans by the Orchestra’s three-headed vocal team. Recalling the righteous big-band jazz of the late ’60s by figures such as Charlie Haden, Sun Ra, Mike Westbrook and Chris McGregor, there are also echoes of Matana Roberts’ recent jazz tapestries and the steamy psych-funk of Brightblack Morning Light. “Part Two” opens on a groove ripped from The Beatles’ psychedelic classic “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Using collective riffing at its finest, this is an epic suite that undergoes constant scene-shifts between relentlessly building rhythms, rising in emotional intensity as the furnace is stoked. Enter is about following your instincts, having the courage to step forwards into the unknown when the door is open. Death might be an exit, but it’s also an entrance — to a new, unimaginable state of being. The music acts out this cyclical pattern of living and dying, entering and exiting, and the finale winds down to the same reflective, introspective keyboard motif as it started with.
File Under: Jazz
Henri Guedon: Cosmozouk Percussion (Superfly) LP
Limited high-quality reissue of cult West Indian Latin Fusion LP by master Martinique percussionist. Great all the way through, check the descarga “Vulcano” or the Jazzy Guaguanco “Negro Lucumi”. Wicked sound!
File Under: Funk, Soul, Latin Fusion, Jazz
Gerhard Heinz: Geissel des Fleisches (Torment of Flesh) (Digatone) LP
Following the prog rock Holy Grail of Klockwerk Orange’s Abrakadabra and the buried treasure of Austrian early rock & roll with Schnitzelbeat Vol. 1: I Love You Baby!, Digatone has unearthed a cinematic pearl with the previously-unreleased soundtrack to a 1965 sexploitation crime movie. When you think of Austrian films the only ones that come to mind are The Sound of Music or The Third Man with Anton Karas’ zither score as the only Austrian theme that received worldwide recognition. An almost completely unknown composer and producer is the Viennese Gerhard Heinz, even though his compositions can be found across a broad spectrum of productions from film, radio shows, commercials to theatrical productions. Heinz wrote the scores for 136 movies in his long career and while most were for softcore Bavarian porn, he also wrote for a number of crime and exploitation films including for Jess Franco. For The Fruit Is Ripe, he even received platinum status in Hong Kong. Gerhard Heinz was a stylistic chameleon writing songs from “easy cheesy sleazy” to beat, space-disco, African voodoo drums and oompa-oompa, or whatever was required to suit a particular film. The soundtrack to Geissel des Fleisches, filmed in 1965 under the direction of the Austrian cinema visionary Eddy Saller, was the first score that Gerhard Heinz recorded in his own studio in Vienna. Inspired by a real murder of a ballerina in the Vienna State Opera, Saller produced a sex and crime drama that was both radical and unique for the time. Recently, the court case from the actual crime that Saller used for the basis of his story had its 50th anniversary. The main actor Herbert Fux, that later made a career in exploitation movies, played a credible role as a crazy psychopath misogynist murderer that lurks around the dark underground bars of Vienna until he is trapped by a policewoman. The overall message the movie portrays is that the lowering standards and morality of society had driven such characters to commit these crimes. Until recently this film score has been widely ignored, but now it is acknowledged by critics to be a historic and valuable piece of work, although it is still widely unknown by a wider audience. The soundtrack to Geissel des Fleisches is previously-unreleased and is the first episode in a collaboration with the still healthy and active 87 year-old Gerhard Heinz. Digatone is a reissue label which specializes in discovering and putting out interesting and rare Austrian music. Access to the multitude of Heinz’s treasures will bring about a series of exciting releases.
File Under: Soul Jazz, OST, Crime Jazz
Il Balletto Di Bronzo: Sirio 222 (Lion) LP
Raw-edged heavy rock fronted by Lino Ajello’s powerful electric guitars, channeling the dark, jagged energy of Jimmy Page, Adrian Gurvitz, and Jeff Beck. Il Balletto di Bronzo absorbed their influences (Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Yardbirds), but moved from there into an inspired, hard-edged musical space; the band’s overwhelming power and great melodies make them irresistible. “Un posto” and “Neve Calda” are centered around simple but effective guitar riffs. “Eh eh ah ah” starts like a nice mellow ballad, but gets into a hard blues rock groove. On side two, there’s the 7-minute mammoth heavy grind of “Incantesimo” and the colossal “Missione Sirio 2222,” almost 10 minutes of droning acid rock with whirling guitars and heavy pounding drums, sandwiched between an acoustic intro and outro. No wonder Nurse With Wound cited Il Balletto di Bronzo as an influence.
File Under: Prog, Psych, Fuzz, Italian
Leong Lau: That Rongeng Sound (Left Ear) LP
Until recently Leong Lau’s records of the 1970s were well kept secrets of only the most avid Australian record collectors. Left Ear Records, along with the help of Leong, are proud to give collectors a chance to add That Rongeng Sound to their collection. Leong’s unique Malay-jazz-meets-Aus-funk identity, takes listeners on a journey through funky beats and flowing melodies and is the reason the album is arguably one of the most innovative and exciting Australian funk/jazz albums. This reissue of the original 1977 LP is limited to 500 copies and comes in a high quality tip on gatefold featuring original artwork and a brief biography on the enigma himself – Leong Lau.
File Under: Funk, Jazz
Lewis: L’amour (Light in the Attic) LP
“In 1983, a man named Lewis recorded an album named L’Amour, which was released on the unknown label R.A.W. And that’s about all we know. The record itself is a delicate, whispered album, reflecting the way the artist himself — spectral, movie star-like — almost disappears into the grey of the cover. It should come as no surprise that it failed to shout loudly enough to be noticed, another private press album that sank without trace. The ingredients are simple: smooth synthesizers, feather-light piano, ethereal, occasionally inaudible vocals and the gentle plucking of acoustic guitars. But the effects are arresting: a spine-tingling, sombre album that echoes Springsteen’s Nebraska or Angelo Badalamenti’s atmospheric soundtracks. Later, Arthur Russell would grasp for something similar on the epochal World of Echo LP. L’Amour is a true discovery of the blog age, uncovered in an Edmonton flea-market by collector Jon Murphy, passed on to private press fanatic Aaron Levin, shared on the internet and speculated over by lovers of curious LPs. There’s almost no information about Lewis or the album on the internet. There’s precious little on the sleeve: a dedication to Sports Illustrated supermodel Christie Brinkley, a photo credit for Ed Colver, the noted L.A. punk rock photographer, and credits for engineer Bob Kinsey and synth player Philip Lees. All that was known of Lewis is conjecture: a rumor that he was a con artist who fled after not paying for L’Amour’s photo-shoot and a dubious theory that he was not actually of this earth.”
File Under: Private Press, Softest Rock
Lone: Reality Testing (R&S) LP
The hyper-chromatic music of Matt Cutler marks him out as a true impressionist; as Lone, he drizzles brightly coloured melody through his tracks with all the reflexive skill of a master painter daubing inks and pigment across paper. On Cutler’s fifth Lone album, Reality Testing, released on R&S, he sends notes and chords rippling delicately into space before allowing them to disperse, each oozing beautifully away into the background fabric of the music. Combined with rhythms that ebb and flow, shifting from propulsive club constructions to beatific coastal hip-hop, it’s a sensuous, immersive, heady experience, and easily his most accomplished and self-contained work to date. Reality Testing is unique among Lone’s work to date in its feeling of complete unification. Throughout, he draws upon the many loves and inspirations he’s previously explored in his own music – house, techno and instrumental hip hop – but weaves them together into an inseparable whole.
File Under: Electronic, Hip Hop, Dubstep
Tumi Mogorosi: Tumi (Jazzman) LP
Breathtaking contemporary spiritual jazz from South Africa. When Tumi Mogorosi composed this suite for jazz musicians and opera vocalists, he had never heard the previous successful attempts by Donald Byrd, Max Roach or Mary Lou Williams to combine these seemingly “unfriendly” aesthetics. Tumi, born in 1987 and already an accomplished drummer on the Jo’Burg scene, was at the time studying music at the Tshwane University of Pretoria where he became close friends with opera singers working on the same campus. So unlike some of his U.S. peers, Tumi’s beliefs are not “religious.” Surprisingly, Tumi’s suite wasn’t influenced by these great elders’ masterpieces, but anyone who listens to this album will agree that the suite captures the soaring spirituality that made these experiments of the ’60s the beloved classics that they are today. Tumi does not belong to any religious group. This album is neither a jazz mass like Mary Lou Williams’ Black Christ of the Andes, nor a compilation of devotional pieces like Donald Byrd’s Christo Redentor. Project ELO stands for Project Elohim, the angelic entities of the spiritual scriptures which are, in the drummer’s philosophy, a symbol for accomplished human beings. The spirituality the album conveys is attuned to a 21st century syncretic, non-dogmatic vision infused with esotericism. Recorded live with no overdubs in two days by a group of friends, this album captures a moment of Eternity and will defy any idea you may have of what South African jazz is. Tumi’s music transcends labels and styles. When composing or playing he is only concerned with being true to the primordial source of life, which cannot be confined to any genre.
File Under: Spiritual Jazz
Minoru Muraoka: Bamboo (Superfly) LP
Fantastic high quality Superfly reissue of Japanese Jazz holy grail. Check the Rare Groove classic “The Positive and the Negative,” a unique mixture of Japanese Folk and Hip Hoppy Jazz as played by DJ Shadow and Egon but the whole LP is amazing. Highly-recommended new release, gatefold cover with insert and OBI. Strictly limited to 1000 copies!
File Under: Jazz, Japanese
Nord: NG Tapes (PCP) LP
“Hiroshi Oikawa’s two mid-’80s solo LPs under the Nord moniker are among the rarest and most sought-after Japanese experimental releases of the era. Issued with minimal information (the latter title in a plain black jacket with simply a strip of sandpaper affixed to the front), the albums are dense, otherworldly explorations of the outermost edges — or innermost core — of reality. As Mutant Sounds put it, ‘If this is cosmic, than it’s the cosmos as viewed from the vantage point of a burned out cinder drifting into entropy.’ Equally mysterious is Oikawa’s disappearance at the end of the decade. Completely untraceable even to his peers in Japan, he has by all accounts vanished from society, perhaps holed up in some pastoral cottage whiling away the days painting and tending a small garden, or orbiting a distant nebula on an alternate plane of existence. In recent years, PCP Records issued limited-edition re-presses of the two albums, duplicating the original artwork and layout as closely as possible. Now, the label has turned its attention to an even more obscure item in the Nord discography. NG Tapes was released on cassette in a micro edition and available only to purchasers of the 1984 LSD LP (itself limited to 200 copies). With a runtime of over 50 minutes, it delivers a powerful dose of extended synthesizer works — ominous, pulsing electronics of the highest order — offset with shorter, more compact post-industrial noise pieces reminiscent of Oikawa’s 1981 LP with Satoshi Katayama. This one-time, numbered vinyl edition has been carefully remastered from the original cassette and sounds amazing. Every effort was made to adapt the artwork to the 12″ format, down to the obi strip that accompanied the package.”
File Under: Japanese Electronic, Industrial, Noise
OST: Batman Begins (Silvascreen) LP
A limited edition of just 500 copies WORLDWIDE, in stunning Gatefold sleeve double album pressed on Orange Vinyl! A super limited coloured vinyl reissue of Batman Begins, the first film soundtrack in the batman trilogy. A first time ever coloured vinyl release for this much admired and innovative Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard score.
File Under: OST
Sage Francis: Copper Gone (Strange Famous) LP
Sage Francis…relocked and reloaded. After a 4-year hiatus, the indie rap icon is taking his signature style of hip-hop and performance art back on the road to support the June 2014 release of Copper Gone on Strange Famous Records. It features beat production from long-time music affiliates Buck 65, Alias, Cecil Otter, Reanimator, and more.
File Under: Hip Hop
Sten Sandell & Paal Nilssen-Love: Jacana (Rune Grammofon) LP
The best improvisers are the ones that seem to invent and uninvent their instruments right in front of your eyes and ears. Swedish pianist Sten Sandell and Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love are two musical champions with a long experience of doing exactly that. Jacana, the latest in Rune Grammofon’s occasional series of unusual duo combinations, features the pair’s sparkly improvised set captured at the 2013 Kongsberg Jazz Festival in southern Norway. Sten and Paal have been working together since forming a trio with Swedish bassist Johan Berthling (Fire!, Tape, etc.) in 1999, but this duet marks the start of a new chapter in their relationship. Jacana’s three tracks find the players flying close to the limits of their comfort zones, sometimes resembling the strange formality of Asian court music. It’s savage and ritualistic, spiky yet flowing, arrhythmic but surging with understated pulses. Sandell breaks into vocal overtones on “Kauri” like some tranced-out Mongolian shaman. He pokes around in the guts of Nilssen-Love’s rough surgical cuts and, at the start of the track “Jacana” itself, pulls out some ear-bogglingly rubbery notes from his piano’s deep innards. At the end of “Curvature” they break off from their instruments and simply clap for a while. Two men getting down to the essentials of what humans can do with wood, strings and skin. Sten Sandell is one of Swedish jazz’s most distinguished elder statesmen, having worked unrelentingly since the mid-’80s. As well as his own trio and numerous international collaborations, his keyboard skills have been heard in groups such as GUSH, Guschwachs, Sven-Åke Johanssen Quintet, Townhouse Orchestra, and most recently, Mats Gustafsson’s Fire! Orchestra. He has also composed music and sound art for installations, intermedia works, radio plays, theater and film. Paal Nilssen-Love is one of the most intense drummers working on the planet right now. In theory, he’s based in Oslo, but there’s a huge global demand for his percussive threshing machine. He’s often travelling on a relentless round of musical projects and festival appearances — notably with Mats Gustafsson in The Thing, his Chicago trio with Ken Vandermark and Ab Baars, the Hairy Bones group with Peter Brötzmann and Toshinori Kondo, a trio with Massimo Pupillo and noise-artist Lasse Marhaug, plus duos with Peter Brötzmann, Terrie Ex, John Butcher, and others. This duo is planned as an ongoing project, and offers some of the most refreshingly challenging music coming out of Scandinavia today. Jacana is another fine mess they’ve gotten themselves into. Sten Sandell (piano, voice); Paal Nilssen-Love (drums, percussion).
File Under: Free Jazz, Improv
SND: Tplay (SND) LP
Mark Fell and Mat Steel formed SND in Sheffield in 1998. Tplay was their first self-released EP, produced in a limited run and housed in a sleeve adorned with nothing but a stamped phone number on the back. SND’s palette and minimalist aesthetic more or less fell in line with the emergent school of producers that would eventually find themselves as labelmates on the Mille Plateaux label and the monolithic Raster Noton (Ikeda, Pan Sonic, Alva Noto, Bretschneider) — but as opposed to the intricacies and overly-academic strictures that would occupy so many of their contemporaries over the following decade, in hindsight it’s easy to identify how SND uniquely managed to re-code the swing and shuffle of UK garage and two-step within a new minimalist paradigm. Although producers such as G-Man, Sterac, Jeff Mills and Robert Hood had been stripping bare techno templates since the early ’90s, it wasn’t until later in the decade that the dots were joined between movements in techno and experimental electronic music. This was mostly a serious and contemplative movement, typified by the fetishisation of abstract forms on the one hand, and rigid, teutonic movement on the other. But with the release of Tplay SND had created a sound that was unlike anything else made at the time. Although they were guided by minimalist principles, their productions were also driven by the momentum of a much more colorful type of urban music. Simply put — there was no one else bridging gaps between the austere functions of European electronic music and London’s emergent two-step sound. Truth is — if you bought Ryoji Ikeda albums you were unlikely to have thought much of Artful Dodger — and yet SND made music that drew influence and parallels from both. Listening over 15 years later, it’s startling just how fresh and forward these productions sound, now bolstered by over 30 minutes of previously unheard recordings taken from the same sessions. At a time when some corners of club music are arguably more accepting of strange and challenging production styles than ever before, it’s incredible just how unique and inimitable SND’s sound still is, taking us full circle to current producers like Visionist, Mumdance and Rabit, who look to challenge dancefloor conventions by using the same principle of reduction and innovation without neglecting the dance. Fully remastered from DAT tapes by Rashad Becker at D&M.
File Under: Electronic
Swell Maps: Archive Volume 1
The early, wild and experimental home recordings of Swell Maps, released on vinyl for the first time. “In the context of our hum-drum hometown, I think that it’s safe to say that we were all oddballs, and we gravitated to each other because we got our kicks by making sounds. It was the only thing that seemed to help us to make sense of the world around us, and it was also bloody good fun! Nikki and Phones started to play together in 1972, and Epic soon joined in on percussion. I was a schoolmate with Nikki, and I was inspired by them to start making music as well. I managed to buy a second-hand guitar from a rich kid at school in 1973, and we would all play together in various combinations of two or three, according to who was around. Nikki was the only one of us into singing at this time, but he was encouraging me and the others to vocalize as well. John started to play with us in 1975, I think. He would invent some tunes with unusual riffs and time signatures. Richard joined our little scene later in 1976. It was unusual for any four of us to play together at the same time, but when we went to our first recording session in 1977, there were six of us in the studio, but only four playing instruments. Richard was driving us in his mother’s car and he ended up singing on one of the songs, ‘Ripped and Torn.’ Phones did not want to play live on stage, so with Richard we made up the four-piece version of the band which became our regular line-up for gigs. In the studios, it was more flexible — we were more of a co-operative, with all six members coming along with tunes and ideas, and even confidently improvising tracks on the spur-of-the-moment. Because we had no money for ‘professional’ equipment, we would play various guitars though small amplifiers and old radio sets, plus an old army surplus speaker cabinet that I had picked up. Epic saved up for a snare drum, then a hi-hat and later a bass drum to gradually add to the options we had for making sounds. I got hold of a ratty old bass guitar which I hacked up a bit in my dad’s garage. I found a balalaika which made a dreadful din, and bought a brand-new zither from Woolworths, of all places! We also had some primitive electronic effects made by a friend, including a ring modulator, a tremolo and a terrific fuzz box. We made good use of found objects, household objects such as cushions, trays, kitchen utensils and a fire bellow. For one session we used some items I found in a toy shop which were made for the strange noises used in teddy bears. We also used radio sets to make random noise, and manipulated old records on turntables. Epic devised a way of manipulating an air lock in the household plumbing to make a bizarre, alarming random rhythm! Nikki set up our solitary microphone on a camera tripod. Phones devised a guitar which could fold in half; I still cannot work that out! He also discovered that headphones could be adapted to use as a microphone. We would often record on a variety of portable cassette machines in mono, but John had a fancy reel-to-reel machine that he’d bring along for special occasions. Most of our music was made in secret, like a fiendish experiment, and we never had a notion at the time of a career in music until we made the quantum leap of making a record, but that is another story.”
File Under: DIY, Punk
(Bureau B) LP+CD
“Ziguri [tsiguri]“: In the Mexican Tarahumara language the word for Peyote cactus, containing the hallucinogenic alkaloid mescaline. Günter Schickert has built a reputation and following amongst friends of psychedelic music. He and Manuel Göttsching pioneered the use of the echo guitar. The solo albums Samtvogel (1974) and Überfällig (1979) have attained cult status. In 1987 Schickert founded Ziguri Ego Zoo with Udo Erdenreich and Dieter Kölsch — friends from the Berlin theater 100 Fleck, a musical theater project which soon evolved into the band with the name Ziguri. Ziguri initially rehearsed in SO36, the legendary punk club in Berlin-Kreuzberg (subsequently finding themselves entangled in the street riots on Oranien Strasse which were a regular occurrence at the time). Their first gigs took place in squats, at street parties or underground clubs, before graduating to venues like Tacheles, Der Eimer and Schokoladen. Ziguri continued playing in this format until 1997, after which only the theater project remained, lasting until 2002. The three band members went their separate ways in the years that followed, signing up to new bands. Kölsch played with Schickert in Ponyhof and with Erdenreich in the punk combo Hagel. Both used the same rehearsal space, so the trio often found themselves gathering around in the original line-up. One evening, the famous words were spoken: “Let’s put the band together again.” That was in 2011. And from the first moment on, it was like they have never been apart. Picking up exactly where they have left off, Kölsch and Erdenreich hammered out a driving rhythm and Schickert layered his unique echo patterns over the top. They road-tested their live set at two concerts with Damo Suzuki (Can). As Ziguri played further shows, it dawned on them that younger listeners had bolstered up their audience, strengthening the band’s decision to revive the act. Ziguri enlisted Dirk Dresselhaus as producer, better known as artist Schneider TM. The album was recorded in Schneider TM’s Zone studio in just three days.
File Under: Trance Rock, Motorik, Psych
Various: Country Funk II (Light in the Attic) LP
“In 2012, Country Funk 1969-1975 Volume I gathered together songs from a genre with no name. It’s a genre created not from geography or shared ideology but a term applied retrospectively based solely on the feel of the songs: hip-swinging rhythms with bourbon on the breath. These were songs to make your cowboy boots itchy, written and performed by the likes of Bobbie Gentry, Johnny Jenkins and Link Wray. Songs that encompass the elation of gospel with the sexual thrust of the blues; country hoedown harmonies cut with inner city grit. Compiled from tracks dating from the late ’60s to the mid ’70s, Country Funk is the sound of country music blending with sounds and scenes from coast to coast, white America’s heartland music blending with the melting pot as the nation assessed its identity in advance of its bicentennial year. The good news for the people who fell in love with the first volume of Country Funk is this: there’s plenty more where that came from. Light in the Attic has followed up that first 16-track disc with a second volume, Country Funk Volume II 1967-1974, and a new set of loose-talking, lap steel-twanging tracks. In this volume you’ll find household names like Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt, Kenny Rogers, Jackie DeShannon, JJ Cale, Bobby Darin, and Dolly Parton. You’ll also find obscure artists like Bill Wilson, whose lost Ever Changing Minstrel album was produced by the feted Dylan producer Bob Johnston, and Thomas Jefferson Kaye, noted producer of Gene Clark’s opus No Other. Gene Clark’s here too, as half of Dillard & Clark, wringing raw emotion from The Beatles’ ‘Don’t Let Me Down.’ All of the individuals featured have a story to tell, whether it’s that of the sidelined session musician, the fading star or the country upstart. There’s Donnie Fritts (‘Sumpin’ Funky Goin’ On’), whose roots stretch back to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and who has played keyboard for Kris Kristofferson for decades. There’s Canadian group Great Speckled Bird, who joined Janis Joplin and more on 1970′s Festival Express tour. There’s Hoyt Axton, who along with singing the harmonica-sucking ode to ‘California Women,’ also took a role in Gremlins. There’s Jim Ford, who Sly Stone once described as ‘the baddest white man on the planet.’ And there’s Billy Swan, who kicks proceedings off with a soul-stirring organ, a lazy kickdrum and his rockabilly vocals echoing like a croon into the Grand Canyon.”
File Under: Country, Funk, Sexytimes
Various: Ghost Woman Blues (Mississippi) LP
“Compilation of absolutely must have country blues. A mix of well-known artists playing their signature songs and more obscure musicians. Highlights include Bukka White’s elemental ‘Fixin’ to die’, Lottie Kimbroughs’ seldom heard ‘Don’t Speak To Me’, George Carters’ haunting ‘Ghost Woman Blues’, Willie Browns’ existential ‘Future Blues’, Monroe Moe Jackson’s wild ‘Go Away From My Door’ and many more hits. The real stuff and some of Mississippi Records all time favorite tunes.”
File Under: Blues
Various: Legends of Benin (Analog Africa) LP
Finally available again!!! Double vinyl version, in deluxe gatefold sleeve and printed inner sleeves which replicate all of the liner notes from the CD version booklet. 2014 repress. A collection of super-rare and highly danceable masterpieces recorded between 1969-1981 by four legendary composers from Benin: Gnonnas Pedro, Antoine Dougbé, El Rego et Ses Commandos and Honoré Avolonto, each with a sound all their own. What you are about to hear is distinctively Benin — a thick brew of agbadja, soul, cavacha, funk, Afrobeat, and Afro-Latin sounds all mixed in with heavy traditional rhythms.
File Under: Afro-Beat, Funk
Various: Seven Skeletons Found in the Yard (Mississippi) LP
“A great compilation of calypso classics from Trinidad recorded between 1928 and 1947 by well-known masters of the form such as the Growler, The Lion, Lord Executor, and Lionel Belasco, as well as by some lesser known but great artists. Heavy topical songs, minor chord meditations on death, beautiful instrumentals and more. Songs include ‘When You Hear I Die,’ ‘In the Dew and the Rain,’ ‘Hojoe,’ ‘Jimby’s Ingratitude,’ ‘Ba Boo La La’ and much, much more. All true master pieces. Old school ‘tip on’ cover.”
File Under: Mississippi, Calypso
Amen Dunes: Love (Sacred Bones) LP
Bardo Pond: Refulgo (Three Lobed) LP
Black Hippies: s/t (Academy) LP
The Body: Shall Die Here (RVNG) LP
William Burroughs: Break Through in a Grey Room (Sub Rosa) LP
Mac Demarco: Salad Days (Captured Tracks) LP
Digable Planets: Blowout Comb (Modern Classics) LP
Ersen: s/t (B-Music) CD
Fleet Foxes: s/t (Sub Pop) LP
Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop) LP
Godspeed You Black Emperor: Allelujah! (Constellation) LP
Gun Club: Las Vegas Story (Drastic Plastic) LP
Howlin’ Wolf: Album (Get On Down) LP
Jerusalem In My Heart: Mo7it Al-Mo7it (Constellation) LP
Kris Kristofferson: Please Don’t Tell Me (Light in the Attic) LP
Last Electro-Acoustic Space Jazz & Percussion Ensemble: Miles Ahead (Stones Throw) LP
Louvin Brothers: Satan is Real (Light in the Attic) LP
Jef Gilson: Et Malagasy (Jazzman) Box
Nirvana: Bleach (Sub Pop) LP
William Onyeabor: Who Is… (Luaka Bop) LP
Public Image LTD: First Issue (Light in the Attic) LP
Todd Terje: It’s Album Time (Olsen) LP
Chad Van Gaalen: Soft Airplane (Flemish Eye) LP
Chelsea Wolfe: Pain Is Beauty (Sargent House) LP
Various: Country Funk (Light in the Attic) LP
Various: I Am The Center (Light in the Attic) LP
Various: I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore (Mississippi) LP
Various: Last Kind Words (Mississippi) LP