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IMPORTANT (Please read to avoid confusion):
Some items below may be tagged with a bold, red, all-caps "out of print/unavailable" notice. This does NOT mean that all other items not so tagged are, in fact, in stock -- or for that matter, in print and available, though there's a good chance they are. Some folks get confused on this point, and we can see why, so please read this for further clarification and other important before-you-order information. Unlike some mailorder websites, we don't have an electronic inventory system linked to our site, so you can't be sure of what we actually have or don't have in stock at any given moment without asking us -- please email our mailorder department for availability status -- or better yet, just go ahead and place your order using our shopping cart function and we'll get back to you with the status of each item. If you have general non-mailorder questions, email the store.


POLE 2 (Matador) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Pole's first album was released on the Berlin electronica label Kiff SM to immediate critical acclaim. Extending Oval's ability to control chaos, Pole manipulated the granular synthesis that made listening to Chain Reaction records more than just another techno single, within the contexts of dub schizophrenia. Just as Lee 'Scratch' Perry reprocessed tape hiss through EQ and excessive reverb, Pole reprocessed the Chain Reaction sound into dynamic skittering dirty blips and huge dubbed out thundercracks of drum kicks.
Pole's first album has just been released in America in conjunction with his second album, an even more skeletal and more Jamaican sounding variant of the first, through Matador, whose editorial selection in licensing electronica has so far been exemplary!

AHMED, MAHMOUD Ethiopiques Vol. 6 : Almaz (Buda Musique) cd 15.98
Now that many of you have discovered the rich and funky sounds of Ethiopia circa mid-1970s, here's a deeper look into the career of Mahmoud Ahmed, master crooner and national Ethiopian treasure. Almaz is his very first album (from 1973), which to our knowledge has never been released in Europe or America before today. It's unbelievably good -- full of impassioned soul-stirring vocals, funky horns, and gorgeous melodies. Trust us: you will be so happy with this cd! An excerpt from the liner notes says it better than we can: "For many years everything we knew about Mahmoud Ahmed (and Ethiopian music in general) was limited to the cult album Ere Mela Mela, recorded in 1975 but released for the first time in Europe in 1986. The first eruption of this brassy, electric urban pop, swinging and hypnotic, heart-rending and funky, so unusual, so different from anything else coming out of the African continent, this musical UFO long remained our only glimpse into Ethiopian groove. Mahmoud's first LP Almaz, recorded two years before 'Ere Mela Mela' now bears new witness to the talent of one of the greatest Ethiopian artists of the past 35 years."
MPEG Stream: "Asha Gedawo"
MPEG Stream: "Zemedie"

BIOSPHERE / DEATHPROD Nordheim Transformed (Rune Grammofon) cd 16.98
Using the recently reissued electro-acoustic masterpiece "Electric" by Arne Nordheim as the sole source material, Biosphere's and Deathprod's remixes are ice-laden, mesmerizing abstractions of sweeping electronic darkness.

BRANDSDAL, KJETIL D. Freedom--Waaaoh Waaoh (Corpus Hermeticum) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Of Norwegian decent, though a current resident of Northern Ireland, Kjetil D. Brandsdal constructs ominous lo-fi droning tape loops similar to a gritty variant of Omit accompanied by throbbing de-tuned bass and occasional post-VU strum. A very nice introduction / documentation on the perennially great Corpus Hermeticum!

album cover BUILT TO SPILL Keep It Like A Secret (Warner Bros) cd 12.98
It goes without saying that within the indie rock circles this will sell a lot of copies, regardless of our praise of this record. But in feeling somewhat self-indulgent...
As you all know Perfect From Now On was their major label debut. With a substantially larger budget for recording costs, Built To Spill seemed not really to know what to do with the money, resolving their situation by articulating a Sisyphian amount of energy into their complex almost psychedelic epic. In this contradiction of expending so much energy to make as little noise as possible, bleak metaphors of solar malevolence and mutinous friends devolved the perfect pop songs on There's Nothing Wrong With Love into a rare album that works so much more as a whole than as a conglomerate of its parts.
Keep it Like a Secret finds Built to Spill far more comfortable within the studio. The lack of antagonism from the process of making the record has kept away the morose qualities of Perfect, yet Doug Martsch has crafted the album, again, as perfect unity. His predeliction for drawing metaphors to the sun continues, but in place of any malignancy, there is an ironic bent to the content... most notably seen in a pastiche of lyrical anthems from such dinosaur rockers as The Doors, The Rolling Stones, and other merchants of neo-romantic tripe.
In other words, this record is pretty fucking good.
MPEG Stream: "Time Trap"
MPEG Stream: "Carry The Zero"

album cover BURZUM Filosofem (Feral House Audio/Misanthropy) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
By now, unless you've been living underneath a VERY big rock, you know all about Count Grishnackh aka Burzum, Euronymous, Bard Faust, Mayhem, Emperor and all the killing and church burnings and suicides. If for some reason you don't know about all this stuff, go buy yourself a copy of The Lords Of Chaos, a book that covers all that stuff in great detail. The problem with all this drama, murder, satanism, whatever, you forget that the whole reason these guys knew each other, and the only reason any of us cared, was the music they made. And that music they made was black metal. A black metal that thanks to the decidedly non-musical drama, would soon make black metal a household name.
So when folks ask us to recommend some classic black metal, we always recommend Satyricon's Nemesis Divina, Immortal's Battles In The North, Emperor's Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk, and of course Burzum's Filosefem. Filosefem, originally released in 1996 holds a special place in our outsider music hearts, as the first black metal record to turn the whole black metal formula completely upside down. Count Grishnackh was the only member and played all the instruments, even the drums, which gives the whole thing a weirdly damaged droning swing. A rhythm that would define the rhythmic sound of later black metal legends like Graveland and Woodtemple. The guitars are a thick suffocating buzz, razor sharp and totally blown out. And the vocals are an anguished wail, some sort of primeval demonic incantation. But where Burzum stands out most is the addition of a creepy synthesizers that hover in the background of several of the tracks, a haunting melody buried beneath the swirl of fuzz and ultradistortion. Unlike other BM bands, the keyboard isn't a huge wash of strings to add some sort of epic quality, these tracks are already epic enough, here the keyboards are much more spare, a simple minor key melody is picked out, almost childlike, hovering briefly, before the next note follows. Except for one blazing blast of a track, Filosefem is mostly midtempo, lurching and heaving, stumbling down dirt road into a smeared grey landscape. But as the record nears the last few tracks, the record changes, beginning with the nearly half hour long "Rundgang um die Transzendentale Saule der Singularitat", a track that eschews any hint of metal, stripping away the guitars, the drums, everything, and leaving just the synthesizer, as it unfurls a seemingly endless Aphex Twin like four note melody. Forlorn and strangely compelling. And in the context of the whole record, as emotionally devastating as anything we've heard. The final track "Gebrechlichkeit II", brifngs back the guitars, but makes them nearly static, an endlessly blurry vacuum cleaner like riff, slowly shifting, as another haunting melody drifts wraith like in the background. Definitely one of the most essential and unique metal records of all time.

album cover BYRDS, THE Sweetheart Of The Rodeo (Columbia / Legacy) cd 9.98
Late Byrds album (1968) with Gram Parsons with many more classic songs than required to make an album essential. This inexpensive but nicely appointed reissue features eight never-before-available tracks/outtakes, including a GP vocal.
MPEG Stream: "You Ain't Going Anywhere"
MPEG Stream: "The Christian Life"
MPEG Stream: "One Hundred Years From Now"

CHASSE, L. (LOREN) Synthesis of Neglected Places (Unique Tavern) cassette + book 9.99
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. THERE'S A CD-R VERSION NOW AVAILABLE
A 60 minute tape of field recordings from Mr. Chasse's sabbatical to Pennsylvania this past summer. Humid atmospheres and fragmented sounds of stones scrapping across each other are accompanied by bittersweet piano and violin. While not intended to be as conceptually complete as some of Chasse's other albums (notably the brilliant Id Battery record for Ecstatic Peace), this a nice document into the working process into of the most underexposed sound artists.

COLECLOUGH, JONATHAN Cake (Robot/Siren) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Coleclough's droning aesthetic was also heard on a collaboration done with Andrew Chalk last year, with an emphasis on surprisingly rich and beautiful tones emerging out of a very dark, quiet amplification. A clatter of distant pianos fades into bleak reverberations that hint at the catacomb recordings of Lustmord with field recordings filtering through. Coleclough's work seems to fall somewhere in between Organum's acoustic drones and Bernhard Gunter's requests for careful listening. Recommended drone work!

CONJUNTO MATAMOROS W/ BENY MORE (Tumbao) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Here's one of Byram's Cuban music picks. Singer Beny More was one of Cuba's greatest singers (up there with Miguelito Valdes, Cascarita, & Celia Cruz) most popularly heard with Perez Prado's Orchestra. These recordings are of much slower tempo with beautiful guitar & tres guitar, piano, trumpets, percussion & bass backing B. More's vocals.

album cover DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE Something About Airplanes (Elsinor/Barsuk) 2cd 15.98
Here's there review we wrote about Death Cab's debut way back when (we made it Record Of The Week in 1998), we don't want to change a word, it's funny though since they're so huge now....
At the risk of slipping into hyperbole, which we try avoid at all costs (snicker...), this is hands down, one of the best (and possibly most overlooked - we almost missed it ourselves, gasp!) indie rock records ever. Landing somewhere between There's Nothing Wrong With Love and Perfect From Now On, Death Cab craft a Built-to-Spill-ian universe, full of lazy sad pop, intricate compositions, jangly melodies, shifting structures, odd time signatures, and haunting cellos (and none of that solar malevolence that Doug Martsch and our very own Jim are so fond of.)
This record has been an unbelievable hit in the store. We don't think it's ever been played without at least one person buying it, sometimes 2 or 3!
The version we have now, is the limited, numbered, slipcased 10th anniversary edition, with expanded booklet and bonus disc of DCFC's first show in Seattle, on February 25th, 1998, titled Live At The Crocodile Cafe. Nice!!
MPEG Stream: "Bend To Squares"
MPEG Stream: "President Of What?"
MPEG Stream: "Your Bruise"

DIESELHED Elephant Rest Home (Bongload) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Dieselhed's 4th album is a sweet collection of all of the slow songs and ballads that have become their well loved standards in their live sets, yet have not made their way onto tape until now! Their 'real life' catalog of straightforward, quotidian lyrics about life in Eureka, drunken mishaps on Alaskan fishing boats, lap dancing, etc... are perfectly complemented by twangy, melodic hooks and stunningly sublime harmonies worthy of comparisons to Louvin Brothers and Lennon-McCartney. One of Windy's all-time favorite bands.
RealAudio clip: "Trucker's Alibi"

DIESELHED Shallow Water Blackout (Amarillo) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE. SORRY
One of San Francisco's best bands breaks out with their 3rd full length, a little more twang and slow and a little less rock than their previous work but JUST AS GREAT. We can't stress enough how rewarding a close reading of Virgil and Zack's lyrics can be ("Is that paint, I can't tell / A white square where a picture fell"). And don't forget to wait for the last hidden track, "Yoga Instructor").

DIESELHED Tales of a Brown Dragon (Amarillo) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT, SORRY. PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT.
My favorite local band has come the closest to recreating the glory of their live shows! All the recent favorites are here: "Brown Dragon" (which everyone thinks is the "Station Wagon Song"), "Pizza Box," "Wedding Song," "John the Butcher Boy," "Snow Blind in the Liquor Store." Bonus: all the lyrics are printed on various casks and teapots. Guests include "Neckhead" (Bungle's Trey Spruance) and Ralph Carney. The lyrics to "Forklift Test," one of Dieselhed's more epic songs are so brilliantly mundane:

this guy at work he just bought
a revolutionary car part.
it's called the ionizer and it reverses the electrical charge
as the gas hits the carb.
well he tried to sell me one
even though i did not have a car.

album cover DR. OCTAGON Dr. Octagonecologyst (Bulk / Dreamworks) cd 15.98
The best hip hop record of 1996. On-the-edge weirdo outer space hip hop from West Coast luminaries, including Kool Keith, D Nakamura, DJ Shadow, Qbert, etc. Already licensed in England by Mo'Wax. Highly Recommended.

EVOLUTION CONTROL COMMITTEE The Whipped Cream Mixes (Eerie Themes) 7" 4.50
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
2 Public Enemy vocal tracks courtesy Chuck D from some of their 12"s, which often feature vocals without any accompaniment, laid right on top of 2 Herb Alpert instrumentals. Truly hilarious results; we wonder what Chuck thinks...

album cover FLAMING LIPS The Soft Bulletin (Warner Brothers) cd 12.98
Following a wholly unique progression, from drug-addled psych rock jam band to off kilter pop geniuses, the Flaming Lips keep on stretching the boundaries of 'pop' music, never losing sight of the song. They seem to have a unique understanding of the absurdity of the music they produce. We're not talking about the garden variety, pedestrian pastiche efforts of so many of today's indie pop bands (i.e. avant garde = birdsounds or 'out there' segues). The Lips' weirdness isn't manufactured or forced, it seems rather to be the result of some sort of dropped-on-their-head childhood mishap or an unprecedented series of synaptic misfires. It comes as less of a surprise then that this band was dragged kicking and screaming into mainstream success by a catchy little pop song about masturbation.
The Flaming Lips seem to be taking great advantage of their lofty position on a major label, doing their best to piss off the business minded folk of Warner, while at the same time managing to make truely amazing and creative records, like their last release Zaireeka, a 4 cd set composed to be listened to simultaneously on four separate cd players. While certainly not as labor-intensive for the listener as Zaireeka, The Soft Bulletin is another set of perfectly imperfect popsongs, albeit now accessible to the traditional one cd player household.
It's hard to describe The Flaming Lips without providing a visual reference, take their live show at Slims a few years back. It began with a pathetic solitary spotlight illuminating the band huddled around their instruments and plucking fragile solitary notes. With the initial crack of the drums, a dizzying kaleidoscope of tens of thousands of Christmas lights burst to life and engulfed Slims, offereing a hallucinatory visual equal to the Lips' psychedelic pop dadaism.
The Lips' disparate and patently un-pop elements; huge and fuzzy John Bonham-esque percussive bombast, ultra low frequency Moog oscillations, Wayne Coyne's still-getting-out-of-puberty voice crack, bizarre song struture, and an insane mastery of recording studio-as-instrument, come together more seamlessly than ever on The Soft Bulletin, making it our record of the week, and for some of us, record of the year.
MPEG Stream: "Race For The Prize"
MPEG Stream: "Waitin' For Superman"

GAS Konigforst (Mille Plateaux) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
In spite of the numerous alter-egos such as Mike Ink, Studio 1, and others we can't recall right now, Wolfgang Voigt's best work to date is from his moniker Gas. Voigt has polished the sedate technotic pulse, the wind swept drone, and the orchestral references to an exquisite golden lustre. Voigt's subtle dub techniques coax the polytonal swells of deep sustained horns into lush rhythmic repetitions. These are heroic if gloomy electronica epics, making plausible the fusion of Wagner's vigor with a dance floor mentality. "Kšnigforst" should stand as one of electronica's few masterpieces.

GAS Zauberberg (Mille Plateaux) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Adrift in a sea of electronic music, in a fog so deep, the pulsating beats that would guide you back to shore are murky at best, muffled by distance and the unending push of the droning wind. Cross Porter Ricks with Labradford. Subdued and melancholic.

HIS NAME IS ALIVE Stars On E.S.P. (4AD) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Their new effort is gorgeous as usual, with those precious female vocals. You oughtn't be surprised there's a song called "Beech Boys" on here... As anticipated, Stars is 4AD-flavored sweet pop, yet more disonant at times and thus interesting than the last HNIA album. Warren Defever slices on some of the noisy layered stuff (his other band) Princess Dragon Mom likes to cook up.

IKEDA, RYOJI 20' to 2000 : March (Raster-Noton) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Following Vaisanen, Ryoji Ikeda's contribution to the series is a wicked example of bruitist electronica whereby a sine wave blasting a headrattling throb evolves slowly into Pan Sonic style 'grooves'. Its end result is quite simply painful.

JONES MACHINE, THE You're The One/I'm The Disco Dancing (Rephlex) cd 9.98
Okay, no bullshit. This is one of the stupidest things we've ever heard. But with the catchiest electro-pop groove accompanying a male German disco diva reciting I'm The Disco Dancing! [sic] complete with vocalized whip snaps, the b-side to this single has become THE club hit for the AQ staff this month (you wouldn't believe how many times we've played this in the store!). A-side 'You're The One' is certainly less of a brain rot boogie with croonsome vocals a la Jarvis Cocker and a squelchy big beat pop song that destroys Fat Boy Slim and the Chemical Bros. Oddly enough, Aphex prodigy Cylob is responsible for the two great mixes filling out this four-track single. Better than 'I'm Too Sexy', up there with 'Der Commissar', somehow kinda like both. No ifs, ands, or buts...you'll either think this is silly and hate it, or think it's silly and love it. We love it!

KRAFTWERK 1 (Germanofon) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Restocks of the first two Kraftwerk records, the ones with traffic-cone covers. Both are electronic masterpieces, melodic Krautrock classics, and while far more challenging than the popular later Kraftwerk albums, all the more lovely.

KRAFTWERK 2 (Germanofon) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Restocks of the first two Kraftwerk records, the ones with traffic-cone covers. Both are electronic masterpieces, melodic Krautrock classics, and while far more challenging than the popular later Kraftwerk albums, all the more lovely.

LUCAS & FRIENDS Discover A World Of Sounds (Vinyl Commmunications) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Pea Hicks from San Diego, California has a habit... scrounging around thirft stores for recordable 78s and crappy TDK tapes filled with nearly pornographic love letters, 'foul-mouthed' kids whose definition of obscenity is the word 'jerk', and attempts to get baby to recite the alphabet. Mr. Hicks has built a hilarious collage of all of these found recordings, occasionally augmenting them with his arsenal of Optigon keyboards (which are the focal point of his other outfit, Optigonally Yours, a duo with Heavy Vegetable's Rob Crow).
Hearing this makes us long for those tapes we made when we were young... not so much for nostalgia, more in fear that our embarrassing tapes will find their way to a thrift store, and eventually onto your stereo.

MCGREEVY, STEPHEN P. Electric Enigma (Irdial) 2cd 22.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
From the same label that brought us the truly disturbing Conet Project comes Stephen P. McGreevy's VLF recordings. With a knowledge of basic radio telescopics, a few choice geographical / atmospheric anomalies, and a good ear, McGreevy records the earth's electromagnetic signature generated through such phenomenon as the Alaskan Northern Lights. Delicate whistles streak over loud crackles, that bring to mind Id Battery's fascination with recorded fire, or John Duncan's shortwave radio experiments. Word of caution, one of our faithful customers complained that this created rather deleterious psychosomatic effects.

MCGREGOR, DION Dion McGregor Dreams Again (Tzadik) cd 16.98
How long would last if your roommate screamed his dreams out loud every night? Would you have the foresight to capture these disturbances on tape? Lucky for us back in the 1960's Dion McGregor's roommate stuck it out long enough to provide us with this aural document of one man's nocturnal pain and pleasure. Dion's dreams range from queeny dress up parties to drooling descriptions of large breasted women and cunnilingus contests. Equally disturbing as it is riveting.

MOGWAI 4 Satin (Jetset) cd 6.98
Finally reissued on cd. Has 3 tracks and one hidden one which is apparently not available on the UK version, or so our UK customers lament.

NEGATIVLAND Weatherman's Dumb Stupid Come-Out Line, the (Seeland) 2cd 16.98
Volume three of discs derived from Negland's Over The Edge weekly radio show. Herein issues of gay repression are addressed apparently. Also included is a free booklet, The Weatherman's Dumb Stupid Dictionary, a glossary explaining the strange words and phrases used by the Weatherman...

album cover NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (Merge) cd 14.98
Three cheers for Jeff Mangum and the rest of the Elephant6 music & art collective that participated on this, Neutral Milk Hotel's second glorious album. That's right, Mangum's pulled it off TWICE. There's still the rough buzz and sweetly chiming chords of his first album, but this record features more interesting instrumentation (musical saw, flugelhorn, accordion, organ, trumpet) along with stretched out parts where said instrumentation can really have a go at it. It's an absolutely perfect, instantly likeable, deeply affecting album from the man who arguably brought singing back to indie rock.

album cover NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL On Avery Island (Merge) cd 14.98
Another winner from the Denver/Athens (NMH, Olivia Tremor Control, Apples in Stereo) pop axis. 60's British Invasion pop a la Kinks meets lofi 4-trackery. Total Syd Barret vox, and incredible fuzz-drenched extended loopy beauty. Pop record of 1996, bar nothing. Stunning, stellar work from one of Denver's Elephant 6 posse and 1996 is their year. Jeff Mangum sings like Syd Barrett & Chris Knox, his lyrics bear repeated close reading, and just when you think it might turn sweet, a great big beautiful wall of noise hits you and you know that everything is going to be all right cos his instincts are so good. So far proving itself tasty to everyone we've played it for, no matter what their preferred flavor, this is the record Strapping Fieldhands should've and could've made after Discus, if only they'd kept it focused. Here're some of the lyrics to "Gardenhead/Leave Me Alone," which we rather pathetically found ourselves inspired to transcribe:

there are beads that wrap around yr knees that crackle into the dark
like a walk in the park, like the hole in yr head
like the feeling you get when you realize yr dead this time
we ride rollercoasters into the ocean
we feel no emotion as we spiral down to the world
and i guess it's worth yr time
cos there's some lives you live and some you leave behind
it gets hard to explain
the gardenhead knows my name
leave me alone
for you know this isn't the first time
in fact this is twice in a row
that the angels have stepped thru our landslide
and filled up our garden with snow
and i don't wish the taste of yr insides
for i've called out yr name thru my phone
for the glory boys at yr bedside
will love you as long as you're something to love
follow me through
the city of frost covered angels
i swear i have nothing to prove
i just wanna dance in yr tangles
to give me some reason to move
but to take on the world at all angles
requires a strength i can't use
so i'll meet you up high in yr anger
alone and it's moping and waiting for you
a love that is hoping and waiting for you

MPEG Stream: "Song Against Sex"
MPEG Stream: "You've Past"
MPEG Stream: "Gardenhead / Leave"

NICHOLS, MIKE, & ELAINE MAY An Evening With... (Mercury) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
4 selections from their 1960 improvised performances on Broadway. The comic duo would often ask the audience for an opening line or a topic to maintain the integrity toward their improvisation. Often quite funny, often scathing, always entertaining.

NICHOLS, MIKE, & ELAINE MAY Examine Doctors (Mercury) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Examine Doctors is an outgrowth of their weekly comic appearances on the NBC radio's Monitor show in 1962. This is an unedited tape of a Monitor work session, with all of the ideas and situations occuring spontaneously and the dialogue entirely improvised. The NBC producer at that time suggested that the pair do a spot on doctors, to which Mike responded "you can't do anything funny about doctors." Black humor and ironic situations that have an engaging intelligence not at all dissimilar to Woody Allen.

NICHOLS, MIKE, & ELAINE MAY Improvisations to Music (Mercury) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A third reissue of Mike & Elaine's improvisational skills finds them in cahoots with pianist Marty Rubenstein, who created a variety of music to suggest different moods. Mike & Elaine would spontaneously create scenes to fit each musical interlude. No scripts... no rehearsals...

NORDHEIM, ARNE Electric (Rune Grammofon) cd 16.98
Originally released in 1974, these examples of Norwegian electroacoustic composer Nordheim's music are both beautiful and scary.

NUMAN, GARY The Pleasure Principle (Beggars Banquet) cd 14.98

OLD 97'S Too Far Too Care (Elektra) cd 15.98
When this came out in 1997 Andee and Byram played this at least three times a day. With hook laden, lyrically shrewd song-writing, the Old 97's are the only band of the "no depression" movement to capture the intensity of early Uncle Tupelo without losing the earnestness or twang. The first song alone, "Timebomb," will get stuck in your head forever. Plus, the final track on the album, a singularly kick-ass number, features a duet with Exene from X.

ORGANUM Birds' Wings Were Glued To Their Bodies and Their Feet Froze To The Ground (Die Stadt) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The dense acoustic scrapes & drones recorded in richly sonorous environments (cavernous warehouses, freeway overpasses, waterducts, etc.) appear much more orchestrated here on 'Birds' Wings...' than on the previous Organum records. Solid fragments of bowed cymbals and clattering metal have been mapped out strategically against the hypnotic austerity of droning quitars and bowed steel wires. Along with the mastermind of the project David Jackman, Organum's line up includes Robert Hampson (Main / Loop), Michael Prime (Morphogenesis), Emma O'Bong, and Mat Fox. Both Jim and Byram give the thumbs up on this one!

album cover OS MUTANTES A Divina Comedia Ou (#3) (Omplatten) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
For the best description of Brazilian Tropicalia trio Os Mutantes, look no further than AQ-pal Don Smith, who writes: "[Os Mutantes] blended bossa nova and psychedelic rock and roll to form a Sgt. Pepper meets Astrud Gilberto mix which is one of the most unique sounds ever put to wax. Quite simply, you have never heard anything like Os Mutantes."
After many years of unavailability, Aquarius Records is happy to present the domestic reissues of the first three Mutantes records. Os Mutantes made some of the most perfect Brazilian pop psychedelia we have ever heard. All three were recorded from 1968 - 1970 but sounds better and more fresh than 95% of the music being made today!!! The first two records are two of Windy's favorite albums of all time!

album cover OS MUTANTES Mutantes (#2) (Omplatten) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
For the best description of Brazilian Tropicalia trio Os Mutantes, look no further than AQ-pal Don Smith, who writes: "[Os Mutantes] blended bossa nova and psychedelic rock and roll to form a Sgt. Pepper meets Astrud Gilberto mix which is one of the most unique sounds ever put to wax. Quite simply, you have never heard anything like Os Mutantes."
After many years of unavailability, Aquarius Records is happy to present the domestic reissues of the first three Mutantes records. Os Mutantes made some of the most perfect Brazilian pop psychedelia we have ever heard. All three were recorded from 1968 - 1970 but sounds better and more fresh than 95% of the music being made today!!! The first two records are two of Windy's favorite albums of all time!
RealAudio clip: "Nao Va Se Perder Por Ai"
RealAudio clip: "Caminhante Noturno"

album cover OS MUTANTES Os Mutantes (#1) (Omplatten) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
For the best description of Brazilian Tropicalia trio Os Mutantes, look no further than AQ-pal Don Smith, who writes: "[Os Mutantes] blended bossa nova and psychedelic rock and roll to form a Sgt. Pepper meets Astrud Gilberto mix which is one of the most unique sounds ever put to wax. Quite simply, you have never heard anything like Os Mutantes."
After many years of unavailability, Aquarius Records is happy to present the domestic reissues of the first three Mutantes records. Os Mutantes made some of the most perfect Brazilian pop psychedelia we have ever heard. All three were recorded from 1968 - 1970 but sounds better and more fresh than 95% of the music being made today!!! The first two records are two of Windy's favorite albums of all time!

PANACEA Low-Profile Darkness (Force Inc./Chrome) cd 15.98
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German "dance" music just gets more and more brutal as Panacea pushes the intensity of techstep (a la Nico, Trace and Rush) to its current limit. I cannot imagine that beats can get any harder or darker, or more searingly distorted. Nor that an Izod shirt could go so well with army fatigues and a lip piercing. Highly, highly recommended. Butthole Surfers fans take note.

PARKER, EVAN, & LAWRENCE CASSERLEY Solar Wind (Touch) cd 15.98
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The wailings of Evan Parker, free improv saxophone titan, as processed through the live electronics of Lawrence Casserley, making for some gorgeous glacial drone and wild flutter!

PERREY & KINGSLEY The In Sound From The Way Out (Vanguard) cd 12.98
Why the Beasties did not give credit to P&K (for the album title) is beyond me. Give credit, it's tribute. No credit, you're lame. A really amazing collection of early experimentation with tape loops and cut n paste frivolity, entertaining to an extreme.

album cover PERRY, LEE Kung Fu Meets The Dragon (Justice League) cd 14.98
Classic Lee Perry dub madness from 1975. This is the most consistantly selling reggae/dub album we stock, and for good reason - on these tracks Lee Perry somehow manages to channel the spirit of Bruce Lee expressed in dub. Aside from the contextual intros to let you know who you're up against, there's some kick ass dub on this album and a lot of what sounds like Lee Perry with gas pains burping through the session. And if that's not enough, there's an awesome cover drawing of a Bruce Lee cum Lee Perry figure extended in a kung fu kick and surrounded by a dragon. One of the best and essential dub albums to own!
MPEG Stream: "Enter The Dragon"
MPEG Stream: "Theme From Hong Kong"
MPEG Stream: "Heart Of The Dragon"
MPEG Stream: "Hold Them Kung Fu"

PLASTIKMAN Consumed (Novamute) cd 15.98
After the early 90's incarnation as F.U.S.E. making some of the heaviest cybernetic techno stomps to come from Detroit, Richie Hawtin has continued to devolve techno along a trajectory of minimalism. The monochromatic pulsing beats appear more as the afterimage of techno than as some club floorfiller. Brilliant in its paradoxical expansive claustrophobia.

PREWITT, ARCHER In The Sun (Hi-Ball/Carrot Top) cd 13.98
Archer also plays in Coctails and the Sea & Cake and he draws the comic Sof'Boy. *Beloved* by everyone who works here, this record is excellent solo material -- less precious than the Coctails and way more Bacharach than recent Sea & Cake -- think S&C's first record, mix in some sunny trumpet, a loping, relaxed tempo and meditative, grooving whiteboy vocals. At least 3 extra tracks are included on the 7". Highly recommended!

RADIOHEAD OK Computer (Capitol) cd 16.98
Wow! Do NOT (as I did for years) write off this English band as bad alterna-rockers. This is a KILLER album, conceptual in scope, consistent in quality and yet each song has an element that sets it apart from the others. Like JEFF BUCKLEY FRONTING QUEEN (all you who lament not hearing another of Jeff's albums, try this one) with elements of Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, and U2, we kid you not. Highly highly recommended.

SANTA POD s/t (Ash International R.I.P.) cd 15.98
'Get ready for drag-racing MAYHEM... Mayhem... mayhem... ummm do we really have to keep badgering them like this?' - Smithers OK, do not dismiss this as just a field recording of drag races (even though that is what it is). While the blasts of drag racing noise tear bi-aurally across this CD of field recordings from the Santa Pod Raceway in Podington, England on the site of an old American airbase, it is the constant ridiculous banter of the announcer whose barely audible / poorly-transmitted-through-a-crappy-speaker rants have captured the essence of the drag-racing. Certainly in the tradition of the 'Sounds of North American Frogs', 'The Conet Project', 'The Ghost Orchid', and 'One of One', this is brilliant.

SENSATIONAL Corner The Market (WordSound) cd 15.98
The return of one of the most fucked up rappers we know, whose last record was a highlight of the always-excellent WordSound label! Between songs like "Chunky Buds" and "Dope Man", Sensational's second album is much more of a proclamation of getting really stoned and staying really stoned for as long as possible. Somewhere in between all of this pot smoking, Sensational manages to somehow record a really great record of brittle, super slow hip hop and utterly mental words of wisdom mumbled-with-a-mouthful-of-marbles as opposed to rapped with any coherence. Needless to say, Sensational may very well be Aquarius' favourite rapper (yes, more so than Kool Keith). Recommended!

SENSATIONAL Loaded With Power (WordSound) cd 11.98
Another WordSound classic, the solo debut from mumble-mouthed rapper Sensational (a former member of the Jungle Brothers). Super stoned, sounds like Wu-Tang with a head injury! Highly, we mean HIGHLY, recommended!!

SHAW, VIRGIL Quad Cities (Boxkite) cd 11.98
When we were roommates a few years ago, Virgil used to come home dead tired from carpentering and construction all the whole day. There'd be paint on his jeans and crumbs of chalky sheetrock in his hair. He'd pop a beer, sit in our kitchen lit by only a bare bulb, and he'd play guitar, yowling in his crackly heart-tugging voice. Most of the time he was working out new Dieselhed songs -- he's an integral member of the San Francisco-via-Eureka band, who you should all know by now are one of my favorite bands in the world and it's simply criminal that they haven't been able to quit their day jobs yet cos they RULE. Anyway, I would never say it to his face but I think Virgil's pretty grade-A brilliant, and have always loved the rickety, stark 'kitchen versions' of Virgil's songs, and I hoped he'd record them. Wishes do come true. So lovely! Some of Virgil's lyrics: He had a big mouth of crooked teeth Like china leaning by the sink So clean they were almost blue So blue they were almost see through. She has a jacket she hangs outside Smoke sticks to the fake hide So fake you can almost see through So see through you wouldn't know what to do.

SMITH, STEVEN R. Autumn is the End (Darla) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Steven R. Smith of local spacerockers Mirza. Ranges from simple spacious lo-fi instrumental to big prog jams. Very nice.

SOLEX Vs. The Hitmeister (Matador) cd 13.98
This took a while to grow on us but everytime we listen to it someone goes "Wow." Elizabeth Solex is from the Netherlands where she owns a record/thrift store or something and thus has a formidable array of sources from which to sample. She also adds keyboards to the mix and has got a great ear for creating intensity and buildup, not just trip hop groove, and her lilting voice holds it all together. A pleasant surprise. For fans of PJ Harvey, Beth Orton. Also -- Solex is the first Matador artist in over five years to be signed from an unsolicited demo tape.

album cover SOUNDS OF NORTH AMERICAN FROGS Sounds Of North American Frogs (Smithsonian Folkways) cd 13.98
First "The Conet Project", now this. Well, okay, this isn't spooky like those shortwave spy broadcasts, but the sounds these frogs make have some similar qualities to the morse code or "noise stations", and like The Conet Project is both bizarre and fascinating. The 92 tracks of the croaks, trills, screams, mating calls, and other forms of amphibian vocalisations were conceived, narrated, and documented by Charles M. Bogart. Travelling from the far reaches of Alaska to the deserts of Arizona to the foothills of Tennessee, Mr. Bogart presents a labor of love in selecting these field recordings and their descriptions. The dry delivery of Mr. Bogart's indexical texts is unnervingly and humorously dissimilar to these frogs calls. Just like The Conet Project's unintentional (?) aural terror, The Sound of North American Frogs features a wide variety of drones and clicks that could be from some RLW or Pierre Henry experiment with tape loops. So highly recommended that several unnamed staff members of AQ have been over heard "singing" along with the Pig Frog and the Carpenter Frog.
MPEG Stream: "Chorus Of Barking Treefrogs"
MPEG Stream: "Barking Treefrog"
MPEG Stream: "Green Treefrog"
MPEG Stream: "The Mating Call Of The Barking Treefrog Is Heard First"
MPEG Stream: "Mating Call Of The Oak Toad"

album cover SPARKLEHORSE Good Morning Spider (Capitol) cd 16.98
Containing beautiful, heart wrenching, lush country-ish rock with meaty, satisfying guitars and lonely-guy vocals that will twist yer heartstrings, the new Sparklehorse record is MILES ahead of their No Depression contemporaries. If you like Vic Chestnut, Lambchop, Neutral Milk Hotel, Palace/Will Oldham/Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, or Windy's current favorites Wisdom of Harry, we strongly suggest that you give Sparklehorse a shot! An "enhanced' portion of the disc includes four pretty cool videos for yous with computers.

SQUAREPUSHER Big Loada (Nothing/Warp) cd 15.98
The Squarepusher collection features all of the tracks from the "Big Loada" ep, the "Port Rhombus" ep, half of the "Vic Acid" ep (not the tracks also on "Hard Normal Daddy"), and a kick ass video as a cd-rom bonus. To repeat: KICK ASS VIDEO -- a minature movie in fact -- fully worth the price of the disc itself, although if you don't have "Port Rhombus" etc. this entire package is pretty essential anyway.

SQUAREPUSHER Port Rhombus (Warp) cd 9.98
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Jazzy jungle with really freaky rhythms programmed by Tom Jenkinson a.k.a. Squarepusher, current darling of the idm-list (idm, you know -- what they insist on calling INTELLIGENT DANCE MUSIC). Smooth yet wacked. Challenging not boring. If you like Wagonchrist/Plug/Luke Vibert then this will meet your high standards. Also usually available: the full length, Feed Me Weird Things. Both English imports.

STOCK, HAUSEN & WALKMAN My Bag! (Hot Air) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
At last, we've got the new album from these witty British sampling artists. Possibly their best yet, truly the finest in dadaist electronica! Less overt spot-the-sample action than before. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for fans of electronica as well as spacerock.

STOCK, HAUSEN & WALKMAN Stripper/Broccoli (Eerie Materials) 7" 3.50
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Really nice downtempo sample-heavy trickery that grooves along, subtly minding its own business (read: doesn't hit you over the head), much like the recent Tipsy and Sukia records. And with a name like Stock, Hausen, and Walkman, you know they're on the right track. Highly recommended.

album cover SUICIDE s/t (Mute) 2cd 15.98
Disc one is their first, classic album, and the limited edition disc two features two live shows (CBGB's '77 and "23 Minutes Over Brussels").
MPEG Stream: "Ghost Rider"
MPEG Stream: "Rocket USA"

SUN CITY GIRLS Torch of the Mystics (Tupelo) cd 14.98
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Reissued once again on cd, Torch... is most often referred to as the best SCG album; a good place to start.

SUNNY DAY REAL ESTATE How It Feels to Be Something On... (Sub Pop) cd 15.98
It's a good thing that Jeremy Enigk's Sunny Day Real Estate got back together or else we would be without this lovely album. The desolate emo epics build and collapse much like the more recent pop masterpieces from Built to Spill. Highly recommended.

SZEKI KURVA Music For Joyriders (Iris Light) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Very Strange and Unpredictable, and Fun. As if Holger Czukay put out a Digital Hardcore album! Samples from Eastern European marching anthems and various other strange sources, Szeki Kurva make short attention span techno-folk music suitable for an surreal James Bond film. This Hungarian (we think) band is an exciting new discovery for us (though reportedly they are huge in their homeland), so odd that even The Wire might miss it, upping the ante on the exotic and bizzare everywhere.

TARAF DE HAIDOUKS Dumbala Dumba (Cramworld) cd 15.98
No, not the soundtrack to the Romanian version of the Jim Carrey comedy...rather, the long-awaited third album from these wonderful Gypsy musicians. Many guests feature on this disc, including a troupe who "are part of the poorest and most despised group of Gypsies, the ursari, who descend from the ancient brotherhood of the bear-tamers. Their old trade has now disappeared and, as they are too poor to hire musicians in order to celebrate life's great events, they sing their own songs and accompany themselves on makeshift percussion instruments (barrels, chairs, spoons) or by producing rhythms with various parts of their bodies (hands, feet, mouth)." These and the other guests make "Dumbala Dumba" an exciting addition to the Taraf's discography.

THINKING FELLERS UNION LOCAL 282 Wormed By Leonard (Thwart) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Their pre-Tangle sought-after cassette only release is finally available again. Highly recommended.

TOBIN, AMON Permutations (Ninja Tune) cd 15.98
Mr. Tobin continues to meticulously develop his sounds beyond his previous releases into this great album. Really sophisticated and an absolute joy to listen to. Here he fuses lounge with his usual jazz-infested drum'n'bass. Everytime we play this album in the store, someone buys it. Highly recommended.

TROUM Ryna (Myotis) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

USSACHEVSKY, VLADIMIR Music of... (CRI) cd 15.98
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For a man who could have been the Prince of Mongolia (read the liner notes for the whole story...), Ussachevsky has made it into the history books not for political but for musical reasons, as he was the founder of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center and the originator of the school of "tape music", the American experimenation developed independently of the French "musique concrete" and the German "elecktroniche musik".
This collection features six compositions for electronic tape (including the awesome "Wireless Fantasy" in which bursts of electrical noise and morse code tappings are collaged over a fragment of Wagner's "Parsifal", which in turn was treated to sound like a short-wave radio transmission) and six pieces of choral work (which are often accompanied the electronic medium).

UZ JSME DOMA Fairy Tales From Needland (Indies) cd 21.00
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The Czech Republic's most wonderous export, masters of making complex pop sound unforced and natural, drawing influences from punk, classical, jazz and anywhere else they see fit.

UZ JSME DOMA Hollywood (Skoda) cd 21.00
An Aquarius staff favorite - meaning we love this band and so should you! Pronounced ooje-May-Dome-uh.

UZ JSME DOMA In The Middle of Words (Indies) cd 21.00
Their first album. Finally re-issued with English translations. Beautiful booklet is cut in the shape of a soldier... Yes, they just played here in San Francisco, that's why we have all this stuff. We also got an AMAZING new Uz Jsme Doma pop-up book plus cd (yes, a pop-up book!) but we've already sold out of that - however, watch this space, 'cause we'll be importing more when we can.

UZ JSME DOMA Unloved World (Skoda) cd 21.00
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Not only has this great Uz Jsme Doma (crafty Wagnerian Ska with cautious doses of Zappa and the Residents, sez Byram) disc been reissued domestically with English liner notes, they also re-recorded the vocals in English... But about half of the original Czech tracks are appended as a bonus. Either way, crazy and fun. Also, it's the only UJD album with a complete horn section.

V/A 20 Film and Stage Classics Jamaican Style (Trojan) cd 13.98
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I don't know if I have ever heard a bad Trojan compilation. Classic ska, rocksteady, and reggae versions of the theme from "Shaft", "Moon River," "The Magnificent Seven," "Summertime," "From Russia with Love," and more.

V/A Azagas and Archibogs (Original Music) cd 13.98
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Nigerian dance band highlife with a wild edged jauntiness and a go-for-the-jugular instinct for mixing local rhythms and melodies with jazz tinged horn solos and Congo-influenced guitar work.

V/A Celebrities... At Their Worst! (Mad Deadly Worldwide Communist Gangster Computer God) 2cd-r 15.98
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Completely hilarious bloopers will keep you in stitches. Andee keeps telling the story of how he had to listen to Joe from Souled American imitating the drunken John Wayne! Everyone from William Shatner to Elvis, Colonel Sanders, Tom Brokaw, Liz Taylor, Billie Holiday, The Beach Boys, Barry White, Casey Kasem (of course), Jack Palance, and more.

V/A Ethiopiques Vol. 1 (Buda Musique) cd 15.98
Following the beautiful funk / rocksteady / Ethiopian folk fusions on the first compilation, AQ has stocked the full catalogue of the "Ethiopiques" series. Here's a shortened version of what Windy wrote in her Bay Guardian review of the albums. I recommend you pick up #3 and the stunning instrumental volume #4, then #1. Volume #2 is from the 1990s, not the 1970s as are the other three, and is good but very different.
"From 1969 to 1975, spanning an astonishly short six years, a fascinating set of factors contributed to the golden age of modern Ethiopian music. Unless you're already a Mahmoud Ahmed fan or own the sadly out-of-print 'Ethiopian Groove' compilation, then this is some of the most amazingly beautiful music you've never ever heard. Ethiopia, unlike the rest of Africa, was never deeply colonized. Thus the institutional bands, like the Imperial Body Guard Orchestra and the Police Band, used conventional western instruments without regard for western song forms; the music sounds at once familiar and strange, a tantalizing combination. Alternately wistful and eerie arpeggios in pentatonic scales are warbled by the vocalists and horns. Rhythm guitar and jazz-like drums wreak havoc on a westerner's sense of time (once you think you're tapping toes along with the beat, you realize you've lost it.) And American sixties soul-type guitar follows its own melody above it all."
MPEG Stream: MELLESSE, MULUQEN "Hedetch Alu"
MPEG Stream: METEKU, TESHOME "Hasabe"

V/A Ethiopiques Vol. 2 (Buda Musique) cd 15.98

V/A Ethiopiques Vol. 3 (Buda Musique) cd 15.98
Ethiopia was the site of some of the most beautiful yet sadly forgotten music in the 60's and 70's. This compilation takes some of the best tracks from the enterprising Amha Records. This label specialized in recording unusually catchy and groovy pop songs that are not dissimilar to late 60's Jamaican rocksteady fused with jazz signatures and Ethiopian folk, plus plenty of James Brown funk. What makes these recordings (and most from the "golden era" of Ethiopian music) especially strange is that they were all performed by the institutional military bands who played all of the Imperial marches. Includes tracks by the great Mahmoud Ahmed (different from those on his wonderful "Ere Mela Mela" disc), ...Those of you who loved the "Ethiopian Groove" compilation, or who couldn't get a copy (as it's now out of print), be thankful.
MPEG Stream: AHMED, MAHMOUD "Kulun Mankwalesh"
MPEG Stream: BEQELE, HIRUT "Almokerkum Neber"

V/A Ethiopiques Vol. 5 (Buda Musique) cd 15.98
Volume 5 of this stunning series of compilatons featuring the music made in Ethiopia between 1969 and 1975 -- the 'golden age' of Ethiopian music where governmental control lightened just enough for one independent label to flourish. Capturing everything from institutional outfits performing Ethio-funk to sad instrumental pieces to music played on both modern and traditional instruments, the series just sounds so lovely. This latest volume focuses on the 'Tigrigna' music of Tigray and Eritrea. We suggest you start with the classic volumes 3 and 4 of this series, then move on to all the others.

V/A Guitar Songs: Tanzania, Zaire, and Zambia (Original Music) cd 13.98
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"More enchanting acoustic-guitar recordings by both adults and children. The recordings by children include blind school students playing home made instruments, and a hell-for-leather cut for high pitched vocals and 'tomato-can banjo'" - John Storm Roberts / Original Music.

V/A Kenya Dry: Before Benga 1 (Original Music) cd 13.98
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The music on this CD was originally combined with "The Nairobi Sound", but with the addition of more material, it became neccessary to split the recordings into the acoustic CD and the electric CD. Though the recordings are all acoustic, that is about all that they have in common. There are quite a few pieces that straddle the lobe of 'modern' and 'traditional' songs, including the beautifully eerie "Chemirocha" - a tribute to Jimmy Rodgers.

V/A Kerestina (Original Music) cd 13.98
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Intensely quirky, deceptively simple 1950's acoustic guitar songs from Southern Mozambique. An eerie, raw sound which is linked to South African Shangaan music.

V/A Nairobi Sound: Before Benga 2 (Original Music) cd 13.98
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Here resides the electic half of the "Before Benga" recordings. Unlike Ghana's high life, Kenya's Benga did not exist expressly for dance; Instead it focused more on lyrics. Most of the musicians heard here were certainly not superstars and could not even afford their own instruments. Because of this most wrote their songs while jamming in studios located conveniently enough in the back rooms of record shops.

V/A One of One (Dish) cd 11.98
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From the makers of the "Sound for Little Ones" comes this collection of recordings made on "Recordio Discs" - self recorded 78s. Sort of an audio equivalent of the instant photo booth, these thrift store gems are now audio time capsules of the average and not-so-average American living in the 1940's: rants, songs, whistles, gossip, making-baby-cry-while-trying-to-make-baby-talk, foul mouth antics, and more. If you've ever found a strange photograph lying pathetically in the street and needed a story to go with it, this is for you.

V/A Rancho Relaxo Allstars Vol. 1 (Disko B) cd 17.98
Actually this record is a few years old, but on first glance you could see why it got little attention. A rather shitty photoshop montage of the heads of four of the "Allstars" onto a cornball western snapshot as cover art illustrates the problematic artwork. For such reasons, this record has been spotted in the country / western bargain bins at large uninformed record stores.
Anyway, what you get on the disc is spacious hyperminimal electronics that is the result of collaborations between Mika Vainio (Pan Sonic, Philius, etc.), Abe Duque (Kirlian), Suzanne Brokesche (the much unappreciated yet brilliant Sil Electronics), and many other minimal tweakers. Very similiar in scope to the last Plastikman record.

V/A Street Music Of Panama (Original Music) cd 13.98
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Truely unique recordings of Cumbias, Tamboritos, anad Mejoranas. Starts off reasonably enough, but just as you relax, you're treated with a 'grito': what seems like a version of kecak performed by imitating dogs barking. And later, a group of drummers are accompanied by several choruses of women singing call and response from what sounds like opposite ends of town.

VAINIO, MIKA Ydin (Wavetrap/Rastermusic) cd 15.98
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'Ydin' is a limited edition release of 750 copies of dark haunting electronic minimalism. Raster has proclaimed this to be best solo project from Vainio (of Pan Sonic, 0, Philus, Kentolevi, Tekonivel). Certainly it's in the running. As one of Vainio's non-beat oriented psychoacoustic compositions, Ydin is an exploration of electricity buzzing with delicate pulses, slashing noises, and eerie reverberations. Excellent!

VILLAGE OF SAVOONGA Score (Kollaps/Communion) cd 12.98
Murky drama played out on guitars, tapes, electronics, and samplers, with a heavy dose of clanky percussion to remind you of their roots, Germany's Village of Savoonga possesses an enviably original sound that owes much to their krautrock forefathers, not the ultra-structured Kraftwerk, but the loose sound experiments of Faust. Spacerock fans will find so much to like, too, but expect more than just easy ambient layers, this record climbs mountains and fords streams. Totally excellent. This is their third album, and the record we've been recommending people buy if the new Tortoise just doesn't do it for ya...

VIRGINIA DARE Gone Again (Nuf Sed) 10" 8.98
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7 wonderful new songs.

WAKHEVITCH, IGOR Donc... (Fractal) 6cd 80.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This limited-to-500 copies only 6cd retrospective box set of the 1970's 'electronic' albums by obscure French composer Igor Wakhevitch is loaded with tense awe-inspiring surrealism constructed from neo-chamber music, spatial electronics, massive plodding percussion, and odd ethnic influences. The earliest albums in the box feature contributions from French psych band Triangle, making for an incredible combination of eerie modern classical composition (with choirs, etc.) with krautrockish rhythms and fuzzed guitar. While he was an early associate of Soft Machine and Terry Riley, Wakhevitch's work is far more malevolent than either, taking on qualities that have more in common with the Swans. It should not be a surprise that Michael Gira has recently claimed Wakhevitch as one of his favourite musicians. Very highly recommended -- everyone who works here bought a copy!!!

WEEN 12 Golden Country Greats (Elektra) cd 17.98
Unlike so many bands who want out of their major label contracts and so break up after one album, Ween just reinvent themselves. This record features instrumentation by several overlooked-by-all-but-the-most-devoted-liner-note-readers old time session musicians who played on Ween's favorite country records of yesteryear. Jen-you-wine hillbilly music? The lyrics are still ridiculous.

album cover ASTATKE, MULATU Ethiopiques Vol. 4 (Buda Musique) cd 15.98
Ethiopia was the site of some of the most beautiful yet sadly forgotten music in the '60s and '70s. This compilation takes some of the best tracks from the enterprising Amha Records. This label specialized in recording unusually catchy and groovy pop songs that are not dissimilar to late '60s Jamaican rocksteady fused with jazz signatures and Ethiopian folk, plus plenty of James Brown funk.
This disc features the all instrumental "Ethio Jazz" by Mulatu Astatke. We don't know of anyone who's heard this and not fallen absolutely in love with it. Recommended without reservation! Probably the most popular of the entire 25 disc (so far) Ethiopiques series, a good one to start with, easiest for the uninitated to get into due to its instrumental nature.
MPEG Stream: "Yekermo"
MPEG Stream: "Metche Dershe"

album cover CONET PROJECT, THE Recordings Of Shortwave Numbers Stations (Irdial Disc) 5cd+book 78.00
The Conet Project, originally released in 1997, has attained near mythical status around here. Many folks associate The Conet Project inextricably with our store itself. Which makes sense. We championed the Conet Project relentlessly, everyone here is obsessed, most of us owning multiple copies, some of us incorporating sounds from The Conet Project into our own music, and The Conet Project still ranks as probably THEE best selling release ever at aQuarius. Even more remarkable for the fact that it's not really music at all, at least not in the typical sense, and it is and always has been pretty expensive, as a deluxe 4-cd set initially, and import to boot. In fact until it went out of print for the last time a few years back, we had sold close to one thousand copies, and that's just in our little store. We even used to have a big chart on the wall, where we kept track of the sales, and for a while, we were even taking Polaroids of people who bought the Conet Project to display in the store, a snapshot of them holding what we can only imagine would become their new favorite record (buyer #382: Mike Patton!). Which all leads to the question some of you may have, what the heck is The Conet Project, and why are we (and many of you) so obsessed with it? And so thrilled that it's finally available again?! Yes, available again and obviously a big time Record Of The Week.
Basically, the Conet Project is a now FIVE-cd compilation (more details on the new 2013 edition's additional fifth disc is down below, near the end of this long review!) of recordings of mysterious shortwave radio broadcasts, known as "numbers stations". These numbers stations are generally believed to be encrypted spy transmissions, but no concrete evidence has ever surfaced proving that supposition. However, no credible *alternate* explanation has ever been demonstrated, either. For years (ever since the start of the Cold War), amateur radio enthusiasts have come across these sinister signals, and they continue to this day, broadcast in many languages all over the world (the theory is that some are CIA, some are KBG, some are Mossad, etc).
In general, the transmissions consist of a deadpan voice (sometimes an old man, sometimes a young woman, etc.) reading a seemingly random, meaningless series of numbers over and over. Sometimes the broadcasts are preceded by a musical cue (the "Swedish Rhapsody" music box one being a favorite of ours), and sometimes the numbers are not conveyed by voice but by even more cryptic electronics (as with "The Buzzer", and other noisy, abstract stuff found mainly on disc four).
Needless to say, hearing those amazing and baffling sounds collected on these cds is an unnerving experience. Not only does knowledge of the supposed purpose of these transmissions imbue them with a disturbing quality, but the repetition of the numbers combined with the background of shortwave radio static makes for a aurally hypnotic experience. If merely regarded as a piece of experimental ambient sound sculpture, The Conet Project would be a brilliant and affecting piece of work, yet with the added context of international intelligence and conspiracy theory, it becomes even more intriguing and creepy. Lots of information is included that provides a great deal of description of, and speculation about, The Conet Project. Which is possibly the most incredible, and weirdest, item of sound art/documentation that we've EVER had here at aQuarius. Mesmerizing, fascinating, unique, massive, scary, but sometimes even soothing. 100 percent recommended to the adventurous listener ('cause it's not for everyone!). And once you have it you'll understand why it had to be so many cds - being overwhelming is part of the obsessive allure of this Project. And it's not just us, The Conet Project has popped up in lots of unlikely places, most notably it was sampled on Wilco's breakthrough Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album, the title of which in fact comes from The Conet Project itself. Wilco were also famously sued by Irdial, the label who released it, and they lost! Some sounds from the Conet Project also popped up in that Tom Cruise movie Vanilla Sky, and over the years, we've heard it in various films and on various records, it shouldn't be surprising that so many weird music obsessives love The Conet Project.
Really, as we said, if there's one recording that seems to be most identified with aQuarius recOrds, or that at least we mention most often when trying to explain to people what it is that we're all about here, it's most definitely The Conet Project, and yeah, over the years there have been plenty of others, including Sounds of North American Frogs, Os Mutantes, Burzum's "Filosofem", Comus' "First Utterance", Boris, Circle, Philip Jeck, Village of Savoonga, and loads more since, many other records near and dear to our hearts (for instance, hearing the first Neutral Milk Hotel album always makes us nostalgic for the old 24th street store). But for some reason it's The Conet Project that really seems to sum it all up. It's all the things we really love: completely ridiculous (4, no, now 5 cds!), completely fucked (secret government spy transmissions), droning, weird. It's just so interesting and evocative on so many levels, both musical and totally non-musical, as a listening experience and also as a geopolitical cold war and beyond artifact. Definitely an all time perpetual aQ fave: Allan's got the whole thing on his iPod, so does Andee, he also owns multiple copies of the set, many of which found their way into his old band A Minor Forest's live performances, Jim has steadfastly maintained that this is the greatest record of all time, and who are we to argue? If it's not obvious, we all are a little bit obsessed.
And what this is all leading up to is that YES, finally after literally YEARS of being out of print and unavailable, The Conet Project, has been reissued AGAIN, but this time, with a WHOLE EXTRA DISC, with its own jewel case and booklet!! That's right, the new Conet Project is FIVE discs, not four, and if you're big Conet nerds like most of us, you might just have to buy a second (or even third!) copy. The new disc is not just another numbers station disc though, instead it's a collection of "noise stations", which essentially sound just like the numbers stations MINUS the numbers. So it's a series of gorgeous buzzes and strange hissing fields of blurred melody, lots of crunch and crackle, buried rhythms, whistling tones, strange textures, in fact, much of it is downright musical, so much so that we were musing, hmm, what if this new disc is in fact a hoax, a series of number/noise station like soundscapes created by some electronic musicians like Hrvatski? Naw... But there was in fact talk of a Conet remix project for years now, so it's not that far fetched, and in a way, if it WAS a hoax, it would be even cooler. But as far as we can tell, and according to our resident numbers stations / shortwave expert Jim, these are in fact that kind of weird alien sounds you can hear, tuned in to these mysterious stations. As much as we love the other four discs of The Conet Project, this new one is pretty exciting, and we have to say, definitely makes a case for buying it AGAIN! But for all the rest of you who have yet to discover the bizarre sonic mysteries of the Conet Project, there is no higher recommendation we can give, an all time unanimous aQ fave, our best selling record EVER. Sonically, and conceptually mind blowing. We never made it Record Of The Week before for some reason, but in our hearts, it has always been, and always will be, a perpetual aQ Record Of The Week!!! FOREVER.
BTW, this counts as a "box set" for shipping, it won't fit in the USPS flat rate box we use, so it'll have to go media mail or UPS if you're mailordering it domestically.
MPEG Stream: "Swedish Rhapsody"
MPEG Stream: "5 Dashes"
MPEG Stream: "Iran/Iraq Jamming Efficacy Testing"
MPEG Stream: "Magnetic Fields"
MPEG Stream: "Tyrolean Music Station"
MPEG Stream: "The Buzzer"
MPEG Stream: "Data Bursts, 5.201kHz (USB And AM) [Disc 5]"
MPEG Stream: "Exotic Cipher, 6.215kHz/AM October 5th, 2008 19:27 GMT [Disc 5]"
MPEG Stream: "Descending Jammer, 7.969kHz/USB [Disc 5]"
MPEG Stream: "Drone, 17.964kHz [Disc 5]"
MPEG Stream: "Oscillating, 5.178kHz, March 12th, 1997 [Disc 5]"
MPEG Stream: "348|10|13|36|19|21, 11.573kHz, 19:17 GMT [Disc 5]"

album cover ARTIST 09 Album Title (Label) cd 11.98
The posthumous debut from (and, thus, swansong of) REDACTED's most cult black metal act, ARTIST 09. Despite their REDACTED, non-forested, non-wintry origins, ARTIST 09 was a band capable of destroying the best Scandinavia has to offer (as we witnessed upon two occasions, when ARTIST 09 had the honor of opening the REDACTED shows by Norweigans REDACTED and REDACTED, and proceeded to make both bands look like punk rockers in comparison! ARTIST 09 were so much more epic and intense). All this without any of the ignorant posturing or hackneyed corpsepaint of their peers.
Ghastly, anguished vocals and bloodchilling keyboards combine with dual trebly buzzsaw guitars and inhuman trance inducing drumming to create an atmosphere of utter grinding grimness. ARTIST 09 draws upon '90s black metal in the Norwegian tradition (especially the raw and primitive likes of Darkthrone, Burzum and Immortal) and then creates uniquely fucked song structures of epic length (20 minutes per, in some cases).
And, like the best music, ARTIST 09 also transcends genre. In some ways, REDACTED possesses elements that can be considered akin to the avant garde, experimental creations of the Swans, Skullflower, Steve Reich, or even Yoko Ono. Imagine an extensive, utterly mesmerizing Hermann Nitsch piece, composed for black metal band.
It's a suffocating soundscape of riffing and drone. Subterranean satanic art rock that equals metal. Nihilistic, depressive and never ending.
Featuring REDACTED formerly of REDACTED as well as drummer REDACTED from local death metallers REDACTED (R.I.P) and REDACTED. And of course, REDACTED of...well, REDACTED. (And REDACTED / REDACTED / REDACTED / REDACTED) REDACTED black metal maniac/death rocker extraordinaire. ARTIST 09 is largely the result of his devotion to black metal dementia.
We are not engaging in baseless hyperbole when we say: this should be crowned black metal album of the year. Any year. EVERY YEAR! FOREVER!!!! Seriously. Essential.
MPEG Stream: "sample one"
MPEG Stream: "sample two"
MPEG Stream: "sample three"

album cover MITTOO, JACKIE The Keyboard King At Studio One (Universal Sound) lp 26.00
Much can be said comparing Jamaican keyboardist to American counterparts Jimmy Smith and Booker T. Aside from being a master of his instrument at a time when the keyboard was experiencing a renaissance as a leading role - not only in soul & jazz, but in Jamaican rock-steady - he was also a prolific arranger of music. Having cut his teeth as a founding member of the Skatalites (Jamaica's premiere ska group) in 1964 and 1965, Jackie Mittoo went on to become the front man for Studio One's in house band. From 1965 to 1968 Jackie wrote, arranged and played virtually all the music to come out of the studio for such notables as Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis, Marcia Griffiths, Delroy Wilson and the Heptones. The tracks on this album, recorded between 1966 and 1968, represent some of Jackie's best originals and covers (including an off kilter version of Seals & Crofts "Summer Breeze"). These mostly instrumental rock-steady numbers by - as the liner notes say - "Jamica's funkiest keyboardist" are just the thing for moving your butt on a lazy, hot summer day.
MPEG Stream: "Get Up and Get It"
MPEG Stream: "Black Organ"
MPEG Stream: "Killer Diller"

album cover PORTER RICKS Biokinetics (Type) 2lp 27.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
BACK IN PRINT!!! THIS TIME ON BLUE TRANSPARENT VINYL (or so we've been told, didn't open 'em)...
Techno is a genre of self-quotation and unrepentant appropriation, always looking in the rearview mirror at what just happened to predict what will be the hot-shit trend on the dancefloor tomorrow. So to be able to trace an entire strain within techno's taxonomy to a specific record is quite rare. The 1996 album Biokinetics by Porter Ricks is one such record, setting the stage for pretty much every electronic artist who would flock to the banner of Chain Reaction through a stylized hypnotic, narcotizing techno haunted with deep atmospherics, dub murkiness, and subaquatic allusions. Porter Ricks was the duo of Andy Mellwig and Thomas Koner, who pursued "techno as a nautical sound experience." By the time the first Porter Ricks single emerged in '96, Koner had already developed his signature isolationist approach to slow-motion sound-design blustering with arctic metaphors through the dronemuzik classics of Nunatak Gongamur (1990) and Permafrost (1993). So when Koner began exploring techno with Mellwig, the approach to techno was less about 64-bar measures and more about constructing an evolving atmosphere girded to quintessentially German techno engineering that could be taken for a sonic portrait of tidal flows, map coordinates, sonar blips, and the vastness of the deep blue sea.
Biokinetics opens with the magnificent "Port Gentil" whose steady techno pulse coalesces through overlapping patterns from muffled pulsations of white noise and distant locomotive rhythms, later topped by a radiant metallic drone. The somatic oscillations of "Biokinetics 1" hardly makes for a techno track at all despite the insistent rhythms, but the eerie heartpulse dub of "Biokinetics 2" takes an isolationist reproach to everything adding its own desolate pulse and some subterranean reverb. Granulated hiss and slippery drone shimmer blossom through the final tracks "Nautical Nuba" and "Nautical Zone" that look forward to what Wolfgang Voigt would produce on his seminal Gas albums Zauberberg and Konigsforst. It sounded awesome in 1996, and it sounds awesome today.
MPEG Stream: "Port Gentil"
MPEG Stream: "Biokinetics 2"
MPEG Stream: "Nautical Zone"

NEUNG PHAK 2 (Abduction) lp 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

album cover PORTER RICKS Biokinetics (Type) cd 16.98
Recently reissued on vinyl (which sadly, went quickly out of print), now available again on cd!!
Techno is a genre of self-quotation and unrepentant appropriation, always looking in the rearview mirror at what just happened to predict what will be the hot-shit trend on the dancefloor tomorrow. So to be able to trace an entire strain within techno's taxonomy to a specific record is quite rare. The 1996 album Biokinetics by Porter Ricks is one such record, setting the stage for pretty much every electronic artist who would flock to the banner of Chain Reaction through a stylized hypnotic, narcotizing techno haunted with deep atmospherics, dub murkiness, and subaquatic allusions. Porter Ricks was the duo of Andy Mellwig and Thomas Koner, who pursued "techno as a nautical sound experience." By the time the first Porter Ricks single emerged in '96, Koner had already developed his signature isolationist approach to slow-motion sound-design blustering with arctic metaphors through the dronemuzik classics of Nunatak Gongamur (1990) and Permafrost (1993). So when Koner began exploring techno with Mellwig, the approach to techno was less about 64-bar measures and more about constructing an evolving atmosphere girded to quintessentially German techno engineering that could be taken for a sonic portrait of tidal flows, map coordinates, sonar blips, and the vastness of the deep blue sea.
Biokinetics opens with the magnificent "Port Gentil" whose steady techno pulse coalesces through overlapping patterns from muffled pulsations of white noise and distant locomotive rhythms, later topped by a radiant metallic drone. The somatic oscillations of "Biokinetics 1" hardly makes for a techno track at all despite the insistent rhythms, but the eerie heartpulse dub of "Biokinetics 2" takes an isolationist reproach to everything adding its own desolate pulse and some subterranean reverb. Granulated hiss and slippery drone shimmer blossom through the final tracks "Nautical Nuba" and "Nautical Zone" that look forward to what Wolfgang Voigt would produce on his seminal Gas albums Zauberberg and Konigsforst. It sounded awesome in 1996, and it sounds awesome today.
MPEG Stream: "Port Gentil"
MPEG Stream: "Biokinetics 2"
MPEG Stream: "Nautical Zone"

album cover YONKERS, MICHAEL BAND Microminiature Love ( Sub Pop / De Stijl) lp 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This long time AQ fave, a former Record Of The Week, is finally again reissued on vinyl! De Stijl first did it on wax about 10 years back, which quickly went out of print, then Sub Pop did the cd version which we still sell steadily to this day. But now, Sub Pop have done a new vinyl reissue! Here's our review from before, our first taste of Michael Yonkers' unique rockin' dementia, and if you're gonna have just one Yonkers album, this is the one:
Every so often a gem will get dredged up out of the murk of history that is so unlike anything else it can only give us hope for the future of music. An obscure late-sixties rock n' roll visionary, Michael Yonkers' stuff was like nothing anyone had heard back then (or even now, really): fucked up garage psych with dementedly genius lyrics, unhinged vocals and crazy acid-fried guitar. Yonkers, a legendary Minneapolis-area figure, built his own effects pedals, cut his Fender Telecaster down to a plank, and played like no one else ever. It's hard to describe this. It's sort of like a damaged fusion of stripped down Black Sabbath, The Troggs, Pere Ubu, and The Cramps?? Or something like that. When this was unearthed on vinyl last year by the Destijl label, we heard it and freaked out. It became a big favorite 'round here. So we were thrilled to find out that Sub Pop was gonna do a cd version of that now out of print lp, with pretty much a whole 'nother lps worth of bonus tracks tacked on! Definite Record Of The Week material - as psychedelic proto-punk goes, if anything it's even more raw, original and insane than that wonderful Simply Saucer reissue we raved about recently. Yonkers recorded these tracks in 1968 and they've been sitting in the can more-or-less unheard these past 35 years - Microminature Love being shelved by its original label back in '69 we'd assume 'cause it was just so ahead of its time. Listening to it today it sounds not only fresh, but as if it could have been recorded in, say, 1981 or this year as well. Music seems to have grown up around it in its Rip Van Winkle state of hibernation. While part of what makes Michael Yonkers' sound so unique was his obsessive electronic tinkering - making custom delay, distortion and vibratto units (some of which he successfully manufactured on a commercial level) - it was also shaped as much by accident. The story goes that during a live performance in an earlier group, Michael's guitar fell to the floor and was knocked into an open tuning. Playing out the rest of the set with this off key tuning, Michael was inspired to pursue this course further, both with his guitar sound and, seemingly, his vocals too! All over Microminiature Love he exploits these semi-out-of-tune drones which make his music all the more heavy and wigged out. Imagine the Stooges playing with a water damaged electric sarod, then replace Iggy with Jello Biafra pitched down a minor third and you get an idea of the beginnings of the Michael Yonkers Band. While some may find Michael's singing a bit hard to get used to at first, its well worth giving him a couple listens because I can guarantee it'll grow on you. Once again, we hail Yonkers as a brilliant "outsider artist" of '60s garage rock. Not like the Shaggs, though - this is killer rock n' roll, make no mistake.
MPEG Stream: "Microminiature Love"
MPEG Stream: "Kill The Enemy"
MPEG Stream: "Hush Hush"

album cover OSBOURNE, OZZY Blizzard Of Ozz (Epic) picture disc lp 23.00
Remember, that's right, we made an earlier reissue of this a Record Of The Week way back on list #134! And deservedly so, it's one of the greatest heavy metal albums ever, the 1980 solo debut from the former Sabbath singer, quite a comeback in his career. Teamed up with the ill fated guitar whiz Randy Rhoads, Ozzy waxed a total timeless classic, for metalheads and non-metalheads alike.
What we didn't realized when we ROTW'd this back then, was that that 2002 reissue edition had been tampered with - the bass and drum parts had been totally re-recorded!! Weird. And wack. Apparently due to some sort of monetary dispute with the original rhythm section of bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake, Ozzy (or rather, his wife/manager Sharon Osbourne) elected to have his then current bassist and drummer (ex-members of Suicidal Tendencies and Faith No More, respectively) redo the rhythm tracks, which seems kinda fucked up, right? We learned of that later, and mentioned it in our subsequent review of the reissue of Ozzy's 2nd album, Diary Of A Madman, which also had been purged of Daisley and Kerslake's contributions.
Well, thankfully, now they've (of course) finally re-reissued these, with the original rhythm tracks restored! Presumably all parties have buried the hatchet, or perhaps Ozzy & Sharon just decided to do the right thing, we don't know. From reading Ozzy's recent autobiography, I Am Ozzy, which is highly recommended by the way, we get the idea that he was a bit embarrassed / ashamed about the whole affair. Or maybe it was all a ploy to get us to buy these several times (though they've also added a couple extra bonus tracks to Blizzard, and the new cd reissue of Diary Of A Madman, also in stock, comes with an entire bonus live disc!).
Here's some of what we wrote about Blizzard back when we first listed it...
In the same spirit as listing My Bloody Valentine's Loveless a few lists past, it occurred to us that like Loveless there are probably some of you who don't own Blizzard Of Ozz. Or perhaps some of you probably had it when you were 15, but haven't thought about it in years or bothered to pull out that dirty old cassette and throw it on. And if you're anything like us, you've become mildly obsessed with MTV's The Osbournes, and you've been getting a good laugh at doddering, senile old Ozzy, who is perplexed by the TV remote control, his dogs that shit all over the house, his truly bizarre children, and who occasionally loses control and throws a log through his neighbors' windows. The show is so popular, the BBC reported that President Bush is a fan and has asked Ozzy to have dinner with him at the White House. Never thought I'd see the day. (Neither did Ozzy, who said "I thought I'd be on a wanted poster on the wall, not invited to his place to tea.") And if I did see the day, I imagined it with a much hipper president. But with all this media hype, it's easy to forget that Ozzy (in Black Sabbath and solo) is responsible for some of the best heavy metal ever! The first two Ozzy records (Blizzard Of Ozz and Diary Of A Madman) are total classics, melodic, heavy and completely kick ass, with some of the best riffs ever committed to tape, as well as some ridiculously catchy songs (it's strange to look back now and realize how much poppier Ozzy was than we remember, closer to Van Halen than Slayer)... While both are great, we figured we would focus first on Blizzard Of Ozz as probably the best place to start for the uninitiated and since it holds a special place in [former AQ staffer] Byram's heart, who had the following to say about it:
"I would certainly never claim to be an expert on metal and my eyes fairly glaze over shortly after Andee and Allan begin one of their 'which album by _____ (random metal band) is the best' arguments. Having identified with punk rock in my formative years (though my appearance and actions made me look more like an effete and dorky new-waver at best), I was scared of the big hairy guys who I associated with metal in high school. But long before all that nonsense of cliques and fitting in, I used to ride around the suburbs on my BMX bike and listen to music regardless of its association to a particular fan demographic. With my Walkman strapped on, "Blizzard of Ozz" was my soundtrack while I made my rounds checking the pay phones and newspaper machines for change. And I'm certain that I wasn't the only young suburbanite who wandered the streets plugged into Ozzy. As his first solo album away from Black Sabbath, the million-plus-selling Blizzard of Ozz demonstrated that Ozzy had a broader appeal than his earlier efforts with the group had. Over 20 years later, after people get over their ironic chuckling, this album still holds its ground. Those of you who've now lost or worn out your old cassettes and those of you who never gave the post-Sabbath Ozzy a chance should pick this 24-bit remastered and low priced classic up immediately!"
As mentioned, the cd has not one, but 3 bonus tracks (B side "You Lookin' At Me Lookin' At You", which was included on the previous reissue, and is both poppy and kick ass enough to have fit perfectly on the original album, plus there's a 2010 guitar and vocal mix of "Goodbye To Romance", and the brief "RR").
And, this is also now available on the vinyl format, picture disc in fact!! No bonus tracks there. But of course way cool.
MPEG Stream: "Goodbye To Romance"
MPEG Stream: "Mr. Crowley"

album cover OSBOURNE, OZZY Blizzard Of Ozz (Epic / Legacy) cd 13.98
Remember, that's right, we made an earlier reissue of this a Record Of The Week way back on list #134! And deservedly so, it's one of the greatest heavy metal albums ever, the 1980 solo debut from the former Sabbath singer, quite a comeback in his career. Teamed up with the ill fated guitar whiz Randy Rhoads, Ozzy waxed a total timeless classic, for metalheads and non-metalheads alike.
What we didn't realized when we ROTW'd this back then, was that that 2002 reissue edition had been tampered with - the bass and drum parts had been totally re-recorded!! Weird. And wack. Apparently due to some sort of monetary dispute with the original rhythm section of bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake, Ozzy (or rather, his wife/manager Sharon Osbourne) elected to have his then current bassist and drummer (ex-members of Suicidal Tendencies and Faith No More, respectively) redo the rhythm tracks, which seems kinda fucked up, right? We learned of that later, and mentioned it in our subsequent review of the reissue of Ozzy's 2nd album, Diary Of A Madman, which also had been purged of Daisley and Kerslake's contributions.
Well, thankfully, now they've (of course) finally re-reissued these, with the original rhythm tracks restored! Presumably all parties have buried the hatchet, or perhaps Ozzy & Sharon just decided to do the right thing, we don't know. From reading Ozzy's recent autobiography, I Am Ozzy, which is highly recommended by the way, we get the idea that he was a bit embarrassed / ashamed about the whole affair. Or maybe it was all a ploy to get us to buy these several times (though they've also added a couple extra bonus tracks to Blizzard, and the new cd reissue of Diary Of A Madman, also in stock, comes with an entire bonus live disc!).
Here's some of what we wrote about Blizzard back when we first listed it...
In the same spirit as listing My Bloody Valentine's Loveless a few lists past, it occurred to us that like Loveless there are probably some of you who don't own Blizzard Of Ozz. Or perhaps some of you probably had it when you were 15, but haven't thought about it in years or bothered to pull out that dirty old cassette and throw it on. And if you're anything like us, you've become mildly obsessed with MTV's The Osbournes, and you've been getting a good laugh at doddering, senile old Ozzy, who is perplexed by the TV remote control, his dogs that shit all over the house, his truly bizarre children, and who occasionally loses control and throws a log through his neighbors' windows. The show is so popular, the BBC reported that President Bush is a fan and has asked Ozzy to have dinner with him at the White House. Never thought I'd see the day. (Neither did Ozzy, who said "I thought I'd be on a wanted poster on the wall, not invited to his place to tea.") And if I did see the day, I imagined it with a much hipper president. But with all this media hype, it's easy to forget that Ozzy (in Black Sabbath and solo) is responsible for some of the best heavy metal ever! The first two Ozzy records (Blizzard Of Ozz and Diary Of A Madman) are total classics, melodic, heavy and completely kick ass, with some of the best riffs ever committed to tape, as well as some ridiculously catchy songs (it's strange to look back now and realize how much poppier Ozzy was than we remember, closer to Van Halen than Slayer)... While both are great, we figured we would focus first on Blizzard Of Ozz as probably the best place to start for the uninitiated and since it holds a special place in [former AQ staffer] Byram's heart, who had the following to say about it:
"I would certainly never claim to be an expert on metal and my eyes fairly glaze over shortly after Andee and Allan begin one of their 'which album by _____ (random metal band) is the best' arguments. Having identified with punk rock in my formative years (though my appearance and actions made me look more like an effete and dorky new-waver at best), I was scared of the big hairy guys who I associated with metal in high school. But long before all that nonsense of cliques and fitting in, I used to ride around the suburbs on my BMX bike and listen to music regardless of its association to a particular fan demographic. With my Walkman strapped on, "Blizzard of Ozz" was my soundtrack while I made my rounds checking the pay phones and newspaper machines for change. And I'm certain that I wasn't the only young suburbanite who wandered the streets plugged into Ozzy. As his first solo album away from Black Sabbath, the million-plus-selling Blizzard of Ozz demonstrated that Ozzy had a broader appeal than his earlier efforts with the group had. Over 20 years later, after people get over their ironic chuckling, this album still holds its ground. Those of you who've now lost or worn out your old cassettes and those of you who never gave the post-Sabbath Ozzy a chance should pick this 24-bit remastered and low priced classic up immediately!"
As mentioned, the cd has not one, but 3 bonus tracks (B side "You Lookin' At Me Lookin' At You", which was included on the previous reissue, and is both poppy and kick ass enough to have fit perfectly on the original album, plus there's a 2010 guitar and vocal mix of "Goodbye To Romance", and the brief "RR").
And, this is also now available on the vinyl format, picture disc in fact!! No bonus tracks there. But of course way cool.
MPEG Stream: "Goodbye To Romance"
MPEG Stream: "Mr. Crowley"

album cover KAWACHI, KUNI & FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND Love Suki Daikirai / Kirikyogen (Bamboo) cd 17.98
Newly reissued, now as a 2-on-1 with another, later album, we've previously listed a cd of Kirikyogen, organist/pianist Kuni Kawachi's 1970 recording with hard rockin' Japanese psych geniuses Flower Travellin' Band (which barely preceded those AQ faves debut on their own, Anywhere, also 1970). Kawachi came from sixties Group Sounds band The Happenings Four, and made a great decision in teaming up with the nascent FTB (who had started off as Yuya Uchida and the Flowers, another GS act) for Kirikyogen, especially since Flowers/FTB had recently recruited Joe Yamanaka, the inimitable vocalist whose trademark wail did much to make Flower Travellin' Band band stand out from the pack later on. With Joe on the mic, and guitarist Hideki Ishima coming into his own, Kirikyogen is very much Flower Travellin' Band, the prequel! Meanwhile, Kawachi's Hammond organ grumblings add a nice touch to the tracks here, which he also wrote, for the most part. In addition to Kawachi's organ, singer Joe plays his harmonica more than he did on later recordings, giving these recordings a bluesier sound. While we're not going to tell you this is anything near as great as FTB's Satori or even Made In Japan, it's got some great heavy psychedelic jams (like the title track, and "Works Composed Mainly By Human") that are certainly as good as anything they did for their first album. If anything, they are a lot closer to what ended up on Satori, albeit a great deal more primordial and lacking the taughtness of their later works. It should also be noted that Kirikyogen is about 1/2 heavy Hendrix-y grooves, 1/2 more acoustic-y (but lovely), not as heavy melodic material.
Also to be noted, as alluded to above, this cd reissue also includes Kawachi's 1972 follow-up Love Suki Daikirai, which is appears as the first 14 tracks here for some reason rather than being presented in chronological fashion. Love Suki Daikirai doesn't feature any FTB folks (and is thus automatically less rockin'), but does have Kimio Mizutani on guitars, whose solo album A Path Through Haze was also recently reissued by Bamboo and reviewed by us (and which happened to feature, yes, Kuni Kawachi on keyboards!). Much more gentle and meandering than its predecessor, this later album certainly has its beautiful and/or freaky moments, but Kirikyogen, #25 in Julian Copes "Japrocksampler" Top 50, is still the primary reason to pick this up.
MPEG Stream: "Kirikyogen"
MPEG Stream: "Works Composed Mainly By Human"
MPEG Stream: "The Cat"
MPEG Stream: "Like A Concert Of Angels"

album cover ALVA NOTO & RYUICHI SAKAMOTO Insen (Raster-Noton) cd 17.98
Formerly released on Asphodel, now on Raster-Noton!
Insen is the exquisite follow-up to Vrioon, which was the first collaborative outing for seminal electronic musicians Alva Noto (aka Carsten Nicolai) and Ryuichi Sakamoto that came out in 2003. As on their first album, Insen centers upon the balance between the impressionist piano passages of Sakamoto and the cold yet graceful production of Nicolai. While the differences between the two records are subtle, they are certainly noteworthy as Nicolai slices up Sakamoto's piano into fine slivers of time-stretched fragments, terse rhythms, and blurred ambience. In turn, Nicolai realigns these sounds with Sakamoto's untreated notes, providing a complex interplay between the piano and its fractured electronic mimesis. In structuring all of the pieces on Insen, Nicolai occasionally situates his electronics along a parallel path to Sakamoto's piano, and slowly moves the two paths toward different directions, with Nicolai's rhythms achieving velocity and tension whereas Sakamoto's pointillist notes remain weighless and transient. Yet, Nicolai always teases with losing control over the composition, as he often snaps back into a somber atmosphere of minimalist smears, resorting to a similiar strategy as heard on Eno's epic Thursday Afternoon. Stunning.
MPEG Stream: "Aurora"
MPEG Stream: "Logic Moon"

album cover KONER, THOMAS Teimo (Type) lp 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Here's the second of three vinyl reissues of the early, seminal work from Thomas Koner, who alongside Andrew Chalk may stand as the greatest drone artist from the past few decades. Teimo is an album that was originally released as a cd on Barooni in 1992. Like its predecessor Nunatak Gongamur, Koner had sourced much of Teimo from recordings of gongs, using contact microphones and hydrophones to capture an unusual assortment of resonance, timbre, and decaying frequencies from his gongs. In these recordings, Koner was investigating what he qualified as an 'aesthetic of decline' shaped by the processes of decay, thermal cooling, and any gradual event that will achieve stasis. Water seeking its own level. Glaciers amassing in frozen landscapes. The metal fatigue of submarines, cracking under the pressure of an entire ocean. The long sustained metallic resonances of the gong is an apt tool for his conceptual framework, with Koner further manipulating his sources into elegant passages of subharmonic rumblings that utter subtle melodic phrases whilst shaking the bottom of the seafloor. Amidst the low-end drones and allusions to barren landscapes, Koner takes great care to keep the sounds immersive without imbuing them with terror. Yes, this is 'dark' ambient music, but his aesthetic of decline is far more clinical than say the theatrical drama that Lustmord can muster through his deadly recordings. Koner's quest is for the sublime, filled with awe and beauty simultaneously; and he has effortlessly achieved that quest throughout his career, certainly including this masterful record. Limited to 500 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Andenes"
MPEG Stream: "Teimo"
MPEG Stream: "Nieve Penitentes 1"

BIOSPHERE / DEATHPROD Nordheim Transformed (Rune Grammofon) cd 16.98
Using the recently reissued electro-acoustic masterpiece "Electric" by Arne Nordheim as the sole source material, Biosphere's and Deathprod's remixes are ice-laden, mesmerizing abstractions of sweeping electronic darkness.

album cover OMIT Tracer (The Helen Scarsdale Agency) 2cd 16.98
Given the recent wealth of post-noise, analogue synth excursions from the likes of Emeralds and Oneohtrix Point Never, we're revisiting one of the best records from one of our all-time favorite electronic artists - Omit.
Over the years, we have made quite a fuss over the free-noise / dronescraping scene out of New Zealand, as perennially great artists such as the Dead C, Birchville Cat Motel, Flies Inside The Sun, Surface Of The Earth, RST, Eso Steel, Seht, Peter Wright, and many others form a population that is proportionally way larger than countries many many times the size of New Zealand. Amongst all of those NZ artists we mentioned, there is another artist who gets name-checked from time to time: Omit. At one time back in the mid-'90s, Clinton Williams - the sole knob twiddler and tape-splicer behind Omit - put all of today's hyper-prolific cd-r artists to shame with his own stream of releases through his own cassette and lathe-cut imprint Deep Skin. An artist whose paranoiac aesthetic was completely wrapped up in the bunker mentality of '70s analog electronics, Omit never really made the logical transition by updating from cassette to cd-r, having only re-released a fraction of his old tapes on disc, the Rejector reissued on Anomalous, the Quad boxset released on Corpus Hermeticum and now the monumental double disc set Tracer, rescued from obsolescence by The Helen Scarsdale Agency.
While Williams calls the tiny farming community of Blenheim, New Zealand his home, there is very little in his work that latches upon the gristled noise and feral folk tunes heard in many of his fellow New Zealanders. Instead, his work sprawls from the sci-fi bleakness that ran through the post-psychedelic explorations of German electronics, most notably Klaus Schulze, Conrad Schnitzler, and Cluster. At the same time, Omit's kosmische homage stands as an eerie parallel to the Raster-Noton sound that ripples with Omit's millennial horror, albeit through the sterility of digital production. Comparisons have also been made to early '80s Cabaret Voltaire, but Omit is infinitely better in executing his ideas than CV ever were. It could be said that Mr. Williams is a man in the wrong time, in the wrong part of the world; and all things considered, Mr. Williams would probably like it that way. Perhaps the best way to make the world's most isolating music is to be thoroughly isolated oneself.
Following his previous work on Anomalous and Corpus Hermeticum, Tracer demonstrates a finely crafted execution in these bleak, isolationist recordings. The slow moving synth sweeps, creeping electric atmospheres, unnerving loops of mechanized clamor, and low-slung rhythmic austerity have all of the trappings of industrial culture strategies in using technology to critique technology's alienation over mankind; yet, Omit has never really stated what this is about, instead leaving hints that Omit is merely a reflection of Clinton Williams' soul expressed through blighted electronic hypnosis. Emotive expressionism isn't something you think of when it comes to Cabaret Voltaire or Throbbing Gristle, but that's the ground where Williams has consistently tread. You would be hard pressed to find an electronic album as majestic, melancholy, and profoundly human as Tracer. Totally amazing!!!
MPEG Stream: "Sequester"
MPEG Stream: "Syn Flex Dump"
MPEG Stream: "Clicker"

album cover CHALK, ANDREW East Of The Sun (Faraway Press) cd 21.00
BACK IN PRINT!!! Easily, one of the most important reissues of 2006 (available again now in 2009!), East Of The Sun available again though Andrew Chalk's own Faraway Press, complete with breathtakingly resplendent packaging. These recordings originally came out in 1994 as a cassette, released through Ora's in-house label, Ora being an early collective that revolved around Chalk, Colin Potter, and Darren Tate with occasional assistance from Jonathan Coleclough, mnortham, Lol Coxhill, and a handful of like-minded British drone enthusiasts. A few years later, the Italian label Hic Sunt Leones convinced Chalk to reissue the cassette in digital form. That CD version of East Of The Sun compressed the two sides of the cassette into a single 50 minute piece and was flushed out with some complementary dronescaping. Chalk was never happy with the Hic Sunt Leones version; and thus his reissue of the album returns to the original version found on the cassette, now gloriously remastered in its entirety. For those persnickety types, the 17 minutes or so which concluded the Hic Sunt Leones version is not here; but that is a minor loss compared to the pinnacle of drone-based minimalism found here.
Sure, Eno's ambient records On Land and Thursday Afternoon were milestones in the realm of ambient music, setting an impressionist context through which any number of the images, thoughts, and ideals could be imagined; but that strategy was perfected by Andrew Chalk on a couple of records. There was his ephemeral album Sumac in collaboration with Jonathan Coleclough, there was the first Mirror album Eye Of The Storm, and there's East Of The Sun. Very dark without becoming unbearably cold, East Of The Sun is a constant bloom of nocturnal frequencies, whose origins may be thoroughly blurred bass guitar or possibly some resonant artifact from Chalk's acoustic work in Organum. Regardless, the resultant drones drift with no beginning and no end, merely rippling, reflecting, and turning upon themselves in a perpetual, very slow motion turbulence. Leaves tumbling in autumnal twilight. Fog spilling over coastal hills. Moonlight tickling the agitated surface of a pond. Any of these organic references for meditation on simplicity to reach the sublime and the profound could easily apply to Chalk's East Of The Sun. Not just recommended, this is required listening.
MPEG Stream: "Winter Arc"
MPEG Stream: "High Water"

PARIS 1942 s/t (Majora) lp 9.99
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
"This past August, I was in Nashville on vacation listening to WRVU, the 'alternative' radio station affiliated with Vanderbilt University. For thirty minutes or so, they were playing this amazing avant-garage-drone track by 'The Legendary Dave Cloud'... needless to say, it was a friend of the DJ who had recorded this track on his 4-track earlier that day. Until I find any of his recordings (hopefully he has sent some demos to Drunken Fish or Majora, who should appreciate this hidden talent), there's this kick-ass album from Paris 1942, which includes Rick & Alan Bishop (of the Sun City Girls) and Moe Tucker! They only played together 4 times but had enough sense to record at least an album's worth of lo-fi improv garage-punk tracks. Highly Recommended!" - Jim, AQ staff guy who would love any info / demos on the aforementioned Dave Cloud.

album cover AQUARIUS T SHIRT Special Limited Artists Edition #1: Justin Bartlett (Size: 2XL) T shirt 22.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Finally! The first in a series of super limited, artist designed aQ T-Shirts, featuring original art by some of our favorite artists, who just so happen to be loyal aQ customers as well! Each one will be super special, totally unique, and will only be available for a limited time, as we're only making a finite amount of each.
The first shirt design is by aQ pal and infamous killustrator Justin Bartlett, whose style many of you no doubt will recognize. He's done tons of drawings for Oaken Throne black metal magazine, as well as record covers for grim groups like SUNNO))), Moss, Nadja, Pentemple and loads more. His style is incredible, super detailed, pen and ink with tons of stippling, lots of skulls and guts and demons and various crusty oozing offal. For aQ he's designed a super creepy and super evil mother and child, heads in bags, their rotten innards spilling out, skulls on spikes, and "Aquarius Records" carved into the stone archway in the background. It looks amazing, and will for sure get some eyes a popping as you wander through the grocery store or sit in church (heaven forbid).
The back features a small aQ logo up near the collar, the shirts are white on black, they are Hanes heavyweight T's, 100% preshrunk cotton, and we have sizes all the way from Youth Large (for kids and little ladies) all the way up to XXL (for the big guys).
We will only be selling these for a couple months, so don't miss out. Once they are gone, they won't be reprinted. EVER.
Future aQ Artist Edition T's will include designs by Savage Pencil, Stephen O'Malley, Aaron Turner and more more more!!!

album cover AQUARIUS T SHIRT Special Limited Artists Edition #1: Justin Bartlett (Size: Extra Large) T shirt 22.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Finally! The first in a series of super limited, artist designed aQ T-Shirts, featuring original art by some of our favorite artists, who just so happen to be loyal aQ customers as well! Each one will be super special, totally unique, and will only be available for a limited time, as we're only making a finite amount of each.
The first shirt design is by aQ pal and infamous killustrator Justin Bartlett, whose style many of you no doubt will recognize. He's done tons of drawings for Oaken Throne black metal magazine, as well as record covers for grim groups like SUNNO))), Moss, Nadja, Pentemple and loads more. His style is incredible, super detailed, pen and ink with tons of stippling, lots of skulls and guts and demons and various crusty oozing offal. For aQ he's designed a super creepy and super evil mother and child, heads in bags, their rotten innards spilling out, skulls on spikes, and "Aquarius Records" carved into the stone archway in the background. It looks amazing, and will for sure get some eyes a popping as you wander through the grocery store or sit in church (heaven forbid).
The back features a small aQ logo up near the collar, the shirts are white on black, they are Hanes heavyweight T's, 100% preshrunk cotton, and we have sizes all the way from Youth Large (for kids and little ladies) all the way up to XXL (for the big guys).
We will only be selling these for a couple months, so don't miss out. Once they are gone, they won't be reprinted. EVER.
Future aQ Artist Edition T's will include designs by Savage Pencil, Stephen O'Malley, Aaron Turner and more more more!!!

album cover AQUARIUS T SHIRT Special Limited Artists Edition #1: Justin Bartlett (Size: Large) T shirt 22.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Finally! The first in a series of super limited, artist designed aQ T-Shirts, featuring original art by some of our favorite artists, who just so happen to be loyal aQ customers as well! Each one will be super special, totally unique, and will only be available for a limited time, as we're only making a finite amount of each.
The first shirt design is by aQ pal and infamous killustrator Justin Bartlett, whose style many of you no doubt will recognize. He's done tons of drawings for Oaken Throne black metal magazine, as well as record covers for grim groups like SUNNO))), Moss, Nadja, Pentemple and loads more. His style is incredible, super detailed, pen and ink with tons of stippling, lots of skulls and guts and demons and various crusty oozing offal. For aQ he's designed a super creepy and super evil mother and child, heads in bags, their rotten innards spilling out, skulls on spikes, and "Aquarius Records" carved into the stone archway in the background. It looks amazing, and will for sure get some eyes a popping as you wander through the grocery store or sit in church (heaven forbid).
The back features a small aQ logo up near the collar, the shirts are white on black, they are Hanes heavyweight T's, 100% preshrunk cotton, and we have sizes all the way from Youth Large (for kids and little ladies) all the way up to XXL (for the big guys).
We will only be selling these for a couple months, so don't miss out. Once they are gone, they won't be reprinted. EVER.
Future aQ Artist Edition T's will include designs by Savage Pencil, Stephen O'Malley, Aaron Turner and more more more!!!

album cover AQUARIUS T SHIRT Special Limited Artists Edition #1: Justin Bartlett (Size: Medium) T shirt 22.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Finally! The first in a series of super limited, artist designed aQ T-Shirts, featuring original art by some of our favorite artists, who just so happen to be loyal aQ customers as well! Each one will be super special, totally unique, and will only be available for a limited time, as we're only making a finite amount of each.
The first shirt design is by aQ pal and infamous killustrator Justin Bartlett, whose style many of you no doubt will recognize. He's done tons of drawings for Oaken Throne black metal magazine, as well as record covers for grim groups like SUNNO))), Moss, Nadja, Pentemple and loads more. His style is incredible, super detailed, pen and ink with tons of stippling, lots of skulls and guts and demons and various crusty oozing offal. For aQ he's designed a super creepy and super evil mother and child, heads in bags, their rotten innards spilling out, skulls on spikes, and "Aquarius Records" carved into the stone archway in the background. It looks amazing, and will for sure get some eyes a popping as you wander through the grocery store or sit in church (heaven forbid).
The back features a small aQ logo up near the collar, the shirts are white on black, they are Hanes heavyweight T's, 100% preshrunk cotton, and we have sizes all the way from Youth Large (for kids and little ladies) all the way up to XXL (for the big guys).
We will only be selling these for a couple months, so don't miss out. Once they are gone, they won't be reprinted. EVER.
Future aQ Artist Edition T's will include designs by Savage Pencil, Stephen O'Malley, Aaron Turner and more more more!!!

album cover AQUARIUS T SHIRT Special Limited Artists Edition #1: Justin Bartlett (Size: Small) T shirt 22.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Finally! The first in a series of super limited, artist designed aQ T-Shirts, featuring original art by some of our favorite artists, who just so happen to be loyal aQ customers as well! Each one will be super special, totally unique, and will only be available for a limited time, as we're only making a finite amount of each.
The first shirt design is by aQ pal and infamous killustrator Justin Bartlett, whose style many of you no doubt will recognize. He's done tons of drawings for Oaken Throne black metal magazine, as well as record covers for grim groups like SUNNO))), Moss, Nadja, Pentemple and loads more. His style is incredible, super detailed, pen and ink with tons of stippling, lots of skulls and guts and demons and various crusty oozing offal. For aQ he's designed a super creepy and super evil mother and child, heads in bags, their rotten innards spilling out, skulls on spikes, and "Aquarius Records" carved into the stone archway in the background. It looks amazing, and will for sure get some eyes a popping as you wander through the grocery store or sit in church (heaven forbid).
The back features a small aQ logo up near the collar, the shirts are white on black, they are Hanes heavyweight T's, 100% preshrunk cotton, and we have sizes all the way from Youth Large (for kids and little ladies) all the way up to XXL (for the big guys).
We will only be selling these for a couple months, so don't miss out. Once they are gone, they won't be reprinted. EVER.
Future aQ Artist Edition T's will include designs by Savage Pencil, Stephen O'Malley, Aaron Turner and more more more!!!

album cover AQUARIUS T SHIRT Special Limited Artists Edition #1: Justin Bartlett (Size: Youth Large) T shirt 22.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Finally! The first in a series of super limited, artist designed aQ T-Shirts, featuring original art by some of our favorite artists, who just so happen to be loyal aQ customers as well! Each one will be super special, totally unique, and will only be available for a limited time, as we're only making a finite amount of each.
The first shirt design is by aQ pal and infamous killustrator Justin Bartlett, whose style many of you no doubt will recognize. He's done tons of drawings for Oaken Throne black metal magazine, as well as record covers for grim groups like SUNNO))), Moss, Nadja, Pentemple and loads more. His style is incredible, super detailed, pen and ink with tons of stippling, lots of skulls and guts and demons and various crusty oozing offal. For aQ he's designed a super creepy and super evil mother and child, heads in bags, their rotten innards spilling out, skulls on spikes, and "Aquarius Records" carved into the stone archway in the background. It looks amazing, and will for sure get some eyes a popping as you wander through the grocery store or sit in church (heaven forbid).
The back features a small aQ logo up near the collar, the shirts are white on black, they are Hanes heavyweight T's, 100% preshrunk cotton, and we have sizes all the way from Youth Large (for kids and little ladies) all the way up to XXL (for the big guys).
We will only be selling these for a couple months, so don't miss out. Once they are gone, they won't be reprinted. EVER.
Future aQ Artist Edition T's will include designs by Savage Pencil, Stephen O'Malley, Aaron Turner and more more more!!!

COLEMAN, GEORGE Bongo Joe (Arhoolie) cd 17.98
Originally released on Arhoolie in 1969 this disc features the collected wildness, weirdness and wisdom of one George Coleman, also known as Bongo Joe, on vinyl for the first time in AGES (you may remember Bongo Joe was on the bonus 7"s that originally came with the first pressing of the Mississippi release Life Is A Problem!)
George Coleman is not called Bongo Joe because he plays the bongos, it's because, well no one is sure exactly, but he does play the drums, or more specifically, the giant oil barrel. Modified of course. Coleman's instrument of choice is a 55 gallon oil drum, it's sound customized by dents and bulges and tears created with a small axe. He beats this oil drum with hammer handles, the bottom of the barrel filled with sand and buckshot to create a sort of rattle. And while that might be amazing on its own, it's Coleman's singing, or rapping, or whatever it is, probably somewhere right in between that really seals the deal. When former aQ staffer Byram worked here this was his FAVORITE record and he played it incessantly, and we all eventually grew to love it, a totally wacked stripped down freaky funky sort-of-steel-drum rhythm and blues, Coleman calls it "fundamental beat music", as played by a crazy Texas street musician, who has plenty to say about pretty much everything, and does so quite eloquently, and a bit confusionally, a wild unhinged delivery that some folks around here have likened to Wesley Willis, but we think it's way more soulful, like James Brown crossed with Screamin' Jay Hawkins, imagine one of those guys jamming with Moondog and voila.
Bongo Joe played all over Texas, once with Dizzy Gillespie, for presidents, for Muhammad Ali, in front of the Alamo, he eventually ended up in San Antonio after a retirement community complained about the racket he was making outside. And at one point he shot a man who he thought was going to rob him while he was performing. Woah.
But none of that matters as much as the music, and the music is amazing. Far out and funky, rhythmic and stripped down, wild and strange and beautiful and pretty much unlike anything else you'll ever hear.

album cover IRR. APP. (EXT.) Ozeanische Gefuhle (The Helen Scarsdale Agency) cd 14.98
BACK IN PRINT!!! If anyone has the ability to carry the post-Surrealist torch of Nurse With Wound, it would have to be Matt Waldron through his irr. app. (ext.) project. Like Nurse With Wound's eccentric genius Stapleton, Waldron would never qualify himself as a Surrealist, but it's a good jumping off point to describe their respective works. With Ozeanische Gefuhle, Waldron establishes irr. app. (ext.) establishes himself as one of the most gifted sound-sculptors whose work have passed through the doors of Aquarius. If you've ever picked up any drone / minimalist / ambient records or even just anything that Andee has poetically described as 'completely fucked', then you owe it yourself to pick up Ozeanische Gefuhle. This review could ramble on and on, but let's cut to the chase and state the obvious, this album is brilliant.
Strangely enough, Ozeanische Gefuhle -- as great as it is -- almost disappeared into the ether, as it was slated for release a few years back on another label who just sat on it for years, much to the chagrin of Mr. Waldron. Fortunately, the good people at the Helen Scarsdale Agency rectified the situation and made sure this album got its due recognition.
The title itself is an allusion to Wilhelm Reich, who used the term to describe the natural state of every healthy organism as connected to and engaged with the world around it. Such ideas in lesser hands would result in limp idylltronica with New Age sentimentality; but this is not the case for irr. app. (ext.), who solidly grounds this record upon a fundamental drone, which slinks its way through numerous field recordings and performative gestures. Waldron's masterpiece emerges as a tidal current of electronic sound, rumbling through blackened spaces and soaring with divine expressivity. As good if not better than anything by Nurse With Wound, Organum, :zoviet france:, Phill Niblock, and the Hafler Trio. Yeah, it's that good!
MPEG Stream: "Ozeanische Gefuhle (excerpt 1)"
MPEG Stream: "Ozeanische Gefuhle (excerpt 2)"
MPEG Stream: "The Demiurge's Presumption"

album cover NEU! Neu! ( Gronland ) cd 15.98
A few years back, we were ecstatic 'cause seminal krautrockers Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger had at long last (after an uncomfortable decade-plus of legal wrangling) patched up whatever their differences were, in order to allow their three classic '70s albums to be officially released on cd for the first time! Hallelujah! Unfortunately, those reissues on Astralwerks then went out of print, again. Argh. How are we supposed to do our job, recommending essential stuff like Neu!, when the record labels can't keep these albums available?? We've got Harmonia and Cluster but it's a shame not to have Neu!... Well thankfully, there's been a new Neu! reissue program on the Gronland label. And Neu!, Neu! 2, and Neu! 75 are back in print and back in stock, for a new generation (and those who missed out before) to enjoy.
For those of you not already Neu!-savvy, these are the guys responsible (along with Kraftwerk, with whom guitarist Rother and drummer Dinger once played - that's how they met, before splitting to form Neu!) for the "motorik" beat, the propulsive, autobahn-friendly, proto-punk electronics hybrid that has influenced countless bands. From big fans Bowie and Eno back in the seventies to the hundreds of postrock/electronica acts that namecheck them now, Neu! are gods. Negativland not only got their name from a Neu! song off the first album, but even the name of their label, Seeland, comes from a track off of 75. Indeed, some bands have built their entire careers on, uh, paying homage to Neu! (Michael Rother, quoted in Mojo magazine: "I went to a Stereolab concert once. Suddenly I had the impression I was listening to myself -- very strange!")
Neu! 1 (1971) is a stunning work of art, drifting back and forth between the stripped down minimal kraut-pop that they're most commonly associated with, to long, spacey and psychedelic forays with lapses into musique concrete like moments with lapping water, children and jackhammers. Their sound could be most closely compared to early Kraftwerk or Cluster. In fact, the track "Im Gluck" sounds an awful lot like both Kraftwerk's "Radioland" and, believe it or don't, the beginning preamble to Rush's "Xanadu." Whether these two had Neu! in mind when they worked these songs out remains to be proven, but it's nice to think of such dissimilar groups drawing from the same well.
MPEG Stream: "Im Gluck"
MPEG Stream: "Weissensee"
MPEG Stream: "Negativland"

album cover NEU! Neu! 2 (Gronland) cd 16.98
Neu! 2 could possibly be considered the world's first "remix" album, as a good portion of it features "varispeed" versions of previously released Neu! material. They ran out of studio time/money, so the story goes, and after recording two songs for a single ended up making alternate versions by playing the record itself at 16 rpm and 78 rpm - you can even hear the needle drop and the record player bumped into - and doing similar remixes of tracks off of the first album with a cheap tape player. 2 wasn't considered the best Neu! album back in the day, but it actually stands test of time quite well (even better than 75) and boasts the acclaim of having had a track used on the soundtrack for the English dubbed version of "The Master Of The Flying Guillotine" (those who spent countless hours of their childhood watching Kung Fu Theater will know well the One Armed Boxer and his travails.)
MPEG Stream: "Fur Immer"
MPEG Stream: "Lila Engel "
MPEG Stream: "Super 16"

album cover NEU! Neu! 75 (Gronland) cd 16.98
The critical status quo qualifies Neu! 75 as the best of their three albums, simply because it is the most musically adept and possesses the most studio polish. While we here at Aquarius are not going to deny that Neu! 75 isn't a great and pretty much required album, we disagree that this is their best work.
The two previous albums were infused with a bold spirit of experimentations that led to the mutable pace of the motorik grooves on "Negativland" (from Neu! 1), and the idiosyncratic "remixes" from Neu! 2. While Klaus Dinger's percussion remains unchanged from the first two releases, Michael Rother moves away from the risk-taking agendas from the first two albums, to a more commonplace rock schtick. Rother's guitars hold a greater range of dynamics with beautifully soaring Pink Floyd-esque harmonics to gritty aggro / glam rock power chords, but his insistance on singing much more maybe isn't a great idea... As previously mentioned, Neu! was a profound influence on David Bowie; thus, it is not a coincidence that Neu!'s "Hero" (from Neu! 75) predates Bowie's "Heroes" by a good two years!
MPEG Stream: "Hero"
MPEG Stream: "Emusik"

album cover NOTWIST, THE Neon Golden (City Slang) cd 14.98
Finally available domestically, at a lower price and with three bonus tracks!! If you're a regular AQ customer you already know that we're all huge fans of Village of Savoonga, the darkest and most dramatically experimental of the many musical outfits hailing from the loose collective of musicians based in Bavaria, Germany. Another group from this incredibly fertile scene, The Notwist started out as a punk band but have gotten better and more different with each release (reflecting the Acher brothers' growing musical smarts and proficiency), culminating in this nice rock album. But not just any indie rock, this music is wistful, lyrical, softly flowing music that's *extremely* well executed, no filler, and brings in all kinds of non-rock elements -- in sort of the same way that the Beta Band does -- *casually*, not making a big deal out of it. Cos electronic keyboards and programming and stuff (courtesy Martin Gretschmann of the solo electronic act Console) are merely one facet of The Notwist's sound, which also includes very catchy minor key hooks, attractively textural cracklings and wooden clop clops, plucked strings (cello?), machine made gurgles and squishies, even out-of-place (-but-not-really) breakbeats that actually work.
In addition to the guy from Console, The Notwist personnel includes the abovementioned Acher brothers Micha (Village of Savoonga, Tied+Tickled Trio) and Markus (VoS, T+TT, Lali Puna).
Highly recommended! This is a grower.
RealAudio clip: "One Step Inside Doesn't Mean You Understand"
RealAudio clip: "Consequence"

album cover KONONO NO.1 Congotronics (Ache Records) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The vinyl version of AQ mega-fave Congotronics is BACK IN STOCK! Here's our review from way back when we first listed the cd:
Some of us have been waiting forever for this record, or at least ever since we discovered a tiny, super compressed, thirty second long sound clip on the internet over a year ago. In all of half a minute, we became OBSESSED. Completely captivated by this band's totally alien, lush, organic 'world music' weirdness. We eventually tracked down a (great) live record by Konono No.1, which we listed here a few weeks back, and then after tons of internet sleuthing and a bunch of emails we finally managed to get in touch with someone at the Crammed label in Belgium who was willing to sell us this brand new studio album directly, since they are without US distribution. Phew! So was it worth it? Hell yeah! Anyone who heard that infamous sound sample (which was from this album), or who got to hear the live record, knows that this band is totally amazing, and indeed this record is beautiful, wild and wonderful, chaotic and festive, totally perplexing but completely mesmerizing. For those who missed out on the live record (which we've also just restocked!) or are new to the wonders of Konono No.1, here's the story: twenty five years ago, Konono formed in Kinshasa, an area between Congo and Angola, performing their own version of traditional Bazombo trance music, incorporating the then-unwanted distortions of their haphazard homemade sound system. They left the bush and settled in the capital where they were forced to compete with the harsh sounds of the city: cars, trains, buses, shouting, etc. So with very little to work with they fashioned pick-ups, microphones, loudspeakers and amplifiers from stuff they could find on the street -- old car batteries, pots and pans, magnets, even branches. Their main instrument is the likembe, a kind of thumb piano. Konono features three of 'em (bass, medium and treble) and the sound of the electrified and amplified likembe is what defines their sound. Accompanied by dancers and percussionists, the likembes wail and drone, buzz and moan, totally overblown and distorted, sounding a little like sixties fuzz guitars, turning a glorious high life jam into something much more strange and wonderful. Super rhythmic, and thick with the buzzing melodies of the likemebe's, Konono weave a massive sound. It's the wildest weirdest street party you've ever been to. Throbbing with energy and emotion, rambunctiously rollicking and totally infectious. Seven lengthy tracks that all sort of bleed and fuse into one epic world-psych jam. The African high life Hawkwind? So so great!
Check out this video clip:
http://www.crammed.be/craworld/movies/konono_promo.mov
MPEG Stream: "Lufuala Ndonga"
MPEG Stream: "Masikulu"

album cover SUN CITY GIRLS You're Never Alone With A Cigarette (Abduction) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
In recent months, we've seen several interestin' Sun City Girls reissues come out on cd via the Abduction label, like such previously vinyl-only rarities as the (supposed) soundtrack recordings to Piasa The Devourer Of Men, Dulce, and Juggernaut. Along with the shaggy dog hillbilly joke that is Jacks Creek. So fans of the now sadly defunct Sun City Girls, that cultish, psych-punk, faux-ethnic, WTF? trio, have had some welcome listening of late. However, this new disc, a collection (volume one!) of Sun City Girls singles, has us the most excited yet. That's cause these nine tracks, mostly released as singles on the Majora label back in the day, were actually all recorded during the same sessions that resulted in the acclaimed 1989 SCG album Torch Of The Mystics. That album, now out of print, is almost universally regarded as the band's best, and most popular. We'd agree, it's definitely the unanimous fave here at AQ (well, along with the equally long gone 330,003 Crossdressers From Beyond The Rig Veda). Too bad Torch Of The Mystics is out of print!! But of course that makes these tracks, cousins to those on Torch, all the more covetable!
Apparently, originally Torch was meant to be a double LP, and most of these tracks were instrumentals that would have been sequenced in amongst the songs that appeared on the final version of Torch. Plans for a double LP were eventually scrapped, and much of the extra material was then released by Majora on the You're Never Alone With A Cigarette 7" and Three Fake Female Orgasms 2x7". However, three of the tracks here are previously unreleased studio recordings, and another track, "The Fine-Tuned Machines Of Lemuria", is restored to its full 12 minute length for the first time (having been edited down for 7" release).
On of the reasons we (and everybody) likes Torch so much is that the songs, sounding much like some sort of alien, Southeast Asian surf rock, were unhindered by the unhinged eccentric excesses that make so many other, more confusional SCG recordings something of an acquired taste. Their unique take on "world music" was at its most accessible on Torch, with some of their most memorable, melodic moments and evocative atmospheres. You're Never Alone..., while not quite Torch part II, is certainly in that ballpark, with the ringing, exotic electric guitar skree of Richard Bishop taking center stage on much of this, ably supported by the drums and percussion of Charles Gocher and the bass playing of Alan Bishop (with sundry other, often ethnic, instrumentation from all). There's glorious folky riffing and moody improvs and plenty of prime SCG wonderful weirdness. Definitely an essential disc for all SCG fans!!
MPEG Stream: "Amazon One"
MPEG Stream: "Wild World Of Animals"

album cover ZOVIET FRANCE Digilogue (Soleilmoon) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
BACK IN PRINT! So, here we are waxing poetic about this album even as Zoviet France has all but disappeared from the public eye, with founding member Ben Ponton holding onto the project even though no new recordings appear in sight and as former member Robin Storey has released a whole bunch of middling albums (amidst a couple of greats) as Rapoon.
Given how many contemporary gutteral drone artists have been delving into tape loop manipulation, multiple delay pedal configurations, and transcendent tones vulcanized from base elements, listening to Zoviet France in today's climate is essential... as it would prove that this British semi-anonymous collective had better ideas, better execution, better packaging, and better results than 99% of what's coming out today. Sadly, the Zoviet France albums that would have best paralleled much of the current lo-fi drone obsession (i.e. Eostre, Norsch, Mohnomische, and even Shouting At The Ground) are all woefully out of print thanks to a unreconcilable rift between the aforementioned Ben Ponton and Robin Storey. Only a handful remain available for public consumption; and Digilogue is one of them, demonstrating the Zoviet France process of overlapping loops, hypnotic atmospherics, and ephemeral dub activity when applied to digital technology. While there is a considerable crispness to many of the sounds heard on Digilogue, Zoviet France still managed to render their sounds as if they were the liturgical / ritualist music for some hitherto unknown non-Occidental culture hidden in the English countryside. Digilogue's opening track "Alchemagenta" is a noteworthy entry into the Zoviet France pantheon of sounds for its eerily dubbed out miltaristic horn stab which former AQ-employee Byram Abbott was convinced made its way on to an early episode of The Simpsons. Mechanized bells, streched out vocal plainsongs, and oceanic swells of electric wash all cascade through Zoviet France's graceful use of delay patterns for what truly is one of the best records of the '90s and is absolutely required listening for anyone with a passing interest in experimental music over the past 50 years.
MPEG Stream: "Alchemagenta"
MPEG Stream: "Haze Polder"

album cover FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND Satori (Phoenix Records) cd 16.98
At long last, here's another reissue of this all-time AQ fave, hot on the heels of the Japrocksampler conveniently enough!
Here's what we said about Satori last time we had a cd edition in stock:
A while back we listed this, just 'cause we happened to order a few in and some of the staff here who were previously unexposed to the wonders of the Flower Travellin Band, notably Byram, became obsessed with it (and them). It was a Japan-only import and we felt that while many might already know this album backwards and forwards, it had most certainly slipped through the cracks for too many others out there. So we listed it and got an overwhelming response. Now it's a constant seller here at AQ. And still to this day, almost any time you come into the store, you might well hear the Flower Travellin' Band blaring.
This is an album (and a band) that are not celebrated nearly enough - possibly out of misguided notions of their being another bad psych knock-off among the many crowding the record racks in the early seventies. But Japan's Flower Travellin' Band were no mere cheesy imitators of occidental rock 'n roll, they were in actual fact a full-fledged, pioneering tour de force of psychedelic progressive hard rock, equalling the krautrock heavies of the era. FTB can be compared favorably to Amon Duul's better efforts with their experimental meandering (think Yeti), and the best trancey spaceouts from Can. Yet there's never a sense that FTB lose track of their compositions no matter how far out they take a track. Perhaps because even more than these experimental Krautrockers, FTB's heavy (fucking ominously heavy) sound points to a major Sabbath, Purple, and Crimson influence. Released in 1971, Satori is the band's second and arguably best album. From the first screech/howl at the beginning of track one - "Satori Part I" (the tracks on the album are all "Satori", parts I-V) - from vocalist Joe, who inhabits a zone somewhere between Can's Damo Suzuki and Deep Purple's Ian Gillan, the album gets straight down to business. Joe's scream is followed by a foreboding bass, guitar and drum dirge that's straight up collision between Cream and Black Sabbath in which no one survives. It's got so much more teeth than either, it's not even funny, predating punk by a good many years. "Satori Part II" however is quintessential FTB Over a pounding tribal drumbeat, alternating between a buzzing sitar-esque guitar drone and a melody line that curls ripples and lilts like a plume of burning incense smoke, guitarist Hideki Ishima lays out one of the creepiest, coolest guitar leads ever. If that ain't enough, vocalist Joe's singing is like that of Axl Rose being channelled by the Sun City Girls! Even if the rest of the album were total shit - which it ain't - the cost of this cd would still be well worth it for this song alone! "Part III" - an instrumental - picks up where II leaves off but slows the tempo down to a deathly pace, which makes it even heavier. This is the Sabbath influence on FTB writ large. Replete with an improv freakout before returning to the original riff and building into a frenzied crescendo. Needless to say, if you weren't bobbing your head at the beginning of the song, you will be by its end. "Part IV" could be considered FTB's "blues" number, with Joe picking up the harmonica instead of singing. But instead of churning out the expected twelve bar formula, FTB truncate the form and construct a minimalist jam around a short riff instead. "Part V" shows yet another facet of FTB's seemingly infinite potential with Hideki (?) playing some kick ass, spooky koto-like guitar overdubbed on top of some heavy psych. Damn! They could have done ten fucking albums around this schtick alone and probably never lost our interest... sigh... Absolutely, fucking recommended!!!!
Phoenix has made this reissue available on both vinyl and cd, the cd packaged in a cardstock gatefold, limited to 1000 numbered copies.
MPEG Stream: "Satori Part II"
MPEG Stream: "Satori Part III"

album cover NURSE WITH WOUND Homotopy To Marie (United Jnana) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
FINALLY REISSUED!!! Of all of the Nurse With Wound records (and we like a bunch of them!), this is our favorite. Perhaps because this makes the least 'sense,' with a textbook definition of how Surrealism can be accurately applied in an aural context. Within Homotopy To Marie, Steven Stapleton (the proprietor of Nurse With Wound) addresses most of Andre Breton's qualifications of Surrealism as "pure psychic automatism, by which an attempt is made to express, either verbally, in writing or in any other manner, the true functioning of thought. The dictation of thought, in the absence of all control by the reason, excluding any aesthetic or moral preoccupation." In many respects, John Cage took Breton's theories to one possible logical end; but Stapleton wanted to bridge contemporary musical production techniques (musique concrete informed by Industrial culture) with the original Surrealist fascination with Victorian imagery applied to Freudian definitions of fetishism, thus offering a version of Surrealism that fits better with how Breton may have thought Surrealism would sound. References to culture and the world as we know it abound in this record, but in such a convoluted way as to appear perfectly normal next to something that would normally be aurally incongruous. The title itself certainly refers to this. Often utilized within the highly specialized vocabularies of genetics and chemical engineering (you think that *we* get verbose!), a homotopy (as best as I could determine) is the relationship between a specific object and the fundamental characteristics that define the family in which that object belongs. Who Marie could be is perhaps best left between Stapleton and Marie.
Homotopy To Marie is Stapleton's finest audio collage, culled from various studio sessions, found sounds, and unknown media samples. Proceeding along at a stately pace, this album is certainly not a quiet affair, yet each sound within the album is given plenty to hold its unique place with the collage at large. It opens with "I Cannot Feel You as the Dogs are Laughing and I am Blind" -- a close investigation of shards of glass with a gated volume filter on it to accentuate the brittleness and fragmentation of the sound, followed by a period of snoring (presumably from Stapleton) which shifts to various screams, maniacal laughs, and hysterical utterances as if from an asylum. The title track is an amazing collage of a multiple gongs with the tonal rings augmented by occasional backwards masking and manipulated attack. Stapleton's use of the vocal sample is at it's best here with two characters (a shy little girl and a confident woman) intermittently reciting ambiguous phrases "When I woke up I didn't know where I was" answered by "Don't be naive, darling!". The rest of the album is a clutter of non-descript distortion, feedback from guitar buzz, microphones overloaded by megaphones screaming into them, broken by backwards dialogues in Spanish, rag time pianos, and clattering horns finally explode into a whimsical polka but have a weird aura surrounding them like when Hermann Nitsch uses polkas as punctuations to his orchestral drones.
Homotopy To Marie is a confounding album that matches its psychological instability with its dexterity in its composition, that leaves you not with a recognition of sound within an organized context, but the feeling of unidentifiable unease. An absolute masterpiece.
MPEG Stream: "I Cannot Feel You As The Dogs..."
MPEG Stream: "Homotopy To Marie"
MPEG Stream: "Astral Dustbin Dirge"

album cover FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND Anywhere (Universal Japan) cd 22.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
At long last, back in stock! The cd reissue of the 1970 debut album from AQ faves Flower Travellin' Band is still a Japanese import, but on a different label at a cheaper price (yay!), and is now housed in a regular jewelcase this time rather than a mini-lp styled sleeve. Before we launch into what's gonna be relatively long-winded review, let's just state up front that this has the best album cover EVER: the band themselves cruising down a rural highway on choppers wearing nothing but their birthday suits!! But if that's not enough to get you to buy this, read on...
As you may know, we've given a big thumbs up to the album Satori, the masterpiece from Japanese '70s psych rockers the Flower Travellin' Band [Satori is is also back in stock in a Japanese pressing, reviewed this list too].
Anywhere doesn't quite scale the heights of Satori but it'll help you to understand how they got there. Along with a great take on "House Of The Rising Sun" (a nod to Frijid Pink?), this album also explicitly demonstrates, via covers, these Japanese freaks' radical recognition of the genius of two of their Western contemporaries, Black Sabbath and King Crimson. Like many other great artists, with humble beginnings Japan's Flower Travellin' Band cut their teeth on the material of their mentors. Though Anywhere is primarily a covers album, it's also quite a testament to both the band's veracity in their reproductions and their creativity in realigning the building blocks of rock & roll. Their cover of Black Sabbath's self-titled track was actually recorded in the same year as the original and their version of King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" only a year after its release. And they aren't merely content to play only the "Schizoid Man" opening riff, like so many other bands that have attempted to cover it, but take on the entire piece in all its schizophrenic freaked out glory, getting waaay into the improv element of the mid-section. The same is true for "Black Sabbath" and you have to appreciate singer Joe's take on the unique Ozzy voice. The most interesting track on the record though has to be their attempt at straight-up blues rock -- while their "Louisiana Blues" starts and finishes almost pedestrianly enough on the "Minglewood Blues" riff by Gus Cannon (of Cannon's Jug Stompers) that was popularized in the rock scene by the likes of The Grateful Dead and Captain Beefheart, the interior of the song is a complete departure of sorts. Not only devoid of the original progression, it's not even "bluesy" at all. Here in the extended jam that makes up the meat of this musical sandwich, the Flower Travellin' Band's Eastern roots surface a bit. It's a precursor to the sound of their later albums Satori and Made In Japan.
MPEG Stream: "Louisiana Blues"
MPEG Stream: "Black Sabbath"

album cover FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND Satori (WEA Japan) cd 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
ALL RIGHT! BACK IN STOCK!! An all-time AQ fave here, that we've been unable to get for much too long. At last, we've got a Japanese import which, while more expensive than the version on defunct UK label Radioactive, is much nicer lookin' and undoubtedly more legit. So if you missed it before, we absolutely recommend that you pick it up now! Here's our original enthused review of this classic:
This is an album (and a band) that are not celebrated nearly enough -- possibly out of misguided notions of their being another bad psych knock-off among the many crowding the record racks in the early seventies. But Japan's Flower Travellin' Band were no mere cheesy imitators of occidental rock 'n roll, they were in actual fact a full-fledged, pioneering tour de force of psychedelic progressive hard rock, equaling the krautrock heavies of the era. FTB can be compared favorably to Amon Duul's better efforts with their experimental meandering (think Yeti), and the best trancey spaceouts from Can. Yet there's never a sense that FTB lose track of their compositions no matter how far out they take a track. Perhaps because even more than these experimental Krautrockers, FTB's heavy (fucking ominously heavy) sound points to a major Sabbath, Purple, and Crimson influence. Released in 1971, Satori is the band's second and arguably best album. From the first screech/howl at the beginning of track one -- "Satori Part I" (the tracks on the album are all "Satori", parts I-V) -- from vocalist Joe, who inhabits a zone somewhere between Can's Damo Suzuki and Deep Purple's Ian Gillan, the album gets straight down to business. Joe's scream is followed by a foreboding bass, guitar and drum dirge that's straight up collision between Cream and Black Sabbath in which no one survives. It's got so much more teeth than either, it's not even funny, predating punk by a good many years. "Satori Part II" however is quintessential FTB Over a pounding tribal drumbeat, alternating between a buzzing sitar-esque guitar drone and a melody line that curls ripples and lilts like a plume of burning incense smoke, guitarist Hideki Ishima lays out one of the creepiest, coolest guitar leads ever. If that ain't enough, vocalist Joe's singing is like that of Axl Rose being channelled by the Sun City Girls! Even if the rest of the album were total shit -- which it ain't -- the cost of this cd would still be well worth it for this song alone! "Part III" -- an instrumental -- picks up where II leaves off but slows the tempo down to a deathly pace, which makes it even heavier. This is the Sabbath influence on FTB writ large. Replete with an improv freakout before returning to the original riff and building into a frenzied crescendo. Needless to say, if you weren't bobbing your head at the beginning of the song, you will be by its end. "Part IV" could be considered FTB's "blues" number, with Joe picking up the harmonica instead of singing. But instead of churning out the expected twelve bar formula, FTB truncate the form and construct a minimalist jam around a short riff instead. "Part V" shows yet another facet of FTB's seemingly infinite potential with Hideki (?) playing some kick ass, spooky koto-like guitar overdubbed on top of some heavy psych. Damn! They could have done ten fucking albums around this schtick alone and probably never lost our interest... sigh... Absolutely, fucking recommended!!!!
That's what we said then, and we still mean it now -- to this day, almost any time you come into the store, you might well hear the Flower Travellin' Band blaring. Well, especially now that it's back in stock. YEAH!!!
MPEG Stream: "Satori Part II"
MPEG Stream: "Satori Part III"

album cover ALGARNAS TRADGARD Framtiden Ar Ett Svavande Skepp, Forankrat I Forntiden (Silence) cd 15.98
AT LONG LAST, THIS OLD FAVE REPRESSED AGAIN AND BACK IN STOCK!!
This is one of those essential reissues that remind us that everything cool was already done about thirty years ago. Yep, these Swedish hippies sure knew what they were doing. Timeless psychedelia from 1972. Certainly everybody who gets worked up over the umpteenth new Acid Mothers Temple release *must* buy this disc! Likewise, fans of Godspeed You Black Emperor! should check this out as well -- Algarnas Tradgard (Garden of the Elks, in English) were droning away darkly on violins and cellos before those French Canadians ever matriculated into the Suzuki School. So if you like those bands, and/or Ghost, Pelt, Sunroof, Thuja and other modern psych interpreters, here's a classic from back in the day that ought to enter (and alter) your consciousness. To utilize a period comparison, imagine the kosmiche krautrock vibes of Amon Duul mixed with Nordic forest-darkness, as this group of solemn longhaired freaks space-out with their guitars, drums, strings, sitars, tabla, Moog synth, jew's harp and various other exotic instrumentation. There's some folky female vocals a la Fairport, and group chant as well, but Framtiden is mostly instrumental, and entirely magical. That's reflected in the song titles, some quite wonderful: the album begins with "Two hours over two blue mountains with a cuckoo on each side, of the hours...that is" and ends with the title track which is rendered in English as "The future is a hovering ship, anchored in the past".
This reissue adds two amazing live bonus tracks that are worthy of the price of the disc alone!
These live tracks, along with the whole of the album proper, reveal Algarnas Tradgard as creators of dark stoned driftdrone every bit as cinematic as the best GSYBE! and even more authentically psychedelic than AMT leader Kawabata's beard. It's lovely, blissful, transportational stuff indeed. Our quick AQ-guide to the crucial Swedish psych essentials definitely includes this disc, along with the Parson Sound double cd, Bo Hansson's Lord Of The Rings opus and the International Harvester album. (Those are the top of the list, but once you've gotten into those you'll need to investigate Harvester, Trad Gras Och Stenar, Kebnekajse, and others from the Silence catalog, including Algarnas' lost-until-now second album, Delayed.)
MPEG Stream: "Two hours over two blue mountains..."
MPEG Stream: "Rings Of Saturn"
MPEG Stream: "5/4"

album cover GENDREAU, MICHAEL 55 Pas De La Ligne Au No. 3 (23five) cd 14.98
Throughout the '80s and '90s, Michael Gendreau worked extensively in the East Bay avant-noise project Crawling With Tarts, often constructing surreal experiments with idiosyncratic pop-babble and tape collages of art-damaged noise. For Gendreau, the turntable became an ideal instrument for his explorations; and soon, he began working with the archaic technology of lathe cut, handcrafted vinyl. Often the results were bizarre, if sporadically successful recontextualizations of homemade instrumentation, radio noise, and anti-pop. Recently, it seems as though Gendreau has put Crawling With Tarts on an extended hiatus, due to his increasing attention into the field of vibrations diagnostics and consultation. This incredibly technical arena has lead him to researching the problems of acoustic noise vibrations upon highly sensitive pieces of optical equipment, which could present faulty analysis due to the tiny, but measurable effects of environmental noise (air conditioning ducts and heating vents in particular).
55 Pas De La Ligne Au No. 3 finds Gendreau bridging his current activities of acoustic diagnostics with his once prolific avant-turntable collages. It appears that Gendreau has hooked up a number of accelerometers -- technical devices used to detect, measure, and catalogue any number of vibrational frequencies -- to a series of battered record players spinning his handmade vinyl. Gendreau's accelerometers are so sensitive, that they pick up, not only the interaction between the needle and the record in question, but also the muffled whir of the thick rubber band stretching between the motor and the turntable plate. The results found on 55 Pas De La Ligne Au No. 3 are astounding, with eerie mechanical drones, minute needle crackle, and the occasional, but always unnerving upsurge of quiet voices floating though the din like the EVP sounds from The Ghost Orchid of purported recordings from beyond the grave. One of the best records of 2002, and now available once again!
MPEG Stream: "Two Worlds For Now"
MPEG Stream: "55 Pas De La Ligne Au No. 3"

album cover SENOR COCONUT El Baile Aleman (Multicolor) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Few artists' music can guarantee to brighten your days and nights the way Atom Heart (and his numerous aliases) can. Any new release from this fella is received with a huge aQ grin! If you dug the recent Yellow Magic Fever tribute from the always deliriously delightful Senor Coconut and Los Negritos' Speed-Merengue Mega-Mix, you know what we're talking about and you definitely won't wanna miss these freshly reissued earlier Senor Coconut releases including this, his awesome Kraftwerk tribute! Even if you got 'em the first time around, heck, we're sure you know somebody who'd benefit from this festive treat!
Back in 2000, we had this to say about El Baile Aleman: Senor Coconut is actually the guy better known as techno/electronica artist Atom Heart. He's moved to Chile and gone all Latin and groovy on us. However, all the songs on this (high-) concept album are Kraftwerk covers! So this joins a long line of weird and wonderful tributes to Kraftwerk. Soon we'll be able to have a whole bin at Aquarius dedicated to such endeavors: the Balenescu Quartet one, the Terre Thaemlitz one, the one with all the Slovenian acts, the Japanese import one, the Miami Bass one, etc. etc. Anyways, so incredibly executed down to the tiniest detail, this one will sit at the top of the heap! Super duper fun.
MPEG Stream: "The Robots (Cha-Cha-Cha)"
MPEG Stream: "Neon Lights (Cha-Cha-Cha)"

album cover AMON DUUL II Yeti (Revisited ) cd 17.98
It's been reissued again and again, as well is should 'cause this is one of the best albums EVER everyone at AQ agrees and should always be in print, and you should even own more than one copy it's that good. For some reason, the rights to this album (and ADII's others as well) seem to constantly be in flux from one label to the next -- this time it's in the care of an outfit called Revisited Records, who have put it in a digipack almost identical to its previous incarnation on Repertoire, but sadly without the two bonus tracks from singles that that one had.
Anyway, maybe you're wondering what the heck the big deal is with Yeti, so here's our review we wrote last time it got reissued:
The absolute hardest albums to write about are those we hold in the highest esteem and though we have an aversion to the general notion of a "desert island selection", this Amon Duul II disc is one of those albums that we could see as an definite inclusion on a short list of "must have" rock records! 1970's Yeti is the second album of Amon Duul II, succeeding Phallus Dei, and captures these krautrockers at their zenith. The album opens with the four movement opus "Soap Shop Rock", an amazing 13+ minute track that encompasses the gamut of psychedelia. It begins as an uptempo number with driving bass and drums in which vocals, guitars and amplified fiddles swirl around in a multitude of melodic variations in counterpoint before breaking down into one of the most kick ass tempo changes ever performed in rock; a heavy dirge that never fails to knock my knee caps loose, and it's got a guitar line that certainly must have been held in immense reverence by Kramer at some formative point in his career. The song doesn't settle down there, but continues in its focused meanderings for another ten minutes, retaining enough of an anchor of its beginnings to give it coherence as a unified whole. The rest of the album is equally amazing, touching everything from blasted proto-punk psych ("Archangels Thunderbird" and "Eye-Shaking King") to spacey drone improv (the fifteen minutes of "Yeti Talks To Yogi" and "Sandoz In The Rain"). Essential krautrock. In fact, one of the best records EVER.
It's one of those albums, like First Utterance by Comus and Satori by Flower Travellin' Band, that when it's playing, we think, why listen to anything else again??
MPEG Stream: "Soap Shop Rock - Halluzination Guillotine"
MPEG Stream: "Archangels Thunderbird"
MPEG Stream: "Soap Shop Rock - Flesh-Coloured Anti-Aircraft Alarm Clock"

AMON DUUL II Yeti (Revisited) 2lp 30.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Yes, now reissued on vinyl!!! It's been reissued on cd again and again, as well is should 'cause this is one of the best albums EVER everyone at AQ agrees, and should always be in print, and you should even own more than one copy it's that good. This is the first vinyl reissue we've seen though, released by the same outfit that did the most recent cd digipack reish. Four sides of Yeti's genius, in a gatefold sleeve bearing that iconic krautrock cover image of Shrat with his scythe.
Anyway, maybe you're wondering what the heck the big deal is with Yeti, so here's our review we wrote the last time it got reissued:
The absolute hardest albums to write about are those we hold in the highest esteem and though we have an aversion to the general notion of a "desert island selection", this Amon Duul II disc is one of those albums that we could see as an definite inclusion on a short list of "must have" rock records! 1970's Yeti is the second album of Amon Duul II, succeeding Phallus Dei, and captures these krautrockers at their zenith. The album opens with the four movement opus "Soap Shop Rock", an amazing 13+ minute track that encompasses the gamut of psychedelia. It begins as an uptempo number with driving bass and drums in which vocals, guitars and amplified fiddles swirl around in a multitude of melodic variations in counterpoint before breaking down into one of the most kick ass tempo changes ever performed in rock; a heavy dirge that never fails to knock my knee caps loose, and it's got a guitar line that certainly must have been held in immense reverence by Kramer at some formative point in his career. The song doesn't settle down there, but continues in its focused meanderings for another ten minutes, retaining enough of an anchor of its beginnings to give it coherence as a unified whole. The rest of the album is equally amazing, touching everything from blasted proto-punk psych ("Archangels Thunderbird" and "Eye-Shaking King") to spacey drone improv (the fifteen minutes of "Yeti Talks To Yogi" and "Sandoz In The Rain"). Essential krautrock. In fact, one of the best records EVER.
It's one of those albums, like First Utterance by Comus and Satori by Flower Travellin' Band, that when it's playing, we think, why listen to anything else again??
MPEG Stream: "Soap Shop Rock - Halluzination Guillotine"
MPEG Stream: "Archangels Thunderbird"
MPEG Stream: "Soap Shop Rock - Flesh-Coloured Anti-Aircraft Alarm Clock"

album cover DISSECTION Storm Of The Light's Bane (The End) 2cd 14.98
Long overdue, super deluxe double disc reissue of this long-time Aquarius favorite / black metal classic. After a not-so-great past few years for Dissection, including a lengthy jail sentence for frontman Jon Nodtveidt, and a recent disappointing 'comeback/reunion' record (not yet reviewed here), this black classic returns to remind us just how mindblowingly kick ass Dissection really were. And while of course this is a fave of all the metalheads around here, and our metal-lovin' customers, it's also loved by the less metal inclined -- for instance, former AQ staffer Byram, not normally a big metal consumer, ranks this as one of his favorites amongst the Nordic hordes. In fact, it's one of the few metal cds in his collection. It's that great. It came out originally in '94, reissued as a digipak a few years back, and now sees a super duper double disc re-release with a whole disc of bonus tracks (more on those later).
With Storm of the Light's Bane, Dissection perfected their melodic, blackened Swedish death metal approach -- that means TRUE, original metal, with elements of everything from Morbid Angel to Mayhem to Iron Maiden, suped-up and super-grim, with raspy vocals, wicked drumming (the guy is AMAZING), truly memorable, majestic melodies, and tons of cold winter atmosphere. They take long breaks to let their acoustic guitars gently weep, then tear back into the brutal, razor-edged rifferama. Serious stuff, seriously great. This was to be their last album, a mighty swan song, as Dissection called it quits soon after when their frontman ended up in jail as accessory to murder -- but their -very- tangential role in any of that over-sensationalized Scandinavian black metal true crime stuff has nothing to do with why you should be interested in this band. Like we said, the band reformed last year when Nodtveidt got out of jail, and just recently released a mediocre new record, but it couldn't hold a candle to Storm Of The Light's Bane, nor could most metal records actually. Dissection was a brilliant band, and Storm of the Light's Bane is an all time classic that belongs in every metal collection. If you haven't already gotten this album, here's your chance. And even if you already have one of the previous versions, the extra disc might make it a necessary repeat purchase.
The second disc is crammed with bonus tracks and unreleased material. First up, the Storm Of The Light's Bane unreleased alternative mix '95, which might have been for completist nerds only, but a closer look reveals an extra track not on the album proper. Then there's two tracks from an unreleased 1994 demo. And finally the Where Dead Angels Lie ep, also remastered. Lots of liner notes and packaged in a spiffy slipcover. SO RECOMMENDED!
MPEG Stream: "Night's Blood"
MPEG Stream: "Where Dead Angels Lie"
MPEG Stream: "Soulreaper"

album cover V/A Ho!: Roady Music from Vietnam (Trikont) cd 17.98
We can not tell you how psyched we are to have this back in stock. We've been listening to this like crazy. We had almost forgotten how totally far out and mind blowing this collection was. Since we first carried this years ago, there have been tons of diverse and eclectic collections of musics from all over the world, psych rock compilations (Love, Peace & Poetry, Thai Beat A Go Go, etc.), the Sublime Frequencies series, and loads more, but as good as those are, they can't hold a candle to Ho!: Roady Music From Vietnam! So completely fascinating and fun, wild and so so weird! Everytime this gets played in the store, customers and employees alike have to check to see what the heck it is we're listening to!
Ho! is an amazing collection of pieces from Vietnamese street musicians. The folks that travelled to Vietnam and recorded these pieces gave themselves the tongue-in-cheek name Nuoc Mam Dirndl'n, evidence of their humor in the light of collecting the sort of music they suspect the Vietnamese government would perhaps NOT appreciate as a representation of Vietnam. Ho! ranges from raucous, percussion-heavy funeral songs played at midnight by 'young people provided with drugs' to traditional material played on the one-stringed dan bau to melodramatic love songs favored by the son of the owner of the hotel the folks stayed at. There's even a 'tasteful schmaltzy song' which is what the Vietnamese record-store saleswoman played for them when they asked for some traditional Vietnamese music! Check out the following excerpt from the fascinating liner notes, and, like us, marvel at the freshness inherent in the refusal to adopt the omniscient voice-of-authority tone taken by so many ethno-compilers: "We are stunned by the Vietnamese 'Lebensgefuhl' actually corresponding to our western idea of 'subculture': lively, anarchic, loud, dense, hearty; the people are living working, eating, sleeping, and holding their funeral ceremonies between house and street. We don't know yet if there is any subculture in Vietnam; if there is e.g. (organized) political counterforces to the one-party regime -- nobody talks about politics (with us) -- maybe there is no need for it, because everybody can do whatever he/she wants: though street trading is prohibited everybody does it -- under the hardly vigilant eyes of the law -- raids are very rare, then the stands are carried away quickly and when the mischief is gone it goes on... What matters is that people LOVE TO SING which, like in our part of the world, hide in gloomy basements and play till the ears/souls are ringing: every band in Vietnam needs a license for its existence, for every gig, every song. And because there is no basements in Vietnam, people like to use the karaoke machines in their homes, bars and special karaoke houses. Saigon's street musicians are rather despised by the yuppies of Vietnam: 'shit music.' The yuppies prefer Sting and western style in general." Highly highly highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: DAN BAU VIETNAM "Rider In The Sky"
MPEG Stream: DEAD MEN'S ORCHESTRA "Totencombo"
MPEG Stream: EO SINH + NAMH HAO "VC Love Song"
MPEG Stream: THU HIEN "Hoa Cau Vuon Trau"

album cover OS MUTANTES Jardim Eletrico (#4) (Universal / Polydor Brazil) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Just a few weeks ago, we were happy to at long last re-list the first three incredible albums by long-time AQ fave, the amazing Mutantes from Brazil. We mentioned then that we also had been able to stock some other Mutantes titles as well, ones we hadn't ever reviewed before -- but also really like! Sure, we agree that their first three, and especially first two, albums are their absolute, all-time classics, not to be surpassed. If you haven't heard those, go check 'em out before returning to this review. But if, like us, you've worn those albums out and want to hear more Mutantes, you'll also be mighty pleased with records #4 and #5 as well, wethinks. Not to mention that if these *weren't* Mutantes albums, but psych-prog rarities from some other, more obscure late '60s Brazilian band, they'd be heralded as brilliant lost treasures with no question...
So, this week we bring you #4, Jardim Eletrico. Still featuring the crucial creative nexus of original members Rita Lee, Arnaldo Baptista and Sergio Dias, this record was released in 1971 (yes, that magical year Allan's so obsessed with, again!) and takes Os Mutantes' unique tropicalia mix of '60s acid-psych and carefree pop and Latin rhythms into perhaps a little bit more '70s prog-rock territory, without getting all serious about it or anything. They stick with the same playful 'n' eclectic (if not quite so experimental) songwriting approach as on albums #1-#3, but throw in some heavier fuzz freakiness at times, which is fine by us. The catchiness quotient is still way up too, many of the tracks being super-upbeat, surefire faves for any Mutantes fan. Take the sunniest songs by Sly Stone (this album's opener "Top Top" for sure hints at Sly) or the Kinks ("Virginia"), filter 'em through Brazilian bossa nova and Spanish flamenco folk ("El Justiciero"), step on the occasional fuzz pedal, and you'll have some idea what this sounds like. Most of the songs are in Portuguese, but you do get the all-English track "Technicolor" and also an English-language version of their Caetano Veloso-penned hit "Baby", gently sung by Rita Lee (unlike the Portuguese version on their debut, that had Baptista at the mic).
We're pretty sure that if you like A Divina Comedia Ou Ando Desligado (#3), there's no reason to stop there, you'll like #4 Jardim Eletrico too. Indeed, there's quite a few songs here that could easily compete for inclusion in our personal Mutantes top ten. So don't miss out, Mutantes fans.
NB. If you're wondering why we number all the Mutantes albums like we do, it's just a habit that started with trying to keep the first two, both self-titled albums straightÉ
MPEG Stream: "Top Top"
MPEG Stream: "El Justiciero"
MPEG Stream: "Jardim Eletrico"

album cover OS MUTANTES Mutantes E Seus Cometas No Pais Do Baurets (#5) (Universal / Polydor Brazil) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
One more time, welcome to the mixed-up Technicolor tropicalia psych-pop pleasuredome that is the music of Brazil's one and only Os Mutantes! This, their fifth album, from 1972, was their last with original vocalist Rita Lee before the band headed off into way proggier '70sness on later efforts of that decade, and it's one splashy send-off all right. We've said before that Mutantes discs #1 (Os Mutantes) and #2 (Mutantes) are the absolute must-have essentials, with #3 (A Divina Comedia Ou) running a close third... but #4 (Jardim Eletrico), reviewed last list, and this fifth one too are also full of great Mutantes moments that fans should certainly hear! (And it should be added that if you dig Yes, tracking down some of those subsequent Mutantes efforts might be worth it as well...)
It should come as no surprise to Mutantes aficionados that as a collection of songs, Mutantes E Seus Cometas No Pais Do Baurets is all over the place, from the McCartneyesque, Moog sizzling "Balada Do Louco" to the groovy, wacked-out prog-funk of the nearly 10-minute long title track. You'll hear peppy '50s rockabilly pastiche ("Posso Perder Minha Mulher, Minha Mae, Desde Que Tenha O Rock And Roll"), Zep-heavy fuzz rockers ("A Hora E A Vez Do Cabelo Nascer"), lovely folkiness ("Vida de Cachorro"), and a honky tonk piano beerhall singalong ("Todo Mundo Pastou II"). And one of Allan's (but not necessarily everybody else here's) favorite tracks has got to be the ultra kitschy, goofy "Dune Buggy"... there's certainly lots of humor and bizarre bits woven in and out of pretty much all these tunes, again as per Mutantes' usual modus operandi (as is the Beatles influence felt throughout). Definitely a fun listen!
MPEG Stream: "A Hora E A Vez Do Cabelo Nascer"
MPEG Stream: "Vida de Cachorro"
MPEG Stream: "Dune Buggy"

album cover AQUARIUS BUTTONS 2 x 1" buttons 1.00
Hey, we just got another batch of AQ buttons made up...
Spread the word! Show the world your true aQ colors! COOL COOL COOL aQ buttons, now in 6 different vibrant color combinations. 5 new color combos (blue on pink, red on dark grey, dark blue on blue, orange on black, and yellowish green on dark green) and a popular one we had previously (brown on yellow).
TWO FOR $1!!! Colors are random, but buy enough and you'll be guaranteed to get 'em all! And of course all feature our spiffy James Gang style logo!! So stylish!

album cover OAKLEY HALL Second Guessing (Amish) cd 14.98
Second album of sunkissed honky-tonk from Brooklyn-based Oakley Hall, featuring a former member of Oneida. Reminiscent of '70s California soft roots rock like Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks or the Anonymous / J. Rider reissues we listed awhile back. Sunny male and female harmonies and lazy day fiddles ride a solid foundation of electric psych-tinged country rock. Only the final track, a great cover of Buffy Saint-Marie's "Cod'ine" (which was also very successfully covered by Dan Hicks earlier group, The Charlatans) points at a darker alt-country vibe we wish there was more of.
MPEG Stream: "Hiway"
MPEG Stream: "Cod'ine"

album cover WOODEN WAND & THE VANISHING VOICE Gipsy Freedom (5RC) cd 14.98
Don't know about you, but when we hear saxophone from a band that is not usually associated with jazz, we cringe a little. We know there are plenty of excellent uses of saxophone on non-jazz related records (Van Der Graaf Generator, Gong, and Terry Riley come immediately to mind), but when the first song on a CD begins with lone saxophone, We just don't expect good things. So what to say about this new WW&VV recording, the latest in a flurry of releases, (their second on 5RC), that keep getting weirder and weirder? Don't rely too hard on first impressions. Especially when the saxophonist is Daniel Carter, outstanding free jazz alumnus and member of the Other Dimensions in Music collective. This is not to say Gypsy Freedom is a jazz record, but rather WW&VV this time around weave some Sun Ra-style free jazz dynamics into its already expansive and wandering palate of clattering rhythms, sad mountain ballads, witchy tribal dirges, and twee space folk psych jams, mixing both instrumental psych excursions with more structured vocal based songs. There's definitely an interesting dark forest vibe here, not so much of the communal drum circle variety but more akin to the feeling of watching The Wicker Man on Special K. But like most WW&VV releases, their experimentation can get so random that they sometimes misfire. Yet, this is only a minor complaint for a band that makes challenging and creative music that is of nature and against nature at the same time. CD includes a DVD of "Don't Love the Liar", the closest WW&VV get to a rock number.
MPEG Stream: "Didn't it Rain"
MPEG Stream: "Don't Love the Liar"

album cover GHOST ORCHID, THE An Introduction to EVP (Ash International (R.I.P.)) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
FINALLY, this long out of print, all time unanimous AQ favorite gets re-pressed and is available once again!
The Conet Project from beyond the grave!?! Perhaps that's a good way of describing this baffling, terrifying, occasionally laughable, but always compelling album. It's been out of print for a very long time, and we're pleased to see The Ghost Orchid haunting our shelves once again!
To recap, The Ghost Orchid documents instances of something called "Electronic Voice Phenomenon," the paranormal appearance of strange voices (which at times sing and speak in multiple languages) on magnetic tape when there shouldn't be any voices there at all... Respected parapsychologists have postulated that these voices are those of dead people (i.e. ghosts) or possibly of extraterrestrial origin! Unlike The Conet Project, which cross referenced the audio tracks with written information, The Ghost Orchid presents these recordings with the audio commentary of one of several researchers (Nadia Fowler, Raymond Cass, and Lief Elggren -- the Swedish performance/audio artist and a part time collaborator with the Hafler Trio), explaining the findings. These recordings are the findings of a number of parapsychologists including Dr. Konstantine Raudive, Friedrich Jurgenson, and Raymond Cass.
While there is something wholly terrifying about these recordings, there is an absurd question about these ghostly voices that we have to ask: Why are the majority of these recordings in Latvian? At any rate, The Ghost Orchid manages to be both spooky and silly, and is definitely a fascinating listen from a pure sound perspective regardless of how disturbing and/or amusing you might find the alleged sound source itself. For non sequitur pop culture reference, the sample "You are sleeping, you do not want to believe" which concludes The Smith's "The Rubber Ring" hails from an old recording made by Raudive and can be found in its entirety here. Brilliant!
MPEG Stream: RAYMOND CASS "Out Of This World"
MPEG Stream: RAYMOND CASS "Burned With Force"
MPEG Stream: RAYMOND CASS "Carefully With Nerve Gas"
MPEG Stream: KONSTANTIN RAUDIVE "Breakthrough Side A"

album cover V/A Cambodian Cassette Archives: Khmer Folk & Pop Music Vol. 1 (Sublime Frequencies) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Repressed and BACK IN STOCK! Yay!
What? Another collection of Cambodian pop? But you just listed two volumes of Cambodian Rocks? (And, get ready for two more in that series!) It's true, Cambodian music seems to be the flavor of the moment on the obscure world music scene. But bear with us, as this one deserves all the attention afforded the Cambodian Rocks series... and then some. The history of Cambodia's flourishing and rich music scene was -- like the greater culture and society of the country in general -- cruelly severed in the early seventies by the Khmer Rouge during their "cleansing" program. All our favorite performers, anonymous until Khmer Rocks' own collections were recently released, were undoubtedly victims of the Khmer Rouge during this period. In the following years Cambodians who fled the country set up communities around the globe and among the other parts of their culture they treasured, the music of these lost performers was not forgotten. Throughout the seventies, eighties and nineties the scattered communities set up recording studios and continued to produce music just as amazing as those lost golden years. Enter Mark Gergis (of Neung Phak / Mono Pause and the man who brought us I Remember Syria). From 1999 to 2004 Mark diligently scoured the Asian branch of the Oakland Public Library, checking out each and every Cassette of Cambodian music produced in the period from the early seventies to the present. Many of the cassettes were unfortunately unlistenable; not merely because they'd been played thousands of times, or left on hot car dashboards, but because they were being slowly bulk erased by the library employees themselves as they would unwittingly pass them over the magnetic security system used to prevent book theft. Even with the best intentions of the public library as a repository for culture, Cambodian music was slowly being erased one cassette at a time. Of course there was no public outcry, at this point people had moved on to the newest thing (no doubt something recorded by one person with an electronic keyboard and other MIDI gear). It seems to happen everywhere: recent history is wiped clean for whatever happens to be hot at the moment. So it was that Mark culled together a collection of songs that are as amazing as they are rare. One thing particularly striking about many of the tracks is that, unlike what you'll hear on the Cambodian Rocks collections (all of which were actually recorded in Cambodia), they include both traditional Cambodian instruments alongside western instruments. There are tracks with Khan (the inimitable mouth organ of Southeast Asia) playing alongside electric guitar (which is often times being played in the style of a traditional Cambodian stringed instrument), saxophone, drums, electric bass and organ. Some of the combinations and bizarre genre bends are truly off the wall -- such as the track, unfortunately to remain untitled for now, a proto-metal Cambodian pop ditty featuring echoey and brash female vocals and a Queen-era guitar solo. While there are a few of the more modern pop tunes -- of the primarily keyboards and drum machine variety -- here, none are of the overly westernized Asian pop that is so ubiquitous these days. There are also 6 tracks of older tunes that were recorded in Phnom Penh between the mid-1960's and the early 70's (one of which was overdubbed by an American operated studio with a drum machine beat!) This is a truly amazing collection, certainly the best disc to be released by Sublime Frequencies to date, and Byram's top pick for 2004 thus far. Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Blue Basket"
MPEG Stream: "Unknown [track 12]"
MPEG Stream: "Unknown [track 15]"

album cover JESU Heart Ache (Avalanche) lp 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A lot has changed since we made this, the very first Jesu record, our Record Of The Week, way back in 2005 (after making their s/t Hydra Head debut ROTW as well!). Most readers of the aQ list are now well familiar with Justin Broadrick's (Godflesh, Final, etc.) bliss metal behemoth, but when Heart Ache first hit, we were blown away, totally knocked for a loop, all the heft and grit and pummel of Godflesh, but blurred into gorgeously washed out shoe-gazey swells, a new sound that was, and still is all we wanted to hear. The cd went out of print pretty quick, released on a tiny UK label called Dry Run, and remains unavailable still. But now, and probably not for long, Heart Ache is available on vinyl, released on Broadrick's own Avalanche label, LIMITED TO 1000 COPIES, pressed on 180 gram vinyl, and housed in super swank full color gatefold sleeves. We got a bunch of these, but needless to say (although we'll say it anyway), these will most likely FLY out of here, and there's a good chance we might not be able to get more. So what's the big deal about Heart Ache. Read on...
Jesu's debut, two track, sort-of-full-length might still remain, to this day, our favorite Jesu recording yet. Which is most definitely saying something considering how much we love pretty much everything Jesu has put out so far.
Heart Ache was to be our first glimpse of Justin Broadrick's much anticipated post Godflesh project (although for many, it was actually a second glimpse, since we ended up getting it AFTER the Hydra Head debut, but we digress) and sonically it sounds exactly like you might imagine a record between the last Godflesh record and that totally amazing Hydra Head Jesu full length would sound.
We had all pretty much given up on Godflesh. It seemed like maybe that band had run its course. The sounds were there, but it sounded like Broadrick had his mind elsewhere. Gone was the glorious industrial pummel of Streetcleaner and gone too was the dubbed out machine metal of Slavestate, and in their place, more-of-the-same riffs, shouted atonal vocals, and songs that played out more like assembled parts than actual SONGS. So while our age-old and undying love of early Godflesh had us super excited to hear this Jesu everyone was talking about, we were prepared for it to not live up to the hype. Which was precisely why we were so blown away when we finally heard it. Everything we loved about Godflesh was there, plus a new found love of melody, swoonsome clean vocals, expanded instrumentation (piano!) and extended slow building tracks of brooding intensity and smoldering instrumental ferocity, all smeared into dreamy industrial bliss drone epics!
Unlike the full length, on which Jesu is a full band with a live drummer, on Heart Ache, Jesu is just Broadrick, a guitar, a piano, and of course a drum machine. Ahhh, the drum machine. How it warms our Streetcleaner worshipping hearts. Clangy and clattery, brittle guitars soar over crumbling distorted rumbles, all machinelike and clinical but imbued with a weirdly organic lushness. Drifting clouds of ghostly feedback, sonic vapor trails of haunting minor key swells, all slip and shift into vast stretches of shimmering cinematic ambience, with slowly pealing guitar tones and synthesized chant-like vocals, gorgeously melancholy almost Goblin-esque in its creepy beauty. Everything held together by smooth, clean, barely affected vocals, all dreary and weary, repeating simple mantra-like lyrics, distant and otherworldly. The whole thing sheds its industrial armor as it moves forward, showing more skin, becoming more vulnerable, becoming less and less rigid, and more and more soft and indistinct. Pretty, dreamy, blissed out and sweetly sorrowful, with Broadrick's endlessly repeated, haunting refrain drifting and fading, like a mirage that may have never been there at all. And that's just the first track.
The second track is just as surprising as the first, starting off with spare solo piano, joined eventually by simple, finger-picked guitar, eventually drifting into a simple low end piano chord, repeated over and over and over, floating in the inky blackness, until the song lurches into a sludgy crawl, with huge murky downtuned riffs (think Fudge Tunnel's "Hate Song" at 16rpm), but then Broadrick confounds again with heavily delayed, clean vocals, singing in a strangely hypnotic counterpoint to the main riff. Dizzying and quite lovely. It's a constant tug of war between the black hole tar pit dirge and the almost hopeful sounding vocals. Like the first song, track two devolves into a whole 'nother beast, as it slows down and blisses out, with lilting melodies creeping into the sludge and making what was only moments before a metallic behemoth crushing all in its wake, into a creepy rickety, buzzy back porch crawl, spare and skeletal, with distorted piano, buzzing fret noise and lots of ambient reverb that's gradually smoothed out into a fuzzy smear of static, beneath a simple low end piano figure, chiming and ringing out into nothingness. One of those rare records that manages to be heavy yet pretty, beautiful but scary, sweet and sorrowful, darkly doomy and gloriously luminous!
And again, SUPER LIMITED, 1000 COPIES! One per customer, once we run out blah blah blah, you know the drill, if you missed out on the cd, don't make the same mistake with the vinyl!
MPEG Stream: "Heart Ache"
MPEG Stream: "Ruined"

album cover JESU Heartache (Dry Run) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This debut ep from Justin Broadrick's (of Godflesh) new outift Jesu has been a bit tough to keep in stock, and since when we originally had it we loved it so much we made it Record Of The Week, and since we finally managed to get more, we figured we'd relist it so those of you who missed out the first time can get another crack. Here's what we had to say about it last time:
Since we made Jesu's debut full length on Hydrahead one of our records of the week recently, it was pretty much a no brainer that Jesu's Heart Ache ep would have to be a record of the week as well. Especially since some of us might actually even like it a little better than the full length, and unlike the Hydrahead release, this one has been impossibly difficult to track down, until now.
Heart Ache, released on Dry Run, a tiny UK independent label, was to be our first glimpse of Justin Broadrick's much anticipated post Godflesh project (but for most of us, it's actually a second glimpse since it's taken until now for us to get copies to list) and sonically it sounds exactly like you might imagine a record between the last Godflesh record and the totally amazing Jesu full length would sound.
We had all pretty much given up on Godflesh. Gone was the glorious industrial pummel of Streetcleaner and gone too was the dubbed out machine metal of Slavestate, and in their place, tired rehashed riffs, shouted atonal vocals, and uninspired songwriting. So while our age-old love of early Godflesh had us super excited to hear this Jesu everyone was talking about, we were pretty much ready to be disappointed. Which was precisely why we were so blown away when we finally heard it. Everything we loved about Godflesh was there, plus a new found love of melody, swoonsome clean vocals, expanded insturmentation (piano!) and extended slow building tracks of brooding intensity and smoldering instrumental ferocity, all smeared into dreamy industrial bliss drone epics!
Unlike the full length, on which Jesu is a full band with a live drummer, on Heart Ache, Jesu is just Broadrick, a guitar, a piano, and of course a drum machine. Ahhh, the drum machine. How it warms our Streetcleaner worshipping hearts. Clangy and clattery, brittle guitars soar over crumbling distorted rumbles, all machinelike and clinical but imbued with a weirdly organic lushness. Drifting clouds of ghostly feedback, sonic vapor trails of haunting minor key swells, all slip and shift into vast stretches of shimmering cinematic ambience, with slowly pealing guitar tones and synthesized chant-like vocals, gorgeously melancholy almost Goblin-esque in its creepy beauty. Everything held together by smooth, clean, barely affected vocals, all dreary and weary, repeating simple mantra-like lyrics, distant and otherworldly. The whole thing sheds its industrial armor as it moves forward, showing more skin, becoming more vulnerable, becoming less and less rigid, and more and more soft and indistinct. Pretty, dreamy, blissed out and sweetly sorrowful, with Broadrick's endlessly repeated, haunting refrain drifitng and fading, like a mirage that may have never been there at all. And that's just the first track.
The second track is just as surprising as the first, starting off with spare solo piano, joined eventually by simple, finger-picked guitar, eventually drifting into a simple low end piano chord, repeated over and over and over, floating in the inky blackness, until the song lurches into a sludgy crawl, with huge murky downtuned riffs (think Fudge Tunnel's "Hate Song" at 16rpm), but then Broderick confounds again with heavily delayed, clean vocals, singing in a strangely hypnotic counterpoint to the main riff. Dizzying and quite lovely. It's a constant tug of war between the black hole tar pit dirge and the almost hopeful sounding vocals. Like the first song, track two devolves into a whole 'nother beast, as it slows down and blisses out, with lilting melodies creeping into the sludge and making what was only moments before a metallic behemoth crushing all in its wake, into a creepy rickety, buzzy back porch crawl, spare and skeletal, with distorted piano, buzzing fret noise and lots of ambient reverb that's gradually smoothed out into a fuzzy smear of static, beneath a simple low end piano figure, chiming and ringing out into nothingness. One of those rare records that manages to be heavy yet pretty, beautiful but scary, sweet and sorrowful, darkly doomy and gloriously luminous!
MPEG Stream: "Heart Ache"
MPEG Stream: "Ruined"

album cover KONONO NO.1 Congotronics (Crammed Discs) cd 16.98
Probably the biggest "hit" record here at AQ of the past year. We're super excited that they'll be coming to San Francisco to play at the Jazz Fest in November, by the way! Here's our review of Congotronics from when we first listed it back in January:
So here it is! Hard to believe it's finally here -- some of us have been waiting forever for this record, or at least ever since we discovered a tiny, super compressed, thirty second long sound clip on the internet over a year ago. In all of half a minute, we became OBSESSED. Completely captivated by this band's totally alien, lush, organic 'world music' weirdness. We eventually tracked down a (great) live record by Konono No.1, which we listed here a few weeks back, and then after tons of internet sleuthing and a bunch of emails we finally managed to get in touch with someone at the Crammed label in Belgium who was willing to sell us this brand new studio album directly, since they are without US distribution. Phew! So was it worth it? Hell yeah! Anyone who heard that infamous sound sample (which was from this album), or who got to hear the live record, knows that this band is totally amazing, and indeed this record is beautiful, wild and wonderful, chaotic and festive, totally perplexing but completely mesmerizing. For those who missed out on the live record (which we've also just restocked!) or are new to the wonders of Konono No.1, here's the story: twenty five years ago, Konono formed in Kinshasa (the capital of Zaire), performing their own version of traditional Bazombo trance music, incorporating the then-unwanted distortions of their haphazard homemade sound system. They left the bush and settled in the capital where they were forced to compete with the harsh sounds of the city: cars, trains, buses, shouting, etc. So with very little to work with they fashioned pick-ups, microphones, loudspeakers and amplifiers from stuff they could find on the street -- old car batteries, pots and pans, magnets, even branches. Their main instrument is the likembe, a kind of thumb piano. Konono features three of 'em (bass, medium and treble) and the sound of the electrified and amplified likembe is what defines their sound. Accompanied by dancers and percussionists, the likembes wail and drone, buzz and moan, totally overblown and distorted, sounding a little like sixties fuzz guitars, turning a glorious high life jam into something much more strange and wonderful. Super rhythmic, and thick with the buzzing melodies of the likemebe's, Konono weave a massive sound. It's the wildest weirdest street party you've ever been to. Throbbing with energy and emotion, rambuctiously rollicking and totally infectious. Seven lengthy tracks that all sort of bleed and fuse into one epic world-psych jam. The African high life Hawkwind? So so great!
Check out this video clip:
http://www.crammed.be/craworld/movies/konono_promo.mov
MPEG Stream: "Lufuala Ndonga"
MPEG Stream: "Masikulu"

album cover AAVIKKO History Of Muysic (Muysic For Peoples) cd 16.98
At long last, back in stock!! Here's our review from list 207...
Fuck. That's always a great way to start any decent review here at Aquarius. Fuck Yeah! That's even better, and certainly more appropriate for a disc we've been lusting after for so long. Aavikko is one of those elusive bands that we never seem to be able to keep in stock long enough to escape becoming a mere legend and a fading memory. The problem seems to reside in a lifetime of poor distribution and lackluster label attention. But now Aquarius has secured a direct pipeline to the band in the hopes of rectifying this shortage. Aavikko, for those who've yet to experience their magic, are easily the reigning kings of "electronic instrumental rock" (their own genre?). Hailing from Finland -- that in and of itself should be a clue -- Aavikko have honed a lo-fi electro-punk sound that's oft imitated, but never equaled. Using only cheap electric organs (most notably the Yamaha PSS Home Organ), drums and archaic analog recording technology, Aavikko compose Slavic disco, garage surf punk with rumba beats and insanely catchy pop tunes that bring to mind soundtracks to 8-bit videogames of yesteryear. History Of Muysic is an impressive collection of both no longer available Aavikko classics and unreleased tracks dating back to the group's inception in 1995. The latter includes their first rehearsal demo, outtakes from the Derek! ep sessions and their theme for the Kumman Kaa TV series (which has become one of the most popular ring tones in Finland!), among others. In the long lost and now out of print category, we're most excited by the inclusion of the eight tracks from the first, self-titled Aavikko 7". These are a veritable holy grail of primitive electronic rock and expose imitators for the slick hi-fi hucksters they really are. Probably recorded direct to cassette, you can even hear the tape drag and occasional drop outs. Fellow lovers of Bjorn Olsson will be excited by this and all analog anomalies indelibly pitted into the digital realm. All under three minutes in length, the tracks on the eponymous debut are tight and gritty pop ditties, completely trimmed of fat: the words 'overproduced' and 'Avvikko' will never be found in the same sentence but for this one. Also included on this anthology is the entire Oriental Baby CD, their collaboration with Mono Pause "Of Stomping Men", an unreleased live recording off of the beloved WFMU in NJ, their contribution to the Team Yamaha compilation and last, but in no way least, their most recent single, for the first time on CD, the amazing Eye of the Leopard with Kabar. Really folks, do yourself a favor...
MPEG Stream: "Alas Volgaa"
MPEG Stream: "Seikkailu Villi"
MPEG Stream: "Eye of the Leopard"

album cover UFOMAMMUT Godlike Snake (Beard of Stars) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Having your head dipped in some sort of molten hallucinogenic liquid...or steamrollered by a flying saucer.... or headbanging with Lovecraftian gods somewhere far out in the ocean of space... that's our meagre attempt to colorfully describe the experience of enjoying this slab of psychedelic stoner doom rock, the 1999 debut disc from Italy's UFOmammut! Chances are, though, that you have some idea already about this might sound like, 'cause UFOmammut's other album, the mighty Snailking, was immediately crowned as an Aquarius Record of the Week when it came out last year, and is still a steady seller hereabouts. Hopefully you already got one of those. This too, we've had before, but it's been out of print for quite a long time and only just got reissued. We figured that since folks liked Snailking so much, and Godlike Snake was just as good, and could easily have been missed out upon the first time around, we shouldn't pass up the opportunity to relist this and make it a Record of the Week as well now that it's back in print. After all, the whole reason we were so instantly amped on Snailking when it came out was in part 'cause we'd been waiting for it for, literally, years, after being blown away by the band's first album, this one. Our review of Godlike Snake ran something like this: "...this stoner rock band is a good 'un, taking a way spacier route to the Dopethrone than most. Wonderfully heavy and mesmerizing, with loads of effects, Moog, and (pardon the expression) "fat" churning drone-grind-groove... A new fave for us in the stoner/doom realm... Especially recommended for those that miss the old Monster Magnet sound, or relish the idea of a heavier Hawkwind." Listening to it now (which a bunch of us have been doing *every day* in the store), we're if anything EVEN MORE into it. Something we hadn't noticed before was how some tracks come across like Godflesh or early Killing Joke melded to Hawkwind. Crushing and enveloping and sooooooo good. It's like Electric Wizard gone spacerock, or an industrialized Dead Meadow.
As with its original incarnation, this includes a trippy video track for the song "Where?" for those with computers. It's now packaged in a standard jewelbox, instead of a cardboard digipack, but the artwork remains pretty much the same. If you like heaviness like we do, don't miss it this time!! Definitely to be considered an AQ doom/sludge/psych ESSENTIAL.
MPEG Stream: "Satan"
MPEG Stream: "Snake"

album cover UFOMAMMUT Godlike Snake (Beard of Stars) lp 25.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
AT LONG LAST, NOW AVAILABLE ON VINYL!! Doom/sludge/psych lovers and collectors, rejoice! Here's what we had to say about this album when we made the reissue of the cd version an AQ Record Of The Week last year:
Having your head dipped in some sort of molten hallucinogenic liquid...or steamrollered by a flying saucer.... or headbanging with Lovecraftian gods somewhere far out in the ocean of space... that's our meagre attempt to colorfully describe the experience of enjoying this slab of psychedelic stoner doom rock, the 1999 debut disc from Italy's UFOmammut! Chances are, though, that you have some idea already about this might sound like, 'cause UFOmammut's other album, the mighty Snailking, was immediately crowned as an Aquarius Record of the Week when it came out last year, and is still a steady seller hereabouts. Hopefully you already got one of those. This too, we've had before, but it's been out of print for quite a long time and only just got reissued. We figured that since folks liked Snailking so much, and Godlike Snake was just as good, and could easily have been missed out upon the first time around, we shouldn't pass up the opportunity to relist this and make it a Record of the Week as well now that it's back in print. After all, the whole reason we were so instantly amped on Snailking when it came out was in part 'cause we'd been waiting for it for, literally, years, after being blown away by the band's first album, this one. Our review of Godlike Snake ran something like this: "...this stoner rock band is a good 'un, taking a way spacier route to the Dopethrone than most. Wonderfully heavy and mesmerizing, with loads of effects, Moog, and (pardon the expression) "fat" churning drone-grind-groove... A new fave for us in the stoner/doom realm... Especially recommended for those that miss the old Monster Magnet sound, or relish the idea of a heavier Hawkwind." Listening to it now (which a bunch of us have been doing *every day* in the store), we're if anything EVEN MORE into it. Something we hadn't noticed before was how some tracks come across like Godflesh or early Killing Joke melded to Hawkwind. Crushing and enveloping and sooooooo good. It's like Electric Wizard gone spacerock, or an industrialized Dead Meadow.
Italian import and limited.
MPEG Stream: "Satan"
MPEG Stream: "Snake"

album cover V/A Choubi Choubi! Folk & Pop Sounds From Iraq (Sublime Frequencies) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
RE-pressed and BACK in STOCK! Just when you thought you'd heard everything, in comes Sublime Frequencies to fill in the gaps you never thought existed. How many CDs of Iraqi pop do you have in your collection? Until now we certainly didn't have any, let alone anything remotely traditional from Iraq. For a country that's so important to our war mongering presidential administration it's perhaps a little surprising that more interest hasn't been piqued about the culture of Iraq. But then again, everyone but W seems to understand that the real reasons for plundering this nation wasn't to "liberate" anyone. In fact, W would probably rather that no one even pay attention to any of this music, which has the awkward fortune to have been produced almost entirely (with the exception of three early 70's tracks) during the reign of Saddam Hussein and his Baathist regime ( tracks here range from 1980 on up to 2002!). In spite of his -- well deserved -- reputation as a cruel dictator, he was also an avid supporter of both education and the arts -- such are the complexities of life W would rather not acknowledge -- and for better or worse, kept the fabricated nation state as stable as it has ever been. Hussein promoted secular arts and music, starting cultural centers for both, and even dubbed singers the "eighth division" of the armed forces (his nation had seven military divisions) -- not to paint too rosy a picture of Donald Rumsfeld's former pal and business partner, who was also a sadistic tyrant after all. Compiled by Mark Gergis (I Remember Syria, Molam, Cambodian Cassette Archives), Choubi Choubi is a collection years in the making. Gergis scoured the earth for the source material on this disc, travelling through Syria, Europe and the Iraqi neighborhoods of Detroit, Michigan. The anthology starts off with a folk rock track from '70s Socialist singer Ja'afar Hassan, a song that could easily compete with the best psych tracks on Hava Narghile or Turkish Delights for the crown of Middle Eastern psych champ. But if you're expecting another psych compilation, you're going to be disappointed as Choubi Choubi is much more than that, way more. Most of the recordings on the album have no western instruments on them, nor hardly any western influence. These tracks rock out much harder with no electric instruments, but with huge string sections, pounding drums, and monstrous oud playing. Maybe it's also the super bluesy sounding (to the western ear) melodies, it's no wonder that it sounds so fresh and familiar to us. It really is weird, when I (Byram) first listened to this record I could have sworn there were more songs with electric guitars on it, but there aren't that many. It just sounds so fucking heavy, and rocks so hard that I remembered it as being a "rock" record. Really, really, really fucking great!
MPEG Stream: UNKNOWN "Ahl Al Aqil"
MPEG Stream: BAWIN "Ya Binaya Goumi"
MPEG Stream: SADUN JABIR "Ashhad Biannak Hilou"

SUNNY DAY REAL ESTATE s/t3 (Sub Pop) cd 11.98

album cover NELSON, WILLIE The Ghost (Masked Weasel) cd 14.98
In the liner notes for this new anthology of recordings by Willie Nelson, Kurt Wolff makes the apt point that Willie is loved by just about everyone. Not "everyone" as in every living person, but that people from myriad musical backgrounds and tastes tend to appreciate the cosmopolitan yet populist stylings of his singing and songwriting much more than his country contemporaries. As the bean counters and marketing execs might say, "he's got crossover appeal". Miles Davis was a big champion of Willie, and even though the man was alleged to have smoked a joint atop the White House during the Carter administration, he is still enjoyed by both "blue state" and "red state" types alike. His songwriting is simultaneously astutely profound and immediately appealing, as is strikingly evident in the first track on this disc "I Let My Mind Wander", with its quintessential country lyrics:

I let my mind wander,
And what did it do?
It just kept right on going,
Until it got back to you.
I let my mind wander.

Can't trust it one minute,
It's worse than a child.
Disobeys without conscience,
It's drivin' me wild,
When I let my mind wander.

But Nelson is also a master of melody and harmony and his songs are rife with jazz harmonies, blues progressions and even some South of the border swing (as on "Following Me Around"). An important caveat here is that his use of such esoteric, non-country, musical idioms is never forced, obvious, or self-conscious. Perhaps that's why such a broad swath of music lovers appreciate Willie. The 16 tracks -- mostly laid-back, leaning-over-the-bar tearjerkers -- here include both well known tracks and rarities taken from Nelson's career between the mid-sixties and mid-seventies. Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "I Let My Mind Wander"
MPEG Stream: "I Just Don't Understand"

album cover OWENS, BUCK After the Dance (Masked Weasel) cd 11.98
With his high energy honky tonk sound and loud, twangy telecaster playing Buck Owens was not only partially responsible for revitalizing a dying country music scene -- with Nashville favoring ever more slick and syrupy production values -- but he's also often given credit for being the godfather of modern country (Yoakam, Brooks, et al). For the former we are thankful, and to the latter we can justly forgive him. After all, Buck Owens' music has about as similar to those "young country" artists as night and day. The scant 11 tracks included here were all recorded on the very cusp of Owens' fame in the mid-fifties, just before he signed to Capitol. Of particular interest here is a track called "Rhythm And Booze", the b-side to single Owens recorded under the pseudonym Corky Jones. Apparently Owens, then primarily a side man, recorded some sides for an L.A. based label of rockabilly tunes for some extra cash. While this disc is short, just about 20 minutes long, its well worth the investment as there's really not a dud in the batch. Like the other discs in this series there are some excellent liner notes by our friend Kurt Wolff (author of the Rough Guide To Country Music, among other things.)
MPEG Stream: "It Don't Show On Me"
MPEG Stream: "Rhythm And Booze"

album cover V/A Hip Hop Remix (Batty Bombaclaat) cd-r 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We only have a limited quantity of these little gems, so be forewarned. Even before we started becoming inundated with "mash ups" and the compilations featuring them -- The Best Bootlegs In The World Ever, 2 Many DJ's, not to mention DJ Rupture's excellent mixes -- we were able to pick up, quite briefly, 7" releases which featured ragga dancehall a capellas remixed over the hot hip hop rhythms of the day. The labels printing these -- RMC, Special Remix & Killa -- printed short runs, and often the best mixes were long gone before we could even write about them. Those singles are long out of print and the labels that released them have all vaporized as well, but the folk(s) at Batty Bombaclaat have preserved some of the best for a brief second time around for the rest of us stuck in the digital realm. In all, nineteen tracks on this cd-r, each one amazing in its own way. For starters, the two genres -- hip hop and dancehall -- are taylor made for a good mash up. Hip hop's formation owes much to Jamaican DJ's and sound systems that supported them. In turn early Jamaican artists owe much of their inspiration to the early soul and R&B that was imported to the island at the early ages of the sound system. In recent years with the maturation of raggamuffin dancehall, and Jamaican artists cameoing on American hip hop artists' albums, the lines between hip hop and dancehall have been further blurred. Ward 21's first full length is a classic example of hip hop influenced dancehall, and Soul Jazz's excellent compilation Nice Up The Dance further illustrated the connections between the genres. The singles compiled on this anthology are more blunt than that, but the results are no less wonderful. Some, Like Lexxus' "Bounce A Gal" (which uses Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On" as its rhythm) are great in their complete contrast to the original hit. When Missy's track came out it was impossible not to hear it 5 times a day; and of course, the rhythm was recycled many times by many artists from Timbaland himself to Kid 606. The great thing about the Lexxus mix is that Lexxus's voice is so anti-thetical to Missy's. He sounds like an insane person with a bad head cold who snuck into the studio. Other tracks, like Sizzla's "Never Want To Heard A Dem", best the originals. Mixed over M.O.P.'s "Ante Up", Sizzla's vocals turn an otherwise mediocre track into a fucking blood spittingly amazing one. The rhythm is so fucking great it would have been such a disappointment to let it get relegated to the dust bin of history with M.O.P.'s uninspired vocals on it. Along with the aforementioned Jamaican vocalists, included here are many of our favorites like Elephant Man, Capleton, Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Merciless, Raegan, Danny English and more. Plus all the best hip hop rhythms of the cusp of the millennium are represented here: "Independent Women", "Ugly", Who's That Girl", "One Minute Man", "Can't Deny It", "I'm A Thug" and more. No rhythm tracks are repeated, for what it's worth, so there's no feeling of redundancy with this comp and it makes it a nice party mix to play. As an interesting twist, the disc closes with an inverted remix featuring Sensational's "Livin' It Up" over Beenie Man's "Who Am I". We're not sure where that one came from. As a final note, the original sources from which these tracks were culled, though most likely pressed in the U.S., were done in the Jamaican style: fast and dirty. In other words, there's lots of clicks and pops -- which the producers of this disc elected to preserve -- to increase that sense of authenticity while you listen. On cd-r, with covers nicely printed on vellum and card stock. Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: SIZZLA "Never Want To Heard A Dem"
MPEG Stream: CAPLETON "Bun It Down"
MPEG Stream: SENSATIONAL "Livin' It Up"

album cover ALVA NOTO & RYUICHI SAKAMOTO Insen (Asphodel) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Insen is the exquisite follow-up to Vrioon, which was the first collaborative outing for seminal electronic musicians Alva Noto (aka Carsten Nicolai) and Ryuichi Sakamoto that came out in 2003. As on their first album, Insen centers upon the balance between the impressionist piano passages of Sakamoto and the cold yet graceful production of Nicolai. While the differences between the two records are subtle, they are certainly noteworthy as Nicolai slices up Sakamoto's piano into fine slivers of time-stretched fragments, terse rhythms, and blurred ambience. In turn, Nicolai realigns these sounds with Sakamoto's untreated notes, providing a complex interplay between the piano and its fractured electronic mimesis. In structuring all of the pieces on Insen, Nicolai occasionally situates his electronics along a parallel path to Sakamoto's piano, and slowly moves the two paths toward different directions, with Nicolai's rhythms achieving velocity and tension whereas Sakamoto's pointillist notes remain weighless and transient. Yet, Nicolai always teases with losing control over the composition, as he often snaps back into a somber atmosphere of minimalist smears, resorting to a similiar strategy as heard on Eno's epic Thursday Afternoon. Stunning.
MPEG Stream: "Aurora"
MPEG Stream: "Logic Moon"

album cover SATAN'S RATS What A Bunch Of Rodents (Overground) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Wow! Classic UK punk from 1977, and how! Satan's Rats came out of Evesham, Worcester, and among their claims to fame -- playing some of the earliest punk festivals -- they opened for the Sex Pistols and were so well received the audience demanded and encore (no small feat for a band playing for finnicky young punks waiting to see the genre's defining act.) This anthology, compiled by founding member / guitarist Steve Eagles includes everything the band ever recorded: six songs off their three singles and 14 demo tracks recorded between 1977 and 1979. The final four demo tracks are true gems, primitively recorded in a basement studio which had decayed so far by the time they were preserved in the digital realm they were riddled with drop outs. Damn, if there's nothing greater than those anomalies of analog recording indelibly archived in the digital world! I don't know why, but I always love hearing that. As far as the music of the Rats goes, it's just plain good old fashioned punk rock n' roll. Both the music and vocals sound a bit like Generation X, but maybe with the stick pulled out of Billy Idols ass a bit, or maybe a little like The Buzzcocks but pitched an octave or so down. On the six demos (never before released?) the band was working on in 1979 before vocalist Paul Rencher split the group (Steve Eagles went on to form The Photos aftwerwards) you can hear the Rats working towards extended rock jams -- like Ulster rockers Stiff Little Fingers -- with guitarist Eagles spreading his wings (pun maybe intended) and showing his guitar prowess. Includes repros of the original 7" sleeves, publicity photos of the group and a brief bio of all the important moments of the group's career penned by Eagles. Oh, and they do an irreverent cover of "Lady Is A Tramp"! What more can we say? Highly fucking recommended and shit!
MPEG Stream: "In My Love For You"
MPEG Stream: "Year of the Rats"
MPEG Stream: "Buzz Boys"

album cover PARTCH, HARRY Collection Volume 4 - The Bewitched (New World / CRI) cd 16.98
Love him or... don't love him ("hate him" seems a little extreme for a man as benign as Harry Partch), he had to have been the greatest idealist in the history of Western music -- not to mention the greatest iconoclast. It's not enough to disassemble the chromatic scale and build an entirely new harmonic theory around a division of some 43 tones to the octave or assemble an entire orchestra of insanely gorgeous hand built instruments, but he also insisted on a corporeal execution of almost all his works. The Bewitched was the first large scale composition in which the musicians were also expected to sing and dance as they played. Not something that most performers or audiences would balk at today, but this was 1957, not 1967. Even today his music sounds completely unlike anything else. Bewitched begins with just the rumblings of the marimba eroica, the two note bass marimba, which are almost inaudible unless you have some serious subwoofer action. One by one the entire cast of the Partch orchestra chimes in on different melodic themes, and building in counterpoint with one another at each turn. Musically it's an extremely strong composition, with great thematic development, beautiful and haunting melodies (as wonderful as any in his other compositions). One of the greatest aspects of The Bewitched however is Partch's treatment of the human voice. Whether done intentionally to stress the "primitive" aspirations of his music, or for lack of a worthy libretto, all the vocals are wordless chanting and singing. I know a lot of people can't seem to get into Partch's works (like "Revelation In A Courthouse Park" and "Barsto") because they find the lyrics corny. Those who can't get into his music because of this might want to give Partch a second chance with The Bewitched. The voice of the performer playing The Witch, the lead role in The Bewitched, sounds an awful lot like exotica chanteuse Yma Sumac. In fact the whole composition sounds a lot like a more academic Martin Denny scoring an episode of Star Trek (Shatner, not Stewart for all you young-uns) -- what with all the marimba-like instruments. And yet in sections which feature clarinet, piccolo and cello Partch's themes begin to sound surprisingly pastoral, like his antithetical contemporary Aaron Copland. Which is not to make Partch look like some stuffed shirt. I don't think anyone would confuse his music for the creative wellspring of a tenured faculty at some ivy league school. One need look no further than the titles for each scene to see that Partch's sense of humor wouldn't be caught dead in academia. For instance, scene five is titled "Visions Fill the Eyes of a Defeated Basketball Team in the Shower Room", or scene ten: "The Cogniscenti Are Plunged into a Demonic Descent While at Cocktails". Like the other discs in this Partch reissue series this one comes with a nice fat booklet with historical and biographical notes, photos and detailed descriptions of each scene in the performance (which, by the way, is the original 1957 monaural recording). Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Scene 2 - Exercises in Harmony and Counterpoint Are Tried in a Court of Ancient Ritual"
MPEG Stream: "Scene 8 - A Court in its Own Contempt Rises to a Motherly Apotheosis"

album cover DUNGEN s/t (Subliminal Sounds) cd 16.98
Originally issued as a super limited -- 500 copies -- LP only pressing, the debut 2001 release from AQ (and everyone else's) Swedish retro psych pop faves Dungen has at last been reissued on compact disc in an expanded form by Subliminal Sounds! Containing only three very long tracks, each broken into 4-6 parts, their self-titled album might seem a bit of a disappointment to those who got turned on to them through their very popular third album Ta Det Lugnt, with its shorter, catchy pop and hard rock tunes. But we encourage you to give this disc a closer listen anyhow, as it's quickly grown on us. Each of the three tracks here meander in and out of song in an LSD trip-like whirl of whimsy. During one long improvised section you could swear you'd just plopped on Pink Floyd's Ummagumma to listen to "A Group Of Small Furry Animals..." (complete with animal sounds), at another moment the group sound like they're playing bossanovas at a 4 star hotel lounge (probably the low point on the record, it also lasts only briefly), at another point they're striking up a funky sitar led jam. Near the end of the second track the band all but drops out, leaving a reverb laden piano tinkling minor key Satie-esque melodies with sighing accompaniment from electric guitar. Super lovely. As alluded to above, we know that Dungen's Gustav Ejstes added material to the original LP tracks to fill out this cd reish, and he certainly made the old and new tracks flow together seamlessly. Those of you have have the second Dungen album Stadsvandringar will also experience a wee bit of deja vu, as some themes here were reprised for that album (which, Dungen fans who don't have that disc will be happy to hear is also slated for reissue this year sometime).
MPEG Stream: "Stadsvandringar: Nedfor, Slapper du Taget?"
MPEG Stream: "Midsommarbongen: Samling"
MPEG Stream: "Lilla Vannen: Dock Allere'n"

album cover ENO, BRIAN Thursday Afternoon (Virgin) cd 16.98
In a lecture given by Brian Eno for the Long Now Foundation last year he explained the genesis of his ideas on ambient music, which was in itself inspired by the music of Terry Riley, Fela Kuti and the Velvet Underground -- music that he felt "flattened" the "hierarchical structure" of its components. He went on to say that "In my own work this manifested in an emphasis on making what would have been called the background more interesting, and what would have been called the foreground, less and less central, thus sinking foreground elements into the background." The results of these musings culminated in, amongst others, the now highly regarded Discreet Music and Music For Airports. Discreet Music was composed of individual elements, each of differing lengths, such that the sonic soundscape would sound similar from moment to moment, but never exactly the same either. Thursday Afternoon takes a similar road map to Discreet Music, but is executed on a much larger scale. Originally recorded for a VHS tape released by Sony Japan of 7 "video-paintings" of Christine Alicino. The advent of the compact disc allowed Eno to greatly increase the length of time under which his compositions could unfold, which is exactly what Eno was able to accomplish with the audio only release of Thursday Afternoon. Thursday Afternoon is like a macro focused version of Discreet Music with every element further stretched, every minutia of hierarchy further flattened and every element of the medium -- compact disc -- exploited. Not only is the scale of the work greater, but utilizing the dynamic range of the CD Eno is able to make greater use of quieter passages with sound that previously would have been lost below the area of surface noise -- towards the end of the pieces as the individual elements drift away, you can hear the faint sounds of birds outside of Eno's studio. The increased time available on a CD, as opposed to the LP, makes for a better execution of his idea of ambient music. No more flipping the vinyl every twenty minutes, just program your CD player to repeat. Like Music For Airports, Thursday Afternoon's most distinctive element is that of a Rhodes -- or similar electric piano -- keyboard playing languid broken arpeggios, underneath which is a glistening mirage of ever shifting drones. The combination of these ever fluxuating elements creates the auditory illusion of movement and stasis.
MPEG Stream: "Thursday Afternoon"

album cover ENO, BRIAN Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks (Virgin) cd 16.98
The opportunity of a lifetime film score for Brian Eno: providing a soundtrack to the most, quite literally, other-worldy film footage ever shot. Eno was approached by ex-astronaut Al Reinert in the early eighties to put his ambient touch on a project that Reinert was working on documenting the apollo missions. Reinhert had sorted through 6,000,000 feet of NASA film footage shot by astronauts on those missions, picking out what he considered to be the best clips. To this he intended to add only the voices of the astronauts themselves -- both from interviews after the missions and from their transmissions to Houston during them -- and Eno's music. Though Eno's score was released in 1983, Reinert's film -- For All Mankind -- wasn't completed until 1989. Recorded just a year after his Ambient 4: On Land, the material here is quite similar. The compositions are far less conceptual than his earlier ambient works, yet the pieces here have an intuitive, textural and emotional feel without relying on -- for the most part -- melody. All but four tracks on this album use that same Eno M.O. of blurring the idea of "foreground and background", much like his previous release On Land. The guitar and bass, when the appear, are subverted from their original roles -- melodic lead, rhythm and harmony -- and instead are used for texture and atmosphere as much as the synths and electronics. The ambient tracks on Apollo have a foreboding and sublime quality -- appropriate enough for the vast eternity of space and the dessicated & bleak terrain of the moon. The four non-ambient tracks on this disc, all nestled together towards its end, are a bit of a departure from the rest of the album. "Always Returning" is probably the weakest link on the album, with its sentimental guitar part played by Daniel Lanois. Lanois however redeems himself with his pedal steel guitar playing on "Deep Blue Day", like a Sons Of The Pioneers tune, shot full of heroin and launched into the vacuum of space.
MPEG Stream: "Matta"
MPEG Stream: "An Ending (Ascent)"
MPEG Stream: "Deep Blue Day"

album cover V/A Espanola (Khmer Rocks) cd-r 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Along with putting out the three Cambodian Rocks compilations that have rendered the original Parallel World label comp of the same name virtually obsolete, Khmer Rocks also has a plethora of other khmer music compilations that we're only just beginning to scratch the surface of. While every bit as great as the three Rocks comps we reviewed previously, they're also not marketed as much for the greater population... ie: these are more for the Khmer community. To this end, there's no translation of the song titles or artists. Additionally this collection is on CD-R, but we can't complain because it's also only 9.98. You're probably wondering what a Spanish title is doing on a collection of Cambodian rock music and, well, so were we. The first track, with the word "espanola" featured prominently in the lyrics, clears all that up: yes, it's Cambodian Cha-Cha and Latin tinged Cambodian rock. There are even trumpet flourishes and string sections lifted straight out of a bolero. Not to give you the wrong idea however, only a handful of the tracks on Espanola are actually Latin influenced. Like the Cambodian Rocks series, there's plenty of good old fashioned go-go and garage rock make up the bulk of the collection. Plus the closer, a fuzzed out "hard rock" encore of a track is about as unlike anything in the previous comps. For those of you who already own the other anthologies, as far as we've been able to tell from listening -- another downside to not having English liner notes -- there's no overlap with any of the previous Cambodian collections we've been selling. Muy bien Khmer Rocks!
MPEG Stream: UNKNOWN "Track 1"
MPEG Stream: UNKNOWN "Track 9"
MPEG Stream: UNKNOWN "Track 20"

album cover HE 6 Go Go Sound '71 Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 (Beatball) cd 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Recently, we reviewed Brazil's Modulo 1000... Before that, Thai Beat A Go Go volume 2. And the Lemmy-goes-to-India sounds of Sam Gopal. And the Juan dela Cruz Band from the Phillipines. And Turkish music galore. And all those incredible Cambodian Rocks comps. Et cetera, et cetera. Yup, we've had a lot of vintage heavy rock and psych reissues from all over the world now, but this is maybe the first time we've gotten our hands on something from Korea (and hopefully not the last -- we'd love to get Sanullim discs too, someday).
Recorded in, yay, 1971, pressed in a ridiculously limited (promotion only) quantity of 300 copies each, and subsequently all but forgotten, these two records by Korean psychedelic groovesters the HE 6 are some gems indeed! With the exception of the closing side-long seventeen minute cover of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" (which faithfully does indeed include the obligatory drum solo as per the original version, along with what sounds like a police siren and also an added *flute* solo!) all the tracks on the two albums Go Go Sound '71 vol. 1 and Go Go Sound '71 vol. 2 included here are instrumental jams -- numbered themes with titles like "Theme 2. 4/4 for Guitar" and "Theme 3. Running Human". And even "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is mostly instrumental of course.
Listening to the other tracks on this disc it makes sense that they would choose Iron Butterfly's opus as the sole tune to cover. Like that tune, all of their originals are extended jams led by fuzzed-out electric guitar and Hammond organ. In addition, the aforementioned flute gets a workout too. (Yet another victory for the flute, so often mistakenly perceived as diminutive instrument! But the flute can certainly hold its own in this heavy, groovy, acid-rock band.) And it's crucial to mention that HE 6's rhythm section is darn tight! Indeed, this stuff's funky enough that we're sure they were probably just as much influenced by James Brown's band The JB's as they were by the likes of the Vanilla Fudge and Iron Butterfly. If not so obscure, we're sure this would have been plundered by DJs looking for the swank breaks... who knows, maybe hip hop producers in Korea have done so? So, very much recommended to all you folks into these sorta swinging '60s/'70s sounds -- especially if you dig the Cambodian Rocks and Thai Beat comps!
'Tis an expensive import, but the packaging helps justify the price: a gorgeous heavy-duty mini-LP styled gatefold sleeve, complete with a booklet featuring extensive liner notes (in English!) and photos, plus you even get two colorful HE 6 stickers! Nice.
MPEG Stream: "Theme 1. Introduction Music"
MPEG Stream: "Theme 5. The World of 6/6"

album cover CONET PROJECT, THE (Irdial Disc) 4cd+book 62.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Once again, the wait is over! Feels like we spend a whole lot of time waiting for the Conet Project to come back into our lives. We sell these like crazy when they're in stock, but it always seems to go out of print before we know it and we're forced to wait again for the re-emergence of one of our all time favorite "musical" documents. And hell, if there was ever a quadruple cd / book of shortwave transmissions worth waiting for, this is the one!! We're now on the FOURTH pressing of the Conet (or maybe even the fifth?) and we still can't get enough! This is one of our ALL TIME favorite releases EVER, as evidenced by the fact that EVERYONE who works here owns at least one copy, and to date, we've sold 680 copies! And counting! We'd probably have broken 1000 if this darn thing would stay in print. This version is again exactly the same as the others EXCEPT that this one includes a postcard seeking "cold warriors" with personal knowledge of numbers stations. As stated on the card, if you are one of those warriors, contact Irdial immediately. Your identity and whatever information you are able to share will be kept strictly confidential. If you are not one of those warriors, pass the card on, in the hopes that it will find its way into the right hands. Why so mysterious? What's with the cloak and dagger stuff? Well, my friends, read on, and learn all about the beautiful and mysterious Conet Project:
If there's one recording we have sold here that is most identified with Aquarius Records, or that at least we mention most often when trying to explain to people what it is that we're all about here, it'd be the Conet Project. Some others come close: Sounds of North American Frogs, Os Mutantes, Burzum "Filosofem", Comus "First Utterance", Boris, Circle, Philip Jeck, Village of Savoonga...and there's of course many other discs and LPs near and dear to our hearts (for instance, hearing the first Neutral Milk Hotel album always makes me nostalgic for the old 24th street store). But for some reason it's the Conet Project that really seems to sum it all up. It's all the things we really love: completely ridiculous (four cds!), completely fucked (secret government spy transmissions), droning, weird. It's just so interesting and evocative on so many levels, both musical and totally non-musical, as a listening experience and also as a geopolitical cold war and beyond artifact. Definitely a big AQ fave: Allan's got the whole thing on his iPod, Andee has multiple copies, many of which found their way into his old band's live perfomances, Jim has steadfastly maintained that this is the greatest record of all time, and we all are a little bit obsessed.
If you've been in the store, you've probably noticed that we have a chart on the wall behind the counter keeping a tally of Conets sold. It went up to 387 (yes, three hundred and eighty seven!) before it became unavailable/out of print a few years ago, then again up into the 400's, and then again into the 600's always forced to wait patiently until it becomes available again -- there's even snapshots of some of the happy purchasers (#382, Mike Patton) beside it. Now we're ready to start checking off more boxes on our chart, as we at last are able to offer you The Conet Project once again!! After several years of going in and out of print, the Irdial label has finally done another re-press! We're not sure if the re-presses are still funded by the $30,000+ settlement they recieved from Wilco's record label, who Irdial sued for the unauthorized use of a Conet Project sample on their breakthrough Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album, whose title itself comes from that Conet sample. (Read more about that here http://www.wired.com/news/digiwood/0,1412,63952,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_7.) We're not sure if we understand or agree with the legalities behind Irdial's lawsuit, but we're happy at least that the outcome resulted in more Conets to go around (if that's where Irdial got the money to repress, as we suspect). There was also the use of a Conet track in that Tom Cruise movie Vanilla Sky...
Basically, the Conet Project is a four-cd compilation of recordings of mysterious shortwave radio broadcasts, known as "numbers stations". These numbers stations are generally believed to be encrypted spy transmissions, but no concrete evidence has ever surfaced proving that suppostion. However, no credible *alternate* explanation has ever been demonstrated, either. For years (ever since the start of the Cold War), amateur radio enthusiasts have come across these sinister signals, and they continue to this day, broadcast in many languages all over the world (the theory is that some are CIA, some are KBG, some are Mossad, etc).
In general, the transmissions consist of a deadpan voice (sometimes an old man, sometimes a young woman, etc.) reading a seemingly random, meaningless series of numbers over and over. Sometimes the broadcsts are preceded by a musical cue (the "Swedish Rhapsody" music box one being a favorite of ours), and sometimes the numbers are not conveyed by voice but by even more cryptic electronics (as with "The Buzzer", and other noisy, abstract stuff found mainly on disc four).
Needless to say, hearing those amazing and baffling sounds collected on these four cds is an unnerving experience. Not only does knowledge of the supposed purpose of these transmissions imbue them with a disturbing quality, but the repetition of the numbers combined with the background of shortwave radio static makes for a aurally hypnotic experience. If merely regarded as a piece of experimental ambient sound scupture, the Conet Project would be a brilliant and affecting piece of work, yet with the added context of international intelligence and conspiracy theory, it becomes even more intriguing and creepy. The four cds come with a large book (housed in its own jewel box) that provides a great deal of description of, and speculation about, the many recordings. Very well done. The Conet Project is possibly the most incredible, and weirdest, item of sound art/documentation that we've EVER had here at Aquarius. Mesmerizing, fascinating, unique, massive, scary, but sometimes even soothing. 100 percent recommended to the adventurous listener ('cause it's not for everyone!). And once you have it you'll understand why it had to be a full four cds--being overwhelming is part of the obsessive allure of this Project.
MPEG Stream: "Swedish Rhapsody"
MPEG Stream: "5 Dashes"
MPEG Stream: "Iran/Iraq Jamming Efficacy Testing"
MPEG Stream: "Magnetic Fields"
MPEG Stream: "Tyrolean Music Station"
MPEG Stream: "The Buzzer"

album cover V/A Folk and Pop Sounds of Sumatra Vol. 2 (Sublime Frequencies) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This second volume of Sumatran music does not disapoint. Not at all. Different than the music of Java and Bali, the Arabic influence on Sumatran music is unmistakable. More than that though, Sumatran music seems to not only include a wide variety of influences from near and far, but seems to wear it on its sleeve. And yet, despite the insane amount of musical diversity, the Arabic thread runs strongly through every single track here. The 17 tracks on this disc feature some eight different genres of music from Sumatra. The Rabab Dangdut cuts tend to be like the country music of Sumatra. At least that's what the scratchy fiddle parts immediately sound like to a western ear. But melodies and the interaction between the vocals and fiddle are slightly reminiscent of Thai Mo Lam. Add on top of this some ska rhythm guitar, electric bass and drums and things start to get a little thick. The other styles are no less odd. The Orkes Gambus are all orchestral numbers with oud, huge sounding violin sections, electric organs and female vocals. In a blind listening test one might guess the origins as Syria or Egypt. The Tari Minang tracks are about as close to Java as you'll get here. Along with a small gamelan ensemble are Arabic double reeds, flutes and female vocals. Like the first volume, there's nary a dud on this one. Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: SYAMSUDIN "Sigumendar"
MPEG Stream: UNKNOWN "Unknown"
MPEG Stream: MUCHLIS/BERSAMA "Salam Pembukaan"

album cover V/A Molam: Thai Country Groove From Isan (Sublime Frequencies) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
I remember when the Butthole Surfers' Locust Abortion Technician came out, how blown away I was by the album. On top of all their own material, here was this totally weird song which they irreverantly looped over one word that happened to sound like an English vernacular term for female genitalia. Funny the first time through, I always wanted a copy of the original recording which the Surfers lifted that track from because I thought it just kicked ass in its own right. I know you think I'm gonna say that that song is on this collection. Sorry, it's not. But if you loved that song "Kuntz" for what it was (despite Gibby's juvenile chicanery), you'll definitely be excited by the Molam tracks on this disc. Compiled by Mark Gergis (I Remember Syria, Cambodian Cassette Archives, Neung Phak) from a multitude of sources -- LPs, 45s and cassettes -- this collection of Molam comes from a distinct window in Isan, Thailand history. Molam, which comes from the rural areas of Northeastern Thailand and neighboring Laos, was for many years generally charactarized by male and female vocals backed by the khaen (a free-reed mouth organ). Migrating rural Thai and Laotian people to the cities modernized their Molam with electric guitars, bass, drums and keyboards and the music spread like a fad to the urban population. Inevitably, through the ever changing nature of music, and the economically driven producers, the electronic keyboard surpassed the need for a band and the music was more often than not reduced to the standard pop that is ubiquitous throughout Thailand. This then is a time capsule of the glory days of molam gone electric. Fans of Neung Phak will be familiar with the track which begins this collection, as it's also the opening track of Neung Phak's debut. So those of you who thought Mark couldn't tune his bass can hear his alibi playing the original tune off key as is the style. Certainly fans of the Cambodian Rocks albums should take heed here, but will find a collection of tracks that are much more removed from Western rock. Firstly, there are no covers of rock songs, nor are the melodies here even related -- except by chance -- to Western pop. These are all traditional tunes that have merely been arranged with modern electric instrumentation (which isn't to say that you won't here any khaen on these tunes). It is the vocals though that are what really drive these songs, modernized or no. With melodies that seem utterly independent of what the band is playing, the lilting, almost yodelled, singing is unlike that of any other region in the world. Dare I say it's sultry. Oh so very highly recommended!!
MPEG Stream: KWANJAI KALASIN YUK PATANA "Chiwit Sao Molam"
MPEG Stream: GAWOW SEUNGTHONG "Ow Mai Ow"
MPEG Stream: CHAAN SIANG PHIN "Sao Noi Makaleng"

album cover V/A Molam: Thai Country Groove From Isan (Sublime Frequencies) 2lp 29.00
This long long long our of print aQ favorite, finally reissued, on vinyl!! Here's what we said when we first listed the original cd version way back in 2005:
We remember when the Butthole Surfers' Locust Abortion Technician came out, how blown away we were by the album. On top of all their own material, here was this totally weird song that they irreverently looped over one word that happened to sound like English slang for female genitalia. Funny the first time through, we always wanted a copy of the original recording that the Surfers lifted that track from because we all thought it just kicked so much ass in its own right. Looped and messed with or not. And now you're probably freaking out, thinking we're about to say that THAT song is on this collection. Sorry, it's not. But if you loved that song "Kuntz" for what it was (despite Gibby's juvenile chicanery), you'll definitely be excited by the Molam tracks on this disc. Compiled by Mark Gergis (I Remember Syria, Cambodian Cassette Archives, Neung Phak, now the Sham Palace label, and loads more) from a multitude of sources - lps, 45s and cassettes - this collection of Molam music comes from a distinct window in Isan, Thailand history. Molam, which comes from the rural areas of Northeastern Thailand and neighboring Laos, was for many years generally characterized by male and female vocals backed by the khaen (a free-reed mouth organ). Migrating rural Thai and Laotian people to the cities modernized their Molam with electric guitars, bass, drums and keyboards and the music spread like wildfire to the urban population. Inevitably, through the ever changing nature of music, and the economically driven producers, the electronic keyboard surpassed the need for a band and the music was more often than not reduced to the standard pop that is ubiquitous throughout Thailand. This then is a time capsule of the glory days of molam gone electric. Fans of aQ faves Neung Phak will no doubt be familiar with the track which begins this collection, as it's also the opening track of their debut. Certainly fans of the Cambodian Rocks compilations should take heed here as well, but will find a collection of tracks that are much more removed from Western rock. Firstly, there are no covers of popular rock songs, nor are the melodies here even related - except by chance - to Western pop. These are all traditional tunes that have merely been arranged with modern electric instrumentation (which isn't to say that you won't here any khaen on these tunes). It is the vocals though that are what really drive these songs, modernized or no. With melodies that seem utterly independent of what the band is playing, the lilting, almost yodelled, singing is unlike that of any other region in the world. Dare we say it's quite mysterious and sultry. Oh so very highly recommended!!
MPEG Stream: KWANJAI KALASIN YUK PATANA "Chiwit Sao Molam"
MPEG Stream: GAWOW SEUNGTHONG "Ow Mai Ow"
MPEG Stream: CHAAN SIANG PHIN "Sao Noi Makaleng"

album cover V/A Radio Sumatra: The Indonesian FM Experience (Sublime Frequencies) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Fuck! What a mess of a weird fucking album! This is the sixth "Radio" release from Sublime Frequencies and quite possibly the best (for those who can appreciate the most damaged aspects of bizzare station ID's and channel surferyness). People in the United States sometimes don't realize just how loud our country is. We inundate the world with our radio, television and movies, but rarely have a clue as to what's happening elsewhere in the world. The rest of the world does have to listen to us, like it or not. We hold the cultural bully pulpit. So it's always nice to hear our own cultural exports turned inwards upon themselves, and the "Radio" series from Sublime Frequencies allows us to hear from around the world. Radio Sumatra begins with a seriously demented melange of eighties guitar rock pre-empted by evil gremlin voiced disc jockeys, like the voices you hear in your head after you eat an entire box of Captain Crunch in one sitting. Later, chipper voice talents intone over the what sounds like Sumatran black metal and phone callers to another station perform live karaoke on the radio. And this is only 15 minutes in. Towards the end the sounds of Islamic hip hop and primitive techno hold sway. We won't kid you though: there's a lot of super saccharine pop sandwiched in here. We're talking top forty radio... even if it is Sumatran. But this collection will slay you despite that. Or maybe because of that!
MPEG Stream: "All Hit Music"
MPEG Stream: "FM Bagus"
MPEG Stream: "The Islamic Experience In Frequency Modulation"

album cover FORBIDDEN ZONE (Hercules Films) dvd 22.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Available for the first time on DVD, the Elfman brothers legendary 1980 film. Filmed on an incredibly low budget with a cast of family and devoted friends, Forbidden Zone has long been a cult classic. It all started from a D.I.Y. cabaret-esque stage troup -- The Mystic Knights Of The Oingo Boingo -- which Richard and brother Danny along with several friends had been schlepping around Los Angeles in the late 70's. As a final blowout to their ever more complex show, Richard decided to produce a film featuring the Mystic Knights and friends. Shot in black & white, Forbidden Zone is a surreal tale involving the sixth dimension -- run by King Fausto (Herve Villechaise of Fantasy Island) and his Queen Doris (Susan Tyrrell) -- and an unfortunate family of freaks that happen to fall into it one by one. Like an insane amalgam of Busby Berkeley intertwined with The Residents' Vileness Fats and imbued with an almost unhealthy scatalogical sense of humor, Forbidden Zone is a movie unlike any other. Handmade sets, costumes, music and more, the film is a product of its time and perhaps offers more than just a little insight into the workings of the soon to become famous Danny Elfman with his future post-ska new wave Oingo Boingo and hit film scores. Pay close attention when you watch this film to see if you can spot a young Willy Winant (Mr. Bungle, John Zorn, avant garde percussionist extraordinaire) dressed up in drag. The DVD comes packaged with a whole heaping of bonus material, including early footage of The Mystic Knights Of The Oingo Boingo's stage show, an extended discussion by director Richard Elfman with his brother and other key players in the film, an Oingo Boingo video ("Private Life"), deleted scenes, and more.

album cover KONONO NO.1 Lubuaku (Terp) cd 18.98
We have been totally obsessed with these guys (as have the rest of you judging from how many folks have called and emailed about them and already bought a ton of copies from us before this review even was written) for at least a year if not more and until now there hasn't been a thing (other than a minute long mp3 sample available on Crammed Discs' website) which has been taunting us with the promise of a full length from these guys. So until that fabled Crammed Discs release actually comes out we've got this little nugget to tide you over. And it's no small shakes neither. Though we only learned of them recently Konono No.1 have been around for some 25 years. Hailing from Kinshasa, Congo, Konono No.1 are true African punk rock. They are real D.I.Y. Not putting on shows and printing zines, no, how about building their own instruments from found scraps and dismantled machinery and retrofitting and electrifying traditional instruments! For instance the lead musician Mingiedi Mawangu has taken his likembe (thumb piano), rigged it up to pickups (self-built from hammered parts purloined from car starter motors) and amplified it with a custom built amplifier driven by a car battery, using microphones built out of copper wire and branches. How cool is that! And the sounds these instruments produce is amazing. The likembe, with its muted gentle melodic thrum, is turned into an overdriven buzzing melodic powerhouse that sounds like nothing you've ever heard. Well, sometimes it sounds a bit like some sort of psychedelic alien fuzz guitar, but mostly it just sounds amazing and bizarre. The songs are all very melodically similar and mesh into one massive hour long jam, with wild percussion, chanted vocals, and of course the wailing Likembe. So completely amazing. Every time we play this in the store, someone buys one. Immediately.
Seven extended tracks, recorded live and released on the Ex's label Terp.
MPEG Stream: "Ditshe Tshiekutala"
MPEG Stream: "Ku Hollande"

album cover V/A Cambodian Rocks Vol. 3: All Psyched Up (Khmer Rocks) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
It would appear that the Khmer Rocks label is slowly rendering the original Cambodian Rocks compilation on Parallel World obsolete. With each volume of their version of the beloved series there are a smattering of those tracks included -- now better served with full disclosure of the artists' names, song titles and even lyrics! With volume 3 there are three more, leaving you with 16 completely new tracks. We figure that by volume 7 or 8 of the Khmer Rocks series we'll all be able to trade in the original. As a bonus, Khmer Rocks has included two tracks at the end of volume 3 of "Romvong Songs", or Cambodian circle dance songs. It's the label's way of turning on all the garage psychsters to some traditional Cambodian music. The first track is actually a lot like the tracks on the Cambodian rocks discs, but with a bit more swing. The second, by Cambodian superstar Sinn Sisamouth, replaces guitar and bass with flute and clarinet along with traditional Cambodian instruments, but it still has the same intensity of those rock tracks. What can we say? Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: SINN SISAMOUTH "A Diamond Ring"
MPEG Stream: YOL AULARONG "Number One"
MPEG Stream: SINN SISAMOUTH "The Kickboxer"

album cover ENO, BRIAN Discreet Music (Virgin) cd 16.98
The second wave of Brian Eno reissues is of his genre creating and defining ambient music albums from 1975 through 1982. The first in the series is Discreet Music and it's in the liner notes here that Eno describes the genesis for his ambient music. The story goes that while he was recouperating in a hospital after having been struck by a car he found himself inspired through another sort of accident. Eno had been brought a record of 18th century harp music to listen to but, after having struggled to put the record on in his weakened state, found the amplifier levels way too low and one channel of the recording completely missing. Thus he was forced to strain to hear nothing but the loudest of notes above the ambient din in the room. Add to this Eno's admission that he considers himself a much better conceiver of plans than executor of them and you have the foundations for Discreet Music. Eno's goal was to set up a system which would generate music with as little input from him as possible. To this end Eno created a feedback loop into which he could insert pairs of notes and let the ensuing echo box and delay line do the rest. The flipside of this coin, included on this album, is a suite in three parts entitled "Three Variations On the Canon In D Major By Johann Pachelbel". For this piece Eno took sections of the Canon and, on each of the sections, gives the players different instructions for the treatment of those parts. In each case the directives result in different but beautiful deconstructions of the all too familiar Canon.
MPEG Stream: "Discreet Music"
MPEG Stream: "Fullness of Wind"

album cover V/A Shockout (Tigerbeat6) cd 14.98
Alright all you hard ragga nuts, pick this fucker up! Damn, seems like it's been a while since we've got some real crazy shit in here that we could get really excited about and adamantly recommend to customers with complete confidence. Many of the tracks here have already appeared as 12"s and 7"s on Tigerbeat6's Shockout imprint. But those of us lacking turntables or too lazy to lift those heavy slabs for a mere 3 minutes of pleasure have been left out of the game... until now. Looking for some DJ Rupture? Looking for The Bug? Looking for something to replace those worn copies of DJ Scud's Murder Sound or yearning for a return of Panacea circa Low Profile Darkness? You'll find your fix embedded here in the digital pits of this here humble aluminum disc. Brutal two-step cut ups with gut churning bass, brain rattling hardcore ragga jungle and levelled off with some of the most phlegm inducing, distorted and gruff toasting you'll ever hear. Along with some of the heaviest singles in the Shockout series thus far by the likes of The Bug, Ove-Naxx, Soundmurderer & SK-1, Timeblind, Kid606, and Eight Frozen Modules, there are exclusive tracks from DJ Rupture, Com A. and Guislain Poirier (nice to hear some French in the mix for once). Plus this Shockout comp also includes the original "Killer" single by Rootsman and He-Man that The Bug remixed, which sounds like a madman trying to burp his way through a vocal dub. Verbally slobbering over this collection wouldn't be complete without mentioning the exceptionally great track sequencing. The comp kicks off with Strategy's mellow "Dunes Dub", a springy dub track with a Fela Kuti-esque keyboard line, and slowly works its way up in ferocity through the the next several tracks. Strategy bookends the collection in fact, with the A-side to their Shockout 12" "Going Street Dub" finishing things off. In flow, Shockout reminds us of DJ Rupture's now classic Minesweeper Suite. Everyone who loves those Ward 21 albums, DJ Rupture, The Bug's new ragga incarnation or the Kid (as in 606) should pluck this sucker up post haste. Highly fucking recommended!
MPEG Stream: ROOTSMAN / HE-MAN "Killer"
MPEG Stream: THE BUG VS. ROOTSMAN / MEXICAN "WWW - Kid606 Remix"
MPEG Stream: OVE-NAXX / WAYNE LONESOME "Come Back Wicked - A Fear Of Sengiri Mix"

album cover PARTCH, HARRY Collection Volume 2 (New World / CRI) cd 16.98
Four of Harry Partch's earliest compositions, works he later grouped together as The Wayard, comprise the first half of this collection. The four pieces: U.S. Highball, San Francisco, The Letter and Barstow were written between 1941 and 1943 after Partch received a Guggenheim Fellowship. This after he'd spent much of the previous 10 years hoboing around the country, picking up odd jobs as he could get them throughout the depression. It's no wonder then that the topics of these pieces have much, if not everything, to do with his experiences during this period. These are classic Partch, combining social commentary and humor to create odd oratorios (the texts of these pieces are included in the accompanying booklet) that are spoken as much as they are sung and done so with that quintessential vocal style that just smacks of the 50's. I think that's what makes these recordings sound all that much more interesting and odd. You expect the voices you hear to be pitching Listerine or a Chevy Corvair, not kicking it with an iconoclast hobo composer. The final composition here, And On The Seventh Day Petals Fell In Petaluma, is a radical contrast to these earlier pieces and makes for a nice juxtaposition for this collection. Completed in 1966, it's one of the few pieces Partch composed that is strictly instrumental and completely lacking any kind of "program". Further, it utilizes the entire cache of the now fully realized Partch orchestra of instruments.
MPEG Stream: "U.S. Highball"
MPEG Stream: "And On The Seventh Day Petals Fell In Petaluma"

album cover OSWALT, PATTON 222 Live & Uncut (Chunklet) 2cd 15.98
Third (and final?) re-pressing of this unanimous AQ comedy favorite!!
222... Two mints in one? Nope. Codeine? Nope. Nope. Nope. This double disc is BETTER -- packed with two and a half hours of comedian Patton Oswalt recorded live at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, GA. What more could you possibly want or need in your life? The man is fuckin' hiiiiilllaaarrriiiioouuss! Aaah, you might know him from the TV show King Of Queens, or you might've spotted him in the movie Taxi (or the soon to be released Blade 3... what the f'?!), or you might've heard his voice on Crank Yankers, or you might know him from one of his stand-up performances (he just finished a brief tour with Maria Bamford and Mr. Show alumni Brian Posehn). Now we know this isn't a competition, but dare we say, he frequently kicks his pal David Cross' ass? Yes, as a matter of fact we do dare. Much like Cross, he draws much inspiration from the late great Bill Hicks who pushed the renegade stand-up envelope hard and far in a very short period of time (if you dig current comedians such as Oswalt, Cross and Dave Attell, do yourself a favor and seek out any/all videos and cds of Hicks... seriously!). Fueled by a steady fountain of red wine, Oswalt holds court unleashing his often jaw-dropping, astute observations about the telling signs of the apocalypse and other stuff -- more specifically Dubya, zombies, celebrities, midgets, liquor ads, babies, hair metal videos, open mic nites, hippies, comic books and steakhouses. We won't attempt to re-enact any of his jokes here. There's no way we could accurately replicate his comedic 'nuances'. Hell, what are you waiting for? Just give those audioclips a spin. As he gets more inebriated instead of getting sloppier in his delivery, he somehow gets even more blistering. It's not until the last twenty minutes that things start to get noticeably, uhh, affected by the copious amount of vino consumed. He goes off on a bizarre rant beginning with a comment about shaving a back with a rusty tuna fish can. Hoo boy. If laughing appeals to you, buy this immediately. You won't know what hit you. Squibilleee flabilleee dooo!!! Brought to you by the kind folks at Chunklet Magazine / Records.
Warning #1: This is definitely not for the dainty eared nor for the faint of heart nor for the humorless.
Warning #2: Remember folks, this is a completely unedited recording, so the laffs aren't as rapid fire as on other comedy albums that have been nipped and tucked for maximum hilarity. This is two and a half hours of real-time stand-up with many drinking pauses, muffled banter with the audience and even a break when Oswalt takes a photo of his photographer who himself is drunk too.
And most importantly, Warning #3: This is a very very very limited tour only release that we've been fortunate enough to snag a few copies of, so please don't dilly-dally.
MPEG Stream: "excerpt 1 [we won]"
MPEG Stream: "excerpt 2 [dubya]"
MPEG Stream: "excerpt 3 [pride]"
MPEG Stream: "excerpt 4 [chipmunks]"

album cover MCGREGOR, DION The Further Somniloquies Of... (Torpor Vigil Industries) cd 15.98
At long last, this weird disc is back in stock, here's what we originally said about it nine years ago, when it was a Record Of The Week, for all those that missed it:
Everybody's favorite sleeptalker is back and we're really fucking excited! Dreams Again, the previous release on Tzadik, is one of our most loved and consistently selling "spoken word" cds, and with reason. Most of us who talk in our sleep tend to say maybe a couple words or phrases at best, often mumbled so quietly that it's hard to even catch the words they're saying - if you even happen to be awake and close enough to hear it. Well imagine someone that regularly, throughout his entire life, recited entire dreams in a clear voice. And imagine every one of those dreams being the most ridiculous and surreal dreams imaginable. That's Dion McGregor. The story goes that in 1961 Dion McGregor - a born again freeloader, chronic couch-surfer and quasi-successful song writer - was discovered to be a verbose sleeptalker by the friend whose house he was currently crashing at. The friend, a director of porn films, attempted to jot down the dreams, but McGregor's speech was just too fast. With some mild coercion (free rent must have been involved) a mutual friend and song writer, Michael Barr, agreed to allow McGregor to sleep at his apartment in return for being allowed to record his dreams. Barr set up a microphone at the head of Dion's bed and for seven years recorded everything he could. Apparently Dion's vocalizations tended to begin just before waking in the morning, so there was a bit of predictability they could count on. Playing the tapes to the right people at the right time eventually resulted in an lp released on Decca in 1964 entitled the Dream World of Dion McGregor (and in 1999 Tzadik released a cd of additional material also recorded by Barr). While there must be enough tapes of McGregor's ramblings to cover several more volumes (Barr claims to have recorded upwards of 500 dreams), we'll have to settle for these 80 more minutes for the time being. Listening to these bizarre tales it's hard to believe that these are coming from a man who's genuinely asleep. The way McGregor recites them sounds almost conversational, describing the events he's undergoing. At the same time McGregor is both the director of his dreams: telling us to all get ready for the scavenger hunt (reciting off a myriad of strange objects that must be located), but also a participant: confessing to us that he'll never be able to locate said objects in such short time. And, it must be added, he almost invariably ends each transmission with horrified screaming. No matter how mild or whimsical a dream may be when it starts, it always seems to end in either tragedy or just plain shrieking madness. But the theory that McGregor made up and performed these monologues, fully conscious, is even harder to imagine. He would have had to have been quite a writer and a performer to achieve such results, and to allow it to remain archived in obscurity for eternity. No matter, even if these were faked they still add up to an impressive collection of the most fucked up, hilarious and down right amazing monologues this side of Kenneth Patchen. An absolute must for all lovers of the more disturbing aspects of the human psyche!
MPEG Stream: "The Scavenger Hunt"
MPEG Stream: "It's All Over Evelyn"

album cover PINBACK Summer In Abaddon (Touch & Go) cd 14.98
Heirs to the indierock throne? We certainly think there's an argument in support of it. Once again Zac and Rob don't disappoint on Summer In Abaddon, their first major-independent label release. They continue to efforlessly write songs that can take the best elements of say, Modest Mouse at their zenith -- we're talking catchy hooks -- but with a finer tuned sense of lyricism, a smoother rhythmmic flow and, well, some damn fine finger picked melodic bass lines from Zac. As on their previous releases, Zac and Rob write and record all the songs themselves. And while this might be a count against some artists, both the musicianship and recording skills of this pair is beyond reproach. In fact, their years of woodshedding together has turned them into a veritable sonic unit, effortlessly harmonizing with one another like an indiepop equivalent to the Louvin Brothers channeling the teen angst mopeyness of Tears For Fears. It's no wonder the Pinback army grows stronger with every release.
MPEG Stream: "Sender"
MPEG Stream: "Fortress"
MPEG Stream: "AFK"

album cover MR. SHOW The Complete Fourth Season (HBO) 2dvd 39.00
What will it take for us to convince you that Mr. Show is the greatest "sketch" comedy show EVER? Thimbles? Fake poo? Wyckyd Sceptre? Marilyn Monster Pizza Parlors? Probably nothing will do it at this point, you're either with us or against us. Us Mr. Show fans have to enjoy our obsession in secret (some of us here even have to sneak out of bed late at night and watch with headphones, so as not to wake our significant other who'd surely discipline such behavior). For those of you who do love Mr. Show and miss anticipating a new season every year, be sated with these final two discs. Not only will you get to relive the final ten episodes, but also enjoy some new items. Like the DVD reissues of the earlier seasons, this one has the usual hilarious commentary with Bob & David on all but one episode. Plus there's outtakes from the first three seasons, bloopers, "The Naked Improv" from a 1998 Comic Relief appearance, "The Grand Reunion" featurette and a Mr. Show Jukebox of songs from the entire series.

album cover PARTCH, HARRY Collection Volume 1 (New World / CRI) cd 16.98
Seems like it's about time that Harry Partch's recordings should be permanently available and not continually cycle in and out of print. If he hasn't yet been "canonized" in the eyes of academia, he's been so by the rest of the world by now. If all other reasons were eliminated, the mere mention of "builders of unusual instruments" puts Harry Partch at the top of most people's heads. His gorgeously hand crafted and other worldly sounding instruments were built not on a whim, but out of necessity. Which brings to mind the second reason why Harry Partch resides at the top of so many lists: microtonal music. No one before him had a so thoroughly codified and premeditated way of dividing the "octave" into harmonic and melodic divisions. 43 scale degrees is what he eventually settled on, which is why he had to either heavily modify or build from scratch his instruments. But his chosing 43 tones and his handling of them wasn't just for effect, like many of those composers who preceded him. Most of his compositions didn't even use all 43 notes. Instead Partch had developed his own scales and modes -- derived from ancient Greece along as well as from around the globe. His compositions were a veritable hodge podge of influences: American folk music, Chinese classical, African, Greek, Balinese, Javanese, and on and on. To top it off, the musicans performing his works were expected to sing and dance while they played their respective instruments. And while he was a demanding composer with very specific and strongly argued opinions about music (his book Genesis Of A Music is not only an in depth look at his own theories, but a scathing critique of western classical music), his compositions were largely quite accessible. The tracks here were recorded between 1950 and 1953 with the exception of "Ulysses At The Edge" which was recorded in 1958 and originally released on Harry Partch's own Gate Five record label. Oh, that's another thing, he was probably the first DIY record producer / label owner / mail order business. The majority of Partch's instruments were either percussion, in the form of large and varied marimba-like instruments and zithers. One particular marimba, the Marimba Eroica had only two notes, a resonater 8 feet long and was played with huge and heavy padded mallets. You can imagine how that one sounds. And yet all of his instruments are not only unique sounding, but beautiful and haunting as well. The Cloud Chamber Bowls were a set of glass carboys cut in half and tuned to Partch's scale and sounds as close to a glass gong as anything could. But the most fucked up of all is the Chromelodeon, a heavily modified reed pump organ that sounds like the devil itself when it plays clusters of notes or simple chords. Along with Ulysses, Volume 1 of the Harry Partch collection includes Eleven Intrusions, a song cycle utilizing ten of Partch's instruments accompanying voice; Plectra & Percussion Dances, a suite of three unrelated pieces utilizing the entire Partch orchestra of instruments. These newly reprinted CRI editions come with hefty booklets with archival photos and extensive liner notes.
MPEG Stream: "Castor & Pollux"
MPEG Stream: "Ring Around The Moon"

album cover FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND Satori (Radioactive) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A while back we listed this, just 'cause we happened to order a few in and some of the staff here who were previously unexposed to the wonders of the Flower Travellin Band, notably Byram, became obsessed with it (and them). It was a Japan-only import and we felt that while many might already know this album backwards and forwards, it had most certainly slipped through the cracks for too many others out there. So we listed it and got an overwhelming response. Now it's a constant seller here at AQ. And still to this day, almost any time you come into the store, you might well hear the Flower Travellin' Band blaring. Now we're listing it again, on account of how it's just been reissued *again* at a much lower import price, this time by the British label Radioactive. They've included some art from the original LP that didn't appear on the previous Japanese cd edition, but there's no bonus tracks or anything else additional. If you don't already have it, here's our old review of it, so read on, and you might discover a new favorite:
This is an album (and a band) that are not celebrated nearly enough -- possibly out of misguided notions of their being another bad psych knock-off among the many crowding the record racks in the early seventies. But Japan's Flower Travellin' Band were no mere cheesy imitators of occidental rock 'n roll, they were in actual fact a full-fledged, pioneering tour de force of psychedelic progressive hard rock, equalling the krautrock heavies of the era. FTB can be compared favorably to Amon Duul's better efforts with their experimental meandering (think Yeti), and the best trancey spaceouts from Can. Yet there's never a sense that FTB lose track of their compositions no matter how far out they take a track. Perhaps because even more than these experimental Krautrockers, FTB's heavy (fucking ominously heavy) sound points to a major Sabbath, Purple, and Crimson influence. Released in 1971, Satori is the band's second and arguably best album. From the first screech/howl at the beginning of track one -- "Satori Part I" (the tracks on the album are all "Satori", parts I-V) -- from vocalist Joe, who inhabits a zone somewhere between Can's Damo Suzuki and Deep Purple's Ian Gillan, the album gets straight down to business. Joe's scream is followed by a foreboding bass, guitar and drum dirge that's straight up collision between Cream and Black Sabbath in which no one survives. It's got so much more teeth than either, it's not even funny, predating punk by a good many years. "Satori Part II" however is quintessential FTB Over a pounding tribal drumbeat, alternating between a buzzing sitar-esque guitar drone and a melody line that curls ripples and lilts like a plume of burning incense smoke, guitarist Hideki Ishima lays out one of the creepiest, coolest guitar leads ever. If that ain't enough, vocalist Joe's singing is like that of Axl Rose being channelled by the Sun City Girls! Even if the rest of the album were total shit -- which it ain't -- the cost of this cd would still be well worth it for this song alone! "Part III" -- an instrumental -- picks up where II leaves off but slows the tempo down to a deathly pace, which makes it even heavier. This is the Sabbath influence on FTB writ large. Replete with an improv freakout before returning to the original riff and building into a frenzied crescendo. Needless to say, if you weren't bobbing your head at the beginning of the song, you will be by its end. "Part IV" could be considered FTB's "blues" number, with Joe picking up the harmonica instead of singing. But instead of churning out the expected twelve bar formula, FTB truncate the form and construct a minimalist jam around a short riff instead. "Part V" shows yet another facet of FTB's seemingly infinite potential with Hideki (?) playing some kick ass, spooky koto-like guitar overdubbed on top of some heavy psych. Damn! They could have done ten fucking albums around this schtick alone and probably never lost our interest... sigh... Absolutely, fucking recommended!!!!
MPEG Stream: "Satori Part II"
MPEG Stream: "Satori Part III"

album cover CORRUPTED Se Hace Por Los Suenos Asesinos (HG Fact) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Sadly, the legendary Japanese label HG Fact, longtime home to sludgelords Corrupted, closed up shop recently, rendering loads of amazing records gone for good, but Corrupted managed to acquire a handful of remaining copies of this otherwise out of print doom/sludge classic, and we got as many as we could from them - not many. So this is indeed available again, for what we're guessing will be a very, very limited time...
Here's our review from way back in 2004 when we first listed Se Hace Por Los Suenos Asesinos (and back when Boris were still a doom/sludge band as well):
It's time.
Be afraid.
Very afraid.
Or if you're a typical AQ customer and love your rock music glacier slow, tarpit thick and skull crushingly heavy, well then, in that case there's nothing to be afraid of!
Everyone may quake and tremble when the mighty Boris unleash a new slab of black hole mega dense heaviosity. And rightfully so. Few can keep up when it comes to slow motion riffage, tectonic pummel and massive planet destroying rock. But there is another....one who came before....one who resurfaces occasionally....to remind the world that this sleeping behemoth can rise at anytime and raze all that dare proclaim themselves HEAVY. That beast...is known as... the Corrupted. One of the few bands in Japan, nay the WORLD, that can go toe to toe with Boris and hope to survive, perhaps even triumph. Some of you may remember Corrupted's massive two disc set Llenandose de Gusanos, from 3 or 4 years back, one disc of minimal drones, one disc of crushing sonic sludge (and piano). Maybe the finest document of death/doom/drone/sludge ever recorded - except perhaps for the rumoured-to-exist triple disc (!) SINGLE SONG (!!) Corrupted epic that has yet to surface. But for now, we'll have to be happy with this new 35 minute monster. The disc opens with a 17 minute ambient folk dirge, just acoustic guitar and harshly whispered/grunted vocals. In Spanish (as always) and rumblingly hypnotic. Like a ultra grim, creepily acoustic Neurosis, all stripped down and stretched out. Never imagined just a voice and an acoustic guitar could be so fucking scary, but for almost twenty minutes, the low end folk sludge stretches on seemingly forever, narcoticizing and mesmerizing, before the second track drops like a ton of lead Marshall stacks. Massively loud and perplexingly heavy, HUGE slabs of downtuned guitars pour molten riffs down your willing throat, filling you with black tar melodies, jagged limb smashing drumming, and bass so low it seems to loosen the earth's crust around you. The final track picks up the pace, to barely midtempo, but certainly a breakneck speed for a lumbering behemoth like the Corrupted. Drummer Chew (formerly of Omoide Hatoba) gets to go all Animal on this track, smashing everything within reach, the only thing keeping him behind the kit is the impenetratable wall of mile-thick ocean-deep sonic sludge, like pouring a bucket of hot molasses on a porcupine. Or dropping a sea anenome in a vat of hot glue, or like listening to Black Sabbath with your ears full of mud. Where Boris is channelling all sort of seventies rock, and stoner riffage, albeit through their own slow motion filter, Corrupted are just really fucking scary. A huge uncontainable, slithering, squirming, unstoppable, slow-motion, crusty metallic black hole.
MPEG Stream: "Track One (Se Hace...)"
MPEG Stream: "Rato Triste"

album cover NEWMAN, A.C. The Slow Wonder (Matador) cd 10.98
New Pornographers (and former Zumpano) bandleader Carl Newman strikes out on his own with a new solo album, though you'd hardly know it wasn't just a new New Pornographers record when you slap it on. And we say this with the utmost esteem -- this man wears some huge songwriting shoes. Probably most distinguishable from the New Pornographers sound is the slower tempo on most of the tracks here, and maybe just a teeny bit less bouncy on the tunes with faster tempos. Like his work with Zumpano, and more recently The New Pornographers, Newman is not only the consummate songwriter, but arranger as well. His penchant for extracting the history of 70's pop and finessing it into his own sound is truly remarkable. Where others may come in with a cleaver and coarsely chop away with musical references and irony filled homages, Newman subtly infuses his work such that you find yourself constantly asking "what band is this reminding me of?" (almost the same effect that Bjorn Olsson's instrumental nuggets seem to have on us). Though if there's one group that we can definitely point to and say confidently that Mr. Newman has been listening to a great deal it's ELO -- throughout, Newman uses the trademark high choruses (we were even convinced that Ms. Neko Case had snuck into a recording session or two). So in lieu of the next New Pornographers (or that fabled lost third Zumpano record), we can highly recommend this tight, fat free collection of clean, wholesome, kick-ass rock n' roll to be your summer soundtrack.
MPEG Stream: "Miracle Drug"
MPEG Stream: "On The Table"
MPEG Stream: "Better Than Most"

album cover V/A Studio One Dub (Soul Jazz) cd 21.00
It's with bittersweet feelings and a sorrowful heart that we find ourselves writing about the newest of Soul Jazz's tributes to Jamaica's finest cultural treasure. Sadly, Clement Sir Coxsone Dodd passed away on Tuesday, May 4th. It was only four days previous that Brentford Road, the street where Dodd's studio has been located for the last 41 years, was renamed Studio One Boulevard and a celebration was held in his honor. Farewell Coxsone, your legacy will continue to grow for generations to come. Suitable it is that a collection of dub from Studio One should grace us at this time, not solely as how a collection of music stripped of voices could be seen as a symbolic moment of silence, but because of all the creative musical innovations to come out of Jamaica, dub has had the most profound effect on modern music today and the real artists behind dub aren't the musicians, but the engineers -- in this case Coxsone Dodd and Studio One's house engineer at the time Sylvan Morris. The 17 tracks on this collection span the gamut of the artistry of dub: from the sparse to the full blown, balls out effects laden masterpiece. Case in point is Dodd's "Chase Them Version" in which the master tape is somehow manhandled to sound as if it is being eaten by the machine. We've heard all sorts of cases of master tapes being sped up, slowed down and played backwards, but this was a first for us... unless you count Faxed Head (strange how far dub's influence stretches). As for rhythms, of course Studio One's got the pick of the litter and most of the dubs here are ultra rare cuts originally released as silk-screened limited editions. Along with a kick ass cover, Soul Jazz has included a booklet with interviews of both Sylvan Morris and Coxsone Dodd. Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Bionic Dub"
MPEG Stream: "Taurus Dub 2"

album cover IRON & (AND) WINE Our Endless Numbered Days (Sub Pop) cd 14.98
So here we go again! Iron And Wine's The Creek Drank The Cradle was an AQ record of the week last year, was a unanimous staff favorite, and made most of our top ten lists for the year. Rightfully so we might add. A more beautiful and perfect record we hadn't heard in forever. And a lot of times we try not to make another record by the same band a record of the week, since usually it's hard for a band to deliver another record as good as THAT record, the one that blew us away and convinced us it had to be record of the week. But of course sometimes we do, and sometimes a band does, and this new Iron And Wine just happens to be that record. Sam Beam, who pretty much IS Iron And Wine has upped the ante, somehow navigating the precarious course of trying to progress and grow and explore, without ruining what was already basically perfect. And somehow he's done it. All of the things we loved so much about the first record are still present: gently fingerpicked guitar, sweetly breathy vocals, gorgeous harmonies, melancholy melodies, twangy banjo, slippery slide guitar, wistful and cryptic lyrics amd songs. The songs! So perfectly sweet and instantly classic. Songs that you find yourself humming to yourself even after only one listen. So what is it about this new record that makes it worthy of record of the week status? Hard to say. In fact we weren't sure if this record was actually better, or if we were just so excited to have more Iron And Wine! Because on first listen, Our Endless Numbered Days sounds like the perfect part two of The Creek Drank The Cradle. Which is a good thing. A very good thing in fact. We were all wishing The Creek was twice as long or even ten times as long. One of those records you want to never end. But the more we listened to Our Endless Numbered Days, the more it revealed itself as an entirely new record. But subtly so. It's a little more aggressive, and propulsive, the drums play a bigger part, and there are some distinctly intense bits, where the guitars are rough and the drums kind of rock. But only kind of. The core of the record is still Beam's perfect pop songs, twangy and folky, but sweet and lush, with melodies that while totally memorable and unforgettable, are so unique and fresh to your ears that you just have to sit and listen and let the sounds and songs envelop you. Some obvious reference points are Elliott Smith, America, Bread, Palace, Songs:Ohia, but the more you listen, and the more we hear from Iron And Wine, the more we realise that Beam occupies a singular place in popular music, referencing all sort of other musics, but existing totally and completely in his own sonic space. It's a rare performer who can pull that off, especially nowdays drawing from a century of recorded music.
MPEG Stream: "On Your Wings"
MPEG Stream: "Naked As We Came"
MPEG Stream: "Cinder And Smoke"

album cover MILLIS, ROBERT Leaf Music Drunks Distant Drums: Recordings From Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar (Anomalous) cd 14.98
It seems like field recordings from southeast Asia have become one of the most popular emergent genres here at Aquarius Records. And while we're not sure if just 'cause you took a trip and recorded stuff you should really get your name on record (like you're some sort of hoity-toity 'sound artist'), we still appreciate the efforts of such recordists as Loren Nerell, the Bishop brothers, and now Robert Millis. The truth is, ambient sound from some street in Thailand or Indonesia can be a lot more fascinating than yet another disc of computerized feedback or lowercase glitch! Never a substitute for going places yourself and using your ears (and other senses) but certainly a valid listening option at home. So no complaints, we'll continue to sing the praises of quality releases in the 'field recordings' genre like those on the Sublime Frequencies label. And certainly if you liked the recent Princess Nicotine disc on Sublime Freq, you'll probably also want to check out Leaf Music Drunks Distant Drums. Actually Millis (a member of American experimentalists Climax Golden Twins) had some involvement in the production of the Sublime Frequencies' dvd release Nat Pwe: Burma's Carnival Of Spirit Soul, and portions of this release were recorded on the same 'expedition'. Listening to this artfully edited distillation of the hours and hours of recordings that this disc represents, you'll be able to tell that Millis obviously spent a lot of time on the ground in SE Asia, ears alert for interesting sonics (musical and otherwise). It'll transport you into an environment that includes the following and more: "improvisation performed by an elephant mahout using only a leaf, ethereal temple orchestras, blind street musicians, insect choruses, stagecoach rides, singing cabbies, drunken spirit orchestras performing Leo Sayer songs..." Byram was especially taken with the track that sounds like a guy sobbing through a bullhorn! A great listen thats very well mixed, segueing nicely, and at a nice pace, from track to track.
MPEG Stream: "Blue Jeans Salesman, Thailand / Morning Sermon, Cambodia"
MPEG Stream: "Blind Street Singer, Thailand"
MPEG Stream: "Distant Drums, Cambodia"

album cover V/A I Remember Syria (Sublime Frequencies) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
That it's the first double disc in the Sublime Frequencies series says something about I Remember Syria. Recorded by Mark Gergis (Monopause / Neung Phak, Porest) in 1998 and 2000, I Remember Syria is an impressive collection of sounds, interviews and music from a country that's essentially unknown to the western world. Vilified by Bush, Rumsfeld et al. There's really no access to the wonderful culture of Syria. Gergis successfully attempts to alleviate that with the two plus hours presented here. Recorded using a stereo mic. and minidisc recorder, and subsidized with excerpts from television and radio. Disc one focuses on the city of Damascus, while disc two features recordings from throughout Syria. Along with recordings of street musicians, wedding processions, prayers, mosque interiors and open air markets are brief interviews with Syrian citizens reflecting on the US Govt. and the west in general. I Remember Syria is an impressive and unique audio documentary of a country that deserves more positive exposure.
MPEG Stream: I REMEMBER SYRIA "Multi-Interior"
MPEG Stream: I REMEMBER SYRIA "Debis"
MPEG Stream: I REMEMBER SYRIA "Homo Aleppo"
MPEG Stream: I REMEMBER SYRIA "Youth Radio of the Syrian Arab Republic"

album cover V/A Princess Nicotine: Folk & Pop Music of Myanmar (Burma) Vol. 1 (Sublime Frequencies) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
If you have the Sublime Frequencies Nat Pwe DVD reviewed a few months back, then you at least have a rough idea of what you're getting yourself into here. But even if you're familiar with Burmese music, you'll find this compilation truly weird and wonderful. Unlike the handful of Burmese releases on Shanachie, this is a completely raw and unfettered, whole grain Burmese sonic assault. In other words: it's absolutely manic! At its most insane, it's akin to taking your standard off the wall Bollywood arrangement and running it through a prog rock or free jazz filter. Nasal double reed instruments parallel vocal lines, clashing cymbals emphasize every beat, while the pat wain (a set of rice paste tuned drums which encircle the performer) smacks out its own melody like a set of out of tune roto-toms. On the mellower side of things there's strange hallucinogenic Appalachia featuring sudden bursts of piano, interjecting banjo, violin, flute, horn and most oddly: sultry female vocals offset by distorted male vocals. There's also hazy semi-Hawaiian psychedelia, with piano and keyboards pounding out the occasional random chord progression. If you have to chose just one record to blow your mind this year, definitely make it this one!
MPEG Stream: MAR MAR AYE "Beautiful Town"
MPEG Stream: YANGON SEIN KYI MOE "The Tune of the Second Entertainment"
MPEG Stream: NI NI WIN SHWE "My Darling's Love Arrow"

album cover V/A Radio Morocco (Sublime Frequencies) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Recorded by SCG man Alan Bishop during a summer 1983 visit to Morocco. Like Radio Java and palestine discs, the material for this 20 year old collection of recordings is taken straight off the radio. But unlike the Radio Palestine recording Morocco is much less attention deficit disorder ridden. Rather than clipping along in ten second and less sound bites, songs are actually allowed to develop and even finish on many a track. Tucked in alongside news reports, commercials and short snippets of Moroccan Serge Gainsbourg impersonations there are some really amazing Moroccan originals. "Radio Fes" features a live recording of a Moroccan orchestra supercharged with organ and electric guitar -- listen for the howls of joy from the back of the hall during the quiet sections. Other tracks feature traditional musicians cranking their sound out via low wattage transmitters and lo-fi equipment to produce a squashed ethno garage sound. There's a huge variety of stuff here and it all mixes well together without sounding too chaotically eclectic. As a bonus for those die hard SCG fans, there's a couple of classics that you may recognize here in their original form. A few more Sublime Frequencies recordings like this and someone will be able to put together a handsome "Roots of the Sun City Girls" comp.
MPEG Stream: RADIO CHECHAOUEN "Radio Chechaouen"
MPEG Stream: RADIO FES "Radio Fes"

album cover DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE Transatlanticism (Sonic Boom) 2lp 23.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Now available as a fancy double lp on 180 gram vinyl. VERY LIMITED.
We knew they still had it in them, and Transatlanticism prooves it. After a two year recording hiatus (not including the b-sides / demos release You Can Play These Songs With Chords) while singer Benjamin Gibbard stretched his wings with Dntel's Jimmy Tamborello in their Postal Service project, Death Cab For Cutie returns with a full length that not only does not disappoint, but possibly even surpasses their excellent sophmore effort We Have the Facts... album of three years ago. While they will probably always be compared to Built To Spill (circa Perfect From Now On or even Keep It Like A Secret) Gibbard et al. have undoubtably come into their own. Along with all the great hooks and beautiful melodies we've come to expect from Death Cab, the group has gotten progressively more crafty with their sound, utilizing electronic elements (never overshadowing the songs themselves) and, though it may not seem like much, piano. The latter is really something that suits their sound well. DCFC always have had this nack for pensive and heart rending melodies and there's really nothing better to sink them into your skin than some rich, full chords on a piano. Though it's used sparingly here, they could risk bringing it out more on further recordings, IMHO. The album's title track is a perfect example. The song's epic 8 minute length, beginning with a slow repeated chord progression on the ivories, builds steadily, sucking you into its world and leaving you feeling lonely in its absense when the final chords drift off into oblivion. So so nice.
MPEG Stream: "The Sound of Settling"
MPEG Stream: "Tiny Vessels"

album cover KOUGEZAN KOUKIJI The Live [11th] Final Hyakusenmansyuuraku (Horen) 2cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The day we first got this in stock, it was pouring rain -- appropriately enough, because playing this made it seem like it was raining in the store as well as outside, quite a lovely effect we thought. Truly, this is a stunningly beautiful concert/field recording, the culmination of a series of concerts held at (the very rainy) Koukiji temple in Japan. The concerts were organized by Yasushi Utsunomia -- whose claim to fame was as recording engineer for art rockers After Dinner. According to Utsunomia, his initial efforts were unsuccessful due in part to demanding and flaky performers (apparently all rock bands) and a crappy sound reinforcement system supplied by the temple. In the end, the first problem was solved by turning to traditional musicians and the second by constructing a sound reinforcement system worthy of such a space (a detailed diagram of the performance space and speaker locations is included on the back of the booklet's cover.) The performances heard here are on shakuhachi, ryuteki (both Japanese bamboo flutes), sitar and stone flute (played by the legendary shamanistic composer Akio Suzuki). All are accompanied by rain, from soft patter to heavy downpour. At times the rain is so loud it completely drowns out the soft playing of the instruments, essentially being an instrument itself -- and as a warning to those who would say otherwise, says Suzuki: "I'll tear out the ears of whoever says this is just rain." For its part, the electro-acoustic elements added via DSP and Utsunomia's custom built horn loaded speaker array are all but completely transparent for much of the concert. During Korei Deguchi's ryuteki performance is when the processing is most noticeable, with what sounds like the work of a harmonizer. Aside from that, the musicians' playing, the space, the rain and Utsunomia's equipment are seamlessly wedded and, if nothing else, you'll feel drenched by the time you finish listening. This numbered edition comes beautifully packaged with a nicely printed cover drawing (some thick rubbery ink that feels nice to pass ones fingers over) of a couple of cats performing for an audience of felines, and is hand-stamped on the inside. Also it includes a printed fold out with liner notes in Japanese and English. The whole thing -- package, idea, music -- is simply beautiful. Several of us here (Andee, Byram, Allan, at least) have already taken copies home...
MPEG Stream: AKIO SUZUKI "Stone Flute"
MPEG Stream: YASUHIRO MINAMIZAWA "Sitar"
MPEG Stream: KOUREI DEGUCHI "Ryuteki"

V/A Love, Peace & Poetry: Asian Psychedelic Music (Shadoks Music) cd 15.98
The Love, Peace & Poetry series compiles the obscurest of the obscure lost psychedelic music of the sixties, records that collectors spend vast sums of money on. Following the American and Latin American volumes, this long-awaited third volume brings together gems from Japan, Korea, India, Cambodia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Turkey, spanning the years 1967 to 1977. Authoritative liner notes from OR Records' Stan Denski round out the package. Get this and soon you too will be a fan of such artists as The Mops, Erkin Koray, Jung Hyun & the Men, Mogollar, and the unknown Cambodian combo that provides this disc's very rockin' track five. Recommended!

ENO, BRIAN Another Green World (EG) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Now reissued on EMI!

album cover V/A Folk and Pop Sounds of Sumatra Vol. 1 (Sublime Frequencies) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We're pretty damn excited by Sun City Girls 33.3 percenter Alan Bishop's new Sublime Frequencies label. "Dedicated to acquiring and exposing obscure sights and sounds from modern and traditional urban and rural frontiers" Sublime Frequencies is slipping on the shoes apparently discarded by such pioneering labels as Smithsonian Folkways, Nonesuch Explorer, et al. Unlike previous explorers in such unheard music, Sublime Frequencies is not restricted by academic or commercial purposes. The latter probably deserves a bit more explanation; for where much of the post-Explorer purveyors of "world music" shamelessly produce an endless slough of slick garbage that sounds like the crap you can hear on any U.S. top 40 radio station merely sung in another language (Christ, if I had a wooden nickel for every fuckin' starry eyed NPR music review extoling the uniqueness of some generic world music outfit that combines electronic music with traditional folk, yadda, yadda, yadda the world's forests would be clear cut by now) the recordings you'll hear presented by Sublime Frequencies come from the cracks in the pavement of the culture makers. Through field recordings (many made by Bishop himself in his travels), radio and shortwave broadcasts some of the most fucking great music and audio you've never heard has been culled together. Balls to fidelity, none of the artists here would be allowed within 10 miles of a Putamayo AR executive, this is the punk rock of field recordings!
Assembled from cassettes acquired by Alan Bishop through trade or purchase in 1989 while traveling through Sumatra, "Folk And Pop Sounds" contains some of the most obscure recordings of the three initial CD releases from Subliminal Frequencies. Located on the furthest Western edge of the Indonesian archipelago, Sumatra is big (as big as California) and widely unexplored in the audio realm in comparison with its neighboring islands to the East, Java and Bali. The disc begins with the Haba Haba Group in which a male singer is accompanied by flute, two alternating gongs and percussion and secondly by an unknown Sumatran Dangdut (crazy overdriven pop with a heavy Indian film music influence). The most immediately noticeable difference in these recordings from Sumatra to Bali & Java is the overt Arabic influence on the music. The Dangdut track even sounds similar to the music on a Somalian CD, "Jamiila" which we used to sell here years ago before it went out of print. As if to admonish us against generalizations, another later Dangdut track, with runaway farfisa organ, pleasant arppegiating electric guitar and female vocals sounds not dis-similar to the "keroncong" music of The Steps CD from Java released on Warn Defever's Time Stereo label. While the disc may begin innocently enough, the sequencing of the tracks seduces the listener into the strange world of Sumatran music. The very Arabic sounding Indang Pariaman which features a female singer who's melody line interweaves beautifully with end blown wooden flute and some more incredibly nutty buzzing electric keyboard (one can only imagine that the sound is intended to imitate a double reed instrument of old) is moved along by jovial electric bass and casio-rhythm. The combination of acoustic and archaic electric instruments is shamelessly wonderful. Later an orchestra of sorts, complete with violin, electric organ, bass, drums, female voice leads us down a fragrant path that's oddly reminiscent of a Sun City Girls track. Speaking of which, though this one technically isn't, there are a couple of tracks on here which indeed are songs covered by the Girls, can you figure out which ones? Along with the songs proper included here, there are some great excerpts from dramas. The first instance begins with sweet flute and what's supposed to be a rooster crowing, but emulated by what sounds like an old air raid siren played through a broken megaphone. A melodramatic dialogue ensues between a terribly afflicted female and a stoic male voice. needless to say, this one comes highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: HABA HABA GROUP "Sitogol #1"
MPEG Stream: UNKNOWN "Piso Somalim #1"
MPEG Stream: PIMP RUBIAH "Sri Mersing"

album cover V/A Folk and Pop Sounds of Sumatra Vol. 1 (Sublime Frequencies) lp 25.00
Awesome! A deluxe vinyl reissue of this out of print cd!! Originally released nearly 8 years ago, this incredible compilation was one of the very first things from a new 'world music' label, head honcho'd by Sun City Girl Alan Bishop. That label, Sublime Frequencies, as most loyal aQ list readers are well aware of by now, went on to quickly become what has to be one of the exciting and varied labels out there, especially amongst world music reissue specialty labels, which often tend toward the very mainstream. This stuff was and is anything but mainstream, dedicated to, according to the label themselves, "acquiring and exposing obscure sights and sounds from modern and traditional urban and rural frontiers". Sublime Frequencies effortlessly slipping on the shoes apparently discarded by such pioneering labels as Smithsonian Folkways, Nonesuch Explorer, et al.
And unlike previous explorers in such unheard music, Sublime Frequencies was, and is, not restricted by academic tradition or commercial purposes. The collections and compilations seem more like mixtapes, lovingly compiled, and born of a true and genuine love of the music. Every one brimming with sounds like we'd never heard before, musics culled from the cracks in the pavement of the culture makers. Through field recordings (many made by Bishop and the rest of the SF crew themselves), collected tapes and records, radio and shortwave broadcasts, Sublime Frequencies consistently manages to utterly transport the listener, capturing all the energy and emotion, the politics and the passion, of other peoples and places, via the sounds and music that are the soundtracks to their lives. And as we mentioned before, none of the artists here would be allowed within 10 miles of a Putamayo AR executive, Sublime Frequencies is the punk rock of field recordings! Or at least was. If anything, they've become the new standard by which other world music upstarts are measured, and they've set the bar pretty damn high. And it all started here.
Here's what we had to say about Folk And Pop Sounds From Sumatra, Volume 1, when we first reviewed it nearly a decade ago, and listening to it again, even now, it still sounds as fresh and exciting as it did thenÉ
Folk And Pop Sounds was assembled from cassettes acquired by Alan Bishop through trade or purchase in 1989 while traveling through Sumatra, which is located on the furthest Western edge of the Indonesian archipelago, and is big (as big as California) and widely unexplored in the audio realm in comparison with its neighboring islands to the East, Java and Bali. The disc begins with the Haba Haba Group in which a male singer is accompanied by flute, two alternating gongs and percussion and secondly by an unknown Sumatran Dangdut (crazy overdriven pop with a heavy Indian film music influence). The most immediately noticeable difference in these recordings from Sumatra to Bali & Java is the overt Arabic influence on the music. The Dangdut track even sounds similar to the music on a Somalian cd, "Jamiila" which we used to sell here years ago before it went out of print. As if to admonish us against generalizations, another later Dangdut track, with runaway Farfisa organ, pleasant arpeggiating electric guitar and female vocals sounds not dissimilar to the "keroncong" music of The Steps cd-r from Java released on Warn Defever's Time Stereo label (another big seller here way back when). While the disc may begin innocently enough, the sequencing of the tracks seduces the listener into the strange world of Sumatran music. The very Arabic sounding "Indan g Pariaman" which features a female singer whose melody line interweaves beautifully with end blown wooden flute and some more incredibly nutty buzzing electric keyboard (one can only imagine that the sound is intended to imitate a double reed instrument of old) is moved along by jovial electric bass and Casio-rhythm. The combination of acoustic and archaic electric instruments is shamelessly wonderful. Later an orchestra of sorts, complete with violin, electric organ, bass, drums, female voice leads us down a fragrant path that's oddly reminiscent of a Sun City Girls track. Speaking of which, though this one technically isn't, there are a couple of tracks on here which indeed are songs covered by the Girls, can you figure out which ones? Along with the songs proper included here, there are some great excerpts from dramas. The first instance begins with sweet flute and what's supposed to be a rooster crowing, but emulated by what sounds like an old air raid siren played through a broken megaphone. A melodramatic dialogue ensues between a terribly afflicted female and a stoic male voice. Needless to say, this one comes highly recommended! And like all Sublime Frequencies vinyl (and cds for that matter), kinda limited...
MPEG Stream: HABA HABA GROUP "Sitogol #1"
MPEG Stream: UNKNOWN "Piso Somalim #1"
MPEG Stream: PIMP RUBIAH "Sri Mersing"

album cover V/A Radio Java (Sublime Frequencies) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We're pretty damn excited by Sun City Girls 33.3 percenter Alan Bishop's new Sublime Frequencies label. "Dedicated to acquiring and exposing obscure sights and sounds from modern and traditional urban and rural frontiers" Sublime Frequencies is slipping on the shoes apparently discarded by such pioneering labels as Smithsonian Folkways, Nonesuch Explorer, et al. Unlike previous explorers in such unheard music, Sublime Frequencies is not restricted by academic or commercial purposes. The latter probably deserves a bit more explanation; for where much of the post-Explorer purveyors of "world music" shamelessly produce an endless slough of slick garbage that sounds like the crap you can hear on any U.S. top 40 radio station merely sung in another language (Christ, if I had a wooden nickel for every fuckin' starry eyed NPR music review extoling the uniqueness of some generic world music outfit that combines electronic music with traditional folk, yadda, yadda, yadda the world's forests would be clear cut by now) the recordings you'll hear presented by Sublime Frequencies come from the cracks in the pavement of the culture makers. Through field recordings (many made by Bishop himself in his travels), radio and shortwave broadcasts, some of the most amazing music and audio you've never heard has been assembled. Balls to fidelity, none of the artists here would be allowed within 10 miles of a Putamayo A+R executive, this is the punk rock of field recordings!

Radio Java is volume 2 in Sublime Frequencies' catalog, and is an absolutely amazing collection of tracks recorded off of stations in Jakarta, Surabaya, Yokyakarta and Bandung in 1989 by Alan Bishop and Manford Cain. Along with some familiar tunes, including a wealth of amazing Jaipongan tracks from West Java (See "West Java: Sundanese Jaipong and Other Popular Music" we listed from the Nonesuch Explorer series). But along with the snippets of Kerongcong (a bizarre amalgam that sounds like lopsided Hawaiian music) and Dangdut (an electrified pop music with ties to Indian film music) there are some insane cuts from radio commercials, enthusiastic DJ's, theater excerpts that are just plain remarkable. The disc is cobbled together in a channel surfing collage that continues to catch you off guard. Just when you've been lulled into teary-eyed submission by some sultry Sundanese singing, you're treated to a noise blast that would make Masami Akita blush. Radio announcers growl with their microphone inputs overloading, and crazy slapback echo that's just uncomprehensible, a cookoo clock rings and is followed by a strange ringing tone that sounds like early FM Synthesis experiments, and all this from one visit. You know there's more good to come soon, and that's a heartening thought in a world that's ever succombing to the blanding effects of U.S. commercial culture. Wonderful!!
MPEG Stream: RADIO JAVA "Radio Jakarta #1"
MPEG Stream: RADIO JAVA "Radio Republik Indonesia"
MPEG Stream: RADIO JAVA "Radio Solo/Bandung"

album cover NAT PWE Burma's Carnival Of Spirit Soul (Sublime Frequencies) dvd 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Like the Jemaa El Fna DVD on Sublime Frequencies, the Nat Pwe DVD also contains no voice over, authoritative or not, to mis-guide you through the festivities. Instead, using the camera in the same way someone might make a field recording in the traditional auditory realm, you are led merely by the camera angles and edits chosen. As a way of background, here's what Sublime Frequencies writes about the event contained here: "In Burma, many people believe in ghost spirits called NATs. These spirits are historical figures who met tragic or violent deaths. They are said to possess the power to assist or devastate the lives of those who recognize them. A PWE is a ceremony held to appease a Nat. Pwes are arranged daily throughout Burma for many purposes including the achievement of success in business, a happy marriage, or improving one's health. A Nat is summoned through a Kadaw; the flamboyent and charismatic master of the Pwe dressed in elegant costume. The Kadaw is a spirit medium, dancer, storyteller, and magician who exposes the crowd to a living incarnation of the Nat brought forth through opening ritual and careful observance of tradition. Many of the Kadaws are male crossdressers performing the role of female Nats and the Nat culture attracts the homosexual, occult, artistically expressive and more outgoing elements of the Burmese population. Cash money is thrown and cigarettes and whiskey are hand delivered by the Kadaw to the willing faithful. Audience participants are often ecstatic, spontaneously launching into trance as the Nat spirit possesses their bodies while the melodically ornamental and thundering sound of the Nat Pwe orchestra plays on as perhaps the last, great unknown musical juggernaut existing anywhere. Each Pwe has its own mood and Nats can dictate a variety of happenings and unpredictable phenomenon. Since the 11th century, there have been 37 officially recognized Nats and every August, in the village of Taungbyon, there is a festival dedicated to two of them. This festival is one of the greatest spectacles on earth. At the peak of the Taungbyon celebration, there are dozens of very intimate venues holding continuous Pwe's for 48 hours without interruption bubbling with excitement and intensity all within the narrow alleys of bamboo shelters amidst a vibe of mysterious, electric charm. What results is the magnetic, unexplainable concoction of conservative tradition, free expression, music, dance, spirit possession, and anomolous synchronicities of Burma's Carnival Of Spirit Soul." Insane stuff. The film begins in the daytime following hundreds of pilgrims as they make their way to the event and ends late into the night after the festivities have reached a zenith of frenzied performance and audience participation. The camera wanders from tent to tent, each one containing a Kadaw, a Nat Pwe Orchestra (a completely crazed percussion ensemble about as removed from Burmese Harp music as you can get) and crammed with people making offerings (mostly pinning money to the Kadaw's head dress and blouse). There's really no way to do it justice in describing this event. If there were ever a comparison in the U.S. it would have to be like a transvestite tent revival held in a New Orleans graveyard with musical accompaniment by the Ruins. Running 85 minutes, I've found this disc also works nicely just as an audio recording. For those of you with a multi-format disc player, it makes a truly cool CD as well. While we forwarn those living overseas that this disc is NTSC, it is also region-free, so if you can handle the format you're in like Flint. Comes with an 8 page booklet of notes and photos.

album cover POP-O-PIES Pop-O-Anthology: 1984-1993 (Pop-O-Pies) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
"Hardcore is a place where upper-middle-class white kids take all the good pan handling spots away from the bums who really need them". So said the irreverent punk rock sage that is Joe Pop-O-Pie in his classic "The Words of Jamal -- The Rainbow Bridge Version". Along with the Butthole Surfers, the Pop-O-Pies were the perfect antidote for punks who were tiring of a stale, formulaic genre and a scene that took itself way too seriously. Started in 1981, the Pop-O-Pies were the brain child of New Jersey raised, 'Frisco' transplant Joe Callahan (A.K.A. Joe Pop-O-Pie). And for those who weren't there for the legendary first two years of its existence, the rumor is true, the Pop-O-Pies really did play only one song: "Truckin'". According to Joe the reason was because the band's lineup changed so often, there really wasn't much time to learn anything more. The end result however, was a band tailor made to piss off punks and hippies (or pseudo-radical youth culture) alike. Joe eventually found a competent, and consistent backing band in the form of none other than Faith No More and recorded the now out of print (and master tapes lost forever, sigh) "White EP" on 415 Records. But that, due to its nonexistent nature, is not the subject of this anthology. The bulk of the material here are the complete Joe's Second (also featuring Faith No More) and Joe's Third Records released in 1984 and 1986 on Subterranean Records -- at the height of punk rock's uber-hip, uber-tough, uber-serious "hardcore" era. If there's one thing that self righteous punks needed at that time, it was a good satirical slap in the face and Joe Pop-O-Pie was there to administer it. And administer he did, replete with well played, overindulgent Hendrix-esque guitar parts market tested to irritate the minimalist punk rock purists. To be fair (to the punks and Joe), that isn't all that the Pop-O-Pies satirize. Joe takes on the music industry ("Industrial Rap"), New York City ("I Love New York"), the Beatles ("I Am the Walrus"), bummed out guys ("Bummed-Out-Guy"), morons ("World-O-Morons"), the Grateful Dead ("Truckin' Slow Version" and "Sugar Magnolia") and much more and all throughout peppered with the unique punk rock salt-of-the-earth wisdom of Joe Pop-O-Pie. Not only does this anthology contain the Second and Third Records in their entirety, but also includes four additional tracks: two from Joe's 1993 comeback "The In Frisco Single" released on Amarillo and two previously unreleased tracks from the same recording session (featuring Mr. Bungle alumni Trey Spruance, Danny Heifetz and Dieselhed bassist Atom Ellis). Included with the disc is a three panel fold out featuring historical notes on the Pop-O-Pies, photos new and old and a brief account of an actual conversation overheard by Robert Mailer Anderson. And what's best is that, buying this, you don't have to worry about the artist getting screwed. Yes, that's right, Joe has come out of hiding himself to put this collection together in 100% true D.I.Y. fashion. So every dollar goes to Joe and not some A&R clown in some office building somewhere.
MPEG Stream: "Truckin' - Slow Version"
MPEG Stream: "The Words of Jamal"

album cover CLARK, CHRIS Empty the Bones of You (Warp) cd 16.98
A fine return for Clark, "Empty the Bones of You" will certainly be a relief to fans who loved Clark's first full-length "Clarence Park" and who were maybe a little disappointed by his interim EP. And no doubt it will win over some new converts as well. The tracks on "Empty" harken to a time, not too long ago, when Aphex Twin and Autechre ruled supreme; smart, playful and yet infinitely musical electronica. Smart and playful, the way Autechre could wrassle up some crunchy rhythms and construct eminently catchy melodies out of fairly unmelodic glitch and buzz, and musical in the way that Richard James' could turn jagged, stuttering freakouts into hooks that would stick in your head forever. Imagine the melodic elements of Boards of Canada or Bola, but with a harder rhythmic edge and a more organic sound palette. Really nice!
MPEG Stream: "Empty the Bones of You"
MPEG Stream: "Umbilical Hut"

album cover QUIN, DOUGLAS Antarctica (Miramax) cd 13.98
Never thought we'd get to stock/list this again, the last time we had it, years ago, the only place we could get 'em from when out of business and we thought this disc was now sadly totally out of print. But then, YAY, we just found a small stash of 'em at another supplier!! So don't miss out on this all-time aQ fave, a highly-recommended staple (when it's been available) of our found-sounds section! Here's our review from way, way back:
If you liked Sounds of North American Frogs or "Insect Noise In Stored Foodstuffs, or Chris Watson's exotic animal recordings, here's another discovery we recently made in the aQ-beloved field-recordings genre.
In a blind test, it would be impossible to tell these Antarctic animal sounds from the most cutting edge experimental electronica that we sell at aQuarius! And according to the liner notes, the recordings found on this disk received no processing aside from being recorded using a "multi-headed array of hydrophones [underwater microphones]" and then mixed down (for great stereo sound). But some of the recordings, most notably the underwater recordings of Weddell seals, really seem like they could be the first installment of some new modern minimal electronic series, as they would fit in nicely next to the likes of Noto and Pan sonic. The underwater seals track features sweeping squeals like a whale song being sped up and slowed down and mixed with Stephen McGreevy's recordings of electromagnetic atmospheric phenomena. It's as if the seals are secret knob-twiddlers in an electronic music studio. In other words, you could have a field day getting your "clicks & cuts" lovin' friends to guess who this "new avant-electronica artist" is! Also included on this cd are several recordings from the surface of the Antarctic continent as well: seal mothers and pups, Emperor and Adele penguins, a six minute track of a shattering & creaking glacier, and the brief but beautiful "Wind Harps From The Taylor Valley". This disc became a 'aQ-fave recommendation' practically the minute we first heard it!! Maybe we're jaded, and have to listen to penguins frolicking to get our musical kicks, but it just seems so amazing. Wait until you hear it! Incredible and so essential.
MPEG Stream: "Wind Harps From The Taylor Valley"
MPEG Stream: "Emperor Penguins"

album cover YONKERS, MICHAEL BAND Microminiature Love (Sub Pop) cd 14.98
Every so often a gem will get dredged up out of the murk of history that is so unlike anything else it can only give us hope for the future of music. An obscure late-sixties rock n' roll visionary, Michael Yonkers' stuff was like nothing anyone had heard back then (or even now, really): fucked up garage psych with dementedly genius lyrics, unhinged vocals and crazy acid-fried guitar. Yonkers, a legendary Minneapolis-area figure, built his own effects pedals, cut his Fender Telecaster down to a plank, and played like no one else ever. It's hard to describe this. It's sort of like a damaged fusion of stripped down Black Sabbath, The Troggs, Pere Ubu, and The Cramps?? Or something like that. When this was unearthed on vinyl last year by the Destijl label, we heard it and freaked out. It became a big favorite 'round here -- Sadie especially was enamored. So we were thrilled to find out that Sub Pop was gonna do a cd version of that now out of print LP, with pretty much a whole 'nother LPs worth of bonus tracks tacked on! Definite Record Of The Week material -- as psychedelic proto-punk goes, if anything it's even more raw, original and insane than that wonderful Simply Saucer reissue we raved about recently. Yonkers recorded these tracks in 1968 and '69 and they've been sitting in the can more-or-less unheard these past 35 years -- "Microminature Love" being shelved by its original label back in '69 we'd assume 'cause it was just so ahead of its time. Listening to it today it sounds not only fresh, but as if it could have been recorded in, say, 1981 or this year as well. Music seems to have grown up around it in its Rip Van Winkle state of hibernation. While part of what makes Michael Yonkers' sound so unique was his obsessive electronic tinkering -- making custom delay, distortion and vibratto units (some of which he successfully manufactured on a commercial level) -- it was also shaped as much by accident. The story goes that during a live performance in an earlier group, Michael's guitar fell to the floor and was knocked into an open tuning. Playing out the rest of the set with this off key tuning, Michael was inspired to pursue this course further, both with his guitar sound and, seemingly, his vocals too! All over "Microminiature Love" he exploits these semi-out-of-tune drones which make his music all the more heavy and wigged out. Imagine the Stooges playing with a water damaged electric sarod, then replace Iggy with Jello Biafra pitched down a minor third and you get an idea of the beginnings of the Michael Yonkers Band. While some may find Michael's singing a bit hard to get used to at first, its well worth giving him a couple listens because I can guarantee it'll grow on you. This edition comes nicely packaged with photos courtesy of Mr. Yonkers, nice liner notes from AQ-pal Karl Ikola, and the six aforementioned cd-only bonus tracks recorded in 1969, that only further cement our admiration of Yonkers as a brilliant "outsider artist" of '60s garage rock. Not like the Shaggs, though -- this is killer rock n' roll, make no mistake.
MPEG Stream: "Microminiature Love"
MPEG Stream: "Kill The Enemy"
MPEG Stream: "Hush Hush"

album cover DENGUE FEVER s/t (Web Of Mimicry) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Is it just me or would more rock bands be better served by either a) becoming an instrumental band, or c) singing in another language other than English? Certainly part of this wish is born out of a desire to be spared the painfully bad lyrics often penned by would-be poets, but also because it's often so much nicer to hear singing for singing's sake, and to hear the wonderful inflections of vowels and consonants as they're treated through the mouth of a completely different vocal tradition. I always imagined that had Sonic Youth employed a Vietnamese singer they'd have been my favorite band -- at least for the first several years of their career. And I'm sure that one of the main reasons people, myself included, love the Cambodian Rocks compilation (and alternately why the mainstream public probably don't) is due to the vocals. Yeah, it's some great stripped down garage rock. But what puts that album over the top are the vocals. So it was pretty exciting to hear that a group had formed in honor of that venerable collection of Cambodian garage classics. While the instrumental backbone of Dengue Fever is truly an all-star cast of musicians, including Senon Williams of the Radar Brothers on bass, Zac Holtzman of Dieselhed on guitar, David Rallick of Beck on saxophone, Ethan Holtzman on farfisa and Paul Smith on drums, without their vocalist Chhom Nimol they'd really be a rocket without fuel. Nimol, the princess, is the real star of the show. Born and raised in Cambodia, Nimol was a pop star there before emigrating to Orange County several years ago. To give you an idea of her status back home, Nimol regularly performed for the king and queen of Cambodia. That's right, the king & queen! And now she's essentially slumming it with a bunch of indie rockers. But the pairing couldn't be better, and I highly recommend that the next time the group is even remotely near your town that you go see them play, because you won't regret it. Until that day comes, you'll get a very good consolation prize in Dengue Fever's new studio recording released on Trey Spruance's (Mr. Bungle) Web of Mimicry label. While the group began by simply covering the Cambodian Rocks album wholesale, their repertoire has grown to include several originals -- included here -- and a cover of Mulatu Astatke's "Yegelle Tezeta" (from Ethiopiques Volume 4), which blends quite nicely with the Cambodian pop material. And what the group may lack in the raw spontaneity of those original tapes, they make up in spades with full arrangements and sensuous fidelity. Nimol's beautiful voice comes out wonderfully prisitine so that you can hear every minute inflection, and it's a voice so beautiful you won't need to see her to fall instantly in love. Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "22 Nights"
MPEG Stream: "New Year's Eve"

album cover V/A Nice Up The Dance: Two Worlds Clash (Soul Jazz) cd 21.00
Last list one of our 'Records-of-the-Week' was the awesome "Wild Dub" compilation of punk-era dubs. This week, we've got another culture clash -- though, like "Wild Dub", it's less a clash than a perfect match -- with this mix of reggae meets hip hop mixes.
Not to be confused with Heartbeat's venerable compilation of disco-mixes which bears the same title, Soul Jazz's "Nice Up The Dance" is no less of a great collection. While the earlier genres of Jamaican music have drawn inspiration from the States in varying degrees since the 1950's, it's only recently that tables have turned and artists from the U.S. have begun importing ideas from Jamaica -- so much so that rap and dancehall are practically joined at the hip. Dancehall artists are not only cameo-ing on albums by prominent rap artists, but even getting some major label attention of their own. Along comes Soul Jazz to bridge the not-so-wide gap between hip hop and dancehall. On the one hand you have Jamaican artists here like Sean Paul, who has apparently been enjoying some MTV and major label attention right now. His 1996 track "Infiltrate", which has some sick sub-harmonic bass for those of you with subwoofers (the "Playground" riddim), is included here. And on the other you have American artists like J-Live with his track "Satisfied" which pays homage to Jamaican music by using Augustus Pablo's "East of the River Nile" as its foundation, and NY producer Kenny Dope with his trunk rattling dancehall/hip hop crossover classics "Boomin' In Ya Jeep" (featuring Screechy Dan) and "Gunshot" (featuring Shaggy). The best thing about this collection is that it's not some academic attempt to point out the missing links between hip hop and dancehall, but -- like Soul Jazz already has demonstrated time and again -- to collect some of the best tracks into a mix that will stay in your system this summer. This is going to be the album to blast at your next bar-b-q, or in your car on the way to the beach/park/club through the coming hot months (for those of you who are blessed with warm summers). Along with the aforementioned tracks is Cutty Ranks' kick ass come back tune "Who Say Me Done", a fucking wicked Tuva-drone toast from Pompidoo aptly titled "Synthesizer Voice", Steelie and Cleevie's electro-bass remix of Dawn Penn's "No, No, No" (admit it purists, this mix grows on you), another mix of the ever so popular "Ring The Alarm" by Tenor Saw and more. But the absolute bestest, most kick-assessed track on the album is Ward 21's gut pounding, steamroller of a bassline "Petrol" (from 2002 -- no it's not on the Mentally Disturbed album) which features tag team vocals from both the growling baritone and the 200-words-per-minute auctioneer cum toaster. And for those of you that can't live without it, there are some nice liner notes tracing the paths of Jamaican and American music here for you. Highly recommended!!!
MPEG Stream: KENNY DOPE "Boomin' In Ya Jeep"
MPEG Stream: WARD 21 "Petrol"

album cover NEW PORNOGRAPHERS Electric Version (Matador / Mint) cd 10.98
The LONG anticipated return of the undisputed gods of pop in the new millennium. Yes, it's here! The newest from the New Pornographers and, needless to say, it does not disappoint. From the very get go with the title track we have almost a reprise of "Letter From An Occupant" with its knee twitching, hip shaking energy and bouncing keyboard line. Carl Newman, Neko Case, et al continue to demonstrate not only superior song writing abilities but a sense of effortless and unpretentious musicianship which is perhaps most evident in their continued brilliant harmony vocals (to say nothing of the interplay between Neko and Carl's lead vocal lines throughout the album). And what's that? No, it may sound like "Year of the Cat" man Al Stewart, but it's actually Destroyer frontman Dan Bejar, returning to the group as a "secret member" on 3 tracks. There's something about the way that the New Pornographers are able to consistently tap into the seventies and early eighties radio pop continuum of ELO, Sparks, Cheap Trick, fatten up the harmonies, and then filter it all through a Rainer Maria style emo ethic -- and make it kick ass! And while admittedly this album might take a little longer for it to seep in than did Mass Romantic, it's worth the repeated listens cuz if this is bubblegum pop, it's the kind that gets more flavor the more you chew. And those of us who had 'issues' with the sound (not the songs) on the first album, finding it to be a little brittle with a bit of a brutal high end, will be quite pleased with the much warmer, dreamier sound. Pop record of the year wethinks.
MPEG Stream: "The Electric Version"
MPEG Stream: "All For Swinging You Around"
MPEG Stream: "The New Face of Zero and One"

album cover MEKURYA, GETATCHEW Ethiopiques Vol. 14 : (The Negus of Ethiopian Sax) (Buda Musique) cd 15.98
I'm sure that, by now, we're way passed that point that divides the completists with those that are content with two or three volumes of this series. And yet, though speaking partially from a completist's viewpoint, volume 14 might be one that anyone who's enjoyed previous Ethiopiques releases to take note of. Volume 14 is a re-release of a 1970 Philips Ethiopia recording of GŽtatchw Mkurya. Mkurya, a saxophonist, is apparently considered the Albert Ayler of Ethiopia. But before y'all non-free jazz aficionados get scared off by thoughts of atonal scree, you can rest assured that there's not a lick of that here. Probably what was most likely intended by such a comparison was either Ayler's propensity for using folk melodies in his works, or maybe even... marches. The cornerstone of Mkurya's style is derived from a strictly vocal style associated with war known as "shellela". Apparently Mkurya got the idea of transcribing this singing style to saxophone. Brash and insistent as it is, it's really nothing like even the tamest "sheets of sound" from Coltrane's pre-free jazz days. Entirely instrumental, the music of GŽtatchw Mkurya is, while familiar in the scope of Ethiopian music we've come to know and love, also much different than all that's preceded it. It probably most resembles Ethiopiques Volume Four in respect to their both lacking in vocals, but there the similarities stop. The band is stripped down to organ, guitar, bass and drums and accompaniment usually consists of a steady, uptempo ostinato over which Mkurya then plays his rapid and rococo melodic improvisations (often alternating with the squealing farfisa-like organ). Also included as a bonus track for this CD issue is a late fifties rarity from Mkurya. Yet again, we highly recommend this newest Ethiopiques release for both sometimes fans and -- it goes without saying I suppose -- completists as well.
MPEG Stream: "Yegenet Muziqa"
MPEG Stream: "Shellela"

FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND Satori (Warner Japan) cd 23.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This is one of those albums that's neither new, nor even a recent reissue, but that we here at Aquarius decided, heck, let's list, it deserves it! (While this disc already appears on our website, it was never actually *listed* in any of our newsletters.) So while many might already know this album backwards and forwards, it has most certainly slipped through the cracks for too many others out there. Being a Japan-only import can't help. Allan wisely reordered some copies recently (when a customer special ordered it for themselves on-line) and Byram, unwittingly playing it in the store, found himself getting progressively more obsessed with the album (and the band)! It wasn't long before Jim and Marcy were also finding themselves hooked. Now almost any day you come into the store, you'll hear the Flower Travellin' Band blaring.
This is an album (and a band) that are not celebrated nearly enough -- possibly out of misguided notions of their being another bad psych knock-off among the many crowding the record racks in the early seventies. But Japan's Flower Travellin' Band were no mere cheesy imitators of occidental rock 'n roll, they were in actual fact a full-fledged, pioneering tour de force of psychedelic progressive hard rock, equalling the krautrock heavies of the era. FTB can be compared favorably to Amon Duul's better efforts with their experimental meandering (think Yeti), and the best trancey spaceouts from Can. Yet there's never a sense that FTB lose track of their compositions no matter how far out they take a track. Perhaps because even more than these experimental Krautrockers, FTB's heavy (fucking ominously heavy) sound points to a major Sabbath, Purple, and Crimson influence. Released in 1971, Satori is the band's second and arguably best album. From the first screech/howl at the beginning of track one -- "Satori Part I" (the tracks on the album are all "Satori", parts I-V) -- from vocalist Joe, who inhabits a zone somewhere between Can's Damo Suzuki and Deep Purple's Ian Gillan, the album gets straight down to business. Joe's scream is followed by a foreboding bass, guitar and drum dirge that's straight up collision between Cream and Black Sabbath in which no one survives. It's got so much more teeth than either, it's not even funny, predating punk by a good many years. "Satori Part II" however is quintessential FTB Over a pounding tribal drumbeat, alternating between a buzzing sitar-esque guitar drone and a melody line that curls ripples and lilts like a plume of burning incense smoke, guitarist Hideki Ishima lays out one of the creepiest, coolest guitar leads ever. If that ain't enough, vocalist Joe's singing is like that of Axl Rose being channelled by the Sun City Girls! Even if the rest of the album were total shit -- which it ain't -- the cost of this cd would still be well worth it for this song alone! "Part III" -- an instrumental -- picks up where II leaves off but slows the tempo down to a deathly pace, which makes it even heavier. This is the Sabbath influence on FTB writ large. Replete with an improv freakout before returning to the original riff and building into a frenzied crescendo. Needless to say, if you weren't bobbing your head at the beginning of the song, you will be by its end. "Part IV" could be considered FTB's "blues" number, with Joe picking up the harmonica instead of singing. But instead of churning out the expected twelve bar formula, FTB truncate the form and construct a minimalist jam around a short riff instead. "Part V" shows yet another facet of FTB's seemingly infinite potential with Hideki (?) playing some kick ass, spooky koto-like guitar overdubbed on top of some heavy psych. Damn! They could have done ten fucking albums around this schtick alone and probably never lost our interest... sigh... but this (and the other two that are also available, look for reviews in future) will have to suffice for now. Absolutely, fucking recommended!!!!
MPEG Stream: "Satori Part II"
MPEG Stream: "Satori Part III"

album cover V/A Java: Court Gamelan, Volume II (Nonesuch) cd 12.98
Originally released in 1977, the second volume of the (hopefully eventual) tetrad of Javanese Court Gamelan features music from the lesser of the two courts at Surakarta: the Mangkunegaran. Which is not to say that the court, or its musicians and dancers, lacked prestige. Of the two gamelan heard on this recording, one is not only considered to be the most beautiful in all of Java, but resides in the largest pendopo (pavilion in which gamelan is performed) on the island. While all gamelan are treated with the respect given a prince, the older of the two gamelan here Kyai Kanyut Mesem ("Sir Swept Away by a Smile") is exceptionally sacred (so sacred is one instrument that it is never even played). The music here is the height of refined Javanese court gamelan and the two long pieces which make up the meat of this disc are each stunning in their own ways. The 21 minute Gending Bonang Babar Layar is a piece often played to welcome important guests and on that is intended to set a "mood of distinguished silence" as much as "power and authority". Played entirely with what are generally the louder instruments and completely devoid of vocals, Babar Layar exudes an eerie austerity that is breath taking. The almost evil sounding main melody is slowly condensed and increases steadily in volume until the final section of the piece in which the pounding, heavy bronze melody instruments are brought into an elliptical, concentrated -- for lack of a better word -- summarization of what had been so delicately building up. For me (Byram), it's one of those songs that never fails to give me goose bumps. Unfortunately, space limitations prevent us from sampling enough to really do justice to the intensity of the suite as it progressively builds over its twenty minute duration. The other showcase on this disc is "Gending Ela-Ela Kalibeber" which takes the opposite approach sonically, with the softer instruments and vocals taking center stage and rendering the main melody almost inaudible. Also included are two shorter pieces, "Ketawang Puspawarna" and "Ayak-ayakan Kaloran". Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Gending Babar Layar [excerpt 1]"
MPEG Stream: "Gending Babar Layar [excerpt 2]"
MPEG Stream: "Gending Ela-ela Kalibeber"

album cover V/A Ethiopiques Vol. 13 : Ethiopian Groove (Buda Musique) cd 15.98
While not as famous as Amha Eshete (Amha Records), Ali Abdella Kaifa and his Kaifa records was still a heavyweight in Ethiopia's golden age of record production. Kaifa essentially took up the slack from Eshete when the latter went into exile in 1975 due to the country's increasingly hostile military government. Entering the music business in 1973 with the release of the first 45s on his label, Kaifa didn't just materialize in Eshete's absence. But it was the release of Mahmoud Ahmed's legendary "Ere Mela Mela" -- the album that would become the first Ethiopian recording to be released in Europe -- that really put Kaifa on the map. He was also the one who discovered Aster Aweke (who later fled Ethiopia to build a successful career as a world beat artist in the late eighties.) All but two tracks in this collection were recorded between 1976 and 1977 at the tail end of of Ethiopia's record industry, which was squashed in 1978 (at which point Kaifa continued to produce music on cassettes.) Along with the usual collection of male vocalists (Alemayehu Eshete, Hirut Bekele, Ayalew Mesfin and Tamrat Ferendji) there are four tracks featuring female vocalists (unfortunately underrepresented in this series) Bzunesh Beqele and the duo of Asselefetch Ashine & Getenesh Kebret. Ashine & Kebret must be heard to be believed, their unearthly parallel harmonies sharing the limelight wonderfully with the Army Band's flautist and arranger Teshome Sissay.
Longtime readers of AQ's list might have caught notice of this volume's title "Ethiopian Groove", as we had once stocked an album of the same name many years ago (see AQL #42). Indeed this album is the very same as the now out of print one on Blue Silver (in fact Ethiopiques series editor Francis Falceto was the one who compiled the earlier release), but with a few differences. While Ethiopiques #13 is unfortunately missing three of the Aster Aweke tracks that graced the original Ethiopian Groove CD, it is supplemented by the addition of two tracks by saxophonist Seyoum Gebreyes, two by vocalist Muleqen Mellesse and greatly expanded liner notes & photos. We can only hope that Buda Musique is intending to issue an entire CD dedicated to Aster Aweke and her earliest recordings for Kaifa. Until then, those of you with the original Ethiopian Groove should hold onto it.
RealAudio clip: MULUQEN MELLESSE & DAHLAK BAND "Djemeregne"
RealAudio clip: ASSELEFETCH ASHINE & GETENESH KEBRET & ARMY BAND "Metche New"

album cover FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND Made In Japan ( Phoenix) cd 17.98
Japanese psych fiends rejoice! 'Bout time Flower Travellin' Band's ironically titled Made In Japan (ironic 'cause it was recorded in Canada) was available again, now via the Phoenix label, who have also done FTB's Satori, and more recently, Make Up (chronologically, the original release of this falls in between those two). We used to have an expensive Japanese import, years ago, and this is more or less what we said about it then:
Flower Travellin' Band mania has gripped us here at AQ. After the success of our review of the reissues of their masterpiece Satori and their debut Anywhere, we feel we ought to keep going through the catalog of this stellar '70s Japanese heavy psych rock outfit. Those who couldn't get enough of FTB's Satori will be pleased to know that their follow-up, third release Made In Japan from 1972 is nearly every bit as good. Singer Joe's voice still rings in the creepy falsetto style like Alan Bishop of the Sun City Girls singing balls out heavy metal vocals. As with their previous album, Made In Japan continues to fuse the heavy rock of early (contemporary, to them) Black Sabbath with Eastern melodies. I guess they decided after their perfect rendition of "Black Sabbath" on their first record, that such was their calling. Then again, "Heaven And Hell" (not the Sabbath song, that would have required precognition!) the penultimate track here, is as pure a channeling of Jimi Hendrix as anything. The mellow closing track "That's All", with its koto glissandi, parallels "Part V" on Satori and like that track, it's perhaps the most overtly Eastern in tone. But it's Joe's vocal line that really kicks ass. At the end of the chorus he adds a little cadenza to his howl, extending the vocal line just beyond where one's intuitively expecting a cadence. It works so fucking well, makes us stop whatever we're doing to listen, that we wonder why more song writers don't pull that shit more often.
Oh, and you gotta love the brief intro track on this album, a radio spot for a stadium concert in Toronto circa '72 that featured Flower Travellin' Band appearing alongside the likes of ELP and Bob Seger! Wow.
MPEG Stream: "Kamikaze"
MPEG Stream: "Hiroshima"
MPEG Stream: "That's All"

album cover V/A American Song-Poem Anthology, The: Do You Know the Difference Between Big Wood And Brush (Bar/None) cd 16.98
Finally, a song-poem collection that might have a chance of staying in print for more than a month. And finally, a collection that -- while by no means definitive -- collects the best of all those that came before it: Beat of The Traps, Makers of Smooth Music, Human Breakdown of Absurdity, I'm Just the Other Woman and I Died Today. For those who missed out on these wonderful and screwed up collections, song-poems were vanity recordings (from the sixties and seventies) where any schmo with the dough could send in their original poems/lyrics and have them made into SONGS! Small advertisements in the back of music and entertainment magazines urged would-be songwriters that the music industry was in dire need of their inspired lyrics. For anywhere between $75 and $400, one could have their words set to music (all genres were covered) by professional studio musicians. Meanwhile, back at the recording studio, said musicians had to busy themselves on an economy of scale in order to make the venture profitable. Lyrics were given a cursory look, and snap judgements were made concerning tempo, meter, key, chords and melody. Apparently the musicians had but one take to get the song, and if a mistake was made it was just as likely to be left in. Considering what these musicians were up against, it's really impressive what they came up with -- quickly fitting awkwardly (to put it nicely and terribly, to be more accurate) written lyrics into a reasonable meter and still come up with some cool arrangements to boot. Since the companies recording the songs of these terrible lyricists were only concerned with the bottom line (i.e. getting paid), anything could happen. John Trubee's legendary "Blind Man's Penis" is a case in point. And while his words of wisdom were penned in jest, the other 27 tracks included with it on this disc were not. Written in all earnestness, subjects ranging from Richard Nixon to Jimmy Carter, duck eggs to Argentinian cowboys to green fingernails, these tracks are weirder and even funnier than Trubee's track. These singles have been the dreams of collectors for years and until the difficult to track down MSR collections came out several years back, to the rest us they were the stuff of legend. For those of you who have already picked up those MSR collections this one may be a bit redundant, but for all the rest this is certainly the best collection of song-poems to come on one disc. Highly recommended, and sure to be a hit when the upcoming PBS documentary on the Song-Poem industry airs! One wonders what the original "poets" would think of the unexpected popularity of their songs? Probably the person who wrote "Jimmy Carter Says Yes" was sure it would be a hit all along...
RealAudio clip: MARSHALL, GENE "Jimmy Carter Says "Yes""
RealAudio clip: JOY, BILL "How Long Are You Staying"
RealAudio clip: STEWART, CARA "Song of the Burmese Land"
RealAudio clip: KEARNEY, RAMSEY "Blind Man's Penis (Peace And Love)"

album cover V/A West Java: Sundanese Jaipong and Other Popular Music (Nonesuch) cd 12.98
We just got the first batch of the Indonesia / South Pacific installment of Nonesuch's Explorer reissues, which total 12 in number. Ten of the discs are from either Java or Bali and just about each one features an entirely different form of gamelan. A Gamelan, as a cursory way of introduction, is an orchestra of primarily bronze (though bamboo gamelan are also common) percussion instruments -- metallophones, gongs, gong-chimes -- and drums. Quite often a gamelan will have a specific repertoire that it is exclusively built for the performance of, and certain ceremonial gamelan are limited to the performance of a single piece. On top of this, throughout Java and Bali there is an ever changing world of both village and court traditions which continue to defy definitions. These discs just in from Bali and Central & Western Java just scratch the surface of gamelan throughout Indonesia, but they're a fine introduction anyway.
Jaipongan and the other styles included on this disc are quite possibly some of the most interesting forms of popular music to develop in Indonesia or the world in recent times. Sunda (not to be confused by the geographically dyslexic with the Sudan) lies in Western Java and, as it seems holds true throughout Indonesia, has its own unique music, dance and dramatic arts exclusive to the relatively small geographic region in which it's contained. The story of Jaipongan's creation is almost as interesting as the music itself. And while it is thoroughly written about in the accompanying liner notes by none other than Philip Yampolsky (the man what brought us the 20 volume "Music of Indonesia" series on Smithsonian Folkways), I'll try to paraphrase as briefly as possible to pique your interest here.
As a catalyst for the creation of Jaipongan, a great deal is owed to Indonesian President Sukarno who, in the early 1960's, impressed upon Indonesians to cherish their traditional arts. In 1974, an inspired rennaissance man of an artist/entrepreneur by the name of Gugum Gumbira Tirasondajaja took Sukarno up on his challenge and put together a new genre of popular music that drew from traditional Sundanese music for its ingredients. What Sukarno probably wasn't looking for was a new popular genre built out of a dance genre in which a professional dancer -- often a prostitute -- invites men to dance with her. Gugum replaced the dance's accompaniment (limited to 3 small gongs) with a stripped down Degung gamelan common to Sunda. But most impressive was his addition to all this an impressive battery of drums played in a suitably flamboyant fashion -- much of the patterns taken from Wayang Golek (shadowless puppet theater which uses 3 dimensional puppets.) When you consider that the drummer in this ensemble, despite the expanded drums at his disposal, is still limited to a handful of two-headed barrel drums, it's enough to make Neil Peart blush at the way he plays them. Using pressure applied by the heel of the foot, or the forearm, the drummer can eke out glissandi or melodic fragments -- and they do so constantly. The ensemble wouldn't be complete, of course, without a singer. And the singer for this ensemble -- Gugum's Jugala Group -- is Idjah Hadidjah, probably the most famous in Sunda. Married to a famous dalang (puppeteer), she became somewhat famous herself singing during his Wayang Golek performances. Her silky and sensuous singing makes the perfect counterpoint to the frenetic drumming and is probably the single biggest reason why this album sold so well. Which reminds me... A lot of you have already probably noticed the nice new cover art these Explorer reissues are getting. As nice as the cover art is, it has already caused a little confusion here at Aquarius with customers who already own the previous CD issues of the discs in the Indonesian part of the series. This album, originally released under Idjah Hadidjah's name as "Tonggeret", was only just fairly recently released for the first time in the west in 1987. So just a warning to check your collections and make sure you don't have "Tonggeret" in there already. Unless, of course, you want this nicely remastered version with the cool Magnum cover photo.
RealAudio clip: HADIDJAH, IDJAH "Bayu-Bayu"
RealAudio clip: HADIDJAH, IDJAH "Daun Pulus Keser Bojong"

album cover SHAW, VIRGIL Still Falling (Future Farmer) cd 13.98
Ex-Dieselhed frontman and perennial Aquarius favorite Virgil Shaw returns at last with a new collection of songs. Virgil's songwriting is at the top of its form; painting vivid pictures, recollecting grainy memories, faded epics and otherwise expressing the most heart rending lyrics he's ever written. The melodic hooks are so kindly and accessible without deepening into sappiness -- a difficult feat to pull off but with Virg it seems effortless. In terms of musical accompaniment, Still Falling is perhaps the most lush and varied in its arrangements with horns, organs, pianos, oodles of percussion and even -- for a couple seconds between two tracks -- the remnants of the dixieland jazz band from the recycled tape that they used to record the album on. Along with regular Shaw cohorts Danny Heifetz and Atom Ellis (also ex-Dieselhed), Virgil is joined by a cadre of musicians including American Music Club's Mark Eitzel (who sings vocals on a couple tracks), percussionist Willie Winant and regular salts Marc Capelle (playing just about every keyboard invented to within an inch of its life), Jeff Palmer, Matt Hall and more. Eight new originals, a Terry Allen cover ("Wilderness of This World") and a version of Merle Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home".
Those who've been long time fans of Dieselhed are acutely aware of the limitations that the recording studio had in capturing the Dieselhed everyone knew and loved as a fantastic live band. The same, fortunately, does not apply to what Virgil has been doing since Dieselhed decided to call it quits. In fact, if anything, this newest album from Shaw and his back up band The Killer Views is closer to capturing the spirit of what Dieselhed was -- at least during their ballads -- than ever before. This is probably due in part to the presence of the above mentioned Dieselhed alumni. So nice!
RealAudio clip: "The Drawing"
RealAudio clip: "Clock On the Wall"
RealAudio clip: "Still Falling"

album cover TREE, CHRISTOPHER Spontaneous Sound (Quakebasket) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
From hidden in some dusty vault (we imagine) for lo these past thirty years, Quakebasket -- the label reponsible for that great ongoing series of archival Angus Maclise vinyl-only documents -- has exhumed this beautiful recording by another sixties era musical mystic, the mysterious multi-instrumentalist Christopher Tree. Unfamiliar with Tree until now, we're quite grateful this has finally been released. Recorded live back in 1970 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, "Spontaneous Sound" features the long-haired, bearded Tree as a one-man improvising orchestra, utilizing gongs, cymbals, chant, chimes, bells, tympanis, horns, and some other rather more unusual instruments designed for him by none other than the legendary Harry Bertoia. Apparently, Tree played for children, although this is hardly kids stuff (unfortunately there's no liner notes, but there is a charming children's drawing of Tree and his instruments in action). Tree's music evokes a higher-mind, darkly cosmic spirituality of sound similar to that of AQ-fave '70s Japanese psychedelic experimentalists the Taj Mahal Travellers. We're also reminded of the excellent recent "Solaris" disc by contemporary sonic drone artists Mirror, and of other work from the Andrew Chalk/Christoph Heemann/Jonathan Coleclough/Colin Potter/etc. axis. The cd (or lp) package's rather wonderful photos of Tree surrounded by his battery of instruments -- which fill the stage -- might lead you to expect some sort of percussion frenzy, but that's far from the case. No, this is calm and contemplative, yet powerful. Almost magically, Tree conjures an ancient, droning soundworld of gently melodic, drifting woodwinds, oceanic cymbal washes, and deep gong reverberations...really fantastic. Imagine a more intimate, softer side to Hermann Nitsch's droneworks, equally medieval but not so malevolent. And, to top it off, the guy's name is Tree! We're in love.
RealAudio clip: "Spontaneous Sound excerpt 1"
RealAudio clip: "Spontaneous Sound excerpt 2"

album cover FLYNT, HENRY Back Porch Hillbilly Blues Volume 1 (Locust) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Even packaged to look strikingly similar to an old Folkways LP release, this pair of Flynt releases on Locust sure do fit the "Hillbilly Blues" label more than any other release we've heard yet from him. And what's more, they're fucking great! No, you won't find any pseudo-ragas on either of these discs. This is wild and relentless, drone-y and hypnotic, sonically overwhelming neverending foot stomping, finger picked blues work outs. But as one might expect the workouts are static, shifting minutely and almost imperceptably if at all. Like a redneck hillbilly Terry Riley or La Monte Young.
The tracks on volume one go a little like this:
Track 1: Three and a half minutes of solo electric blues guitar, thankfully stripped of that awful standard blues chord progression.
Track 2: a short two and a half minute blast of nasal auctioneer style vocals, over a primitive country electric guitar riff.
Track 3: A massive twelve minutes of retarded toe tapping, to a hillbilly pizzicato on the fiddle that develops into increasingly manic sawing on just three notes.
Track 4: A gorgeous chunk of primitve, droney minimal blues, with humming vocals clocking in at a whopping 16 minutes.
RealAudio clip: "The Snake"
RealAudio clip: "Blue Sky, Highway And Tyme"

album cover FLYNT, HENRY Back Porch Hillbilly Blues Volume 2 (Locust) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Even packaged to look strikingly similar to an old Folkways LP release, this pair of Flynt releases on Locust sure do fit the "Hillbilly Blues" label more than any other release we've heard yet from him. And what's more, they're fucking great! No, you won't find any pseudo-ragas on either of these discs. This is wild and relentless, drone-y and hypnotic, sonically overwhelming neverending foot stomping, finger picked blues work outs. But as one might expect the workouts are static, shifting minutely and almost imperceptably if at all. Like a redneck hillbilly Terry Riley or La Monte Young.

The tracks on volume two go a little like this:
Track 1: Five minutes of minimal amplified fiddle with lots of echo/delay, like music for some sort of space rodeo.
Track 2: 13 minutes of what sounds like a similar version of the first track, although this time without the echo/delay and a little more sawing on the higher notes of the fiddle.
Track 3: very traditional sounding blues progression on the fiddle, but stretched out a little. Definitely the easiest listening on either disc.
Track 4: Ten minutes long. Revisits the melodies of track two, but the sawing is more feverish and the sound is more thick and much less minimal. Eventually mutates into a super saturated, head nodding, blissed out transcendental hoedown!
RealAudio clip: "Echo Rock"
RealAudio clip: "Jamboree"

album cover ORCHESTRA BAOBAB N'Wolof (Dakar Sound) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Seeing as how Orchestra Baobab had just released a brand new album, we thought we'd pick up their first album (recorded between 1970 & 1971) for kicks and it's so damn good we've decided we ought to just list it. Orchestra Baobab's namesake is derived from the club (its interior decorated like the trunk of a gigantic baobab tree) where the group backed up a fluid collection of vocalists who would sing for drink and cash. Unlike the group's later recordings, the tracks on N'Wolof have a much more subtle Latin influence with the exception of a few numbers (the vocal chorus for "Cheri Takama" sounding a great deal like "La Bamba".) At times, during the longer, contemplative numbers, they sound strikingly like Mali's Rail Band (itself the house band at a Bamako hotel) during this same period. Which should probably not come as much of a surprize considering Mali shares Senegal's Eastern border. It's these longer tracks -- some 7 and 8 minutes -- where Orchestra Baobab really shines; the vocals dropping out, leaving rhythm guitar, bass & drums to play unbelievably sensuous back up for laid back sax and guitar solos. And it's the guitar solos (by the amazing Barthelemy Attiso, who still plays with the group) that are truly *gorgeous*. It's that unmistakable African pop electric guitar sound: hollow body electric guitar with lots of reverb & tremolo. But then, on top of that, there's these insane psychedelic, fuzzed out solos with heaps of echo that fairly raises the hairs on your skin. It's almost painful when these tracks end, and you're awoken from your opiate like reverie. And it was all recorded live (sans audience I'm pretty sure) at the Club Baobab. The surviving tapes and albums -- originally released on the club's own Bao label -- are in varying states of decay -- you can distinctly hear some tape drop out more than once (but I personally love that such analog anomolies will forever survive in the digital realm.) But fidelity schmidelity, this album is absolutely fucking essential!
RealAudio clip: "N'Diaye"
RealAudio clip: "Aduna Jarul Naawo"
RealAudio clip: "Lat Dior"

album cover CUDAMANI The Seven-Tone Gamelan Orchestra From The Village Of Pengosekan, Bali (Vital Records) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Back in stock, just in time to coincide with a US tour!! Here's what we had to say about the disc the first time we had it:
This release is actually quite exciting in that Gamelan Cudamani represents yet another revolutionary step in the ever changing state of gamelan in Bali. Ironically, it is the very thing that makes this gamelan (and others like it that are being built throughout Bali) new and revolutionary is also the thing that is connecting Balinese gamelan with its past. What makes Cudamani so special is the addition of a mere two pitches to its scale. In truth, those pitches are not a new thing, but contemporary gamelan in Bali since the 1920s have been built with only five (some, a bit less common forms, with only 4.) When the Balinese court dissipated at the turn of the 20th century and many gamelan melted down into modern sets, the repertoire disappeared as well. Lost with those two pitches were the various pentatonic subsets that were capable of being played only on a gamelan with all 7 pitches. I guess you could look at it as if you took all the black keys off your piano, which would severely limit your choice of keys in which you could play. With the music of the Balinese court however, different modes had very different and very strong associations to particular moods. So while all seven tones are rarely used within any given section -- or even composition -- the addition of those two notes opens up the possibilities for playing a huge repertoire of music and creating vast new ones. While this new (re)development has brought the present in closer connection with the past, it has also enabled an unprecedented level of innovation. On the first two pieces of this disc -- both composed by one of Cudamani's founding members -- all seven tones are used, with melodies being immediately recast in other modes and even played on top of one another in a bizarre sort of harmony. Another track included on this collection is a recording of the seminal kebyar piece Teruna Jaya -- as if to bring things full circle once more -- performed as it had originally been performed, including rarely heard sections that are not oft performed anymore. If the instruments and repertoire of Cudamani isn't impressive enough, the family centered group that performs on it is equally so. Though a private organization, the Cudamani is decidedly non-commercial and performs primarily for temple ceremonies and religious festivals. In addition, the Cudamani provides education in performance and dance for youth and adults alike. Cudamani is actually comprised of several performance groups, including the original founding members, there's an all female ensemble and several children's ensembles. The history of the group and very detailed descriptions of the gamelan and the music are included on 15 pages of liner notes.
MPEG Stream: "Geregel"
MPEG Stream: "Legong Candra Kanta"

album cover V/A DJ Drank's Greatest Malt Liquor Hits cd-r 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
VERY LIMITED. And we think the blurb on the back of the cd says it best, so we'll just quote it:
Before the appropriately named Alkaholiks DJ/producer E-Swift hooked up with King Tee and DJ Pooh to work on a series of 60-second St. Ides TV and radio commercial spots that they had been commissioned to do: complete with a budget that allowed them to bring in some of the best emcees of the day. These rap commercials were really really good (they sound better than most commercial rap crap today!) and were so immensely popular at the time (early 90's when commercial radio didn't play nearly as much rap as today, esp. West Coast artists) that they resulted in listeners jamming radio station request lines at stations like Wild 107, San Francisco just to hear Cube or the Geto Boys rap about their favorite high-octane malt liquor. Not surprisingly with lyrics like Cube's "Get your girl in the mood quicker, get your jimmy thicker, with St. Ides malt liquor," it wasn't long before controversy soon overshadowed the advertising campaign. Outraged protests followed particularly in African-American and Hispanic communities where malt-liquor billboards and posters were defaced. Additionally the St. Ides commercials were publicly criticized by the U.S. Surgeon General and the New York State Consumer Protection Commission and drew fines from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, as well as the New York State Attorney General's Office. Additionally Korean grocers boycotted St. Ides, but for a different reason, for their use of Ice Cube as their spokesperson. Their protest was based on Cube's derogatory lyrical comments about Koreans in his album "Death Certificate." (Note: McKenzie River Partners, the San Francisco-based maker of St. Ides, consequently temporarily discontinued using Ice Cube.) But the biggest criticism of the St. Ides commercials was that it used hip hop/rap music, a genre most popular with teenagers at the time, to sell malt liquor directly to underage drinkers. This was further enforced when St. Ides blatantly marketed a nonalcoholic drink for kids, boldly using the St. Ides name/logo (check out the lyrics to Ice Cube's "Crooked I For All Ages" track #30). Overall the reaction to the St. Ides ads was so intense that G. Heileman Co., the national brewer that had created the St. Ides label, disavowed any connection with St. Ides. And eventually the commercials were banned altogether and never heard/seen again.
With Ice Cube, Yo-Yo, Geto Boys and Scarface, Snoop Dogg, Wu Tang Clan, Eric B & Rakim, EPMD, and many more. 30 tracks in all. VERY LIMITED.

album cover AGITATION FREE Malesch (Garden Of Delights) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Here's two long time AQ Krautrock favorites -- the first and second albums by Berlin band Agitation Free -- that have been previously available as cds on the Spalax label. But now Garden of Delights has done new reissues, which is great 'cause we love these records and we're glad of an excuse to list 'em, as we hadn't ever reviewed them before. And Garden of Delights is known for their thorough, high-quality productions. In the thick cd booklets, you get a band history essay (in English and German), collector's info on various vinyl pressings, photos, graphics, discography, and the obligatory Garden of Delights catalog (but that they've shrunk to 2 pages, to leave more room for all the Agitation Free material). Really nice. And the sound is great too of course. No bonus tracks, though, so if you've already got the Spalax versions, an upgrade to these will be mainly a visual/textual improvement.
They got their start as a hippie commune band, with ties to Guru Guru, Tangerine Dream, and Amon Duul. Their debut, "Malesch" (Arabic for "it doesn't matter, take it easy"), is a true cosmic Krautrock classic, blending the spacey psych of Pink Floyd and fellow krautrockers Ash Ra Tempel and Popul Vuh with a flair for Eastern "exoticism". Plus, in the intertwining guitars, you'll find some hints of the American West Coast psych sound (yes, even a little Grateful Dead -- but don't let that scare you off). The album was recorded in 1972 not long after the band was sent on a tour of the Middle East by the Goethe Institute, and incorporates field recordings (decades before the likes of Godspeed You Black Emperor!) from their trip: the bustle of Cairo streets, desert winds, calls to prayer, friendly airline pilots... These tapes are a key element of this record's appeal (along with their sheer talent for jamming and their synth and electronic experimentation). Oh, and some great Hammond organ sounds too. Basically, this is a fantastic album of mostly instrumental psych / drone / ethnic rock, that's generally mellow but powerful too. Whether to the Great Pyramids of Egypt (where the album cover was shot) or to inner space, "Malesch" portrays a true trip indeed. So recommended.
RealAudio clip: "You Play For Me Today"
RealAudio clip: "Ala tul"
RealAudio clip: "Pulse"
RealAudio clip: "Rucksturz"

album cover PINBACK Some Voices (Absolutely Kosher) cd ep 8.98
Until the boys get around to serving us another new full length, Absolutely Kosher has thankfully reissued this beautiful ep of theirs which was originally issued two years ago. Pinback, for those unfamiliar, is a duo featuring Rob Crow of Heavy Vegetable / Thingy / Optiganally Yours and Zack from Three Mile Pilot. The two are consummate performers and songwriters, the type of people who just ooze music all the time. I can remember when Rob Crow did a solo in-store here several years back. He was playing a guitar through a small battery powered amp (designed to look like a miniature Marshall amp.) He was rocking out -- had everyone in the entire store completely absorbed -- and as he was reaching the very end of the crescendo of the song he was playing, his battery powered amp fell off the used LP bin it was resting on, struck the floor and scattered batteries everywhere. Rob Crow apologetically got down on his hands and knees to retrieve the batteries. After fumbling around for a minute to get them back in and the case snapped tight, Rob immediately went back into his song to finish the last 2 seconds of the feedback cadence he had left to play. The playfullness, sincerity, and deadpan humour are evident in the music Rob and Zack write as a team. They sound like a pair that has been playing together all their lives. The type of guys who had a blast coming up with tricky rounds to sing just for the fuck of it. As Pinback, they have an innate ability to write absolutely infectious pop songs, with lilting melodies, often counterpointed with one another in effortless ways -- never sounding contrived. On top of it all, the two record all their music themselves in Zack's bedroom, which you'd never believe listening to their records. Whenever we play this in the store someone invariably purchases a copy (this goes for either of their full lengths as well.)
RealAudio clip: "Some Voices"
RealAudio clip: "Trainer"
RealAudio clip: "June"

album cover EL DIN, HAMZA Escalay (The Water Wheel): Oud Music (Nonesuch) cd 12.98
A popular lute throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East, the oud has 6 six strings, all of which but for the lowest in pitch are paired up (like in a twelve string guitar). Hamza El Din hails originally from Nubia (which is absorbed within Egypt near the Sudan) and on this album he claims to fuse elements of both Sudan and Egypt into his distinct Nubian style. A couple of interesting facts I never knew about El Din: he not only played with the Grateful Dead live occasionally, he organized their tour of Egypt (Yikes! But don't let that dissuade you non-deadheads out there.) He also roomed at guitarist Sandy Bull's place for a spell (hence the source of the influence on Bull's piece "Blend".) Escalay was originally released by Nonesuch in 1971, but unlike many other artists featured in the Explorer series, it wasn't Hamza El Din's first commercial release (In fact, it was his third release and was apparently recorded after he had emigrated to the United States.) But this was the album that everyone, including Mickey Hart, initially went nuts over and the album that everyone still hails as his greatest -- Kronos Quartet commissioned El Din to arrange the title track for their 1992 release Pieces Of Africa. The first two tracks are mesmerizing -- 21 and 12 minute respectively -- pieces for oud and voice (both El Din's) and the third is a 5 minute piece for tar (frame drum) and voice. Hamza El Din's oud playing is so damn seductive, it seems to warp one's perception of time. The first time I put this disc on to listen to and write, I found myself just sitting paralized through the first two tracks before the crisp snapping of the tar awoke me from my reverie. His playing is so effortless as to understate his virtuosity, it's no wonder that it's so easy to become completely absorbed in his compositions. Listening closely, you can hear El Din manipulating the timbre of his instrument on a macro level: coaxing out texture from the warm buzz of the strings. Buying this CD, your only disappointment will be in its brevity of just under 40 minutes.
RealAudio clip: "Escalay (the Water Wheel)"
RealAudio clip: "Song With Tar"

album cover SMOAK, JIM & THE LOUISIANA HONEYDRIPPERS Bayou Bluegrass (Arhoolie) cd 11.98
Arhoolie has finally got round to reissuing this fine bluegrass album (originally released in 1961), and with four additional tracks that weren't included on the original LP release. Though the group's name and the album's title imply a cajun infused bluegrass sound, in truth Jim Smoak's bluegrass is a lot closer to its Kentucky origins in sound than Louisiana (Smoak himself was born and raised in South Carolina.) What the tracks lack in the traditional gospel derived vocal harmonization is made up in spades with variations on traditional old-timey and good humored numbers like "Kissin' Cousins", "Old Dan Tucker" ("...was a fine old man, washed his face in a frying pan"), "Whoah, Mule, Woah" and more. I wouldn't typify this as solemn or high-lonesome, but rather high powered and light hearted bluegrass with a strong connection to the early string band and minstrelsy of J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers or Gid Tanner's Skillet Lickers. Jim Smoak was one hell of a banjo player who played not only in Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys in the early fifties, but was hired by Earl Scruggs to play for Hylo Brown, who Earl was managing at the time. And there's not a better pair of personal recommendations for a bluegrass banjo player to have on his resume than that. And Smoak's playing, though certainly informed by Scrugg's innovative style was by no means a mere copy. The old-timey / bluegrass blend that was a big part of the Louisiana Honeydrippers' sound was a perfect place for Jim Smoak's playing style which utilized a faux-clawhammer picking for rhythm backup when not soloing, with some of the strongest Scruggs' style picking you're likely ever to hear and emphasized with heavy downstroke thumb strumming. Some of the melodies Smoak brings out to the fore from his arpeggios seem almost certain to break the strings right off the banjo, and yet his solos sound smooth as silk, not clunky and overdone. At times it's like listening to a bluegrass banjo player on crystal meth.
RealAudio clip: "Old Dan Tucker"
RealAudio clip: "Woah, Mule, Woah"
RealAudio clip: "Hop Light, Ladies"

album cover V/A Roots of Gamelan, the (World Arbiter) cd 16.98
Possibly a bit of a misnomer in the title, as the "roots" of gamelan predate any recording equipment by nearly a thousand years. 1928 however, when these earliest recordings of Balinese gamelan were recorded, could well be considered the roots of Balinese gamelan as it exists today, as the now ubiquitous Gong Kebyar of Bali was born, by most accounts, a mere fourteen years prior to these recordings (see "Music of the Gamelan Gong Kebyar Volume 1" from list 128.) In a sense, these seminal recordings exist thanks to all the wrong reasons. Apparently two record labels, Odeon and Beka, had the idea that they could record and market Balinese music to Bali on records. They put together 98 sides on 78 rpm discs, but the Balinese were completely uninterested in shelling out the dough for those recordings for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which was that by the time the recordings hit the shelves they were pretty much old news. The discs sold in small amounts on the international market, but for the most part the concept was a flop. Today, however, we are left with a wonderful time capsule of Balinese gamelan as it stood at the beginning of the century. Along with the early kebyar examples here, there are also several tracks of gamelan pelegongan, gender wayang (the quartet that accompanies puppet theater in Bali), jangger (a comical form featuring a chorus of young boys and girls, with the boys singing in a vocal style which we today are more familiar with as kecak) and anklung. Due to the limitations the 78 rpm disc and its 3 minute capacity, much of the works contained here are broken up semi-artificially into movements. Also included at the end of this disc are six tracks of gamelan transcriptions performed by Canadian composer and Balinese music scholar Colin McPhee (of whom the records which make up this collection belonged) and Benjamin Britten on piano and Georges Barrere on flute. These performances are quite interesting in and of themselves, especially for anyone who's familiar with McPhee's later classical compositions (or even fans of Lou Harrison) which were based entirely around Balinese music. Includes a healthy 27 pages of well scribed liner notes on the recordings and Balinese music in general.
RealAudio clip: GONG OF BELALUAN "Kebyar Ding III: Oncang-Oncangan"
RealAudio clip: JANGER GROUP OF ABIAN TIMBUL "Putih Putih Saput Anduk"
RealAudio clip: MCPHEE, COLIN & BENJAMIN BRITTON "Gambangan"

album cover V/A Animals of Africa: Sounds of the Jungle, Plain & Bush (Nonesuch) cd 12.98
We're pretty damn excited about Nonesuch's decision to reissue the entire Explorer Series on CD. The series was spearheaded by Nonesuch chief Teresa Sterne who ran the label from 1965 to 1975 (when she was canned by Warner bean counters who had just acquired the label and its parent Elektra.) Sterne earned her stripes through her championing of modern American composers Edgard Varese, Elliott Carter, George Crumb and Scott Joplin. The Explorer Series was another undertaking entirely, and was the first time anything close to a thorough collection of recordings of world music had been attempted for commercial release. Dating as far back as 1966, with David Lewiston's recording of Balinese "kecak" chant, the entire series is nearly 100 discs in total! Broken up into 8 regions there are recordings from Africa, Indonesia/South Pacific, Tibet/Kashmir, Latin America/Caribbean, East Asia, Central Asia, Europe and India. Quite and undertaking. All the discs include the original liner notes that were included with the LPs so, as the editor warns at the beginning of each booklet: "general cultural perceptions or specific factual information may have occurred since then." Each release comes with a handsome outer sleeve, the liner notes are accompanied by nice black & white photographs and though the lengths of the CDs are generally between 30 & 40 minutes, the nice price fairly makes up for it.
More fuckin' weird animal sounds? Fuck Yeah!!! You must have noticed by now that we here at Aquarius go a little nuts when we get a good recording of some animals kicking out the hella mad squeals, growls, hoots, clicks and snorts. And when their sounds are unlike anything we're likely to hear on a walk through the Marin headlands or in Tilden Park, we get pretty excited. What's more, many of the animals on this collection -- for those who haven't heard them before -- sound nothing like what one's intuition would suggest. For instance, who would think that the rhinoceros, weighing in at 2000 pounds and capable of goring any one of us like a twinkie with its horn, would have a larger vocabulary than a series of menacing snorts? But au contraire, the rhino -- as captured here -- has, in its mating call, one of the cutest inquisitive mewls you'll likely ever hear. It sounds almost like it's on the phone giving positive reinforcement to the hippopotamus on the other end complaining about the way the lion has been acting of late. Or how about the Hyrax, a small East African mammal about the size of a rabbit (and a distant relative of the elephant of all things), that makes a loud growling noise not unlike someone trying to start a chainsaw. But that's not all, you get the Vervet monkey with its complex vocabulary announcing to all its mates that a leopard is on the prowl. And not to seem biased towards the primates' side of the story, the producers also included the leopard's growling complaints about the monkeys' behavior. And that's just the beginning! You also get Zebras (they sound a lot more like coyotes or dogs than horses), Wildebeest (think frogs), Lion (say no more), Hyena (god, hyenas are freaks! no matter how many times you hear them, they never lose their charm), Wild-Dog (someone scrubbing a plate glass window clean with a gerbil), Silver-Backed Jackal (parrot?), Elephant (elephant), and last -- but certainly not least -- the hippopotamus (on the other end of the line with the rhino.) Originally released by Nonesuch as part of their Explorer series in 1973, it'd take the most tenacious DJ to find a copy of this on vinyl so pick it up on disc today. Absolutely essential!
RealAudio clip: "Hyrax"
RealAudio clip: "Rhinoceros"
RealAudio clip: "Hyena"

album cover INTERPOL Turn On The Bright Lights (Matador) cd 10.98
The Strokes, Andrew W.K., The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Liars, and now Interpol are part of a recent rash of New York punkish bands birthed from the music hype machine as the great salvation of rock 'n' roll. Strange that these bands would garner such praise, since none of them operate outside of the arena of the homage -- either as ironic hyperbole in Andrew W.K. or as The Strokes' downward mobility to blue collar rockisms. Of all the aforementioned bands, Interpol seem the most interesting as they've managed to successfully resurrect Ian Curtis, a task that hasn't really met with much success in other bands. I mention just Curtis, as his persona seems to resonate much more strongly with Interpol than Joy Division as a whole. Sure there are ghosts of Factory's post-punk jaggedness and mororsely bleak temperament; but Interpol's forceful minor keys offer other roadstops past The Strokes' take on brightly-colored, guitar jangle and the sublime washes of fuzzy feedback heard in the early '90s shoegazer bands (MBV, Ride, Slowdive, etc.). Musically, Interpol's debut "Turn On The Bright Lights" is an excellent marriage of those aforementioned styles; but like Joy Division, Interpol is driven by a charismatic singer with a flair for dramatic bombast and a predilection for angst. Paul Banks, Interpol's singer, is a rare breed in the contemporary world of depressed vocalists who have typically followed the emo-centric whimper and scream approach of Sunny Day Real Estate to infuse any lyrical content with immediacy and passion. Instead, Banks can actually really sing, his nervous vibrato echoing the musical accompaniment played between depressed weariness and urgent conviction.
Much of Interpol's aesthetic choices and lyrical content (love / hate relationships, urban isolationism, and sexual dependency) have already been done to death, but few have been able to do them as well. "Turn On The Bright Lights" is a fantastic record and actually lives up to all of the hype that has surrounded it.
RealAudio clip: "Untitled"
RealAudio clip: "Obstacle 1"
RealAudio clip: "Say Hello To The Angels"
RealAudio clip: "Stella Was A Diverr And She Was Always Down"

album cover CASE, NEKO Blacklisted (Anti) cd 14.98
Watch her legion of admirers increase tenfold with every passing moment! Will you join them/us? On this, her third full length, Neko Case's voice pours forth in such an untethered and unaffected manner, yet with such power and control. It's truly something to behold. Through seemingly endless touring since Furnace Room Lullaby (on her own, as well as with the New Pornographers) she's honed her voice into an incredibly dynamic instrument. She delivers old classics like "Runnin' Out of Fools" or "Look For Me (I'll Be Around)" with such ease and conviction so seamlessly amid her own splendid songs like "Deep Red Bells" and "I Wish I Was The Moon" as well as "Pretty Girls" from The Gift soundtrack. On much of Blacklisted, her delivery is not unlike that of a lone, world-weary torch singer. Quite simply, her performance is arresting - deeply dramatic and haunting. Perhaps this may be attributed, in part or in whole, to the fact that these days she's holding all the reins. She co-released this album on her own label Lady Pilot with Bloodshot Records, and produced and mixed it with Darryl Neudorf and Craig Schumacher. Also noteworthy is the absence of "and the Boyfriends" from her name, but she's by no means flying solo - although she did play a greater number of the instruments this time around (various guitars, saw, piano). Speaking of which, the accompanying music is a perfect, richly hued match that warmly envelops and lingers around her every word. She's surrounded by an impressive group of musical friends including Joey Burns and John Convertino of Calexico, Giant Sand's Howe Gelb, Kelly Hogan, Brian Connelly of Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet, Dallas Good of the Sadies, John Rauhouse, Tom Ray, and Mary Margaret O'Hara. A stunning album that glistens and glows from start to finish. Highly recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Deep Red Bells"
MPEG Stream: "Pretty Girls"
MPEG Stream: "I Wish I Was The Moon"
MPEG Stream: "Look For Me (I'll Be Around)"

album cover CASE, NEKO Blacklisted ( Lance Rock) lp 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
NOW ON VINYL! At long last this AQ fave, a Record Of The Week back 2002, in appears on wax.
Watch her legion of admirers increase tenfold with every passing moment! Will you join them/us? On this, her third full length, Neko Case's voice pours forth in such an untethered and unaffected manner, yet with such power and control. It's truly something to behold. Through seemingly endless touring since Furnace Room Lullaby (on her own, as well as with the New Pornographers) she's honed her voice into an incredibly dynamic instrument. She delivers old classics like "Runnin' Out of Fools" or "Look For Me (I'll Be Around)" with such ease and conviction so seamlessly amid her own splendid songs like "Deep Red Bells" and "I Wish I Was The Moon" as well as "Pretty Girls" from The Gift soundtrack. On much of Blacklisted, her delivery is not unlike that of a lone, world-weary torch singer. Quite simply, her performance is arresting - deeply dramatic and haunting. Perhaps this may be attributed, in part or in whole, to the fact that these days she's holding all the reins. She co-released this album on her own label Lady Pilot with Bloodshot Records, and produced and mixed it with Darryl Neudorf and Craig Schumacher. Also noteworthy is the absence of "and the Boyfriends" from her name, but she's by no means flying solo - although she did play a greater number of the instruments this time around (various guitars, saw, piano). Speaking of which, the accompanying music is a perfect, richly hued match that warmly envelops and lingers around her every word. She's surrounded by an impressive group of musical friends including Joey Burns and John Convertino of Calexico, Giant Sand's Howe Gelb, Kelly Hogan, Brian Connelly of Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet, Dallas Good of the Sadies, John Rauhouse, Tom Ray, and Mary Margaret O'Hara. A stunning album that glistens and glows from start to finish. Highly recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Deep Red Bells"
MPEG Stream: "Pretty Girls"
MPEG Stream: "I Wish I Was The Moon"
MPEG Stream: "Look For Me (I'll Be Around)"

album cover RUPTURE, DJ/ Minesweeper Suite (Tigerbeat6) cd 9.98
As promised, the new DJ Rupture set is here on Tigerbeat6 and it does not disappoint. As on his previous release, Gold Teeth Thief, Rupture's strong points, and this can't be emphasized enough, are combined in his great taste in a variety of musics and his smMOOOOVve mixing skills. There's also nothing ironic about his choices of source material and, maybe more importantly, he is only too happy to oblige us with the names of the cuts that he's mixing (well, most of them, presumably the ones he got permission to use). So obliging is he, that he makes the point of including label names and even URLs where applicable. So if you're curious enough you can track down all the individual cuts for yourself (which is actually a fun task to perform because you can hear what Rupture has tweaked through pitch and EQ from the sources to achieve his goals.) Unlike Gold Teeth Thief, which starts off like a stick of dynamite, Minesweeper Suite - as I suppose its name suggests - catches one off-guard. It begins with a pleasant track from Nubian musician Mahmoud Fadl gradually mixed in with the smooth dub sounds of J-Boogie and the two slowly pitched up together until by six minutes into the cd, Rupture has got the tempo up to a grinding pulse with all manner of breakbeats, dancehall, Arabic music and hip hop weaving seamlessly in and out of the mix. In all, Minesweeper Suite is a much more ambitious undertaking than Gold Teeth Thief in that the source material that Rupture pools together for this set seems to consistently come from a wide variety of music from around the globe. Where the "world music" filled second half of his Gold Teeth Thief set may have seemed the weaker part of that disc, here it seems Rupture has increased his skills enough to throw just about anything into the mix and have it sound as if it were meant to be completely natural. Among the music sampled are Foxy Brown, dancehall from Cutty Ranks, Sade, Nina Simone, Robert Flack, Dead Prez, Djivan Gasparyan, Kid606, Cex, Donna Summer, Wax Poetic, Dat Politics, even Cul de Sac and Borbetomagus! Quite an experience.
MPEG Stream: "track 15 excerpt "
MPEG Stream: "track 12 excerpt"
MPEG Stream: "track 20 excerpt"
MPEG Stream: "track 9 excerpt"

album cover CASE, NEKO Canadian Amp (Lady Pilot) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Hurrah for yet another dose of Neko Case! Yes, along with her new album Blacklisted which we just reviewed in AQL 144, there's this special collection released by the lady herself (also just released on vinyl by her friends at Lance Rock Records). There's been plenty of conflicting reports on the status of the cd even from those very close to the source. Initially a tour-only cd, it seems to be in a very nebulously limited pressing - most likely it'll continue to be in print just as long as the Lady Pilot fancies. That said, doncha think it's high time you had your very own copy!? Anyways, let's get to the actual music, shall we? She recorded these songs in her kitchen while reportedly clad in her trademark flannel pajamas and fuzzy slippers. Her dear Boyfriends are notably absent, although she did get a bunch of her pals to join her refrigerator-side for these intimate recordings. Her partners in crime? Tom Ray, Jon Rauhouse, Andy Hopkins, Robert Lloyd, Brett Sparks, Chris Von Sneidern, Kathleen Judge and Kelly Hogan. Much more spartan than her two previous albums, yet still so rich and haunting with some gorgeous banjo, accordion and an impressive array of guitars. There's stirring renditions of the classic "Poor Ellen Smith", Neil Young's "Dreaming Man" and Hank Williams' "Alone and Forsaken" as well as covers of tunes by her Canadian friends Mike O'Neill of The Inbreds, Sook-Yin Lee, Lisa Marr of cub, Buck and The Beards - each an amazing songwriter him/herself - showing once again what a knack she has for choosing great material to cover. And to top off all this goodness, she reworks two of her own lovely songs "Make Your Bed" and "Favorite". Her voice is an unquestionably mighty force unto itself, but her singing performance is so far beyond mighty lungs and vocal chords. Seeming effortless, it flows from somewhere deep within and beyond, which makes listening such a wonderful, deeply moving experience. Pure, honest and powerful!
RealAudio clip: "Andy"
RealAudio clip: "Make Your Bed"
RealAudio clip: "Alone And Forsaken"
RealAudio clip: "In California"

album cover V/A Mountain Music Of Kentucky (Smithsonian Folkways) 2cd 23.00
This is not *really* a new item here at Aquarius, but we realised that even though we sell tons of these on a regular basis, we have never listed it. So we thought we'd mention its existence to those of you who might not have the oppurtunity to stumble across it in our bins. Mountain Music of Kentucky is a collection originally compiled by photographer John Cohen and released as a single LP in 1960. The CD reissue comes expanded to two discs, expanding the project a full 60 minutes. The recordings, all made in 1959, document the music of rural Kentucky -- specifically, the Appalachian mountains. Whether it's solo voice accompanied by guitar or a banjo or a full blown church choir, the tracks collected here are all fucking great and guaranteed to raise the hairs on your arms to rigid spikes. And if you don't have hair on your arms, you'll think you did. Among the most well represented (track wise) of the 14 artists on these two discs is AQ fave and kick ass banjo picker Roscoe Holcomb, who gets a healthy 22 cuts. But probably the most eerie and heart stopping tracks on this disc are the two tracks (a mere 12 minutes) of the Old Baptist Church which are powerful enough to put the fear of god into the most straight laced athiest. Includes a fat 36 page booklet with notes and gorgeous photos by John Cohen. This one comes very highly recommended.
RealAudio clip: OLD BAPTIST CHURCH "When We Shall Meet"
RealAudio clip: HOLCOMB, ROSCOE "True Love"
RealAudio clip: GRIGSBY & YOUNG "Ruby"

RUPTURE, DJ/ Gold Teeth Thief (Violent Turd) cd 6.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
At last, reissued -- as a 'real' cd (not a cd-r) and cheaper too! This debut DJ/Rupture mix disc was a big hit here at Aquarius (and elsewhere too, apparently). We'd been getting the cd-r version on /Rupture's own Soot label direct from the man himself, but those are no longer available. Kid606 stepped in and signed DJ /Rupture to his Tigerbeat6 label, with a new /Rupture set called "Minesweeper Suite" due for release on August 27th. But, in advance of that, the Kid's other label, Violent Turd, has made the "Gold Teeth Thief" set available once again. Packaged in one of those plastic clamshell cases, with nought but a sticker for artwork, this remains a budget release, but a welcome one. It's also apparently a limited edition reissue, so if you missed it before, don't sleep on it now!! Here's our original glowing review, backed up by being named one of the top 50 best albums of the year by The Wire:
This is one of the best mix cds we've ever heard. And it's not about insane turntable skills, or about that 'isn't-it-weird-and-crazy-how-I've-juxtaposed-hip-hop-and-classic-rock' gimmicky stuff or about how famous or cool the DJ is (in fact, I bet you've never even heard of DJ /Rupture, an American living in Spain). It's about his choice of songs, and how smoothly and creatively they're mixed (live on 3 turntables). This cd is just an amazing and deft mix of dance hall (traditional -and- HARD ala DJ Scud etc.), hip hop, dub and electronica. Nothing fancy just 70 minutes and 43 tracks of some of our favorite shit: Missy Elliott, Nas, DJ Scud, Barrington Levy (a different track than his contribution to the amazing 400% Dynamite compilation, but you'll recognise his oh-so-familiar 'Woah Wooah.'), Nettle, Dead Prez, Bounty Killer, Kid 606, Venetian Snares, Luciano Berio, Shabba Ranks, Non Phixion, Wu-Tang Clan, Cannibal Ox, Djivan Gasparyan, Sub Dub, John Wall, Oval, Project Pat, Muslimgauze and even Paul Simon/Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Miriam Makeba (ending all smooth and pretty with no beats at all). Wow.
MPEG Stream: "track 2"
MPEG Stream: "track 5"
MPEG Stream: "track 1"
MPEG Stream: "track 3"
MPEG Stream: "track 6"

album cover DISSECTION Storm of the Light's Bane (Nuclear Blast) cd 16.98
Reissue of a long-time Aquarius favorite. Not just of AQ metalheads Andee and Allan, or our metal-lovin' customers, but others on the staff here too -- for instance, Byram, not normally a big metal consumer, ranks this as one of his favorites amongst the Nordic hordes. In fact, it's one of the few metal cds in his collection -- it's that good (he was a music student y'know). It came out originally in '94, and now sees a digipacified re-release with bonus tracks from their out of print Where Dead Angels Lie cdep. With Storm of the Light's Bane, Dissection perfected their melodic, blackened Swedish death metal approach -- that means TRUE, original metal, with elements of everything from Morbid Angel to Mayhem to Iron Maiden, suped-up and super-grim, with raspy vocals, wicked drumming (the guy is AMAZING), truly memorable, majestic melodies, and tons of cold winter atmosphere. They take long breaks to let their acoustic guitars gently weep, then tear back into the brutal, razor-edged rifferama. Serious stuff, seriously great. This was to be their last album, and Dissection is no more -- front man John Nodtveidt ended up in jail as accessory to murder -- but their tangential role in any of that over-sensationalized Scandinavian black metal true crime stuff has nothing to do with why you should be interested in this band. No, regardless of their unfortunate history, Dissection was a brilliant band, and Storm of the Light's Bane is a classic that belongs in every metal collection. If you haven't already gotten this album, here's your chance.
RealAudio clip: "Night's Blood"
RealAudio clip: "Where Dead Angels Lie"
RealAudio clip: "Soulreaper"

album cover FISCHERSPOONER #1 (Ministry Of Sound) cd 23.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT -- GET THE DOMESTIC VERSION NOW OUT.
We had this album before, but it has been sadly temporarily out of print for some time. In the time between the album's initial release and this expensive import reissue some of us have grown quite fond of Fischerspooner, maybe even against our better judgement. If there's one thing that Fischerspooner excels in the most, it's self-promotion -- their disc's artwork consists primarily of fawning praise from the press (even adorning the inside tray, as if you might need some positive reinforcement after you've purchased it). I suppose they feel the need to stand out in the ever increasing throngs of retro-electro rock bands. Which is too bad, because as a band they're heads above the pack. Think Depeche Mode with gargantuan cojones and you're beginning to get the picture. On top of having mastered the aesthetics of the neo-electro genre, Fischerspooner are also consummate writers of pop gems. The third track "Emerge" has all the workings of a teeth gnashing dancefloor hit with its ever increasing tension and intensity topped by a delicious hook that appeals to the most base pop sensibility. If that's not enough, they've managed to pull off a cover of Wire's "The 15th" that's so fucking great some here would argue that it betters the original. Once you get over the fashionable performance / conceptual art pretensions of Fischerspooner, you'll find their music hard to resist. As a bonus consolation to this expensive reissue you get three new bonus tracks and some exclusive video footage.
RealAudio clip: "Emerge"
RealAudio clip: "The 15th"
RealAudio clip: "Natural Disaster"

album cover CAT, THE s/t (Time Stereo) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Frogs. Demonic and / or cult possessions. Caves. Numbers stations. EVP transmissions. VLF static. These have been the subject matters for AQ's favorites from the "Found Sound / Field Recordings" section. Without a doubt, 'The Cat' ranks as one of those great oddball records alongside the Sounds of North American Frogs or the Ghost Orchid or the Conet Project. This album is simply a 45 minute recording of a purring cat whose contented rumblings have been amplified through the careful placement of a contact microphone. The cat in question is named Urchin and resides at Stormy Records in Dearborn, Michigan. There, Windy Weber (of Windy & Carl fame) and Davin Brainard (who helps run Time Stereo) recorded this amazing document of deep-rumbling cat happiness.
Now you can enjoy all the comforting joy of a cat's warm purring without all those nasty hairballs. Allergic? No problem. This cd is hypo-allergenic. No litterbox to clean (or to let get filthy). No fishy cat food to dish out. No unsightly scratching post that the cat will ignore while it shreds your new sofa. What you get instead with The Cat is a marvelous recording of a cat enraptured in drooling bliss. As these recording attest to, Urchin seems to spend a lot of time splashing in water, which isn't normal cat behavior at all. Or at least that's what it sounds like. Maybe he's lapping up milk, or cleaning itself with A LOT of saliva. Anyway, this is a nice disc for you fans of drones and field recordings, who don't have cats of your own to amplify.
And we figured we'd end this review with a couple of timely haiku courtesy of our pal Harvey Sid Fisher:

We're almost equals
I purr to show I love you
Want to smell my butt?

You must scratch me there!
Yes, above my tail!
Behold, elevator butt.
RealAudio clip: "Track 1"
RealAudio clip: "Track 2"

album cover MIKEY DREAD World War III (Ernie B) cd 16.98
Our friends over at Ernie B proudly present Mikey Dread's 1981 seminal album World War III. Though Mikey Dread earned a reputation in the mid-seventies Jamaica for being the first DJ in Jamaica (on the Jamaican Broadcasting Corporation station) to play exclusively Jamaican artists, his international renown was sealed in 1980 when he worked with British punk band The Clash on several singles and their triple lp opus Sandinista. Featuring the newly formed Roots Radics band as back up and recorded by Scientist, WWIII is arguably the zenith work for Mikey Dread. Their influence on his work is not nearly as evident as Mikey's was on the Clash, so you won't hear any punk and or rock stylngs here. However, Dread's unique buzzing, nasal voice pierces through the mix with his mesmerizing chants in a way that could almost be described as punk in his own distinctively Jamaican way. The album's production itself is a prime example of the best eighties reggae had to offer: an excellent live studio band -- with some ridiculous great bass tones -- augmented by a plethora of engineering tricks and effects -- including the ubiquitous eighties Star-Trek-like synth explosions -- from Scientist. Along with the original 9 tracks that made up the album Ernie B has included 6 bonus dub tracks from the session. This release is, how you say, crucial.
RealAudio clip: "The Jumping Master"
RealAudio clip: "Mental Slavery"
RealAudio clip: "DATC Masterpiece"

album cover FLAMING LIPS Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Warner Bros.) cd 14.98
The Flaming Lips return with yet another gem and it's beginning to look as if they are only getting better with age. We used to think that about Tom Waits, Stereolab, and (some here think) Radiohead, but all those folks have released mediocre (perhaps bad?) records, whereas Flaming Lips' career-long consistency through 12 albums is pretty amazing. Certainly many of their indie rock, pre-Warner fans have long since abandoned their current efforts just as many who discovered them via their hit "She Don't Use Jelly" (or possibly more recently with "Waitin' For A Superman") probably don't find much to enjoy in their early drug addled, psychedelic bombast. But with such a continually evolving yet uncompromising sound, they're bound to alienate some. There's a striking resemblance on Yoshimi to the recent works of Radiohead, but then again there's definitely much that parallels the Lips' career with that of our faves from across the Atlantic. Like Radiohead, The Flaming Lips have chosen ever more increasing studio experimentation, combining electronic music elements with lush arrangements and cohesive album-oriented productions. But more significant perhaps is that Yoshimi, a semi-concept album, shares a similar paranoid and alienated angst that Radiohead has been honing these last several albums. But where as Radiohead takes a decidedly maudlin, Orwellian approach in their song writing, the Flaming Lips work in an absurdist, comedic fashion more akin to Philip K. Dick. "One More Robot / Sympathy 3000-21" could have been cut straight out of a P.K.D. story: "Unit three thousand twenty one is warming / makes a humming sound - when its circuits duplicate emotions - and a sense of coldness detaches as it tries to comfort your sadness..." All this arranged about as close to a Sade song as Coyne and the Lips can conceivably get (which I also see as a friendly jab at the sterile audiophile machinations of modern "soul".) The humanization of machines vs. humanity stripped of love and hate is the theme that's mulled over throughout. Most of the songs on the album are in direct reference to a painful breakup (either real or concocted) and the fictional battle between Yoshimi and the Pink Robots is more of a parable for struggling in the aftermath of having one's heart dashed to pieces. The two themes are intertwined on the album, but loosely enough so that you aren't forced into a Pink Floyd Wall of a concept album. While not as completely rife with hits as The Soft Bulletin, there's a lot to be warmed up to with Yoshimi. At first listen it seemed as though the Lips and Mercury Rev-ifier Dave Fridman had produced nothing but 45 minutes of studio wizardry and ear candy, but continual listens finds these songs opening up like a veritable flower blossom. "In the Morning of the Magicians" with its recurring, heart rending instrumental bridge will even bring a tear to the most desiccated of eyes. And "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" (Part 1, *not* part 2) will have you singing along in your best cracked falsetto soon enough. I imagine the bean counters at AOL/Time Warner had a hard time listening to this more than once, if at all, as they neglected to print up enough copies in the first run and now we - and stores everywhere I suppose - are struggling to find a distributor with remaining copies on hand. And we're not sure of the significance or if the title and her appearance on this record are mere coincidences or -gasp- something more, but AQ fave/crushworthy drummer/vocalist Yoshimi of the mighty Boredoms is a musical guest!!
RealAudio clip: "In the Morning of the Magicians"
RealAudio clip: "One More Robot / Sympathy 3000-21"
RealAudio clip: "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots pt. 1"

FLAMING LIPS Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (Warner Bros.) lp 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Now available on vinyl! Here's the description again: The Flaming Lips return with yet another gem and it's beginning to look as if they are only getting better with age. We used to think that about Tom Waits, Stereolab, and (some here think) Radiohead, but all those folks have released mediocre (perhaps bad?) records, whereas Flaming Lips' career-long consistency through 12 albums is pretty amazing. Certainly many of their indie rock, pre-Warner fans have long since abandoned their current efforts just as many who discovered them via their hit "She Don't Use Jelly" (or possibly more recently with "Waitin' For A Superman") probably don't find much to enjoy in their early drug addled, psychedleic bombast. But with such a continually evolving yet uncompromising sound, they're bound to alienate some. There's a striking resemblance on Yoshimi to the recent works of Radiohead, but then again there's definitely much that parallels the Lips' career with that of our faves from across the Atlantic. Like Radiohead, The Flaming Lips have chosen ever more increasing studio experimentation, combining electronic music elements with lush arrangements and cohesive album-oriented productions. But more significant perhaps is that Yoshimi, a semi-concept album, shares a similar paranoid and alienated angst that Radiohead has been honing these last several albums. But where as Radiohead takes a decidedly maudlin Orwellian-like approach in their song writing, the Flaming Lips work in an absurdist, comedic fashion more akin to Philip K. Dick. "One More Robot / Sympathy 3000-21" could have been cut straight out of a P.K.D. story: "Unit three thousand twenty one is warming / makes a humming sound -- when its circuits duplicate emotions -- and a sense of coldness detaches as it tries to comfort your sadness..." All this arranged about as close to a Sade song as Coyne and the Lips can conceivably get (which I also see as a friendly jab at the sterile audiophile machinations of modern "soul".) The humanization of machines vs. humanity stripped of love and hate is the theme that's mulled over throughout. Most of the songs on the album are in direct reference to a painful breakup (either real or concocted) and the fictional battle between Yoshimi and the Pink Robots is more of a parable for struggling in the aftermath of having one's heart dashed to pieces. The two themes are intertwined on the album, but loosely enough so that you aren't forced into a Pink Floyd Wall of a concept album. While not as completely rife with hits as The Soft Bulletin, there's a lot to be warmed up to with Yoshimi. At first listen it seemed as though the Lips and Mercury Rev-ifier Dave Fridman had produced nothing but 45 minutes of studio wizardry and ear candy, but continual listens finds these songs opening up like a veritable flower blossom. "In the Morning of the Magicians" with its recurring, heart rending instrumental bridge will even bring a tear to the most desiccated of eyes. And "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" (Part 1, *not* part 2) will have you singing along in your best cracked falsetto soon enough. I imagine the bean counters at AOL/Time Warner had a hard time listening to this more than once, if at all, as they neglected to print up enough copies in the first run and now we -- and stores everywhere I suppose -- are struggling to find a distributor with remaining copies on hand. And we're not sure of the significance or if the title and her appearance on this record are mere coincidences or -gasp- something more, but AQ fave/crushworthy drummer/vocalist Yoshimi of the mighty Boredoms is a musical guest!!
RealAudio clip: "In the Morning of the Magicians"
RealAudio clip: "One More Robot / Sympathy 3000-21"
RealAudio clip: "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots pt. 1"

album cover LUDICRA Hollow Psalms (Life Is Abuse) cd 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Finally, the debut record from this fearsome local black metal fivesome sees the light of day. Ludicra is yet another project from the fertile metal mind of John Cobbett (Hammers Of Misfortune, The Lord Weird Slough Feg, Iron Cemetary, etc.), this time with the help of local rockers/scene fixtures Aesop (Hickey, Dr. Dre Del, etc.), Christy Cather (Missile Command), Ross Sewage (Impaled), and Laurie Sue Shanaman (who works at the veterinarian where Andee's girlfriend and Erik his housemate take their cats!).
Ludicra's debut reveals them to be a highly advanced black metal creation. They're complex, moody, darkly psychedelic, and 'post-rocky' like AQ-faves Enslaved -- a very good thing. The droning savage trance rock of another AQ black metal fave (and fellow San Franciscans) Weakling is also evident. Maybe it's Aesop's punk-derived drumming, or the song-writing dynamics, but while this is very metal indeed it also betrays an awareness of other strands of underground rock. And of course it's heavy, textured, and exceedingly well-crafted, as you would expect from the pen/plectrum of Sir Lord John Cobbett.
Ludicra has two singers: Christy (who also plays guitar) and Laurie Sue, and while both vocalists are women, you won't hear any of the sweet singing that Hammers of Misfortune's female vocalist does. No, it's all very extreme -- except for some wordless background choruses and an interlude or two of gentle chanting, they mostly deliver scary throat-shredding screams that upend gender stereotypes. But, like Hammers, having more than one vocalist allows for interesting variety and dynamics. Lots of acoustic interludes and dark and rhythmic breakdowns that hint at the band members' diverse indie rock/post punk/punk rock backgrounds. That, and Ludicra's ability to yet generate at the same time such a convincing black metal atmosphere, makes for a very satisfying and compelling listen.
The care Ludicra took with their music also extends to the packaging. "Hollow Psalms" comes in a standard digipack, but upside-down/reverse so that it opens more like a book (with the cd tray on the inside front cover, and the booklet on the right side). The art on the cd even says "Ex Libris" with a space for your name, in keeping with the storybook theme. The handlettered booklet includes lyrics and is illustrated by bassist Ross. We're very impressed, all around.
RealAudio clip: "Tomorrow Held In Scorn"
RealAudio clip: "Hollow Promise"
RealAudio clip: "The Final Lamentation"

album cover NEW PORNOGRAPHERS Letter From An Occupant (Matador Europe) cd ep 6.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
At the most recent New Pornographers show here leader Carl Newman fielded the audience's unanimous request that the group release another album of new material. Newman claimed that if anyone really wanted high quality New Porn material they would have to wait, but that he would gladly send us all crappy mp3s tomorrow if we wished. While our own request for those "crappy" mp3s has gone unheeded, we are slightly mollified by this 3 track ep from our friends from the Great White North. This single is, as you may have guessed from the title, not exactly entirely new material, but was a companion release to 'Mass Romantic' for its European release there last year. And it has taken us this long to get our grubby paws on them. We can skip 'Letter From An Occupant' as it has been covered in detail already (although we never tire of listening to it). Of the two new tracks on this disc, 'The End of Medicine' is a N.P. original and 'When I Was A Baby' is a cover of Andee's favorite Donner Party song. We're happy to inform that these two new ditties are worth waiting for. 'The End of Medicine' is classic N.P. material that will have you humming the chorus hours after listening to this ep. And unlike the nursery rhyme-like 'naughty little boy' acoustic version presented by the Donner Party, the N.P.'s start the track off with just Neko Case backed by guitar, which becomes an almost tearjerkingly beautiful waltz arrangement with the full band kicking in and Carl taking up the lead vocals and backed in harmony by all else. The one downside to the song and the ep as a whole is its brevity. I find myself just replaying the thing over and over to satisfy my need for more N.P.
RealAudio clip: "The End Of Medicine"
RealAudio clip: "When I Was A Baby"
RealAudio clip: "Letter from an Occupant"

album cover FRITH, FRED Gravity (Fred / ReR) cd 15.98
Thankfully reissued once more, unthankfully with horrible new artwork and irritating top obi. Originally released in 1980 on Ralph Records, Gravity is Fred Frith's masterpiece of progressive-rock-infused pop, and in Windy and Byram's opinion this should be a staple of everyone's record collection. Yep, it's that great. And no matter how 'avant' our description makes it sound, this is one of the most listenable, most accessible avant prog pop things I've ever heard.
Gravity is a celebration of dance and dance musics from around the world. The range of influence spans the gamut, but Eastern European and Middle Eastern music seems to pervade Frith's inspiration primarily. Backed on one half of the album by Sweden's uber-prog folk heroes Zamla (formarly Samla) Mammas Manna and the other by the American improv-jazz-rock band The Muffins. Though all of the compositions are Frith's, each half of the album wears the corresponding musicians' influence like a badge. The Samla's playful, quirky and category-defying progressive, folk-influenced pop stylings are perhaps a slightly better match on the whole than The Muffins skronk (which shows up mostly as the segue material between tracks on the second half of the album.) Backed by Lars Hollmer and crew, "Spring Any Day Now" sounds like the theme song to an early eighties sit-com a la 'Three's Company' gone awry. Much of the album is seamlessly bridged together with nary a second of break betwixt songs, which suits an album inspired by dance that serves to inspire one to dance just fine.
RealAudio clip: "Spring Any Day Now"
RealAudio clip: "Hands of the Juggler"

album cover KING TUBBY Lost Treasures (Jamaican Recordings) cd 14.98
So this collection of King Tubby dubs called "Lost Treasures" was released some time ago. It's one of the few on this label that we haven't listed yet. It's not because it's a bad disc that it hasn't been listed, but because apparently the dubs on the album are suspect, ie: bogus dubs. After King Tubby was murdered in 1989, friends coming by the studio to pay their respects made off with armloads of master tapes (including a good deal of Lee Perry produced material that was in King Tubby's possession.) Apparently, according to those in the know, those tracks on that Tubby mix were not mixed on his board, and do not include the trademark effects gear that Tubby used. It's actually a nice record, with some great rhythm tracks and excellent playing all over the place, plus the fidelity is superb -- coming from the master tapes -- they just weren't mixed by King Tubby, but were more likely done posthumously. So I'm trying to sort out this mess with the Tubby dubs, because I still want to list it, and then I find out that the Lee Perry disc on Jamaican Recordings -- "Skanking With The Upsetter" -- is also chock full of bogus dubs. Boy do I feel like a sucker.
So now I'm wondering if any of the albums that Jamaican Recordings have released are legit. One of the biggest suspects in the 'theft' of Tubby's tapes is none other than Striker, a.k.a. Bunny, a.k.a. E. Lee (whose name is all over Jamaican Recordings' releases as producer and copywrite holder.) Bunny was one of King Tubby's biggest clients and through the seventies Tubby was essentially Bunny's engineer, so a lot of the sessions that make up the source material for much of Jamaican Recordings' catalog are in fact produced by him. In that case it is arguable that these tapes are legally his anyhow (except maybe the Perry tapes which make up 'Skanking With the Upsetter'). So technically these aren't even bootlegs, like the nefarious Abraham's LPs. But why bother faking it by calling them rare dub plates and yadda, yadda, yadda? If Mr Bunny Lee is the legit owner of the original master tapes, why not just release them as contemporary dub mixes of classic Aggrovators material? I think people would have more respect for that in the long run, as it is suspicion and allegations of illegitimacy that will eventually catch up with this label and hurt sales. Or maybe not; I've been surprised before. Legit-Tubby or ersatz-Tubby; this album is still fucking great. The slap-back delay on percussion never fails to float my boat and the source material is all first rate, taken primarily from mid-seventies Aggrovators productions by Bunny Lee and layed down at the best studios (Dynamic, Randy's & Channel 1.) Like all releases on Jamaican Recordings, the CD versions all have extra tracks not included on the vinyl and in the case of 'Lost Treasures' there are a few really nice ones that are only available on the aluminum disc.
RealAudio clip: "Cherry's Dub"
RealAudio clip: "Cold Hearted Dub"

album cover HANSSON, BO The Lord of the Rings (Silence) cd 15.98
There's so many reasons to love this record. Here's two: (1) it's about the Lord of the Rings! and (2) it's a beautiful, timeless album of psychedelic instrumental music worth listening to even if you don't know Gandalf from Frodo. So lovely. It's a big fave of most of us here at AQ. (Oh, a third reason would be that it was the first release on Sweden's Silence label, and sold quite well, helping them bring the world such essential psych as International Harvester and Algarnas Tradgard later on!)
Previously we've stocked the One Way label version of this, but now, no doubt thanks to the success of the LOTR movie, there's a newly remastered edition on Virgin that's got not only nicer packaging but also a previously unreleased bonus track! No information is given about that over eight minute long bonus track, but it's called "Early Sketches From Middle Earth" and sounds like a demo of themes later used on the album proper. This is what we wrote about the disc before:
Many of you already know and love Bjorn Olsson's atmospheric "Instrumentalmusik" cd which Omplatten released a couple years ago. What you may not know -- we didn't -- is that Olsson's album was essentially an homage to the work of fellow Swede, '70s prog/jazz/psych keyboardist Bo Hansson, and specifically his fantastic 1970 album "Sagan Om Ringen" or "The Lord of the Rings" (itself an homage to Tolkien's trilogy). Bo Hansson, together with a group of three other musicians -- percussion, saxophone & flute -- make the music. Bo plays organ along with guitar, bass and moog. The tracks, all instrumental, are lovely atmospheric numbers, reminiscent of early Pink Floyd, or similar kosmiche krautrock of the era. The album doesn't necessarily make you think of hobbits and orcs, there's no overt "fantasy/medieval" themes or anything (it's not like German pomp metal band Blind Guardian's version of the Silmarillion!). But it does capture the otherworldly, pastoral feel of Tolkien's work. Indeed, it would be appropriate to call this album magical...whether you're a Tolkien fan or not you should check it out! Recommended.
It's just too bad that Peter Jackson didn't use any of this music in his otherwise amazing LOTR film adaption! Now if only they'd reissue Hansson's "Watership Down" album as well...
RealAudio clip: "Leaving Shire"
RealAudio clip: "Lothlorien"

album cover V/A Studio One DJ's (Soul Jazz) cd 21.00
Soul Jazz does it again. This time the label tackles the classic DJ cuts produced by Coxsone Dodd at Studio One from the beginning of the 60's through the early 80's. Unlike the common DJ of repute who was content to merely play records, Jamaican DJ's have always been of a mind to persistently interject their own thoughts, off the cuff remarks, vocal sound effects over what they played. Such was the heavy competition between Sound Systems in Jamaica, that merely having the freshest cuts would win an audience. A charismatic master of ceremonies was crucial drawing crowds. Out of this developed the Jamaican DJ: U Roy, I Roy, Big Youth, Dennis Alcapone, Count Machuki, Prince Jazzbo et al. Coxsone Dodd, having already been the owner of one of the biggest sound systems in Jamaica by the end of the 50's, continued in the capacity of producer to become the institution he is today with vaults of the most popularly versioned rhythms in Jamaica. 'Studio One DJ's' takes a look at not only some of the most successful DJ's to work with Coxsone, but also some great obscure one's that you may never have heard. You won't find either U or I Roy on this collection, but that shouldn't dissuade you (we can set you up with great discs of either) as their's no shortage of awesome tracks on here from the sparse interjections of Count Machuki to the non-stop-almost-out-of-breath toasting and cocka-doodle-dooing of Dennis Alcapone, to the ever so gruff and foreboding chanting of Prince Far I, there's an impressive variety of artistry represented here.
Wow! And we also just discovered that there's a short video on Studio One included on the CD that you can watch on your computer. Brief interviews with Coxsone and Norma, plus footage of notable DJ's Lone Ranger and a pissed off looking King Stitt. Looks like it's a sneak peak of a full length documentary that Sould Jazz will be releasing on DVD and video in the near future. We're all waiting on the pins and the needles for its release!
RealAudio clip: PRINCE FRANCIS "Rock Fort Shock"
RealAudio clip: JIM BROWN "Seen Him"

album cover RADAR BROTHERS And The Surrounding Mountains (Merge) cd 14.98
Back in November of '99, Radar Brothers' album The Singing Hatchet was our Record of the Week. Didn't think it was possible, but the band has actually gotten even better (to the point of -gasp- converting an AQ staffer or two who didn't like' em before), thus we hereby bestow the same honor on the new record And the Surrounding Mountains. For those of you who're unfamiliar with the LA-based trio of Jim, Senon, and Steve, their sound can be most easily described (and I'm sure they're tired of hearing it) as very similar to Pink Floyd. And not just any ole Pink Floyd, mind you!, but specifically the sad, epic two songs that conclude The Dark Side of the Moon: "Brain Damage" (y'know, "the lunatic is on the grass...") and, god, especially "Eclipse" ("And all that is now/And all that is gone/And all that's to come/And everything under the sun is in tune/But the sun is eclipsed by the moon...") You know how you never want that song to end, it's such a pretty, bittersweet way to close an album? Radar Brothers have made FOUR ALBUMS of that sound all stretched out and atmospheric and personal and warm. The guitars are ever so plaintively strummed so that you hear the chords but also the individual strings, the vocals are hushed and sung usually as a duo, the melodies achingly gorgeous, majestic swells of emotion. They're so great that I find it hard to do anything else while listening to Radar Brothers; like Low and Red House Painters' work, Radar Brothers' songs *demand* stillness and respect -- all your attention. Highly recommended.
RealAudio clip: "You and the Father"
RealAudio clip: "Camplight"
RealAudio clip: "This Xmas Eve"
RealAudio clip: "Sisters"

album cover BIOSPHERE Shenzhou (Touch) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Most of the sensorially depressed semantics of the Chill-Out subculture that arose out of the rave scene had the pretense of such cutesy catch phrases as "I Think Therefore I Ambient." Ugh. The majority of the music that was championed within that early '90s Ambient scene has failed to age with any dignity or grace, instead fading away as mindless New Age drivel. Biosphere - the Ambient project of Norwegian Geir Jensen - has always been the exception to that rule, by never allowing his music to comfortably fall into the regions of aural wallpaper. His first two albums "Microgravity" and "Patashnik" would probably transcend their status as minor classics in their thoughtful recomibinations of Techno propulsion and Ambient utopianism, if it weren't for the ill-advised (though fashionable at the time) use of extra-terrestrial imagery. At the height of the Ambient-Techno phenomenon in 1995 or so, Levi's licensed a Biosphere track off of "Patashnik" for a jeans commercial, which had the same steroid-injected effect on Biosphere's sales as those of Spiritualized, Trio, and Nick Drake with their Volkswagen. Wisely, Jensen took the money and ran from commercial success. He has since declared his permanent base of operations to be Tromso, Norway - located some 400 miles north of the Arctic Circle - and has signed to the exceptional Touch label. Both decisions have resulted in a profound maturation of the Biosphere sound far away from the puerile Chill Out agendas.
"Shenzhou" is the third Biosphere record for Touch, and continues to describe aural environments that are at once decidedly Arctic, yet wholly inviting and warm. Jensen has drawn a very direct line on this album back to Impressionist composer Claude Debussy by basing this album on some very old vinyl recordings of various Debussy pieces. The surface noise crackle may parallel that of the recent Touch production from turntablist Philip Jeck, but "Shenzhou" doesn't extend the comparison beyond their similar source materials. This is distinctly a Biosphere album filled with synaesthetic driftings, subtle rhythmic pulsations, and hypnotic loopings, all culled from the muted instrumentation of those Debussy compositions. Biosphere has yet again succeeded in crafting an exceptionally poetic album that is as accessible as it is subtly expressive. Recommended.
RealAudio clip: "Ancient Campfire"
RealAudio clip: "Two Ocean Plateau"
RealAudio clip: "Fast Atoms Escape"

album cover OMD Dazzle Ships (Virgin) cd 12.98
We've all got our old favorite records that maybe we haven't heard in a while, but it only takes a few bars of the lead-off track to immediately bring it all back and make us wanna dust 'em off again... This was the case when a special order was recently placed for Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark's 1983 album "Dazzle Ships"- a seeming direct follow-up to Kraftwerk's 'Radioactivity' - featuring shortwave radio broadcasts, chiming synth lines, speak-and-spells, and earnest, emotive vocals. Take tracks like the bouyant "Telegraph"- it's pure synth-pop goodness, combining an innocent exuberance with considerably more weighty, dark subject matter. An overlooked experimental electronic pop gem, this album is full of wonderful songs and sounds, courtesy of core members Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey. In a time when 'the '80s' are seemingly everywhere - and frequently in the most watered-down, cliche forms - it's nice to catch a few quality moments with a brilliant, good old friend. FYI: Jim thinks 'Organization' is way better, but this is definitely OMD's most exploratory moment.
RealAudio clip: "Telegraph"
RealAudio clip: "ABC Auto-Industry"
RealAudio clip: "Of All The Things We've Made"

album cover ZIEGENBOK KOPF The Architecture Of Dark Dance (Toyo) tp 4.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Our in store entertainment wunderkind John Dwyer is apparently unstoppable in his never ending series of releases and this new, ultra-low fi, hiss ridden cassette may be his best yet. 'The Architecture Of Dark Dance' comes after many weeks of research by Dwyer into the fecund techno scene from the city of Unterschleissheim in the state of Bavaria, Germany. Though it took John only a few weeks to become saturated by hundreds of hours of Unterschleissheimian techno before generating his own, albeit American version of the genre, it sure seemed like months here at Aquarius. We're pretty used to Dwyer coming in on a daily basis to entertain / harrass us, but the period during which he was working on this cassette was an unending daily test of endurance for us at times. At first it was humorous: John walked in one morning about a minute after we'd opened up the store and insisted that we play this twelve inch he'd picked up at the Community Thrift Store down the street. After being informed that the needle on our turntable was busted, John slapped the record on the counter and ran out of the store. It was then with surprise that we watched John return three hours later pulling a Forsell "Air Reference Turntable" on a stainless steel cart and heave the immense beast onto the counter (don't even ask where the hell he 'found' the thing.) After much jimmy-ing with our system, John got the twelve inch playing over our stereo. By the time first distorted snare hit sounded over our speakers Dwyer's eyes were as big as pluots. "FUCK YEAH!!!! THIS IS THE SHIT I'VE BEEN TRYING TO TELL YOU GUYS ABOUT!!!!" Turns out that a local German D.J. that had been living in the city had had to give up his entire collection of dance twelve inches when he was deported for an expired visa as a result of strict immigration rules in our post 9/11 environment. The always pennywise and poundthrift John Dwyer seized his opportunity and ended up buying the entire lot from the store for a mere $20 (instead of the $30 they were asking) after three intense hours of haggling with the clerk. After a period of absorption Dwyer began testing out his own covers, reworkings and even original compositions on us here at Aquarius. Most of these tracks hadn't yet had the vocals laid down, so Dwyer would simply sing them impromptu for us and whoever happened to be shopping in the store at the time. The final result is a lot like a more fucked up version of the Jones Machine's "I'm The Disco Dancing" combined with the manic punk energy of the best DHR releases out there. Songs like "Dance You Idiot" capture the immediacy of dance music as well as its subtle political underpinnings and "I'm At The Club" recreates the common folly of answering one's cellular phone on the dance floor. The 11 songs on this cassette are both boorishly satyrical and strangely addictive. It's the type of joke you know you shouldn't be laughing to but there's no use in resisting. Dwyer says it's not a joke, and he says it's not him. He has nothing to do with the mysterious Ziegenbok Kopf. Who ya gonna believe?!?!
RealAudio clip: "Dance You Idiot"
RealAudio clip: "I'm At The Club"

album cover MEEK, JOE I Hear A New World (special edition) (RPM) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Okay, so he was "the English Phil Spector". Whew, got that out of the way. In fact he's arguably one of THE most innovative, albeit the most obscure, producers *ever* (other candidates being Spector, Brian Wilson, Lee Perry, other votes welcome!). Though famous first and foremost for his hit with the Tornados' "Telstar" (the first English pop song to hit #1 on the charts in the U.S.), this tone deaf wunderkind had a penchant for the very strange and esoteric as well. It's been said that the man turned down the opportunity to have a first stab at recording The Beatles and David Bowie while counseling an aspiring band to axe front man Rod Stewart if they wanted to work with him. Bad judgements or refined tastes? Given much of the work Meek chose to produce in their stead one might quickly point the finger in the direction of bad judgement, but Meek's visionary "I Hear A New World" suggests that the man had an altogether sublime inspiration that was far ahead of its time.
Fascination with what life could possibly exist on the moon was the seed which drove Joe Meek to compose what could be considered the first "rock" concept album. He wanted to "create a picture in music of what could be up there in outer space." Quite a task. A task that required Meek to use every producing trick in his bag (a very, very big bag.) Take the foundation of an instrumental band, in this case Meek's The Blue Men -- a sort of Venturesy, Shadowsy, Les Paulsy kind of thing -- then squash the hell out of the drums with compression, throw delay and reverb around like a death battle with King Tubby, and add a potpourri of unusual instruments including the Clavioline (a super primitive pre-synthesizer) a purposefully out of tune tack piano, the occasional double speed vocals and you can almost hear Joe's New World. Top this off with the fact that Joe was attempting to create a stereo recording working only with primitive two track machines (not a huge multi-track facility) in his two room apartment recording studio and you know the man had to be a mad genius. (Certifiably mad, if the murder of his landlady and his suicide are any indication.)
This fine new edition of this *absolute*must*hear* album includes, along with all the original tracks, a 35 minute monologue by Joe Meek recorded in 1962 in which Meek gives a brief autobiography leading up to his residing at 538 Holloway Road, describes his studio and its contents: microphones, recording decks, etc and talks about his work. Quite a unique document. Also included on the disc is a film clip of Joe Meek in his studio talking about the music industry (and though the makers of this CD claim that you can only play the film on a PC, it seems to work fine on both Mac and PC.) Plus you get a nice fold out poster with Meek's original notes for each song on I.H.A.N.W. and a thorough telling of the story behind the album.
RealAudio clip: "The Bublight"
RealAudio clip: "Magnetic Field"

MEEK, JOE I Hear A New World (special edition) (RPM) lp 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Now available on vinyl! Okay, so he was "the English Phil Spector". Whew, got that out of the way. In fact he's arguably one of THE most innovative, albeit the most obscure, producers *ever* (other candidates being Spector, Brian Wilson, Lee Perry, other votes welcome!). Though famous first and foremost for his hit with the Tornados' "Telstar" (the first English pop song to hit #1 on the charts in the U.S.), this tone deaf wunderkind had a penchant for the very strange and esoteric as well. It's been said that the man turned down the opportunity to have a first stab at recording The Beatles and David Bowie while counseling an aspiring band to axe front man Rod Stewart if they wanted to work with him. Bad judgements or refined tastes? Given much of the work Meek chose to produce in their stead one might quickly point the finger in the direction of bad judgement, but Meek's visionary "I Hear A New World" suggests that the man had an altogether sublime inspiration that was far ahead of its time.
Fascination with what life could possibly exist on the moon was the seed which drove Joe Meek to compose what could be considered the first "rock" concept album. He wanted to "create a picture in music of what could be up there in outer space." Quite a task. A task that required Meek to use every producing trick in his bag (a very, very big bag.) Take the foundation of an instrumental band, in this case Meek's The Blue Men -- a sort of Venturesy, Shadowsy, Les Paulsy kind of thing -- then squash the hell out of the drums with compression, throw delay and reverb around like a death battle with King Tubby, and add a potpourri of unusual instruments including the Clavioline (a super primitive pre-synthesizer) a purposefully out of tune tack piano, the occasional double speed vocals and you can almost hear Joe's New World. Top this off with the fact that Joe was attempting to create a stereo recording working only with primitive two track machines (not a huge multi-track facility) in his two room apartment recording studio and you know the man had to be a mad genius. (Certifiably mad, if the murder of his landlady and his suicide are any indication.)
RealAudio clip: "The Bublight"
RealAudio clip: "Magnetic Field"

album cover U-ROY The Lost Album - Right Time Rockers (Sound System) cd 12.98
Part of me sees the development of the Jamaican DJ as truly bizarre. I try to imagine the Aquarius equivalent with say, our J. Allan Horrocks (who's initials are JAH, coincidentally enough) waxing poetic over The Lord Weird Slough Feg and cutting the tracks on an LP. That's basically the beginnings of the DJ, though my comparisons do not give the art form the justice it deserves. U Roy, or Hugh Roy, represents the king of the hill, top of the heap of DJ culture in Jamaica and it is in his footsteps that others followed regardless of who was the originator of this art form. U Roy's toasted versions of Duke Reid's rocksteady productions were persistently on Jamaica's top ten in the early seventies. Later, of course, his popularity and that of other DJs found producers dubbing the most popular rhythms to give the new singers a clean slate to work over. The tracks on this disc were all recorded at Channel One studios in 1976 and never intended for commmercial release, but for exclusive use in sound systems. U Roy had the pick of the litter rhythm wise and the late night sessions gave him an impromptu performance style that's maybe not as apparent on his official releases. Very highly recommended. Sorry, no LP at this time.
RealAudio clip: "Bury the Razor"
RealAudio clip: "Back Stabbing"

album cover MORRICONE, ENNIO Danger: Diabolik (OST) (Sycodelic (M.D.W.C.G.C.G.)) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
One of the early filmworks from Mario Bava (best known for his horror flicks), Danger: Diabolik is a spectacular, unusual and campy romp of a movie. From 1967, it's an Italian comic book come to life complete with wonderfully mad leaps of logic, a bevy of foxy ladies, and a suitably sexy musical accompaniment. Move over Batman! James Bond, step aside! You're no match for Diabolik who we should mention is no super-hero. He's a super-criminal wrapped in skin-tight black leather and latex. This soundtrack offers up a smattering of gleefully stilted dialogue snippets including the fab "Dry up, stupid!" line, but the seemingly relentless revisiting of the main track "Deep Down"- slinkily kitten-crooned, perky horns, slow'n'wistful, sly Peter Gunn-esque and oh so many more - may quickly wear on your nerves without D:D's swoonful eye candy. FYI: Even if you've yet to see the film, you might already be familiar with its kitschful flair. Mike Patton (in Fantomas) and the Beastie Boys have both plundered this amazing film for it's seriously astounding set designs and stunningly sleek wardrobe.
RealAudio clip: "Driving Decoys"
RealAudio clip: "Criminal / Justice Solution"
RealAudio clip: "Charading Chauffeurs In Wait"
RealAudio clip: "Deep Down"
RealAudio clip: "Valmont (Underworld Don) Philosophies"
RealAudio clip: "Money Orgy"

album cover V/A Teen Dance Music From China And Malaysia (Thrift Score) cd 14.98
FINALLY RE-PRESSED after years of being out of print! An all time AQ favorite available again!
Fans of The Steps, Ho: Roady Music From Vietnam and fans of instrumental exotica weirdness take note. We are happy to have chanced upon this brand new collection of gems from the cracks of music history. According to the notes on the back of the case, the thrift-store-scouring curator of this collection was blessed with an extreme case of "right place at the right time" syndrome and spotted an entire collection of records from China and South East Asia which had been dropped off in grocery bags only an hour earlier. Wisely seizing the opportunity, our protagonist picked up every last one and took them home to sift through the motherlode at his leisure. The 18 tracks on this disc represent the best, by our guide's judgement, songs in the collection. The cuts are all instrumental (most vocals being mono-syllabic choruses -- read: "oohs" and "ahhs") with the exception of the The Chipmunks-meet-the-Ventures styled "Chella-La" by The Stylers and an off kilter rendition of Prince Buster's "Enjoy Yourself". The tracks range from the very western sounding to the more overtly Asian in melody and all of them are soaked in guitar -- both of the fuzzed out and spaciously reverb drenched variety -- oddball organs, drums, bongos, vibes, bass, etc... You get the idea. There are several tracks of popular film arrangements including For A Few Dollars More, a medley of James Bond Themes and a go-go version of Bridge Over The River Kwai. But there are plenty of less obvious sources quoted including a psychedelic mambo which even features a yelp Perez Prado would be proud to call his own, some very Martin Denny-esque arrangements, as well as some very Ventures or Shadows (depending which you feel more worthy of the credit) like numbers. This one comes highly recommended.
RealAudio clip: TACIT BLESSING "(indecipherable)"
RealAudio clip: STYLERS, THE "Chella-La"
RealAudio clip: STYLERS, THE "Themes From James Bond"

album cover V/A Trojan Skinhead Reggae Box Set (Trojan) 3cd 26.00
For those thinking that maybe there's some sort of contradiction in terms with the words "skinhead" and "reggae" used in the same breath, it is Trojan's job to educate as well as tittilate. Way back in the late sixties, before any of the current breed of skinheads were breeched, the ever restless working class youth of England were in the process of constructing a new counter culture style out of the demise of Mod. Designing themselves in complete antithesis of the hippies, they cut their hair short, donned levi jeans army surplus jackets and steel toed boots. The music they embraced to round out their were the fresh sounds coming out of Jamaica: the newly forged sounds of reggae. The enthusiasm for the music combined with the buying power of the English youth was such that Jamaican singles soon began to appear on the charts and Jamaican artists themselves began to take notice of them, tailoring songs for the new English market. It wasn't until many years later that the clueless throngs of right wing nuts, who are now synonymous with the word "skinhead", co-opted the fashion wholesale, even modelling their music after Jamaican ska. The fifty tracks on this collection were recorded between 1968 and 1970 with tracks produced both in Jamaica and the U.K. by Jamaican ex-patriots (disc three appears to be almost exclusively comprised of the latter) such as Laurel Aitken, Joe Mansano, Lambert Brisco and others.
RealAudio clip: THE CHARMERS "Skinhead Train"
RealAudio clip: THE UPSETTERS "A Taste of Killings"
RealAudio clip: RILEY, DESMOND "Skinhead A Message To You"

CIRCLE Zopalki (Bad Vugum) 2lp 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Bizarrely enough, I don't believe that we've ever listed this before, one of our favorite records by one of our favorite bands. This, the second album from these Finnish space/prog rockers, from 1996, sees them really delving into neo-Krautrock sounds and psychedelic hypnosis complete with sinister string arrangements. This one's dark and murky and heavy and a contender for our favorite Circle record ever, and that's saying something! If you don't have this one already, you should get it! While the CD is terminally out of print, we have the very last copies of the vinyl... don't blame us when they're gone.

album cover SUN CITY GIRLS High Asia Lo-Pacific (Abduction) 2cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
"High Asia Lo-Pacific" comprise volumes 9 and 10 of the Sun City Girls' Carnival Folklore Resurrection series. High Asia, disc one, finds the Girls returning to their quasi-ethno folk which they seem to do so well. Using primarily stringed instruments -- guitars and lutes, bowed and plucked -- augmented with some nice harmonium work and a bit of piano. Middle Eastern flavored melodies are the vehicle of choice for most of these tracks with the Girls using their trademarked falsettos and nasal murmuring. Gocher's drumming remains low in the mix throughout with the exception of the sort of rocking "Philly SOUL LAO" and "Old Glory's Fade". Three tracks of the Sun City Girls' alter ego as a dark-hippy jam band are the exception to the rule in this collection and their presence represents more of a refreshing change than the wearying endlessness that an entire album of such No Neck Blues Band-esque skronkery can be. Disc two, Lo-Pacific, is a 40 minute mix-track of short wave and field recordings. With the exception of a section in the middle entitled "Blood of Guadalajara" -- contributed by John Vallier -- featuring a radio play of a 'cock' fight (get it?) , all the recordings were made by the Sun City Girls during their travels throughout Asia between 1988 and 1998. Quite a nice montage of street scenes, odd animal noises, calls to prayer, arguments, strange radio transmissions and more. There's even a snippet of a numbers station (Russian maybe?) slipped into the mix. The inclusion of this second disc definitely pushes this release near the top of the list of our favorites in the C.F.R. series.
RealAudio clip: "Draco Kilik"
RealAudio clip: "Qator Sidaan Yong"
RealAudio clip: "Ruby SOUL LAO"
RealAudio clip: "Lo-Pacific (excerpt 1)"
RealAudio clip: "Lo-Pacific (excerpt 2)"
RealAudio clip: "Lo-Pacific (excerpt 3)"

album cover MY BLOODY VALENTINE Loveless (Warner / Sire) cd 14.98
We just realised that this record, one of AQ unanimous all time favorites, never got listed on the website OR the AQ list. And while most of you may already have this, a few of you are in for a big surprise and a musical awakening. "Loveless" stands at the pinnacle of the UK shoegazer movement of the early '90s also populated by Ride, Slowdive, Blind Mr. Jones, Lush, and dozens of lesser knowns on Creation and Cherry Red Reords. Almost all of these bands were enthralled by '60s pop, extending Phil Spector's wall of sound into thick tapestries of distortion and reverberation that almost completely buried their distinctly pop structures. My Bloody Valentine was no exception, but were certainly the most adventurous in terms of production techniques and most definitely the best songwriters of the lot (though Ride and Slowdive did write some amazing songs) culminating with their masterpiece (and swansong) "Loveless." Led by the intertwined guitars and vocals of the bleary eyed duo of Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher, My Bloody Valentine blurred what would normally be punk-as-fuck distortion into a velvety wash of sleepwalking sound, soothed further by their hushed lullabye vocals. Yet, My Bloody Valentine weren't just interested in lulling their audiences to sleep, as "Loveless" borrows more than a few tricks from the contemporary Manchester sound (Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, etc.) with their brilliant track "Soon" filled with rolling basslines and spry breakbeats.
That track along with the equally groovy-yet-dreamy "Glider" ep had been the basis for Simon Reynolds curious thesis that My Bloody Valentine had produced some of the earliest jungle tracks. More plausible was that MBV were one of the first rock bands to actively incorporate sampling into their production techniques. My Bloody Valentine had resampled their guitar feedback digitally to created strangely warbling layers of sound and allow for additional tools to build their bittersweet, melancholic melodies. "Loveless" may remain the final testament to the musical prowess of My Bloody Valentine, as Kevin Shields continues to state the claim that another album is in the works... well it's been in the works for over a decade and has no signs of ever being realized. Nevertheless, this album *still* sounds totally fresh and wholly superior to all of the bands that have attempted to revive the My Bloody Valentine sound (Lilys, Swirlies, Flying Saucer Attack, Third Eye Foundation, Fennesz, Chessie, etc, etc, etc).
Perhaps our opinion best stated by former Aquarian Marc Kate: "If you don't own it, I won't be mad, but you will certainly earn my pity." An earthshattering record. Period.
RealAudio clip: "Only Shallow"
RealAudio clip: "I Only Said"
RealAudio clip: "Sometimes"
RealAudio clip: "Soon"

WARD 21 Mentally Disturbed (Greensleeves) 2lp 16.98
At last we've got our paws on a dancehall album that we can recommend from start to finish. Jamaica's highly fertile music scene still seems geared towards the single and the majority of dancehall that we've been excited about in the past has been in the form of 7"s, which rules out the majority of the music buying public here (who apparently no longer even own record players tsk, tsk). What's more, those singles that we've been most enthused about are not even the original mixes, but "hip hop" remixes in which dancehall a cappellas are mixed in with the current Timbaland hits or other popular hip hop track*. But like we said, here is a dancehall record with practically NO DUDS (and it's available on cd for you folks with no record player).
Ward 21 is unlike most of the dancehall acts coming out of Jamaica in that they are a group and not an individual. Apprenticing under the legendary King Jammy, the group exists as a collection of four producers -and- d.j.'s who have made their mark on the Jamaican music industry by producing tracks and albums for some of the island's top vocalists like Elephant Man (who makes a guest appearance on this album) and Beenie Man, and creating some of the most popular rhythms in dancehall. After working behind the scenes for years the group has finally pooled their engineering and producing prowess to put together 22 tracks of insane dancehall. Along with being consistently top notch in the production department throughout, the vocals on "Mentally Disturbed" are a case study in how to sing dancehall right.... in the humble opinion of AQ's dancehall heads. For the most part the lyrics are grumbled, not sung, in gruff voice -- almost forced into a lower octave than the singer's range -- and the lyrics themselves are long winded, stream of conscious like rants. This stuff is crazy. Relentless repeated rhythms hammer away while the vocalists growl about sushi and Kurt Cobain and 'Hoochieland' and assorted other weirdness. Catchy and funky and funny and if you have a boomin' system in your ride this is way more suitable for window rattling than whatever Miami Bass or MTV flavor of the moment you happen to be listening to. The hip hop vibe is definitely present, in some of the beats, and some of the toasting is definitely practically rapping, but this is dancehall through and through. Byram and Andee have been listening to this non stop for a week now. No higher recommendation than that (well, at least until Allan starts playing it, taking up otherwise valuable Slough Feg listening time!).
*** By doing an Exact Keyword Search on the Aquarius website for "hip hop remix" (without quotes) you'll see a list of all such 7" singles we've stocked and cataloged to date with the rhythms that they use.

album cover APPLESEED CAST, THE Low Level Owl: Volume I (Deep Elm Records Inc) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Though Lawrence, Kansas based Appleseed Cast has been around since 1998 they haven't been as widely heard as their contemporaries The Get Up Kids and The Anniversary, and I would have imagined that the release of "Low Level Owl" volumes one and two would change all that (although it seemingly hasn't helped too much as this record came out last year and Appleseed's public profile hasn't really improved all that dramatically). Though AC was basically your run of the mill emo band (Andee's old band even played with them at a hardcore festival! a few years back), we highly doubt their most recent efforts will be confused with their mid-west emo contemporaries. Within the emo/post-hardcore spectrum "Low Level Owl" has much the same hue as Sunny Day Real Estate's angst-ridden "How It Feels To Be Something On". Anthemic, meandering, and contemplative are definitely some of the adjectives that might describe this new twosome of recordings. Taken together "Low Level Owl" I and II are a much more sophisticated work than "How It Feels..." was (and I love that album very much thank you), combining a sense of pop hook writing akin to Death Cab For Cutie or even Built To Spill, but with the added epic glory of Godspeed You Black Emperor, Radiohead or Mogwai's arrangements and production, but none of that overbearing pretension (esp. G.S.Y.B.E.'s incessant use of homeless street poets) and more a wide-eyed excitement to just make music!. This is good clean all American pop music for the emo lover who's old enough to have been drinking for at least a good ten years. The songs are filled with gorgeous melodic guitar lines soaked in spacious reverb, huge drum sounds and earnest vocals. If part of emo emanates a sense of nostalgia (Get Up Kids with Rick Springfield, Sunny Day with Christopher Cross) then I almost want to put Appleseed Cast on the page with U2 circa "Under A Blood Red Sky" with many of the guitar and drum parts, but I imagine that might bum out some AQ customers so I'll refrain.
The thing that really kicks a hole in our pants with these albums is the obvious love and meticulous care that went into recording them. The band apparently spent three months recording all the tracks; laying down the initial tracks and then sculpting them with additional overdubs and extensive tweaking, even miking leaves blowing along the driveway outside the studio and including it as a segue between two songs. In fact, both albums are obviously meant to be listened to in their entirety, with nary a second of silence between songs, as tracks bleed and drift into one another. Volume two begins, quite ingeniously and literally, where volume one leaves off -- with a brief reprise of the ending track. It could be me, but volume two seems to contain more Mogwai style extended jams and instrumental musical forays and experiments. So if you wish to start with a more "pop" oriented record, choose volume one and if you want more of a drifting and pensive record, choose volume two. Chances are that you'll wanna pick up both eventually anyhow. Everytime we play this in the store, someone buys a copy or two.
RealAudio clip: "On Reflection"
RealAudio clip: "Steps And Numbers"
RealAudio clip: "Bird of Paradise"
RealAudio clip: "Mile Marker"

album cover APPLESEED CAST, THE Low Level Owl: Volume II (Deep Elm Records Inc) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Though Lawrence, Kansas based Appleseed Cast has been around since 1998 they haven't been as widely heard as their contemporaries The Get Up Kids and The Anniversary, and I would have imagined that the release of "Low Level Owl" volumes one and two would change all that (although it seemingly hasn't helped too much as this record came out last year and Appleseed's public profile hasn't really improved all that dramatically). Though AC was basically your run of the mill emo band (Andee's old band even played with them at a hardcore festival! a few years back), we highly doubt their most recent efforts will be confused with their mid-west emo contemporaries. Within the emo/post-hardcore spectrum "Low Level Owl" has much the same hue as Sunny Day Real Estate's angst-ridden "How It Feels To Be Something On". Anthemic, meandering, and contemplative are definitely some of the adjectives that might describe this new twosome of recordings. Taken together "Low Level Owl" I and II are a much more sophisticated work than "How It Feels..." was (and I love that album very much thank you), combining a sense of pop hook writing akin to Death Cab For Cutie or even Built To Spill, but with the added epic glory of Godspeed You Black Emperor, Radiohead or Mogwai's arrangements and production, but none of that overbearing pretension (esp. G.S.Y.B.E.'s incessant use of homeless street poets) and more a wide-eyed excitement to just make music!. This is good clean all American pop music for the emo lover who's old enough to have been drinking for at least a good ten years. The songs are filled with gorgeous melodic guitar lines soaked in spacious reverb, huge drum sounds and earnest vocals. If part of emo emanates a sense of nostalgia (Get Up Kids with Rick Springfield, Sunny Day with Christopher Cross) then I almost want to put Appleseed Cast on the page with U2 circa "Under A Blood Red Sky" with many of the guitar and drum parts, but I imagine that might bum out some AQ customers so I'll refrain.
The thing that really kicks a hole in our pants with these albums is the obvious love and meticulous care that went into recording them. The band apparently spent three months recording all the tracks; laying down the initial tracks and then sculpting them with additional overdubs and extensive tweaking, even miking leaves blowing along the driveway outside the studio and including it as a segue between two songs. In fact, both albums are obviously meant to be listened to in their entirety, with nary a second of silence between songs, as tracks bleed and drift into one another. Volume two begins, quite ingeniously and literally, where volume one leaves off -- with a brief reprise of the ending track. It could be me, but volume two seems to contain more Mogwai style extended jams and instrumental musical forays and experiments. So if you wish to start with a more "pop" oriented record, choose volume one and if you want more of a drifting and pensive record, choose volume two. Chances are that you'll wanna pick up both eventually anyhow. Everytime we play this in the store, someone buys a copy or two.
RealAudio clip: "Strings"
RealAudio clip: "A Place In Line"
RealAudio clip: "Ring Out the Warning Bell"
RealAudio clip: "The Last In A Line"

album cover WARD 21 Mentally Disturbed (Greensleeves) cd 15.98
At last we've got our paws on a dancehall album that we can recommend from start to finish. Jamaica's highly fertile music scene still seems geared towards the single and the majority of dancehall that we've been excited about in the past has been in the form of 7"s, which rules out the majority of the music buying public here (who apparently no longer even own record players tsk, tsk). What's more, those singles that we've been most enthused about are not even the original mixes, but "hip hop" remixes in which dancehall a cappellas are mixed in with the current Timbaland hits or other popular hip hop track*. But like we said, here is a dancehall record with practically NO DUDS (and it's available on cd for you folks with no record player).
Ward 21 is unlike most of the dancehall acts coming out of Jamaica in that they are a group and not an individual. Apprenticing under the legendary King Jammy, the group exists as a collection of four producers -and- d.j.'s who have made their mark on the Jamaican music industry by producing tracks and albums for some of the island's top vocalists like Elephant Man (who makes a guest appearance on this album) and Beenie Man, and creating some of the most popular rhythms in dancehall. After working behind the scenes for years the group has finally pooled their engineering and producing prowess to put together 22 tracks of insane dancehall. Along with being consistently top notch in the production department throughout, the vocals on "Mentally Disturbed" are a case study in how to sing dancehall right.... in the humble opinion of AQ's dancehall heads. For the most part the lyrics are grumbled, not sung, in gruff voice -- almost forced into a lower octave than the singer's range -- and the lyrics themselves are long winded, stream of conscious like rants. This stuff is crazy. Relentless repeated rhythms hammer away while the vocalists growl about sushi and Kurt Cobain and 'Hoochieland' and assorted other weirdness. Catchy and funky and funny and if you have a boomin' system in your ride this is way more suitable for window rattling than whatever Miami Bass or MTV flavor of the moment you happen to be listening to. The hip hop vibe is definitely present, in some of the beats, and some of the toasting is definitely practically rapping, but this is dancehall through and through. Byram and Andee have been listening to this non stop for a week now. No higher recommendation than that (well, at least until Allan starts playing it, taking up otherwise valuable Slough Feg listening time!).
*** By doing an Exact Keyword Search on the Aquarius website for "hip hop remix" (without quotes) you'll see a list of all such 7" singles we've stocked and cataloged to date with the rhythms that they use.
RealAudio clip: "Da Pum (Brain Damage)"
RealAudio clip: "President Hoochie Land"
RealAudio clip: "The Illness"

album cover DADDY'S CURSES s/t (Prophecy Connection) cd-r ep 4.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Aquarius Records is proud to present the newest in field recording fuckery: "Daddy's Curses". The disc is exactly as the title implies, a recording of someone's father cussing his brains out. Apparently, in 1987, an enterprising young son surreptitiously recorded his father as he attempted to repair a piano. For ten solid minutes the father lays out a steady stream of profanities ranging from the milquetoast Ned Flanders end of the spectrum to out and out Raymond & Peter nastiness. The combination of the two from one mouth is absolutely pant wetting at times, such as when our protagonist locks onto a repeated "Gosh Darn It!!" after having been laying out a heavy stream of "You Motherfucker" style potty mouth. For better or worse, the piano itself is never heard throughout the recording. The closest thing we get to hearing it are repeated strikes with what sounds like a hammer against maybe the piano's frame, eventually resulting in pieces of wood falling to the floor.
RealAudio clip: "Excerpt 1"
RealAudio clip: "Excerpt 2"

album cover WIENER, OSWALD & HELMUT SCHOENER Team of Jeremy Roht: West Dawson, Yukon Territory (Suppose) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Right now I can almost hear the groans of the 60% of AQL readers that will think we are absolutely nuts in our enthusiasm for this recording. "First they try to convince me to buy a cd of some damn elephants banging on trash can lids and blowing on harmonicas and now they want me to buy this?" Okay, those of you who groaned can now move on to the next item on the list... Now that they're gone the remaining 40% can talk dog music. This disc is, in the simplest of terms, a recording of a Mr Jeremy Roht's sled dogs made on location in West Dawson, Yukon Territory, Canada. Like the Thai Elephant Orchestra, this project attempts to explore the possibilities of music produced by animals. Unlike the Thai Elephants the music these dogs were creating was being done regardless of human interference and, in most cases, in spite of it. When the two producers of this disc approached Mr Roht about making such a recording of his dogs, he was suspicious thinking that they were working for the plaintiffs (his neighbors) gathering evidence for a case against him. Fortunately they were just as excited about the notion of the dog music and set out capturing the dogs' spontaneous performances. What they probably didn't expect at the outset of their project was that the dogs themselves might not be so forthcoming in sharing their repertoire with outsiders. Turns out that dogs, unlike elephants, are generally quite shy about bursting out into song around humans. Undeterred, the cd's producers -- Oswald Wiener and Helmut Schoener -- went about devising an "Automatic Dog Music Recorder" to clandestinely capture the canine chorus anytime night and day. A photograph of the ingenious bark-activated device hanging from a birch tree appears on the back cover. Even better though is the hand drawn, exploded-view schematic of the A.D.M.R. in the accompanying booklet. The chorus of dogs definitely seems to have its lead vocalists and harmonizers and after a while one can hear the motifs of the leading parts being expressed in stretto as though in a fugue, but then also inverted and even, dare I say, in retrograde form. When we play this cd in the store people invariably chuckle at first, but many -- if they stick around long enough -- tend to agree that there's more going on here than just howling to be heard. We even got the professional advice from our friend Cowboy -- a Husky / Akita mix (and the dog of local customer Cayce who you may remember from Aquarius Video #9). When we put the disc on, Cowboy instantly perked up his ears and listened for about half a minute before chiming in with his own variation on the song's theme. I think it's important to point out that Cowboy didn't just immediately start howling, which would imply an autonomic response, but listened to the tune for a while to find the appropriate key and melodic accompaniment. It was also interesting to hear Cowboy's variation in how it differed in timbre from the pack, which had been singing together for years. Looks to me like Wiener & Schoener could put together a comparative series of recordings of dog musics from different packs around the globe.
RealAudio clip: "excerpt 1"
RealAudio clip: "excerpt 2"

album cover SEKA GAMBUH PURA DESA ADAT BATUAN Music of the Gambuh Theater (Vital Records) cd 14.98
Gambuh is the oldest surviving dramatic form in Bali (incorporating music, literature and dance), a remnant of the Hindu Javanese courts of 500 years ago, it followed those courts to Bali when the Mahapajit dynasty fell to Islam in the 15th century. With the destruction of the royal courts in Bali by the Dutch in the 20th century, Gambuh has become an orphaned form, rarely heard and even more rarely recorded. In fact, this recording represents the first time ever that the entire drama has been recorded and released in commercial form. Although some of the bronze percussion instruments so commonly associated with the music of Bali are included in gambuh, they serve a more perfunctory role here and their numbers are much smaller than what would be found in most gamelan ensembles. The leading instruments, along with the two hand drums, are several (between 4 and 6) bamboo flutes (suling gambuh), some as long as one meter in length. Combined with the rebab, a two stringed bowed lute which plays almost in unison with the flutes, the resulting sound is quite haunting and beautiful. Though the flutes are playing in unison there's a slight inexact nature to their playing, maybe a certain freedom of interpretation of the melody, that gives their melodic lines an eerie echoing nature. The cd's booklet also comes with 21 impressive pages of very thoroughly researched liner notes that will satiate the appetites of budding ethnomusicologists or sundry other hungry music fiends out there. Highly recommended!
RealAudio clip: "Batel"
RealAudio clip: "Gadung Melati (excerpt 1)"
RealAudio clip: "Gadung Melati (excerpt 2)"

album cover V/A Music of the Gamelan Gong Kebyar Volume 1 (Vital Records) cd 14.98
Early on in the 20th century a new genre of gamelan emerged in Bali and became known as Gong Kebyar (meaning "to burst" or "bloom"). Kebyar is a populist form born, ironically enough, out of the Dutch supplanting of the Balinese court. Accounts as to the actual creation of kebyar are sketchy, but the most oft repeated is the story of two gamelan groups engaging in a competition to the pleasure and amazement of thousand of gathered villagers. Said to have occurred in 1914, the two groups presented a program of wild and fast paced gamelan unlike what anyone had heard before. Arguments to the story's validity aside, the genre spread like wild fire throughout Bali and has exceeded the popularity of all the island's various gamelan forms (many groups even melted down their sets at the beginning of the century to have kebyar ones built.) Many early compositions were reworked repertoires from other genres, often borrowing from the sacred, but with its growing popularity it soon worked its way into religious ceremonies. Rhythmic precision within the kebyar ensemble is of utmost importance as many of the music's parts are composites that are dependent not only on their counterpart for the realization of their role within the gamelan, but the ensemble as a whole must respond as one to tempo changes, starts and stops -- often quite abrupt -- seamlessly as even the slightest deviations can be noticeable and disastrous. Imagine playing a difficult piece on piano, but first dividing up the notes so that you only play every other note while a partner plays the others, a sort of musical three-legged race of Olympic proportions. Kebyar has continued to increase in popularity in the brief 90 years since its inception and with regular public competitions the genre has spurred groups into increasingly faster tempos and stylistic flourishes as well as challenging young composers to be constantly vigilant and innovative in creating new works.
Volume one features a wide selection of pieces including the now famous dance Teruna Jaya, composed in 1914, which is the cornerstone of the kebyar style, three pieces written between 1925 and 1984 and three traditional pieces arranged for gamelan gong kebyar. The tracks were all recorded live, many of them at Bali's prestigious National Institute of the Arts (S.T.S.I.) in Denpasar, between 1982 and 1994 by Bali's top musicians. Culled from over 300 hours of recordings, they represent some of the best and liveliest performances of kebyar caught on tape.
RealAudio clip: I NYOMAN MARIA "Kebyar Duduk (excerpt 1)"
RealAudio clip: I NYOMAN MARIA "Kebyar Duduk (excerpt 2)"
RealAudio clip: PAN WANDRES & I GEDE MANIK "Teruna Jaya (excerpt 1)"
RealAudio clip: PAN WANDRES & I GEDE MANIK "Teruna Jaya (excerpt 2)"

album cover V/A Music of the Gamelan Gong Kebyar Volume 2 (Vital Records) cd 14.98
Early on in the 20th century a new genre of gamelan emerged in Bali and became known as Gong Kebyar (meaning "to burst" or "bloom"). Kebyar is a populist form born, ironically enough, out of the Dutch supplanting of the Balinese court. Accounts as to the actual creation of kebyar are sketchy, but the most oft repeated is the story of two gamelan groups engaging in a competition to the pleasure and amazement of thousand of gathered villagers. Said to have occurred in 1914, the two groups presented a program of wild and fast paced gamelan unlike what anyone had heard before. Arguments to the story's validity aside, the genre spread like wild fire throughout Bali and has exceeded the popularity of all the island's various gamelan forms (many groups even melted down their sets at the beginning of the century to have kebyar ones built.) Many early compositions were reworked repertoires from other genres, often borrowing from the sacred, but with its growing popularity it soon worked its way into religious ceremonies. Rhythmic precision within the kebyar ensemble is of utmost importance as many of the music's parts are composites that are dependent not only on their counterpart for the realization of their role within the gamelan, but the ensemble as a whole must respond as one to tempo changes, starts and stops -- often quite abrupt -- seamlessly as even the slightest deviations can be noticeable and disastrous. Imagine playing a difficult piece on piano, but first dividing up the notes so that you only play every other note while a partner plays the others, a sort of musical three-legged race of Olympic proportions. Kebyar has continued to increase in popularity in the brief 90 years since its inception and with regular public competitions the genre has spurred groups into increasingly faster tempos and stylistic flourishes as well as challenging young composers to be constantly vigilant and innovative in creating new works.
Whereas volume one featured a variety of works written throughout the genre's existence by various composers past and present, volume two focuses on one of Bali's up and coming stars, an inspired and prolific composer and performer named I Nyoman Windha. So popular are his works that it's not unheard of at kebyar competitions that two competing groups will both be performing compositions by Windha. The tracks on this disc were recorded in 1991 and 1994. All the tracks, like on volume one, were recorded live and most of the performances were connected in some way with a kebyar festival competition, either during a rehearsal or the competition itself (you can hear the audience's response to the gamelan's performance clearly on the first track.)
RealAudio clip: "Jagra Parwata (excerpt 1)"
RealAudio clip: "Jagra Parwata (excerpt 2)"
RealAudio clip: "Cendra Wasih (excerpt 1)"
RealAudio clip: "Cendra Wasih (excerpt 2)"

album cover V/A Wayang Golek: The Sound & Celebration of Sundanese Puppet Theater (Music of the Earth) 6cd 37.00
Let's see if I can do this set the justice it deserves and be as brief as possible. Wayang, or puppet theater, is the premier form of dramatic expression in much of Indonesia and exists in a myriad of forms, often unique to particular regions. It is performed for weddings, graduations, circumcisions and numerous other auspicious occasions and social events. Combining music, song, and story telling it can relate moral, historical, political, and puerile functions using stories taken from familiar classic tales (most often used are the Indian epics Mahabarata and Ramayana.) What's more, puppet theater is an event that combines high and low culture that could, in western terms, only be expressed analogously as a melange (which it is not) say, of Shakespeare meets Bach's "Matthew's Passion" meets Star Wars meets Wagner's "Ring Cycle" meets Bevis & Butthead and then some. As such, it is a dramatic form that can truly be grasped and appreciated by all members of society regardless of age or education.
Though puppet theater, like much performance in Java and Bali, is a synergetic event, it is the dalang, or puppeteer, that is the real star of the show. He must not only have an excellent story telling, comedic and musical ability (with loads of great improvisational skills), but must be able to bring the puppets to life as well -- often manipulating several at once -- and be able to do all this for very long stretches without a single break. A truly great dalang is also an excellent builder of puppets, the more ornate the better. The enclosed booklet details some of the recent developments in puppet technology, including puppets that actually squirt blood, puke noodles and that can be decapitated. The dalang is not only charged with controlling the puppets and the unfurling of the story, but by extension the gamelan and singers as well by giving them cues (often quite brief) to begin and end the musical pieces which frame events in the story or to accompany battle scenes and the like. Though the general framework of a story is fixed, the dalang's art is in his ability to embellish his narration of the tale, contextualizing it to the event at hand, often delivering witty barbs at the wayang's sponsors or members of the gamelan. The political possibilities of such an event are pretty much limitless and dalang often use the performance as a means of criticizing government corruption and oppression, which has even resulted in the persecution and imprisonment of dalang.
What makes this recording uniquely special is that it is the first time an entire live performance of wayang golek has been recorded and released. There have been plenty of cassette and cd issues of abbreviated wayang performances, many being done in a recording studio. But, clocking in at just under 7 hours (squeezed onto 6 cds), it's no wonder performances of wayang golek are not released in their entirety. This recording was made in 1994 and was sponsored by the national telecommunications company PTT Telkom. The dalang for the performance, Asep Sunandar Sunarya Giri Harja III, is considered one of the best living dalang in West Java and is heavily sought after for performances. Born into a family of dalang (not only was his father a famous dalang, but three brothers are also professional dalang) he received first prize in the annual wayang golek competition in 1985.
The performance begins with a 41 minute instrumental suite that serves to both warm up the musicians and draw guests to the performance area and is ended with a brief introductory speech over the P.A. system by the event's sponsors. Once the performance gets under way, the shrewd and minimal recording method reveals itself: with one microphone over the dalang and another 12 feet away, over the singers and musicians, the super-wide spaced stereo pair is able to pick up as much of the performance as directly as possible. This was important because apparently, just beyond the group was an archaic P.A. system through which the dalang (as well as the female singers) was being reinforced to the crowd of several thousand that were seated beyond the invited guests of a hundred or so. The resulting recording has a bizarre quality; combining the acoustic and unamplified instruments of the gamelan with voice of the dalang picked up by the microphone above him along with the delayed echo of the dalang's voice as it bounces back from distant walls like a bullhorn. The performance moves dreamlike between songs, dialog (with the dalang taking on various voices of the characters in the story), and combinations of both where the dalang will interrupt the singers in the middle of a song with humorous quips, generating mirth from the audience. Although a significant portion of the performance is merely dialog (in fact, during the requisite midnight "clown scene" the dalang sounds almost like a stand up comedian doing a routine at a West Java night club) it is in this writer's opinion that the recording still holds a certain fascination in texture alone. But you needn't worry about missing out on the fun here because the producer has painstakingly gone through the trouble of translating the *entire* performance into English and including it as a .pdf document on the sixth disc (it is also available in Sundanese and bahasa Indonesia if those suit better) which you can print out so you can follow along while listening. Along with the 7 hours of the wayang golek performance and the complete text translation, this set also comes with a detailed 44 page booklet. The very detailed and superbly researched notes cover the history of wayang golek, the puppets, music, plus information specific to this performance such as a story synopsis as well as its origin, and information on the performers involved. Andrew Weintraub, a professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Pittsburgh who specializes in the performing arts of West Java, put together the set (recording the performance, translating the dialog and writing the liner notes) and has done a remarkable job. Though some may find this a bit steep of an investment for an introduction to wayang or Sundanese music in general, it is a remarkable and unique production and one that's worth the bite into the old leather bi-fold. And given how cheap this set is, you're hardly paying much per disc. Highly recommended!
RealAudio clip: "Tatalu (excerpt 1)"
RealAudio clip: "Tatalu (excerpt 2)"
RealAudio clip: "Kawitan"
RealAudio clip: "Murwa Pondok"
RealAudio clip: "Karatagan"
RealAudio clip: "Asa Tos Tepang"
RealAudio clip: "(Cepot Tells Jokes)"

album cover AMON DUUL II Phallus Dei (Revisited) cd 17.98
Split apart from the more politicized fraction known as Amon Duul I (Psychedelic Underground, etc.), Amon Duul II emerged in 1969 when they released this fantastic debut album. It's a masterwork of drug-dazed guitar psych, long tracks, middle eastern influence, churning trance rock, etc. With the same four bonus tracks as found on the prior Gammarock label cd version: "Freak Out Requiem I - III", & "Cymbals In The End". Where the music of Amon Duul I flowed freely like the loose collective of hippies they were, Amon Duul II was a delirious explosion of psychedelia that, with small exception, always kept one foot firmly planted in structure. The extended jams, especially the title track, have the benefit of being both very accessible straight ahead, heavy, psychedelic rock while retaining the spontaneity of an improv sensibility.
RealAudio clip: "Phallus Dei (excerpt 1)"
RealAudio clip: "Phallus Dei (excerpt 2)"
RealAudio clip: "Freak Out Requiem II"

album cover ARZACHEL s/t (Akarma) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Akarma does their mini-LP sleeve digipack reissue thing with this 1969 British psych gem -- "The definitive British psych album" says Nick Saloman of Bevis Frond, in fact -- and it's well worth checking out for fans of early Floyd, Cream, The Nice, and that T2 disc we reviewed a few lists back. Arzachel not only had a weird name, the band members had unlikely names (pseudonyms, actually) too. Meet guitarist Simeon Sasparella (aka Steve Hillage, later of Gong fame), drummer "Basil Dowling", faux-Kenyan bassist "Njerogi Gategaka", and organ player "Sam Lee-Uff", actually one Dave Stewart (not the Eurythmics guy) who is better known for being in progsters Egg later on.
The first half of this album features their poppier psych/garage numbers, including the lovely instrumental "Queen St. Gang", which seems to feature the "Hey Joe" bass line coupled with the melody from the theme to The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly! The second half of the album indulges in extended heavy psych jams of the sort Arzachel specialized in playing at London's tripped out Middle Earth club. The acid blues of "Leg" sounds like an organ-led Cactus, while the howling, epic "Metempsychosis" is nearly seventeen minutes of primitive, pounding, distortion-filled psychedelia that could be mistaken for Amon Duul II. Good stuff! With their teenage enthusiasm and ambition, the Arzachel boys managed to wax a classic -- totally of their times in so many ways and yet unique and timeless as well. Doubtless Simeon, Basil, Njerogi, and Sam, with pseudonyms discarded, improved their musical skills in subsequent years, yet can anything from their later proggy careers really stand up to Arzachel?
RealAudio clip: "Garden Of Earthly Delights"
RealAudio clip: "Queen St. Gang"
RealAudio clip: "Clean Innocent Fun"

album cover AGA, ALEMU Ethiopiques Vol. 11 : The Harp of King David (Buda Musique) cd 15.98
We were pretty surprised to see an eleventh volume in the Ethiopiques series here, since we were all under the impression that the collection was slated to end at volume ten. Well, turns out we were wrong and we are happy to be wrong because 11 is an excellent disc in its own right. Of all the discs in the series, Ethiopiques 11 shares the closest resemblance to volumes 2 or 5, but only in that it's a complete departure musically from the rest -- 2 and 5 included. Ethiopiques 11 features Alemu Aga playing the beguena, a large lyre with ten paired tuned strings. The beguena is often called the "Harp of King David" because it is believed that David (as in David and Goliath) played a similar such instrument to accompany his psalms way back when. As would be expected, the beguena has always been closely tied with the church -- Coptic Orthodox -- and had a rich repertoire that was very nearly destroyed along with all the other great music and arts during the Stalinist period of Ethiopia's history which began in 1974. Twenty years later Alemu Aga (this album was recorded in 1994) and others were finally able to continue with the instrument's traditions and now, slowly, the beguena is being returned to its place in society.
As stated earlier, you won't find much similarity in the music here to the rest of the series. Consisting solely of Alemu's soft voice accompanied by the beguena songs have a mesmerising quality. The beguena's strings buzz and rattle as Alemu Aga sings both religious and secular songs in a low, smoky voice. If you skip through the tracks on the disc you might be fooled into thinking you're hearing the same track over and over again. Yet although the instrument's melodies are seemingly repetitive -- given its limited range and single tuning -- they form an interesting counterpoint to Aga's vocal lines.
RealAudio clip: "Tew Semagn Hagere"

album cover CHESSIE Overnight (Plug Research) cd 16.98
Beautifully hypnotic, guitar-driven electronica from the Virginian duo of Stephen Gardner and Ben Bailes. Their third full length and first for Los Angeles-based Plug Research, "Overnight" is quite a departure from Chessie's underachieving, experimental-electronic beginnings. Infusing a stronger approach to texture and songwriting (sans vocals), as well as emphasis on live instrumentation (at least guitars and bass, the drums are probably all electronic), it may be incorrect to classify this music as purely "electronic" as it ranks up there with the shoegazer dreaminess of My Bloody Valentine and Hood, or more recently, Fennesz and Stephan Mathieu. Another wonderful release from the groundbreaking Plug Research, continuing to blur the borders between rock and electronica as previously witnessed on the recent Dntel album, "Life Is Full Of Possibilities."
RealAudio clip: "Daylight"
RealAudio clip: "Eyes And Smiles"
RealAudio clip: "Pantograph"

album cover V/A Ethiopiques Vol. 10 : Tezeta - Ethiopian Blues & Ballads (Buda Musique) cd 15.98
The literal translation of the word "Tezeta" is memory, or nostalgia and as it applies to music in Ethiopia it is akin to the American genre known as the blues, hence the subtitle of this collection. But don't worry, you won't hear any imitations of western blues progressions here. When I first put this on though, I instantly got a feeling of nostalgia before I realised that I'd heard these songs before. In fact, over half of the material on this disc has already been released by Buda in previous collections of Ethiopiques. Four tracks appeared on Ethiopiques #1 (three if you count Getatchew Kassa's split "Tezeta" slow/fast as one track) and two tracks were present on the instrumental collection of Ethiopiques #4. If you've got those two comps already, then you'll be paying a hefty price for the six new tracks you get on this collection. So is it worth it? Well, I may be a sucker, but the extra tracks are pretty damn impressive. Mahmoud Ahmed's 12 and a half minute version of "Tezeta" is absolutely dreamy and all three of the previously unissued cuts by Alemayehu Eshete are excellent. The general feel of this collection shares a lot with volume 4 in the series. Along with the two tracks that were already on Ethiopiques #4, the one instrumental track from Ethiopiques #1 is included here, and the remaining vocal tracks on the disc are all down tempo, sorrowful ballads that'll jerk the tears from your eye sockets. In a way, you could see this collection as a sort of "best of" Ethiopiques and more than recommending it to owners of the rest of the series I would suggest it as a great place to start for those who've still not taken the plunge into Ethiopia's wonderful and unique musical treasure chest. [Note to all the Santa's out there: great stocking stuffer for the un-initiated.]
RealAudio clip: ESHETE, ALEMAYEHU "Teredtchewalehu"
RealAudio clip: AHMED, MAHMOUD "Tezeta"
RealAudio clip: ESHETE, ALEMAYEHU "Man Yehon Telleq Sew"

album cover AGGROVATORS, THE Dubbing It Studio 1 Style (Jamaican) cd 14.98
It's now getting to the point where, not only can I pick out a new disc from the Jamaican Recordings label from 15 feet by their distinctive layouts, but I almost have a Pavlovian response when I see a new one. Because Jamaican recordings continues to prove that they're a label to be reckoned with. Not only do they consistenly pick out excellent and often rare tracks, but the recordings themselves are always of top notch fidelity. This collection of dubs by producer Bunny "Striker" Lee's session / super group The Aggrovators is no exception to the reputation that Jamaican is earning here at AQ. The tracks on this collection were originally recorded at Randy's Studio 17, Channel 1 and Dynamic Sounds and are all dubs of tracks that were Jamaican versions of American and U.K. soul and R&B. Being three times removed from the original song you'd be hard pressed to know what cover is being dubbed unless you pick out a clue from the periodic fade ins of the vocal tracks laden with reverb and delay.
RealAudio clip: "Not Just Another Dub"
RealAudio clip: "Live & Learn Dub"

BEENIE MAN More Prayer (Club Remix) 7" 2.98
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Hip hop remix. Rhythm = "What It Is" (Busta Rhymes).

RED RAT Bun Dem (Club Remix) 7" 2.98
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Dancehall mix, b/w hip hop mix.

album cover UNGU, OBENG & JALAN BUNTU WITH GROUP UANG WAYANG OF PALEMBANG 1951: Sumatran Ladies Wearing Hats As Outlawed By Government (Hot Air) 3"cd 8.98
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According to the *well documented* liner notes, this album was originally released on cassette in South East Asia in 1982. The story goes that Obeng Ungu (Purple Screwdriver in English) and Jalan Buntu (Mountain Sidewalk) recorded the album as an homage to all the Sumatran women who risked death in order to defend their freedom to wear western style hats, which were outlawed in 1950 by the government in attempt to stop the Westernisation of Sumatra -- known as "Barang Menceret" (literally "Diarrhea of Commodities"). They even came up with some archival photos to reinforce their story and if it's not a fictitious account then it's quite a problematic joke.
The music on the disc is classic Hot Air material though: quirky and humorous electronica, squeaks, farts and irreverence (thumbs in the face to the pretensions of high brow electronica abound.) The disc starts off with a field recording of insects buzzing on a lonesome highway and then goes into some ping pong ball bouncy electronica with ersatz-Asian melodies that almost sounds like an attempt to imitate Burmese Pat Wiang (a melodic circular set of drums that sound like rototoms). Included also are a lot of really cheesy gamelan-esque samples and synth sounds in to boot. The end result is audio tourism where the tourist never even leaves home, but just comes up with a fictional vacation. Our mysterious tour guides Obeng & Jalan (most certainly Matt Wand -- we're making an "ass" of "u" and "me" here that it's Mr. Wand behind this) have produced some wickedly funny /possibly offensive electronic fuckery. Hot Air has released this mini cd as part of their "Hot Air Global Education Series" in cooperation with "The Hotairian Institute".
RealAudio clip: "Dada Besar, Kepala Kecil"
RealAudio clip: "Rabu: Sakit Tangani, Sabtu: Sakit Pantat"
RealAudio clip: "Menyelam Pakai Pipa Udara"

album cover V/A Studio One Roots (Soul Jazz) cd 21.00
On the heels of their unsuccessful "500% Dynamite" compilation, comes the third installment of Soul Jazz's "Studio One" series of themed anthologies culled from Coxsone Dodd's highly influential studio. As a collection "Studio One Roots" is perhaps the best thing that Soul Jazz has released in a long time. Not only are there some great tracks on here, but there are plenty of rare cuts as well. And although Dodd may not have been known as much for his roots reggae productions, he certainly has a few in his vault that can stand alongside the best. From the very beginning of this album with the Cyclones & Count Ossie's ball busting instrumental "Meditation" you know you've got a great comp in your hands. Featuring a barking and growling Hammond B3 backed by pounding niyabinghi drumming and deep bass, it's a shame the cut is only three minutes long. There are plenty of great tracks on here -- both instrumental and vocal -- including crooner Alton Ellis' haunting and bizarre "Blackish White" in which an impassioned Ellis tests the range of his tenor, and Lennie Hibbert's jazz influenced "More Creation" with its dreamy vibraphone solo. I guess we can view this collection as an apology for "500% Dynamite" and once again anticipate more fine collections from Soul Jazz. Highly recommended!
RealAudio clip: CYCLONES WITH COUNT OSSIE "Meditation"
RealAudio clip: MCGREGOR, FREDDIE "Africa Here I Come"
RealAudio clip: HIBBERT, LENNIE "More Creation"
RealAudio clip: SIMMS, ZOOT "African Challenge"

album cover SOUNDS OF AMERICAN DOOMSDAY CULTS VOL. 14 The Church Universal and Triumphant Inc. feat. Elizabeth Clare Prophet (Faithways International) lp 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
It's hard to believe this is real. In fact, it took a lot to convince Andee, who was sure this was some sort of elaborate prank. But it's one of those things that just makes you proud / embarassed to be an American. Elizabeth Clare Prophet purchased 24,000 acres in Paradise Valley, Montana and started The Church Universal and Triumphant, a creepy new age doomsday cult in which Prophet channeled spirits such as Jesus, Buddha, K-17, Morya, Quan Yin, Afra, Hercules, Mighty Victory, Astrea, Shiva, Pope John XXIII, and more. (Sort of like J.Z. Knight of Yelm, Washington and her channelling of "Ramtha" except even more scary.) Prophet and her husband stockpiled arms, built giant bomb shelters, and coerced their devotees to purchase their own survival equipment at exorbitant prices. Throughout its existence various members of CUT were indicted for kidnapping, lost custody of the children who belonged to the church and were investigated for tax exempt status and firearms violations. In 1995 former member Joeseph Pietrangelo Jr wrote a book condemning CUT entitled "Lambs to Slaughter: My Fourteen Years with Elizabeth Clare Prophet and Church Universal Triumphant".
But the thing that really puts CUT on the map for us is their way of conducting their religious services. The tapes of these services have been floating around for years already. Those of you familiar with Negativland's 1989 album "Escape From Noise" will already be familiar with an excerpt of one of the tracks on this album, as they used it for the track "Michael Jackson", and Steve Fisk has been using these tapes for years as well. This record features live recordings of Clare Prophet 'speaking' out against the evils of rock music. She sounds perfectly normal as she introduces her 'psalms' or 'songs' or 'speeches' or whatever they are. But when she gets going, it's amazing. And so goddamn insane sounding. Her rapid fire high pitched testifying sounds a bit like an impossible mix of an auctioneer, a yodeller, the guy who sings the directions at a square dance, Neil Hamburger huffing helium and variations of baseball's 'hey batter batter' chant only faster. It's like that sound you make when you sort of hum/breathe out and move your finger up and down between your lips making a sort of 'bebubebubebubebubebubebubebubebu' sound. It's one of the most amazing things we've ever heard! Cup's group I Am Spoonbender even performed a cover version of it live in concert a few years ago! A must for all cult fanatics, new age withdrawal victims, seekers of the truly strange, and fans of extended, trancelike vocal techniques. Ever so highly recommended! We'd almost have made this cd edition our Record of the Week if we weren't certain that it would probably bug the heck out of more people than (like us) would love it!!
RealAudio clip: "Invocation For Judgement Against And Destruction of Rock Music"
RealAudio clip: "Decree"
RealAudio clip: "Dedication To The Tackling Of The Beast And The Dragon-The Momentum Of Rock And Roll"

album cover FREAK SCENE, THE / THE DEVIL'S ANVIL Psychedelic Psoul / Hard Rock From The Middle East (Collectables) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
In light of recent events, we figured that this reissue of "Hard Rock From the Middle East" would make a great choice for record of the week...no, we don't mean 'cause of the current war, we mean because of the popularity of the "Turkish Delights" and "Hava Narghile" compilations 'round these parts. We've been super-into those collections of fuzzed-out '60s Middle Eastern psych-rock this year, as are quite a few of you, judging by their still-booming sales. So, when we recently discovered this 1998 cd that contains the reissued The Devil's Anvil album, it quickly became a favorite at AQ.
The cover art shows the band hangin' in the desert in front of the pyramids of Egypt -- but don't be fooled, they were actually mostly Arab-Americans, based in New York City. Still, their rock n' roll was as authentically "Middle Eastern" as their Turkish contemporaries. They could have held their own with the likes of Erkin Koray and Mogollar.
Ok, now we'd better explain about this particular cd (pay attention, it gets kinda confusing): Sony's Collectables has reissued two long-out-of-print 1967 albums by two totally different bands on *one* disc. The bands are tenuously connected through the friendship of The Freak Scene's Rusty Evans and Felix Pappalardi of The Devil's Anvil, as the two had played together four years previous. Okay, so maybe it's a bit of a stretch putting these two albums together on one disc. Whatever. The real treasure here is The Devil's Anvil album.
The Devil's Anvil got together in the happenin' mid sixties Greenwich Village scene, playing their Middle Eastern influenced music at folk cafes and rock clubs. Eventually they hooked up with classical musician-turned-rocker Felix Pappalardi (producer of Cream's "Disraeli Gears", later to play alongside Leslie West in Mountain). He began playing bass with the band and eventually scored the group a record deal. The resulting album was truly one-of-a-kind and would certainly made greater impact had it not been released on the very eve of the Arab-Israeli war in 1967. Thus, no New York radio stations would play it and unfortunately the album has remained an expensive collector's find until now.
The rock contained herein is absolutely kick ass, with bluesy and impassioned Arabic vocals, electric (or at least amplified) oud, bouzouki, tamboura, durbeki as well as the usual rock suspects of (fuzz!) guitar, bass and drums. The majority of the tracks here are either rock arrangements of traditional Middle Eastern and Greek numbers or original compositions, but a couple are actually straight traditional numbers with no western instruments at all. Plus there's an excellent Middle Eastern-esque rock arangement of "Misirlou" that's perhaps the best version ever recorded, IMHO. And the record ends with a Devil's Anvil original that kinda reminds us of one of the Beatles' more Eastern-influenced tunes. This is about as good as it gets. Even if the Freak Scene album doesn't interest you at all, this cd is still worth buying for The Devil's Anvil alone. Very, very highly recommended! Nay, ESSENTIAL.
(As for The Freak Scene -- you might guess from that band's name and album title, The Freak Scene were a bit of a psychedelic-era novelty, a studio project put together by producer/songwriter Evans for CBS Records. The record exploits all of the trippy tropes of the times, from Eastern-raga modes to LSD-inspired lyrics. It's no classic, but does include at least one truly great psych-pop track, the Nuggets-worthy "A Million Grains of Sand". The Freak Scene also indulges in dated but amusing free-form sound-collage experiments like "...When In The Course of Human Events (Draft Beer, Not Students)" which tries to make a statement about the whole sixties counterculture vibe. It's a mix of Pete Seeger, Laugh-In, an LSD party -- Vietnam-era pop culture hippie kitsch -- consider it a free bonus that comes with The Devil's Anvil album.)
RealAudio clip: THE DEVIL'S ANVIL "Wala Dai"
RealAudio clip: THE DEVIL'S ANVIL "Shisheler"
RealAudio clip: THE DEVIL'S ANVIL "Hala Laya"
RealAudio clip: THE DEVIL'S ANVIL "Basaha"
RealAudio clip: THE FREAK SCENE "Draft Beer, Not Students"
RealAudio clip: THE FREAK SCENE "A Million Grains of Sand"
RealAudio clip: THE FREAK SCENE "My Rainbow Life"

album cover STANLEY, RALPH & THE CLINCH MOUNTAIN BOYS Cry From the Cross (Rebel) cd 15.98
Though most bluegrass artists might only throw in one or two token religious numbers when they put together a record, or devote one album to such material, there can be no doubt that religion informs bluegrass music. Like the Monroe, Louvin or Osborne brothers, Ralph and his brother Stanley (who passed away in 1966) were schooled in singing harmony at church -- Primitive Baptist Universalist to be precise. And unlike many bluegrass artists, Ralph Stanley has recorded a plethora of them over the years. Recorded in 1971, "Cry From the Cross" featured an almost all new line up for Ralph Stanley's group with the exception of veteran fiddle player Curly Cline. The most notable additions to Stanley's group at this time were Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley, then both just a mere 17 years old. Roy Lee Centers sings lead vocals here while Ralph and the rest filling in harmony. The album is a stunning piece of dead earnest devotional music, combining the bone chilling high lonesome sound and the hard driving bluegrass stringband sound. Highly recommended.
RealAudio clip: "Death Is Only A Dream"
RealAudio clip: "Two Coats"

ENO, BRIAN Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks (EG) cd 13.98

ENO, BRIAN Thursday Afternoon (EG) cd 13.98

album cover THIS HEAT Deceit (These Records) cd 18.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
It would be nice to think that These Records have only been releasing the reissues of "Deceit" -- This Heat's second and final proper album -- every ten years after the original release of the album in 1981. The first CD pressings arrived on 1991, and this remastered version of the album holds a released date in 2001. Regardless of These Records' coy intentions, the return of "Deceit" to the Aquarius Records' catalogue is very welcome indeed!!!
Almost all of the histories of UK avant-garde music have claim allegiances to This Heat, as Punk, New Wave, Industrial, Prog Rock, Jim O'Rourke, and even Electronica place the seminal outfit somewhere at the beginnings of their respective etymologies. To a certain extent all of these histories may be true, but then again the broad aesthetic and ideological contexts between all of those different styles may cross-each other out, leaving This Heat as one of the few artistic forces that truly exists all by itself.
Just a trio comprised of Charles Hayward, Charles Bullen, and Gareth Williams, This Heat manifested an incredibly explosive sound that hybridized all of the countercultural fury of Punk and Situationism, within a sonic context informed by technological advances of musique concrete techniques and electro-acoustic synthesis. Musically speaking, This Heat did not espouse the three chord structures or the snarling postures of Punk, instead injecting the complex pop agendas of Brian Eno (which were purposefully seeking to conflict the archetypes of rock into a new aesthetic language) with nervous tension building up to dramatic cathartic releases. "Deceit" is a record that was so ahead of its time that it has taken twenty years for artists like Fennesz and Radiohead to articulate ideas with such intensity and attention to the play between musical creation and technological advances. So highly recommended.

NEGATIVLAND Starting Line, the (Seeland) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Volume 1 1/2 of Seeland's Over The Edge series (so named for the weekly radio show produced by Negativland on KPFA) originally recorded in 1985. On this (single) disc Richard Lyons, aka Dick Goodbody, hosts an auto trivia show with both complete sincerity and expert detail. It's probably the most amazing piece of radio theater since the zenith of the Firesign Theater's semi-improvised comedy antics during the seventies. You'll hear callers attempt to stump Dick with questions about their classic cars. You'll hear the Weatherman go head to head with Contra Costa County's top radio trivia whiz Daryl Garrison where callers abuse them with their trivia questions and much more. Though the idea of an "auto-trivia" show may seem pedestrian to some it is perhaps in spite of this that somehow the show works and is quite funny. It's like tuning into an AM radio show in the middle of the night after taking several tabs of acid. The performance is dry, so dry in fact that several participating callers don't appear to realize that the show is a joke. As a bonus to this CD edition you get a "Dick's Auto Hive" key chain, and a fold out full page advertisement for the Auto Hive from a faked Contra Costa Times page circa 1985. Also included on this disc is the "Rototiller Singalong"; thirty five minutes of madness, the highlight of which is a five minute segment at the end where David, the Weatherman, presents a stereo recording he made of his neighbor rototilling his backyard!
RealAudio clip: "Auto Trivia: Cool Cars, Cheaper Cheese, Limousines of Pope John Paul VII, etc."
RealAudio clip: "Pure Full Stereo Rototiller and So Long"

NEGATIVLAND Willsaphone Stupid Show, the (Seeland) 2cd 15.98
Volume 6 in Negativland's Over The Edge series (so named for the weekly radio show produced by Negativland on KPFA). This volume is dedicated to David Wills -- aka The Weatherman -- and his obsession with field recording, most notably his fixation with recording his family. Don Joyce and David produced several shows on Over The Edge dedicated to David and his tapes and then distilled it down to these two discs. Beginning with a recording of David with his first tape recorder as a young wippersnapper and continuing with all the various tapes he made through his youth, adolescence, and on into adulthood. One of the principle subjects of David's recordings are Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with his family. In David's house, where he lived with his parents up until they passed away, he had both his room and the kitchen wired for sound so that he could play tapes of his mom and grandmother talking while making thanksgiving dinner as they made thanksgiving dinner a year later, or two years, or five... etc. The two then remark on the previous years as David continues to record them and talk back to them. The result is a really bizarre, non-linear ongoing conversation. Interspersed throughout these two discs of David's audio history are sections where listeners to the show call up and query Mr Wills for help with their cable TV repair, radio and electronics problems, ask questions about home cleaning and participate in the "Fake Bacon & Electronic Music" hotline.
RealAudio clip: "I'm A Vegetable, Wired Up House, Steamin' Mad At Dirt, etc"
RealAudio clip: "Fuck You, Tough Darts, Jingle Bells, etc"

NURSE WITH WOUND Sylvie And Babs High-Thigh Companion (United Dairies) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

TWILIGHT CIRCUS DUB SOUND SYSTEM Dub Plates Volume Two (M Records) lp 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Dub Plates Volume Two is a collection of reworked dubs (mostly from Horsie and Binshaker Dub) and rarities from Ryan Moore and Twilight Circus, now available at a nice price, lets hope for a while. One thing that I really like about Twilight Circus, and I know this is a stupid little thing for most of y'all, but it's that damn nice live drum sound that Ryan gets. Not enough people record drums that way anymore, at least not very well. It works really well on just about anything, but on dub, especially nice and fattened up with a little reverb, it's just wonderful. Ryan has definitely been honing his sound since he started his forays into dub in 1995 and dub fans everywhere should be keeping track of his movements in the future. Highly recommended.

album cover V/A Turkish Delights (Grey Past) cd 23.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We are all quite excited about the cd release of Turkish Delights comp (though Byram's a bit irked 'cause he bought the original vinyl and now is faced with a cd version that adds 11 extra tracks!). In total, there's 26 tracks here, dating from 1965 to 1971, of some of the best garage psych that we've ever heard -- from Turkey or anywhere else for that matter. The Turkish rock scene appears to have begun in earnest in 1956 when the English instrumental group The Shadows made their impression on Turkish teens. Given that many people in Turkey didn't even speak English, it's pretty impressive how well they assimilated a completely foreign music and excelled in it better than most of their American and British counterparts. Some of the tracks like Mavi Isiklar's "Great Airplane Strike of 1967" (a Paul Revere & the Raiders cover) are spitting images of garage-psych from the occident, but others like Cem Karaca & Apaslar's "Suya Giden Alli Gelin" are unmistakably Eastern. It's these tracks, that combine the rock n' roll structure and instrumentation augmented with Turkish instruments, scales and singing that really kick ass. Those of you that have already picked up the excellent "Hava Narghile" compilation know what we mean, but what was great about that collection is exponentially better on this one! Get it.
Along with the new cd version, we now have more copies of the "Turkish Delights" LP (which was so hard to get when it first came out that we only ever had a handful and were never able to list it). 15 tracks on this baby instead of the 26 on the cd, but what you lose in bonus cuts you gain in, uh, vinyl. And the art looks better, we think.
RealAudio clip: CEM KARACA & APASLAR "Suya Giden Alli Gelin"
RealAudio clip: SELCUK ALAGOZ "Saklan Saklanabilirsen"
RealAudio clip: CAHIT OBEN "Halimem"

ZOVIET FRANCE Loh Land (Staalplaat) cd 17.98
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While Post Modernity and its malcontent little brother Punk effectively deconstucted and ridiculed religious institutions by pointed out their hypocrisies and inconsistancies with rational thought, the two have been wholly unconcerned in addressing the possibilities of transcendence or the notions of the sublime. Zoviet France is an anonymous collective of British sound artists who have been clearly educated with the halls of Post Modernity and inspired by Punk's self-sufficiency; yet, the lack of an existential awe in the face of the Divine never settled easily with the group. Beginning back in the early '80s, Zoviet France developed a musical aesthetic for private rituals built from the artifacts and residues from what they saw as a cultural disintegration (both physically and existentially). To a certain extentw, Zoviet France was making liturgical music to a religion that never existed, but offered resemblences to what transcendent music should sound like. The hypnosis from a drone, the relentlessness of a tribal drum circle, and dub's etherial references to various nether regions are all part of Zoviet France's arsenal of quiet noise making devices.
Originally released as a cassette back in 1988, "Loh Land" is one of the few albums from Zoviet France's early days that is still in print, and encapsulates many of their ideas for a fictional music rich with amorphously spiritual connotations. The aforementioned drones, dubs, and drums alongside distanced vocal chants with have been thoroughly abstracted through a series of delay effects boxes, tape loop machines, and multi-track studio tricks, to create the album's murky atmopshere. Zoviet France's "Loh Land" succeeds in being beautifully but indeterminantly holy.
RealAudio clip: "East Taunts West"
RealAudio clip: "Nostalgie De La Boue"
RealAudio clip: "Reson Deaw Gwalch"

DEVO Oh No It's Devo / Freedom Of Choice (Virgin) cd 15.98

album cover NEGATIVLAND These Guys Are From England (And Who Gives A Shit) (Seelard) cd 10.98
Way back in the 20th century, 1991 to be precise, media pranksters Negativland got themselves into a legal tussle with Island Records when they naively released a single on SST that covered U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and revealed Casey Kasem to be a foulmouthed ogre, all on the same track! Both SST and Negativland were subsequently sued into submission. Copies of the original U2 cd can still be had for anywhere from $75 to $100 US for the disc and bootlegged copies have been floating around ever since the track was pulled. Rather than go further into that whole can of carnuba wax I'll just refer those who are unfamiliar with this mother of all fair use lawsuits to Negativland's thorough and entertaining book "Fair Use: The Story Of The Letter U And The Numeral 2", a 288 page document of the entire court case and Negativland's subsequent legal troubles with Greg Ginn and SST. Well now, here we are in a new millennium, on the ten year anniversary of the lawsuit where Seeland has already tested the legal waters with their re-issue of John Oswald's magnum opus "Plunderphonics" and so far the sharks aren't biting. Sensing that maybe the industry's lawyers have lost their taste for such passe copyright issues in favor of the much tastier Napster and the whole peer-to-peer fiasco, the label "Seelard" (hmmm...) has stepped in to see the return of this classic piece of copyright infringement. As a bonus to this risque reissue Seelard has included 9 extra tracks relating to the original single such as an excerpt from an Over The Edge (Negativland's Don Joyce's weekly radio show on KPFA) show from 1989 where the germination of the single began. One track is an edited version of the "Radio Edit" so that you *can* now safely play it on the radio -- all the nasty words have been covered up with a cornucopia of sound effects. The seven remaining tracks on this disc were taken from live performances by Negativland in 1990 (Knitting Factory, NYC) and 1993 (Great American Music Hall, SF) and cover Casey's "Long Distance Dedication" on up to material that wound up on the cd that accompanied Negativland's book (see above). There's an abundance of good material added to the fated single in these live performances including numerous tapes referring to "U2" that Don Joyce had picked up in the interim, plus some more serious audio forays detailing Francis Gary Powers' fateful flight over the USSR in a Lockheed U-2 spy plane. Diddley Shit!
MPEG Stream: "Special Edit Radio Mix - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
MPEG Stream: "The Black Lady of Espionage (Live)"

album cover FAUST The Faust Tapes (ReR) cd 17.98
Faust's third album (or fourth if you count the Tony Conrad & Faust "Outside the Dream Syndicate" album), originally released in 1973, is now available for the first time on cd with the original artwork (excepting the box set) instead of the horrible cover that originally graced the previous Recommended reissue. Faust Tapes is a collection of Faust's more experimental forays, recorded between 1971 and 1973 at Wumme, with lots of short snippets of improvised noise and textures. There are a few composed "songs" on this album (some of their best, like "Flashback Caruso"!), but overall it's a lot more chaotic and random sounding than Faust's rock efforts such as "IV" and "So Far". Completely essential, however.
RealAudio clip: "Exercise - With Several Hands On A Piano"
RealAudio clip: "Flashback Caruso"
RealAudio clip: "Untitled"

album cover SPARKLEHORSE Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot (Capitol) cd 16.98
The record that started it all. 'It' in this case being our neverending, undying love for Mark Linkous and the desperately beautiful Sparklehorse.
This is Sparklehorse's first album, finally available again on cd after being shamefully out of print for way too long. Certainly a must for anyone who's got both Good Morning Spider and It's A Wonderful Life, but also a great place to start for those who've yet to discover the wonderful musical realm of Mark Linkous. From the slow singing-right-in-your-ear intimate "Spirit Ditch" to the rockin' summer sing-a-long "Rainmaker" to the sort-of-hit "Someday I will Treat You Good", each tune that Linkous writes is a gem: lush ballads, twangy 'No Depression' pop and experimental musical miniatures. Though at times comparisons to Camper Van Beethoven sans art school pretensions are fitting, fans of Uncle Tupelo, Palace, Vic Chesnutt, Lambchop, Wisdom of Harry and great pop in general should all take heed and check out Sparklehorse. You won't be sorry.
RealAudio clip: "Rainmaker"
RealAudio clip: "Cow"
RealAudio clip: "Sad & Beautiful World"

TWILIGHT CIRCUS DUB SOUND SYSTEM Dub Plates Volume Two (M Records) cd 16.98
Dub Plates Volume Two is a collection of reworked dubs (mostly from Horsie and Binshaker Dub) and rarities from Ryan Moore and Twilight Circus, now available at a nice price, lets hope for a while. One thing that I really like about Twilight Circus, and I know this is a stupid little thing for most of y'all, but it's that damn nice live drum sound that Ryan gets. Not enough people record drums that way anymore, at least not very well. It works really well on just about anything, but on dub, especially nice and fattened up with a little reverb, it's just wonderful. Ryan has definitely been honing his sound since he started his forays into dub in 1995 and dub fans everywhere should be keeping track of his movements in the future. Highly recommended.

album cover V/A Music! The Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv 1900-2000 (Wergo) 4cd 96.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Founded in 1900 by Carl Stumpf, The Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv is a repository devoted to archiving the musics of the world before their eventual destruction by encroaching modernization brought about by global capitalism. Case in point is presented on page two of the accompanying booklet: "'Within the foreseeable future there will no longer be any day-long journeys by rowing boat, where twenty men in a canoe stand one behind the other and sing, because otherwise they would not be able to keep in time with the rhythm of the rowing..." (Albert Schweitzer, 1914) "...Because the songs of the members of the boat's crew who tow the boats along the Yangtse will have become silent forever, before these faint magical lines have worn away on the wax cylinder. Only the shrill whistle of the steamboat will be heard, and black smoke will lick away at the gruesome cliffs." So wrote Hedwig Weiss, wife of Friedrich Weiss who worked as a translator in the Sichuan province of China at the beginning of the 20th century. The two of them together took to recording the rowing song of boat crews working on the Yangtse river to preserve their songs. This is just one of the stories on this incredibly impressive four disc collection celebrating the 100th year anniversary of the Archive -- which now has a collection of over 150,000 recordings. Fans of the "Secret Museum" series should take heed, this is the shit! Some of the best recordings by pioneering ethnomusicologists are included here along with very detailed information not only about the music they recorded -- along with transcriptions in many cases -- but the stories behind the people who took to the field to make these recordings. The 100 tracks on this set are divided into four sections: disc one covers the wax cylinder recordings (1893 - 1954), disc two covers monophonic tape recordings (1951 - 1974), disc three covers stereophonic recordings (1967 - 2000) and disc four covers stereophonic, concert -- ie: not field -- recordings (1973 - 1999) and each disc is sequenced in sections by region: Asia, Oceania, Africa, The Americas and Europe. A hefty price tage yes, but well worth it.
RealAudio clip: (ANONYMOUS) NEW GUINEA 1912 "Interlocking Flutes"
RealAudio clip: (ANONYMOUS) CAIRO, EGYPT 1955 "Nubian Song"
RealAudio clip: JEGOG JAYUS "Jayan Tangis"
RealAudio clip: HAI, TRAN QUANG "Flowing Water, Equal Bars, Golden Chains"

MOSSMAN Vs. the World Bank (Dispensation) cd 15.98
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"I can't believe it's not Scratch." Bringing together the holy trinity of Lee Perry, King Tubby & Scientist (the cover even features a classic Scientist-esque cartoon drawing of Mossman smashing the World Bank and squaring off against hostile military forces) the group known as Mossman (led by percussionist and turntablist "Moss") are to dub / roots what Brooklyn's Antibalas are to Fela Kuti and afro-beat. Based in Montreal, Canada, Mossman is a full fledged 10 piece band devoted to dub as protest, considering this album a "dub contribution" to protest of the summit of the Americas that was held in Quebec City in April this year. The execution is excellent and with the exception of some extraneous use of time stretch and a teeny, tiny bit scratching (which never gets in the way of the dubs), you wouldn't guess this was a product of Canada in the year 01 (nothing against Canada, we mean it sounds authentically Jamaican). Though the greater part of their success is due to their devotion to the genre by honing their musicianship skills around the myriad examples laid to wax over the years by the masters, they also apply an attention to detail in their use of the vintage equipment that Perry et al used such as old organs, ancient drum boxes and even (our reggae distributer claims) recording on the same model of mixing console that Perry used in the Ark! Highly recommended.
RealAudio clip: "Tumble Weed"
RealAudio clip: "Spanish Alpha"
RealAudio clip: "It's Nice"

album cover SPARKLEHORSE It's a Wonderful Life (Capitol ) cd 16.98
Hooray! AQ all-time fave Mark Linkous returns at last with a brand new Sparklehorse album and we are happy to report that he, once again, does not disappoint. Mr. Linkous has that innate ability to write incredibly infectious pop songs with teeth -- never slipping into preciousness or saccharine artificiality -- and a multi-instrumental playfulness that harkens Tom Waits' works from the mid eighties. It should come as no surprise then that both Tom Waits and his wife Kathleen Brennan collaborate on one track. They are also the only other names to appear as songwriting credits on the album. Also contributing to this album are Cardigans vocalist Nina Persson (singing backup on a few tracks), PJ Harvey (playing some guitar and singing lovely harmony vocals) and Harvey's bassist John Parish drops some bass licks along with throwing his weight around as a producer on a couple tracks.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Sparklehorse, Linkous' aesthetic weaves delicate, about-to-crack vocals, gently strummed guitars, and all sorts of bizarre studio trickery (a wonderful amalgamation of lo-fi home recording and ultra-lush top dollar multi-track wizardry) to make his records SOUND so great. But it's the songs that make the biggest impression. Whether it's a super distorted rollicking rocker, a barely-there ghost of a melody, or a heart wrenching country ballad, every song, at its core, is a perfect, perfect pop song. Catchy as hell, but not immediately -- more a sort of insidious, slowly spreading, like a virus beautiful, but beautifully miserable as well. And the lyrics too are practically perfect. Simple but astonishing in their depth. Clever and brutally soulful, without being melodramatic or overwrought.
RealAudio clip: "Piano Fire"
RealAudio clip: "More Yellow Birds"
RealAudio clip: "Comfort Me"
RealAudio clip: "Morning Hollow"

TARAF DE HAIDOUKS Band of Gypsies (Nonesuch) cd 16.98
Taraf De Haidouks are a 13 piece ensemble (not including vocalists) of Gypsy musicians who hail from the land encompassed by the country of Romania. Oft dismissed within their home country as "ragged Gypsies", they've nonetheless managed to acquire international acclaim, with four albums under their collective belt up to now and a featured appearance in the film Latcho Drom. For this new album the group decided to record entirely new songs during a series of *live* concerts in Bucharest, Hungary. On top of committing the fate of their new album to the unpredictability of the live environment, they stacked the odds against success by inviting a group of guest musicians -- albeit renown musicians from Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey -- to work on the new material with them just three days before the concerts were to be held.
Well, of course you have no doubt that they succeeded because we wouldn't be listening to the cd here in the store and I wouldn't be writing all this now if they hadn't. Some of the best, most kick-ass eastern European blues and breakdowns that we've heard in a month of Sundays. A veritable Gypsy supergroup with more violin, cymbalum, accordion, flute, double bass, clarinet, darbuka, saxophone, baritone tuba, bass tuba, trumpet, tapan and vocal virtuosity than you can shake an encyclopedia of organology at. Shit yeah!
RealAudio clip: "A Gypsy Had A Home"
RealAudio clip: "A Stork Crosses the Danube..."
RealAudio clip: "Absinth I Drink You, Absinth I Eat You"
RealAudio clip: "Green Leaf, Clover Leaf"

ALLEN, RED & FRANK WAKEFIELD Kitchen Tapes, the (Acoustic Disc) cd 16.98
Excellent recording of longtime bluegrass collaborators Red Allen (guitar / vocals) & Frank Wakefield (mandolin / vocals) made at Red Allen's Hyattsville, Maryland home in 1963 by David Grisman. The non-studio environment for this session adds to the off the cuff, relaxed quality of these tracks. Especially wonderful is their absolutely haunting rendition of "Down In The Willow Garden." Highly recommended.

album cover ELLIOTT, DEAN Zounds! What Sounds! (Basta) cd 17.98
After many years of being one of the holy grails of much sought after LPs in the "incredibly strange" variety, Dean Elliott's legendary Zounds! What Sounds is now finally available (legitimately) on cd as part of Basta's aptly titled "essential" series of reissues. Working with cartoon sound effects wizard Phil Kaye (Tom & Jerry), the resulting Zounds! is perhaps the zenith of orchestral easy listening records with sound effect accompaniment -- an inspiration for novelty music dating back to Leroy Anderson's experiments in the early 50's. Elliot's tour de force, originally released in 1963, is about 15 times more frantically schizoid than Anderson's work and his rhythm loops most certainly must have been on Perrey & Kingsley's minds when they set out to do The In Sound From Way Out a few years later. Bowling pins, ping pong playing, clocks, water, sawing wood, police & train whistles, celery stalks, the sound man's coat ripping as he picks up his watch, a vintage cement mixer from 1920 struggling to turn over and countless other noises all take turns holding first chair in Elliott's orchestra. And to top it off, Elliott comes up with some over the top arrangements with the musicians at his disposal, making their instruments sound more like sound effects at times. This re-issue also includes a six page interview with Dean Elliot conducted on WBBM shortly after the album's release. Highly recommended!
RealAudio clip: "Lonesome Road"
RealAudio clip: "All Of You"

PRINCE FAR I Psalms For I (Fotofon) cd 16.98
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Prince Far I's first album (1976) finally available again on lp (we also restocked the cd if vinyl is no good for you.) It's basically, as the title implies, the Voice Of Thunder himself toasting the Psalms (using some poetic license of course) in his unique, gruff fashion. Definitely a crucial work.
RealAudio clip: "Psalm 1"
RealAudio clip: "The Lords Prayer"

PERRY, LEE Blackboard Jungle Dub (Walboomers) lp 16.98
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Nice vinyl only reissue of Lee Perry's 1973 Blackboard Jungle Dub. 12 cuts of stripped down dub, with some fine screams and other "non-musical" noises thrown in to boot. Quite similar to "Kung Fu Meets The Dragon." Recorded at the Black Ark by Scratch and mixed by King Tubby at King Tubby's. Features Aston & Carlton Barrett, Winston Wright, Gladstone Anderson, Skully and more. Pressed on a nice thick slab of Dutch vinyl directly from the master tapes.

album cover ALLEN, RED Folkways Years 1964-1983 (Smithsonian Folkways) cd 15.98
As usual, Smithsonian-Folkways has gone all out and put together a handsome reissue. Though singer / guitarist Red Allen has remained a little known figure outside of bluegrass circles, his importance within the genre is much underscored in this collection, with Smithsonian-Folkways going as far as claiming Allen to be "one of the most important exponents of the 'high, lonesome sound.'" Red Allen could be considered part of the "second wave" of bluegrass musicians -- those that emulated the sound of the post war line up of Bill Monroe's bluegrass boys, creating the enduring concept of the genre now fondly regarded as "bluegrass." He made his professional debut as a partner with the Osborne Brothers (and important enough role for them to be billed as "The Osborne Brothers And Red Allen") in 1953 before leaving to form his own group with mandolinist Frank Wakefield. This disc includes Allen's 1964 album for Folkways "Bluegrass", plus six unreleased tracks from those sessions and several more from later albums. Some of the musicians found on these tracks include Frank Wakefield, Vassar Clements, Marty Stuart, Pete Kuykendall, Bill Keith and Curley Seckler. Comes with a 32 page booklet that contains a brief history of bluegrass and Red Allen's place in it by Jon Weisberger, a bio of Allen by Mark Yacovone (including and interview by Yacovone of banjo players Pete Kuykendall and Bill Keith) and several pages of notes on the songs included on this disc.
RealAudio clip: "Somebody Loves You, Darling"
RealAudio clip: "Are You Afraid To Die?"
RealAudio clip: "Christian Life"

OSWALD, JOHN Plexure Plunderphonic (Avant) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
John Oswald's piece de resistance. Twenty minutes of some of the most insane editing, cross-fading, beat matching, cultural name dropping and sampling. No other work even comes close to the intensity of Plexure. John Oswald proves he is a virtuoso of Pro Tools, over a thousand different artists edited, spliced and mixed together. Many of the sampled pieces are just long enough to be recognizeable and yet short enough that by the time you can consciously identify the track your ears have been pummled by another 15, and all matched up as seamlessly as humanly possible. One of the most beautiful and simultaneously insane and aggrovating experiences in audio ever produced. A must listen and a must have.

FELDMAN, MORTON Piano And String Quartet (Hat Hut) cd 16.98
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As far as I know this is the only the second time this piece by Feldman has been recorded -- the first by the Kronos Quartet with Aki Takahashi on Elektra -- but I could be wrong. Composed in 1985, Piano & String Quartet comes late in Feldman's career. Like other pieces of this period, this piece is quite lengthy, clocking in at over 70 minutes (the good people at Hat Hut have even put in arbitrary track numbers throughout the piece, just in case you can't finish it all in one sitting.) For those who found the 4 cd "For Philip Guston" a bit extreme of a commitment, this single disc might be a better introduction to Feldman's large scale works.
RealAudio clip: "Piano & String Quartet"

RADIOHEAD Amnesiac (Capitol) 2x10" 29.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The highly anticipated companion album to "Kid A", "Amnesiac" should not disappoint those who picked up last year's release. Many are sure to write this one off as "more of the same" and to be sure, the production quality, as well as the electronica laden songs put this record neatly in the same ballpark as "Kid A." A common misconception about this record, at least around here, was that this record would be the album with all the "hits" that were "left off" of the previous release. Whether that was wishful thinking on the part of those who felt let down by "Kid A" or not, we're not sure. But you definitely won't find anything resembling a "Creep", "High & Dry" or "Fake Plastic Trees" on this record: nothing here is very radio friendly. And having said that, why is it that we still can't resist playing it over and over? Allan, in all seriousness, had even suggested limiting its play in store (at least while he's working) so that he doesn't become sick of it and no longer wants to hear it at home. While "Kid A" found Radiohead handling the studio-as-instrument process with occasional clumsiness, the group is far more comfortable with their self-assigned role as sonic innovators on "Amnesiac." The ability to balance all the really cool tricknological effects from the studio process and the immediate aural drama of a pop song is much harder than it might seem. My Bloody Valentine's follow-up to the groundbreaking album "Loveless" is now a decade overdue, and Tortoise's once promising amalgamation of indie-rock, dub, and jazz now stumbles aimlessly in Chick Corea territory.
On "Amnesiac" as on "Kid A," Radiohead finds inspiration in electronica, especially the hard-disk crunch of Lesser or Kid 606, and the slippages of melody and rhythm that occur in minimalist techno where there is no bridge, chorus, verse structure, only modulations and transformations of a sequence of leitmotifs. When applying electronica to their pop sensibility, Radiohead do not lace a pre-existing pop song with a slinky house groove; rather they write a pop song as if it were electronica. Thom Yorke's vocals meander through each of the tracks as if some piece of granular synthesis found on Chain Reaction. Which isn't to say that Radiohead are simply jumping on the electronica bandwagon. With "Amnesiac" Radiohead use the studio and its limitless resources to do much more; like emulating an early jazz vocalist like Billy Holiday in "You And Whose Army?", or including a seemingly incongruous New Orleans-esque drunken horn section at the end of the album for "Life In Glass Houses." As always, totally breathtaking.

V/A Studio One Soul (Soul Jazz) 2lp 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The newest collection from the Soul Jazz label's new "Studio One" series collects 18 tracks of American soul as interpreted by Jamaican artists and released during the sixties and seventies on the Studio One label. Much like Trojan's "Soulful Reggae" three cd box set which came out last year, "Studio One Soul" demonstrates not only just how much Jamaican artists looked towards the U.S. for musical fertilization, but often how independant minded Jamaican's were judging by their interpretations of the originals. Just how widespread the trend of covering and reworking soul and r&b from the States was becomes quite obvious when it is pointed out that between both collections (68 tracks altogether) there's absolutely no overlap. Yet another great compilation from Soul Jazz!

album cover RADIOHEAD Amnesiac (Capitol) cd 16.98
The highly anticipated companion album to "Kid A", "Amnesiac" should not disappoint those who picked up last year's release. Many are sure to write this one off as "more of the same" and to be sure, the production quality, as well as the electronica laden songs put this record neatly in the same ballpark as "Kid A." A common misconception about this record, at least around here, was that this record would be the album with all the "hits" that were "left off" of the previous release. Whether that was wishful thinking on the part of those who felt let down by "Kid A" or not, we're not sure. But you definitely won't find anything resembling a "Creep", "High & Dry" or "Fake Plastic Trees" on this record: nothing here is very radio friendly. And having said that, why is it that we still can't resist playing it over and over? Allan, in all seriousness, had even suggested limiting its play in store (at least while he's working) so that he doesn't become sick of it and no longer wants to hear it at home. While "Kid A" found Radiohead handling the studio-as-instrument process with occasional clumsiness, the group is far more comfortable with their self-assigned role as sonic innovators on "Amnesiac." The ability to balance all the really cool tricknological effects from the studio process and the immediate aural drama of a pop song is much harder than it might seem. My Bloody Valentine's follow-up to the groundbreaking album "Loveless" is now a decade overdue, and Tortoise's once promising amalgamation of indie-rock, dub, and jazz now stumbles aimlessly in Chick Corea territory.
On "Amnesiac" as on "Kid A," Radiohead finds inspiration in electronica, especially the hard-disk crunch of Lesser or Kid 606, and the slippages of melody and rhythm that occur in minimalist techno where there is no bridge, chorus, verse structure, only modulations and transformations of a sequence of leitmotifs. When applying electronica to their pop sensibility, Radiohead do not lace a pre-existing pop song with a slinky house groove; rather they write a pop song as if it were electronica. Thom Yorke's vocals meander through each of the tracks as if some piece of granular synthesis found on Chain Reaction. Which isn't to say that Radiohead are simply jumping on the electronica bandwagon. With "Amnesiac" Radiohead use the studio and its limitless resources to do much more; like emulating an early jazz vocalist like Billy Holiday in "You And Whose Army?", or including a seemingly incongruous New Orleans-esque drunken horn section at the end of the album for "Life In Glass Houses." As always, totally breathtaking.
RealAudio clip: "Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box"
RealAudio clip: "You And Whose Army?"
RealAudio clip: "Knives Out"

MR. LEX Bounce A Gal (RMC) 7" 2.98
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New hip-hop mix by Lexxus -- a.k.a. Mr Lex - featuring the rhythm track to Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On". Depending where you stand on Missy's new album and blatant dancehall rip offs of important American artists, you may hate this or love it. I like to tell people that this is the alternate take of "Get Ur Freak On" when Missy had a horrible head cold and was possessed by the devil a la Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Resident opinionator Matt Wobensmith says it sounds like some drunk grabbing the micophone from the dj at a party and mumbling through it. For those of you hoping there would be a version on the b-side for your very own Missy mixing, you will be dissappointed to learn that instead there is another Lex track with a different rhythm, but another great track none the less.

PENN, DAWN You Don't Love Me (VP Dancehall Classics) 12" 7.98
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Excellent dancehall mix of Dawn Penn's sorrowful "No, No, No (You Don't Love Me)" featuring a beefier beat and interjections from U-"Wake The Town And Tell The People"-Roy.

album cover MCGINTY, KATHY s/t (Hamburger Records) cd 11.98
If you missed out on this all-time AQ "comedy" fave before, now's your chance... here's what we said about it when it was first reissued on cd back in 2001, and we made it Record Of The Week:
FINALLY! We've been waiting ages for this to get reissued and the wait is now over! Easily one of the funniest, weirdest, most fucked up records ever. As we're writing this, everyone else here is laughing hysterically while this plays in the store. In fact, we're having trouble concentrating or even typing with this playing. It is so goddamn funny. But also kind of creepy and totally bizarre. But mostly very very funny! Originally released as a cd-r, later bootlegged by an unscrupulous LA record label, Kathy McGinty is now available as a professionally pressed cd (no longer a cd-r) with new liner notes and bonus material not included on the original cd-r release!! Here's what we had to say about the original:
You ever have that problem where you're in an internet sex chat room, and you make a date with some pervy girl for a phone sex session, and then when you call her up it's actually some jerk with a sampler loaded with a sexy female voice telling you things like "Taco Bell is sooo good?" Well if you did, chances are you're one of the crank call victims on this extremely funny and fucked up cd. We guarantee, if you hear this stuff you'll die laughing (unless you're a total prude, of course). It's really unbelievable how pathetic the guys are who attempt to carry on a phone sex chat with "Kathy McGinty", who is pretty obviously a recorded voice triggered by someone's sampler. They don't seem to mind that she sounds like she's talking to them over a CB radio, or that most of what she says is absurd and nonsensical, like a random sound collage from a porno movie. Her Taco bell comment just gets a moan of agreement from the hapless caller.
A few of the callers figure it out, and then it gets even more pathetic as they continue to masturbate, being such geeks that they're turned on by the technical details of the joke (one guy asks, excitedly, about if the sampler is triggered by keyboard or mouse). But most of the guys are so clueless and horny that they're completely unfazed by Kathy's bizarre comments ("I think you might be racist", "I want to have your retarded babies", "I've got a pickle in my ass", "You know I'm only 12?", "I sell used cars", "Check out my hairy balls", "I'm all fucked up from huffing Scotch Guard", "I think I might be having a miscarriage") and limited vocabulary (she says "Yesssss!" the same way every time), or her deafeningly noisy, Merzbow-level obviously-looped screams of orgasmic ecstasy. We could go on, but we don't want to reveal too much. Just get this, it's the best crank call disc we've heard in a long time. You'll be playing it for everyone you know, except maybe your mom. Absurdly funny.
MPEG Stream: "Very Large Hands"
MPEG Stream: "OK, This Is A Recording"
MPEG Stream: "This Is Damien"
MPEG Stream: "I Look Like A Cock"
MPEG Stream: "How Many Fingers?"

album cover MCGINTY, KATHY s/t (Hamburger Records) cd-r 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. REAL CD VERSION W/ BONUS TRACKS COMING SOON, HOWEVER!!
You ever have that problem where you're in an internet sex chat room, and you make a date with some pervy girl for a phone sex session, and then when you call her up it's actually some jerk with a sampler loaded with a sexy female voice telling you things like "Taco Bell is sooo good?" Well if you did, chances are you're one of the crank call victims on this extremely funny and fucked up cd-r. We guarantee, if you hear this stuff you'll die laughing (unless you're a total prude, of course). It's really unbelievable how pathetic the guys are who attempt to carry on a phone sex chat with "Kathy McGinty", who is pretty obviously a recorded voice triggered by someone's Yamaha SU10 sampler. They don't seem to mind that she sounds like she's talking to them over a CB radio, or that most of what she says is absurd and nonsensical, like a random sound collage from a porno movie. Her Taco bell comment just gets a moan of agreement from the hapless caller.
A few of the callers figure it out, and then it gets even more pathetic as they continue to masturbate, being such geeks that they're turned on by the technical details of the joke (one guy asks, excitedly, about if the sampler is triggered by keyboard or mouse). But most of the guys are so clueless and horny that they're completely unfazed by Kathy's bizarre comments ("I think you might be racist", "I want to have your retarded babies", "I've got a pickle in my ass") and limited vocabulary (she says "Yesssss!" the same way every time), or her deafeningly noisy, Merzbow-level obviously-looped screams of orgasmic ecstasy. We could go on, but we don't want to reveal too much. Just get this, it's the best crank call disc we've heard in a long time. You'll be playing it for everyone you know, except maybe your mom. Absurdly funny.
RealAudio clip: "I'm Jamming It In Deep, Baby"
RealAudio clip: "I'm Not A Child Molestor, But I'll Fuck You"

V/A Studio One Soul (Soul Jazz) cd 21.00
The newest collection from the Soul Jazz label's new "Studio One" series collects 18 tracks of American soul as interpreted by Jamaican artists and released during the sixties and seventies on the Studio One label. Much like Trojan's "Soulful Reggae" three cd box set which came out last year, "Studio One Soul" demonstrates not only just how much Jamaican artists looked towards the U.S. for musical fertilization, but often how independant minded Jamaican's were judging by their interpretations of the originals. Just how widespread the trend of covering and reworking soul and r&b from the States was becomes quite obvious when it is pointed out that between both collections (68 tracks altogether) there's absolutely no overlap. Yet another great compilation from Soul Jazz!
RealAudio clip: FRASER, NORMA "The First Cut Is The Deepest"
RealAudio clip: SENIOR SOUL "Is It Because I'm Black"
RealAudio clip: MITTOO, JACKIE "Deeper & Deeper"

album cover OSWALD, JOHN Plunderphonics 6996 (Seeland / Fony) 2cd 31.00
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In 1989 Canadian audio artist John Oswald released his tour de force of sound appropriation "Plunderphonic", a cd that was never intended for sale, and found himself face to face with The Canadian Recording Industry Association and their lawyers. Whether they were more upset with the "piracy" of their clients' music or the disc's cover art (which featured a picture of Michael Jackson as a naked white woman) can be argued -- according to Oswald the CRIA refused to allow it to be issued even with a cover change. Out of a thousand copies made, only a few hundred escaped destruction. The cd was certainly the most complex and exciting work of tape manipulation when it was made, and even today it stands far and above what anyone has done -- Oswald aside -- in terms of sample based music. Oswald applied his razors to tape with the precision of a surgeon cutting rococo swirls into the collective cultural funny bone. No one is spared, from Captain Beefheart to Carly Simon to Igor Stravinsky to Count Basie. Some tracks condense an entire album into 2 minutes (so Metallica becomes the most insanely tight metal band in existence), and others make bastardized duets in which an artist performs with another paying tribute to them (Carly Simon and Faster Pussycat do "You're So Vain") and some have so many different artists sampled in such short, yet precise snippets that you barely have time to recognize a sample before it's been replaced by fifteen others and seamlessly blended to pitch and rhythm.
Despite its extremely limited release "Plunderphonic" (reasonably) became something of a holy grail of tape manipulation and champions of its artistic validity have been making it available by making cassette copies for a small fee and even more recently the cd has been uploaded -- sans artwork -- for anyone with a fast connection to download (I, myself spent three days downloading it on a 28.8 dial up three years ago... nerd.) Now, over eleven years after its creation, for the first time ever "Plunderphonic" is now available, in somewhat steady supply and hopefully without legal interruptions... for sale. Initially Oswald had intended to see this edition released "legitimately" (in the eyes of publishing companies and major record labels) by clearing all the samples, but quickly ran into problems with music industry bean counters who have little patience for fair use (especially now, I suppose, that the disc is being offered up for sale.) As a way of bypassing the authorization process Seeland Records has thankfully stepped in and "stolen" the disc for, err... *from* Oswald and produced it themselves. And yet, saying that this is merely a reissue of "Plunderphonic" would be an extreme misnomer. Although all of the original tracks from Plunderphonic are here on this collection, many have been reworked -- some slightly, and some greatly -- and sequenced differently than on the original album. So those of you that have cdr's of the original might not want to start using them as coasters just yet. Also included on this anthology is Oswald's 1991 commissioned work for Elektra Records' anniversary (and previously only released as a promotional item), the five song ep "Elektrax" (Elektra chose to rename it "Rubaiyat") in which Oswald was given free reign to plunder anything in Elektra's vaults. On top of all that are several tracks from Oswald's 1991 release "Discosphere" (released by ReR / Cuneiform and consisting of tracks commissioned for dance), several miscellaneous cuts and tracks made for compilations dating as far back as 1975 and excerpts from Oswald's 1993 piece de resistance "Plexure" (Avant, Japan), a 20 minute opus featuring over 1,000 sampled artists.
Also included is a 46 page interview with John Oswald which alone is worth the cost of admission here. Along with going through all the tracks in the set and explaining the methodology behind each, Oswald details the events that led up to the cease and desist of the original cd. The two discs are packaged in a deluxe, hard bound long box and though the exterior artwork is much different than the original -- all of the original artwork is reproduced inside, along with additional plundervisuals by Oswald.
As a final note, many of you are probably wondering what the legal status & future longevity is of this edition. Well here's the scoop: this pressing has already been exhausted, we have 30 copies left as of this writing. However, we have been assured that this is NOT going to disappear or be a limited edition item. There are already 10,000 books made waiting for more cds to fill them, but that will probably be a month or two before that happens. So if you want your Plunderphonics now you should place an order ASAP, otherwise you will need to wait for the next batch of discs to be pressed.
RealAudio clip: "Angle"
RealAudio clip: "Anon"
RealAudio clip: "Cyfer"

PRINCE BUSTER King of Bluebeat (Wah Wah) lp 18.98
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Vinyl only re-issue of a rare live recording of Prince Buster from a concert in the UK in 1967. The recording, though not the most hi-fi in audio quality, is quite good and the performance is stunning. According to the MC at the beginning of the show, it was on Prince Buster's birthday that the concert was held and Buster performs with the energy of a birthday boy. Backed up by a full band featuring an adorable female chorus and a brilliant horn section. To top it off, the audience might as well be at an Elvis concert (during his zenith), for throughout the performance you can clearly hear the maniacal screams of young female fans.

V/A Texas Bohemia (Trikont) cd 15.98
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We're not sure just when we got this Trikont compilation in, but somehow it slipped under our radar and never got listed. That oversight will be redressed presently. For this collection Trikont has assembled an impressive collection of recordings of Bohemians, Moravians and Germans living in South Central Texas playing the music they love most: Polkas, Waltzes and Schottisches. Many of the recordings (dating from 1970 to 1993) were made live at festivals -- Oktoberfests and otherwise -- but there are some commercially released (but not widely) singles as well. Having never been a huge fan of polkas, I was pleasantly surprized to find myself really enjoying this cd. Part of it is the live, location recorded aspect of it -- I think that the performance of polka bands live at a country fair or a VFW hall has a certain sense of immediacy to it which gets lost when they get locked in a studio. And you can really hear the surroundings on many of these recordings, including the people in the audience (though never obtrusive.) My favorite track on the album has to be a version of "Edelweiss" as performed by the Tuba Meisters -- it's so plaintive as to almost make you forget that you're hearing a track from the Sound of Music. The cd comes with a 21 page booklet, but unless you know German (Trikont chose not to have a translation on this one) you won't benefit from much more than the included photos.
RealAudio clip: TUBA MEISTERS "Edelweiss"
RealAudio clip: VRAZELS & MAJEKS & BOBBY JONES CZECH BAND "Corn Cockle Polka"
RealAudio clip: BROSCH, HENRY ORCHESTRA "Wooden Heart"

album cover BULL, SANDY Fantasias For Guitar And Banjo (Vanguard) cd 16.98
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Reissue of Sandy Bull's first album, originally released in 1963. Often stuffed in the drawer behind John Fahey's dirty socks though, if he were to be compared with anyone, his playing style is much more influenced by Pete Seeger. Banjo was Sandy's first instrument and it was with a banjo that he first made an impression on the public as a precocious college freshman. Bull freely admits Seeger as being a mentor of his, and his "Carmina Burana Fantasy" is certainly inspired by Seeger's arrangements of classical pieces that were included on his "Goofing Off Suite" LP (released in 1955). But influenced or no, Bull had his own unique style and both his original compositions and arrangements of existing works are as good as much of the works of either Fahey or Seeger. "Blend", the first track on this disc -- which made up all of side one on the original lp (22 minutes)-- is a beautiful Sudanese-esque duet between Sandy on an open tuned guitar with jazz drummer Billy Higgins accompanying. A track that would make the Sun City Girls blush, "Blend", alternates between dark and slow musings from Bull to intense repartee between Bull and Higgins. Higgins does an excellent job of filling in, and avoids breaking the aesthetic by playing sans snare. The remaining four tracks on the album are all solo banjo and or guitar. Along with the aforementioned "Carmina Burana Fantasy", Bull pulls off a nice overdubbed arrangement of English Renaissance composer William Byrd's "Non Nobis Domine" on guitar, a rousing rendition of "Little Maggie" on banjo and a piece simply entitled "Gospel Tune" played on a tremelo laden electric guitar. The disc comes luxuriously packaged with all the original artwork and liner notes (written by jazz critic Nat Hentoff) in a tri-fold cardboard mock lp sleeve.
RealAudio clip: "Blend"
RealAudio clip: "Carmina Burana Fantasy"

COUNTRY GENTLEMEN On The Road And More (Smithsonian Folkways) cd 15.98
The Country Gentlemen were one of the great bluegrass bands to come out of the Washington DC area folk revival in the late fifties. The diverse backgrounds of core members Charlie Waller (guitar), John Duffey (mandolin), Eddie Adcock (banjo) and Tom Gray (bass) gave the band a sound that fit the traditional bluegrass mold and an urbane quality that was fresh without being so slick and smarmy as the later "newgrass" bands that would follow in the years to come. "On the Road" was originally released in 1963 and features recordings of two live performances by the Country Gentlemen, one recorded at Antioch College in 1962 and the other at The Sacred Mushroom, a coffee house in Columbus, Ohio in 1963. As a bonus to this reissue are six tracks recently uncovered in the Folkways' archives from the Country Gentlemen's appearance at Carnegie Hall in 1961 as part of Pete Seeger's "Hootenanny" folk concert to introduce urbanites to the world of folk. An added benefit to hearing live recordings of the Country Gentlemen is that they were quite the jokesters on stage -- just shy of the Smothers Brothers at times -- and many of their antics are included here. Also included is a 29 page booklet with a detailed bio of the band and notes on all the songs.
RealAudio clip: "Long Black Veil"
RealAudio clip: "John Henry"

album cover PHARAOH OVERLORD #1 (Ektro) cd 14.98
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At last, back in stock (although supplies are limited)! Here's our review of the debut Pharaoh Overlord album, from way back on list 113...
The other day a mail order customer called up and ordered Finnish post-rockers Circle's tUMULt release "Andexelt" (soon to be repressed BTW), and also "Ciudad de Brahman" by Argentinean stoner-rock outfit Natas. I immediately suggested that he also get a copy of this debut cd by Pharaoh Overlord, which, being the "stoner rock" project of Circle's Jussi Lehtisalo, is pretty much a perfect cross between the hypnotic riff-repetition and rhythmic pulse of Circle and the super heavy stoner vibe of Kyuss-worshippers Natas! Jussi describes this project (which also includes the guitarist from Bad Vugum band Sweetheart) as being "Hypno-improv-stoner-rock from Finland (file under Psychedelic)" and we'd have to agree, that's the honest truth. It's VERY psychedelic in the most head-noddinest of ways, really not that far removed from the heavier Circle output, but with more of a stoner sensibility that should definitely appeal to fans of Kyuss and the like. The jams on here also hark back to '70s greats like Pink Floyd and Ash Ra Tempel. It's all instrumental, all mesmerizing, totally great. Everytime we play it in the store people ask what it is, it's that good. Definitely if you're already a sucker for anything Circle (like us!) you'll want it, and stoner/space rock fans should also be very very happy with this disc. Oh, and yes, it's called Pharaoh Overlord, how cool is that?
MPEG Stream: "Landslide Non Stop"
MPEG Stream: "Mystery Shopper"

POZO, CHANO & ARSENIO RODRIGUEZ WITH MACHITO Legendary Sessions (Tumbao) cd 13.98
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While in New York in 1947 researching surgery that might possibly repair his sight, Cuban tres guitarist Arsenio Rodriguez hooked up with fellow countrymen Chano Pozo (astounding percussionist and songwriter), and Machito (along with his orchestra.) The first six tracks, recorded in February of 1947, were made during that visit -- the first two with Pozo's small ensemble and the other four with Pozo, Machito and Machito's orchestra. The remaining ten tracks are all of Arsenio with his small conjunto and recorded in Havana & New York in 1948 and 1953 respectively.
RealAudio clip: "Seven Seven"
RealAudio clip: "Tumba Palo Cucuye"

RODRIGUEZ, ARSENIO Dundunbanza (Tumbao) cd 13.98
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Another great collection of recordings by Cuban tres guitarist Arsenio Rodriguez. "Dundunbanza", the title track of this collection is significant because it is a traditional Congolese song which Rodriguez - a Cuban of Congolese descent - adapted to his conjunto. Arsenio was the first Cuban musician to incorporate the conga into his group; a move that was quite controversial at the time, but which is now commonplace in Cuban music. The tracks here were recorded between 1946 & 1951 in Cuba.
RealAudio clip: "Dundunbanza"

PERRY, LEE "SCRATCH" Complete UK Upsetter Singles Collection Volume 4 (Trojan) 2cd 25.00
Starting in 1969, Trojan records began a special subsidiary label devoted to releasing the singles representing the best works from Jamaica's most profound producer, engineer and performer: Lee 'Scratch' Perry. In three years the label, Upsetter Records, had issued more than 100 singles, or well over 200 tracks. Now, 30 years later, Trojan has re-issued the entire output of their UK singles on four double disc sets. Each set is a very handsomely packaged affair: the disks come in an attractive yet durable hardcover book, each with a different photo of the Upsetter himself on the cover. Each book contains several pages of bio information on Lee Perry relating to the period covered by each set, as well as 35 additional pages of notes on the individual recordings for each set and sprinkled with archival photos. The fourth and final set also includes a complete discography listing all the tracks and their release dates. Volume four brings together the final 24 UK Upsetter singles, beginning at the end of 1971 and finishing up in 1973 (just before the inception of Perry's Black Ark Studio.) Many of the tracks here are reworkings of older cuts produced by Perry -- the rhythm tracks for "Beat Down Babylon" and "Prisoner of Love" being commonly used -- and toasted over by a vocalist. On top of this there's the repetition of rhythm tracks due to the now common practice of using a dub version on B side of a single -- though on this set it's just as likely that an A side and B side might both have the same rhythm track, and merely feature a different vocalist toasting over it. This collection then might be for the Perry dedicated, and those just beginning might want to check out the first two volumes in this series (or the excellent Upsetter Collection, a single disc which we normally have in stock.) Having made that disclaimer, I'll say that this collection is by no means bad. It's actually quite good and has more than its share of excellent tracks featuring the likes of Dennis Alcapone, Junior Byles, Winston Wright, Lloyd Parks, Max Romeo, Niney the Observer, Bob Marley, Big Youth and much more. Plus, possibly the most whacked out Upsetter single ever, "Cow Thief Skank" is on this collection. Though the A side was previously released on other collections (most notably the Upsetter Collection) it lacked the added bizzareness of an intro featuring a lifted snippet from the Staple Singers' "This Old Town" before abruptly going into the song. The song itself is a jab at fellow producer Winston 'Niney' Holness, who apparently had been arrested in his youth for cattle theft. The song not only features sick cow mooing from Charlie Ace, Lee Perry & The Upsetters, but a rhythm track composed of two rhythm tracks razor edited back and forth with no attempt at matching the beat.
RealAudio clip: "Seven & Three Quarters Skank"
RealAudio clip: "Africa Stand"
RealAudio clip: "Preacher Man"

album cover SUN CITY GIRLS Libyan Dream (Abduction) cd 14.98
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Volume 7 in the Carnival Folklore Resurrection series, and all four of Aquarius' Sun City Girls heads give it the thumbs up. According to the liner notes the Sun City Girls originally made 50 cassettes of "Libyan Dream" and dropped them off in cassette vendors racks throughout South East Asia in 1993. The majority of the tracks on this disk are in the garage punk -- ethno and otherwise -- vein which the Girls do so well. Some of the tracks might even be familiar to those who've had any of the prolific cassette releases by the band. There's a rocking version of the Ted Nugent's Amboy Dukes' "Journey To the Center of Your Mind" replete with vocals (versions I've heard the Girls do previously were instrumental), and a nice rendition of the theme to "The Wild World of Animals." On the faux ethno-garage tip there's a version of "The Vinegar Stroke" (from Torch of the Mystics) and a great seven minute opus reworking of a traditional number entitled "Sangkala Suite." For those who prefer the Girls' improv free skronk, there is one five minute track here as well as forays in a couple other tracks, including the 14 minute + title track.
RealAudio clip: "Journey To The Center Of The Mind"
RealAudio clip: "Sangkala Suite"

NEGATIVLAND s/t (Seeland) cd 13.98
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Negativland's first album, originally released way back in 1980 (damn, has it really been that long?) Seeland has gone through the trouble of attempting to recreate the original packaging of the album, in that each is individually packaged, no two are the same. Each one comes in a 5" cardboard box and each one is decorated with pictures cut out of Home & Garden magazines from the 60's (disturbing food fads seem to be a popular choice.) Included inside are some recipe cards and a "Seat Be Sate" pin. The album is a lot darker and creepier than what Negativland would move into later. The voice tapes are still there, but they don't play as predominant role as they do in their following albums. Holds the test of time quite well.

NURSE WITH WOUND Automating Vol 1 (United Dairies) cd 21.00
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Although there is no track listing or general information on this record, "Automating Volume 1" is a collection of recordings that Steven Stapleton made for compilations between 1981 and 1986. The album starts out on a really wacky note with "Duelling Banjos" (from the United Dairies compilation "Hoisting The Black Flag" released in 1981.) An uptight drum machine relentlessly chuggs alongside whimsical farts and blurts of archetypal NWW sounds (as heard on "Alas The Madonna Does Not Function" and "A Missing Sense"). The second track, "Stick That Chick & Feel My Steel Through Your Last Meal" (from the 1986 Laylah compilation "The Fight Is On"), is a Fluxus-esque composition of creaky noise making, with spurts of groans, more fart sounds, party favors, zithers and percussion objects (a lot of the material found on "Homotopy To Marie" can be found here). The third track, "Nana Or A Thing of Uncommon Nonsense", is another silly track (featured on the 1983 X-tract compilation "Elephant Table Album"), starting out with a tasteless racial joke and then sputtering through a random collage of bongos and football chants (plus, a lot of the polka loops on the "Sylvie & Babs" lp are used on this.) The album then turns to Stapleton's dark side with his very creepy submission to the Come Organisation album "Fur Ilse Koch" (1982) on which a little German girl pleads for her father accompanied by an ever intensifying psychoacoustically irritating high frequency drone. What may in fact be more disturbing than this track is to hear my co-worker Byram muttering the little girl's words as syntatical anomalies in his already idiosyncratic vocabulary.
The remainder of "Automating Vol. 1" revolves around Stapleton's fascination with Robert Ashley's compositions in one form or another. "I Was No Longer His Dominant", taken from the 1982 United Dairies release "An Afflicted Man's Musica Box" is a creepy homage to Ashley's "Purposeful Lady Slow Afternoon". While both the remaining two tracks, "Ciconia" (from the 1982 Slektion comp "Masse Menche") and "Automating (Again)" (from the 1984 Frux comp "Born Out of Dreams" -- exclusive to the cd re-issue) are themselves influenced greatly by Ashley's "Automatic Writin." A coincidence in the title? I think not! The aforementioned Ashley piece is an unsettling meditation on muffled conversations and muted electronics which mysteriously express a psychosexual overtone. Stapleton's homages to Ashley are a fortunately less academic sounding and pack more of a punch.
Certainly, this work stands with "Homotopy For Marie" and "150 Murderous Passions" as the records to document Stapleton's formative years.
RealAudio clip: "I Was No Longer His Dominant"
RealAudio clip: "Fashioned To A Device Behind A Tree"

album cover V/A Nice Up The Dance (Heart Beat) cd 16.98
Imagine one of those reggae collections where the version track follows the vocal, except that instead of there being a rude break where the song stops and then starts again as a dub, the vocals merely drop out for several minutes, returning only at the close of the song. It's the perfect reconciliation of the vocal and version: just slap the two together. Though not exactly what's going on here, it's quite close. The practice, known as the "Discomix", became popular in the early seventies. Studio 1 was one of the big innovators of the "Discomix", which was a reworking of a song in order to keep a hit playing on the dance floor longer to increase exposure, keep people dancing, as well as a way to allow the dj a chance to toast over the song. The shortest track on here is just under seven minutes (the longest clocking in at eleven minutes). This collection is an excellent compilation of Discomixes, containing two previously unreleased mixes and many tracks appearing for the first time on cd and featuring Alton Ellis, Horace Andy, The Viceroys with Tommy McCook, Delroy Wilson and more. Highly recommended!
RealAudio clip: MCKAY, FREDDIE "Love Is A Treasure"
RealAudio clip: ANDY, HORACE "Mr. Bassie"

MARTIN, JIMMY King of Bluegrass (Audium / Koch) cd 15.98
Great collection of recordings made by Jimmy Martin, one of the greatest bluegrass bandleaders. The tracks here span back to his earliest recordings fronting his own band in 1956 and stretch as recently as 1970. Jimmy started out as a guitarist and vocalist (tenor) for Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys in 1949, replacing Lester Flatt who left with Earl Scruggs to form their own group. Like Flatt & Scruggs, Jimmy Martin stayed with Bill Monroe just long enough to learn from him before cutting out on his own in 1954. The broad time span of recordings here captures the development of Jimmy Martin from a Monroe clone to genuine original.
RealAudio clip: "Hit Parade of Love"
RealAudio clip: "(I've Got My) Future On Ice"

PIXIES Complete B Sides (4AD) cd 16.98
Long available only in variously expensive bootleg editions, the Pixies "Complete" B-sides is now available in legit form and at a reasonable price. 19 non album tracks (including the much treasured UK Surf version of "Wave Of Mutilation") each one annotated by Frank Black. As an added bonus to this edition there are two videos included that you can view on your computer: "Here Comes Your Man" and "Allison" (using a live recording of the song with video footage shot of the band playing Milli Vanilli style in an empty stadium).

PERRY, LEE Born In The Sky (Motion) cd 16.98
23 tracks, 9 previously unreleased, highlighting Perry's more esoteric production efforts taken from the beginning of his career as an independant producer in 1969 on up to 1975. This is really quite an exceptional collection of recordings and the unreleased tracks are all quite worth the ticket price alone, including a good alternate take of Enter The Dragon (from Kung Fu Meets The Dragon). The tracks compiled on this double lp set and the extensive liner notes, come courtesy of David Katz (author of the Lee Perry biography "People Funny Boy").
RealAudio clip: "Prove It Version"
RealAudio clip: "Combine All Parts 1 & 2"
RealAudio clip: "Do It Baby"

AHMED, MAHMOUD Ethiopiques Vol. 7 : Ere Mela Mela (Buda Musique) cd 15.98
One of the best in an amazing series!!! This reissue of Ere Mela Mela (previously on Crammed I think) is an essential purchase if you dig the grooves of the James Brown of Ethiopia, the amazing Mahmoud Ahmed.
MPEG Stream: "Ere Mela Mela"
MPEG Stream: "Metche New"

album cover ESHETE, ALEMAYEHU Ethiopiques Vol. 9 (Buda Musique) cd 15.98
Yay! A new volume in the always-popular, ever-wonderful "Ethiopiques" series of Ethiopian popular music, which most AQ-patrons will be aware of. Focusing mainly on the funky early seventies (when a dictator-free six years resulted in an unprecedented cultural flowering), the "Ethiopiques" discs are unanimous AQ staff faves and steady sellers. So what's volume nine all about? It focuses on Alemayehu Eshete who, along with fellow singers Mahmoud Ahmed and Tlahoun Gessesse, is one of the biggest stars from the golden age of Ethiopian music. He has often been compared both to Elvis Presley and James Brown in stature and style. Though a popular figure in a musical movement derided as anti-traditionalist and rebellious by many, Eshete's lyrics often preached of being a dutiful child and obeying one's parents. As a singer, Eshete is amazingly talented, crooning with a sillky voice in one song, then growling and yelping in the next. Like most volumes in the series, highly highly recommended!!
RealAudio clip: "Qotchegn Messassate"
RealAudio clip: "Tedesteshal Wey?"
RealAudio clip: "Heywete Abatey New"
RealAudio clip: "Mekeyershin Salawq"

V/A Mali: Cordes Anciennes (Buda Musique) cd 16.98
Originally recorded and released on LP in 1970, "Ancient Strings" was the first recording devoted solely to the art of playing the Kora. Though it has been around for centuries in various shapes and under different names, the Kora -- a bridged lute with a large calf-skin covered gourd resonator -- is now pretty much standardized to 21 strings. The tracks on this disc are all kora duets (with the exception of two solo numbers) and the songs are beautiful, lulling pieces with the performers sharing in melodic and lead and accompaniment -- usually the songs tend to have one melodic lead supported by another melodic ostinato and a plucked drone bass underlying everything. These are definitely some of the musicians that Baaba Maal and Mansour Seck researched before releasing their classic Djam Leelii album (which, by the way was re-issued a ways back re-mastered and with extra tracks in case you're lacking a copy of it.)
RealAudio clip: BATOUROU SEKOU KOUYATE & SIDIKI DIABTE "Kulanjan"
RealAudio clip: BATOUROU SEKOU KOUYATE & N'FA DIABATE "Asumba"

REICHEL, HANS Death of the Rare Bird Ymir / Bonobo Beach (FMP) cd 18.98

REICHEL, HANS Lower Lurum: A Guitar & Daxophone Operetta (Rastascan) cd 15.98

MARCHETTI, WALTER Nei Mari Del Sud. Musica In Secca (Alga Marghen) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Beautiful calligraphic tones -- the result of a piano triggering six magnetic tapes, whose signals are displaced out-of-phase, reverberating quietly and slowly over empty space in this stunning piece by Marchetti -- dark and ominous. Along with some excessive liner notes (if you thought we could be long winded), there's an awsome photo of Walt on the back cover enjoying a martini at some dark hotel bar.

REICH, STEVE Music For 18 Musicians (ECM) cd 16.98

BIG STAR #1 Record / Radio City (Stax) cd 17.98
The first two records of Alex Chilton's seminal kick ass pop band now available on one cd. With the exception of the two songs written by bassist Hummel everything here is a gem. One summer I drove across the mid-west and nary could remove my tape of these two albums from my car stereo. Crucial!

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Safe As Milk (Buddha) cd 12.98
Original 1967 album, plus 7 bonus tracks.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) (Virgin) cd 13.98
One truly amazing and fucked up album by Don Van Vliet. Though most Beefheart fans would probably cite "Trout Mask Replica", "Lick My Decals Off", or maybe "Doc At The Radar Station" as his best works, there's really something compelling about "Shiny Beast" that just can't be ignored. It's pretty well known that Don and the music industry were pretty much like oil and water. Much of his works were fraught with battles between himself and record producers, and some turned into disasters: "Unconditionally Guaranteed", "Bluejeans & Moonbeams" (pure schmaltz) and "Strictly Personal" (wherein the producer thought he could spice up the album with reverb, delay and fade outs while the band was on tour). But there are a few situations where Vliet somehow managed to channel his insane creativity into brilliant pop records, and "Shiny Beast" is a fine example. The most concise description I can think of would be to imagine Jimmy Buffett dosing acid after having a fist fight with Mike Tyson. Songs like "Tropical Hot Dog Night" and "Candle Mambo" have a catchy, edgyness to them that's unparalled. The horn section on this record is really the icing on the cake though. "Owed T'Alex" is a great example of nice horn arrangements and Vliet's combining his obtuse instrument part writing with pure, catchy pop. Various ostinato clash and click in a rocking number that just begs to be arranged for a marching band!

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Grow Fins: Rarities 1965-82 (Revenant) 5cd 84.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

ENO, BRIAN Here Come The Warm Jets (EG) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Now reissued on EMI!

ENO, BRIAN Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) (EG) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Now reissued on EMI!

FAUST IV (Caroline / Blue Plate) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Here's a top-ten essential krautrock record for sure. Indeed, it's even got a song entitled "Krautrock" on it! As crucial as Can's Tago Mago or Future Days, Amon Duul II's Yeti, or Neu! 1... Spacey (Andee thought we were listening to Spacemen 3) and weird and wacky and quite wonderful. Not in the Faust box, either.

MISSISSIPPI SHEIKS Stop And Listen (Yazoo) cd 16.98
Guitarist Walter Vinson and Fiddler Lonnie Chatmon were the Mississippi Sheiks, probably one of the most popular and influential country blues acts out of Mississippi in the 1930's. They drew their influences from a variety of rural styles, forming their own unique sound. Vinson's "Sitting On Top Of The World" is one of the most widely copied country blues standards. Excellent.

AFRICAN HEAD CHARGE Environmental Studies (On-U Sound) cd 16.98
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One of the best albums by Adrian Sherwood's African Head Charge, now re-issued on cd with a bonus CD-Rom track.

APHEX TWIN Selected Ambient Works Volume 2 (Warp) 2cd 14.98
The album from which Richard D. James' electronica genius became obvious. Selected Ambient Works 2 is as if James sonically replicated the post-slumber / pre-waking state when sunlight first strikes the dream riddled eye within the memory banks of his rewired samplers. A beautiful, synaesthetic and haunting post-techno ambient that really must be heard!

BREUT, FRANCOIZ s/t (Lithium) cd 14.98
Bad Seeds or Tindersticks like songs with sultry French female vocals. Fellow Parisian Diminique A plays guitar, bass & keyboards all over the place. Very, very nice.

CUJO Adventures In Foam (Shadow Records) cd 15.98
Third re-issue (first in a jewel case) of this seminal release of Amon Tobin's under the moniker of "Cujo." Very mo-waxy, down-tempo drum and bass with lots of lifted jazz breaks. An excellent album that has aged much finer than most of its contemporaries from 1997.

DRAKE, NICK Fruit Tree (Hannibal / Rykodisc) 4cd 55.00
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Pink Moon, Bryter Layter, Five Leaves Left, Time Of No Reply all packaged together in a box along with a small booklet covering Drakes life. For the price, if you think you might be buying these all eventually, you should just dump the change and pick this up. Quite a worthwhile investment.

JOHNSON, BLIND WILLIE Sweeter As The Years Go By (Yazoo) cd 16.98
In his entire musical career Blind Willie Johnson recorded almost exclusively spiritual songs, and did so in one the most unforgettable, hair-raisingly beautiful, gravel filled voice -- a voice that could make Tom Waits and Howlin' Wolf blush. If that's not enough, Blind Willie Johnson also played a truly inspired slide guitar.

KUTI, FELA Expensive Shit / He Miss Road (Universal) cd 16.98

KUTI, FELA Stalemate / Fear Not For Man (Universal) cd 16.98

LOW Curtain Hits the Cast (Vernon Yard Recordings) cd 14.98
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MITTOO, JACKIE Evening Time (Studio 1) cd 15.98
Despite the blury and poorly registered cover, this is one of the better compilations of instrumental rock-steady tunes from Studio One / Skatalites keyboard genius Jackie Mittoo. If you enjoyed the recent Soul Jazz re-issue "Keyboard King At Studio one" you'll probably really dig this one. Highly recommended.

NWE, U YEE Sandaya: Spellbinding Piano of Burma (Shanachie) cd 15.98
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In the late 19th century the Burmese (now Myanmarese) were introduced to the piano and were immediately impressed with the exotic instrument. They set about learning to play the entire repertoire of Burmese harp (the most refined music of Burma) and other court musics on it. In the process they developed a new genre of Burmese music (disregrading European methods completely) known today as "Sandaya." Master pianist U Yee Nwe plays traditional and contemporary pieces both solo and accomanied by traditional instruments. A beautiful combination of the strangely familiar and plainly foreign.

RANGLIN, ERNIE A Mod A Mod Ranglin (K&K Records) cd 11.98
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If you love Jackie Mittoo, you'll most certainly love Ernest Ranglin as well. Ernie is the guitar equivalent to Mittoo's laid back keyboard stylings. Impeccably-produced instrumental guitar work, somewhere between Martin Denny style lounge and rock steady. Excellent!

SMECK, ROY Plays Hawaiian Guitar, Banjo, Ukulele, & Guitar (Yazoo) cd 15.98

TOBIN, AMON Bricolage (Ninja Tune) cd 16.98
First album by Amon Tobin after shedding the Cujo moniker. Excellent drum & bass with hand-lifted beats from jazz to old bachelor pad lps to soundtracks. All impeccably reworked, recomposed and produced by Mr Tobin. Everything this guy has released is crucial. Very highly recommended!

V/A Asmat Dream (New Music Indonesia, Vol. 1: Sunda) (Lyrichord) cd 15.98
Compilation of modern compositions by Sundanese (Western Java) composers, and utilizing a wide variety of instrumentation: from gamelan, traditional Indonesian instruments, western instruments, electronics and tape. A South Eat Asian version of Ussachevsky. Excellent!

V/A Greek-Oriental Rebetica: Songs & Dances In the Asia Minor Style (Arhoolie / Folklyric) cd 15.98

V/A Hollerin' (Rounder) cd 16.98
Truly amazing and strange collection recorded in Spivey's Corner, North Carolina in 1975 & 1976 during the annual "Hollerin'" contest. Developed out of a need for communication over long distances long before walkie talkies were invented, Hollerers soon developed their own unique hollers for various emergency situations. This disk contains some of the most advanced developments in Hollerin' and as such has some of the most amazing sounds you'll ever hear coming out of a human throat at high volumes.

KONER, THOMAS Teimo / Permafrost (Mille Plateaux) 2cd 19.98
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Mille Plateaux has seen fit to reissue two of the three early isolationist recordings from Thomas Koner. At the time (being the early '90s), those three records (sadly there's no sight of a reissue of the best of the three: "Nunatak Gongamur") stood as a bleak dark ambient monuments that were too alien for the global hippy ambience of contemporaries like The Orb or Future Sound of London. However, Koner's membership in Porter Ricks - which defined the trajectory of the Chain Reaction washed out techno minimalism - has inspired more than a few techno boffins to look back at Koner's post-industrial roots. Very nice deep listening drones.

PERREY & KINGSLEY Out Sound From Way In (Vanguard) 3cd 25.00
Fuckin' A! All the the Vanguard recordings of Perrey & Kingsley finally available in one reasonably priced 2 disc set. Yes, I said "2 disc set". "The In Sound From Way Out", "Spotlight On Moog", plus Jean Jaques Perrey's solo albums "The Amazing New Pop Electronic Sound Of..." and "Moog Indigo" are all included here. Perrey & Kingsley, for those unfamiliar with their work, were probably the first electronic composers to work in the popular realm, releasing "The In Sound From Way Out" in 1966. Taking the ground breaking developments in tape and electronic music pioneered by Otto Leuning and Vladimir Ussachevsky and creating outrageoous arrangements of popular standards of the day a la Martin Denny and Esquivel, Perrey and Kingsley made some "easy listening" music that was anything but easy to listen to. Incredibly frenetic rhythms composed of multi-tracked tape loops of sound effects and recorded noise were the back drop to high paced electronic renditions of all the popular hits of the day using the most advanced synthesizers available. Everyone from Stereolab to Negativland claims a huge debt to the inspiration of these mad scientists of electronic pop. Also included are some nice biographical liner notes -- 7 pages worth -- by The Wire contributor Richard Henderson. Oh yeah, and there's also a third disc of Fat Boy Slim and Eurotrash remixes which you can promptly throw away when you get your copy. In its place you could fit a copy of Jean Jacques Perrey's "Good Moog" which was just re-issued as well and retails for 17.98.
RealAudio clip: "Spooks In Space"
RealAudio clip: "Cosmic Ballad"
RealAudio clip: "Third Man Theme"

album cover V/A Studio One Rockers (Soul Jazz) cd 21.00
From Soul Jazz, the label that brought us the 100% through 400% Dynamite comps and the Jackie Mittoo "Keyboard King At Studio One" comes this collection of tracks culled from the Studio One archives. Started by Coxsone Dodd in the mid 1950's, Studio One is the single most important record label in Jamaica. From the Skatalites to Bob Marley to Burning Spear -- just about anyone who's anyone in the Jamaican music biz in the day worked with Coxsone Dodd and Studio One. The tracks on this compilation, like Soul Jazz's successful "Dynamite" series, are an excellent mix of classic and obscure cuts from the archives -- ska, rocksteady, reggae and dancehall are all represented here. Most notably exceptional track is Dawn Penn's haunting and devastatingly sad "No, No, No".
RealAudio clip: PENN, DAWN "No, No, No"
RealAudio clip: HIBBERT, LENNIE "Village Soul"
RealAudio clip: MICHIGAN & SMILEY "Eye Of Danger"

album cover SUN CITY GIRLS Sumatran Electric Chair (Abduction) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Six discs into the Sun City Girls' rather indulgent "Carnival Folklore Resurrection" series and even the most fannish of fans could be forgiven for starting not to care. So, in accordance with their contrary ways, leave it to the SCGs to spring a surprise: this one is probably the best yet in the series, an actual collection of pseudo ethnic psychedelic "pop" songs mixed with mysterious field recordings, both providing much evocative, "exotic" ambience. So, if the messy spazzy skronk of the live stuff that comprises a lot of the first five discs in the CFR series turned you off, you should give 'em another chance with this one.
RealAudio clip: "My Friend RAIN"
RealAudio clip: "Gardens Green with Broken Chests"
RealAudio clip: "Bustin' Up MOGOK"

BLACK, FRANK & THE CATHOLICS Dog In The Sand (What Are Records) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Though most of the throngs of Pixies fans poo pooed Frank Black's solo workings after disbanding the Pixies, both his eponymous first release and second -- "Teenager of the Year" -- were true underrated gems. Even now, I find myself picking up these albums to play more than any of the later Pixies releases, or any other rock record for that matter. So it was understandably a bit of a disappointment when "The Cult of Ray" was released, and following it, two more very disappointing Black albums. At the time, to me, it seemed that maybe a good deal of the creativity that went into making those albums was to the credit of producer / bass player / keyboardist Eric Drew Feldman (of Captain Beefheart's Magic Band & Pere Ubu) or guitarist Jeff Morris Tepper (also a Beefheart as well as a Tom Waits alum) as Cult Of Ray found these two conspicuously absent and the album self-produced by Black. With his sixth solo release though, Black may be returning to his prior songwriting glory. Returning to play with Frank for a few tracks on this album is former Pixies guitarist Joey Santiago, and Tepper lends a hand on banjo for one track ("St. Francis Dam Disaster"). To be sure, this isn't a 100% great album but it's got enough great songs on it to be an excellent short album if you just program your cd player to skip tracks 1, 2 & 6 -- at least for starters (your results may vary) and see how they grow on you in time. Among the awkward moments on this album that may require some getting used to are a couple tunes in which Mr Black apes the Rolling Stones ("I've Seen Your Picture" and especially "Hermaphroditos") and an homage to FM radio rock ("If It Takes All Night"). But there are some truly great songs on here, as good as anything he's done since the Pixies, which make this album worth giving a shot -- certainly if you own and or cherish copies of his first solo outing or "Teenager Of The Year"-- replete with Frank Black's wonderful ability not only to slip in and out of his wonderful falsetto, but his almost patented way of switching from a scream to a croon. Let's hope this is a sign of even better things to come from Frank.
RealAudio clip: "St. Francis Dam Disaster"
RealAudio clip: "The Swimmer"

FELDMAN, MORTON For Philip Guston (Dog W/A Bone) 4cd 51.00
One of Feldman's later, and longer, works, "For Philip Guston" clocks in at just under five hours. Performed by Petr Kotik (flute, alto flute, piccolo), Joseph Kubera (piano, celeste), and Chris Nappi (vibraphone, marimbaphone, glockenspiel, chimes) of the S.E.M. Ensemble, Guston is one of the zeniths of Feldman's acheivements. A piece stretched out to such an extreme length is, as Feldman admitted himself, quite a difficult task. The ability to have a piece which retains a natural, organic quality without losing control over it and controlling the development of the piece without being forced into repetitive banality was a compositional conundrum that Feldman struggled with more and more as his pieces grew in length. How Feldman manages to get this piece off the ground, I don't know, but he does and keeps it flying the whole 4-plus hours -- with the help of some excellent musicians. The entire piece (I hope I'm not scaring anyone out there with this) was recorded in a studio, but still has the quality of a hall performance, perhaps touched up with some nice reverb. The studio method of recording the piece has the side effect of causing such everyday performance anomalies such as page turning to become amplified much greater than what one would experience in a hall setting and the flautist Kotik suggests that this be used as a measuring device to set the volume properly at home: if you can hear the page turns clearly, turn down the volume. The booklet included with this issue has a conversation between Petr Kotik and Walter Zimmerman... but maybe "conversation" is the wrong word. I think maybe "argument" might applied here to better describe their dialog, and a hilarious argument it is. A hoot for anyone who gets a kick out of listening to musicologists scrapple.
RealAudio clip: "For Philip Guston"

PRINCE BUSTER Fabulous Greatest Hits (Prince Buster) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Born Cecil Campbell in Kingston, Jamaica in 1938, Prince Buster made his mark in the fiercely competitive Jamaican music scene in the sixties and seventies through uncompromising originality, showmanship and just plain boasterism. Having begun with a fairly successful career as a professional boxer, Prince Buster eventually found work as a body guard / hired thug for Coxsone Dodd in 1961. It was only after a year of working with Dodd before Buster had recorded his own album. He proceeded to found several record labels, and open his own record shop over the next decade. He not only claimed to be the inventor of Ska, but also self-appointed himself as the voice of the Jamaican people. Though he may or may not have been much of a representative of the Jamaican people, his music was picked up far and away in the U.K. and he became quite an inspiration to the Mod subculture (Madness having popularized his song "One Step Beyond", and "Al Capone" was the first Jamaican single to chart the top 20 in the U.K.)

Despite whether or not his claims of importance in Jamaican music are exaggerated, the music he released throughout the 60's and 70's was always original and always quite good. And since this material has been so scarce for so long (with the exception of a few tracks here and there on
compilations), it's a pleasure to finally have his music available in a somewhat steady supply. I say "somewhat steady" because it seems that the vinyl is pressed by Prince Buster himself
(some of the LP's have a label addressed in England, but all of them are all hand stamped with the address to Prince Buster's Record Shack in Kingston, Jamaica. And to add to the confusion,
rumor has it that the Prince now lives in Miami Beach, Florida... Go figure!) The CD's, however, seem to be more consistently available. It should also be pointed out that the vinyl here is not
your perfect 180 gram, virgin vinyl, but good old pre-washed, crunchy, take-your-risk Jamaican vinyl.

Fabulous Greatest Hits is a decent collection of Prince Buster's recordings if you want to get a flavor for his style. Featuring his all time hit "Al Capone" plus many other great tracks, including the scandalously misogynist "Ten Commandments" off Wreck A Pum Pum and a couple of the best tracks off of the Judge Dread album.

PRINCE BUSTER Outlaw, The (Prince Buster) lp 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Great record, with a cover that looks as though it was pulled out of a thrift store: a bikini clad female pistolero stands in front of a desert mountain, with three cowboys drawing up on horse back in the distance. The colors are all washed out like the album had been printed on newsprint and left in the sun for weeks on end. Musically this album is a keeper as well - tight ska with lots of Prince Buster's patented "hic-up" style vocal accompaniment when there's no singing. Includes his hit Al Capone and 11 other tracks.
Sorry, not available on cd.

PRINCE BUSTER Judge Dread Rock Steady (Prince Buster) cd 16.98
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Where in Prince Buster holds court as Judge Dread One Hundred Years. Great collection of rock-steady tracks with regular appearances by the judge as he sentences rude boys to 400 years in prison and as many lashes for murder, crying (rude boys are not supposed to cry) and interrupting. All done in Prince Buster's trademark spoken-singing.
RealAudio clip: "Ghost Dance"
RealAudio clip: "Judge Dread"
RealAudio clip: "Nothing Takes The Place Of You"

album cover RILEY, TERRY You're No Good (Cortical Foundation) 2cd 31.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The unanimous AQ staff favorite of the week. Disc one is totally stuck in our cd player...it's only about 20 minutes long, but it may as well be infinite, 'cause we just keep playing it over and over. Appropriate, because, as with much of the late '60s work of American minimalist composer Terry Riley's work, repetition (with subtle changes) is the modus operandi here. The original source song "You're No Good", a pop-latin-boogaloo number released by Harvey Averne in 1968 (he's not credited in the liner notes to this, strangely) is a great tune in its own right. But soon after the original song's release. Terry Riley got his hands on it and created what oughta become one of his all time classic tracks. Riley used pedal-driven tape-loops and the Moog to take the infectious "You're No Good" chorus to extreme, abstract, mesmerizing lengths. It's looped over and under itself, at first sounding completely normal and then imperceptibly gets weirder and weirder until it's so odd that the customers in the store start looking concerned and asking if the cd player is skipping. It stutters wonderfully! Sometimes the left and right channels are playing different parts of the song simultaneously, to eerily beautiful effect.
That the original song is so insanely catchy and hook-filled (it's a "Dancing in the Streets"-style pop number) definitely contributes to the accessibility and fun of the piece. Disco minimalism? Hell yeah. Apparently it was commissioned as theme song for what must have been a very avant-garde Philly dance club, the operator of which was a Terry Riley fan present at the concert documented on disc one... Brilliant.
By the way, the original Averne song can be found on the compilation Dusty Fingers Vol. 2, and we've added a clip of the original below for you to compare.
Disc 2 of this archival set is live material from one of Terry's Poppy Nogood All Night Concerts held in Philadelphia in the fall of 1967. The lovely drones produced by his soprano sax and "time-lag accumulator" must have kept the attendees happy and hypnotized in their sleeping bags 'til dawn, and now we can experience a cd's worth of it now at whatever time of day or night we choose. Nice.
RealAudio clip: TERRY RILEY "You're Nogood"
RealAudio clip: HARVEY AVERNE "You're No Good (note: this does NOT appear on the Riley record!)"

PRINCE BUSTER Wreck A Pum Pum (Prince Buster) cd 17.98
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If there were ever a hokum rocksteady or ska record, this would be it. 12 tracks about sex and sex. The album opens with the title track -- "Wreck A Pum Pum" -- which is fittingly built around the melody of the x-mas standard "Little Drummer Boy". In this track Prince Buster describes his desire to have a woman, regardles of her looks, to "wreck a pum pum tonight." I might add that this album is not for anyone who may be sensitive to some blatant misogynist songwriting. The second track -- maybe as a consolation to the fairer sex -- is the same song only now sung by two women and directed at the guys. The song itself is actually damn catchy, and the treatment by the women, sung in a shrill duet, is wonderful. The album is actually full of a lot of great songs if you can bear it (the most absurdly brutal tune being Prince Buster's "Ten Commandments" to his woman.)
RealAudio clip: "Wreck A Pum Pum"
RealAudio clip: "Pum Pum A Go Will You"
RealAudio clip: "Whine & Grine"

ZUMPANO Look What The Rookie Did (Sub Pop) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
So by now everyone knows how great the New Pornographers record is. I mean, the label sold out of 'em in a matter of months, it got written up in the New York Times, and we've sold tons of it. And while some of the credit goes to Neko Case's sublime vocals, the songs, and the vocals of lead pornographer Carl Newman, remind us of a band we were raving about 3 or 4 years ago, and that coincidentally featured one Carl Newman on vocals and keyboards. Zumpano put out two records of absolutely perfect pop, with enough musical bite and lyrical savagery to keep it interesting, even after all this time. Unlike all the pop groups that stole liberally from the Beach Boys and the Beatles and Supertramp, Zumpano while obviously indebted to the above, dug much deeper and/or much farther back finding influences in the Zombies, Kinks, Chicago, Redd Kross, Jimmy Webb and even Neil Diamond. Amazing musicianship, crystalline production, beautiful harmonies, and some of the catchiest kick ass songs we've ever heard. While this record predates the AQ list, it's equally as amazing as recor number two, which we reviewed on AQ list 38:
"THE pop record of the year. An amalgamation of all those AM radio anthems you heard day in and day out as a child yet it's somehow still wholly original. A pinch of Jimmy Webb, a dash of Chicago, a little Kinks, a little Zombies. Horns!... Piano!... Harmonies!... Somehow it still rocks!... Andee and Byram swear by this record & even Windy loves it. Allan loves it too but Andee refuses to believe him."
All of you that love the New Pornographers record should definitely give Zumpano a try, if you haven't already!
RealAudio clip: "I Dig You"
RealAudio clip: "Platinum Is Best Served Cold"
RealAudio clip: "Temptation Summary"

ZUMPANO Goin' Through Changes (Sub Pop) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
So by now everyone knows how great the New Pornographers record is. I mean, the label sold out of 'em in a matter of months, it got written up in the New York Times, and we've sold tons of it. And while some of the credit goes to Neko Case's sublime vocals, the songs, and the vocals of lead pornographer Carl Newman, remind us of a band we were raving about 3 or 4 years ago, and that coincidentally featured one Carl Newman on vocals and keyboards. Zumpano put out two records of absolutely perfect pop, with enough musical bite and lyrical savagery to keep it interesting, even after all this time. Unlike all the pop groups that stole liberally from the Beach Boys and the Beatles and Supertramp, Zumpano, while obviously indebted to the above, dug much deeper and/or much farther back finding influences in the Zombies, Kinks, Chicago, Redd Kross, Jimmy Webb and even Neil Diamond. Amazing musicianship, crystalline production, beautiful harmonies, and some of the catchiest kick ass songs we've ever heard. Here's what we had to say about 'Goin Through Changes' way back on AQ list 38:
"THE pop record of the year. An amalgamation of all those AM radio anthems you heard day in and day out as a child yet it's somehow still wholly original. A pinch of Jimmy Webb, a dash of Chicago, a little Kinks, a little Zombies. Horns!... Piano!... Harmonies!... Somehow it still rocks!... Andee and Byram swear by this record & even Windy loves it. Allan loves it too but Andee refuses to believe him."
All of you that love the New Pornographers record should definitely give Zumpano a try, if you haven't already!
RealAudio clip: "Here's The Plan"
RealAudio clip: "The Millionaire Poets"
RealAudio clip: "The Sylvia Hotel"

CAGE, JOHN Empty Words (Parte III) (Ampersand) 2cd 17.98
What a fucking nut. Two discs of Cage reading, calmly and without expression, cut-up non-sensical passages from Henry David Thoreau's journals, live in Milan, 1977. The audience reaction is, however, quite expressive! Over the two discs the outcry builds: clapping, jeering, stomping, shrieking. Eventually the recording is more of the noise-making audience's near-riot than of Cage's performance, which is certainly in keeping with the man's philosophy of "music". Amazing and absurd. What a fucking nut!

CIRCLE Zopalki (Bad Vugum) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Bizarrely enough, I don't believe that we've ever listed this before, one of our favorite records by one of our favorite bands. This, the second album from these Finnish space/prog rockers, from 1996, sees them really delving into neo-Krautrock sounds and psychedelic hypnosis complete with sinister string arrangements. This one's dark and murky and heavy and a contender for our favorite Circle record ever, and that's saying something! If you don't have this one already, you should get it!

CROOKED JADES Unfortunate Rake Vol. 1 (Crooked) cd 14.98
Those AQ customers who live here in SF may have seen the Crooked Jades play at the Mission's beloved Radio Valencia (R.I.P.) on Sunday nights for years. And though it's been hard to catch them live these days, we're blessed with two new releases by the group to serenade us any day of the week, any time of the day in lieu of the real thing. Drawing from old time string band, bluegrass and country influences the Crooked Jades put together a sound that's original, but never forced. With a full arsenal of guitars, dobro, hawaiian guitar, banjo (played clawhammer style), fiddle, piano, ukulele, mandolin, pedal steel guitar, string bass and even the occasional casio & moog (says so on the liner notes, but hardly noticeable) the Crooked Jades continually vary the size and style of their arrangements to accompany beautiful male and female harmonies. The Unfortunate Rake is comprised of about 50% traditional numbers and the other half equally divided between covers and originals. The album was produced (and excellently recorded at SF's Tiny Telephone) by Richard Buckner, who also sings and plays on several of the tracks including an eerie rendition of the traditional song 'Ida Red' played on piano, baritone ukulele & E-bow.
RealAudio clip: "Angel of Mercy"
RealAudio clip: "Little Painter Boy"
RealAudio clip: "Lucy Molen"

PERRY, LEE "SCRATCH" Complete UK Upsetter Singles Collection Volume 1 (Trojan) 2cd 25.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Starting in 1969, Trojan records began a special subsidiary label devoted to releasing the singles representing the best works from Jamaica's most profound producer, engineer and performer: Lee 'Scratch' Perry. In three years the label, Upsetter Records, had issued more than 100 singles, or well over 200 tracks. Now, 30 years later, Trojan has re-issued the entire output of their UK singles on four double disc sets. Each set is a very handsomely packaged affair: the disks come in an attractive yet durable hardcover book, each with a different photo of the Upsetter himself on the cover. Each book contains several pages of bio information on Lee Perry relating to the period covered by each set, as well as 35 additional pages of notes on the individual recordings for each set and sprinkled with archival photos.
Volume one contains the first 50 tracks in the series and recorded in 1969, shortly after Perry left his last employer (producer Joe Gibbs) in order to promote his own work under the flag of Upsetter Productions. Given the year these recordings were made, it should come as no surprise to the dominance of rock-steady and ska tracks on this set.
RealAudio clip: PERRY, LEE & THE UPSETTERS "Eight For Eight"
RealAudio clip: THE UPSETTERS "Cold Sweat"
RealAudio clip: MILTON MORRIS "No Bread & Butter"

PERRY, LEE "SCRATCH" Complete UK Upsetter Singles Collection Volume 2 (Trojan) 2cd 25.00
Starting in 1969, Trojan records began a special subsidiary label devoted to releasing the singles representing the best works from Jamaica's most profound producer, engineer and performer: Lee 'Scratch' Perry. In three years the label, Upsetter Records, had issued more than 100 singles, or well over 200 tracks. Now, 30 years later, Trojan has re-issued the entire output of their UK singles on four double disc sets. Each set is a very handsomely packaged affair: the disks come in an attractive yet durable hardcover book, each with a different photo of the Upsetter himself on the cover. Each book contains several pages of bio information on Lee Perry relating to the period covered by each set, as well as 35 additional pages of notes on the individual recordings for each set and sprinkled with archival photos.
Taking tracks from 1970, this set starts off in the apex of Perry's career. From the very first track, a classic - "Kill Them All" - you know you're dealing with a madman/genius. Along with lots of insane instrumentals, including "Toothache" (in which Mr Perry makes use of a seriously damaged and squeeling organ that sounds as if it were found in a rubbish heap), there are some great vocal tracks: the Soulettes doing "Let It Be", Bob Marley's "My Cup" and much more.
RealAudio clip: RILEY, MARTIN & FAY BENNETT "Self Control"
RealAudio clip: THE UPSETTERS "Toothache"

PERRY, LEE "SCRATCH" Complete UK Upsetter Singles Collection Volume 3 (Trojan) 2cd 25.00
Starting in 1969, Trojan records began a special subsidiary label devoted to releasing the singles representing the best works from Jamaica's most profound producer, engineer and performer: Lee 'Scratch' Perry. In three years the label, Upsetter Records, had issued more than 100 singles, or well over 200 tracks. Now, 30 years later, Trojan has re-issued the entire output of their UK singles on four double disc sets. Each set is a very handsomely packaged affair: the disks come in an attractive yet durable hardcover book, each with a different photo of the Upsetter himself on the cover. Each book contains several pages of bio information on Lee Perry relating to the period covered by each set, as well as 35 additional pages of notes on the individual recordings for each set and sprinkled with archival photos.
All tracks here are taken from singles released in 1971. As well as Bob Marley's haunting and strange "Mr. Brown" about a possessed and evil crow, with it's rumbling fuzzy organ filling out the bottom, there are a number of other tracks that Perry produced of Marley, as well as some beautiful vocals from Hortence Ellis and much more.
RealAudio clip: MARLEY, BOB & THE WAILERS "Mr Brown"
RealAudio clip: ACE, CHARLIE "The Creeper"
RealAudio clip: ELLIS, HORTENSE "Piece of My Heart"

album cover ZAMLA MAMMAZ MANNA Schlagerns Mystik / For Aldre Nybegynnare (Silence) 2cd 22.00
RECENTLY REPRESSED, CHEAPER NOW TOO!
This curious double LP (now double cd) release was the fifth album from Zamla Mammaz Manna (formerly having been known as Samla Mammas Manna). Fronted by multi-instrumentalist Lars Hollmer, they are probably most known for their work as the backing band on half of Fred Frith's "Gravity" album. The two discs that make up this album reside on opposite ends of the group's musical spectrum. The strangest thing is the fact that they've always been packaged together as a set, not just as a strange reissue whim of the record label. "Schlagerns Mystik" (The Mystery of Popular Music), recorded in 1977, is an extremely off-kilter pop record; a hodge podge of Swedish folk & prog rock fused in a most unlikely & successful way. Filled with double-speed vocal over dubs, the record almost sounds like a children's record gone wrong thanks to drugs, or a far, far less self-conscious Frank Zappa. The closing track, which originally took up the entire b-side of the LP, is an uber-cheesy anthem which would make a great theme song to some early eighties TV show. Listening to this back to back with Frith's "Gravity" sheds a little light into Fred's inspiration on his seminal prog-pop record. The other disc, "For Aldre Nybegynnare" (For Older Beginners), consists of live improvisations recorded by the group between 1976 and 1977. Ranging between brooding, dark and droney atmospherics to call-and-response skronk, though at times plowing into light proggy excursions. Glad to have this back in stock again.
MPEG Stream: "Proffesion Is the Amateur's Glue"
MPEG Stream: "Little Karin"
MPEG Stream: "Short Inheritance"

album cover HANSSON & KARLSSON s/t (Polydor) cd 27.00
The late '60s Swedish power duo of Bosse Hansson (Hammond organ) & Janne Karlsson (drums), though having slipped into relative obscurity, were once a legend -- and rightfully so. Not only did Jimi Hendrix seek them out when on tour in Europe, jamming with them and watching them play, but even covered one of their songs -- "Tax Free". Legend has it that Bosse Hansson, trained as a guitarist, forsook his instrument for the organ after seeing Jack McDuff play and was booking himself gigs with it after playing for merely three days! Listening to his playing, it's really hard to believe he wasn't trained as not just a pianist, but an organist. Hansson, using a double manual Hammond B-3 organ, is truly brilliant in his handling of the instrument; alternating chords and melody between both manuals, playing the bass line with the foot pedals and breathing life into the damn thing with swells and stop effects. Along with Karlsson's drumming they produce such a full sound it's difficult to imagine only two people are playing. Plus, the tunes they belt out are fucking kick ASS to boot. Rocking jams that, though obviously influenced by blues and jazz, are truly unique in the realm of organ rock. There's spontaneity and energy enough, but the two never lose their grip on the structure of their songs, never meander into gratuitous improv nonsense. Part of their ability to keep things tight while still vibrant is the way they rehearsed songs, by improvising in the studio until structures became apparent to the two and then building songs out of the results. This cd is a compilation gathered from Hansson & Karlsson's three albums and one single that they recorded between 1967 and 1969. The cd comes packaged with a 15 page interview with Hansson & Karlsson conducted in 1997. Certainly, if for no other reason, organ fans -- ie: Jimmy Smith et al -- MUST own this. Interested folks wanting to follow Hansson's career are directed to our review of his later "Lord of the Rings" solo album.
RealAudio clip: "Tax Free"
RealAudio clip: "I Love, You Love"

NEW PORNOGRAPHERS Mass Romantic (Mint) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. GET THE DOMESTIC VERSION ON MATADOR.
Amazing pop maestro Carl Newman (Zumpano, Superconductor) heads the star-studded cast of what is, to AQ's collective ears, simply THE BEST POP ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2000. When was the last time the AQ staff and our wildly differing tastes happened to *unanimously* agree on a single album's brilliance? Maybe Neutral Milk's second record? The Soft Bulletin or Conet Project? Suffice to say that this happens very rarely, and that's how good this New Pornographers record is. "Mass Romantic" is absolutely shiningly great power pop, with influences as wide-ranging as Big Star, the Zombies, Eno, the Beach Boys, Cheap Trick, and Built to Spill.
Not since, well, the last Zumpano record (or Silver Sun's debut) has a pop record emerged that's this powerful, kickass, well-crafted and totally complex. Really. Each of the twelve tracks is a fully realised pop creation unto itself. Intelligent, infectious, and uplifting, with truly flawless arrangements (the key to pop greatness).
In a sparkling non-country spin, the wonderful Neko Case lends her vocal gusto to complete the soaring FOUR-PART vocals on such gems as "Letter From An Occupant" not to mention the title track. And the four other members of the New Pornographers are super talents in their own right: Daniel Bejar (the enigmatic figure behind the very Nilsson-influenced combo known as Destroyer), John Collins (bassist/engineer for the Nardwuar the Human Serviette-lead freakos the Evaporators, garage-pop stalwarts Smugglers, and the rock army known as Superconductor), Kurt Dahle (drummer for Canadian college popsters Limblifter), and indie filmmaker Blaine Thurier.
Recommended for everyone -- even if you only buy one pop or rock record this year, this should be it.
RealAudio clip: "Letter From an Occupant"
RealAudio clip: "The Fake Headlines"
RealAudio clip: "The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism"
RealAudio clip: "To Wild Homes"

BANTON, BUJU & TENOR SAW Ring the Alarm Quick b/w Version (Techniques) 7" 2.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We picked up some copies of our favorite Dancehall track by Buju Banton. This is the same track that was featured on the 400% Dynamite compilation. The B-Side contains the dub version of the same track. We've ordered several, but we don't know how many more we can continue to get, so if you want one you should order sooner rather than later.

album cover WU-TANG CLAN The W (Loud) cd 16.98
The Wu is back! After over three long years since their last collaboration as a group when they released "Wu-Tang Forever." Where "Forever" was maybe a little epic in proportions, spanning two cds or 4 lps, "The W" (no, the title is not a reference to George Bush the younger) is more of a honed and strangely unified object. On the one hand this album is still chock full of kung fu madness, messed up production and lovingly half-baked raps as their previous forays. There are even a few incredibly retarded rhythm tracks here taken directly from the Sensational recipe book. Yet on the other hand they're somehow firmly rooted in this world by way of an impressive cast of cameos by the likes of Snoop Dogg, Redman, reggae crooner Junior Reid, Nas, Busta Rhymes and even Isaac Hayes.
RealAudio clip: "Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)"
RealAudio clip: "One Blood Under W"
RealAudio clip: "Hollow Bones"
RealAudio clip: "Redbull"
RealAudio clip: "Gravel Pit"

FAUST The Wumme Years 1970-73 (Recommended) 5cd box+book 82.00
A 5cd box set devoted to krautrock legends Faust? We were salivating from the moment we heard about it! The output of the band from 1970-73 is truly remarkable, and their work can hardly be compared to any of their contemporaries. They transcend both psych and prog, they influenced countless acts and anticipated many musical trends, from This Heat to Nurse With Wound, New Wave and No Wave, Industrial and "Post-Rock", the Boredoms old stuff to the Boredoms new stuff. Seminal musical genius that everyone should hear. And this is both a good place to start for newcomers (I envy anyone hearing Faust for the first time!) and a necessary collection for fans.
The nitty gritty details, for those who wanna know it all: Wumme refers to the schoolhouse-turned-studio that Faust producer Uwe Nettelbeck rented out at Polydor's expense (he also managed to get Polydor to buy the band all the recording gear they needed and pay for a 24-hour a day, live-in engineer.) It was under these ideal conditions that Faust recorded almost all of the material on this box set, which includes (get ready!): Faust's self-titled debut, their second album "So Far" (both of those terribly hard to find on cd, with the Japanese edition of "So Far" having been out of print for years now), the ever-popular "The Faust Tapes" (now with a track listing and indexing!) and "71 Minutes of Faust" (collecting both the "The Last LP" and "Munic and Elsewhere" LPs). And, also included in this set is an amazing disc of unreleased material, some recorded live at the BBC in 1973, plus some recently discovered & never before listened to tapes as well as the track "We Are the Hallo Men" which was originally on "Munic & Elsewhere" (though curiously credited here as having been on "The Last LP"), but previously left off of ReR's previous version of "71 Minutes of Faust". For this disc alone the set is worth the money to Faust aficionados! Then add in the 40 page booklet, illustrated with rare color photos (of them playing darts outdoors in the nude! THE NUDE!) and Super 8 stills, that features essays/memories from Faust friends/fans Chris Cutler and Peter Blegvad, and interviews with several band members as well as with their producer (the reclusive Nettelbeck) and, for the first time ever, with sound engineer Kurt Graupner!
Of course, the individual discs may be issued separately at some time (or not? all we've heard is that the BBC sessions will come out individually) but then again with those first two Faust cds being so hard to come by, and so essential, there's got to be lots of you out there you not only will want this whole box, but NEED this box. Nicely presented, clearly a labor of love, with the cds in not-fancy-but-serviceable individual digipacks (and don't worry, the paintings from "So Far" are included in a color booklet with that disc).
RealAudio clip: "J'ai Mal Aux Dents"
RealAudio clip: "Flashback Caruso"

AGGROVATORS MEETS THE REVOLUTIONARIES At Channel One: Instrumental (Striker Lee) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This isn't a new re-issue, it's been out for a while now, but we just picked it up. This is one of the best dub records I've heard in a long time. Very simple dub with patient and simple solo lines. In fact, this whole record is quite stripped down and compact -- maximum effect with minimum means. There is no recording date here, but it sounds as though it was recorded in the early seventies, evidenced by a complete lack of synth presence -- instead, good old organ and even way out of tune piano still fill the key spot. The melodic phrases are broken up nicely, sprinkled with spring reverb, tape delay and filled in with solo lines that avoid upstaging and never stray far from the austere fabric of the tunes. With the cast here it should probably not come as a surprize that this should be such a great record: Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Jackie Mittoo, Tommy McCook, Roland Alfonso, Skullie and more. Recorded at Channel One and at King Tubby's of course and produce by Bunny Lee. On the cover art tip, there's a nice drawing of three dred-locked rastas wielding machine guns and firing away in every direction.
RealAudio clip: "The Conqueror"
RealAudio clip: "Bionic Man"
RealAudio clip: "Special Brew"

FELDMAN, MORTON Ensemble Recherche Plays... (WDR) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Collection of recordings of Feldman's music from his "middle period" (what self-respecting composer doesn't have their oevre divided into three periods I ask you) as performed by the Ensemble Recherche. Feldman broke with the absolute serialists of his day -- Stockhausen, Babbitt, Cage & Boulez -- to compose music in an unfashionable, "intuitive" way (there's an anecdote in here of how, when Feldman was in residence at Darmstadt, Stockhausen followed him around demanding "What is your system?") and filled his pieces with slow moving, simple melodies. More importantly, he relenquished much of the authority over note durations up to the performer(s). The results are often bleak, never sterile and always texturally rich. Includes detailed notes in English by acclaimed musicologist Kyle Gann. And if you know German or French, it appears that the liner notes written in those languages are written by two different people and are completely different from one another, not merely translations.

LA PLANETE SAUVAGE OST (DC / Intoxica) cd 18.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Long out of print and heavily sought after sound track to Rene Laloux's 1973 Cannes Grand Prix winning animated feature "La Planete Sauvage." Until now, securing yourself a copy of this soundtrack on lp would set you back a couple of Franklins. If the film itself is a hallucinatory masterpiece, the soundtrack -- composed by Alain Goraguer (long time arranger for Serge Gainsbourg) -- is as fitting as it is brilliant. Like an LSD dosed Isaac Hayes score, the music herein is at the same time both reminiscent of classic early seventies drama soundtracks and completely surreal and strange. Lots of recurring leit motifs recast in ever building and changing arrangements, including marimba, theremin and bird whistles as well as the standard orchestral elements, guitars and funky organs. For you vinyl lovers, the lp version of this is quite handsomely packaged in a beautiful, matte finish gatefold cover with full color stills from the film and lots of liner notes, including an extra foldout black and white insert with more info.
RealAudio clip: "Deshominisation"
RealAudio clip: "Le Bracelet"
RealAudio clip: "Ten Et Tiwa"

MARANHA, DAVID Piano Suspenso (Sonoris) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A single, one hour and twelve minute track by Portuguese composer David Maranha, performed live in New York in 1998. Using only a grand piano, four electric motors and a violin bow, Maranha "excites" the strings from within the piano to produce a beautiful, continuous drone that subtly shifts in emphasized overtones. The motors -- small, garden variety, electric motors -- are placed on the ends of microphone stands with what appear to be small brushes affixed to their business ends and set over the strings. Maranha adjusts the dynamics and pitches by the amount of pressure the motors apply to the strings and slowly moving the locations of the motors to the strings. On top of this Maranha adds various bowing techniques to augment the overall color. All in all this is an excellent cd, reminiscent of Coleclough & Chalk's "Sumac" or the works of Troum and other dronologists. Highly recommended.

LOPEZ, FRANCISCO Untitled 104 (Alien8 Recordings) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
I kid you not. This is the album where Lopez goes metal. Not the recording of sheet metal resonance, not the amplified vibrations of metal molecules, not even the inactivity of two pieces of sheet metal thoughtfully sitting alone in a room with nothing to ponder but their own existential (in)audibility. The normally sedate Lopez goes metal like Emperor, Slayer, or Cradle of Filth.
If anybody has recently witnessed the cascading power of Lopez's recent live shows, then "Untitled 104" is certainly not a surprise. Of course, Lopez sets everything up with 4 minutes of his usual silence, before a tumultuous assault of sampled metal blast beats destroys any semblence of serenity. Lopez layers wave after wave of rhythmic clatter that reveals an incredible amount of textural noise. One blast beat takes the aural center stage, and you find yourself asking "Huh? Is this Cannibal Corpse? Or was that last one from Morbid Angel? I don't know." (Actually, we suspect that all the samples are from one band, but even the metal minds here at AQ haven't confidently guessed which one.) Lopez could have unwittingly devised the ultimate trivia contest for metalheads to name the sample. 35 minutes pass (35 head spinning, if not head banging minutes) and then the metal rhythms stop. Ten more minutes of silence provide the coda.
While this record is really fucking good (indeed, it's one of Jim's favorites of the year along with Reynols' "Blank Tapes"), it is also another example of the academic / art world colonization of metal. Like Matthew Barney's awe-inspiring image in "Cremaster 2" of Dave Lombardo hammering at his drum kit behind the sound of swarming bees, Lopez's "Untitled 104" effectively translates the pure masculine power of metal to an audience who may not care for the, uh, aesthetics of metal. Fortunately, it appears that Lopez and Barney do not approach metal with a snobbish irony (like Harmony Korine's reprehensible photo-enlargements of black metal album covers that sold for tens of thousands of dollars), but such appropriation nevertheless marginalizes metal as nothing more than a texture or an attitude, far from the vibrant and deviant culture that it is.
Rant aside, if this record causes one fan of Bernhard Gunter to get into Burzum, then, as far as Aquarius Records is concerned, Lopez has succeeded. Recommended.
RealAudio clip: "Untitled 104 (excerpt)"

TROUM Mort Aux Vaches: Sen (Staalplaat) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Troum (Traum is "dream" in the duo's native German, but Troum is ?) mines the nether regions of the subconscious to create waking replications of their nightly visions. Their recordings are far from mere transcriptions of dreams to tape; they are the gossamer residues of once vivid memories, passed through mesmeric filters to slowly dissolve present reality into soft focus fragments of thought. Musically, these translations fall both on the sublime and, at times, on the malevolent side of the ambient divide.
"Sen" -- Troum's contribution to Staalplaat's luminary-laced live-radio-recordings "Mort Aux Vaches" series -- seems fixated on the North Sea, where sheets of black ice creak under the tidal currents that roll onto a rocky beach. Troum sees no need to make any direct references to that imagined metaphor, rather it's implied behind a bleak drone haze of guitars, bells, voice, and keyboards treated with a heavy dose of synthetic cathedral reverb. Troum's post-industrial background is revealed with a churning drum machine which rumbles underneath their complex tonal patterns like an antiquated seaside factory.
Troum, more so than in their previous incarnation as Maeror Tri, has the potential to invoke awe through their hypnogogic expanses of droning sound. Here they push beyond their potential. Also, please note that this only their second cd, and the first is out of print (this is limited as well!), so get it while you can.

RADIOHEAD Kid A (Capitol) cd 16.98
Radiohead is a band whose mythology has gotten much bigger than they are. The pop giants have steered their fate from being one hit wonders to being the elegant masters of balancing full albums with excess and economy. Like all great artists, Radiohead understands that a key tenet of the artistic process is the necessity of risk-taking. And "Kid A" is an album full of risks. It is also the album that has the unfortunate burden of needing to follow up "OK Computer" -- one of the few records on which a band has managed to perfectly realize all of their intended musical ideas.
The success and failure of the risk taking on "Kid A" is measured by the lack of Radiohead's big melodic hooks which have been replaced by rolling electronica laced grooves, Rhodes organ drone chords, and a generally gorgeous production. Radiohead has wanted to create an album full of exquisite details that are supposed to draw the listener into the record to discover all of the tiny sonic jewels that are so effectively hidden throughout. But without the pop hook, Radiohead hasn't anything else in their repetoire to seduce the listener into the rich production. As a result, the band has made a nice record... one that may inevitably grow on you, but one that is far from genius. With that said, we have to commend Radiohead for their experimental spirit.

CAGE, JOHN / KENNETH PATCHEN The City Wears A Slouch Hat (Cortical Foundation) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Never-before-released radio play collaboration between John Cage and writer/artist Kenneth Patchen performed in 1942. In what has to be one of the oddest Cage pieces ever, professional radio voice talents unravel a truly surreal story in straight '40s radio drama style. Replacing the usual radio drama sound effects is a percussion ensemble led by John Cage which punctuates the dialog throughout. Along with muted gongs, tin can xylophones, and marimbula are an assortment of electronic gadgets, including an audio frequency oscillator, electric buzzers and recorded sounds. Also included on this disk is "Credo in us" with Genevieve Blons on shortwave radio, and a 1939 recording of Cage's "Imaginary Landscape" for shortwave radio. Oh, and according to the Cortical Foundation, this cd is limited to a pressing of 1000 copies.
RealAudio clip: "City Wears A Slouch Hat"

LOPEZ, FRANCISCO Untitled (1993) (Staalplaat) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Some time back, AQ prankster Andee thought it funny to put a empty jewel case out on the shelves with a tag stating that the audio content was so minimal that it didn't even exist. Little did we know that this high art/bad joke concept was paralleled by the very first Reynols record -- which was a 'dematerialized' cd. With that lengthy precursor, we are happy to say that this Francisco Lopez record is NOT another in the continuum of sub-audible recordings. Rather "Untitled (1993)" is a collection of live collaborations between Lopez and a handful of guests (John Hudak, Michael Gendreau, Michale Northam, Gen Ken Montgomery, Steve Peters, and Zan Hoffmann). Lopez manages to corral all of the diverse aesthetics of these artists into the more audible spectrum of his own sound of lengthy environmental drones. Like all of the records you actually can hear by Lopez, "Untitled (1993)" is pretty fantastic.

GREAT PHONE CALLS (Ipecac) cd 17.98
When "Great Phone Calls" first came out so many years ago (6 or 7?), it quietly marked the first appearance on record of the now-infamous Neil Hamburger, sad sack comic who's since gone on to great heights of humor recording for the Drag City label. A collection of prank phone calls, this is hands down one of the funniest records we've ever heard, from the aggro bass player who answers a musicians-wanted ad to a fat guy trying to order a low-fat pizza. Some of the calls are borderline offensive, and some jump right over that line, so be forewarned, but it's so worth it anyway. In fact the Hamburger tracks are among his best cos unlike later recordings of his live paying-gig performances, here on Great Phone Calls he's trying so desperately just to get a gig, calling comedy clubs and harrassing the bookers. You MUST hear this!
Note: this has been reissued by Mike Patton's Ipecac label and he makes an uncredited sneak appearance on the record too.
RealAudio clip: "I'm in Your Band"
RealAudio clip: "(Write My) Name on the Toilet"

BURZUM Ragnarok: A New Beginning (Aske) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
If you don't know the whole sordid story with this guy/band, let us refer you to "The Lords of Chaos" book... Here's some rare demo/rehearsal material from Varg, all early stuff recorded long before his incarceration. Very cult. The demo material is rough and super atmospheric, gloom drone metal supreme. This is the stuff for which the term "necro" was invented. This disc also includes other oddities, such as a rehearsal recording of a seemingly drunken Varg, along with guys from Mayhem, likely equally drunk, singing a Cliff Richard song a capella (this track is really more silly than necro). Then there's a long spooky track with vocals by the late Sveinbjorn Beinfeinsson, head of the Asatru religion, backed by Varg's synths (this might be of more recent vintage than the rest). For true fans. Limited (and numbered) edition of 1000 cds. We only have a few.
RealAudio clip: "Lost Wisdom"

SKATALITES MEET KING TUBBY Legendary Skatalites In Dub (Motion) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Excellent collection of dub from some of the best. Recorded in 1975, at the zenith of dub engineering technology by the master of the knobs and faders (and acknowledged inventor of dub) King Tubby. But no dub record would be anything without an excellent set of musicians to boot, and in this incarnation of the Skatalites you have a giant heaping tablespoon of them, including (but not limited to): Roland Alphonso, Tommy McCook, Ernest Ranglin, Ras Michael, Augustus Pablo and Jackie Mittoo. Lots of long, no hurry jams, with gobs of spring reverb, a smattering of tape echo, and pounding Nyabhinghi rhythms. So stoney that it's almost guaranteed to make you forget what you were doing if you listen to this disk long enough.
RealAudio clip: "Heavens Gate"

V/A Ethiopiques Vol. 8 : Swinging Addis (Buda Musique) cd 15.98
Finally, another installment in the fabulous Ethiopiques series! This time from the time span of 1969-1974, and focusing closely on the R&B and soul influenced musical output from Ethiopia's bustling capitol, Addis Ababa. More than just R&B and soul though, the tracks here are striking in their resemblance to early rock & roll and the twist -- there's even a track that sounds like a twisted spin on Chubby Checker. Despite the close relationship to popular music genres in the U.S. there is no mistaking the music's Ethiopian origin for anyone familiar with this series. And yet, despite even having tracks by such now familiar names as Mahmoud Ahmed and Alemayehu Eshete, this compilation distances itself from the previous seven in this series with a sound all its own. It just goes to show you how amazingly diverse and fertile Ethiopia's music scene was/is. Hooray!
RealAudio clip: AYALEW MESFIN "Hasabe"
RealAudio clip: ALEMAYEHU ESHETE "Tchero Adari Negn"
RealAudio clip: LEMMA DEMISSEW "Astawesalehu"

TOBIN, AMON 4 Ton Mantis (Ninja Tune) cdep 9.99
This is an ep with but one new non-album track and a couple remix versions each of '4 Ton Mantis' and 'Saboteur' from his "Supermodified" album. Hip hoppier than the full length. Coolness. Still one of the best sampler technicians in electronica (and by far the most interesting for drum & bass), Amon Tobin brings a few more big beat breaks to the rich collages of filmic orchestral tension, Brazilian jazz grooviness, and monstrous drum & bass rhythmic diversity. Never, ever boringly repetitive or predictable, Tobin weaves in his source material with a masterful sophistication that heavy-handed Moby only wishes he could do so smoothly.
RealAudio clip: "Saboteur"

RODRIGUEZ, ARSENIO Montuneando (Tumbao) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Another collection of recordings from Cuban tres guitarist Arsenio Rodriguez. These were made in Cuba between 1946-1950 and feature much the same line up as on "Como Se Goza En El Barrio" - most notably Rene Scull on vocals. More and more I am impressed with Arsenio Rodriguez and his output. Unlike so much of the newer Cuban releases of the Buena Vista Social Club ilk that are being released which are so clean as to be aseptic, these contain a beautiful rawness which is incomparable. The tres guitar itself, which has 3 pairs of unison tuned strings, has an odd always-semi-out-of-tune quality to it which makes my hair stand on end. Add to that beautifully melodic and rhythmically syncopated solo lines exchanged between tres, piano and trumpet, top it off with Rene Scull's ridiculous vibrato singing (which I must admit, took a while for me to warm up to, but is well worth the warmin) and you've got some kick ass Cuban music. No collection of Cuban music should be without a disk by Arsenio Rodriguez.
RealAudio clip: "Dame un Cachito Pa'Huele"

PINETOP SEVEN Bringing Home the Last Great Strike (Self-Hel p/Truckstop) cd 14.98
The criminally underrecognized Pinetop Seven have been plugging away for years, as they watched Lambchop, Whiskeytown, the Old 97s and a handful of their alt-country peers hit it (relatively) big. But with their fourth album, Pinetop Seven's time has finally come. The band takes simple country ballads, stretches and expands them, adding strings and lush textures, bizarre and exotic instrumentation, and create gut wrenching, brutally intimate country epics. The vocals are deep and trembly like the guy singin' 'em might be about to have a breakdown -- Roy Orbison channeled through Jeff Buckley, Thom Yorke, and Chris Isaak. You know how bands like Godspeed and Blackheart Procession reside at the dark murky end of the indie rock spectrum? That's what Pinetop Seven is to the alt-country scene. And in the same say that Godspeed is, at this point, only barely connected to an "indierock" sound, Pinetop are only tangentially "country" by way of their slight twang. What gets us is that it's also perfectly accessible, dark music that in a perfect world would be on adult radio all the time. This is real honest-to-god music that lingers in your brain for a while -- it's about as far from trendy and flash-in-the-pan as you can get. Very accessible, very deep, and very highly recommended.
Note: we also have one of their previous albums, "Rigging the Toplights", which is one of Andee's absolute favorites of all time.
RealAudio clip: "On the Last Ride In"

A.R. & MACHINES Echoes From Times Of The Green Journey (Polydor) cd 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
An anthology of the hypnotic output of this krautrock/electronica pioneer, taken from albums spanning the years 1971 to 1975. Beautiful, rhythmic stuff, way ahead of its time. For fans of Frippertronics, Cluster, Neu, Kraftwerk, Can, and (more recently) Kriedler. Not new, but we just got a few of this fantastic disc at a bargain price, so we thought we'd list it, get it while you can. We've had it before for 19 bucks and it was worth it at that price too!

CHARLES, MATTY Lonesome Lull (Ruby) 7" 3.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Local boy Matty Charles' first 7" won't, or shouldn't, be his last. Beautiful, heart rending songs sung with a voice at times silky and others gravelly. Some of the best country to come out in a while.

OLSSON, BJORN Instrumental Music (Omplatten) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
From a label whose catalog includes the reissues of Os Mutantes' first three albums and the Monks early demos, an album like Bjorn Olsson's "Instrumental Music" might well have been some lost psychedelic classic. When in reality, this is a contemporary recording from the former guitarist of the Swedish punk band Union Carbide Productions and current member of Spain. "Instrumental Music" is a beautiful recording for shimmering, pulsing sixties' organs, spelling out simple filmic signatures, like the spaced-out/stoner synths of Spaceman 3 attempting to achieve Morricone's grandiosity with Pink Floyd's "Umma Gumma" in their narcoticized short term memory. Definitely inspired by Bo Hansson's great "Lord Of The Rings" album as well. Recommended!

UZ JSME DOMA The Ears (Skoda) cd 21.00
Wow, a new studio disc, the first in several years from these amazing mad Czech musicians! As usual, a complex, clever combo of prog-pop and what we, for lack of a superior term, can only describe as "Wagnerian ska" (although it's much much better than that might sound, it's not really ska). A listen to this is likely to be the most energetic thing you'll do all day, even if you're just sitting there in front of the stereo. The horns, the vocals, the guitars (maybe heavier than before), the drums, etc. do their manic best, and the slow, gorgeous parts are there too. Uz Jsme Doma are one of our very favorite bands, both live and on record, and "The Ears" continues that trend! Recommended.

V/A Indonesian Guitars (Music of Indonesia 20) (Smithsonian Folkways) cd 16.98
Sometimes, in the midst of all the excitement we feel at the release of a new blippy cutting-edge electronica disc, or the next undiscovered indie-rock pop gem, we lose sight of the fact that much of the best music made has nothing to do with computers or hip scenes. Instead, it's made by musicians you've never heard of who are unlikely to ever grace the cover of The Wire or Magnet. Especially, musicians in the Third World, who have a contemporary, living, often innovative relationship with the musical traditions of their communities. People who do what they do with a great deal of feeli guitar music that we've ever celebrated on this AQ-list. We're all quite taken with it, and thus chose to make it Record of the Month. Indeed, the disc's final track, a song called "Fajar Di Atas Awan" written by Irwansyah Harahap, is assuredly the most gorgeous seven minutes of gentle guitar folk-drone and female vocals that we've been blessed to hear, ever.
The guitar, though rarely mentioned by ethnomusicologists, has been a part of Indonesian music ever since the Portuguese introduced it to the region back in the 16th century. Over the years it has made its way into various musical idioms and been paramount in the formation of others. At times used to imitate traditional instruments such as the Kecapi (a Sundanese zither), or, conversely, to play the bizarre, Indian film music styled electric pop of modern Dangdut (see Volume 2 in this series, "Indonesian Popular Music"), guitars (or "home-made instruments resembling guitars") have had a rich history in Indonesia. Featuring primarily solo guitar and vocal accompaniment from Sumatra, Java, Sumba, Timor and Sulawesi, this cd, with its very informative 32 page (!) booklet, is yet another testament to Yampolsky's dedication to documenting the multi-faceted musical world of Indonesia, in all its riches and wonder.
With twenty volumes in the series, we can't be too sad that this is the last, as it's certain that even picking up only this (a good start) and a few of the others would keep the adventurous music fan thrilled for a long while, and perhaps hook them on a whole new realm of sounds. The other two most recent installments are Volume 18, "Sulawesi: Festivals, Funerals, And Work", ranging from sorrowful flute pieces to drum and vocal based harvest celebrations, and Volume 19, "Music of Maluku: Halmahera, Buru, Kei", a variety of musics from the Molucca Islands, including music from a Sufi-derived ritual that involved men stabbing themselves with iron awls! Like the rest of the series, both too are recommended and are also 15.98 a piece.

V/A Music Is The Revolution (Zenta) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Recordings of the legendary John Sinclair (manager of the MC5) and the White Panther Party, spanning 1968 to 1970. Most of the recordings on this disk were made at WPP committee meetings and feature some hilarious arguing back and forth about the revolution, guns, guitars, drugs and sex. But there's also some great solo rants from Sinclair and other heads of the WPP. An amazing document!
"As we learn the language of Marxism, and the language of the Black Panther Party, we'll be better able to explain to them what our program is, in a language that they can understand, because we have trouble explaining to the Black Panthers what the differences are between our two organisations. If we can explain that difference in Marxist terms, we could clear up a whole level of communication." So the disk begins, and it just gets better from there! Why they felt this difference ever needed explaining, we'll probably never know. Yet they proceed to argue themselves into a completely opaque ball of radical nonsense. For fans of "Rock, Rot & Rule", "Raymond & Peter", "Celebrities At Their Worst", that crazy guy who's always screwing up what would otherwise be perfectly good Godspeed You Black Emperor records, or anyone who's had to suffer through endless hours of tedious consensus decision making with messed up hippies and want to re-live the days through the safety of a cd player. Also makes great answering machine outgoing messages! REVOLUTION!!!!
RealAudio clip: "Guitar and Gun"

V/A Discover Indonesia (Smithsonian Folkways) cd 6.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
For those of you who may find the full 20-volume Smithsonian Folkways "Music Of Indonesia" series a little daunting, and don't know just where to begin, the kind folks at SFW decided to release this budget-priced series sampler cd. Featuring 15 tracks selected from the many amazing entries in the series. Everything from xylophone duets to brass bands, from church songs to gamelan, from bamboo tubes to funeral gongs. Totally great. Get this and then begin collecting the volumes from whence comes the music that intrigues you the most on here. We also recommend Vol. 20 ("Indonesian Guitars") and Vol. 2 ("Popular Music of Indonesia") as being good starting points and definite essentials in this series.

V/A 400% Dynamite (Soul Jazz) cd 21.00
"400% Dynamite" is the fourth and undeniably the best in the series of Jamaican grooves as compiled by Soul Jazz Records. There's the dubbed out dancehall raggamuffin chants from Barrington Levy and Tenor Saw & Buju Bantu (whose cut "Ring The Alarm Quick" may inspire us to venture further into dancehall); the soulful rocksteady of Prince Buster and Toots & The Maytals; the classic early ska sounds of The Cimerons. Come to think of it, there's not a single track here which isn't fantastic. I don't even think we can say that about those universally loved Trojan compilations!
RealAudio clip: BUJU BANTON "Ring The Alarm"
RealAudio clip: LLOYD ROBINSON "Cuss Cuss"

album cover WEAKLING Dead As Dreams (tUMULt) cd 11.98
The posthumous debut from (and, thus, swansong of) San Francisco's most cult black metal act, Weakling. Despite their local, non-forested, non-wintry origins, Weakling was a band capable of destroying the best Scandinavia has to offer (as we witnessed upon two occasions, when Weakling had the honor of opening the San Francisco shows by Norwegians Mayhem and Enslaved, and proceeded to make both bands look like punk rockers in comparison! Weakling were so much more epic and intense). All this without any of the ignorant posturing or hackneyed corpsepaint of their peers.
Ghastly, anguished vocals and bloodchilling keyboards combine with dual trebly buzzsaw guitars and inhuman trance inducing drumming to create an atmosphere of utter grinding grimness. Weakling draws upon '90s black metal in the Norwegian tradition (especially the raw and primitive likes of Darkthrone, Burzum and Immortal) and then creates uniquely fucked song structures of epic length (20 minutes per, in some cases).
And, like the best music, Weakling also transcends genre. In some ways, "Dead as Dreams" possesses elements that can be considered akin to the avant garde, experimental creations of the Swans, Skullflower, Steve Reich, or even Yoko Ono. Imagine an extensive, utterly mesmerizing Hermann Nitsch piece, composed for black metal band.
It's a suffocating soundscape of riffing and drone. Subterranean satanic art rock that equals metal. Nihilistic, depressive and never ending.
Featuring Josh formerly of The (Fucking) Champs as well as drummer Lil' Sunshine from local death metallers Sangre Amado (R.I.P) and Saros. And of course, John Gossard of...well, John Gossard. (And The Gault / Asunder / Iron Vegan / Dispirit) Local black metal maniac/death rocker extraordinaire. Weakling is largely the result of his devotion to black metal dementia.
We are not engaging in baseless hyperbole when we say: this should be crowned black metal album of the year. Any year. EVERY YEAR! FOREVER!!!! Seriously. Essential.
MPEG Stream: "Cut Their Brains And Place Fire Therein"
MPEG Stream: "This Entire Fucking Battlefield"
MPEG Stream: "No One Can Be Called As A Man While He'll Die"

V/A Bollywood Funk (Outcaste) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Indian film music is some of the craziest, catchiest, downright smile-inducing stuff you're ever going to hear. In recent years we've stocked a number of compilations, some better than others: the not-so-great "Bombay the Hard Way", the pretty great two volumes of "Doob Doob O'Rama", and our all-time favorite "Dance Raja Dance".
And now there's this one, another instant fave a la "Dance" and "Doob". Compiled by the same label which released the acclaimed "Untouchable Outcaste Beats" East-meets-West electronica compilation, "Bollywood Funk" is an excellent collection of Bollywood tracks which received no additional production or remixes. While the similar "Dance Raja Dance" album (again: highly recommended, we always carry it) perfectly encapsulates the late '70s / early '80s film music of India, this compilation goes back to the '60s and early '70s for a more psychedelic and groovier sound. Perfectly weird, often kick ass Indian film music. Highly recommended.
RealAudio clip: ""

SENOR COCONUT Gran Baile Con Senor Coconut (Rather Interesting) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We finally got some of the first Senor Coconut cd back in stock: mambo-electronica-fuckery from German cum Chilean Atom Heart. Much more skittery and abrasive than his more recent Kraftwerk covers record, really innovative work that has more staying power without that gimmick. Think V/VM meets Stock, Hausen & Walkman, meets Rancho Relaxo All-Stars. Heavily entrenched in the drill & bass laptop / breakbeat damage employed by Aphex Twin and early Squarepusher, but using samples culled from the rich Cuban traditions of Cha Cha and Mambo. Highly recommended, but be forewarned as we're not sure how many of these are still available.

BURCH, PAUL & THE WPA BALLCLUB Blue Notes (Merge) cd 14.98
Utterly delightful new project from Paul Burch of Lambchop. Country music with lyrics and vocals reminiscent of Arlo Guthrie or Bob Dylan, Country Jazz musical influences a la Doc Watson or Bob Wills and shades of bluegrass and barroom balladry. Though I felt a bit squeamish at first listening to this album, I must say it has an infectiousness and honesty to it that's quite refreshing. All the faster numbers are wonderfully "live" sounding without being murky - lots of deep, booming upright bass that makes you feel as though you're at the Freight & Salvage (for those out of town, that's the East Bay's best venue for country & bluegrass).

LOVELY MIDGET Lovely Midget (Corpus Hermeticum) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
I've actually been waiting for Lovely Midget's debut album for some time, after a brilliant 10" on Ecstatic Peace a couple of years back. Lovely Midget is the work of New Zealand's Rachel Shearer, whose resume includes a few releases for Siltbreeze and Xpressway as Queen Meanie Puss and Angelhead. Whereas those projects were firmly entrenched in the magical avant-pop strum shared by fellow NZ musicians like Alastair Galbraith, Lovely Midget's gritty drones barely have anything to do with the song, capturing a antiquated sound similar to Movietone or Kjetil Brandsdal's Corpus Hermeticum release. The layers of guitar feedback, slowly tumbling percussion, and sunbleached vibrations could easily have resulted in the crystalline sleepiness of My Bloody Valentine but instead have been covered with 10 years of dust and cobwebs blurring the melodies with murk and mire. Interestingly, this muddy, droning din was created digitally, although there certainly isn't any indication that any digital production was used, and Lovely Midget would never get confused with the sterile electronica found on Raster or 12K. Rather this has all the trappings of a fantastic lo-fi 4-track recording... it's beautiful, dreamy, and highly recommended.
RealAudio clip: "Paul Johns"

LOS SAMPLER'S Descargas (Rather Interesting) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Another Atom Heart caper of electronic tom-foolery, that we brought in after being captivated by his Senor Coconut stuff. Though keeping with the Latin/Mambo theme of his Senor Coconut moniker the result is not the same smooth, literal interpretations as his Kraftwerk covers. On this disk Perez Prado and other Latin classics (as well as unknowns) receive plastic surgery from Atom Heart using only the digital equivalents of a rusty machete and a propane torch. The result (purporting to be an actual Chilean band called Los Sampler's, produced by Atom) is like a Rancho Relaxo All-Stars spin off for Mego Recordings.

ATOM FEATURING TEA TIME XXX (Rather Interesting) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We've all been keeping a watchful eye on Mr. Atom Heart lately. Watching bemusedly as his relocation to Chile prompted him to reinvent himself as Senor Coconut, and listening, as his techno turned to mambo, and his obsession with the indigenous music of his new home seeped into every facet of his music making. The first Senor Coconut record (out of print, it seems) was a glorious mix of Perez Prado style mambos and Squarepusherish drum programming. The Senor Coconut we listed on the last AQ list took a bizarre turn no one could have predicted, consisting of all Kraftwerk covers done Chilean style, all mambo and rhumba, barely a hint of his former Atom Heart remained. On "XXX", Atom hooks up with Chilean rapper Tea Time, for a wickedly clever record of X rated rapping (in Spanish of course) and convuluted hip hop, complete with plenty of turntablist trickery and hard disc scratching. And it's practically perfect; funny and catchy and smooth and super wicked. Tea Time's got a super smooth flow (sounding a bit like MC Solaar) and the music is just completely bizarre, lots of hiccuping loops, low end rumble, crazy scratching, and bizarre hard disc editing, making for probably one of our favorite (albeit quite odd) hip hop (Latin American glitch-rap?) records of the year, and it's easily the best Atom Heart...er...Senor Coconut record yet.
RealAudio clip: "Mis Chiquitas"

CUGAT, XAVIER Rumba Rumbero (Tumbao) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Unlike many of the great Cuban band leaders, classically trained violinist Xavier Cugat had never intended on making his career in popular music. Fate is a funny thing however and not only did Xavier become the most popular and acclaimed band leader of Cuban music outside of Cuba, but became a popular figure amongst Hollywood's elite in the 1930's, appearing in several films - oddly enough, his foot in the doorway there was due to his snappy caricatures of the stars. For years Cugat's band was the headlining act at the Waldorf Hotel in New York's famous Starlight Room. It was under Xavier Cugat that Cuban musicians and especially singers made their fame in the U.S., most notabable is the famous Miguelito Valdes, who is found singing here on over half the tracks and recorded in NYC between 1940 and 1941. The other tracks were recorded in 1937 and 1942 to 1943.

MB (BIANCHI, MAURIZIO) Archeo MB 2 (EEs'T / Alga Marghan) 5cd 77.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE, BUT THE DISCS ARE AVAILABLE AS INDIVIDUAL VOLUMES.
Looking back at the manic output of Maurizio Bianchi (MB) with dozens of private edition LPs and cassettes from 1979 - 1984, it is arguable that his catalogue of 'pre-apocalyptic' industrialisms is an aural diary of psychological distress on par with someone like Jandek. Bianchi's work reveals the existential crisis of a frustrated nihilist whose explorations of cultural, religious, and semiotic collapse brought him closer to God.
In 1984, Maurizio Bianchi released his last album and dropped out of sight. From what little contact he kept with his musical past, a myth circulated that he became a Jehovah's Witness, which appeared to be an absurd fate for this practitioner of negativity. However, this myth revealed itself as fact when he resurfaced in 1998 to release two ephemeral yet wholly uninteresting new age records filled with gilded spiritual imagery. At this time, Bianchi began remastering his earliest work and reissuing these albums through Alga Marghan. "Archeo MB 2" is the second set of reissues from the MB archives, collected as a 5cd set with the albums "Das Testament," "Endometrio," "Carcinosi," and "The Plain Truth," and "Armaghedon." Where the first set is a violent display of neurotic vibrations and deadly electronics, the second is relatively dreamy, albeit retaining the sonic qualities of erratic vertigo and shadowy hallucinations. His suffocating experiments with primitive synths, delay pedals, turntables, and tape machines collapsed in on themselves with an electrocuted obliteration of sound. Out of the ashes of such early albums as "Symphony for a Genocide" and "Neuro Habitat," Bianchi allowed for a structuralism with tentative rhythms and melodies to rise out of the blackened grit on the work found in "Archeo MB 2." Each of the albums found on this box set are available individually; however, the box set features extra artwork (including a really dorky photograph of Bianchi in a red sweater), and a handful of Bianchi's cryptic music critiques. Of all of the dronescapes, noise attacks, and electronic warbles that Aquarius has lavished with critical hyperbole, MB remains at the top of the list in terms of innovation and actualization of metaphor and intent.
RealAudio clip: "Carcinosi"
RealAudio clip: "The Plain Truth"

LOW & SPRING HEEL JACK Bombscare EP (Tugboat) cdep 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Thoroughly delightful little EP wherein Low's Mimi and Alan supply the vocals and UK electronic experimentalists Springheel Jack make the instrumental accompaniment. Clearly big Low fans, Springheel Jack have respectfully kept the music quiet and sparse... just like Low would have, only with added embellishments Low usually avoids, like ominous electronic rumbles, evocative strings, serene piano. Very pretty.

SEPTETO Y CONJUNTO MATAMOROS Camaron Y Mamoncillo (Tumbao) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Miguel Matamoros formed both the Septeto (1928) and Conjunto (1942) much after he'd already aquired acclaim with his trio. With the Septeto he filled out the sound by adding trumpet (Jose Macias or Jose Quintero), clarinet (Francisco Repilado), bass (Felipe Torriente or Christobal Mendive), bongos (Pedro Mena or Agustin Gutierrez) and adding piano (Armando Beltran or Ramon Dorca) for the Conjunto. The repertoire remains unchanged with the increase in ensemble size and most of the recordings found here (made between 1928 and 1950) are still primarily the Cuban Son which Miguel Matamoros was probably the greatest propagator of.

STOCKHAUSEN, KARLHEINZ Helicopter String Quartet (Stockhausen Verlag) 2cd 75.00
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To reiterate - "And then I had a dream: I heard and saw the four string players in four helicopters flying in the air and playing. At the same time I saw people on the ground seated in an audio-visual hall, others were standing outdoors on a large public plaza. In front of them, four towers of television screens and loudspeakers had been set up: at the left, half-left, half-right, right. At each of the four positions one of the four string players could be heard and seen in close-up. Most of the time, the string players played tremoli which blended so well with the timbres and the rhythms of the rotor blades that the helicopters sounded like musical instruments. When I woke up, I strongly felt that something had been communicated to me which I never would have thought of on my own. I did not tell anyone anything about it. Since I did not, after the dream, have any time to compose, I wrote and drew several sketches and -- from the super formula -- developed the Helicopter String Quartet as the third scene of Wednesday from Light, the cycle of music dramas which I have been composing since 1977. Only in 1992/93 did I find the peace to compose the Helicopter String Quartet, and especially to made the fair copy of the colored score." -Karlheinz Stockhausen.
At the beginning of 2000, we got in the Arditti String Quartet version of this score, which featured the ensemble in a studio overdubbing their performance with canned helicopters. If you're gonna have a great conceptual idea, do it right. Stockhausen knew that and released the world premier performance of the piece with his studio mix-down of the previously mentioned Arditti String Quartet recording.

STOCKHAUSEN, KARLHEINZ Hymnen 1 & 2 (Stockhausen Verlag ) 4cd 95.00
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The first two incarnations of the composition "Hymnen" (1966 - 1967) are found on 4cds. The first being 4-track stereophonic recordings of elektronische musik in which shortwave radio transmissions of international gibberish begin to evolve into a strict directional score from which bursts national anthems from Germany, Switzerland, America, Spain, Russia, and Africa. Stockhausen elaborates on the compositional metaphors both aurally and conceptually in a massive 200 page book both in English and German. The second incarnation is a reworking of the electronic score accompanied by soloists on piano, tam-tam, electric viola, electronium, filters, and potentiometers.

STOCKHAUSEN, KARLHEINZ Tierkreis / Musik Im Bauch (Stockhausen Verlag) cd 40.00
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"Musik Im Bauch" was composed in 1975 for music box and percussion. Originally, "Tierkries" was composed for a solo instrument to be accompanied by a chordal instrument. On this recording, Stockhausen has arranged "Tierkries" for 12 music boxes - each with its own melody representing a character of the Zodiac. The results are quite beautiful.

STOCKHAUSEN, KARLHEINZ Zodiac Music Boxes (Stockhausen Verlag) music box 500.00
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AQ's Byram Abbott has resigned himself to the fate that he must own one of Stockhausen's limited edition music boxes which were prominently featured in the "Tierkreis" performance. This "70th Birthday Edition" is limited to 40 music boxes for each of the star signs. The melodies are encased in a light-colored natural wood box measuring 17.7 x 12.1 cm. The notes of the melody are silkscreened onto the lid of each of the musicbox. Support the Stockhausen drug habit, buy a music box!

GUERRA, ORLANDO "CASCARITA" El Guaracho (Tumbao) cd 13.98
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Here is a fine collection of recordings featuring the ever capable vocalist Cascarita. Recorded between 1944 and 1946 with the backing of Cuba's most famous of Orchestras, Orquesta Casino De La Playa (plus three tracks recorded with Orquesta Siboney de Pepito Torres in Puerto Rico) Cascarita has one of the most amazing voices in Cuban music, completely reckless, half laughing and yelling, but always in control. Though the liner notes don't give indications as to the performers on this recording, but 10 to 1 the pianist is either Perez Prado (who Cascarita helped to land a job with Orquesta Casino De La Playa) or Anselmo Sacasas. Either way, the piano playing alone should be enough reason to buy this recording - top notch played with that combination ham fistedness and delicate finesse.

ORQUESTA CASINO DE LA PLAYA WITH MIGUELITO VALDES Fufunando (Tumbao) cd 13.98
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VALDES, MIGUELITO WITH NORO MORALES' ORCHESTRA Mr. Babalu (Tumbao) cd 13.98
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Another one of the top vocalists in Cuba, Miguelito Valdes probably received the greatest fame of any Cuban singer in the U.S. Having received his big break singing for Xavier Cugat's orchestra in 1940 - playing at Waldorf-Astoria's famous Starlight Roof in N.Y. The famous song Babalu, made so by performances of it by Cugat and Valdes, became so associated with Miguelito Valdes that he became known as "Mr. Babalu." The recordings here were made in New York City in 1949 (with Miguelito Valdes' orchestra) and 1951 (with Noro Morales' orchestra.)

PRIME, MICHAEL L-Fields (Sonoris) cd 16.98
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Field recordings of hallucinogenic plants. Really, that's quite literally what this is. And though it wouldn't be the type of thing I'd expect hallucinogenic plants to sound like, or what I would choose to listen to while imbibing hallucinogens, it's a great recording. Prime uses the minute voltages of bioelectrical impulses from Cannabis Sativa (pot), Amanita Muscaria (shrooms) and Lophophora Williamsii (peyote) to control battery powered oscillators and then mixes them with the ambient sounds in their locations. The results sound much like a cross between Noto, Stephen McGreevy and Chris Watson. Oddly enough, the sounds of hallucinigenic plants are also quite similar to those of Douglas Quin's Weddell Seals (also on this list) and the two recordings make a fine companion set. And as always, if you have the Sound Of North American Frogs cd, or the Conet Project, then this is for you.

TARKOVSKY, ANDREY Andrey Rublyov (Toei) cd 32.00
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Over the years, I have met many people who have taken the pains to make cassette dubs of the "Stalker" soundtrack straight from the video. No longer necessary. Dark and heavy orchestrations and vibrations resonating from the claustrophobic cloak of the cold, cold iron curtain. And one folk dance. Very highly recommended. And if you have seen (heard) "Solaris" lately, you know how beautiful and mysterious it is too. Japanese imports, hence the price (nice packaging though.) "Ivanovo" is a little cheaper because it's a little shorter.

TARKOVSKY, ANDREY Solaris (Toei) cd 34.00
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Over the years, I have met many people who have taken the pains to make coldhave seen (heard) "Solaris" lately, you know how beautiful and mysterious it is too. Japanese imports, hence the price (nice packaging though.) "Ivanovo" is a little cheaper because it's a little shorter.

album cover MITTOO, JACKIE The Keyboard King At Studio One (Universal Sound) cd 17.98
Much can be said comparing Jamaican keyboardist to American counterparts Jimmy Smith and Booker T. Aside from being a master of his instrument at a time when the keyboard was experiencing a renaissance as a leading role - not only in soul & jazz, but in Jamaican rock-steady - he was also a prolific arranger of music. Having cut his teeth as a founding member of the Skatalites (Jamaica's premiere ska group) in 1964 and 1965, Jackie Mittoo went on to become the front man for Studio One's in house band. From 1965 to 1968 Jackie wrote, arranged and played virtually all the music to come out of the studio for such notables as Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis, Marcia Griffiths, Delroy Wilson and the Heptones. The tracks on this album, recorded between 1966 and 1968, represent some of Jackie's best originals and covers (including an off kilter version of Seals & Crofts "Summer Breeze"). These mostly instrumental rock-steady numbers by - as the liner notes say - "Jamica's funkiest keyboardist" are just the thing for moving your butt on a lazy, hot summer day.
RealAudio clip: "Get Up and Get It"
RealAudio clip: "Henry the Great"

HAIKARA Geafar (Ektro) cd 14.98
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Jussi Lehtisalo of Circle reissued this classic and obscure Finnish prog effort from the seventies. Thus, you can expect it to be quite strange and amazing. Haikara were an odd ensemble, hard to pin down to any specific style. The first half of the album leans towards an accomplished conservatory-esque approach -- long, solo ridden numbers, lead by fuzzy bass, clarinets, trumpets, flutes, the occasional operatic vocal and (of course) guitar; full of shifting meters and obtuse melody lines, but also entertaining bits of smokey garage simplicity. Then, in the middle of the album, all of a sudden it's like you're listening to the title track to some 70's romance drama, albeit with a prog edge. It's actually quite lovely. The nearest thing I can relate it to is the first side of Fred Frith's "Gravity" -- on which Fred is backed up by members of eccentrics Zamla Mammaz Manna -- and it continues in this vein before ending on a decidedly Scandinavian prog-funk note! A weird one, alright, something that takes a few listens to come to terms with. But I have to say, I really like this album...!
RealAudio clip: "Geafar"

NAWAHI, KING BENNIE Hawaiian String Virtuoso (Yazoo) cd 16.98
Though he was dubbed the "King of the Ukulele" and capitalized on that title throughout his career (touring extensively on the vaudeville circuit as a ukulele soloist), Bennie Nawahi was equally adept at guitar, steel guitar, mandolin and harmonica. In fact, it is his steel guitar playing that is a paramount focus on the 23 tracks found here. This cd is essentially a compilation of groups that featured Bennie as a musician or leader throughout the 20's and early 30's. Given the variety of ensembles presented here as well as Bennie's versatility with jazz, Hawaiian, ragtime, blues and country idioms the over-all tenor of this cd is of variegated unity. Recommended.

V/A Slidin' On The Frets: The Hawaiian Steel Guitar Phenomenon (Yazoo) cd 16.98
Interesting compilation of recordings from the 20's and 30's which have in common the Hawaiian steel guitar as their backbone. From as early as 1916 Hawaiian music had become an obsession not only in the U.S. but throughout the world, and by the 20's ukuleles and steel guitars were out-selling guitars for many manufacturers. What is documented here are recordings of Hawaiian influenced hokum blues, calypso, country, jazz, as well as straight up Hawaiian music, captured in France, Greece, China, Argentina and the U.S.

DEVO Pioneers Who Got Scalped: The Anthology (Rhino) 2cd 29.00
Impressive and all-encompassing anthology of Devo (only the best band of the late 20th century!!) spanning their inception in Akron, Ohio in the mid '70s all the way through "Smoothnoodlemaps" and then some (sigh... yeah, I know, they probably could have stopped after "Oh No! It's Devo"). All in all this is a nice set though, and includes plenty of "unreleased" tracks and rare songs recorded for soundtracks throughout the years (including a song that Mark Mothersbaugh recorded for the game Interstate '82). Comes with a 50 page color booklet with a history of Devo and lots of wonderful pictures. Cool 3-D cover effect as well.

SUN CITY GIRLS The Dreamy Draw (Abduction) cd 14.98
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Second volume in SCG's "Carnival Folklore Resurrection" series, The Dreamy Draw is a vast improvement over the first. Similar to Vol. 1, it's a semi-improvised live performance (this time Seattle in May of 1998), but this is executed with a greater degree of savvy, on the level that one would expect from a group as seasoned as the Sun City Girls (rather than the pedestrian stoned-in-college basement "jam session" of volume one.) The performances here are soaked with meandering piano playing pseudo-East Asian pentatonic ditties along with the various parts and pieces of gamelan that the Girls have picked up in their travels.

MORE, BENY El Barbaro del Ritmo (Tumbao) cd 13.98
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It has been said that Beny More is one of the greatest Cuban singers, and one of its greatest patriots - one of the few stars of his generation who chose to stay in Cuba rather than emigrate to the U.S. or Mexico - a singer "gifted with an incomparable voice. He was the most all-around of Cuban singers, for he was capable of embroidering, stretching, and repeating the phrases of a song without ever altering his rhythm. He knew, with an instinctive judgement, how to assimilate new harmonic concepts while at the same time remaining true to his roots." This recording is unique in that Beny More is backed up by Perez Prado and his orchestra, a group more commonly associated with instrumental music. Recorded in Mexico City between 1948 and 1950.

PINEIRO, IGNACIO Y Su Septeto Nacional (Tumbao) cd 13.98
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This is a collection of Son, Bolero Son, Rumba & Guaracha from Ignacio Pineiro and his septet, recorded in 1928 and 1930. Very raw sounding, infectious songs with beautiful, semi-out-of-tune guitar & tres guitar filling out the sound. Accompanying Ignacio Pineiro (bass, conductor) on these recordings are: Alfredito Valdes & Jose Jimenez or Juan De La Cruz & Abelardo Barroso (1st voices, claves - 1930 & 1928 respectively); Bienvenido Leon (2nd voice, maracas); Miguel Angel Portillo or Jose Manuel Incharte (bongos); Eugenio Constantin or Alberto Villalon (guitar); Francisco Gonzalez (tres guitar); Lazaro Herrera (trumpet.)

PRADO, PEREZ Go Go Mambo (Tumbao) cd 13.98
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Another great collection of recordings from Perez Prado, these recorded in Mexico between 1949 & 1950 and NYC 1951.

SACASAS, ANSELMO Y SU ORQUESTA Sol Tropical (Tumbao) cd 13.98
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Pianist and arranger Anselmo Sacasas was one of the founding members of the renown Orchesta Casino De La Playa in 1937. In 1940 he moved to New York and formed his own group and, being one of the most amazing Cuban pinaists and arrangers, his orchestra became one of the most popular in the New York scene during throughout the decade. Featuring vocals from Octavio "Cuso" Mendoza and Ruben Gonzalez, these recordings were made in New York between 1945 and 1949.

PRADO, PEREZ Al Compas Del Mambo (Tumbao) cd 13.98
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Recorded between 1950 and 1952 this CD presents Perez Prado and his orchestra in their prime. Prado is credited with popularizing the mambo and fueling an obsession with Cuban music in the US that has lasted to this day. Incredibly tight, punchy arrangements, each punctuated by Prado's trademark guttural yelp - it's no wonder he was so popular then and still is today. Despite his nearly being overplayed and drowned in cocktail culture, he still emerges unmblemished - the James Brown of Cuba. Highly recommended!

RODRIGUEZ, ARSENIO Como Se Goza En El Barrio (Tumbao) cd 13.98
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Arsenio Rodriguez is one of the masters of the Tres Guitar - a guitar originating from a three string guitar of African Congolese origin. Completely blind since the age of six, Rodriguez started learning to play guitar in his teens. It was during a trip to New York in 1947 in an attempt to restore his sight that he had the opportunity to play with Machito's orchestra. He decided to return to New York in 1953 and while there, started his own group. These recordings were made that year and feature vocals by Rene Scull (who has a vibrato technique all his own) and Candido Antomattei. The size of the ensemble, though small, still has the energy and swing of a much bigger group.

TRIO MATAMOROS China En La Rumba (Tumbao) cd 13.98
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This cd is a broad spanning collection of recordings - made from 1928 to 1951 - by Miguel Matamoros' most resilient of groups. Consisting of Miguel Matamoros (voice, guitar), Ciro Rodriguez (voice, maracas, claves) and Rafael Cueto (guitar, choir), it was this ensemble with which "Miguel was successful in combining to perfection all the melodic and rhythmic elements that the eastern son contained, and he brought to it the very typical charms of the purest 'creole' flavor." It is this genre that is the national pride of Cuba and it is this ensemble that impressed many young aspiring musicians including Compay Segundo of Buena Vista Social Club fame.

CONJUNTO MATAMOROS With Beny More (Tumbao) cd 13.98
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One of the many incarnations of groups formed by the legendary Miguel Matamoros - who's lifetime output consists of almost 200 songs. The pairing here of Miguel's songwriting with the beautiful singing of Beny More is really a great one and possibly also a historic moment as well; as Miguel put it: "In 1945 we were contracted for Mexico and I took [Beny] along with me. He came really to be just my substitute in the vocal parts of the conjunto, but such was his ability that it cried out to be left alone so that he could perform on his own. That is to say, the conditions and situations were such that they provided him with the necessary impetus that transformed him into a star." The first eight tracks found here on this cd were recorded in Mexico City in 1945 during that engagement. The others tracks were recorded between 1946 and 1947. Besides Beny More, Conjunto Matamoros is backed up here by Ciro Rodriguez (2nd voice, maracas, claves), Rafael Cuelo (guitar, choir), Ramon Dorca (piano), Jose Macias & Jose Quintero (trumpets), Cristobal Mendive (bass), Agustin Gutierrez (bongos) and, of course, Miguel Matamoros (1st voice - tracks 9 to 17 - and guitar.)

ORQUESTA CASINO DE LA PLAYA Memories of Cuba (Tumbao) cd 13.98
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Orquesta Casino De La Playa was a Cuban super group of sorts, giving many future greats their start and this collection features some great performances by some of the best. The inimitable Damaso Perez Prado is featured playing some absolutely reckless and wonderful piano, as is future bandleader Anselmo Sacasas. If that isn't enough the greatest male vocalist of Cuba (in my humble opinion) Cascarita, and the now renown Miguelito Valdes both sing on tracks here. Recorded between 1937 and 1944, this is an essential recording for any collection of Cuban music.

PRADO, PEREZ Kuba-Mambo (Tumbao) cd 13.98
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As far as I know, these are the earliest recordings of Perez Prado's own orchestra (which he formed in 1946) and recorded in Mexico between 1947 and 1949. Unlike his later recordings, which featured less and less vocal parts in favor of the more fashionable instrumentals, there are healthy doses of vocals on this recording from Orlando Guerra (aka: Cascarita), Abel del Rivero, Cecilia Ginzalez and other unknown vocalists.

V/A Trojan Dub Box Set, Volume 2 (Trojan) 3cd 26.00
Not much needs to be said here; a follow up to the popular and high selling Trojan Dub Box Set. Three more cds and 50 more tracks (what is it with Trojan and the number 50?) of some of the best dub in the Trojan catalog from the early seventies to the early eighties and, it probably doesn't need to be said, no overlapping songs from the previous set. They're all here: The Upsetters, Tommy McCook & The Aggrovators, Sly & The Revolutionaries, King Tubby, Prince Jammy, Augustus Pablo, Scientist and much more.

V/A Cambodian Rocks (original version on Parallel World) (Parallel World) cd 14.98
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Previously issued a while back only on vinyl, "Cambodian Rocks" - now on CD - presents a handful of unknown (to the point that no artist names or track titles are given) Cambodian garage bands from the late 60s and early 70s. The liner notes explain that the compiler (s/he is also anonymous) picked up a bunch of random tapes while in Cambodia and put this together of the best tracks from those tapes. For those who are entranced by the psychedelic exotica found in the "Love, Peace, and Poetry" series, "Cambodian Rocks" makes an exceptional companion. For the most part this compilation is dominated by really good fuzzed out organ / guitar garage rich with understandably crappy production. But along with the garage cuts, there's a track of incredibly unfunky James Brown mimicry that make the Make Up's theatrical irony seem even more insincere than they really are. Appropriated dancehall groove/stomps with Cambodian instead of Jamaican overtones. But the highlight is the appearance of the female led garage band who were featured on the Asian Psychedelic chapter of the "Love, Peace, and Poetry" series. Greasy garage rock not far from the Count Five or the Seeds but with reverb drenched female vocals that hits high notes rarely found even on Bollywood sountracks. Totally essential.

TOBIN, AMON Supermodified (Ninja Tune) cd 16.98
"Supermodified" is the fourth album from Amon Tobin (including the one album recorded as Cujo). Still one of the best sampler technicians in electronica (and by far the most interesting for drum & bass), Amon Tobin brings a few more big beat breaks to the rich collages of filmic orchestral tension, Brazilian jazz grooviness, and monstrous drum & bass rhythmic diversity. Never, ever boringly repetitive or predictable, Tobin weaves in his source material with a masterful sophistication that heavy-handed Moby only wishes he could do so smoothly. Fans of Tobin already know the high musical standards he sets himself, and won't be disappointed, but may we also recommend this album to people who haven't yet found anything appealing in electronica. You can't do much better than starting with what so far seems like Electronica Record of the Year.

JURGENSEN, FRIEDRICH From The Studio For Audioscopic Research (Ash International (R.I.P.)) cd 14.98
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Friedrich Jurgensen's efforts in what he deemed Audioscopic Research is compiled here as the exquisite follow-up to AQ's Halloween fave "The Ghost Orchid." Both are collections of (alleged) recordings of examples of Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP), which is a broad catagory of unusual interruptions by unknown voices onto magnetic tape or the radiowaves. Parapsychologists like Jurgensen, Raymond Cass, and Konstatine Raudive (the latter two were featured on the aforementioned "Ghost Orchid") claim that these voices may be from beyond the grave or may even have an extraterrestrial origin! While other researchers have devised intricate methods to focus these voices, Jurgensen claimed that his own telepathic tendencies could harness these voices, causing them to appear on radio or tape. All of Jurgensen's recordings feature voices speaking in German, Italian, Swedish, and (if that wasn't enough) polyglot--the intermingling of languages.
One of the criticisms of EVP investigation is that the listener/researcher may be forcing the syllabic utterances into the recognizable patterns of his/her own native tongue or within the confines of a narrative context. While no one is questioning the actual presence of these vocal sounds, the interpretations (of origin and/or translation) that accompany the recordings are far from solid. As I have no real working knowledge of any of the languages featured, an utterance from one of the tracks which was supposed to be in Italian or German came out as clear as day to me in English as "we have to leave." Does this debunk the possibility that these recordings are of alien/ghostly origins? No. Could it be an interesting anomaly within the context of analytical thought on the subject? Maybe. Could I be wrong? Quite possibly. Anyway, listened to purely as sound artifacts, Jurgensen's recordings are downright creepy, and highly recommended!
RealAudio clip: "Audioscopic01"
RealAudio clip: "Audioscopic09"
RealAudio clip: "Audioscopic22"

V/A Touch Sampler 00 (Touch) cd 15.98
Compilations are not usually things that warrant strong recommendations. The constant colon-blow of "United States of Trance, Ambient, Jungle, Techno, Techhouse, House, Deep House, Speed Garage, Divas, and / or Gabba" compilations from the electronica marketing majors make anybody with a critical ear a little uncertain when picking up that next item from the compilation section.
However, Touch Records has now released 4 "Touch Samplers," all of them defying the usual ineptitude found on market glut of compilations.
"Touch 00" - the fourth in this series from Touch - is a curatorial masterpiece that was fashioned entirely from exclusive tracks. If you're not familiar with but curious to learn about the mimialist electronica subgenres included here, this comp is a wonderfully accessible place to start. Bookended with the subatomic particle warbles from Ryoji Ikeda and Mika Vainio, the undisclosed narrative of the compilation hits a number of crucial signposts with Thomas Brinkmann's downer monophunk grooves, Locust's halcyon electronica, Hazard's dronological investigations into the Swedish forests, Philip Jeck's beautiful collages of vinyl antiquity, and the whimsy of People Like Us / The Jet Black Hair People / Wobbly. Field recordings of scanned celphone calls, air traffic control announcements, and passages from Chris Watson's worldly adventures break up the musical proceedings, but forge emotive connections throughout the whole album.

LADDIO BOLOCKO Strange Warmings Of (Hungarian) cd 12.98
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This record is one of the most amazing we have ever heard, and of course, it's been practically impossible to get back in stock. But now we have it, and you should buy it. It's pummelling and heavy and beautiful. Not sure how long we'll have this in stock.
An ex-Dazzling Killmen (Blake Fleming) takes his penchant for angular discordance a step further, forgoing the ferocious heaviosity of his former outfit, and instead, explores lengthy semi-improvisational psychedelic freakouts and repetetive hypno-krautrock instrumentals ala Circle. Post rock jamscapes littered with shrieking and droning Albert Ayler-ish sax, jabs of no wave guitar, an overwhelming over-saturated super-distorted production and absolutely crushing drumming. Totally essential.
RealAudio clip: "Nurser"

STOCK, HAUSEN & WALKMAN Organ Transplants 2 (Hot Air) cd 15.98
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Stock, Hausen & Walkman's second volume of organ transplants is filled with lots and lots of organs. And we don't mean that in an eviscerated Hermann Nitsch kind of way... well sort of. The Manchester outfit has liberally spiked their lysergic electronica grooves with any form of organ deemed ripe for appropriation. Church pipe organs, Farfisas, hand-crank organs, Hammond organs, and tons more! Like records by fellow plunderphonists People Like Us, "Organ Transplants 2" is full of seemingly obvious musical quotations, tweaked just beyond the point of recognition. Beyond the brain-teasing / tongue-twisting frustration in trying to pinpoint the references (we're damn sure Aavikko pops up at the end of the record), this is wonderful collection of cool weirdness.

THUJA The Deer Lay Down Their Bones (tUMULt Laboratories) cd 13.98
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The newest release on our Andee's tUMULt label takes a trip to the sonic opium den of San Francisco's Thuja, a new band that consists of two former members of the hazy psychedelic outfit Mirza (Stephen R. Smith and Glenn Donaldson), pianist Rob Reger, and noted sound artist Loren Chasse (of Id Battery). Their debut release, "The Deer Lay Down Their Bones," drifts through passages of improvisations for washed out guitars, tinkling piano, drums, and a pile of stones & branches. Thuja's lovely sound embraces the same freely meandering lack of structure as the No Neck Blues Band but with the dark shimmering colors of Eyeless in Gaza or Dif Juz, harking back also to gentle krautrock a la Popul Vuh or something. As beautiful as the piece of marbled wood veneer that serves as the cover to this unique and gorgeous package. By the way, please don't suspect (if you do) that a form of nepotism or favoritism has anything to do with us selecting yet another tUMULt release for Album of the Week honors--honestly, it's rather the case that Andee's taste mirrors that of the store enough that we don't think he would release something on his label that wouldn't at least be considered for the AQ-List top spot! Really.
RealAudio clip: "Song One"
RealAudio clip: "Song Ten"

GAS Pop (Mille Plateaux) cd 17.98
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Recording under the Gas moniker, 'Pop' is yet another exceptional album in the continuous stream of Wolfgang Voigt's techno structuralism. While he has recorded under a number of pseudonyms (Mike Ink, All, Studio 1, M:I:5, etc) to varying degrees of success, the Gas recordings have clearly been his strongest work. This is especially true when Voigt applies one of the odd (and few) metaphors to his work, as the intrusion of the forest onto the dance floor, with all of its mysteries, mythologies, and wonders being ordered by the insistancy of his monophunk beats. Where the trilogy of "Zauberberg," "Oktember", and "Konigforst" were dark haunts where deep fluid ambience tops the nonstop
pulsating rhythm, "Pop" is a shimmering sunfilled excursion that is mostly beatless, forming its structures out of repetitive sequences of trilling ambience swelling in and out of each other within Voigt's penchant for hypnodub washes. For those longing for the beat of Voigt, simply wait for the last track which is beautiful repetition of the previous ambient modulation, with his insistent techno. It's a trick he used on the 20' to 2000 series, and it's trick I hope he uses again. Breathtaking.
RealAudio clip: "1"

ICE CUBE War & Peace Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc) (Priority) cd 17.98
The second disc in Ice Cube's loftily titled "War & Peace" two volume opus, this could also be known as the 'party' disc of the two. I know that sounds like a bad thing, but man does this record kick ass. Cube's production has come a long way since the NWA days, sounding a lot more like Dr. Dre today (in fact, track one, 'Hello' is a Dre/Cube collaboration that sounds as good as anything on the recent Dre record). Still mean as shit, but with wickedly catchy hooks, the "Peace" disc is chock full of amazing stuff besides the ubiquitous radio staple 'You Can Do It' (everybody sing along: 'I can do it, put your ass in to it'), in fact, it's probably some of the best Cube since "Amerikkka's Most Wanted": 'You Ain't Gotta Lie (Ta Kick It), with some funny (for once) guest vocals from Chris Rock, 'The Gutter Shit', absolutely slammin; in fact with the exception of the Bone Thugs ballad collaboration, this whole record is all huge sick beats, Cube's intense in your face delivery, and way funny lyrics (I mean, when did you ever think you'd hear Ice Cube rap about Pokemon?) If you haven't seen Cube's hilarious Friday films, rent 'em. If you have, expect this disc to be the the aural equivalent (what Friday and Next Friday were to Boyz In The Hood, "Peace" is to NWA and "Amerikkka's Most Wanted").
RealAudio clip: "You Can Do It"
RealAudio clip: "Hello"

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE We Have The Facts, And We're Voting Yes (Barsuk) cd 11.98
Death Cab For Cutie's debut album "Something About Airplanes" emerged early last year from the mire of mediocre indie-rock as a breath of fresh air (after Andee found it in the dollar bin at Amoeba). These Northwesterners had crafted a near perfect Built-to-Spill-ian alternate universe where Built To Spill didn't make the major label jump, and continued to labor over their excessive orchestrations of melodic jangle-pop, intricate arrangements, and odd time signatures within the limitations of indie-rock recording budgets. Death Cab's second album "We Have The Facts, And We've Voting Yes" represents a maturation of their band, as they have clearly recognized that while it worked for one album, they can't ape Built To Spill for the rest of their recording career. As a whole, "We Have The Facts" is sounding less like Built To Spill, but it seems as though their venturing tentatively into an unknown space for them. The pace of Death Cab has slowed down to embrace a preciousness of songwriting with much quieter arrangements. All of the songs really do want to explode out of the delicate even sensitive moods into a major-chord pop hook, but the restrains have been set in place. "For What Reason" and "Company Calls" are as close as Death Cab comes to releasing that indie-pop sensibility loose, but it doesn't quite happen. It may be the critical kiss of death to say that this is an album that grows on you, but Death Cab's second release isn't going out of its way to bite you like its predecessor.

DELAY, VLADISLAV Entain (Mille Plateaux) cd 15.98
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With a number of releases on structuralist techno labels MaxErnst and Chain Reaction, this Finnish prodigy has been slowly breaking from the pure-tone oscillations of artists like Thomas Brinkmann and Mika Vainio, in favor of the digital facsilimies of rusted detritus which corrode monophunk techno pulses into atmospheric murk. Another quality release from Mr. Delay.

STUDIO 1 s/t (Studio 1 / Profan) cd 17.98
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If you're looking for work coming from the legendary Jamaican dub Studio One, well you've found a different Studio 1 that has nothing to do with dub. This disc is a collection of singles that continue to pour out of Germany as fast as the Studio 1 mastermind (Wolfgang Voigt) can manage. Voigt sets up a techno framework in which the variation of the pulse and the glitchy syncopations are controlled within very small parameters, for a surprisingly listenable form of technotic minimalism (along the lines of Thomas Brinkmann and Plastikman).

M:I:5 Massstab 1 : 5 (Profan) cd 13.98
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Wolfgang Voigt's palette of techno structuralism shifts ever so slightly, but apparently enough to warrant lots of different names (including Gas, Mike Ink, Wassermann, All, Studio One, Love Inc, etc). M:I:5 bubbles with off kilter synthetic syncopations phasing against the 'monophunktrax' (that's what Voigt calls it), a sort of monochromatic shuffle of unchanging techno drum kick throbs. Despite the omnipresent beat, Voigt's minimalist aesthetic doesn't seem to be going for the dance friendly experience, unless you can imagine dancing the night away to bleak and hypnotic blackness. Recommended.

ORGUES-A-BOUCHES RITUELS DES MURUNG s/t (Inedit) cd 17.98
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AMAZING! Sounds like experimental electronic or ambient beauty, yet it's done completely on mouth organs in Bangladesh. The Murung people are an isolated society from a densely forested region of Bangladesh. Just as their religion has remained a type of spirit worship, Murung's ritualist music has developed independently from the rest of the world. It is a hypnotic cyclical music which has preceded the minimalism of Terry Riley and Steve Reich (but done much better!!!) by eons. The Murung perform their songs on 'plung' - mouth organs built of gourds punctured by bamboo and reeds resulting in eerie sustained trills. It may be an irrelavent point, but during these rituals, the Murung get pretty drunk on rice beer - yet remain calm, mirroring the methodic pulse of the ecstatic sounds emanating from their mouth organs. An excellent documentation. Anyone who enjoyed the compilation of music by the Ede people of Vietnam which was one of our 'records of the month' back in February should check this out too!

RealAudio clip: "Piece Pour Orchestre De Plung"

CHALK, ANDREW Crescent (Robot) cd 16.98
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Andrew Chalk's haunting drones (from his work with Organum and Jonathan Coleclough) have become favorites here at Aquarius. And this collection of his earliest recordings from the late '80s is no exception. The influence that Brian Eno's ambient work had upon Chalk becomes apparent with the emergence of a few fragile arrangements for piano and decidedly synthetic spacey keyboard sounds. But even at this stage in Chalk's development, his talent at constructing textural collages of bowed metal and hazy tonal reverberations is as solid here as on his recent recordings. This disc includes contributions from David Jackman (Organum) on one track and a remix from Christoph Heemann. Highly recommended.

album cover SIAMESE TEMPLE BALL Welcome to the Land of the Smile (self-released) cd 14.98
We recently received an lp simply called "Thai Record". Hmmm, very mysterious we thought, so we threw it on, and were instantly smitten. At the same time, it sounded sort of familiar... but how could that be, what were the odds that some random Thai recording would just so happen to be one we had heard or already owned. It finally clicked, this was no mysterious "Thai Record", this was an old AQ favorite, renamed and pressed on vinyl. Not to infer that it's not mysterious, it most certainly is, it just so happens to be a mystery we had faced before. The record, titled Siamese Temple Ball, was one we had reviewed years ago and was always a steady seller, and for good reason, it's an amazing album. The lp was gone as quick as it came, but it reminded us, that many of you probably missed out on the Siamese Temple Ball cd when we first listed it waaaaaay back, so now here's your chance. A brief discussion of this musical mystery from our original review:
Not much information comes with this disk at all, on the shrink wrap there's a faux pidgen English description claiming: "Flight comes to Thailand in the Year of the Rat. Siamese Temple Ball provide the lilting soundtrack for a chemical journey. Schoolgirls dance bashfully for the expectant throng. Life continues at a comparatively slow pace away from the rigours of fierce sun-light." Which is followed by the (label's) description: "In the tradition of Sun City Girls, Ya Ho Wha 13, The Spacious Mind, Taj Mahal Travellers, Mu, Word of Life, Group 1850, and Ghost, Siamese Temple Ball give maximum pleasure for thirsty brains." Quite a roster of comparisons, the most fitting of which is definitely the Sun City Girls. So while we assume that this record was recorded by a group of precocious, dilettante, ethnomusicologist hipsters, we like to suspend our disbelief and imagine this to be a genuine Folkways-style field recording, as the recording certainly has a genuine field recording presence - a single stereo microphone in a good location. The music itself is a catchy and mesmerizing steady pulse of various and sundry percussion instruments (metal, wood, skin), hollers, yelps, and rococo melodic lines spun out by tinny electric guitars, xylophones, flutes and Khan (mouth organ.) And yes, it's quite good.
MPEG Stream: "Track 1"
MPEG Stream: "Track 2"

SPARKLEHORSE Distorted Ghost (Odeon) cd 6.98
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Three new songs from the amazing Mr. Linkous ("Waiting For Nothing," "Happy Place," & "My Yoke Is Heavy"), plus three live versions of songs off the first two albums.

SUNNY DAY REAL ESTATE Diary (Sub Pop) cd 8.98
The end all / be all of emo is this - the debut from Sunny Day Real Estate. Charmingly bleak emo-pop played with such emotional intensity that it's not hard to imagine lead singer Jeremy Enigk breaking down in tears after each song!
Non-deluxe version.

SCIENTIST VS. PRINCE JAMMY Big Showdown At King Tubby's (Greensleeves) cd 17.98
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Another great Jamaican dub reissue, this one from 1980. Two heavyweights battle it out in the studio with mixers and microphones. Ten tracks of the Roots Radics band alternately dubbed by Scientist and Prince Jammy and renamed Round 1, 2, etc. A description would not be complete here without mentioning the cover, which features a drawing of the two fighters in a boxing ring and sitting at their mixing consoles in each corner. The Scientist even has a bunson burner heating up some green liquid in a beaker atop his mixer. Highly recommended!

album cover RUPUNUNI SAFARI Steaming Jungle (Ras / Ariwa) cd 8.98
Wow, a super special "nice price" deal on this longtime AQ fave. Great collaboration betwixt - His Lord Majesty - Mad Professor, and the mysterious Douggie Digital, circa 1995. Deep, pulsing dub underlayed with jungle beats. It works great, and if that ain't enough, there's a cameo appearance from - His Royal Nuttiness - Lee Scratch Perry!
MPEG Stream: "Perry In The Dub Jungle"
MPEG Stream: "Kunte Kinte Jungle"
MPEG Stream: "Organic Pressure"

DELAY, VLADISLAV Multila (Chain Reaction) cd 16.98
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The scope of the anonymous metallic techno sound of the Chain Reaction / Basic Channel core of artists has been fractured by the simple fact that Berlin is no longer the locus of activity. Rather, Fluxion, Hallucinator, and Vladislav Delay (the latest wave of Chain Reactors) come from lands quite far from Berlin. Finland's Vladislav Delay retains only a semblance of the Chain Reaction 'heroin house'. Instead of stripping the already minimal techno to its most hypnotic particles, Delay densly layers murky percolations of dubbed pattern phases with the teutonic 909 thump only sporadically emerging from the sonic substrata. An exceptional variation on a proven theme.

V/A Love, Peace & Poetry: Asian Psychedelic Music (Shadoks Music) lp 19.98
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The Love, Peace & Poetry series compiles the obscurest of the obscure lost psychedelic music of the sixties, records that collectors spend vast sums of money on. Following the American and Latin American volumes, this long-awaited third volume brings together gems from Japan, Korea, India, Cambodia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Turkey, spanning the years 1967 to 1977. Authoritative liner notes from OR Records' Stan Denski round out the package. Get this and soon you too will be a fan of such artists as The Mops, Erkin Koray, Jung Hyun & the Men, Mogollar, and the unknown Cambodian combo that provides this disc's very rockin' track five. Recommended!

V/A Vietnam: Anthology of Ede Music (Buda Musique) cd 16.98
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Collection of recordings of the music of the Ede people from the Dak Lak Plateau in Vietnam. The 30 tracks, organized by type of ensemble and are amazingly varied. A beautiful polyphonic blend of mouth organs and voices with timbres that disguise the origins of the sounds: double reed instruments that sound like voices and voices that sound like double reeds. There are a few tracks on here that sound AMAZINGLY like Reich's Phase Patterns, and that will remind Can fans of the sublime Vietnamese Boat Woman Song from Canaxis. But my personal favorite is track 29 in which the Bro' - a two string zither with gourd resonators - is accompanied, in a sort of call and response, by what sounds remarkably like a rooster.

NANCARROW, CONLON Studies for Player Piano Vol. 1-5 (Wergo) 5cd 56.00
"This set brings together all five volumes of Nancarrow's prize-winning player piano recordings in one deluxe, slipcase package. With their dazzling acrobatic complexities, well beyond the technique of any human, Nancarrow's works are both amazingly beautiful and strangely unsettling. Wergo's recordings were made in 1988 at Conlon Nancarrow's Mexico City studio, using the composer's own custom-altered Ampico reproducing piano. The 140-page booklet includes numerous unpublished photographs, an essay by producer Charles Amirkhanian and a probing musical analysis by James Tenney." - Wergo liner notes. Originally this collection was issued in separate editions with Vol. 1 + 2 together, Vol. 3 + 4 togather, and Vol. 5 separate, but all sets have subsequently been deleted by Wergo. This set with the book is the only way now to get these awesome mind numbing recordings.

STEPS, THE Krontjong Warna-Warni (Time Stereo) cd-r 11.98
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So lovely! This is a reissue of a '60s Indonesian guitar pop record that Warren Defever of His Name is Alive stumbled upon at the Salvation Army. Attempts to locate the members of The Steps proved unsuccessful, so he reissued it himself on the Time Stereo label (for folks who care, it's a cd-r). Pastoral instrumentals with a classic, rounded 60s guitar tone. Everytime we play this in the store, someone buys it! -- Yes, it's that pretty and that unusual. Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Mata Air"
MPEG Stream: "Sedihnja Tjinta"

COLECLOUGH, JONATHAN & ANDREW CHALK Sumac (ICR/Robot) cd 17.98
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Released a few years back as a one-sided piece of vinyl, Jonathan Coleclough and Andrew Chalk's "Sumac" has been one of those hidden gems within the deep listening realms of music that has continuously amazing us. Fortunately, "Sumac" has re-emerged from obscurity with this lengthy 70 minute cd version. Andrew Chalk is a veteran of the noise / drone scene who has recorded with Organum, Ora, and Feral Confine. Working with upstart dronologist Jonathan Coleclough, Chalk has conjured a breathtaking memser of bowed metal wires, cymbals, and other pieces of metal with shifting chunks of backward masked slow aerated sound. "Sumac," shrouded in a glistening darkness, is one of the all-time great drone records.

V/A Bamboo On The Mountains (Smithsonian Folkways) cd 15.98
Excellent collection of recordings documenting the varied musics of the Kmhmu people, and recorded from 1982 to 1996 in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Suburban California. As the title implies, much of the instruments found herein are assembled primarily from bamboo, a versatile grass: jew's harps, blow tubes, mouth organs, etc. But also included are plenty of vocals and even the occasional gong ensemble. Lots of beautiful, nasal tones that make one's sinuses tickle, and leaping melodic lines (Andee irreverently refers to the music on this CD as emulating "armpit farts" - to each his own opinion) make for some stunning songs. Especially interesting to note are the serenades in which young lovers sing to one another through a blow tube or jew's harp in order to disguise their vows from their parents.

COLECLOUGH, JONATHAN Windlass (Korm Plastics Introductory Paperback) cd 14.98
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Jonathan Coleclough has become AQ's favorite newly discovered sound sculptor with three outstanding releases "Cake", "Sumac" (in collaboration with Andrew Chalk), and now "Windlass". In the end, it's probably irrelavant that the source material for "Windlass" is a slow moving crank which controls water flow on a dam, as Coleclough's metamorphosis of the original sound results in a deep sturnum rumbling bass drone paired with field recordings of distant twittering birds (a la Messaien). Swells of slowly churning resonance may be the only sonic reference to the metallic cycling of the source material. Highly recommended!!!

album cover COYLE & SHARPE Audio Visionaries (Thirsty Ear) cd 15.98
Wandering the streets of San Francisco in 1963, radio "comedians" Mal Sharpe & Jim Coyle presented themselves with an aura of research based authority as they carried out their ludicrous pranks on the unsuspecting public. Dressed rather conservatively in double breasted suits and armed with a tape recorder, they confronted people on the street with such proposals as "For the sake of scientific investigation, can we drill a hole in your head to document the sound of your unconscious thoughts?" or "Please join our cult of three-ism, in which you will join us in a collective agreement and disavow any personal individuality." Coyle & Sharpe's charisma and genuine interest to engage their audience has resulted in a confrontational humor that has rarely been matched. If you have the Coyle and Sharpe cd that was released a few years back on Henry Rollins' label ("On The Loose") you know how funny this disc will be, and don't worry, this one features entirely different but equally insane material. Brilliant, hilarious genius! They far pre-dated the now-commonplace man-on-the-street / guerrilla interviewers. Today's reality TV can't hold a candle to these guys. Just think, this was long long long before passers-by were prepared for what was in store for them! They're the O.G.!

album cover RAYMOND & PETER Shut Up, Little Man! (Shut Up Little Man Recordings) cd 13.98
Finally available again, after several years! The disc that both saddens and entertains, kind of like a cross between Charles Bukowski and the Jerky Boys!
If you've seen the Simpsons episode with John Waters, you might recall Homer asking the guest star what camp means. Waters' answer: "The comically tragic...the tragically comic." To which Homer retorts "Oh, you mean, like when a clown dies." This classic recording of San Franciscan drunks Raymond Huffmann & Peter Haskett certainly fits this Homeric definition of camp. These two aging roommates spent their days drinking heavily in their Lower Haight apartment and verbally assaulted each other. The slurring barrage of obscenities muddles the difference between the two men. This is one of those documents that had to be (re)released, capturing the torment these two unwittingly inflicted upon their enraged neighbors who in turn recorded their every conversation. Worthy of its status as a late-twentieth century underground "comedy" phenomenon.
MPEG Stream: "Introducing Ray: I Am Ready Now!"
MPEG Stream: "I Despise All Queers"
MPEG Stream: "I Was A Mean Motherfucker In My Time"
MPEG Stream: "Nova Express Times Survey On Alcohol"
MPEG Stream: "Ray Mewls At The Cops"

V/A Between Heaven & Earth (Silva Screen) cd 11.98
Specially priced cd sampler of three different Balinese music genres - Gamelan Jegog, Gamelan Semar Pegulingan, and Gender Wayang. Jegog is the relatively recently developed bamboo gamelan found mostly in West Bali. Absolutely stunning and LOUD, the aesthetic of Jegog is an attempt to recreate the tone and volume of gongs and metallophones with bamboo. Semar Pegulingan (so named after Semar, the god of love) is the gamelan that traditionally played outside the king's chamber in the afternoons and evenings while the king slept with the queen (think of it as make out music) back before the Dutch got their dirty paws all over Bali. Gender Wayang is the music which accompanies Balinese shadow puppet plays (Wayang Kulit.) Consisting of four gender - metallophones, each with ten flat bronze keys suspended over bamboo resonators - Gender Wayang is considered the most complex and technically difficult music in Bali.

PARTON, DOLLY The Grass is Blue (Sugar Hill) cd 16.98
Wow! After 40 years-and-counting, Dolly Parton releases her very first all-bluegrass recording. For this she chose some of the best bluegrass musicians in the world, including Sam Bush (founder of New Grass Revival and, according to No Depression magazine, "generally considered one of the top three bluegrass mandolin players in the world"), dobro player Jerry Douglas ("acknowledged to be the best in the world"), fiddler Stuart Duncan, guitarist Bryan Sutton and banjoist Jim Mills (both ex-Ricky Skaggs band), along with the angelvoiced Alison Krauss and Patty Loveless as backup singers. Alternately growling, yowling, and crooning her own originals and covers of Hazel Dickens, Blackfoot, Lester Flatt, the Louvin Brothers, and Johnny Cash, this is Dolly at her best -- without slick, deadening prodcution values that's cost many a country album its vitality and life. If you thought Alison Krauss' last record was a little too watered-down-commercial and you already have all the Freakwater albums, then this record is for you.

VON ZAMLA 1983 (Cuneiform) cd 12.98
Never before released live recording from Von Zamla's 1983 European tour, taken from two dates in Germany. Featuring Michel Berckmans [oboe & bassoon], Eino Haapala [guitar], Lars Hollmer [keyboards], Hans Loelv [keyboards], Wolfgang Salomon [bass], Marten Tiselius [drums], and performing tracks from No Make Up, Zamlaranama, and a Samla track. Challenging yet still filled to the brim with toe-tapping melodies and great playing.

PORTER RICKS : TECHNO ANIMAL Symbiotic (Force Inc. ) cd 15.98
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"Symbiotic" is a split release between stalwart bleak technicians Porter Ricks and Techno Animal, in which the tracks of each are presented in alternating fashion. While Porter Ricks has made the best Chain Reaction records for the label, Thomas Koner and Andy Melweg have moved away from the heroin house aethestic for a sound that complements the oppressively dark hip hop futurism of Techno Animal. Surprisingly cohesive for an album that could easily fall apart in lesser hands.

album cover AAVIKKO Derek (Bad Vugum / Humppa) cd 17.98
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A whole lot has changed since we first laid our ears on this glorious slab of cinematic Finnish casiocore way back in the twentieth century. At the time Derek, the debut full length from these Finnish freaks, was released, it was just about the weirdest and coolest thing we'd ever heard. And the last few years haven't changed that one bit! What has changed is the fact that now, the whole world, at least the underground music world, have their eyes squarely on Finland's fertile music scene. Eating up anything and everything, and it's all amazing! Circle, Kemialliset Ystavat, Avarus, Anaksimandros, Paavoharju and on and on and on. But before all these bands (except for Circle) Aavikko were busy creating impossibly catchy, Eastern tinged synthesizer scores for imaginary Westerns, or Bollywood movies, or whatever crazy Finnish movie could handle being accompanied by this maniacal music. Think of it this way, the fictional filmscores of Godspeed You Black Emperor or Barry Adamson are meant to be played at 33 rpm, to capture all of the scope, space, and time of their bleak sonic imagery, right? Well supposing that is indeed true, then Aavikko's utterly absurd and gloriously frolicsome music is some alternative universe version of those filmscores meant for 33, but played at 45. Or heck, 78!! Manic twin casios wiggle out catchy tunes that could easily have sprung from the mad mind of Martin Denny, had he been composing for 60's spy thrillers. Tomi Leppanen (Aavikko's human metronome, and currently the drummer for Circle AND Pharoah Overlord) propels the casio madness with pseudo disco syncopations and hyper-active breakbeats, while second hand synths weave surprisingly lush noir soundscapes, equal parts moody cocktaily jazz, propulsive spy thriller soundtrack muzak, spastic mechanical sounding krautrock and pretty much every musical stop in between. The surprising thing is that every song, no matter what strange twist or direction it takes, is wildly fun, unbearably catchy and weird as fuck. Full of hooks and unlikely sounds, funky grooves and hauntingly playful circus music, this record is one of the greatest warm and fuzzy, feel good, psychedelic groove lounge freakout records EVER! Aavikko's original label Bad Vugum coined the term maniacal monkey jazz for Aavikko, and we're not sure we could come up with anything better!
We can't tell you how psyched we are to have this back in stock. This is one of THE essential Finnish records, definitely one of our top five Finnish records EVER. This reissue is so long overdue as Derek has been out of print practically for freaking EVER! 7 or 8 years! Until now! Plus, this reissue includes two bonus tracks from the also long (and still!) out of print Aavikko cd ep. And who can argue with MORE Aavikko?!?!
MPEG Stream: "El Cebo"
MPEG Stream: "Galaktus"
MPEG Stream: "Ostsee"

ADAMSON, BARRY Moss Side Story (Mute) cd 15.98
Mute U.K. has finally seen fit to reissue this: hallelujah! This is his first soundtrack (of 4, 3 of which are for films that don't exist). Brilliant album from one of my favorite musicians in the whole world. The cd version adds 3 songs unavailable elsewhere, including the truly essential theme from the Sinatra-as-junkie film The Man With The Golden Arm. "In a black & white world, murder adds a touch of colour." Get this album first!

album cover APHEX TWIN Richard D. James Album (Warp/Sire) cd 12.98
If Richard D. James had not made the Richard D. James Album there would probably not be Matmos, there would be no Hrvatski (although the electro-acoustic complexities that KF Whitman later produced might have still spilled out), and there would have definitely been no Kid 606. This record was released on Warp back in 1996 and was the crossover album between IDM and jungle, with the purists from the latter crying foul that Aphex Twin had ruined their party, while giving the former a whole new template of rhythms to mine, deform, and mutate with lightning quick precision. Still, what set this album apart from so many of its contemporaries was the adventurousness with form and the ability to maintain an emotively complex sense of melody. Where much of the more playful forms of electronica tends to get precious and saccharine really quickly, James' rounded basslines and idyllic synth arrangements on such tracks as "Fingerbig" or "To Cure A Weakling Child" spiralled deconstructed Amen breaks around the rhythmic architecture of the tracks, giving the replicants something celebratory to dance to.
But the standout tracks on the album still are the lead single "Boy/Girl Song", with its amazingly inventive tricknology sampling plucked strings molded into an utterly captivating synthesized harmony that propel still one of the most skittery and most dynamic drum 'n' bass numbers ever produced, and then there's "Milk Man" in which a deliberately snivelling James sings for the first time, with lyrics obsessing over the mammary glands of the neighborhood milk man. Ah, David Lynch would have been so proud! This album has been a staple here at Aquarius Records since its original release back in '96, and if you've not picked it up over the years, now's your chance to get this fantastic album!!
MPEG Stream: "Cornish Acid"
MPEG Stream: "Fingerbib"
MPEG Stream: "Boy/Girl Song"
MPEG Stream: "Milk Man"

album cover BURZUM Filosofem (Back On Black) 2lp 36.00
By now, unless you've been living underneath a VERY big rock, you know all about Count Grishnackh aka Burzum, Euronymous, Bard Faust, Mayhem, Emperor and all the killing and church burnings and suicides. If for some reason you don't know about all this stuff, go buy yourself a copy of The Lords Of Chaos, a book that covers all that stuff in great detail. The problem with all this drama, murder, satanism, whatever, you forget that the whole reason these guys knew each other, and the only reason any of us cared, was the music they made. And that music they made was black metal. A black metal that thanks to the decidedly non-musical drama, would soon make black metal a household name.
So when folks ask us to recommend some classic black metal, we always recommend Satyricon's Nemesis Divina, Immortal's Battles In The North, Emperor's Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk, and of course Burzum's Filosefem. Filosefem, originally released in 1996 holds a special place in our outsider music hearts, as the first black metal record to turn the whole black metal formula completely upside down. Count Grishnackh was the only member and played all the instruments, even the drums, which gives the whole thing a weirdly damaged droning swing. A rhythm that would define the rhythmic sound of later black metal legends like Graveland and Woodtemple. The guitars are a thick suffocating buzz, razor sharp and totally blown out. And the vocals are an anguished wail, some sort of primeval demonic incantation. But where Burzum stands out most is the addition of a creepy synthesizers that hover in the background of several of the tracks, a haunting melody buried beneath the swirl of fuzz and ultradistortion. Unlike other BM bands, the keyboard isn't a huge wash of strings to add some sort of epic quality, these tracks are already epic enough, here the keyboards are much more spare, a simple minor key melody is picked out, almost childlike, hovering briefly, before the next note follows. Except for one blazing blast of a track, Filosefem is mostly midtempo, lurching and heaving, stumbling down dirt road into a smeared grey landscape. But as the record nears the last few tracks, the record changes, beginning with the nearly half hour long "Rundgang um die Transzendentale Saule der Singularitat", a track that eschews any hint of metal, stripping away the guitars, the drums, everything, and leaving just the synthesizer, as it unfurls a seemingly endless Aphex Twin like four note melody. Forlorn and strangely compelling. And in the context of the whole record, as emotionally devastating as anything we've heard. The final track "Gebrechlichkeit II", brings back the guitars, but makes them nearly static, an endlessly blurry vacuum cleaner like riff, slowly shifting, as another haunting melody drifts wraith like in the background. Definitely one of the most essential and unique metal records of all time.
BE WARNED! THESE BURZUM LPS ARE EXTREMELY LIMITED!! ONCE THESE ARE GONE, IT'S QUITE POSSIBLE THAT THEY'LL BE GONE FOR GOOD. IF IT ENDS UP WE CAN GET MORE, BE PREPARED TO WAIT PATIENTLY!

album cover OS MUTANTES A Divina Comedia Ou (#3) (Universal / Polydor Brazil) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We just can't think of a more perfect way to walk into Aquarius. It's finally nice and sunny here in the city to begin with, and then we walk in the door to find, sitting on the front counter, the recently reissued back catalog from one of our favorite bands of all time, Os Mutantes!!! Whoo-hoo! The timing couldn't be better as a reformed Mutantes (minus Rita Lee, tho) are on tour right now, spreading their sound across the globe. It's been a few years since the first three crucial albums from these Brazilian psych-pop pioneers were available on cd domestically, and the import versions we previously had from South America have been out of print for a long time too. Until now. They've been repressed in Brazil and we've got import copies of not just the first three classics (reviewed here) but the also-pretty-great fourth and fifth Mutantes records too (which we've never reviewed before, and plan to list next time around). We are so stoked.
This, their 1970 slightly proggier third album, is, along with their first two records, another one of the most important and influential records of the last quarter century. Seriously. In fact we might as well just consider the first three Os Mutantes records a single entity, as they are absolutely the perfect 1-2-3 pop punch! Here was a band from Sao Paulo, Brazil creating sounds with so many layers and styles intertwined, dense and dizzying, lush and lilting, elaborately arranged but so simple and catchy, who have gone on to help inspire some of the best and most beloved musical outfits in recent times. Their blending of breezy psychedelia, fuzzy delicious pop, and drops of musique concrete was the perfect infusion of experimental elements into challenging and rewarding pop that STILL sounds so amazingly enchanting, weird and irresistible. We could go on listing forever some of the bands and artists who have been inspired by so much of the Muntantes' spirit, sound and aesthetic: Stereolab, Broadcast, the whole Elephant Six scene, Beck, The Flaming Lips, Tower Recordings, Tater Totz, the list is endless. Today we even just noticed how Sonic Youth totally took the guitar melody of "O Relogio" for their classic "Little Trouble Girl". The scope and breadth of Os Mutantes influence is immeasurable. At one point, Kurt Kobain was desperately trying to convince Os Mutantes to tour with Nirvana! And while best-of collections and a few songs on comps here and there are nice, this is the kind of band whose records need to be heard in their entirety. We can't say it loud enough but just imagine us singing to you in glorious sun dappled Technicolor as we tell you that THIS TOO IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL! You might as well just give in, you absolutely need ALL of their first three albums. Never has there been a more perfectly unique and effortless blend of bossa nova and fuzzed out psych rock as on this trio of perfect discs! If you already love the first two Os Mutantes records (and how could you not?), Os Mutantes (album #1, 1968) an absolute pop masterpiece and Mutantes (album #2, 1969) with its amazing green alien band photo on the back cover, then you most definitely need part three of this perfect pop trilogy, A Divina Comedia (album #3, 1970) with its prog flecked take on the Mutantes' psychedelic psych pop and the unforgettable striking graveyard scene on the cover. Their "Sgt. Pepper meets Astrud Gilberto mix" holds up brilliantly across all three original Mutantes records (and even to a certain degree the 4th and 5th). It's the sort of thing where we're kinda envious of anyone who hasn't heard 'em already and now has the chance to buy these cds for the first time!
MPEG Stream: "Desculpe, Babe"
MPEG Stream: "Oh! Mulher Infiel"

album cover OS MUTANTES Mutantes (#2) (Universal / Polydor Brazil) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Now a domestic release, again!
We just can't think of a more perfect way to walk into Aquarius. It's finally nice and sunny here in the city to begin with, and then we walk in the door to find, sitting on the front counter, the recently reissued back catalog from one of our favorite bands of all time, Os Mutantes!!! Whoo-hoo! The timing couldn't be better as a reformed Mutantes (minus Rita Lee, tho) are on tour right now, spreading their sound across the globe. It's been a few years since the first three crucial albums from these Brazilian psych-pop pioneers were available on cd domestically, and the import versions we previously had from South America have been out of print for a long time too. Until now. They've been repressed in Brazil and we've got import copies of not just the first three classics (reviewed here) but the also-pretty-great fourth and fifth Mutantes records too (which we've never reviewed before, and plan to list next time around). We are so stoked.
This, their 1969 sophmore effort (self titled Mutantes, again, not to be confused with the also self titled debut Os Mutantes) is, along with their debut, another one of the most important and influential records of the last quarter century. Seriously. In fact we might as well just consider the first three Os Mutantes records a single entity, as they are absolutely the perfect 1-2-3 pop punch! Here was a band from Sao Paulo, Brazil creating sounds with so many layers and styles intertwined, dense and dizzying, lush and lilting, elaborately arranged but so simple and catchy, who have gone on to help inspire some of the best and most beloved musical outfits in recent times. Their blending of breezy psychedelia, fuzzy delicious pop, and drops of musique concrete was the perfect infusion of experimental elements into challenging and rewarding pop that STILL sounds so amazingly enchanting, weird and irresistible. We could go on listing forever some of the bands and artists who have been inspired by so much of the Muntantes' spirit, sound and aesthetic: Stereolab, Broadcast, the whole Elephant Six scene, Beck, The Flaming Lips, Tower Recordings, Tater Totz, the list is endless. Today we even just noticed how Sonic Youth totally took the guitar melody of "O Relogio" for their classic "Little Trouble Girl". The scope and breadth of Os Mutantes influence is immeasurable. At one point, Kurt Kobain was desperately trying to convince Os Mutantes to tour with Nirvana! And while best-of collections and a few songs on comps here and there are nice, this is the kind of band whose records need to be heard in their entirety. We can't say it loud enough but just imagine us singing to you in glorious sun dappled Technicolor as we tell you that THIS TOO IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL! You might as well just give in, you absolutely need ALL of their first three albums. Never has there been a more perfectly unique and effortless blend of bossa nova and fuzzed out psych rock as on this trio of perfect discs! If you love Os Mutantes (album #1, 1968) and how could you not? Then, there's no way you wouldn't also want this one, Mutantes (album #2, 1969) with its amazing green alien band photo on the back cover. And of course A Divina Comedia (album #3, 1970) with its slightly proggier sound and striking graveyard scene on the cover. Their "Sgt. Pepper meets Astrud Gilberto mix" holds up brilliantly across all three original Mutantes records. It's the sort of thing where we're kinda envious of anyone who hasn't heard 'em already and now has the chance to buy these cds for the first time!
MPEG Stream: "Nao Va Se Perder Por Ai"
MPEG Stream: "Caminhante Noturno"

album cover OS MUTANTES Os Mutantes (#1) (Universal / Polydor Brazil) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Now a domestic release, again!
We just can't think of a more perfect way to walk into Aquarius. It's finally nice and sunny here in the city to begin with, and then we walk in the door to find, sitting on the front counter, the recently reissued back catalog from one of our favorite bands of all time, Os Mutantes!!! Whoo-hoo! It's been a few years since the first three crucial albums from these Brazilian psych-pop pioneers were available on cd domestically, and the import versions we previously had from South America have been out of print for a long time too. Until now. They've been repressed in Brazil and we've got import copies of not just the first three classics (reviewed here) but the also-pretty-great fourth and fifth Mutantes records too (which we've never reviewed before, and plan to list next time around). We are so stoked.
This, their 1968 debut (self titled Os Mutantes, not to be confused, though it's easy, with their also self titled 2nd album Mutantes) is one of the most important and influential records of the last quarter century. Seriously. Here was a band from Sao Paulo, Brazil creating sounds with so many layers and styles intertwined, dense and dizzying, lush and lilting, elaborately arranged but so simple and catchy, who have gone on to help inspire some of the best and most beloved musical outfits in recent times. Their blending of breezy psychedelia, fuzzy delicious pop, and drops of musique concrete was the perfect infusion of experimental elements into challenging and rewarding pop that STILL sounds so amazingly enchanting, weird and irresistible. We could go on listing forever some of the bands and artists who have been inspired by so much of the Muntantes' spirit, sound and aesthetic: Stereolab, Broadcast, the whole Elephant Six scene, Beck, The Flaming Lips, Tower Recordings, Tater Totz, the list is endless. Today we even just noticed how Sonic Youth totally took the guitar melody of "O Relogio" for their classic "Little Trouble Girl". The scope and breadth of Os Mutantes influence is immeasurable. At one point, Kurt Kobain was desperately trying to convince Os Mutantes to tour with Nirvana! And while best-of collections and a few songs on comps here and there are nice, this is the kind of band whose records need to be heard in their entirety. We can't say it loud enough but just imagine us singing to you