V/A Multi-Vitamin Comp. (PNMV) cd 13.98
Compilation featuring mostly out-of-print 7" tracks from the likes of KARP, Lowercase, Thrones, New Bad Things, Mocket, Long Hind Legs, Unwound (that one previously unreleased I'm told) and others.
V/A Murder In The Company of The Vespertine (Vespertine) cd 16.98
"Mood music in a jugular vein" was the only description accompanying a list of bands: Air Wave, Bear, Bola, Cavil, Dakota Suite, Dynamite Cigar Co, I'm Sore, Lazarus Clamp, Lazerboy, M-Tec, Mus, Muma Sounds, Oneironaut, and Quigley. Without much else to go on, the clues gleaned from this odd little compilation lead to the conclusion that the compiler's motive was to create an atmosphere of moody sadness through a diverse group of sounds ranging from Boards of Canada-esque electronica to Mogwai-like heroin rock and piano driftscapes.
V/A Murder: Songs From The Dark Side Of The Soul (Trikont) cd 17.98
V/A Museum Of Future Sound Vol. 1 (Flogsta Danshall) cd 12.98
Yo droids! You wanna know what's been boomin' on Pluto lately? It's gotta be skweee. Y'know here at Aquarius we're always on the lookout for something new, the next big thing perhaps (though we're talking big 'round here, not necessarily elsewhere). Well we think we've found it! SKWEEE. Skweee? That's the self-proclaimed name for a new scene of electronic music in Scandinavia. It's basically Nordic b-boys doing DIY electro, and it's true, if they hadn't called it skweee but something less silly like, uh, "Scandi-funk" or "Vikinglectro", we might have not been as initially intrigued, though we did already have an interest in electro from Finland 'cause of that Sound Of Suomi comp we listed a while back. Something about "skweee" though just grabs us. You don't have to like bad puns to like skweee but it helps. Hey what are you doing this skweeekend? There's a skweee show Saturday skweeevening. Some of our favorite skweeejays will be spinning. Skweee you there! We kind of randomly found out about it on the internet, listened in to some online samples on the "Nation of Skweee" webpage, and were hooked. Imagine a warped crossover between old school video game music and '90s hiphop instrumental tracks, that laidback Dr. Dre style funk as if hacked on a Commodore 64, programmed by Finnish and Norwegian kids trying to stave off the boredom and depression of long sunlight-deprived winters (as opposed to embracing it like their countryfolk into black metal would do). There's an obscure but active scene up in that part of the world skweeepin' it real with the support of a couple local labels, Harmonia and Flogsta Danshall, releasing the skweee on 7" and 12" singles. We did discover this one compact disc compilation that Flogsta Danshall put out, and figured we had to get it, it features a lot of the "stars" of skweee and obviously would be a good starting point for us, and any AQ customers who wanted to get turned on to skweee. And funnily enough, the guy from Flogsta Danshall had previously been to Aquarius on a trip to the USA, so he was himself excited that we wanted to stock some skweee in our shop! Here's the artists: Mesak, Pavan, Rigas Den Andre, Beem, The Munchies, Randy Barracuda, Wizards of DOS, PJVM, Mangrove, Uday, Vakttornet, Daniel Savio, Maja Hedin, and Claws Costeau (great name!). Although each one's different, there's a definite "skweee ID" shared between 'em: elements like distorted squelching synthetic bass, computery bloops and bleeps, fractured funk beats, crazed dance logic, and what's either a playful sense of humor or just plain weirdness. Or both. Some tracks (say, Pavan) are a bit more uptight techno-rigid kraftwerkouts than others, which skweee like along with the looser, more fucked up cuts (like Randy Barracuda's which sounds like Inspector Gadget done Doug E. Fresh style or somethin'). The Museum Of Future Sound exhibits 14 trax, 54+ minutes of the finest in skweee, packaged in a thin, square, black plastic cd case, with simple, stark black & white cover graphics and a tracklisting on stickers affixed to the front and back. [2008 update: now it's in a cardboard sleeve, not plastic, a la vol. 2.] No further info is given about any of the contributors, unfortunately, so they stay mysterious... but they probably all have MySpace pages and would love to get visitors! Next big thing? Could skweee. We'll skweee.
MESAK "Popkumm" MPEG Stream:
RANDY BARRACUDA "Rick James Is Dead" MPEG Stream:
CLAWS COSTEAU "The Franzzz Connection"
V/A Museum Of Future Sound Vol. 2 (Flogsta Danshall) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. In the time since we highlighted the original volume of Flogsta Danshall's Museum Of Future Sound (in the fall of '07), there have been literally hundreds if not thousands of records reviewed on our list. And while among those hundreds of records there have been a great many we really really liked, plenty of great music, the fact remains that NONE of it has been skweee. And that just won't do. We need more skweee!!! Thank god Flogsta Danshall has at last released "the next level" of the Museum Of Future Sound, volume two, 18 more tracks of pure skweee! Skweee, if you weren't paying attention back when we listed the first Museum Of Future Sound, is the cutting edge new Scandinavian electro-funk sound that's sweeping the globe. Well we maybe not quite sweeping. Or even skweeeping. But we're really into it, and heck it SHOULD be blowing up big, if we have anything to say about it. Why do we love skweee so much? It's both atmospheric and groovy and sorta silly (it sometimes -sounds- silly plus there's all the skweee-punning potential), it's very DIY and has that video game chip-tune retro-ness that you know we'd think was cool. It's funky, goofy, pretty much always instrumental, full of Kraftwerkian melodies, ridiculous nasty crunching bass, and glitched-up hiphop rhythms, skweeeird broken-machine beats tailor made for your most skweeetarded robotic poppin' and lockin' dance moves. It's immediately recognizable, when someone here starts pumpin' the skweee on the stereo we all know what it is. And the whole MySpace-based, internet "nation of skweee" Nordic b-boy (skweee-boy?) community, small as it is, seems pretty cool. A whole little scene (skweeene?) of skweee-obsessiveness to get into. Museum Of Future Sound vol. 2 is a good place to start (if you have vol. 1 you already know you want this, right??). There's cuts from a few vol. 1 superstars such as Mesak, Randy Barracuda, Claws Costeau, and Daniel Savio, plus tons more tracks introducing such skweee powers-to-be as Eero Johannes, Mrs Qaeda, Joxaren, Spartan Lover, Limonious, Wankers United, Rigas Den Andre, and more... some we already knew from our internet skweee-search, others totally new to us. All these museum exhibits are pretty fantastic!! Each with their own idiosyncracies (idiosyncraskweees?). Ok, stop! By the way, while the first volume came in a slim plastic case, this one is packaged in a cardstock sleeve with three skweee stickers as inserts.
RIGAS DEN ANDRE " I Am Crane" MPEG Stream:
LIMONIOUS "Swedish Pommak" MPEG Stream:
RANDY BARRACUDA "Shock The Plankton"
V/A Mush Tour 2002 (Mush) dvd 17.98
V/A Music By The Children Of Ala Costa (The Dancing Tree) cd-r 9.98
Hmm, what to say about this exactly? It's a 24-minute cd-r collecting stuff recorded by 'developmentally disabled' kids (ages 6 to 22) at the Ala Costa Center in Northern California who participated in a twelve week music workshop run by San Francisco's The Dancing Tree organization, which seems like wonderful fun for them. The kids are let loose with tom toms and kazoos and and xylophones and slide whistles and sticks etc., and these are some of the results. Funny and silly, sweet and innocent and full of creative enthusiasm (if not skill). Musically, it's primitive stuff, with lotsa playful percussion and singing. We really like all the pieces that utilize "sticks on playground structure". File with the Tangerine Awkestra and the Kids of Widney High in the untrained and/or differently-abled avantgarde section. "Trees And Whistles" is pure beat poetry, while the single-minded abandon of several of the tom tom jams outdo Amon Duul and Crash Worship. Well, maybe.
"Playground Song" RealAudio clip:
"Devil Of The Butterfly" RealAudio clip:
"Trees And Whistles"
V/A Music De Wolfe Vol. 1 (Megaphone) cd 14.98
Like a Molotov cocktail for the spy-chase set, this compilation of sixties and seventies instrumental funk and soul from the De Wolfe Library and selected by Baltimore DJ and Library music geek, Jason Willet has all the stuff you need to get your feet and ass moving. Tense chase themes are intermixed with sexy bachelor-pad space grooves from one of the best library music houses in Britain, much of it on cd for the first time. So whether you are living out your Blaxploitation Spy fantasies or facing a daunting labor-intensive task (like we are creating this list for you), this set makes it all OK! Recommended!
"Hard Hitter" MPEG Stream:
"Heavy Lace" MPEG Stream:
V/A Music for a Bachelor's Den (DCC) cd 14.98
I mean, is the title suggesting women won't like it, or that we'll find it very sexy? Arthur Lyman, Dick Hyman, Jackie Gleason, Martin Denny, etc.
V/A Music For Dancefloors: The KPM Music Library (Strut) 2cd 17.98
Crate-diggers have long looked to Library music (anonymously created music cues made available for use in film) for obscure hip-hop and funk breaks. Back in 2000, Strut Records released this survey on the KPM library originally intending to create a series dedicated to mining the archives of UK's foremost music libraries. It has now been reissued in a deluxe format that includes a bonus cd of a live reunion concert at London's Jazz Cafe with KPM's top performers, Alan Hawkshaw (The Mohawks), Keith Mansfield, and Alan Parker, dubbed The KPM All Stars. The album proper also includes tracks by John Cameron, Les Baxter and a host of others focusing on funk, soul, Latin, jazz, and disco with a gritty seventies urban vibe. Break beats are plentiful, but what is most stunning is the solid session player chops being presented especially on the live disc, not to mention the stunning vocals by Madeline Bell on "That's What Friends Are For" (not the Dionne Warwick song of the same name, thankfully!). Fans of Gilles Peterson, or rare soul and jazz groove, take note! There's also a gatefold double lp version that includes both cds with it as well.
ALAN PARKER "That's What Friends Are for" MPEG Stream:
THE KLAUS WEISS SOUNDS AND PERCUSSION "Morning 1/ Morning 2" MPEG Stream:
NACIMBENE "Interlude: Witchdoctor" MPEG Stream:
KEITH MANSFIELD "Crash Course" MPEG Stream:
KPM ALL STARS "Swamp Fever"
V/A Music For Listening To (Bubble Core) cd 13.98
Nice comp featuring Him, Mice Parade, Rex (two tracks from an out-of-print 7"!), and the fabulous Matmos, among others.
V/A Music For Mentalists (Psychic Circle) cd 17.98
Most of the time, compilations are intended to bring you the "best" of something. This one, though, is different! The compilers have deliberately put together a compilation of the WORST. A collection of "the obscure, the peculiar, and in some cases the downright disturbing". And of course, we recommend it! Now, the Psychic Circle label is known for all their keen compilations of '60s psych pop, "instro-hipster" groove, glam rock, and other vintage obscurities. Many of their discs are compiled by Nick "Bevis Frond" Saloman, who here, along with colleague Mick Dillingham, delve into a very different, and certainly much less cool/good/valuable, section of what must be vast, vast record collections. The section labeled "incredibly strange (or daft) music"! Collectable perhaps, but definitely more as a compulsion than an investment. They're mostly flea market and junk shop finds, we imagine. Barmy commercial jingles. Novelty tunes. Celebrity cash-ins. Easy listening attempts to be hip. Embarrassing (though fairly witty) rapping by an old white Englishman promoting his darts themed TV quiz show. Disco-sploitation. Would-be exotica and/or erotica. Super sappy lovesongs. "Ethnic" oddities (including more rapping). Et cetera, et cetera. Like other Psychic Circle comps, it's stuff from from the '60s and '70s (though it's possible that the ones with the rapping could be from the early '80s), some tracks having an increased humor factor due to their datedness. The other humor factor: how terrible, terrible this music is. Quite painful some of it. But also really funny. And sometimes pretty darn catchy. Which actually is a dangerous thing - you might wind up with some really bizarre stuff stuck in your head as a result of listening to this. Don't say we didn't warn you. But who wouldn't want, ferinstance, "These Boots Are Made For Walking" as performed (for some reason) by an outfit appropriately called Balsara & His Singing Sitars stuck in their head? Certainly not you. There's an overwhelming 33 tracks here (OMG!). And immediately you'll find confusional, cringeworthy fodder for your next voicemail greeting, or something to render the next mix tape (cd-r, playlist, whatever) you make just a little bit weirder! Most of the stuff here was previously quite unknown to us (though we venture to guess that if you grew up in the UK, there's a chance you might be more familiar with some of the entries). And even if we knew the artists, such as the celebrity contingent of David McCallum, David Carradine, and Xaviera "The Happy Hooker" Hollander (performing separately, not together, now that would be REALLY crazy), that didn't really prepare us for what their tracks were all about. Or maybe it did. Bizarre stuff in any case, as are all the rest of the tracks here, which include everything from Micky Katz's Yiddish version of "K'nock Around The Clock" to a silly shoe advert ("The Weakling In Thom McCann Shoes") to opera singer Cathy Berberian's faux-classical take on the Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand" to a big band version of the Monkees theme to naive outsider homemade pop to discofied Pink Floyd. Just when you think it can't get any worse or weirder, it does!! And let's not forget, this starts off pretty insane, with track two being about the weirdest bit of civic boosterism ever, a song called "Energy In Northampton", commissioned by The Northampton Development Corporation and sung by one Linda Jardim, this song tells of aliens from outer space crash landing in the town of Northampton and finding it quite to their liking! It's like Saloman and Dillingham took turns one-upping each other with the most absurd, atrocious recorded artifacts they (perversely) treasure... "Oh, you thought that was bad? Get a load of THIS!" and you get to hear it all, in its awesome/awful glory. The cd booklet provides some mercifully brief details about each track along with appropriate accompanying graphics in full color (and also reveals that most of the blame here goes to Mr. Dillingham, from whose crazy collection most if not all of these records were sourced). We're sorta surprised this is on Psychic Circle, and not, say, the Trunk label. This disc seems destined to become a beloved best seller... at least here at Aquarius!
LINDA JARDIM "Energy In Northampton" MPEG Stream:
REGINALD BOSANQUET "Dance With Me" MPEG Stream:
HYLDA BAKER "Substitute" MPEG Stream:
MARVIN JAMES "Together In Iceland"
V/A Music For Plants (PerfectlfOn) 2cd 23.00
V/A Music From Saharan Cellphones (Sahel Sounds) lp 14.98
How could anyone not be obsessed with this? We originally thought the title was just a catchy turn of phrase whipped up by MISSISSIPPI RECORDS, who originally put this out on cassette, but as we did some digging, we discovered that the title was in fact literal, this is indeed a collection of songs found on cellphone memory cards in the Saharan desert. It's not nearly as strange as it sounds once you realize that in Africa, much like in the US, people use cellphones for everything, including of course collecting and trading music, often swapping songs person to person via bluetooth. So here is a sort of best of, a collection of tracks which were super popular in the African mp3/cellphone network, but have essentially never been released commercially or really heard at all outside of these mp3 traders until now. Obviously, anyone who's a fan of Sublime Frequencies, or Mississippi records is gonna go nuts for this stuff. The sound, besides reflecting a sort of African underground, also chronicles a new era of personal music production, with many of these tracks recorded in people's homes, on computers, using commercial software, synths, autotune and other things previously unavailable outside a proper studio. The sound is super varied: many tracks are classic sounding African music, with some of that desert blues vibe found on a lot of Sublime Frequencies releases, call and response vocals, warm buzzing melodies, simple skeletal rhythms, very hypnotic and mesmerizing, while others are far out takes on commercial pop, or Afro-hiphop, or African electro, all seemingly underpinned by classic African rhythms, but with way more modern elements woven in, some with super autotuned vocals, creating a strange soulful autotuned afro-pop hybrid that is pretty amazing, the record continues to slip back and forth from those classic sounds, to more modern takes on African music, some lush and layered, others super lo-fi, some obviously loose street jams (occasionally peppered with weird recording/cellphone storage/transfer glitches, which only adds to the sound), others are obviously meticulously composed and arranged, and those crazy autotuned vox continue to pop up throughout (obviously very popular with the mp3/cellphone music traders), and are definitely the strangest element. And according to the label, since the original cassette release, most of the previously mysterious artists (the original tape featured very little in the way of artists and titles) have been tracked down and now get a majority of the royalties. So totally recommended!
"One" MPEG Stream:
"Two " MPEG Stream:
V/A Music From Saharan Cellphones Vol. 2 (Sahel Sounds) lp 14.98
Second volume in this amazing series of compilations, which gathers up all manner of music from discarded memory cards from cellphones, these memory cards and cellphones collected from throughout Northern Mali since 2010, even more relevant now that extremists in Mali have banned music on cellphones. A sad state of affairs for the people of Mali, who, like everyone else in the world, use cellphones for everything - including, collecting, trading, and listening to music. Like the first volume, the music here offers a glimpse of some of the weird and wonderful music that doesn't often make it on to world music compilations, even comps on Sublime Frequencies and the like. Like the first one, maybe even moreso, the focus here is on the home produced DIY jams, heavy on the autotuned vocals, a modern hybrid of traditional African music, and modern pop. The opening track is the perfect example, sans vocals, and drums, it's a beautiful bit of deserty blues, all intricate melodies and warm steel string buzz, but then add the skittery lo-fi drum programming, and the woozy autotuned vocals, and you've got a strange bit of 'futuristic' Afro-pop. Even the songs that sound more traditional, like the second track, still display subtle elements that give the sounds a unique twist, in this case, more of that programmed Casio style drum machine, which gives the dreamy high life a strange propulsion. There's an uncredited track here, that's a sort of reggae groove, which sounds like it's sung by a child, is laced with some crunchy guitar and groovy synths, not to mention the occasional bleat of a goat! After that the comp continues to swing wildly from the groovy desert blues of Hasso Akotey, to the moody percussive club music of Lakal Kaney, replete with rapping, to the handclap driven, fuzz guitar, horn flecked high energy of DJ Mopao, even the recently deceased Koudede shows up, with a gorgeous track of that warm languid, hypnotic guitar grooves. There's more autotuned pop in the form of Pheno S.'s laid back Afro-soul funkiness, although our two favorites might be Iba One's horn driven Afro-hop banger, which weaves majestic synth horns around skittery beats and strident anthemic vox, a huge American hip hop influence for sure, but filtered through classic African pop, and the crazy closer from Cheba Wassila, another high energy groover, that has a serious Bollywood vibe, soaring autotuned vox, and wild rhythms, lots of horns, squiggle synths, even some killer fiddle solos (also seemingly run through the auto-tune for good measure!).
V/A Music From The Lost Provinces (Old Hat) cd 14.98
So named in the late 18th century, "The Lost Provinces" consisted of Ashe, Watuaga and Alleghany counties in the Northwestern corner of North Carolina. Geographically isolated by the steep passes of the Blue Ridge Mountains, all but roadless until well into the 20th century, the area became home to rugged indivualists; settlers who made do with what they could eke out of the land and brave brutal winters on such meager fruits. As such the region produced some amazing musicians -- fiddlers especially, considering that dances were the primary social and entertainment function. Stringbands grew organically out of the fiddle-centric dance music and by the 1930's, with record scouts searching far and wee for new country music entertainment, the local musicians found themselves being wooed near and far to record tracks for Okeh, Victor and Columbia. This collection brings together great tracks by some of the most influential musicans of the area, including Grayson & Whitter, Frank Blevins & His Tar Heel Rattlers, The North Carolina Ridge Runners and much more. Included is a 28 page booklet with historical notes and photos.
GRAYSON & WHITTER "Short Life of Trouble" MPEG Stream:
FRANK BLEVINS & HIS TAR HEEL RATTLERS "Old Aunt Betsy"
V/A Music Inspired By BaadAsssss Cinema (TVT) cd 14.98
Subtitled: "The Sounds Of Blaxploitation". A compilation of thirteen funky tracks from (or, perhaps just "inspired by") classic '70s Blaxploitation flicks, a sure-fire seller if we've ever seen one. Actually, this disc is apparently a soundtrack itself, 'cause 'BaadAssssss Cinema' is in fact a new documentary about the genre -- we'll be interested to see it. Here's the line-up: James Brown "People Get Up And Drive Your Funky Soul", Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoes "Expansions", Roy Ayers "Coffy Is The Color", Curtis Mayfield "Pusherman", Graham Central Station "We Be's Gettin' Down", Isaac Hayes "Main Title 'Truck Turner'", Edwin Starr "Big Papa", WAR "Nappy Head (Theme From 'Ghetto Man')", William De Vaughn "Be Thankful For What You Got", B.T. Express "Express", The Blackbyrds "Cornbread", Gil Scott-Heron "The Bottle", and of course Earth Wind & Fire "Sweetback's Theme" ('cause they get documentary's title, and spelling, from Melvin Van Peeble's pioneering Blaxploitation film 'Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song' -- one that's not really an exploitation film at all, but rather something much more radical than what the genre it spawned later became). Not a weak cut in the bunch. "Pusherman" (from Superfly) and some others will doubtless already be familiar, but others are a tad more obscure, making for a decent car-driving or party comp indeed.
EARTH, WIND & FIRE "Sweetback's Theme" RealAudio clip:
ROY AYERS "Coffy Is The Color"
V/A music inspired by the film 'Scratch' (Transparent) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Okay, I totally lamed out and forgot to go see this movie, argh! Judging from the soundtrack, the film (a feature documentary about scratching) must be amazing, although I'm not sure if any of the tracks here were actually in it -- this album is billed as a Bill-Laswell-construction of music "inspired by" the film. Nonetheless, great disc. It is seamlessly put together, with no pauses between tracks, just very brief interludes where turntablists (Cut Chemist, DJ Shadow, Grand Wizard Theodore, Mixmaster Mike, Afrika Bambaataa, Qbert etc) speak interestingly about their personal experiences with scratching and its history. There are performances by the Skratch Piklz, X-Ecutioners, Faust, DJ Krush, Afrika Bambaataa and many more, and there's even an over-the-top 2002 version of Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" with a buncha DJs scratching like crazy on it. I appreciate the mix of contemporary stuff combined with a look back at the history of turntablism -- if that's what the movie is like then I really missed out. I find some of the purely turntablist albums a bit much to take in one sitting, and so might you, but this album is so well put together, perfectly sequenced, and refreshingly varied in terms of DJ scratching styles, that I really enjoyed the listen. If you've never bought a turntablist record before, this is a great place to start. And people who've already got turntablist wax in their collections should give it a go too. Recommended.
HERBIE HANCOCK, WITH MIXMASTER MIKE, GRANDMASTER DXT, ROB SWIFT, QBERT, BABU, FAUST & SHORTEE "Rockit 2.002" RealAudio clip:
CUT CHEMIST SPEAKS / CAT FIVE VS SNAYK EYEZ "Turntable Transformer"
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!!!!
"Guitar and Gun"
V/A Music Of Nat Pwe: Folk And Pop Music Of Myanmar (Burma) Vol.3 (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. Another volume in Sublime Frequencies series of compilations documenting the amazing and mysterious music of Myanmar (aka Burma). The first volume was an intense barrage of manic Burmese pop, the second focused on guitar music of Myanmar, and this new volume is all about the Nat Pwe. You may remember the DVD on Sublime Frequencies from a while back, which visually documented various Nat Pwe's in Burma, and if you were like us, you were completely blown away, by not just the spectacle, but the amazing music as well. For those new to the Nat Pwe, Nats are ghost spirits, most often historical figures who met tragic ends, and who are believed to have the power to change lives, for better or for worse. So Pwe's are ceremonies designed to appease the Nats and occur on a daily basis, for almost any reason, health, good luck, weddings and new businesses, but like any powerful ceremony, they cam also be used for evil. The festivals are amazing. Celebratory, wild and raucous, huge floats, giant phalluses, people throwing money and cigarettes, costumes and headdresses, lots of crossdressing, lots of drinking, folks going into trances... all to the strange and amazing strains of this fantastical music. And it is fantastic, some of the wildest and most jubilant music we've heard. The root sounds are definitely Burmese, the percussion and the vocals will definitely sound familiar to fans of Burmese music, this is somehow even more manic and spirited. A dense assemblage of bells, cymbals, gongs, xylophones and drums drums drums. A gorgeously clattery percussive wonderland, dense and complex, with vocals that soar over the top, drenched in reverb. It's all acoustic, but it sounds so loud and incredibly intense. And beautiful. Hard to describe, as all great music is, it makes you want to dance, and trance out simultaneously, powerful, emotional and so wild and wonderful. Compiled from numerous live recordings, and featuring many popular Burmese songs and many famous Burmese performers. As always, tons of liner notes, and amazing photos. And if this has at all piqued your interest, see if you can find a friend who's got that now out-of-print (bummer!) DVD, as the Nat Pwe's have to be seen to be believed!
SEIN MOOTA / KYAW THET AUNG "Shwe Ku Ni Pwe Daw" MPEG Stream:
BO HEIN & BO MEIN "Master Of The Nine Cities" MPEG Stream:
BOBADIN "Di Kanar Mandut / The Hut" MPEG Stream:
BOBADIN "Mother Jhan Who Curses People"
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.
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)"
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.)
"Jagra Parwata (excerpt 1)" RealAudio clip:
"Jagra Parwata (excerpt 2)" RealAudio clip:
"Cendra Wasih (excerpt 1)" RealAudio clip:
"Cendra Wasih (excerpt 2)"
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.
(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"
V/A Musics In The Margins (Sub Rosa) cd 14.98
V/A Musique du dNordeste vol. 2: 1928-1946 (Buda Musique) cd 16.98
Lovely music from Northeast Brazil in the 1930s and '40s. Slightly familiar, slightly 'exotic' at the same time. Played on guitar, viola, accoridan, triangle, and zabumba (a Brazilian drum) with a charming 'old-timey' sound. From the label that brought us the "Ethiopiques" series! We also have vol. 1, but you should start with #2 first.
V/A Musique Non Stop: A Tribute To Kraftwerk (EMI, 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. Japanese artists cover their favorite Kraftwerk tunes. Participants include Melt Banana, Zeni Geva, Buffalo Daughter and a bunch of others we're not familiar with, but who seem to be part of the Japanese avant-pop electronica scene. The whole thing is great, absolutely recommended.
V/A Musique Pour Statues Menhirs (Arbouse Recordings) 2cd-r 16.98
V/A Musiques Electroniques En France: 1974-1984 (Gazul) cd 14.98
When you think weird '70s spacey synthesizer music, you might usually think of Germany and all the kosmic krautrockers over there. But as we've learned, France had their fair share of analog synth-psych pioneers too, experimenting with Moogs and ARPs and other machines... from academic electronics to proggy astral travel to noisier new wavey proto-industrial, this comp covers some fantastic stuff. We got this in when we got the Pierre Bastien 1968-1988 collection we highlighted last time, it's on the same French prog label, Gazul. But we had to wait and order more of these before reviewing it, 'cause the copies we got the first time flew out of here without us even putting it on our list. We guess customers in the store just saw the cover and were taken in by the b&w image of a vintage EMS Synthi AKS, and a few words in French. But maybe it's not just the evocative graphics that got 'em, it's the lineup on this comp: Richard Pinhas/Heldon, Gilbert Artman/Lard Free, Verto, Camizole, Video-Adventures, and Pascale Comlade (collaborating with Victor Nubla and David Cunningham). Here's the deal: if you know those names, you probably already want this compilation. If you don't know 'em, and we'll admit we weren't familiar with a few, that's all the more reason to get this. 9 tracks, 70 minutes, much of it never-before-released material exclusive to this comp. However, the Pinhas, Heldon and Lard Free tracks we know are from albums that some folks might already have, all are amazing, though, and well worth hearing again in this context... Meanwhile, we'd never encountered the likes of Verto before, ferinstance. And their 15+ minute cut has to be one of this disc's highlights, an epic for Fender Stratocaster guitar and electronics ("Modules RSF"), that sounds something like a cross between Fripp & Eno and SUNNO)))... Fairly heavy stuff for '76, when it was recorded! There's lots of other treats here, from Pinhas's masterful minimalist Moog pulsations on "Variations VII" to the drifting droning synthscapes of Camizole's "Electronic Alarm" to the dense, dubby rhythmic swirl of Lard Free's supremely tripped out 17+ minute "Spiral Malax", the disc's most out-rock selection. Video-Adventures provides the more playful gurgling and burbling, blipping and bleeping sci-fi noises, while Comelade and Cunningham's collaborative 15:07 of blissful waves of grinding hypnosis seems a lot more serious... And there's more, all of it excellent. The liner notes are all in French, unfortunately. But there is a selected discography that's not to hard to decipher, and photos of both musicians and their machines... Quite recommended!
CAMIZOLE "Electronic Alarm" MPEG Stream:
VERTO "Alice" MPEG Stream:
LARD FREE "Spriale Malax"
V/A Mutant Disco (Ze Records) 2cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. In the wake of The Rapture's exquisite piece of revisionism in their single "House Of Jealous Lovers," Peter Shapiro wrote a piece in The Wire about something called Mutant Disco, a variation on the standards of early '80s disco injected with a smattering of punk, funk, New Yorican, and / or reggae. It should go without saying that The Rapture was on to something intense, entralling, and ecstatic with that single, and perhaps an archeological survey underneath the rubble of Studio 54 may reveal some true gems. The Mutant Disco term was in fact not a Simon Reynolsian pop aphorism to describe a new strain of music; it originated with a compilation that originally came out in 1981. While this compilation hasn't nearly the legendary status as the No New York compilation, the reissue of Mutant Disco is a timely one. However, we have the same problem with this compilation as with the Arthur Russell compilations released during the past few months: this is not nearly as interesting as any of the hype and fanfare which have led us to believe. To be fair to the compilation's intentions, Mutant Disco merely proclaims to be "A Subtle Dislocation Of The Norm," and never presents itself as anything as oblique as A Certain Ratio, and is a thousand miles away from the subversive grooves of 23 Skidoo or The Pop Group. Instead, Mutant Disco is pretty much just another disco compilation, with a bunch of tracks that very few people have heard since the early '80s. The highlights include Kid Creole's Latin party numbers, Lizzy Mercier Descloux's whimsical reconstitution of Blondie, and the always incredible song "Contort Yourself" slicked up by James White and the Blacks (his second incarnation after James Chance and the Contortions). Hedonistic? Yes! Artful? Perhaps not.
CRISTINA "Drive My Car" MPEG Stream:
KID CREOLE & THE COCONUTS "Annie I'm Not Your Daddy" MPEG Stream:
JAMES WHITE & THE BLACKS "Contort Yourself"
V/A Mutant Disco Volume 3: Garage Sale (Ze) cd 16.98
V/A My Delicious Spaghetti Western (Dagored) cd 14.98
Compilation of non-Morricone Italian soundtrack stuff that also rules. Composers include Bruno Nicolai, Francesco De Masi, Lallo Gori, others. Lp is 180-gram.
V/A My Delicious Spaghetti Western (Dagored) lp 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Compilation of non-Morricone Italian soundtrack stuff that also rules. Composers include Bruno Nicolai, Francesco De Masi, Lallo Gori, others. Lp is 180-gram.
V/A My Girlfriend Was a Punk! lp 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The title and art give this record a kitschy, cheap look, which is unfortunate 'cuz it's actuallly really good. And whats with the title? My girlfriend... don't even get me started. The songs are stripped down and raw yet catchy. Perfect punk party music. A couple songs sound like direct covers with different lyrics. A totally fun record. Familiar punk riffs, but songs you've never heard.
V/A My Malady (Mental Monkey) cd 12.98
Managed to get a few more of these back in! Compilations are all about the concept. Come up with a good concept, and a good compilation is sure to follow. So how can you go wrong with a bunch of noisy bands, rock and otherwise, penning odes to their favorite sicknesses?! You can't. And if you make sure the list of contributors includes lots of AQ favorites, like Bomb 20, the Bran Flakes, the Evolution Control Committee, V/VM, and Deerhoof and maybe throw in some tUMULt bands like Burmese, Iran, 7000 Dying Rats and Berkowitz Lake And Dahmer and you've got it made. Songs about Gonorrhea, Gingivitis, Tinnitus, Priapism, Arthritis, Rickets, Gangrene, Alzheimers and more with sounds ranging from full on noise attacks, to silly cut up collages, to crushing ultrathick drones, to digital glitch-crunch, to dreamy lullabies. Sickness has never sounded so good.
DEERHOOF "Weak In The Knees" MPEG Stream:
IRAN "A Little Girl In A Car" MPEG Stream:
BERKOWITZ LAKE AND DAHMER "Gangrene"
V/A My Mind Goes High (Warner Music UK) cd 21.00
V/A My Own Wolf: A New Approach To Ulver (Cold Dimensions) 2cd 6.66
We've given tribute albums a bit of stick in the past. After all, the things seem to be a dime a dozen, sometimes the result of genuine fannish enthusiasm but often just a commercially-motivated exploitative exercise. Yet, it's still hard not to be tempted by the concept, as long as the former rather than the latter motivation is in force. (In fact, our own Andee has plans for a tribute album of sorts on his tUMULt label: I'm Sorry And I Miss You, a black metal reimagining of Slint's Spiderland! So we can't bag on 'em all.) Hard to argue with a bunch of your favorite bands doing songs by another favorite, really. And those are obvious rules of what makes a good tribute: a worthy honoree (who has SONGS, not just a "sound"), and a roster of participants from whom you also want to hear. One good example, on this very list we highlight a highly enjoyable tribute to Syd Barrett that certainly obeyed all those rules. The black metal realm has spawned a few tributes, the most worthwhile we can think of being the brilliant (and out of print) Darkthrone Holy Darkthrone. It certainly met those two basic tests of what would make a good tribute, featuring bands equally as famous and influential as Darkthrone themselves (which also made it that much more significant of a tribute, to see the likes of Emperor and Immortal bowing down to Darkthrone). Likewise, in this case, Ulver is certainly a worthy subject. Early on, they were a true Norwegian black metal force to be reckoned with, whether in their acoustic folk mode or when doing their own tribute of sorts to Darkthrone, the brilliant Nattens Madrigal. Later, they morphed in many surprising ways, pretty much leaving the confines of black metal entirely but still somehow staying Ulver. In fact, if you put together an anthology of Ulver's "greatest hits" it would sound a bit like a various artists album itself, since their career has been so stylistically diverse, from grim black metal to experimental electronica... In some ways, it's cool to have this tribute just to provide a perspective on the wide range of Ulver's output. 'Cause one byproduct of a good tribute is to get you to go back and listen to the originals, maybe even giving some attention to songs you had previously overlooked. That said, we're also pleased to see that a chunk of the bands appearing on My Own Wolf chose to cover stuff from Nattens Madrigal... The next question is, are the bands appearing here worthy? Well, we'll admit we haven't heard of rather many of them. It is a double cd, though, with a ton of tracks. And the ones we know, like Aidan Baker (Nadja) are all pretty interesting, kinda avant-garde metal bands that probably all really do look up to Ulver. Some play industrial-metal, others acoustic folk, everything in between and beyond, from trip-hop to psychedelia to dooooooooom, each finding at least one if not several aspects of Ulver's multifaceted career to worship, really. There's songs here from probably every Ulver release ever, including their demos! And these bands are from all over the place, a lot from Russia and France in particular, but also from Finland, Ukraine, Australia, Israel, Germany, Latvia, USA, Canada, Italy, Norway, Portugal, and Brazil! Here's the lineup: Unfurl, Avathar, Mura Hachigu feat. Nokturnes, Smohalla, Asmodee, Selvmord, Sael, Otzephenevshiye, Wardaemonic, FB[Force], Karna, Fluoryne, Year Zero, Sinestesia, Pryapisme, Joey Hopkins Midget Factory, Aidan Baker, Panacea Enterpainment, project:a, Catapulus, Jaaportit, Wheel Of Knowledge, Zweizz, Bosque, Noises of Russia, and Ashtar. While there's already one "official" tribute to Ulver of sorts (the remixes disc 1st Decade In The Machines) this one is perhaps more honest in its tributor-to-tributee relationships, i.e., no hipster cred required. It's certainly more "metal" but plenty of other things besides. Obviously, compared to some tributes, the lineup on My Own Wolf is drawn from far deeper underground. No A-list black metal acts here like on that Darkthrone tribute. But you have to imagine that any band interested in doing an Ulver cover is at the very least not an "ordinary" band. And, indeed, some of 'em here are pretty interesting, and we wouldn't have heard about 'em otherwise. You gotta hand it to Ulver: who else could inspire tribute from such a diverse selection of bands/genres?
MURA HACHIGU FEAT. NOKTURNES "Blinded By Blood" MPEG Stream:
OTZEPHENEVSHIYE "Wolf And Destiny (Forest Fire Version)"
V/A My Pal God Holiday Record 2 (My Pal God) cd 12.98
Volume 2 in My Pal God's irreverent salute to the holidays (coinciding with My Pal God Kingpin Jon's anual 24 hour Christmas radio show (he's jewish) where he plays only songs with references to God or Jesus). This time, participants include: Oxes, Rebecca Gates (the Spinanes), Drums and Tuba, Neutrino, Emperor Penguin and more.
V/A Myopic Bookstore Improvised Music Workshop Vol. 1 (BOXmedia) cd 14.98
Starring (in various combinations) Jim O'Rourke (of course), Kevin Drumm, Weasel Walters, Brent Gutzeit, Michael Colligan, Liz Payne, Josh Abrams, Ernst K. Long, Adam Vida, Matt Weston, Carrie Biolo, Todd Carter, Doug Lussenhop, Dave Stone, Ben Vida, Steve Butters, Terri Kapsalis, Robbie Hunsinger, Todd Rittman, Robert J. Wilkus, Diane Lena, Jeb Bishop, Jim baker, and Chad Taylor.
V/A Mysteries Of The Sabbath - Classic Cantorial Recordings: 1907-47 (Yazoo) cd 15.98
From the liner notes: "This compilation of historical masterpieces by renowned Jewish cantors eloquently communicates the rare beauty and power of one of the world's strongest and most moving musical traditions. These selections represent the finest work by many of the greatest cantors of the 20th century. There is a 36 page book included, offering indepth background and biographical information as well as countless rare historical photos."
V/A Mystic Males (Pet 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. From the same with-it collector-folks who brought us those Gentle Sounds For Gentle People '60s soft-rock comps not so long ago, comes this new compilation unearthing the tunes of 23 "tripped-out troubadours from 1965-1970". These so-called "Mystic Males" are long-haired, bearded (or at least mustachioed) mellow crooners, hailing from places like LA's Sunset Strip and New York's Greenwich Village. Professional and otherwise singer/songwriters getting into (for real or for, they might be hoping, the bucks) the Hippy vibe. Mostly, they sing about Girls. And Nature. And Love. And Girls. (At least five of the song titles here are simply girls' names.) Suiting such subject matter, these tracks tend towards gentle vocals, gentle vocals, heartfelt lyrics, and drifting folky melodies -- often times backed by lush orchestration and groovy beats. Some are twee, some are swingin'. Hadn't heard of any of these dudes before, except Dino Valente, but maybe you have -- here's a few, with song titles too: Chip Taylor "You Should Be From Monterey", Tommy Roe "Paisley Dreams", Teddy Neeley "Autumn Afternoon", Kenny O'Dell "Flower Girl", Thomas Hill "Glider Pilot", Bill & Howdy "Misty Morning Confrontation"... no, don't know 'em? Well those song titles ought to give you some idea of what they sound like, and also the liner notes give plenty of obscure details about each obscure track. And some of 'em are gems. We like these Mystic Males.
MICHAEL BLODGETT "Fire Engine Sky" MPEG Stream:
DICK DOMANE "Bad Dream" MPEG Stream:
VINCE DONOFRIO "Daisy"
V/A N.Y. No Wave (Ze Records) cd 16.98
Let's face it. The seminal 1978 No New York compilation is never going to get reissued. Period. While all of the No New York tracks from Teenage Jesus & Jerks, Mars, and James Chance songs did get reissued on those band's respective anthologies, the lost No New York tracks are from Arto Lindsay's DNA. As those were some of the best tracks that Lindsay ever recorded, it's no wonder that people are still clamoring for the album. The iconic status of that album is found not only in its immense collectibility, but its status as the definitive statement about No Wave as a caustic antagonism of structural norms that pushed way beyond what punk was promoting. Yep, there's long been an interest in No Wave, always looking back to the No New York compilation as the canonical statement of No Wave. However, in recent years, a few compilations have been published and marketed themselves as being historical documents of the No Wave community. The first of which was the Soul Jazz compilation New York Noise; and now there is this compilation entitled N.Y. No Wave. There are immediate and obvious differences between the recent historical offerings and the original No New York compilation that raise some interesting questions. Taking a traditionalist point of view, these newer comps with their less confrontational / more groove oriented selections fail to hold up to the standards set by the No New York comp; and thus are fraudulent in their claims of being No Wave. This is a certainly a harsh verdict as all of the compilations have a lot of amazing selections, even if they don't really sound anything like Mars or Teenage Jesus. That said, could it be possible that No New York, as flawless as those individual selections are, encapsulated the most extreme elements from a much broader movement that resists easy definitions? Like the New York Noise compilation, N.Y. No Wave makes a pretty good argument for the broader definition including the eccentric disco diva Lizzy Mercier Descloux and Lydia Lunch in her Queen of Siam piano lounge mode alongside the more obvious No Wave artists such as Mars, Teenage Jesus, and Suicide. As a nice bonus, there some pretty obscure Arto Lindsay tracks recorded in the duo Arto / Neto.
LYDIA LUNCH "Lady Scarface" MPEG Stream:
SUICIDE "Mister Ray" MPEG Stream:
JAMES WHITE & THE BLACKS "Almost Black"
V/A Nairobi Sound: Before Benga 2 (Original Music) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. 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 Naked In The Afternoon (Summersteps) cd 12.98
"Naked In The Afternoon" is a collection of Jandek covers and tries to keep true to the Jandek aesthetic with lo-fi recordings, pseudo-improvisational warbles, and a purposeful dysfunctionality. Not to mention the faux-Jandek packaging. Each of the artists reinterprets their tracks within the vast Jandek back catalogue that spans two decades and more than two dozen records. The artists that succeed in translating the Jandek sound are the ones who already have established a well-defined songwriting ability that has been fractured into resembling Jandek. However, for every brilliant track by Low, Retsin, and Kid Icarus, there's some questionable 'avant garde' splutter from Gary Young, Monster Island, and The Storkettes who all smugly believe that they can be the next Mayo Thompson. A noble if flawed effort.
V/A Nanoloop 1.0 (Disco Bruit) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. A collection of tracks produced utilizing Nanoloop, a realtime synthesizer and sequencer for the Nintendo Game Boy developed by Oliver Wittchow at HfbK in Hamburg. Given the limited capabilities inherent in a 4-bit sound chip found on portable game modules, the results are quite impressive and undoubtedly fun (some even downright unbearable given the microtonal capabilities). Many artists in the past have used midi-rigged Game Boys as synthesizers in composition, these are among the first to use the newly developed sound editing cartridge. Artists involved include creator Oliver Wittchow himself, Keith Fullerton Whitman as Hrvatski *and* ASCIII, Merzbow, Agf/Dlay (Vladislav Delay & Antye Greie Fuchs), Stock Hausen & Walkman, Blectum From Blechdom, Pita, Felix Kubin, Dat Politics, Scratch Pet Land, Pyrolator (ex Der Plan!), Ostinato and Bruno & Michel Are Smiling! On the wonderfully cool Hamburg-based Disco Bruit label.
ASCIII "401K" RealAudio clip:
BLECTUM FROM BLECHDOM "Burbanked" RealAudio clip:
STOCK, HAUSEN & WALKMAN "Pillion Passenger"
V/A Nao Wave (Man Recordings) cd 16.98
If this new compilation of post punk music from Brazil circa 1982 through 1988 is any indication, American and British post-punkers have got nothing on the Brazilian post-punkers in the eccentricities department. Some of the live wire tracks on Nao Wave are downright bizarre, and we love it! A hefty portion of it is pretty incomparable, but if we were to suggest a couple of reference points... the fourth song by Akira S & As Garotas Que Erraram brings to mind Talking Heads, while the ninth by Ira! is sorta Fishbone-y ska. But really, it can't be that easily nor narrowly pinned down. Maybe the current crop of new new wavers, nowavers and electroclashers can start drawing their retro '80s inspirations from these Brazilian sources? That'd be something to hear! Totally twisted and rad! However, if you're seeking some more, uhh, normal (?) post-punk from Brazil, we should let you know that there's another compilation that just came out on Soul Jazz that might tickle your fancy (we haven't had a chance to review it yet). Heck, check 'em both out!
AGENTSS "Agentss" MPEG Stream:
AKIRA S & AS GAROTAS QUE ERRARAM "Sobre As Pernas" MPEG Stream:
IRA! "La Fora Pode Ate Morrer"
V/A Nart Nibbles (Kitchen Motors / OMI ) 2cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The Icelandic art / music organization Kitchen Motors presents their third compilation of recordings from their series of monthly events. Apparat Organ Quartet opens the compilation with a faux-'70s horror music score much like the mellower, incidental music of Italian creepsters Goblin. The Big Band Brutal (favorites from the earlier Kitchen Motors compilation Motorlab #2) contradicts the implications of their name with an eerie composition for sonar bleeps and isolationist e-bowed guitar. Hilmar Jensson (a much acclaimed, but little heard multi-instrumentalist) teams up with Petur Halldrumsson for a jazzed-out, wacky take on Silver Apples style psychedelic electronic squiggles and driving drums music. Disc two opens with "Helvitis Symphony no. 1 for 13 electric guitars" -- kind of like an Icelandic version of a Glenn Branca symphony, based around the basic tonality of the guitar's E chord. Instead of this small army chugging away at a E-chord (like Branca does), this ensemble featuring Jon Por Birgisson (the cello-bowin' guitarist from Sigur Ros), the aforementioned Hilmar Jensson and 11 other Icelandic guitarists, gradually introduces each guitar beginning at first with lilting drones that intensify into simple melodies and dramatic crescendos. As you probably know, we're not big fans of Sigur Ros, BUT if Sigur Ros were an instrumental outfit, then perhaps they would sound like this and we'd probably love 'em. Jensson returns for the compilation's finale, in collaboration with electronica outfits Biogen and Plastik, for a fresh take on the Raster-Noton style of digital click and sine-wave hum, with nicely done Biosphere-like digital ambience. Another great compilation of adventurous music from the finest that Iceland has to offer!
BIRGISSON, JENSSON, HALLGRIMSSON, ETC. "Helvitis Symphony no. 1 for 13 Electric Guitars" RealAudio clip:
PETUR JENSSONHALLGR AND HILMAR JENSSON "Soren Kirkegaard dropateljari" RealAudio clip:
APPARAT ORGAN QUARTET "Nafnlaust uppklapp"
V/A Nashville Sputnik: The Deep South / Outer Space Productions Of Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan 1956-2004 (The Omni Recording Corporation) cd 17.98
Jim Blanchard and Misty Morgan were two of country music strangest creatures. Not only releasing some far-out sides as a duo, they helped produce many of Nashville's more left-field acts. Nashville Sputnik, the latest compilation from the Omni Recording Corporation (who also released Porter Wagoner's The Rubber Room, and Bruce Haack's Electric Lucifer) features many of Blanchard and Morgan's production highlights from the fifties to the present. Like the space-age sounds of Joe Meek meeting the down-home (and often cornball) wit of Hee-Haw, this compilation covers obscure and little heard sides of country-pop gold. Hailing from Buffalo, but meeting in Hollywood, Florida where they both played lounge piano in neighboring clubs, the duo seemed psychically connected to meet (especially after finding out they were born in the same hospital, and their parents and siblings shared the same names, amongst other strange synchronicities). Releasing a string of 45's under different names and independent labels, Blanchard found his way into Nashville as an independent producer after producing surprise hit "Gemini" which ended up being covered by The Ventures. Influenced by The Tornadoes, "Telstar", Blanchard and Morgan saw a way for country music to be taken out of the "earthly moorings" that had reigned supreme in Nashville. Years before mavericks like Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson had wrangled creative control for themselves from the grip of the Nashville machine in the seventies, Blanchard and Morgan, consummate outsiders, managed to shake up the establishment by penning tons of tunes with a novelty flair and studio gimmickry that became increasing popular. Mostly because they weren't about the usual country music themes. Songs about the space age, time travel, dancing skeletons, and living dead chickens along with more common themes about travelin, cowards, and sensitive love songs, gave the duo enough credibility by taking country music out of its more provincial themes and actually relating to current events and style trends emerging in the sixties. Although most of the acts they produced early on like Joel Mathis, Rusty Diamond, Donel Austin, and Brad Wolfe never broke big, they were paving the way to break out themselves, charting a string of hits in the seventies such as "Tennessee Bird Walk" and "Somewhere In Virginia In The Rain" (of which a disco version is included here). Nashville Sputnik contains a rare glimpse into a spacey sound that is so little heard or remembered in country music, but one that should be played as often as possible.
JACQUELINE HYDE AND THE MOONFOLK "Strange New World" MPEG Stream:
JOEL MATHIS "Time Machine" MPEG Stream:
RUSTY DIAMOND "Skellykins" MPEG Stream:
JACK BLANCHARD AND MISTY MORGAN "Midnight Greyhound" MPEG Stream:
THE JACK BLANCHARD GROUP "New World"
V/A Naturalism (Nature Tape Limb) 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. All you Jewelled Antler / Celebrate Psi Phenomenon / Pseudo Arcana / obscure cd-r nerds get ready. Got a new compilation from a new label, and featuring some new sonic architects (as well as a few familiar ones). The label is called Nature Tape Limb and the compilation is called Naturalism, and will most likely hit the spot for all you folks into found-sound-outsider-folk-noise-ambience or whatever. Rumbles and creaks, drones and shimmers, jangly guitars, off kilter melodies and warbling woodwinds, fuzzy walls of buzz, random snippets of conversations and bits of sonic detritus from the great outdoors. Neil Campbell from Vibracathedral Orchestra contributes a track as well as CJA (featuring AQ pal Antony Milton). The rest of the folks on here are new to us: The Nether Dawn,The Wooden Cupboard, The Skaters, The Candle Magicians, Calf, Gnome Eaters and more. The names alone should give you a clue as to where this dark and twisted path leads. Fans of the above as well as folks into Sunroof!, the Dead C and all that business would do well to throw on the headphones, lay in a pile of leaves and let these weird and wonderful sounds keep you warm there on the forest floor. In VERY handmade /collage sleeves.
THE WOODEN CUPBOARD "Cabin In The Sky" MPEG Stream:
NEIL CAMPBELL / ROBERT HAYLER "Live Excerpt Summer 2002"
V/A Necessary Effect: Screamers Songs Interpreted (Xeroid / Extravertigo) 2cd 17.98
A long-in-the-works tribute to this short-lived, greatly deified, synthesizer-driven, no guitars, seminal punk band from Seattle / Los Angeles (whew!). Sad to say this was kind of a disappointment. Considering just how influential this group was/is and how wildly rabid their ever-growing following is, hopes were high, but unlike the fast and fierce originals, these covers are rather unelectrifying. Much as they try, they simply can't do the songs of the intense, volatile Tomata Du Plenty and company justice. Some of them are even downright bad, but you do get 29 tracks to choose from, so.... There are a couple of notable spots too though (for the guest participants): Spooky Pie with the Screamers' Paul Roessler and a thick and sludgey Rubber O Cement with Karla LaVey. There are double versions of certain songs: "The Beat Goes On", "I'm Going Steady With Twiggy", "I Wanna Hurt" and "Eva Braun". Actually, rumors had been buzzing around of a collaboration between I Am Spoonbender and Jello Biafra (unquestionably the Screamers' biggest fan) on a fiery cover of the latter song, but it's not present here. S'pose we'll just have to wait for that one to emerge elsewhere. This compilation was released by the two labels who also gave us the Screamers "In A Better World" double cd which was action-packed with live recordings and demos.
RUBBER O CEMENT W/ KARLA LAVEY "I Wanna Hurt" RealAudio clip:
SPOOKY PIE W/ PAUL ROESSLER "Go Guy" RealAudio clip:
TEEN CTHULHU "Violent World "
V/A Need For A Crossing: A New New Zealand Vol.1 (Xeric) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. New Zealand's not a big country, but it sure produces its share of amazing experimental drone and indie rock musics, don't it?! The underground scene there, as documented of late by such prolific cd-r labels as Celebrate Psi Phenomenon and PseudoArcana, has been booming for years. If you've been having trouble keeping up, or never tried but would like to delve a bit now into the murky sounds of NZ, then this compilation is pretty much essential. Not a comprehensive primer (impossible on just one disc, anyway) but one that will definitely interest the uninitiated -- as well as be needed by even those who've already got stacks of NZ cd-rs at home, as all ten tracks here, from the likes of Birchville Cat Motel and Peter Wright and other crucial names in the NZ underground, are exclusives to this disc as far as we can tell! If you're new to the "new New Zealand" then this would be an excellent starting point for exploration of the varieties of home-recorded yearning, droning, gritty and beautiful musics coming from that far off, Middle Earth a-like land... On here, you'll find everything from the heavy, almost-doom grind of Campbell Kneale's Birchville Cat Motel to the 3-guitars-at-once avant-folk of Greg Malcolm (who has two tracks here, one a stately ceremonial drone raga, the other a cover of John Coltrane's "Naima"). Presented with artist info in a nicely appointed, thick cd booklet, illustrated with old photos of empty New Zealand roads, printed in silvery and black ink on glossy white paper, this cd was put together by the Xeric sub-label of Table Of The Elements with the assistance of New Zealand natives Stefan Neville and Antony Milton, both of whom appear here of course. Really well done and recommended. We're looking forward to further volumes!
BIRCHVILLE CAT MOTEL "Skies Crimson Tears" MPEG Stream:
GREG MALCOLM "Unknown Rembetika" MPEG Stream: