Sunday, October 29, 2006

Midnight Oil...Bad Brains

Midnight Oil
Midnight Oil (CBS 1978)

I was listening to the radio yesterday afternoon & heard a Midnight Oil special, playing mainly older stuff, some rare live tracks, interspersed with some interview material with Peter Garrett. It reminded me how good their early material really was or maybe it just sent many memories flooding back. They built a reputation early as an amazing live band which held steadfast throughout their career & recognised over the world. I used to go to their gigs regularly around this period & into the early 80s as a mid-late teenager.

This was their first album & echoes of their surfing background can still be heard, along with quite a heavy (for the time) rock sound. I'd forgotten what a fine album this really is, until reminded yesterday. The only thing Id say here negatively is this CD version has nowhere near the depth of sound found on album (vinyl). (@192-256kps)

'Oils' Live 1980

Bad Brains (Live)
Spirit Electricity (SST 1991)
Little needs to be said about this band really either, but they too were recognised as an amazing live act, esp. during the early 80's. The original line-up can still be heard on this release:
Dr Know

I wouldn't call this release brilliant by any means & it is pretty damn short esp. for a live release where other tracks could have been included. It was recorded in Providence, Rhode Island & LA. (@224kps)

***Get this, plus other albums & merchandise (T-shirts, caps, stickers etc) from SST Records here.

At CBGB's 1982

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Re-Hash...The Clash 'Chaos In'

The Clash
Chaos in New York
Live 1981 @ Bonds International Casino

Back due to popular demand is this fine Clash 'boot'. I do not normally do this sort of thing, but I figure this one is worth it for those new here.

2 x CD's, just 1 x d'load (144mb)

***Will direct you to original post for covers, tracks etc here:

Sorry for the 'odd' few who might have just one part of this set (as disc 2 is still alive), making you get both parts together like this, but I thought it would make it easier for the newcomers who hadn't got this at all & I actually had misunderstood some of the requests. I'm just too keen to please. :)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Umar Bin Hassan 'Be Bop Or Be Dead'

Umar Bin Hassan
Be Bop Or Be Dead (Axiom 1993)

We all remember The Last Poets, those self-styled politcal poetry ('rappers') that begun their careers after the death of Martin Luther King after they were released from jail in the late 60's. Speaking out like no other group before them (certainl)y & even by todays standards they attacked racism, the government, greed etc; stinkingly open, highly critical & even venomous, some much so that they themselves were under constant scrutiny from the government & the FBI, along with those they connected with. Their biography is quite a long one & becomes reasonably complex & I will not go through all of it here. For those interested (& you should be), The Last Poets full story, as well as poetry, can be found in the book On a Mission: Selected Poems and a History of The Last Poets by Abiodun Oyewole, Umar Bin Hassan written with music journalist Kim Green. BUY it here or you can order it from your favourite book store.

However, Umar Bin Hassan (born Jerome Huling) was an original (almost) member & this was his first (1993) solo album under his own name. Produced by Bill Laswell & with an assortment of high profile musicians: Bernie Worrell (keyboards), Bootsy Collins (guitar), Buddy Miles (drums), Aiyb Dieng (charan congas, percussion), Bill Laswell (bass), Adiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets (voice), Umar (voice) & more, it makes for quite a strong release. Similarly styled to what you'd expect from The Last Poets, but with greater instrumentation. Included here are two versions of This is Madness & their often called masterpiece Niggers Are Scared of the Revolution.

Given the Axiom label is no longer & searching around on the net a bit to see the availability of this CD, I can only suggest that you BUY it here, I couldn't find it otherwise. You can order Umar's most recent solo album (2002) Life Is Good & his 2005 collaboration with Leon Mobley, Keeping It Real here.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Blogger Down? 'Wincing....'

G'day all,

Just letting you know that for most of today (until now) blogger seems to have been down. So I had time earier on today to do stuff here, but couldn't log in, nor could I even connect to my blog to answer any comments (have done this now though).

So, I spent a little time cruising the net & stumbled across, the new album from The Shins 'Wincing the Night Away', which as I thought was not due out until early next year? Some might be interested in this pre release & I suggest getting this sooner rather than later, as it might get killed (I have no control over this). So here is the link:

All credit goes out to original poster, but there was no name associated at this dex. Cheers!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Jesu 'Silver'

Silver (Hydra Head 2006)
Justin K. Broadrick is Jesu & many will be familar with his work in 'metal' bands Napalm Death & Godflesh & industrial pioneers such as Techno Animal & Ice.

I don't think fans will be disappointed with this release, especailly if they understood where he (Godflesh) was going & quite a way back hints of Jesu can be heard. I sense that he felt Godflesh was stifling & other avenues needed to be explored. After all he'd being doing a similar thing for many yrs (15+?).

Somehow this EP is far more ambient in a heavy way than any dronish efforts of past. Yes ambient is a strange word to be using here, but as with Jesu first self-titled album this too is layered with 'dreamlike' textures.

A wall of guitar sound is present on all tracks, it's pretty much slow (so I've tagged as grindcore), unusally Justin's vocals are found here, but they only add to a more organic feel here & possibly show how Justin was being constrained by past efforts, at least toward the end.

As the liner notes say..."It's an electro-psychedelic symphony."

Get Jesu albums from Hydra Head here.
(@192-256 kbps)

Koala In The Midst

Koala in the Midst

Here you can see the koala above the 'nesting' Frogmouth. It had no other access to the branch it was on, other than climbing straight over the Frogmouth. Hence the look it was giving it in yesterday's photographs; it was mighty annoyed & kept a constant eye on it. A disadvantage of camouflage?

*These photo's were all taken yesterday & all were from my balcony (as usual).
It was quite hilarious when the koala wanted to get down late afternoon as the Frogmouth stopped it time & time again - loud shrieking noises & trying to nip at it. By this morning it had gone & the nesting Frogmouth was still in place!

***Please click on the photo's for a larger & clearer view!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Ruler of the Roost

Ruler of the Roost
It's the Noisy Miner

Distinguished from other miners by dull white forehead merging or quite sharply joining black of crown. Bare skin behind eye is deep yellow with black surrounds.
**It has no fear & is obviously rather persistent; will scare away (easily) larger birds such as ravens/crows, cookaburras etc. It just goes after them either singularly with really loud bird noises & then (quite) often joined by others. They are just so territorial & a bit of a pain really!

Here you'll notice the Miner about to break into a Case Moth or so it seems.

First time I seen the boll weevil, he was sitting on
a square.
Next time I seen the boll weevil, he had his whole family
He's a looking for home.
He's a looking for home.

The old lady said to the old man, 'I've been trying my level
Keep these boll weevils out of my brand new cotton dress.
It's full of holes.
And it's full of holes.'
...Now the farmer said to the merchant, 'I never made but one bale.
Before I let you have that last one, I will suffer & die in
And I will have a home.
And I will have a home.
(Leadbelly, Boweavil Blues)

Frogmouth Nesting

Note : these photos of the Frogmouth nesting in a Eucalyptus tree adjacent to my house are a precursor to some photos I want to post tomorrow. I have a hundred or so to sort through (taken today). This nesting Frogmouth was quite annoyed as it was watching another animal & at that time I had no idea about it until a little later.. Aaaah nature in action, just beautiful.

***Please click on photo's for larger & clearer view.

And Of course all of these photo's were taken from my balcony, these just today & the following (tomorrow's) ones.

Sacred Sources 1 Live Forever 'Various Artists'

Sacred Sources 1 Live Forever
Various Artists (Guts & Grace/Polydor 1993)
With the exception of Marvin Gaye's 'Joy' none of the music here had ever been released in its entirety at the time of this release. (I cannot confirm this now). Roughly a minute or so of 'Ogunde' & two mins of 'I don't live today' had been available on CD & video respectively. This was the first release on Carlos Santana's own label with material he had collected or had been provded by the musicians' heirs/estates etc. I don't know whatever became of this supposed series b/c I never saw another release in this series. Maybe I just missed them?

This collection is quite reasonable, although the recording quality isn't the best at times, but the performances are still very good. And I like the link b/w rock, r & b, reggae, blues & jazz.

So who's on this disc?
Jimi Hendrix
Marvin Gaye
Bob Marley
Stevie Ray Vaughn
John Coltrane

As usual please see comments for track list.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Mr Elvin Jones

I'd be hard pressed to think of another jazz drummer (or of any other genre) as my all time few drums, such a big sound & what an amazing sense of timing with all those polyrhythms. And for all you 'rocksters' there'd hardly be a Mitch Mitchell if it wasn't for:
Mr Elvin Jones.
Check this:

He's just got the rhythm, fast on the skins or slow with the brushes he just always had the vibe.
Without doubt one of the most accomplished drummers ever.

Pan - American 'Quiet City'

Pan - American
Quiet City
(Kranky 2004)
Mark Nelson of Labradford (also posted here some time ago) is Pan - American & this was his fourth album release. Somewhat computer based, but still with live instrumentation gives this album a somewhat organic feel, without the need to rely on continual loops. Slow & somewhat hypnotic, yet not too melancholy, this is quite an inviting 'soundscape' & there is even some singing here. While a number of the tracks play for just under 10 mins, with this release there seems to be a better understanding of what should be left off to keep ones interest level up & thus here the longer tracks are interspersed with a few shorter tracks. Arguably, the strongest Pan American release up until this point. Note there is a new album (2006) For Waiting, For Chasing that was recently released.

"The result is a deeply nocturnal, hushed recording that moves in several
directions at once. The textures come in waves rather than layers, but they
lap at the unconscious rather than in your backbone. They don't swirl so much as undulate, and the various pieces become one dark rainbow body of restrained, humid, sonic inquiry that goes nowhere and everywhere at once. Brilliant." Thom Jurek

This CD also includes a 'bonus' DVD (not included here), that is sort of like a history of everything Pan-American has done to date in a very ambient way, assisted by Chicago visula artist. Annie Feldmeier.

Mark Nelson: Electronics, guitar, voice and mix
w/ Charles Kim: upright bass, tracks 4 and 5
Tim Mulvenna (Vandermark 5, Jeb Bishop Trio/Quartet): drums, 4 and 5
Steven Hess (Hat Melter, Bosco & Jorge, Aluminum Group): drums, 7
David Max Crawford (Poi Dog Pondering, Wilco, Stereolab): trumpet on 5, flugehorn on 7

Get this & other releases by both Pan - American & Labradford via Kranky right here.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Sorry 'bout the somewhat dark & blurry photo here, but just after 6pm this evening I saw a rather 'unusual' looking animal running about 60 metres away in my neighbours property. It was a koala with young on its back. I DO NOT see them around here all that often, but I think with young on its back kind of changed its shape & made it look much bigger with a different kind of outline.

It was being chased by a number of birds (Magpies), why I am unsure, but I suspect for territorial reasons. So the koala with offspring halted its progress & began climbing up a tree all the while being harassed by these birds (Currajong's). I quickly grabbed my camera & ran outside to take some pictures. Unfortunately it was already getting dark & really when using my zoom lens I need a tripod, otherwise I risk (especially when in almost darkness), my photo's being blurry.

Here's one photo (only), it's just a silhouette in almost darkness, but at least you get the picture. And yes you guessed it...this was taken from, well not exactly my balcony, but ground level. The branches were totally screening out the koala once it had reached almost the peak from the balcony.

Folks, I'm telling you something that I saw with my
own eyes
As I passed the pond one day.
The old alligator was teaching his babies to do the
Georgia Grind.
And I heard one of them say,
This is a social, but alligator's pond going dry,
Yeah it is a social but alligators' pond's going dry.
Now old Mr Alligator, he got way back
He said, "look out children, I'm (trowing waer off my?) back.'
Aww. it was a socail, but alligators pond went dry.....
Well, if you don't believe what I'm saying, ask old
alligotor Jack...'
Victoria Spivey

Please click on picture to see a bigger view.
(Sorry it isn't so clear, but 'we' were all quite excited about it here. Maybe tomorrow if it doesn't 'leave' too early I can get some better snaps).

Dmitry Shostokavich 'String Quartets Nos. 7, 8 & 9' (Brodsky Quartet)

Dmitry Shostakovich (1906-1975)
String Quartets Nos. 7, 8 & 9
Brodsky Quartet
This is a mid-price (if I recall) reissue of the highly regarded & often recommended Teldec (1989) complete string quartets played by the Brodsky Quartet.

Shastakovich wrote his first symphony when only 19, but turned to chamber music relatively late in his career. For him the quartet was one of the most difficult music genres. The restrctions of just 4 stringed instruments & their limited possibilities reveal a true master of his art.

Some may say that the quartet work of Bartok was the greatest of last century & that the body of string quartets by Shostakovich stands well alongside Bartok's most impressive body of work.

String Quartet No. 7 (1960)
String Quartet No. 8 (1960)
I understand both are considered funeral pieces & it's easy to hear the oppressive nature of this music - dark, but nonetheless strikingly beautiful. No. 8 was written in only a short time after he spent time in Dresden a city that still lay in ruins after the bombing in WWII. The music profoundly tragic contains a dedication that runs throughout the piece: 'In rememberance of the victims of Fascism and war', with an anagram; D-E flat-C-B (in German notation D-Es-C-H, the initials of his own name).
String Quartet No. 9 (1964)
This piece was dedicated to his wife (I assume 2nd as Nina died in the 50s). It has a certain serene 'classical' feel & in parts rather elaborate displaying his intricate skill in chamber composition. (vbr @160-256)
Host has killed file already am working on re-upping now. Will not use this host again. Thanks!

New Link:
(vbr @160-256)
I hope this host doesn't delete & d'load speeds are acceptable. Cheers!

Seraphina Quartet
String Quartet #8

The girls are good (esp for a young quartet), but not quite the same as Brodsky Quartet

AfricaFunk 'Return to the Original Sound of 1970s Funky Africa'

Return to the Original Sound of 1970s Funky Africa

Various Artists (Harmless Recordings 2000)

The Rwenzori's

Fela Kuti
Manu Dibango
Oneness of Juju
Tony Allen
And More

This one now seems to be out of print, maybe your local music store can order you a copy via a distribution agent or might still have one on shelf, but via the label it seems to be no longer.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Freddie Hubbard 'Straight Life'

Freddie Hubbard
Straight Life (CTI 1970)

Who am I to argue...AMG gives this ***** (5 stars). Yes there is an all star cast:
Freddie Hubbard
Joe Henderson
George Benson
Herbie Hancock
Ron Carter
Jack DeJohnette
Richie Landrum (percussion)
Welson Irvine (tambourine)...I like this guy & have a few of his solo albums.

But I don't think it's my fav by Mr Hubbard.

Jazz/soul/funk...Digitally remixed & remastered. Engineered by the one & only Rudy Van Gelder & produced by none other than Creed Taylor, founder of CTI records. Not wanting to say much about the label either good or bad, I just (out of interest) wanted to mention that most CTI records generally had Ron Carter's name associated. It seems he was like the 'house' bass-man for the vast majority of albums to appear from CTI. (@VBR 192-256kps)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Calvin Johnson 'Before The Dream Faded'

Calvin Johnson
Before The Dream Faded (K Records 2005)
Does anybody remember Beat Happening in the mid 80s-early 90s? Calvin Johnson then went on to form Dub Narcotic Sound System. And during his time has had his own record label, staged internation music festivals & has been a producer & engineer to bands such as Jon Spencer & Beck.

In 2002 he released his first solo album under his own name & in 2005 released this, his second album. Typical from Johnson this is quite a quirky release & in its own way explores new terriotires, but unfortunately is a bit of a mixed bad & therefore, I'd say, not really up there with his best efforts over his 20+yr career.

Nonetheless, according to Jennifer Kelly... "This is a deeply individual and meticuloulsy eccentric piece of work. The voice is just a speed bump making you slow down and appreciate the carefully considered oddity of the music and lyrics. Besides, if you spent time with Beat Happening, you probably jumped it years ago."

For those in Australasia buy it via Popfrenzy records here or elsewhere via Krecords here (add to cart).

Spain 'She Haunts My Dreams'

She Haunts My Dreams
(Restless Records 1999)

Jazzman Charlie Haden couldn't get his son to play his style of music. Instead Josh (Haden) plays (same instrument), but sings to his slow & melancholic music. His voice, although without a large range is gentle & smooth.

I have often wondered what happened to this band after their final effort 'I Believe' (2001), but I do understand they are a Love 'em or Loathe them sort of band. Also I think they hardly ever toured which makes the financial end of things even tougher.

Well I liked all three of their albums, but I think this the second (1999) was their strongest. Their first album 'Blue Moods...' was somewhat of a cult 'hit' & was very much about smokey clubs & the promise of alluring women. However, here it is more about the day after & the way things never seem to work out. The lyrics although not especially new or overly interesting are held together by the 'moving' music, which draws out an almost profound feeling for these songs. It's sort of like something you might hear late night in a bar & puts into words the pain & lonliness that sent you there in the first instance. And make no mistake you can defininitely sing along with this one.

Resless Records was bought by Rykodisc a number of years back & looking at their web site it appears their online store is temporarily closed. You can either check back with link provided above or check in with you local music store for this album.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Black Ox Orkestar 'Nisht Azoy'

Black Ox Orchestar
Nisht Azoy (Constellation 2006)

Somebody recently told me that whilst they really like this music blog, they found little to sing along with. I thought to myself that could be right & there is nothing more than I love than strong lyrics & singing along myself.

This is the second release from Black Ox Orkestar & it assembles members of Sackville & Silver Mt. Zion. What is found here is a brilliant work of accoustic klezmer & European folk songs amidst Black Ox originals & reinterpretations. In general this is quite a 'dark' album & most certainly emotive & moving. The tracks with vocals
(not all tracks have vocals) are sung in Yiddish (I think?), although I see the lyrics printed in the booklet in either English or French. The beauty of the language is that unless you are familiar with it you can just sing or even shout out anything that sounds similar & you feel good. You can feel the pain, but you can sing it away.

I would have to say that this is one of the strongest releases of any genre I've heard this year. Unique & powerful with superb instrumentation, but I should add; it's most likely not everybody's cup o' tea.

Thierry Amar: contrabass
Scott Gilmore Levine: mandolin, cymbalom, guitar, saz, violin, percussion, voice
Gabe Levine: clarinet, guitar
Jessica Moss: violin
Plus various guests including drums (trk 5,6,7), trumpet

Buy this one plus first release (Ver Tanzt? - note this is not a question as to title, that's what it is actually) at Constellation here. This is also available as 180g LP. Love that vinyl.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


I feel just like I'm going crazy baby, I think I'm going
to have to commit suicide. (x2)
Oooh, everytime I look at you, baby, something happens deep
down inside.

I been thinking 'bout using cyanide acid, baby, but I'm
afraid that might work too slow. (x2)
Yes, I guess I'm gonna have to use, use, use, baby, ooh,
my, my forty-, my forty five.

(Little Oscar
, Suicide Blues)

And From My Balcony...

...It's All So Bluish

*Please click on pictures for a larger & clearer view!

You never get nothing by being an angel child,
You better change you ways and get real wild.
'Cause wild women don't worry, wild women don't have
the blues
(Ida Cox)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

It's All Just a Stroll in the Park!

It's All Just a Stroll in the Park

*Note the shape of these buttress tree roots; a distinctive feature of rainforest tree species.

Vines & Lianes
Another distincitve feature of rainforests are the variety of vines/lianes & their interesting shapes.
One here is obviously designed for man to get down from his tree house;
Two on the left you might think is a tree trunk but is actually a strangler fig.

Interesting hey Mr Conte?

Si, Si Mr Moog

***Please click on the photographs for a larger & clearer view!

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Change of Scenery: Birds

A Change of Scenery...
I have decided to change the scene around here...With the closure of Mr Lucky's World of M, Open You Arms & Welcome with Detectiefvanzwam & a number of other fine blog recent departures I'm now going to turn this into a photography blog. The main subject will be birds, wildlife & nature in general or the environment in its many guises.

I'm going to start this off with a few pictures I've taken over the past year or two & that I have handy on my computer rather than searching through storage. I hope to now concentrate on taking more pictures & spend some of my free time accordingly. I look forward to a bunch of enthusiastic comments relating to my new endeavours. Thank you & enjoy your viewing time here!

***Please click on the photographs for a larger & clearer view.

Rainbow Lorikeet
Caption: Lovers
Noisy with distincitve screech, usually nomadic in search of food, often in large flocks.
Length 28cm

Tawny Frogmouth
Often called a 'Mopoke' it is an owl-like bird, but technically not so. Comes out at dusk to begin hunting, during day camouflages in trees or on old fences while it rests.
Length 40cm.

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo
Caption: Black Cocky
Large Black Cockatoo. It is said when you hear them in groups squaking there will be a storm.
Length 60-70cm

Austrlian King Parrot
Feeding from my balcony.
I have stopped doing this now for two reason:
1. they make a mess esp. when masses of Lorikeets join in the feast
2. I don't think it is good to feed the wildlife
This is a male, females have a lighter (dull) green body & head, a blue rump with a dull red underbelly.
Length approx 40cm.

All of these birds have been photographed from the balcony at my house. I hope you enjoy this first installment & for some see some new bird species particular to various regions of Australia only. I think my next post will be a couple of photographs in the rainforest nearby or possibly some wonderful vistas from the lookout just walking distance from here.

Damn it....and I can't even get the html right here,I might have to give this whole thing away altogether, it irks me so!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Krzysztof Komeda 'Astigmatic' & Tomasz Stanko Septet 'Litania Music of Krzysztof Komeda

Krzysztof Komeda
Astigmatic (Power Bros Records 1998 CD reissue, Original 1965)

*Note this CD comes as CD-ROM, with a filmed interview of Sofia Komeda (Krzysztof's wife), but I have not included it here.

Komeda is a legend of the Polish jazz scene, who died tragically at the early age of 38. Komeda is generally credited for the rise of Jazz in Poland in the 50's. Although possibly better known for his many film scores including various works with Polanski, (notably in the West for Rosemary' Baby). This was a time in which certain filmakers chose to place emphasis on sound in virtual balance with images.

However, as a jazz pianist & composer he was best known for his free- jazz stylings, although arguably as a soloist not so. Yet it is his piano work the sets the tone & pace of each piece highlighting his often dramatic & certainly emotive compositions. And this is regarded by most as the pinnacle of his work.

Recorded: Warsaw, December 1965
Performed by:
Krzysztof Komeda - piano
Zbigniew Namyslowski - alto sax
Tomasz Stanko - trumpet
Guenter Lenz - bass
Rune Carlsson - drums

Get this & more excellent releases directly from Power Bros here.

Tomasz Stanko Septet

Litania: The Music of Krzysztof Komeda
(ECM Records 1997)
Stanko worked on all of Komeda's Polish soundtracks from 1964 onwards & despite occasional lineup changes for concerts & various other performances he was a constant from 1963. It is that unique association that brings this release together & attempts to peer into the shadowy realm of Komeda with 'darker' tracks such as Litania & Requiem.

All compositions: Krzysztof Komeda
Arrangements: Tomasz Stanko
Performed By:
Tomasz Stanko - trumpet
Brent Rosengren - tenor sax
Joakim Milder- tenor & soprano sax
Bobo Stenson - bass
Palle Danielsson - double bass
Jon Christensen - drums
Terje Rypdal - guitar*

To Buy this release go to ECM here.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

50 Foot Wave 'Golden Ocean'

50 Foot Wave
Golden Ocean (4AD 2005)
I've never overly been a fan of Kristin Hersh solo or The Throwing Muses, so maybe what I say here does not reflect what a previous fan might think. Or to the contrary I may be able to hear her current project with an objective viewpoint; free from what others believe she should be doing or what this should have sounded like.

Well I like it...11 fast driving tracks belting out with little respite. And her vocals are a rocking surprise - harsh & raspy, without any of the past often 'dulcet' tones. There is no doubt this project is a midlife re-invention, but I hardly call it a crisis as it shows that age is no barrier for rock out & certainly does not mean one has to mellow & simply settle down. Clearly she has wanted to re-invent herself by way of rocking out & without doubt she has achieved this remarkably well with no let-up & naturally (or so it seems) with some excellent guitar lines from Hirsh herself. And the name of this name band is so aptly titled & quite correctly sums up the music. Further, there is something about this release that harkens back to Husker Du's Zen Arcade; it's hard edged & tough, yet fresh & it sounds quite sincere.

You'll be happy to know that 4AD Records has this album for you, plus previous EP Bug (2004) here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Graeme Downes (ex Verlaines) 'Hammers and Anvils'

Graeme Downes
Hammers and Anvils (Matador 2001)
This was (2001) the long awaited solo album from founding, (back in the early 80's) ,Verlaines singer/songwriter & without doubt one of the pioneers of the New Zealand pop/rock scene. Downes plays all the instruments (guitar, trumpet, clarinet etc) on this self titled debut. With strong lyrics throughout, this is somewhat a mixed release, nonetheless the finer moments are indeed quite brilliant & shows what this 'almost' legendary composer is capable of when at his best. In between the better tracks I suspect much is a matter of personal taste; some might say his music is sublime & at the other end others too mellow & quite boring. What also may be missing or at least different for past followers of Verlaines is the absence of a band & possibly the spontaneity that a groups presence provides.

Given past achievements of Verlaines this is a fair addition for followers of Graeme Downes work & for those interested in New Zealand pop/rock generally, such as The Clean, The Chills etc.

Buy this album from Matador here or for those in Australasia via Flying Nun's preferred supplier here.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Cordara Orchestra 'The Best Of'

Cordara Orchestra
The Best Of (Irma Records 1997)

"Carlos Cordara represents a classic example of the strength & quality of the Italian Easy Listening scene in the 60's & 70's. He studied music &, still very young, he obtained his diploma in the piano & as conductor of an orchestra.

For many years accompanied singers of light music and with his orchestra he proactically toured the globe; he regulary filled Italian dance floors & nightclubs in particular those enshrined in the legend on the Roman 'Dolce Vita' & the Adriatic Riviera scenes. Playing in the USA he was one of the first Italian composers who mixed jazz sounds with rhythm & blues & black music. Cordara worked regularly on the production of music used in documentaries, television news & radio programmes...

This incredible composer always declared himself as part of the avante-garde & experimented in a wide range of musical forms. Waht is os special about all the tracks on this record is that these compositions were recorded in the studio with absolutely no artistic or stylistic restrictions, in complete freedom, something which is almost unthinkable today. It is probable that the musicians & composers who were making records at that time were better trained & theyclearly enjoyed the buzz of continuously trying new styles while at the same time playing with other professionals...

A composer of enormous talent but above all a man who loved and continues to love & enjoy playing his special music." by SCANNA (Smart Researcher).

Carlos Cordara: Electric & Accoustic Piano
Marco Ratti: Bass
Carlo Russo: Guitar
Giancarlo Barigozzi: Alto & Tenor Sax
Hugo Heredia: Tenor Sax & Flute in C
Nando Nebuloni: Tenor Sax & Flute in G
Astor Pittana: Trumpet & Flugelhorn

*All tracks composed by Carlos Cordara

Friday, September 29, 2006

Anita Lane 'Sex O' Clock'

Anita Lane
Sex O' Clock (Mute Records 2001)

Please DO NOT let the cover, with baby blue 'designer' suit, fool you here. This is the same Anita Lane who co-wrote Kiss Me Black & Dead Joe with Nick Cave for the Birthday Party Junkyard album almost 25yrs ago now. Although here she has long moved beyond punk/goth expressions into a more singer/songwriter type oeuvre, along the lines of Leonard Cohen's more 'edgey' tracks.

Although never at the forefront of women's rock, she has a loyal following & I believe that if she chose she could have been thought of with other somewhat defiant female rockers such as P. J. Harvey.

Anita tends to speak as much as she sings with a low & often sexy voice in a style reminiscent of many a French songstress. The album begins with the Gil Scott Heron track Home Is Where The Hatred Is & being a Gil fan that's a mighty fine beginning. The album closes with the traditional popular Italian tune Bella Ciao (celebrating anti-fascist resistence in WWII), with little more than occasional piano & accordion. The album is produced by Mick Harvey (Bad Seeds etc) & who plays most of the instruments aside from drums (Thomas Wylder tracks 1 & 4) & violins, viola, trumpet, horns.

Although not a brilliant album it is certainly worth a listen, especially for those not familiar with her work, but think that Tori Amos are the only female singers 'speaking out' & for those interested in Nick Cave/Bad Seeds related projects. Overall this is certainly an above average release.

Buy this album & other Anita Lane releases from Mute Records here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Coolin' 'A Soul Jazz Journey'

Coolin' A Soul Jazz Journey
Various Artists (pHo Records 1996)
'Rare Groove' jazzy sounds on this pretty good compilation. Very listenable, with it's combination of hammond, vibes & easy lounge atmosphere.

See comments ( as usual) for tracklist & artists, hopefully this will give you more of an idea what's happening on this one. All of these tracks, except for #7 are from the Muse label. Track 7 was originally released on Landmark (1974).

BTW, I believe this disc is now out of print

Monday, September 25, 2006

Teodoro Anzellotti 'Erik Satie Compositeur de Musique'

Teodoro Anzellotti
Erik Satie Compositeur de Musique (Winter & Winter 1998)

Music for solo piano written by Erik Satie.
Teodoro Anzellotti: Accordion
[His] life takes a solitary, even ludicrous course. yet he encounters this with irony and distance. He differentiates himself smiling from nonesense. At the same time Satie takes paths into the depths, into the abyss - into the meaning of life. He always remains the pauper who can keep nothing, but always loses, in the end himself - and who thus possibly finds truth.

So here we have Satie's music played on accordion by the Italian 'avant-garde' classical master Anzellotti. And for those who give little credit to the accordion, you should give this a serious listen. Some 'beautiful' Satie music played to perfection by a perfectionist of his craft. You'll hear the complete Sports et Divertissements & Gnossienne's, plus Three Elegant Waltzes By A Pansy & more.
I like it!!!

Squeezorama Lucky - I hope you don't have this one - 'cause it's for you - mein guter Freund.

***Please note that Eugene has 'shared' an Anzellotti/Kagel album for 'us' to have a listen. You will need to see the comments here to find out the necessary details. Thank you Eugene, I for one, am very interested in having the opportunity to hear this interesting album - appreciated.

Sorry about the very small font here, I've tried to fix the html, but I just can't work out where this problem has occured?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ennio Morricone 'Crime And Dissonance' (Dbl Disc)

Ennio Morricone
Crime And Dissonance Dbl Disc (Ipecac 2005)
I really liked this review & certainly could not have said any more or less in such an expressive way.
"...Never has his music from the strange films he scored in the 1960s and '70s been showcased in such an original and powerful way. Patton has looked closely into the experimental nature of the maestro and found plenty here to offer as well as to crow about. Many of the scores he chose from would be known only to cineastes of minor and obscure Italian films. Yet, Patton understood that Morricone loved his own process and treated crime and exploitation flicks like L'Anticristo and Forza G with the same delightful sense of adventure that he approached The Godfather and The Mission with. Here, all manner of strangeness is on offer: from psychedelic guitars and tripped-out wordless vocals to sitars, layers and layers of percussion, acid-drenched strings, an Echoplexed celeste, toy pianos, psychotic operatic voices in chorus, and more. And this is no novelty compilation. It is sequenced with taste and depth. Most of the music here was conducted by the great Bruno Nicolai, and thematically moves from dark to ecstatic to just plain weird in a seamless fashion. In presenting Crime and Dissonance in this manner, Patton has given listeners a much wider view of Morricone not only as a composer, but as a sonic experimentalist. This is one of those must-haves for just about everybody interested in music just off the beaten path enough to conjure strange dreams and perhaps even nightmares." By Thom Jurek

I'd say briefly that while this is definitely a very strong compilation, not everything works to perfection (as little often does) & I think some of the work on the 2nd disc sounds a bit confused, but otherwise this is quite brilliant.

This release is on Mike Patton's (Faith No More, Mr Bungle, Fantomas, Peeping Tom & much more) own label Ipecac, is put together by the highly regarded artist & musical curator Alan Bishop & includes liner notes by John Zorn. The link provided for purchase as found on Ipecac site (see link above 'this release') is here.

All selections composed by Ennio Morricone except:
Memento (from the film L’Istruttoria E’ Chiusa: Dimentichi) by Ennio Morricone with the collaboration of Walter Branchi for the electronic music;
Seguita (from the film Gli Occhi Freddi Della Paura) by Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza;
Il Buio (from the film L’Anticristo) by Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai;
Folle Folle (from the film Gli Occhi Freddi Della Paura) by Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza

Both Discs Together (i.e 2 discs, but 1 d'load):

Thursday, September 21, 2006

August Born 'August Born'

August Born
August Born (Drag City 2005)
For those not in the know August Born are Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance, Comets on Fire) & Japan's Hiroyuki Usui (Fushitsusha ('L'), Marble Sheep & early Ghost) & best known for his psychedelic masterpiece with L, Holy Letters. And it is this album where one can hear a strong influence for sounds heard on Six organs of Admittance.

Thanks to journalist and Japanese music lover Alan Cummings, Usui and Chasny started an e-mail-based conversation that became collaboration through mail. Chasny sent off a nugget of sound, Usui added to it and sent it back & so on. Cleary the music feeds of each other as the artists must have been eagerly waiting for each new sound or piece of music to arrive.

It is a mellow, yet experimental work based on the idea of 'fortuitous mistranslation.'
The various poles of influences are evident, yet somehow there appears to be a natural sybiosis & meshing of the sounds. Whilst the album may seem like just a rough & haphazard work, further listenings will guide you otherwise. Chasny appears to defer to his highly respected partner most often, yet is still heard in quite a convincing manner in more subtle ways.

Looking forward to more from these guys - that's for sure!

August Born = Hiroyuki Usui (vocals, guitar, banjo, tambura, harmonium, vibraphone, bass guitar, didgeridoo/yidaki (this is the proper indigenous word), drums, conga etc);
Ben Chasny (vocals, guitar - accoustic & electric, autoharp, recorders)
& Ryan Hilderbrand: Field Recordings (trks 1 & 4)

Get this via their label Drag City.
(All images are copyrighted by their respective owners)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Erik Friedlander 'Maldoror'

Erik Friedlander
(Brassland 2003)

those that are familiar with this 'Downtown Scene' cellist Erik Friedlander it is surprising to note that this was his first solo work. Having worked for years with the likes of Zorn, Dave Douglas through to Laurie Anderson & leader of groups such as Chimera (w/Chris Speed, Drew Gress, Andrew D'Angelo) & Topaz, he is regarded as the premier cellist in the improvised music scene.

The idea behind this recording was that the producer (Michael Montres) would present a piece of 19C French surrealist poetry & Friedlander would immediately improvise based on the feelings & impressions he felt. These excerpts were from Comte De Lautreamont (1846-1870) Les Chantes de Maldoror. Excerpts from these poems can be found in the liner notes. His interpretations of these poems are quite striking with a sense of flow & unwavering energy with a certain mythical or haunting beauty. Although definintely avante-garde there is little that can be regarded as atonal & hence this album is reasonably accessible. And although one can hear the usual depth in his cello there is not really a single piece that stands out to be listened on its own, but rather much of the strength shines through if this album is listened to in its entirety. This is quite a strong release from an unquestionably talented musician.

Brassland suggests (according to their website) buying this & their other releases oddly enough right here.