Monday, December 13, 2010
Its been a long time. Sorry about that. I started a cassette label. I am gonna see what happens. I got a great roster of friends and we plan on putting out all sorts of music,art,and books. Come out and party with us on Friday night if your in LA. The afterparty will feature great dance jams from SFV ACid, Sun Araw, M.Geddes Gengras, and Pete Majors. I think others too but i don't know all of the details. ITs gonna be FUN!!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Though this is the official debut recording from Swedish duo Roll the Dice, Malcolm Pardon and Peder Mannerfelt are certainly not strangers to the world of independent music. Mannerfelt has been producing records for years as The Subliminal Kid and also produces and tours with Fever Ray while Pardon continously composes for film and television. Having shared a studio in southern Stockholm for several years, they finally decided to join forces in something musical. If the original impetus was little more than sharing a bottle of wine and attempting to make something different, the final result is something far beyond.
Each session started and ended in the same way. There were to be no pro-conceived ideas going in, but had to be a completed track at the end of each day. These forced limitations led to a creative cloudburst, finding unexpected passages from beginning to end. Elements of early electronica bleed into hints of minimalists such as Terry Riley and Arvo Pärt. Repetition and understated progression engage the listener subtly. It may bring a piece of Basic Channel to mind, but it's another beast entirely. Each track consists of only synths and piano. Nothing more. No computer processing. No drum machines. Pure analog. The result is something warm and emotive. There may be a murky darkness underlying these tracks, something almost sinister but there's a streak of something comfortingly familiar running throughout.
Two years after their first session together they put the finishing touches on the record through the API desk at the legendary Gröndal studio in west Stockholm. It is music that etches itself in your mind like diamond on glass. Pardon and Mannerfelt operate with absolute precision, expressing raw emotions and ideas that are as flitting as they are unforgettable. Each new morning is a chance and Roll the Dice are just getting started.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wizards was my first deep trance electronic music album. This album was inspired by Terry Riley , one of the earliest people ever to compose and perform long, extended, cyclic pieces in the electronic format. This music was composed and performed in '81 and '82.
I consider this album my best work.
The instrumentation is three Sequencial Circuits PRO-1s, Crumar Traveler One and a Yamaha SK-20, all real time recording to a Teac 4-track reel-to-reel. I mixed the four tracks to a Teac A-7300 Master 2-Track tape recorder using a DeltaLab DL-2 to create the delay track. In 2006, I used a Tascam 34B 4-track to remaster all my master tapes to digital master of 196 KHz/24 bit .WAV files using Soundforge 8 software.
The original Wizards LP was published in the Summer of 1982 with the black and white cover. The initial tracks had not names and were call Movements I-V. Several years later sales had slowed down, in an effort to improve sales we tried the color cover and I created names for each track, as shown on the samples.
Here is a picture of me taken in 1982 during the creation of Wizards.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Following the release of the album “3”, in 2006, over 25 titles were written and composed by Deleyaman. 11 of these compositions, entirely recorded, mixed and mastered in the band's studio in Normandy, France, are now presented as “Fourth, Part One” . The remaining material is set to appear later as “Fourth, Part Two”, a complimentary yet contrasting sister-release which will come later this year.
The overall mood of this new album is different from their prior releases, yet the sincerity with which they continue to explore their art is a constant in Deleyaman's work. Inspiration for the lyrics comes partially from the works of American poets E.A. Robinson, A. Hecht, R.W. Emerson, E.A. Poe, H. Crane and T. Stickney, but also from the Lebanese mystic poet Khalil Gibran. Most of the titles are sung in English, except for two tracks sung in Armenian and the track “Jardin”, sung in French, the words taken from the poem “Nous n'irons plus au bois”, by T. de Banville. The use of several languages by Beatrice Valantin and Aret Madilian, the two vocalists, has always been a distinct characteristic of the band, whose members all come from different backgrounds.
Deleyaman’s style, which to this day remains difficult to classify into a single genre, is further defined by the inclusion of the duduk, an Armenian wind instrument. More than simply adding an ethnic reference to their compositions, the duduk grants them a unique tone, emphasizing the ethereal and exotic qualities that allow the album to reach beyond the darker specter of alternative music from which the band originally derived. Through their art, Deleyaman translate a sense of timeless spirituality into a contemporary and universal language, carrying the listener into a mesmerizing world which still sounds comfortably familiar and close at heart. “Fourth, Part One” is presented in Digipak format, accompanied by a 32-page booklet.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Midtown 120 Intro
House isn't so much a sound as a situation.
There must be a hundred records with voice-overs asking, "What is house?" The answer is always some greeting card bullshit about "life, love, happiiness...." The House Nation likes to pretend clubs are an oasis from suffering, but suffering is in here with us. (If you can get in, that is. I think of one time in New York when they wouldn't let me into the Loft, and I could hear they were actually playing one of my records on the dance floor at that very moment. I shit you not.)
Let's keep sight of the things you're trying to momentarily escape from. After all, it's that larger context that created the house movement and brought you here. House is not universal. House is hyper-specific: East Jersey, Loisaida, West Village, Brooklyn - places that conjure specific beats and sounds. As for the sounds of New York dance floors themselves, today's house classics might have gotten worked into a set once in a while, but the majority of music at every club was major label vocal shit. I don't care what anybody tells you. Besides, New York Deep House may have started out as minimal, mid-tempo instrumentals, but when distributors began demanding easy selling vocal tracks, even the label "Strictly Rhythm" betrayed the promise of it's own name by churning out strictly vocal after strictly vocal. Most Europeans still think "Deep House" means shitty, high energy vocal house.
So what was the New York house sound? House wasn't so much a sound as a situation. The majority of DJ's - DJ's like myself - were nobody's in nowhere clubs: unheard and unpaid. In the words of Sylvester: reality was less "everybody is a star," and more "I who have nothing."
Twenty years later, major distribution gives us Classic House, the same way soundtracks in Vietnam war films gave us Classic Rock. The contexts from which the Deep House sound emerged are forgotten: sexual and gender crises, transgendered sex work, black market hormones, drug and alcohol addiction, loneliness, racism, HIV, ACT-UP, Thompkins Sq. Park, police brutality, queer-bashing, underpayment, unemployment and censorship - all at 120 beats per minute.
These are the Midtown 120 Blues.
Ball'r (Madonna-Free Zone)
When Madonna came out with her hit "Vogue" you knew it was over. She had taken a very specifically queer, transgendered, Latino and African-American phenomenon and totally erased that context with her lyrics, "It makes no difference if you're black or white, if you're a boy or a girl." Madonna was taking in tons of money, while the Queen who actually taught her how to vogue sat before me in the club, strung out, depressed and broke. So if anybody requested "Vogue" or any other Madonna track, I told them, "No, this is a Madonna-free zone! And as long as I'm DJ-ing, you will not be allowed to vogue to the decontextualized, reified, corporatized, liberalized, neutralized, asexualized, re-genderized pop reflection of this dance floor's reality!"
In 1986, at age 18, I left Missouri by train, pulling into Midtown Manhattan's Grand Central Station some 72 hours later. Until that point life had, quite frankly, been miserable, each and every day facing verbal and physical harassment as a queer-fag-pussy-AIDS bait. The climate in New York wasn't really so different. But from within my isolation I saw others isolated like myself. One of the places we met, in our self-containment, was on the dance floor. The nastiest and seediest clubs were located in Midtown. That's mostly where I DJ'ed, at tragic places like Sally's II and Club 59. In the early 1990's, Disney bought 42nd Street, closing the places around which transgendered life revolved for many of us. That "community of isolation" was scattered to other cities, other states, other countries. Isolated, still....
Thursday, January 07, 2010
1. Banishment Cycle
2. Refrain for Lens Flair
3. Dark Waves (silence)
4. Central Taxi for Dreamland
5. Vacation to Old Wax Island
6. Light Waves (silence)
7. Cold Hawks on Heat Wave
recorded by matthew alone in his bedroom
synths, guitars, old records, field recordings, hammond organ
November - December 2009
Dedicated to : a dead dog, a long year, a break up, a bedroom and indifference.
DSMMBR is not an official PS release, but if you would like a special ordered CDr (for $5 w/ shipping included)
please email Matthew and he will burn/make/send you one
Thanks to one thing he's best at and two artists he collaborated with in a major way, Harald Grosskopf is one of the fine percussionists in the classic length and impact of electronic music - and the first to ever combine dubs between rhythms and synthesizers, as a soloist drummer and in his solo music, from what the bio here points out with precision. His spirit would effortlessly be the mask of a musician that's representative to the German electro-rock movement, if only we wouldn't cautiously prefer not to rise him up such subjective scales. In the same way, we would name him very easily one of the fantastic drummers and percussionists of the classic decade, if only the entire vast period of kraut, electro-kraut then finally electro rock wouldn't be absolutely rich in icons and excellent musicians, including drummers and rhythmicists (plus, Grosskopf didn't impressively appear in many bands of the early years). So let's just mention his prime work with Ashra, after Gottsching changed quite consistently his solo band sounds (meaning Blackouts onwards), plus with Klaus Schulze/Wahnfried, friend, fine collaborator and (this time) grand master in the electronic music course. On a personal note, but also by some of his solo music, Grosskopf seems and in the end is an enjoyable and crafted musician, open-minded at least to when drumming and the fusion of electronic dynamics can have their idle succulence.
Starting his solo small achievements up in 1980, somewhat synchronized with Ashra's final days of continuity but not with Schulze's new ideas of electronic digital music - with percussions mit dabei -, Grosskopf solves rather simplistically the problem of electronic/keyboard music-playing. Simple become the albums as well, meanwhile a dose of playfulness and an acing in sequencing/synthesizing the right stuff (the right buttons) make up the real qualities in his music. Grosskopf does make music as an individual artist, at least in albums such as this Synthesist, but also follows the strict principles that, mostly, were handled by Ashra to a point. Synthesist's narrow edge is that it lacks originality, yet it finds an almost natural freshness, sticking to light-synth music and even dowsing the drum-bomb that could easily make up a heat, nonetheless creating a gentle, successful, admirably essential and recommended work; mainly for altruists listeners, but eventually for soft-boiled critics and great fans of this sort of fusion as well.
Synthesist also rhymes with sequential here on, where Grosskopf's powerful pleasure goes deep into dynamic, fizzing electronic compositions, the combination of fairy melodies, cycling keyboard sounds and (last but not least) the percussion infusion being probably dubbed over several rehearsals and synchronized recordings. The taste of these tracks flows exactly like Ashra's un-sensational, but intense and cheerful glimpses (a la Correlations or a bit of un-fluesy Belle Alliance). The soil for this style is nowhere near rich, but it's no pop or grease either, Grosskopf preferring at any time an ambitious and curios dance over fine art or complex looping. On some moment, the drumming is convincingly superior, alternating upwards to some Nietzsche fast taps, or downwards to a split end of lite-disco. The contrast is set by focusing entirely on keyboards and organs (B. Adrian, Trauma), the result being nothing but ambient, lofty and un-smashing, but yet again enjoyable and un-superficial. There's a weak spot in the album, down precisely the last two tracks, which slip deeply and unforgettably into pop-electric/new-age simple hopping music (a la Baumann and other 80s minor soloists).
For how nice it sounds and how ideal it's worked, Synthesist is probably Grosskopf's finest and is a real treat above a normal session of synth-sequence music. With drums (and a small post-prog feeling).
Monday, December 14, 2009
Julianna Barwick is a Brooklyn-based musician who has self-released two
records. 2007's Sanguine, a collection of loop-based vocal arrangements,
was made in her bedroom and completely improvised. 2009's Florine EP adheres
to the same loop-based, mostly vocal structure with minimal
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Michael Garrison or Garri was a synthesist from California, USA. He was born on November 28, 1956 in Oregon and died on March 24, 2004. At the age of 13 he wrote his first song and later, during his musical study at the Idaho University, he formed the basic for the first release on his own label Winspell Records, later Garrisongs Music. The original work was titled In The Regions Of Sunreturn and Beyond and based on the expeditions of Voyager 1 and 2. But when he managed to get a contract with BMG in 1980 the title changed to In The Regions Of Sunreturn and so he became also known in Europe. His style was typical strong sequences with monstrous solos played with various electronic instruments on top. Often a real wall-of-sound experience. An Earth-Star Trilogy differs from the rest of his work by having a much more calm atmosphere. He was strongly influenced by the European innovators of Electronic Music, like Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Finders Keepers break yet more ground with this, 22 stomping selections from the vaults of Eastern Europe's best kept secret, Hungaraton / Qualiton Records. This first ever compendium piles heavy psych, jazz, glam and funk onto a heaped spoonful dripping with the cream of the 60s/70s Hungarian rock scene - Omega, Metro, Locomotiv GT, Skorpio as well as Finders Keepers' very own jet-set fit-bit Sarolta Zalatnay.
The unique ways in which Hungarian rockers interpreted such sporadic and disparate influences and unknowingly mirrored embryonic developments in Western rock from behind a political blindfold is truly unique. The national pride of Hungary's pre-war musical heritage ensured that the state-owned label Supraphon's in-house studio was designed to immaculate classical standards with acoustic specifications that would put its surrounding Eastern European labels to shame. The quality of phonograph records, from a part of the world that was usually notorious for low quality pressings and repeatedly recycled vinyl, would surpass the European standards ensuring that the hand crafted sound of Hungary's futuristic pop music was light years ahead of its time and would stand the test of time for many (delayed) years to come.
The introduction of electronic instruments penetrated Hungary like a double-edged sword and polarised progressive pop aficionados over night. Where the introduction of Czechoslovakian electric guitars unified Eastern Europe's rock 'n' roll fantasists and spawned the rock in opposition movement in the mid 60's the spurious arrival of synthesizers ten years later spawned a host of new streams of hybrid rock which embraced funk, soul and disco.
The restrictions of communism coupled with the silver-spooned Westerners musical xenophobia, however, as good as guaranteed that no matter how close Hungarians got to the authentic rock 'n roll sound their music would still never safely make the journey over the language barrier. In recent years, as much as 15 years since the collapse of the iron curtain, the interjection of many forms of latter day communist era art into popular western culture has become apparent and increasingly well documented. Hopefully at some stage discerning palettes will develop a taste for Hungarian rock music in the same way that we have come to accept, champion and be inspired by Polish poster art and Czech cinema.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
It felt like Fall for a few days here in LA.Sorry for the lack of posts. A lot of good things coming soon!!
1. Crocodiles - Young Drugs
2. HTRK - Marry Me Tonight
3. The XX - Heart Skipped A Beat
4. Cold Cave - Love Comes Close
5. Swishahouse - Luv Ya Girl RMX-(Screwed & Chopped version)
6. Blues Control - Tangier
7. Richard Hawley - Don't Get Hung Up in Your Soul
8. Greg Cartwright - Reptile Style
9. Kings of Convenience - Mrs Cold
10. The National - Ashamed of the Story I Told
11. Fleetwood Mac - Dreams
12. Lusine - Two Dots
13. Atlas Sound - Quick Canal (w/Latetitia Sadier)
14. Rameses III - I could Not Love You More Vinyl
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Regarded by many as the first Japanese progressive rock group, the Far East Family Band featured the keyboardist and future new age composer, Kitaro. A keyboard-dominated space rock band, the Far East Family Band played extended compositions that brought comparisons to Tangerine Dream and early Pink Floyd.
The group's first album was released under the band name of Far Out. After changing their name, the band released The Cave Down to Earth in 1975. Their first European release, Nipponjin -- Join Our Mental Phase Sound (1975), featured re-recorded versions of material from the previous record and the album attributed to Far Out. The group's next record, Parallel Worlds (1976), was profoundly influenced by Klaus Schulze who Kitaro met on a trip through Europe. With the first track over 30 minutes long, the album bears similarities to Krautrock legends Ash Ra Tempel. Tenkujin (1977) followed and was the band's first and only American release. By this point, the band consisted of Miyashta (vocals, synths, guitars, bamboo flute), Hirohito Fukushima (guitar, vocals, koto), and Yujin Harada (drums, percussion). It would be the band's last record. ~ Geoff Orens, All Music Guide
Thursday, September 24, 2009
A few years back, former Quiet Sun / Roxy Music / 801 behind-the-scenes mastermind Gill Manzanera--no relation to guitarist Phil Manzanera (whose real name is Philip Targett-Adams)--offered up a beguiling reminiscence of those heady days to the Swiss fanzine Sombre Reptiles:
"What we were trying to do, you see, was harness the future into the present. However, we were severely at odds with technology, a ring modulator on a Fender Rhodes and a bit of funny business through an analog synth being about as far as one could go then. The work with Quiet Sun was the foundation, then later Phil and Eno built upon that within Roxy and if only Ferry had acquiesced to Brian having a go at 'Bogus Man,' I think the results would have been stunning (as well as longer-lasting). But alas, so then for 801, the decision was to incorporate the progressive and avant garde through a chamber of fusion (so to speak), the results of which are undeniable. Mind you, this was all during the burgeoning punk era, so it took a bit of time for some to settle in with what was happening. But isn't that the future, really; someone has to be the first out the door to know if the rest of us will need a jumper or not. It was all quite brilliant in that way, absolutely so, I should think."
Hmm, well, that all sounds... quite English. Oddly enough, that sliver of quinine-sotted nostalgia could be used as a swab of historical DNA pap to describe the fantastic newest shimmer from Blues Control. While past releases have been beauteous extrapolations into the miasmic core of psychedelia and billowing fog of ambient space, Local Flavor is the one where all the chickens have come home to roost.
The opening track "Good Morning" is practically a sideways step into boogie rock (horn accompaniment provided by none other than Jesse Trbovich and Kurt Vile); with the proper seismic shift, it could almost be heard as an alternate reality take on "Re-make/Re-model." It's easily the band's longest stomp in the forest of rock since their debut cassette, and, man, them boots leave a bruise!
The remaining three tracks morph and ebb harmoniously--in true Blues Control fashion--the timbre occasionally elegiac, yet more often riffing on a plane that has yet to be transcribed. Local Flavor is 801 plus an extra one (8101, if you will), providing an unimaginable future that will take your breath away. So make sure you've paid your oxygen bill, because there are no free rides in the 82nd Century.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
St. Louis producer Phaseone gained quite a following with his amazing remixes of Animal Collective, Panda Bear, Bloc Party, Banjo or Freakout, and more. He recently followed this up with a free album showing that he’s not too shabby at creating his own tracks as well. Click HERE for the free download of Thanks But No Thanks.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
"Two brothers from Florida ... now in New York and Montreal. An international power duo without borders. High Rise disciples with angel voices. Here they've made an album of 12 anti-genre pop burners,An When. Thick with human voices. Choose your own single... Dad's on the cover" -Dœs Are
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Shrouded in the mystery and the opaque, otherworldly quality we've come to expect from the consistently remarkable Miasmah imprint, this beguiling debut album has been wrecking our collective heads here in the office for some time. Pieced together from a plethora of unidentified samples, field recordings and found sounds, Kreng taps into a unique, almost indescribable corner of the musical universe that originates from, and proceeds to completely re-imagine, the world of music for film and theatre. The eleven pieces here were, indeed, originally made for a variety of theatre productions and retain that illusory quality that's so often associated with arts-based music, but without any of the site-specific pretension or impenetrability that you'd think goes hand hand in with this kind of material. There's an intensely overbearing darkness to this work, covered by a dense thicket of layered drones and fuzzy sound recordings, but as each piece progresses narrow cracks begin to emerge, letting in shards of colour and light painted through fragments of jazz and classical music re-painted in shimmering, luxurious colours. It's very hard to think of any singular points of reference, but there are elements here that remind us of György Ligeti, Cliff Martinez, Moondog, Arvo Pärt, Arthur Lipsett, Deathprod, Bernard Herrmann and Dictaphone - while really sounding very little like any of them. "L'Autopsie Phénoménale De Dieu" is an incredible, utterly mesmerising collection of pieces that we have little doubt will entice, seduce and terrify you in equal measure and, needless to say, comes to you with our highest possible recommendation. ESSENTIAL
Monday, July 20, 2009
Cat Stevens virtually disappeared from the British pop scene in 1968, at the age of 20, after a meteoric start to his career. He had contracted tuberculosis and spent a year recovering, from both his illness and the strain of being a teenage pop star, before returning to action in the spring of 1970 -- as a very different 22-year-old -- with Mona Bone Jakon. Fans who knew him from 1967 must have been surprised. Under the production aegis of former Yardbird Paul Samwell-Smith, he introduced a group of simple, heartfelt songs played in spare arrangements on acoustic guitars and keyboards and driven by a restrained rhythm section. Built on folk and blues structures, but with characteristically compelling melodies, Stevens' new compositions were tentative, fragmentary statements that alluded to his recent "Trouble," including the triviality of being a "Pop Star." But these were the words of a desperate man in search of salvation. Mona Bone Jakon was dominated by images of death, but the album was also about survival and hope. Stevens' craggy voice, with its odd breaks of tone and occasional huskiness, lent these sometimes sketchy songs depth, and the understated instrumentation further emphasized their seriousness. If Stevens was working out private demons on Mona Bone Jakon, he was well attuned to a similar world-weariness in pop culture. His listeners may not have shared his exact experience, but after the 1960s they certainly understood his sense of being wounded, his spiritual yearning, and his hesitant optimism. Mona Bone Jakon was only a modest success upon its initial release, but it attracted attention in the wake of the commercial breakthrough of its follow-up, Tea for the Tillerman.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The 6ths are a side project of the Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt, who produced and wrote all of the material on 1995's Wasps' Nest, as well as playing much of the music. He only sang one of the tracks, however, giving all of the remaining lead vocal slots to alternative rock faves like Barbara Manning, Dean Wareham (Luna), Georgia Hubley (Yo La Tengo), Chris Knox, Lou Barlow, Robert Scott (the Bats), Chris Knox, and Mary Timony (Helium). Brighter and poppier than his contemporaneous efforts with Magnetic Fields, it demonstrated (intentionally or inadvertently) that his principal talents are as a producer and composer, rather than a performer.
Amazing new album of krautrock-inspired beauty!
Subway II, the debut album by Subway on Soul Jazz Records, is a startling cosmic marriage of influences – German electronic rock music from the 1970s (Cluster, Kraftwerk, Neu, Harmonia, Ash Ra Tempel), 80s Detroit science fiction techno (Carl Craig, Juan Atkins, Jeff Mills) and a hint of Italian and European disco (Danielle Baldelli meets Cerrone, Space, Moroder and Jean Michel Jarre).
Subway are Michael Kirkman and Alan James and have been releasing music since 2000. Subway II was recorded at home in East London using a plethora of analog equipment and techniques that enabled them to create sound reflecting cityscapes such as Berlin, Dussseldorf, Detroit and Paris whilst at the same time creating a contemporary musical commentary of London in 2009.
This album is a cosmic progression of post-dance music, focused more on meditative thought and space than one made for the dancefloor, yet still encompassing the rhythm and constant beat at the heart.
Their most recent appearance is on Soul Jazz Records Singles 2008-9 alongside Kode9, Digital Mystikz, Tetine, Secondo, Ramadanman and other forward thinking electronic pioneers.
With three previous sell-out singles on Soul Jazz Records (Simplex, Satellites and 4410), an album ‘Empty Head’ (released in 2005) as well as a string of one-off projects, the group are currently name-checked by everyone from Hot Chip to DFA, Prinz Thomas to Carl Craig, with good reason.
‘Subway II’ is a fitting conceptual statement of their current sound. Cosmic, post-dance, organic, meditative and hypnotic.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Gnaw present their debut album This Face, viciously assaulting listeners with their unique brew of ultra-depressive, scathing, slug-paced extreme metal.
Formed in 2006 by Alan Dubin (ex-Khanate, OLD) along with Jamie Sykes (ex-Burning Witch, Thorr's Hammer, Atavist), Carter Thornton (Enos Slaughter), Jun Mizumachi (ex-Ike Yard: 80's NYC industrial legends) and Brian Beatrice (Emmy Award winning sound design/mix wizard),
Gnaw's debut album This Face is the sonic culmination of over a year of sound experimentation. It's a genre-destroying journey that almost defies description. Sykes is a percussive madman blasting out anything from tribal beats to ultra slow tom killings. Mizumachi is a sound designer for film and television and is a master of electronics including synth, factory noise, metal bashing and other craziness. Beatrice is also a sound designer and mixer for film and television and was responsible for mixing This Face, as well as experimenting and adding additional sounds of torture. Thornton is a crafty musician who actually makes his own instruments, contributing guitar, bass, piano and some unnamed homemade "things" to the album. Dubin rounds out the group with his gut-wrenching vocals, noise and arrangements. Screaming, singing, whispers and chants can be heard throughout This Face. Dubin's lyrics will mentally rape you.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Here is a nice little Summer mix. Go to the beach or pool and listen to this.
1. Milky Globe/Sorcerer - Soft Sea
2. Cluster- Stenthin
3. Desire- Dans Mes Reves
4. Royksopp- Silver Cruiser
5. Lee Fields & The Expressions- Do you Love Me(Like You Say You Do)
6. Odawas- Harmless Lover's Discourse
7. Crocodiles- Summer of Hate
8. Now - Last
9. The Halo Benders - Turn It My Way
10. Jubilee Singers- Gonna Like It
11. Dino Felipe - Stuck On You
12. Girls - God Damned
13. White Denim - Regina Holding Hands
14. Jane - Way To Paradise
15. Le Corbeau - Hibou
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Ambitious, epic and grand in scale, In The Country´s third album ”Whiteout” qualifies to be called their magnum opus. Most of the music was performed and written as a thank you, as is the tradition, after leader Morten Qvenild was awarded Kongsberg Jazzfestival´s prestigious Musician Award. Other receivers have included notables such as Nils Petter Molvær, Bugge Wesseltoft and Sidsel Endresen. Qvenild is already established as a writer with a strong signature, original and melodic with elements from many genres of music. His playing is rich in detail and dynamics but never dominant, and together with bassist Roger Arntzen and drummer Pål Hausken´s sensitive and inventive contributions we are in for a treat when it comes to trio interplay. These eight compositions are all between seven and twelve minutes and are given time to develop, much like the best exploratory jazz and progressive rock music. Another triumph from the band whose previous effort was dubbed ”one of the finest and most arresting albums to come out of Europe this year” by Downbeat.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Don't Tell Me Now sees Calvin Johnson's baritone and Doug Martsch's high-pitched whine working with and against each other to catchy effect. Lyrically obtuse, with subject matter praising draft dodgers as heroes and a supremely catchy theme song about themselves, the Halo Benders create a guitar-heavy indie poptopia throughout the album. Martsch might not attack his guitar in as epic a fashion as he does with Built to Spill, but his trademark sound is on display throughout. Built to Spill fans might consider this a Built to Spill album as recorded by Martsch at a circus. If that metaphor holds up, Johnson becomes the ringleader, singing about all sorts of mundane things and randomly spouting clichés. Martsch in turn becomes the more serious guitar god and a more realistic conscience. The album might seem scatterbrained, but the mix of vocal styles makes for charming harmonies amid mostly enjoyable hooks. God Don't Make No Junk might be a little more charming and The Rebel's Not In might be better produced and more melodic, but Don't Tell Me Now has more than a few diamonds in its rough. It might be smart to note that each album contains a contraction in its title, as the fractured nature of the music suggests a similar fusing of two styles: Johnson's arch wit with Martsch's brave sonic force and heartfelt emotion. Don't Tell Me Now isn't a great rock & roll album, but it's as fun to listen to as it must have been to record.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
New limited edition solo album from Steve Hauschildt, dedicated to the Isley Brothers (?!)Critique of the Beautiful.. This is one of Steve’s most straightforwardly beautiful keyboard sets, with the kind of haunting, melancholy melodies of early Asmus Tietchens given treatments of rolling fuzz and choirs of heavenly synth. Somewhere between the devotional electronics of early Kraut thinkers like Harmonia, Cluster and Klaus Schulze and the technicolour drone work of UK outfits like Sunroof and Ashtray Navigations, this is a stunning set and comes with full-colour sleeve art by Steve.
Although this eponymous album may be the debut from occasional New Yorker Fred Thomas, he's far from a newcomer to the scene. Rather he has spent most of his life in search of the perfect pop music, first as the frontman/mastermind of Saturday Looks Good To Me and now under his oddly monikered solo project. Apparently the name comes from European tours where the sign 'City Center' was such a regular (and reliable) sight, but gives few clues to the unknown pleasures held within Fred's music.
Taking cues from the skewed pop music of Arthur Russell on one side and Brian Wilson by way of Panda Bear on the other, Fred has channelled an outsider pop masterwork. Thick waves of decomposing electronics and processed instruments (is it gamelan? Is it something else altogether?) crash and fizz beneath Fred's singular chanting vocals. There's a sense that someone, somewhere might be singing along to these songs, but hearing them on mainstream radio might be pushing it a little too far. Sandwiched in-between three-minute pop marvels such as opener 'Killer Whale' and the stand-out 'Summer School' are extended ambient experimentations, but unlike the occasionally academic workouts you might expect from Type these feel organic and distinctly home-brewed.
There is something magical about Fred Thomas's distinct and original musical creations, something that grabs you and won't let go. We're not entirely certain what that is but we're sure if you give City Center a try you'll feel exactly the same as we do. Pop music has rarely sounded so warm or quite so open hearted...
Even though Waylon Jennings virtually disowned this album as a hoodwink job by RCA brass and some of these tracks were unfinished and others mere demos, Ladies Love Outlaws nonetheless has some very fine moments, including Jennings' version of "Delta Dawn," a fine emotionally wrought read of Hoyt Axton's "Never Been to Spain" (which Jennings claimed was never intended for release), and Mickey Newbury's "Frisco Depot" (one of the few tracks the singer considered complete). In addition, there's Ralph Mooney's (who plays pedal steel in this band) classic honky tonk anthem "Crazy Arms" and one of the reclusive Lee Clayton's best songs in the title track. Listeners also get a solid, moving duet version of "Under Your Spell Again," with Jessi Colter. These performances offer Jennings in deeply expressive terrain as a vocalist. He wrings emotion from songs rather than merely projecting them into a microphone, and his band, which includes bassist Norbert Putnam and drummer Kenny Butrey as well as guitarist Dave Kirby and pianist Hargus Robbins, turns the volume up a point or two and lends a slippery greasy hand to the entire proceeding. Ladies Love Outlaws is not a perfect Waylon album, but it's worth owning for the fact that while Jennings may have disliked the finished result, he proves to be no judge of his own work. In essence, this is the outlaw primer, and the beginning of the opening of the field.
As half of Sweden's foremost Balearic revivalists Studio, Dan Lissvik's already well known for poolside dance music that's more horizontally than vertically designed. But where Yearbook 1 and this year's remix collection Yearbook 2 found shape around the duo's bouncy, dub-infected rhythms, Lissvik's debut solo album 7 Trx + Intermission is, fittingly, more a one-man quest: a work intent on musically recreating a sense of beatific solitude.
Without vocals and with track numbers over titles, Lissvik foregoes Studio's emphasis on trance-clatter and repetition. In their place are rippling Factory Records guitars, the barest rhythms and a decidedly Eastern-influenced spiritualism, making for an album that nurtures the spare and serene. He draws shapes and symbols in the sand out of lean, serpentine guitars, each open to the listener's angle of sight. Without partner Rasmus Hägg's synth shading, Lissvik's imagery is fit more for the desert than the beach, designed around great clean spaces without people or moving things to distract, just sound and silence in an odd tandem.
Despite the emphasis on his ruminative side though, Lissvik hasn't completely neglected his band's taste for big-eyed joy. The album's longest excursion, "A3," shifts from boat holiday guitars into a breezy freeway spin atop hand drums and brawny bass, while "A4" makes easy Saturday night disco out of electronic piano and jaunty wood-cowbell rhythms, a kind of polyester anthem as cheap and delightfully fruitful as its opening chords suggest. "B2" best resembles Studio's knack for the hypnotic strut though; Lissvik filters quiet Eastern tones into a wanderer's dance jam, alternating the dim and contemplative with a more open-collared bass heavy approach.
But it's clear that Lissvik's relying on open-vista psychedelia to carry the mood for most of 7 Trx + Intermission. "A1" turns a Spanish guitar intro into a curtain parting for a Sergio Leone film—one of the tense train depot scenes before all hell breaks loose—while "A2" is dressed in enough vague mysticism and candle-lit ambience for an early Doors track. "B1" makes for a kind of mystical Bazaar interlude, swapping out Villalobos' ethnic playgrounding for more solitary spoils. Blending tropical bird noises and what sound like sampled hand-drum patterns into a calm morning alarm that might gently coax you from your sleep, it's "B3" that generates quite a spell for such short length.
For a member of a band that's always relied so heavily on the intoxication of repetition, this assured short-form design sometimes feels like a welcome new direction. After all: Yearbook 3 is probably still at least a year away. While we wait, Lissvik's solo debut marks not so much a holding pattern as a distraction well worth our winter attention on its own.
Monday, June 08, 2009
Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Although they weren't as boldly innovative as the Beatles or as popular as the Rolling Stones or the Who, the Kinks were one of the most influential bands of the British Invasion. Like most bands of their era, the Kinks began as an R&B/blues outfit. Within four years, the band had become the most staunchly English of all their contemporaries, drawing heavily from British music hall and traditional pop, as well as incorporating elements of country, folk, and blues.
Throughout their long, varied career, the core of the Kinks remained Ray (born June 21, 1944) and Dave Davies (born February 3, 1947), who were born and raised in Muswell Hill, London. In their teens, the brothers began playing skiffle and rock & roll. Soon, the brothers recruited a schoolmate of Ray's, Peter Quaife, to play with them; like the Davies brothers, Quaife played guitar, but he switched to bass. By the summer of 1963, the group had decided to call itself the Ravens and had recruited a new drummer, Mickey Willet. Eventually, their demo tape reached Shel Talmy, an American record producer who was under contract to Pye Records. Talmy helped the band land a contract with Pye in 1964. Before signing to the label, the Ravens replaced drummer Willet with Mick Avory.
The Ravens recorded their debut single, a cover of Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally," in January 1964. Before the single was released, the group changed their name to the Kinks. "Long Tall Sally" was released in February of 1964 and it failed to chart, as did their second single, "You Still Want Me." The band's third single, "You Really Got Me," was much noisier and dynamic, featuring a savage, fuzz-toned two-chord riff and a frenzied solo from Dave Davies. Not only was the final version the blueprint for the Kinks' early sound, but scores of groups used the heavy, power chords as a foundation. "You Really Got Me" reached number one within a month of its release; released on Reprise in the U.S., the single climbed into the Top Ten. "All Day and All of the Night," the group's fourth single, was released late in 1964 and it rose all the way to number two; in America, it hit number seven. During this time, the band also produced two full-length albums and several EPs.
Not only was the group recording at a breakneck pace, they were touring relentlessly, as well, which caused much tension within the band. At the conclusion of their summer 1965 American tour, the Kinks were banned from re-entering the United States by the American government for unspecified reasons. For four years, the Kinks were prohibited from returning to the U.S., which not only meant that the group was deprived of the world's largest music market, but that they were effectively cut off from the musical and social upheavals of the late '60s. Consequently, Ray Davies' songwriting grew more introspective and nostalgic, relying more on overtly English musical influences such as music hall, country, and English folk, than the rest of his British contemporaries. The Kinks' next album, The Kinks Kontroversy, demonstrated the progression in Davies' songwriting. "Sunny Afternoon" was one of Davies' wry social satires and the song was the biggest hit of the summer of 1966 in the U.K., reaching number one. "Sunny Afternoon" was a teaser for the band's great leap forward, Face to Face, a record that featured a vast array of musical styles. In May of 1967, they returned with "Waterloo Sunset," a ballad that reached number two in the U.K. in the spring of 1967. Released in the fall of 1967, Something Else continued the progressions of Face to Face. Despite the Kinks' musical growth, their chart performance was beginning to stagnate. Following the lackluster performance of Something Else, the Kinks rushed out a new single, "Autumn Almanac," which became another big U.K. hit for the band. Released in the spring of 1968, the Kinks' "Wonderboy" was the band's first single not to crack the Top Ten since "You Really Got Me." They recovered somewhat with "Days," but the band's commercial decline was evident by the lack of success of The Village Green Preservation Society.
Released in the fall of 1968, Village Green Preservation Society was the culmination of Ray Davies' increasingly nostalgic tendencies. While the album was unsuccessful, it was well received by critics, particularly in the U.S.
Peter Quaife soon grew tired of the band's lack of success, and he left the band by the end of the year, being replaced by John Dalton. In early 1969, the American ban upon the Kinks was lifted, leaving the band free to tour the U.S. for the first time in four years. Before they began the tour, the Kinks released Arthur (or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire). Like its two predecessors, Arthur contained distinctly British lyrical and musical themes, but it was a modest success. As they were recording the follow-up to Arthur, the Kinks expanded their lineup to include keyboardist John Gosling. The first appearance of Gosling on a Kinks record was "Lola." Featuring a harder rock foundation than their last few singles, "Lola" was a Top Ten hit in both the U.K. and the U.S. Released in the fall of 1970, Lola Versus Powerman and the Money-Go-Round, Part One was their most successful record since the mid-'60s in both the U.S. and U.K., helping the band become concert favorites in the U.S.
The band's contract with Pye/Reprise expired in early 1971, leaving the Kinks free to pursue a new record contract. By the end of 1971, the Kinks had secured a five-album deal with RCA Records, which brought them a million dollar advance. Released in late 1971, Muswell Hillbillies, the group's first album for RCA, marked a return to the nostalgia of the Kinks' late-'60s albums, only with more pronounced country and music hall influences. The album failed to be the commercial blockbuster RCA had hoped for. A few months after the release of Muswell Hillbillies, Reprise released a double-album compilation called The Kink Kronikles, which outsold their RCA debut. Everybody's in Showbiz (1973), a double-record set consisting of one album of studio tracks and another of live material, was a disappointment in the U.K., although the album was more successful in the U.S.
In 1973, Ray Davies composed a full-blown rock opera called Preservation. When the first installment of the opera finally appeared in late 1973, it was harshly criticized and given a cold reception from the public. Act 2 appeared in the summer of 1974; the sequel received worse treatment than its predecessor. Davies began another musical, Starmaker, for the BBC; the project eventually metamorphosed into Soap Opera, which was released in the spring of 1975. Despite poor reviews, Soap Opera was a more commercially successful record than its predecessor. In 1976, the Kinks recorded Davies' third straight rock opera, Schoolboys in Disgrace, which rocked harder than any album they released on RCA.
During 1976, the Kinks left RCA and signed with Arista Records. On Arista, the band refashioned themselves as a hard rock band. Bassist John Dalton left the group near the completion of their debut Arista album; he was replaced by Andy Pyle. Sleepwalker, the Kinks' first album for Arista, became a major hit in the U.S. As the band was completing the follow-up to Sleepwalker, Pyle left the group and was replaced by the returning Dalton. Misfits, the band's second Arista album, was also a U.S. success. After a British tour, Dalton left the band again, along with keyboardist John Gosling; bassist Jim Rodford and keyboardist Gordon Edwards filled the vacancies. Soon, the band was playing arenas in the United States. Even though punk rockers like the Jam and the Pretenders were covering Kinks songs in the late '70s, the group was becoming more blatantly commercial with each release, culminating in the heavy rock of Low Budget (1979), which became the group's biggest American success, peaking at number 11. The Kinks' next album, Give the People What They Want, appeared in late 1981; the record peaked at number 15 and went gold. For most of 1982, the band was on tour. In spring of 1983, "Come Dancing" became the group's biggest American hit since "Tired of Waiting for You," thanks to the video's repeated exposure on MTV; in the U.S., the song peaked at number six, in the U.K. it climbed to number 12. State of Confusion followed the release of "Come Dancing," and it was another success, peaking at number 12 in the U.S. For the remainder of 1983, Ray Davies worked on a film project, Return to Waterloo, which caused considerable tension between himself and his brother. Instead of breaking up, the Kinks merely reshuffled their lineup, but there was a major casualty: Mick Avory, the band's drummer for 20 years, was fired and replaced by Bob Henrit. As Ray finished post-production duties on Return to Waterloo, he wrote the next Kinks album, Word of Mouth. Released in late 1984, the album was similar in tone to the last few Kinks records, but it was a commercial disappointment and began a period of decline for the band; they never released another record that cracked the Top 40.
Word of Mouth was the last album they would record for Arista Records. In early 1986, the band signed with MCA Records in the U.S., London in the U.K. Think Visual, their first album for their new label, was released in late 1986. It was a mild success but there were no hit singles from the record. The following year, the Kinks released another live album, appropriately titled The Road, which spent a brief time on the charts. Two years later, the Kinks released their last studio record for MCA, UK Jive. During 1989, keyboardist Ian Gibbons left the band. The Kinks were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, but the induction did not help revive their career. In 1991, a compilation of their MCA records, Lost & Found (1986-1989), appeared, signalling that their contract with the label had expired. Later in the year, the band signed with Columbia Records and released an EP called Did Ya, which didn't chart. The Kinks' first album for Columbia, Phobia, arrived in 1993 to fair reviews but poor sales. By this time, only Ray and Dave Davies remained from the original lineup. In 1994, the band was dropped from Columbia Records, leaving the group to release the live To the Bone on an independent label in the U.K.; the band was left without a record label in the U.S.
Despite a lack of commercial success, the band's public profile began to rise in 1995, as the group was hailed as an influence on several of the most popular British bands of the decade, including Blur and Oasis. Ray Davies was soon on popular television shows again, acting as these band's godfather and promoting his autobiography, X-Ray, which was published in early 1995 in the U.K. Dave Davies' autobiography, Kink, was published in the spring of 1996.