Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kreng - Grimoire (Miasmah, 2011)

I've been back on a classical kick lately, scouring thrift stores for original Deutsch Grammofon vinyl and watching those lovely yellow spines amass on my record shelf. This always makes me feel like I'm better off, like I'm not as dumb as I think I am. Classical music may not make you smarter, but it certainly makes you think in a more civilized manner.

As is typically the case, I begin to seek out the darkest and most somber pieces I can find. In the process, I stumbled across this modern artist. Pepijn Caudron is a dark soul who composes lovely yet disturbed and minimal neo-classical chamber music that sounds like the march toward the gallows, or better still, the auto-da-fe.

With twisted elegance, he melds these cultured sounds with a cursed underbelly reminiscent of the Marquis de Sade. With titles like 'Girl in a Fishtank' and 'La Poule Noire', one can surmise a very unfortunate fate for the characters in Kreng's narrative.

Within these classical parameters, who incorporates mimimal noise bordering on industrial akin to the methods of Phillip Jeck or even Deaf Center. This is creppy crawly music of the highest magnitude. Highly recommended.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lightnin' Hopkins - Blue Lightnin' (Jewel, 1965)

The early 60's was a strange time for Brother Hopkins. As sales and interest fell off for this original gangster, he watered things down a bit to appeal to the hippie/college kid/folk audience. This move toward accessibility put a dent in his cred. Luckily, he rebounded in 1965 with these sessions for Stan Lewis' Jewel logo.

I've always been partial to the Texas juke joint blues, and Hopkins' famous "E shuffle sound" worked the guitar to create a sound that was slightly brighter than the forlorn one of the Delta or the amphetamine style of Chicago.

'Move on Out' and a particularly down and dark 'Back Door Friend' are the bruisers here. A great young band shines on this album while Elmore Nixon, another Houston great, plays piano on several cuts.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pop. 1280 - The Horror (Sacred Bones, 2012)

Pop. 1280 is New York no wave band paying tribute to New York now wave bands in 1980. They also happen to be just as dismal as the Jim Thompson crime novel they take their name from. This is a great no frills band. All that's left to say is that they love The Birthday Party, Jesus Lizard, Chrome and Sonic Youth. Enjoy.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Ulrich Schnauss and Jonas Munk - S/T (Pedigree Cuts, 2010)

Since 2001, this enigmatic German producer has been keeping me interested in progressive Shoegaze concepts. Many people are emulating these 90's ideals that we all love but he's one of the few that herald the banner properly. Several records into his discography, there is this from last year; a collaboration that encompasses the entire Shoegaze aesthetic but in a minimal fashion. Alongside Danish Dream Pop producer extraordinaire, Jonas Munk (of Manual), he might have made his boldest and most mature statement yet. This is beautiful music for any occasion.

The guitars on the record are mainly the Fender based including Jonas’s slim line Telecaster and his moded Jazzmaster. Guitars when amped where recorded through a Fender Twin. Ulrich’s synth palette include, for the 70’s influenced tracks, the CP80 and the Korg PS3200 and for the 80’s and 90’s inspired tracks he chose the polyphonic Oberheim OB8 and Oberheim OBX for the basis of the tracks.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Four Tet - Live in Copenhagen 30 March 2004 (Domino, 2004)

Kieran Hebden is immensely talented. His innovation in live electronic experimentation is the best I've ever heard. As I've seen him do this live, on this Rounds tour in particular, this recording speaks volumes to me. I'm not sure how well it will translate to someone who didn't see him in this phase but its worth checking out.

Taking his already brilliant album material and mixing up the samples sounds simple. Some might even scoff, but he is a master of found percussion and loops therefore the result is very exciting. There are smooth and beautiful passages interspersed with highly intelligent controlled chaos.

For my money, this guy is the most interesting person you'll ever see standing in front of two laptops and a table full of effects. Its no accident that Domino chose to release this particular performance, as Live in Copenhagen gives it the connotation of 60's jazz giants. Give it a go.

The Domino released exclusive CDr has been gone for years so don't hesitate to snag the files.

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Don Cherry - Complete Communion (Blue Note, 1966)

Don Cherry's cornet is legendary. Ornette Coleman's work would not have been the same without Cherry's asset to a few albums. This is an essential record and I'll give you two reasons why:

1. Don Cherry as bandleader. Always standing in the shadows, Cherry must of been working on his own brand of free jazz. Coleman abandoned chord centers opting for very melodic jazz, whereas Coltrane stuck with the chords, tearing the world asunder. Cherry decided just to dodge all this and progress without a formula. What resulted here was a light and airy stress-free communication. Incorporating Eddie Blackwell was his best decision, as he was the most light-handed drummer of the time. Most everyone else was still into the post-bop aggression.

2. And on sax, ladies and gentleman, Gato Barbieri? Yes, the same, the one you know as a heavy hitter of latin jazz. What a pleasure it is to hear him wailing on some free melodic licks.

And the great Henry Grimes is just a given. I lost Cherry after around '72, but he spun solidly crafted material prior to that.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dr Who Dat? - Beat Journey (Lex, 2006)

This is the alter ego of Jneiro Jarel from Shape of Broad Minds. His previous solo material is more Delia Derbyshire-centric, but here he moves into heavy baselines, sweet soulful melodies, and Jazz & Afro-Brazilian Fusion, creating an individualized retro-futurist and sedating hip hop sound.

In the Flying Lotus vein, without all the schizophrenic wonky business.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

DJ Screw - 3 'n the Mornin' Pt. 1 and 2 (Bigtyme Recordz,1995-96)

Robert Earl "DJ Screw" Davis, Jr. was a Houston, Texas (or "Screwston" as its now often referred to) hip-hop DJ and "The Originator" of the Chopped and Screwed technique.

Davis was recognized for his hundreds of mixtapes, slowing down the basic tracks of popular national and regional songs, so that they would meld with his love for the purple drank, a habit that unfortunately caught up with him too early, dying of a codeine overdose at 29 years old.

Slow ya Roll right HERE

Monday, February 6, 2012

Boxhead Ensemble - Dutch Harbor: Where the Sea Breaks its Back (Atavistic, 1997)

Boxhead Ensemble was originally begun as a collective supporting the score for the documentary "Dutch Harbor: Where the Sea Breaks its Back".

"Dutch Harbor is one of the largest fishing ports in the United States, located on the small remote island of Unalaska, part of the Aleutian Island chain. Trawlers each day head to sea to fish in the oceans off the Pacific Northwest or up into the Bering Sea some 300 miles away. This documentary is the story of the small town where Dutch Harbor is located and the men and women who call Unalaska and the sea their home. This 80-minute film, shot in black-and-white, shows a village in transition, from a remote place on the earth to one of the most active international commercial-fishing communities. Stunning photography and an equally captivating soundtrack brings together the story of these people who live on the western shores of Alaska." ~ Forrest Spencer, Rovi

Its one of the most moving films ever made. Naturally, it wasn't well received in the states but was adored in Europe. That accepting market caused the musicians to travel there to perform further live improvised film screenings. The best moments of that tour are presented on The Last Place to Go.

Line-up includes:

Mick Turner
Jim White
Will Oldham
Edith Frost
Fred Lonberg-Holm
Ken Vandermark
Michael Krassner
Charles Kim
Julie Pomerleau

Impressive, huh? The bulk of Chicago's avant garde scene alongside two of The Dirty Three. Not too shabby.

I've never heard better relaxing yet somber improvisational music.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Ufomammut - Lucifer Songs (Rocket Recordings, 2005)

Psych out with your balls out with this monolithic band. Ufomammut is a long-running experimental metal band hailing from Italy. This is not mellow music. Be ready for the darker trip. Loud, hard, brutal, acid. Dig.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Starting a record label is time consuming...

So, here goes nothing. A friend and I are starting a record label focused on local (Asheville, NC) experimental music. If I'm not as frequently posting, pleases excuse me. Soon, we'll be releasing a split 7" with these two:

And we'll simultaneously be releasing a full-length cassette from this fine gentleman:

If you are interested in hearing more, the rest of the label roster has tracks posted HERE

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