Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Friday, July 28, 2006
Some of my best friends are Japanese (Boredom 2)...
Without a doubt, Japan is where it's at. Music, culture, fashion, robots, Miike, and little girl's underwear from vending machines. I mean, what more could one ask for?
This past Thursday was a big day from the far east for me, as Kidrobot's Dunny series 3 was released. If you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, Dunnys are 3 inch tall vinyl rabbit thingys created by a Japanese toy store owner, (who is one rich motherfucker now), that bring almost as much joy to my shriveled and blackened heart as music does, and the new batch is really something to behold. About 20 different artists and designers contributed their time and creative juices to the cause, and I was very pleased to obtain all but two in the box of twenty that I decided I could not live without. To ice the silly plastic toy cake, the fates smiled down on me when I opened the last box, (half the fun is they are all "blind" packaged, so you don't know which one you have until you open it), to reveal the highly coveted 1/100 ABE LINCOLN JUNIOR, which may be one of the most tasteless toys ever created. Lil' Abe has a bloody bullet hole smack between his eyes, and an exit wound that would make Gaspar Noe flinch.
So, not only can one get a nifty little art piece for about six bones, they are also a brilliant way to discover new artists. Jaime Hayon and Joe Ledbetter are some of my new faves, as well as some more familiar luminaries like Friends With You, (who's GENIUS Black Foot AKA Captain Bingo modular hand painted wood figure is one of my prized possessions), Blaine Fontana, and Alex Pardee, who does the most disturbing things possible with bunny rabbits.
Check these cats out, I promise your eyes'll be popping and you can sound totally down at the next dinner party you attend with all your newly learned hipster art speak.
Now, back to Japan...
I was inclined a while back to do a swell Jap-a-psych post, but Dirk over at Cities on Flame has not only done a bang up job of spreading the rising sun of love, he's actually been schooling me on some of the older stuff. Tip of the hat to him and head over for a good face melting.
So my next bright idea, being a big fan of all things Boris, was to drop sludgey science all over the joint with a Boris tribute, but NO!!! The newbie blog Cage Dream just posted almost everything our beloved trio has released. And by everything, I'm talking Pink, Feedbacker, Flood, Mabuta No Ura OST, Amplifier Worship, Heavy Rocks, Akuma No Uta, Dronevil Final Part I & II, The Thing which Salomon Overlooked I, II & III, PLUS Black, Implication Flooding with Keiji Haino, the three Merzbow colabs; Sun Baked Snow Cave, 04092001 & Megatone, and the split with Choukoku No Niwa. And again with the icing, Obacht! dropped Archive Vol.1: Live 96-98, Archive Vol.2: Drumless Shows, & Archive Vol.3: Two Long Songs in my comments. The password for the archive files is firstname.lastname@example.org, and they're connected, so you need to grab them all before it's Christmas morning, dig?
I have been awash in the drone ever since.
What can I possibly do to add to such an amazing act of cultural enrichment? How 'bout some import only Boredoms?
From Eye's solo side I give you Rebore 0 and a live DJ set from The Metro, Kyoto, Japan 3/25/01, a surprisingly mellow affair that gets played at least once a month around my house. Very essential.
Next up, four volumes from the genre frying Super Roots series, Super Roots 1, Super Roots 5, Super Roots 6 and, Super Roots 7. These plates help bridge the gap between the spaz core "Acid Police" days and the more Earth mother "Vision Creation New Sun" tip.
Wow 2 was almost a precursor to the whole Super Roots onslaught, one can almost imagine the groop sitting in the studio and attempting to record a "pop" album, then at the last minute, opting for a complete whiplash of Beefheartian mind fuck. This one tops my charts, as well.
Finally, right before the band morphed into their current incarnation, "Voordoms", (the V representing the stylus of a record player and the two O's or infinity symbol symbolizing Eye's DJ rig, they recorded Seadrum/House of Sun, the "Seadrum" half reportedly underwater. Wacky kids.
Well, dear readers, don't completely destroy your hearing, as my promised avant/free jazz mix is well in the works, and I'm considering a Ghost mega-post to round out the Japanese madness.
Oh yeah, the Boredoms stuff is on Megaupload, I can't stand the Rapidshare hour wait shit anymore. Click away...
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Silence, Ocampo, Underemployment, Boredom, etc...
Okay, okay, so it's been quite some time since I last posted, and I extend my deepest apologies. I've had equal parts too much and not enough on my hands these days, with a lot of distraction in between.
To put it mildly, I've been on a journey inward as of late, reading Dostoyevski's "The Double" and interpreting John Cage's "Silence", (snagged a 2nd edition for almost nothing, and, as far as overarching experimental texts go, is totally gear), and bouncing ideas for long form fiction around inside my troubled and troubling brain. Looks like Mr. A hit the nail an the head.
Another thing I've been struggling with is the apparent attack on album blogs lately and the subsequent and senseless postings of the same handful of records on different sites. I mean, c'mon, nobody listened to Jade Warrior thirty years ago and nobody wants to listen to them now. My intent has always been to bring you new things and, yes, I am grateful for those solitary sages who have turned me on to things I had never heard of before, regardless of how "sad" some people may view the whole sharity network thing.
In addition to all this, my good friend and little "sister" Chouette and I had an argument about a month ago about the merits and evils of album blogging. She being a promoter, (and behind the Beirut hub-bub. BUY IT!!!!), fails to see the benefit of free press and word of mouth buzz created by blogs like this. Needless to say, inner turmoil abounds.
Well, as things tend to go in this media saturated world of ours, I was pouring over the work of one of my favorite artists, Manuel Ocampo, when an old lesson occurred to me. Most great artist/revolutionaries/groundbreakers are often misunderstood in their day, (like, jeez, think about the SLA), and it takes awhile before the rest of the world wises up. So, fuck it, right?
To make up for your patience and well wishes, I'm more than doubling my usual offerings for this post, and have some tasty surprises in store for you soon. Namely, a couple handcrafted mixes of the avant jazz variety to help fill the gap left by the demise of Jazz Pour Tout. A new look is in the works as well as a donation button, being that I am a struggling artist/writer myself. Obviously I'd use the extra scratch to pick up new music to pass along to all of you, but I'm not gonna lie and say that some of said dough won't end up going to an even higher cause, my rent.
On with the show...
Brightblack Morning Light came out of nowhere this year with their opiated hippie soul psych out on Matador, creatively titled Brightblack Morning Light. I would have had the pleasure of catching them live a few weeks back if it wasn't for a female related meltdown compounded by a minor drug binge. Whatever, this album has me chanting along, crystal in hand before the first track is through, and I don't even buy into that kinda shit.
Before Ta Det Lugnt stopped the whole world in it's tracks, Gustav Ejstes had been getting his outre fusion tree hugging on for a long time, and 1999-2001 highlights some of Dungen's more free form Scandinavian freak out. After repeated listens, I dig this one way more than the more recent pop song oriented stuff.
In honor of This Heat's long awaited mail order only box set, I thought I'd drop the classic Repeat on you. Remixed and re-assembled from earlier works, the music on Repeat gives further depth to This Heat's unmistakable sound. You need this one.
Droning out of New Zealand, Birchville Cat Motel conjure up an eerie vibe on Chi Vampires, consisting of four really, really long pieces that'll put you in orbit. Perfect soundtrack to the end of any chemically indulgent night.
According to the Great Druid Julien Cope, Le Stelle di Mario Schifano is the closest European equivalent to the first VU records "multi-media experience anti-hippie freak out helmed by an acclaimed artist that had almost nothing to do with it save painting the cover art". The first track takes about five minutes to get rolling, but the second side is pure bliss. Time to get out those headphones, kiddies.
Function's Matt Nicholson has strung together one of the most unfocused yet wholly beautiful records that I've heard in a long time. The Secret Miracle Fountain was recorded with the help of thirty of his closest friends in over ten countries over several years, and it sounds like it. From lo-fi shoe gazing to glitched out folktronics, this one keeps bringing more to your head with every spin. Well worth the effort.
Finally, another tip of the hat to the now defunct JPT, perhaps my all time favorite skronking jazz classic, Pharoah Sanders' Tauhid. This slab has it all, and by all I mean Sonny Sharrock. If you don't have this, you haven't used your ears yet.
So that's that. Listen deeply, and next time I promise to ramble on a bit more about cultural interests before getting down to the tunes. And thanks to all who left a concerned comment, the love is definitely felt.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Bottled sunshine, by request...
As a reward for scoring a job at the Warhol, Ms. J finally gets her Tropicalia comp....
And I suppose I am getting a tiny bit excited about seeing Os Mutantes at the end of next month.
Psych-O-Tropic Uno *another handcrafted assemblage from me to all of you*
Monday, June 05, 2006
On the Devil's day...
Tomorrow morning, the first thing you all need to do to make your 06/06/06 worthwhile is to head to your fave independent record store and buy Bardo Pond's new record, Ticket Crystals. The next thing on your list, make way to wherever you buy or rent DVDs and get your hands on a copy of The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. That's right, Asia Argento's adaptation of JT Leroy's brutal semi-autobiographical account of growing up as the cross-dressing son of a trailer park whore has finally found distribution after almost two years. Go support art that makes a difference.
Speaking of, I watched Woody Allen's Match Point with Mon Chaton while she was in town over the last fortnight, and although I am not a fan of Allen's non-comedic work, he hit this one way out of the park. Scarlett Johansson is almost perfect, and the story/plot would fit alongside Hitchcock's best films. We also caught Art School Confidential, which was every bit as good as Ghost World, Terry Zwigoff & Dan Clowes previous collaboration.
Besides catching up with the Kitten, I also got a new job and have decided to move in with Cash Money at the end of this month, simultaneously increasing my income and slashing my bills in half. Movin' on up and shit.
Okay, kids. Here comes the good part...
Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice turn out records more often then some people shower, and Gipsy Freedom is not only their newest, but quite likely the most fully formed and alluring set to date. Free jazzer Daniel Carter punches the clock and adds some inspired reed-work, giving some weight to the whole swirling psych meritage. This record has spent a lot of time spinning around my place recently, especially in those creepy crawling hours after midnight.
The Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood have only one thing on their mind, and that's making yours melt. Somewhere between folk and Krautrock influenced freak outs, Animal Speak sticks to the inside of your skull and slowly starts moving things around to it's liking, leaving you with an odd feeling of displacement. This is one of their many CDR releases, and rumor has it that they will be putting out an official release soon. Keep your fingers crossed and watch your back.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Under the radar...
I promise I will get back to regular posting soon, I have been swamped over the past two weeks with many things.
In the meantime, go check out some stuff that I have found elsewhere and have been listening to lately...
Henri Texier - Varech via Whoops
OvO - Miastenia and The Ladies - They Mean Us both via Una Piel de Astracan
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
"It’s not where you take things from, it’s where you take them to..."
While on a mission to liberate a copy of the March 1968 issue of Avant Garde Magazine, (I'm working on the entire series, sparked by Mon Chaton giving me Issue #3 for X-Mas), I picked up the catalog for the 1965 MOMA show, The Responsive Eye. Although not what I was looking for, a very nice consolation prize. The show in question was a showcase of the then crystallizing Op-Art movement, which had been slowly gathering steam since the mid-30s.
What drew me in to the slim bookr is the Bridget Riley piece wrapped around the softcover. I've grown to admire Riley's work quite a bit ever since my introduction to her through the back of the Faust Tapes album cover. The interesting fact about Riley that sealed my fandom is that she first adapted her sterile, clean and emotionless style after a failed romance. Imagine being so devastated by the loss of love that for nearly a decade, all works produced were devoid of color and exhibited such a cold and calculated lack of feeling, while still filled with passion and able to evoke a response in the viewers mind and heart. The painting above, Fall (1963), is from the earliest of that period, and with the further understanding of the artist's world, we gain new insight into their works.
Riley believed that the art happened in the space between the canvas and the eye of the viewer, and across the Atlantic, a similar idea was beginning to gather force at the cinema...
Jean-Luc Godard had already made waves with the release of A Bout de Souffle in 1960, shocking audiences with it's as to for unseen editing techniques and self referencing. Godard was part of a movement in film that assumed it's audience to be intelligent enough to realize they were watching a series of still pictures, edited together to form a narrative. He rejected the Hollywood aesthetic of forcing the audience's reaction with dramatic pandering. Along with Truffaut's Les Quatre Cent Coups and Resnais' Hiroshima Mon Amore, A Bout de Souffle (Breathless) heralded the birth of the Nouvelle Vague, which reached it's most accessible peak with Godard's Bande A Part.
Equal parts comedy, drama and film noir, Bande A Part references not only itself and other films, but also pulls heavily from the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud, and the surrealist writings of Aragon and Andre Breton. Described by Godard as Alice in Wonderland meets Franz Kafka, and by his critics as a Godard film for those who don't care for Godard, I rewatched Bande A Part this weekend as a part of my black and white movie marathon. In the 5-7 years since I last saw this film, I must have gained quite a perspective, as I was glued to the screen this time through, and would probably now place it in my top 10 films, and favorite of Godard's work, period.
So what does all this have to do with the albums I'm about to post? Maybe the idea of action taking place between the performer and the audience fits the conceptual approach of the following artists like a glove...
First up is Italian slow core darlings Larsen, who's mysterious antics reach past the simple ideas of performer/audience separation all the way into the studio. Apparently, when underground Prince of Misery M. Gira first traveled to Europe to record Larsen's debut, the band chose to hide behind a white curtain during the entire process, cutting even the producer/label owner out of the clique. For their second album, Play, Larsen drew inspiration and melodic cues from the equally shrouded Brit avant electro duo Autechre. If anything could ever top Kronos Quartet covering Eno's Music for Airports, you are about to hear it.
Blowing in on the Norwegian winds is death free jazz anti "group" Supersilent. Originaly conceived as a once off improv during the 1997 Bergen Jazz Festival, Supersilent continued to push boundaries with their second release, entitled simply, 4. This record, as all of their efforts, foregoes any titles to alleviate the listener of preconceptions. Also true to form, 4 is compiled from hours and hours of live tape with minimal overdubs, as the band never "writes or practices" songs, or even speaks a word to one another outside performances.
Finally, I give you the master of treated guitar, Christian Fennesz, and his most recent effort, Venice. The long awaited follow up to his break through Endless Summer, Fennesz slyly continues to hint at melody, while briefly joined on his sojourn by David Sylvan, which may be the greatest pairing since Fripp and Eno. This record will wash over you like a half remembered dream several times before making a full appearance in waking consciousness. Allow time for full effect to take hold.
SPECIAL BONUS RECORD FROM MR. A...
Paik - Monster of the Absolute
Paik's most recent record builds on Satin Black's strengths in song/suite dynamic build. Highly recomended.
Friday, May 19, 2006
I use this space to yammer on endlessly about myself all the time. Now it's your turn. As the counter on the bottom right hand side of the page has gotten closer and closer to ten large, I've grown curious about my readers.
Here's my solution...
It'll take 10 seconds of your time, and it will satisfy my questions about the who, where, and why. So, copy and paste the short questionnaire that follows onto a comment page and fill that sucker out. Grazie.
1. boy or girl?
4. fave upload so far?
5. fave post (topic) so far?
6. name 3 black & white films
7. Bowie or T.Rex?
8. 1 record you would like to see uploaded here
9. do you ever visit the non-music related links on my list?
10. am I sexy or what?
Ever wonder what US Maple would sound like if the lead singer was suicidal instead of sleazy? I'll bet you anything they'd sound a lot like The Dead Science. Frost Giant is their third record and the first I had heard of them. This one took me by surprise and held my attention for awhile when it came out late last year. Half pseudo-freeform improv dissolve and disillusion, half heart-swollen torch song + guitar bombast, this set slithers on it's belly then swings wide, a drunken glare fixed upon the face of desperation. I like this band so much I'll even forgive the fact that two members moonlight with Xiu Xiu. Ouch!
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Obscured by leaves...
After mentioning the FM3 Buddha Machine a few posts back, I began to covet said micro meditative sound object. Fortunately for me, my favorite local record store happened to have one left in stock, which I gladly purchased for $25 this very afternoon.
Since then, I have grown quite enamored with my pocket sized green plastic portable media installation. I spent a good hour at the coffee shop, offering it over to friends and strangers alike, allowing them to discover the cold ambient charm for themselves, while taking notes on the variety of responses. At least half who held the FM3 with their own hands inquired as to where it could be purchased, restoring my belief in the abilities of art and concept to open eyes wide with wonder still, even in the simplest of forms.
It has already begun to slowly change my life.
In similar thought, Markus & Eri Popp, (of Oval and Microstoria), commenced their project So in 2002, and the music heard on their debut is considered unfinished still. Drawing from and reworking song cycles out of Eri's archives, Makus worked his bit-smoldering, hallucinogenic oval process on the warm organic tones of her soft, sensual voice and acoustic guitar textures. The two collaborators continued working on the files until FedEx showed up for the CDR, recording new vocal and guitar parts directly into their PowerBook's internal mic up to the last minute.
To continue the concept, Markus & Eri decided to build a completely customized So Fi-PA-system, that consisted of two Triode amplifiers based on ancient schematics, rated at 6-8 Watts each, as well as a set of homemade broadband speakers created with 1950s movie theater speakers, using an empty bottle as a quasi-backloaded Tractrix (Spherical) horn and mounted in plain cardboard boxes. The sound created was strange and fragile, and the details to replicate the system are apparently available for those interested.
In the Garden of Eaten...
The house I live in was built in 1925. I occupy the second floor, a tiny, one bedroom with character to spare. It is far from perfect, but in a sense, perfect for my needs. Double-doors open the livingroom to the front and allow access to my balcony, which overlooks a rather large front yard. Ever since I moved in last September, I've wanted to put that yard to good use, specifically, with a Sunday afternoon game of croquet. This Sunday, my wish will be granted.
Now, mind you, no simple, casual game will do. Not for me, nor my friends. This Sunday's match will be to the death, a tiered tournament 'till the last ball-smacker stands proud, golden mallet thrust high in the springtime sun. A champion.
For extra entertainment/humor/ridiculousness, I've decided there will also be a best dressed award given to the player with the most creative and/or appropriate attire. DJ Air France will be couture judge. Being French, I assumed she would be the most qualified for such a lofty title.
You have no idea how excited I am, in 76 hours, I will be on that balcony, looking down at my friends, drinking mojitoes, dressed like Victorian socialites, characters from Heathers and Alice in Wonderland, all playing a ruthless, bloody CROQUET DEATH MATCH!!!
In keeping with the high spirits I am currently in, I'm dropping some jazz science on y'all today...
Meet Mr. Joe McPhee, cult figure and tenor sax monster, McPhee and his quintet + cut the three tracks on Nation Time live in 1970, which was released the following year on CjR records, (dusty finger alert: if you find the original, buy that fucker, 'cause nobody else has it. For real). This is a serious heavy heavy heavy jazz funk beast, I promise you won't find anything that smokes as much, or gets your ass to shaking this hard. The centerpiece stomper Shakey Jake is a reckless, organ driven free funk freak out that has yet to be matched.
While I'm at it, Nothing Is would be my all time favorite Sun Ra joint. Recorded at various NY state college shows in 1966 and released on ESP in 1970, Sun Ra and his Arkestra pack the tight black grooves on this piece of vinyl with the exuberance and mysticism that made him infamous. Dancing Shadows explodes out of your cones and takes this one off like a non stop flight to Saturn, and if the ominous and hypnotic Exotic Forest and Shadow World don't make you a believer, than your soul is lost forever, man.
As usual, headphones are recommended,