Monday, December 31

December 31, 2018 - Takehisa Kosugi - Mano Dharma '74 (1975)

This is a long haul electronic journey from Takehisa Kosugi (RIP, Subarashī sakkyokka) The music speaks for itself, I can't begin to put it into English. I find it fascinating and magical.

Well...the video has lots of kissing, so it must be make-out music? Appropriate stuff for New Years Eve, right? Have fun!

I hope everyone had a nice year. Thank you for tuning in, I appreciate it.

Happy 2019! I hope we will end homelessness, be peaceful in the world, and send the orange idiot to a place where the clothes match his hair. Bye!

Akemashiteomedetōgozaimasu !!!
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December 30, 2018 Music From Bandcamp #52

Bandcamp Manilow

1) Disunited States - Jah Warrior (London, UK)

True dat.

2) Prelude and Fugue in C, BWV 553/Bach - Zagreb Guitar Quartet (Zagreb, Croatia)

Ahhh. the synapses are happy.

3) A1 - P I L O O T (Brussels, Belgium)

The mind is free to travel about the cabin.

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December 29, 2018 - Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Mladic (2012)

With his arms upstretched, okay...can you get her? Do you see her? Shoot. Hang on...

I imagine that these are the words of a crew that eventually rescue Pandora, who had fallen down a well. She thanks everyone by opening her box, and all evil pours out into the world. Why did she do it? Godspeed You! Black Emperor only knows.

Mladic is War of the Worlds music. It is a slow-building, intensely burning, slice of sonic mayhem. Initially, bass and violins and tape loops join together for a bedrock layer. Guitar comes in, along with droning tones, points of high-pitched slide guitars, various modulated sounds. It is a spellbinding ascension.

A first plateau is achieved around 4:00. Shakers and vibrations. Low hums. Is an army approaching?The volume builds again, and by 5:30 I think we should take cover. Whoa, this is some terrifying music. At 6:40, a lone guitar soldier bashes down the door and sweeps the room. We are only 1/3 of the way through the recording.

Drums are in our face at 7:00, at 7:23 they have set up a command post. Rockets red glare, thunder and lightning. It's an all-out assault on our eardrums!

8:50 is the moment of truth. Fight or flight...(I fled to the safety of my blanket on the sofa minutes ago). A fire-breathing dragon howls down upon us, burning everything in sight. Make it stop!

New tactics and weaponry are brought in after 11:00. The drums continue relentlessly. The tempo downshifts at 12:41, we are 2/3 of the way through.

Make way for the Black Emperor. You are defeated. Everyone bows down at 14:21. We surrender.

14:49! Holy ---! Buildings are pounded into dust. We stand by and await our destiny, there is no end in sight. Finally, at 18:45 we receive the first orders from the conquering worms. "You will be allowed to set up a market, where you may sell your wares, such as pots and tin cups." Thank you, oh glorious rulers!

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December 27, 2018 - Harlem River Drive - Broken Home (1971)

Broken Home starts up like something Lalo Schifrin might have created for a Dirty Harry soundtrack - electric piano, guitar, cymbals, saxophone, the grit and grime of an urban landscape slowly coming into focus. But this isn't a movie, it's a reality that Eddie Palmieri witnessed, and he turned his thoughts about it into a powerful social statement called Harlem River Drive. You can read more about it here. And here.

Jimmy Norman on lead vocals at 1:53 (Wow, he sang a few tunes with Jimi Hendrix in 1966, and met a young Bob Marley in 1968). The song documents the inner city experience, the unspeakable conditions that children and parents suffer through - a crib was just a playground for a rat, the pushers ran the sidewalks, the feelings of confusion and helplessness: Where do we go from here? When do we leave? Or do we stay?

The music provides a gloomy backdrop, sprinkling notes like grey rain on broken shards of glass, hitting the walls of dead end alleys, shadows and sirens, cracked playgrounds.

The narration ends at 6:30 but the life never ends. The music gives us an additional four minutes of reflection, coming down a bit but still getting the point across. It wants us to feel uneasy, visualize the loneliness, and the hardship. Count your blessings.

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Saturday, December 29

December 25, 2018 - Stuart Dempster - Morning Light (1995)

Morning Light is from Stuart Dempster's album, Underground Overlays From The Cistern Chapel.

Please click on the link for more information about this fascinating work. Have a lovely day.

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December 22, 2018 Music From Bandcamp #51

Area 51

1) Easy Afternoon - Innovative Landscapes Laboratory (Wroclaw, Poland)

Wow, I really like this. The dog is barking, people are enjoying the afternoon, but it's about time to get ready for the evening. I love the sparkling tones and low hum.

2) Can I Get A Light - Adam & Kizzie (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

This one is great as well. Nice production, cool beat. Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. In the light...everybody needs the light. Excellent vocals.

3) BaloFlash - Billy Candanga & his Dirty Comets (El Calafate, Argentina)

Short and catchy, drum machine, electronic sounds. According to the writers, this is "the single of the album. Its a about a bunch of losers who lost the government of Argentina by his stupidity."

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December 23, 2018 - Amon Düül II - Hawknose Harlequin (1972)

One final dip in the cosmic ocean of early 70s German music. After the abstract concepts of Faust and the Autobahn journey with Neu!, it's back to straightforward space rock with Amon Düül II.

Hawknose Harlequin is the final track on the Carnival in Babylon album. It begins with low end bass thumps. Guitars, flute, violin, and drums slowly awaken as we sit by a fireside and listen to the storyteller:

I heard about
A place they call Blind Square
In the middle
Of prophesied land
Surrounded by
A wall of mirrors
Two hundred feet high
And transparent...............

The storyteller finishes at 3:30 and vanishes. We begin to feel strange. We look around and at 3:57 find ourselves in a cold, dark room. Where are we? An electric guitar starts soloing at 4:27, which sends us wandering about, looking for an exit.

At after what feels like forever, at 6:50 the music fades out and the walls suddenly vanish into nothing. A new musical passage gently reveals itself and we discover ourselves out a on a grassy plain, warm air carrying us up and away among the puffy clouds. I love this glorious final section, a musical reincarnation.

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Friday, December 28

December 21, 2018 - Neu! - Negativland (1972)

A jackhammer sends rocks scattering all about and the poor tuba player from yesterday's marching band is struggling to get back in formation. Neu! puts up a sign: WARNUNG: Du solltest besser zurückgehen, wenn du weißt, was gut für dich ist (WARNING: you had best go back if you know what's good for you). The band turn around wisely and head off down the road.

The electric tone that starts up at 0:17 is a shamisen. It was heavily processed to give it that whooshing phaser sound. Welcome to Negativland. The construction project has ended and the road is now open to traffic. At 0:40, a motorik drum and bass vehicle cruises across a Tron-like system of opposite colors, racing along curves that twist and flange through other dimensions.

The journey is nice and smooth for now, the vehicle leans into the contours of the road, the fabric of space and time moving it along effortlessly. There are a few bumps around 3:20, obviously a section of the highway that is need of improvement.

The vehicle stops at a roadside store for refueling. The attendant fills the tank with a special mix and at 4:20 the vehicle has suddenly doubled its speed. Wow, look at that S car go! It flies down the road, making excellent time.

Uh-oh, I guess the fuel burns fast, for at 4:55 the car has to pull over again. Might as well fill it with regular this time. Back on the road at 5:17, takin it easy. Things are smooth as silk after 6:20, humming along gently, passing over hills and into valleys.

Whoa, at 8:00 the little vehicle is suddenly barreling down a very steep slope, heading for some sort of finish line, looks like it's about to lose control, but it manages to hang on and reach the end of Negativland.

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Thursday, December 27

December 19, 2018 - Faust - Why Don't You Eat Carrots? (1971)

Dave O - "Well this is a question my mom always asked me. Damn it, I just never liked cooked carrots, especially when they had that damn brown sugar on it. I said Look Mom I don't want these damn stinking carrots!"

Like my friend Dave, I also have never cultivated a taste for cooked carrots. I like raw carrots. I do not like carrot cake. Cake is a dessert, no vegetables should be allowed near it. I sincerely hope there's no such thing as broccoli cake.

Why Don't You Eat Carrots is the first track on Faust's incredible first album. It starts up like a radio with major transmission issues. It's a blizzard of static. Listen closely and you will hear bits of Satisfaction and All You Need Is Love crackle across the power lines and off into the ether. After 1:00, a voice can be heard yelling and then someone begins to play the piano. At 1:30 we are suddenly whisked off to a marching band rehearsal. What time is the big game, folks?

Wrong question. At 2:30 we are surrounded by ghostly authority figures with quivering wrong way voices that say we must show the marching band some respect or leave the gymnasium. OK, we promise. They give us another chance and at 2:55 the marching band resumes playing. "Lovely band," we say.

They play along until 4:10, when a lone trumpet suddenly breaks loose and begins to taunt us. It's joined by a distorted guitar and drums, playing an insane melody. As they play, we are bombarded with screeching, belching, gurgling, howling electronic effects. 

We cower against the wall, wondering what nightmare is taking place. All is revealed to us at 4:51:

Slow goes the goose
You see me shoes on your mirror mind
Quick goes the trick
I ask your sick sailing sailors blind
I travel into the tongue
Ready to drop ding dong is handsome top

Oh, yes, that all makes sense. Thank you. How long are you going to subject us to your crazy music and terrifying hound of the baskervilles noises?

Some laughs at 7:30. I get it now, one big joke on Dave and I because we don't eat carrots, is that it? Well, thanks a lot, Faust. A man and woman speak to each other. "I think these young men are ready to eat carrots now, right fellas?"

Sure, we say. "Liars!!" The craziness is back at 7:58. But it's struggling to maintain its form. The piano comes back in briefly, and some sort of ocean liner waits offshore. It all finally comes to an end, and we are left wondering what just happened...and still not eating carrots.

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Wednesday, December 26

December 16, 2018 Music From Bandcamp #50

50 ways to leave it to beaver

1) Winter In California - Sotra (Los Angeles, California)

This song is from a collection by Arborglyph Records, so I'm not entirely sure if the artist is Sotra or if they are from LA. No matter. I like the echo vocals, the simple guitar. High plains, lonesome prairie.

2) Keepsake - Renmei (Bradford On Avon, UK)

Electronic music. Percolating synths, long drag synth pads. Nice driving through the countryside music.

3) Born and Bread - Gruel (Birmingham, UK)

I like this song, it reminds me of Breakin the Law and Rage Against the Machine. Major riffing.

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