Friday, September 29, 2006
Obviously Beefheart's later work is lightyears removed from his early work. Shiny Beast is way more accessible than I expected from listening to Trout mask Replica, which is arguably a brilliant record, but which I've always found difficult to sit through. Next up, his last record before he disappeared into the Mojave desert, Ice Cream for Crow.
Nevertheless I just have to post this one, because it's a truly gripping record that gets under your skin and stays there.
I haven't found out much about Philippe Doray, except that he got drafted as synthplayer in Thierry Muller's Illitch for a while, and that an orginal of this album fetches about 180$, which is, I must admit, a fair price for such an incredible record (of course I'd be delighted if someone had the brains to reissue this on cd, but if I had the money, I would buy it without hesitation).
The music is a bit difficult to describe because it's pretty diverse. Doray delves, as you can deduce from the title, into industrial sonics, but there are also a lot influences of pop music, free jazz, funk and new wave on Nouveaux Modes Industrielles and the sound of the beatboxes and synths is pretty amazing for that time (it was released in 1977). I guess you could call it perverted pop music, because it's as if Doray made a normal pop record and then decided to fuck it up real good.
He sings quite a lot but his voice is sometimes warped into a sort of nagging screech, which makes it all sound pretty dirty and unhealthy, like a Captain Beefheart who has gone electronic. When his voice is not treated he sounds pretty arty, but that doesn't disturb a bit. A possible reference, though still pretty far removed, could be Cluster's Zuckerzeit, if that record had vocals on it, but the electronics are far less rhythmical, more freeform. Amazing record, though incredibly hard to find, even through the usual channels. Recommendation of the week.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Me personally (but that could be a K-Punk-reading related syndrome) I'm reminded most of Ultravox and John Foxx, but ultimately Junior Boys always sound so much warmer. The immaculate Kraftwerk of Man Machine is somewhere in there too and on some tracks it is almost Metro Area with vocals, an even more minimal version of Kelly Polar. For a brief moment the shadow of Brian Eno's future pop records is looming and by now you know that there's even a Sinatra-cover on So This is Goodbye.
Not that it matters or disturbs. As all truly great artists they take elements from a wide range of influences and create something new and undiscovered out of it, celebrating instead of emulating their shining examples. Add to this Jeremy Greenspan's voice, that sounds as if it's been designed especially for this kind of instrumental backdrop and you have a superbly crafted collection of timeless electronic popsongs that's oozing future nostalgia like there ain't no tomorrow.
Sublime! Magical! Da real shit! That kind of record.
A quick internet check revealed that there are already three epsiodes available in Dockstader's Aerial series. But the first one is already pretty impressive. It is the ideal soundtrack (or sound environment) for nocturnal listening. Actually, it does even more: it reveals the endless and ever restless night behind all hidden realities, sounding eerie and familiar at the same time.
Like The Hafler Trio Dockstader is a true soundcatcher, erecting small mementoes, small signs in the wilderness of thought and time, for concrete sounds and residual environmental noise that we all have forgotten about or stopped noticing a long time ago, because they have become part of the soundlibrary of our post-industrial subconscious.
Even after the first (plucking these sounds from the air and committing them to tape, already creating possible bias through modes and method of the recording) and second (structuring the sounds into meaningful narratives) processing rounds, he succeeds in conveying their constantly lingering atavastic vibrations, a white noise reflection of your immediate sound ecology, altered onto a point of unrecognizability, a sonic Babel transformed into music.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Strange too that Dick is also used as an abbreviation for Richard, don't you think? Or am I being too Dickian here?
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Much better are Rome's new arrivals, Modern Heads. Both the Gliding and Paper Toys e.p.'s contain exquisite minimal that, at times, borders on (yes!) neo-trance. Over at My Space you can stream some of their songs.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Various Production - The World Is Gone [XL, 2006]
Would-be mix-up of folk and sub-bass (dubstep, that is). The two genres are given a little too much of their own personal space, so a real co-fusion fails to occur. If you like Massive Attack (who doesn’t?) and Tricky’s early cd’s, you might want to give this a try. The record is pretty versatile, so I guess everyone is going to find the song that suits him/her. I know for one thing that I’m going to be able to listen to ‘Hater’ in a few years time and not be disappointed. Could be a stayer, could be not.
Vangelis - Beaubourg [Windham Hill, 1979]
Oh man! Forever soiling my brand new boots in the process, I waded hopelessly through the dreaded Endless Plains of Shit before reaching the first oasis in Vangelis’s discography. Blade Runner you obviously know, but this may be his next best piece. It's certainly his most atonal. Beaubourg consists of nothing more than two long suites full of cosmic wizardry that don’t really go anywhere peculiar. But while you’re there, it’s pure bliss. As much as I do not begrudge the man the limitless piles of money he’s made by setting new standards of bombast for the Hollywood soundtrack industry, it made me nonetheless wonder what Evanghelos Odyssey Papathanassiou could have achieved if only he’d spend his time making this kind of records.
The Emperor Machine - Vertical Tones & Horizontal Noise [DC, 2006]
The new long-player by Andrew Meecham is another crazy journey into a whirling vortex of musical styles. You can hear influences from psychedelics and Krautmotorik, large chunks of library music and rare groove and way-out-there disco and slo-mo electro. Not as immediately gripping as its predecessor but still easily one of the best records you can buy yourself this year. Those who think that Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas are too cheesy and want something with a little more cojones, this is the one.
Lindstrøm - Fast & Delirious [Feedelity, 2003/2006]
Drawn from the recently reissued Feedelity 000, this is the Lindstrøm I like most. Stomping electro groove, no-worries kind of atmosphere, cheese tightly reined in, very musical and full of pointillistic detail, yet entrancing. The perfect Sunday morning house record.
Ican - A Quien [Planet E, 2006]
Kind of an old-fashioned record for Planet E. This four-tracker actually reminds more of the kind of techno that Derrick May might be caning. The summer party screaming titletrack has the feel of Derrick Carter’s Latino-techno classic ‘Theme from Blue Cucaracha’, which ain’t too bad as a reference. The other tracks continue much in the same vein. No real surprises but a return to pure dancefloor technofun.
Akabu - Phuturebound (Âme Remix) [Z, 2006]
Everybody’s screaming about Âme these days and with remixes for Rodamaal and this scorcher for Joey Negro’s Z-label you can’t but agree. Sounding contemporary as hell, it steals a little bit from every evolution in electronic dance from the last 20 years and comes up with a sparkling, jubilant house classic. Âme rule!
Digital Mystikz - Conference (Hand Drum Jam) [Souljazz, 2006]
I’m busy convincing the world that these guys (not Burial!) are currently thee shit of shits. ‘Conference’, drawn from one of their recent singles on Soul Jazz, is a perfect little dance number. Shaolin violins, tight percussion and some deep bass, no more ingredients needed. Functional it may sound, it is also pretty awesome. Drumpower dynamics at its best.
Mental Cube - Q [Debut, 1990]
From the latest incarnations of postrave we continue with this classic from the guys who later became known to the world as The Future Sound Of London. ‘Q’’s blissful melodies are not that far removed from the first FSOL tracks and the general ecstatic feel takes me back to the endless sounding hedonistic dance music that flooded out of the UK in the late eighties/early nineties, right before the Artificial Intelligence brigade took things over. Takes you back, and that’s never a bad thing.
Laraaji & Brian Eno - Ambient 3: Day of Radiance [E'G, 1980]
I was really quite astonished when I heard this. Brian Eno going Philip Glass in the Land of The Rising Sun? Something like that, in any case, because, since he’s only mentioned as a producer, the maestro’s musical role is not too clear. Hypnotizing, magical and essential, whoever made it.
Justin Timberlake - What Goes Around [Jive, 2006]
I think it is fitting that, with all the producing power and studio trickery that has been unleashed upon Justin Timberlake’s sophomore album, it is the rather traditional (with that I mean it screams STEVIE WONDER! and MICHAEL JACKSON!) tearjerker-cum-Spanish-guitars ‘What Goes Around’ that stays with you after a few listenings. Cruel irony, then, that it’s when he’s obviously slagging off Britney (a bit like flogging a dead horse, innit?), that you sense that, for once, he’s actually serious about what he’s singing. Which is a bit sad and gives Motherfuckin’ Justin a vulnerable human touch, after all. “Take it to the chorus!”, then?
Royal Trux – Fear Strikes Out [Virgin, 1995]
I’ve only yesterday discovered the radical new world that is Twin Infinitives, so you will forgive me for including this très Rolling Stones sounding straight little rock number from 1995’s Thank You album. Call it the feared Twin Infinitives Backlash. Hennema’s even more très horny-in-a-dirty-way vocals do it for me on this one. The album as a whole rocks too. And now I’m back off to the everlasting task of unravelling the mysteries of Twin Infinities.
Ash Ra Tempel - Schwingungen [Ohr, 1972]
Join Inn and Inventions for Electric Guitar contain some brilliant music but this the best record I’ve heard up till now from the Ash Ra discography. One of the unmistakable high points of kosmische rock. Thanks to Krautrock-co-conspirator Son of the Silent Age for the tip.
Richard Youngs - The Naive Shaman [Jagjawuar, 2005]
As usual the thirteenth record is the one that surprised me this week. From what I’d read about Youngs I imagined him to be another droning guitar man. But what I didn’t know is that he actually sings the whole of the time. His voice you’re gonna hate (most likely) or you gonna like (less likely), but he really sounds like the naive shaman on the sleeve and for me the obvious limitations of his vocal delivery are compensated by the weird pulsating minimalism that he employs to support it. Sounds a bit like a tripped-out Nick Drake who has been locked up in the synthesizer room and decides to give those machines a try.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Afterwards I was - and am still - thinking: "Putting aside the fact that this undoubtedly very wisely deduced and wrought sentence should be understood into its proper context and even given the fact that Jacques Derrida may have introduced a few enriching methodologies and/or terminologies into recent philosophical history, how can I ever again take this man seriously?"
Indeed, how far strayed from the original meaning and intention of philosophy must one find himself to conclude such an improbable and, frankly, quite ridiculous dictum out of the history of Man looking at his God? How can one be expected (given that this sentence is not the conclusion but the premise, the starting point of one of Derrida's lectures) to put any faith into the deductory powers of such a man?
A few pages of this kind of nonsense would have made even an insomniac as notorious as Cioran fall asleep at night.
Friday, September 15, 2006
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
If you like this, you might also want to check out the rather bootleggish but mighty Cosmic Dancer label, on which The Emperor collects his favourite obscure space disco sounds.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
And now I'm gonna listen Various Production's The World is Gone, which, as I've been told by Mister Mathias, is the future of dance music. Will keep you posted on that.
Friday, September 08, 2006
And I, in the meantime, am wondering, how 9/11 seemingly has led people all over the world to conjure up Great Stories about das reine Nichts. Have we really lost our perspective to such an alarming degree that we judge people like P**** H***** and Justin to be The Future? That we actually dare say that they are taking risks?
"Best of! Most Of!
Satiate the Need
Slip them into different sleeves!
Buy both and be deceived"
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
- STL - The Early Tracks [12", Perlon]
- Mr. Flagio - Take a Chance [12", Cosmic Explorer]
- Gui Boratto - Like You [12", Kompakt Pop]
- Spektrum - Mayday (DJ T. Remix) [12", Non Stop]
- B.C. - Konked Out [12", Redux]
- Akabu - Phuturebound (Âme Remix) [12", Z]
- DJ Mehdi - I Am Somebody (Kenny Dope Old Skool Remix) [12", Ed Banger]
- Toby Tobias - A Close Shave [12", Rekids]
- Audion - Just a Man [12", Spectral]
- Radio Slave - My Bleep [12", Rekids]
listening to: Vangelis - L'Apocalyse des Animaux
Monday, September 04, 2006
But b-side 'Jenseits' is the true discovery here: more than 20 minutes of seriously spaced-out ambient. At first it does remind of Tangerine Dream's first ambient works (think Zeit or Phaedra), but this is altogether more way out there among the stars. It even reminds a bit of Carl Craig's 'Neurotic Behavior'.
I would state that Inventions for Electric Guitar (also 1973) is even better, but then I wouldn't be telling the whole truth. Some of it is even better. The proto-ambient sounds of 'Quasar' are pure bliss. But both 'Pluralis' and opener 'Echo Waves' need a post-millennial edit, especially in those parts where Manuel actually starts thinking he is a guitar god, which is mostly toward the end, where, in the seventies, you somehow always needed to come to a bombastic conclusion. Nonetheless you can find some of the most beautiful sounds ever committed to record on Inventions.
This is the kind of ambient I like. Misty atmosphere, a constant feeling of longing (Sehnsucht, the Germans would call it) and sadness, nothing much happening at all, no noise for starters, in other words a perfect night record. A record I’ve come to appreciate throughout the years, because on first buying it, I thought it compared rather lightly to Sylvian’s more song-approached output. Also, at the time, Czukay to me was just the guy with the funny name who made that record with Jah Wobble and another German fella whose name I just couldn’t remember. Ah, how things change.
Holger Czukay & Rolf Dammers - Canaxis [Music Factory, 1970]
Originally this record came out under the name Technical Space Composer’s Crew, which I must admit is a rather nifty name. Czukay and Dammers don’t sound half as cool. Anyway, this is Can’s Holger Czukay doing the ethnical minimalism thing years before others even thought of it.
Underground Resistance - Spirits Speak [Somewhere In Detroit, 1996(?)]
Taken from one of those très rare Somewhere In Detroit 12-inches. Ten minutes of slow deep techno bliss, based around some acid, an occasional sitar-lick and Mad Mike’s never faltering stellar soul finesse. I would say: “They don’t make ‘em like this anymore”, but unfortunately for my financial status, Mike Banks makes one like this once in three months or so.
Six Organs Of Admittance - It Was Written [Durtrojnana, 2004]
Another side of Ben Chasny is revealed by this little ditty, hidden on a limited-as-hell 7-inch for David Tibet’s label. Instead of going for the usual full-blown spiritual raga symphony, he keeps it under four minutes and even manages to swing-inna-hillbilly style. Hearing is believing.
Skream - Skreamism Vol. 2 [Tempa, 2006]
Presently still not too sure about Burial, but I know I like this better. What the hell, you can always expect the goods from Tempa. It’s dirty, deep and dark and the quality is as high as the bass is low. Heavy doubts about how you should dance to this, though.
One of those way too pricey bootleg double vinyls that you just have to buy because the originals are unfindable or cost you a small fortune. Nothing but fine Italo disco stompers by people like B.W.H., Mr Fagio, Lectric Workers, Massimo Barsotto (dig that ‘Whole Lotta Love’ cover version) and Jago (Metro Area, but from 1983). The texts are pure pubescent stupidities, most beats sound like they have been recorded from out of a rusty can, the kitsch has carefully been glued into the screaming synths, and, if such was possible, a vocoder overdose is a serious possibility. I just love this music.
Kraftwerk - Ralf Und Florian [Vertigo, 1973]
Yes people, there was also Kraftwerk before Autobahn. This really is the strangest record you can think of as a predecessor to the record that opened up their career. There’s lots of percussion and ambient on this one and the melodies sound as naïve and carefree as one can imagine from these robot technicians. Yes, this really is one frightfully joyful record. And don’t those vocoders sound sweet next to that steel guitar!
Organisation - Tone Float [RCA, 1970]
Wonderfully meditative soundscaping mixed up with free rock from this Kraftwerk-predecessor. If you want to know how Kraftwerk might have sounded with guitars (and, admit, who wouldn’t), then this is the record you need to listen. A lot of guitar soloing going on here but other pieces already point to early investigations into ambient. A versatile first outing from these electronic pioneers, as ever based around the primordial duo core of Ralf Hütter-Florian Schneider. And produced, as is the case with nearly every essential Krautrock album, by Conrad aka Conny Plank.
Rhythm & Sound - Rhythm And Sound [Rhythm And Sound, 2001]
Having bought all the vinyls it’s nice to have all these tracks on one cd. Sometimes it makes you wonder if the Rhythm & Sound stuff maybe is the best thing they have done. But I get that every time I listen to these never-ending dubscapes, whether they’re called Maurizio, Basic Channel or any other moniker. In each case you listen and you’re lost forever.
The Knife - Silent Shout [V2, 2006]
Another possible candidate for record of the year. That voice alone gives me the chills, sometimes even the creeps. But don’t let that forget that the music is pure brilliance too, somewhere between the punky Detroit spirit of GusGus and the perfectionist tradition of Scandinavian pop. The overall feeling, too, proves a thorough understanding of all things techno. If all pop music sounded like this, that would be the day, wouldn’t it?
Sunn O))) & Earth - Angel Coma [Southern Lord, 2006]
A split e.p. where Sunn takes you for another tour through their favorite caves of horror, while Earth continues in the vein of their latest album, that is, they now sound like ghostly cowboys who’ve recently kicked the habit, but will always have to deal with a resulting minimal obsession. Hear now the dark soul of America!
Flash And The Pan
Producer duo Vanda and Young (brother of two AC/DC-members and co-producer of that group's two first albums) came up with a strange mixture of late disco and early new wave. With that voice you instantly remember and their cool funkiness, they even had a few hits (remember ‘Waiting on a Train’ and ‘Midnight Man’?). But did you know that they wrote and had their first hit with ‘Walking in the Rain’, later covered by Grace Jones during the legendary Compass Point sessions? And that you urgently need to check out ‘California’, a track from their first album, which is about the best song I’ve unearthed from the dusts of time in 2006? Or the supercool ‘Look at that Woman Go’, from their last album? No? Now you do.
Laurin Rinder & W. Michael Lewis - Seven Deadly Sins [AVI, 1977]
Aesthetically speaking this record’s sleeve is about as low as you can possibly go. Like a poor man’s Modern Talking these guys stare you in the eye like they just been caught frolicking in the nearest public lavatories. That’s the seventies for ya, I suppose. But the music! Seven Sins (with a song for every sin) is one of the best disco records you’ve ever heard, that is, if you like the sometimes painfully cheesy irony in the nu disco of Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas. And, oh yeah, those jungle drums on Carl Craig’s ‘Demented (or Just Crazy)’, they were sampled from this record. Which was a bonus, because I found that out after I bought it. Sleeve sucks, record rocks. And since I like records that surprise me I’m going to make this my Recommendation of the Week.