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Russell, Arthur and The Flying Hearts – “Ballad of The Lights” – [Presspop]

In the early 70s, at the age of 18, Arthur Russell, a formally trained cellist, moved from Iowa to San Francisco; he studied North Indian classical music at the Ali Akbar College of Music and Western composition part-time at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. It was during this time that he began his association with Allen Ginsberg: accompanying him on the cello as a soloist or in groups while Ginsberg sang or read his poetry. By the mid-70′s Russell moved to New York where he collaborated in the rock project Flying Hearts: which included artists such as David Byrne, Rhys Chatham, and Peter Gordon. The first piece comes from the mid 70′s with the Flying Hearts. “Ballad of the Lights” was written and recited by Russell; Ginsberg accompanies. The second piece “Pacific High Studio Mantras”, chanted by Ginsberg, is a Tibetan mantra recorded in July 1971.
–Double Felix

  • Reviewed by felix on February 12, 2016 at 5:30 am
  • Filed as 10-inch,A Library
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  • Ames Sanglantes – “Le Cri Du Pendu” – [Cipher Productions]


    tortured manic death drones; shrieking tones and lurching industrial collapse; ominous guttural loops and feral monasticism; looming dread and wretched release; spiritual genocide

  • Reviewed by abacus on February 10, 2016 at 9:44 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Black Spirituals – “Black Interiors” – [Ratskin Records]


    Oakland duo collective rooted in the intersection of diversity and experimentalism: Zachary James Watkins cradles his guitar with an intense focus and yearning for tonality, no patience for weak timbre; Marshall Trammell embracing the drumset with comprehensive inclusion and a fluidity that thrives on constant derailment. an engagement with space, an ontology of sound, defining the effects of location / depth / placement / orientation on audio perception. recorded each solo, as opposed to previous works where interaction is key, the artists are allowed to examine their individual energies in isolation. don’t adjust your levels, the distant volumes are intentional in the exploration: meditations in resonance

  • Reviewed by abacus on February 10, 2016 at 9:27 pm
  • Filed as A Library,Cassette
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  • Chvad SB – “Crickets Were The Compass” – [Silber Records]

    Long tracks with rolling drones punctuated with occasional piano or guitar, no percussion. Synth and noise elements also intermingle. Meditation on loss and memory, a sense of the aftermath of a great storm. Chvad SB is based in Brooklyn and is a member of Controlled Bleeding.

  • Reviewed by Muad'Dib on February 10, 2016 at 4:09 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Chattaway, Jay – “Maniac” – [Varese Sarabande]

    1980 horror film about a scalping serial killer loosely inspired by the Son of Sam.
    There’s a fun part where there is a loud heart beating and it sounded like it was skipping to me for a second. Disturbing monologue on side a. Mostly creepy synthy goodness.
    – Billie Joe Tolliver

  • Reviewed by billiejoe on February 10, 2016 at 3:15 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Soundtrack
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  • Willamette – “Diminished Composition” – [Scissor Tail]

    Joseph Yonker and brothers Davin and Kevin Chong giving us a postclassical minimal composition. It sounds like ambient drone. The tracks are short and I wish they were longer.
    – Billie Joe Tolliver

  • Reviewed by billiejoe on February 10, 2016 at 3:14 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Sleeping Cell, The – “s/t” – [Suoni Liberi]


    The Sleeping Cell is an Italian duo that seems currently to be back in sleep mode. This is their only CD from 2011. The singer Zaionair was the frontgirl for the electro project Minimod and for the Dub-System Almamegretta. Misterection aka Mario Grimaldi worked with Italian underground projects like Valderrama 5, Supervixens and Nista. Their music has traces of Prodigy, Nine Inch Nails, Lady Gaga and occasionally tiny bits of soundscape, lo-fi synths and blip explorations. This kind of anger/fashion synth-pop walks a thin line between cheese and intrigue — but here the lack of originality made the listening experience less rewarding. But good as a sudden ‘sugar fix.’

  • Reviewed by Kai Sync on February 10, 2016 at 1:22 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Mezzetin – “Subduction” – [Golden Slipper Records]

    Succumb to the joy that is outsider artist. Succumb to the joy that is Mezzetin. Can not find anything out about this person. We do know that the recording is titled “Subduction” and that it is produced by George Duncan. There are 13 songs. That’s it. So let’s start.
    Mezzetin is a main stay comedic character that comes from the Italian Comedia dell’arte tradition. Primarily a prankster, an adept schemer and trouble-maker, willing to commit acts of violence if necessary, and he never gets the girl. Is this a clue into this Mezzetin? Possibly.
    Thirteen tales of woa, whoa, oh and huh? takes us on a truly sonic outsider artistic journey. Speaking of sonic, this guy swallowed a bit of the Kim Gordon Sonic Youth tea. Vocal stylings have a bit of her inflection style and very much her off key singing. Plus the guitar sounds like someone sort of listened to some of their albums and tried to play like them, maybe. Or maybe Sonic Youth heard Mezzetin and actually ripped him off. Bad rhymes, good rhymes, odd phrasing, imagery that’s just slightly off enough to be superb for me. He probably plays all the instruments which is primarily acoustic guitar with some maraca and tambourine, a little drum. He goes electric about half way through and it really kicks up the jam. Swirly twisty songs about life. Mezzetin kind of rules for me this week.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on February 9, 2016 at 11:06 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • SOL – “where suns come to die” – [Cold Spring Records UK]

    Danish doom in the form of SOL on Cold Spring Records is a richly orchestrated, somber take on the loss of beliefs and ideals while one ages and passes from this plane. Lyrics by Emil Brahe, read by the deep voiced Thomas Bojden of Die Weisse Rose, talk of slight moments of hope, the passing of time, loss, decline. It’s all very dark and thoroughly enjoyable. The instrumentation of pump organ, electronics and sampler, tuba, violins and vocals create rich, passionate dark moods of thoughtfulness and sadness. The music sounds like something Stanley Kubrick would have jumped on, especially with his Ligeti fascination. The ongoing tale of the narrator as he faces the loss of his existence, and the hopelessness of his actions in life is a bit of a cold slap in the face. This type of dark gloom I enjoy. The musical accompaniment adds to and accentuates the message as well as caring it on its own. Brutally thought provoking.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on February 9, 2016 at 10:18 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Hauschka – “Abandoned City” – [Temporary Residence Ltd.]

    A) German pianist Volker Bertelmann and electronic processing. Violin and bass on one track, otherwise all sounds come from the piano. Percussive rhythmic patterns.
    B) Remixes with big washy effects. Remix by Devendra Banhart.

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on February 9, 2016 at 4:54 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Macbride, David – “a Special LIght” – [Innova Recordings]

    A Special Light by David MacBride is a collection of solos and duets spanning the last decade. Throughout, the artist explores his relationship with his Chinese heritage (his mother was from China, his father from Scotland): a relationship he had never directly addressed in his work before. “All of these pieces,” he tells us, “reflect in one way or another Chinese musical and cultural traditions as I become more comfortable being direct in personalizing recognizable Eastern styles and aesthetics.” Ultimately, the aim of the music is for what the artist calls “a basic sense of serenity and focus.” MacBride’s work has been described as ambient, minimalist, luminous and impressionistic.
    –Double Felix

  • Reviewed by felix on February 9, 2016 at 3:57 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Saffron – “Dawning” – [Palmetto Records]

    Vocals, sitar, tabla, saxophone, and piano make up the album Dawning by the ensemble Saffron. Formed in November 2009, the group is composed of musicians from the East and West: each bringing their own style, and all joined together by the love poetry of the Sufi mystic, Rumi. Saffron layers classical Indian music with a hint of jazz forms atop lines from Rumi in Persian. The music is meditative. Check out the first (haunted) track entitled “Dawning” at 21 minutes or the lively “Tease” at 17 minutes. But if those are too long for you there are shorter pieces as well.

    –Double Felix

  • Reviewed by felix on February 9, 2016 at 2:46 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Wright, Cory Outfit – “Apples + Oranges” – [Singlespeed Music]

    cory wright outfit

    This lively jazz release lives up to its name–the mixing of crisp apples with juicy oranges provides a counterpoint to the ears with the fine musicians conversing in a challenging and stimulating way. Oakland-based Wright composes the music and plays tenor sax and B-flat clarinet, and each piece is sustainable in its energy, with the likes of Lisa Mezzacappa contributing bass and Jordan Glenn on drums. This is not a snoozer at all, but rather uplifting and energizing.

  • Reviewed by humana on February 8, 2016 at 1:10 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Khan, Shujaat Husain & Goudarzi, Katayoun – “Spring” – [Self Release]


    This 2-CD release is a treasure, with its rich textures and sounds. Goudarzi’s voice is seductive as she sings/recites from memory the poetry of Rumi, accompanied by the masterful sitar music written and performed by Khan. Abhiman Kaushal gives everything a heartbeat with his tabla, and Ajay Prasanna’s flute weaves its way into this international brew in a mesmerizing way. The overall effect is compelling and tantric.

  • Reviewed by humana on February 8, 2016 at 12:34 pm
  • Filed as CD,International
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  • Callenberg – “Lost In The Mail” – [Bend Records]


    I can’t help but find this second release from Swedish singer-songwriter Anders Callenberg very appealing. Is it his easy voice? Is it the acoustic guitars and harmonica? Or maybe it’s the gentle electronic beats. All of these elements combine to create an overall mellow musical experience. Tracks 1, 5, and 6 are acoustic; tracks 2, 4, and 8 are electronic; tracks 3, 7, 9, and 10 are a nice combination of the two. Echoes, beats, strums, voices–trying to figure out the lyrics–a worthwhile endeavor and listen.

  • Reviewed by humana on February 8, 2016 at 12:09 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Bloodhammer – “Passion of The Devil, The” – [Hammer of Hate]

    Bloodhammer, from Raahe, Finland, have been worshipping Satan for a long time, especially in the form of Bloodhammer since 1998. With a slew of releases under their belt, mostly EP’s, splits and singles, “Passion of the Devil” comes from their early middle period of 2005.
    My thing, or question, about black metal is that in actuality it is just religious music, right? Miriam-Webster’s defintion of religion states: 1. “the belief in a god or in a group of gods
    :2.) an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods
    :3.) an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group”. Reads like what is happening in a lot of black metal and what is happening here. Five songs, four heavily ritual based but as is the case with this type of music, ritual for ritual with no stated purpose afterwards. I’m often disappointed with this stuff. I want more. But they just stop. It’s all theatrics. Blah blah blah blood ritual. Blah blah blah dark lord rising. But what of it?
    “The Passion of the Devil” gave me high hopes of a possible song cycle about the fall of Satan. It could be a fascinating story told musically, but not here. So actually, these five numbers need to be looked at as five singles clumped together. Okay. Lyrics are simple three to five word phrases which are spoken growled rather than sung. Heavy focus on the night and shadows and sacrifices for dark lords. Obligatory Nuclear Holocaust song.
    Musically I really enjoy this. Like evil circus music, drums pound pound pound leading the listener marching forward to the dark images being stated. Guitar chords strum strum strum or are played and hang on for a while playing with the marching drum beat. This sound reminds me so much of Nuit Noire who I adore obsessively. I think Bloodhammer is a group we need to explore more, to see if they grow/grew over the ages and push beyond to the deeper meanings. Fingers crossed, but in the meantime give it a spin.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on February 7, 2016 at 3:11 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Krozier & The Generator – “Tranceformer” – [Finders Keepers]

    Life is always full of surprises. Unique weirdness is always just around the corner or was always there…. we just did not know it. Such is the case with Krozier & The Generator. Geoff Crozier of Victoria, Australia, was a shamanistic performance artist, musician, magician, seeker, seer, button pusher, reveling in the world of magick to push you and him to the limits of his psychedelic showdown. A true visionary weirdo and a reason why getting up in the morning is wonderful. This reissue of “Tranceformer”, originally put out on Generator or Rainbow Generator’s own label, is a major coup for Finders Keepers Records. These are recordings of live shows and rehearsals done between January 7th and 26th, 1981 prior to Geoff’s accidental death by “illusory self hanging.” First, Generator were/are an Australian experimental electronic duo who “were a semi-nomadic experimental electronic rock/inner-space synth band.” Put that in your hat and wear it. They became associated with Geoff back in Oz after his highly successful performances in the USA.
    These recordings are ritualistic outpourings of calling up and out spirits and demigods and the telling of their stories as seen and spoken through the third eye of Krozier. Imagine an acid speed induced nervous breakdown forever. Rantings and ravings of genius and nonsense about god (or god’s) and what they know. Electronic psychedelic swirlings of thumping, twisting, screeching sounds making the brains aural receptors refire for a sense of clarity which never comes forth. Moods switch. The sounds keep coming supporting Krozier’s chant singing speak style of testification. Listen, melt and be free.

    Youtube video selections are amazing. As is Julian Cope’s extensive review of the original recording.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on February 6, 2016 at 11:07 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Gentry, Bobbie – “Ode to Billie Joe” – [Capitol Records]

    The commercial success and subsequent mystery over Billie Joe and his death caught the imagination of listeners worldwide when the song “Ode to Billie Joe” was recorded in 1967. Almost taking on mythic status, it often outshines the other nine tracks on Bobbie Gentry’s first album of the same name. Bobbie Gentry’s disappearance from the entertainment industry in the mid 1970′s had the same sort of effect at the time. Though now fairly obscure to listeners, Gentry is still viable for a book written about “Ode” on the 33 1/3 series and commented by people in the know as highly influential.

    -Born Roberta Lee Streeter in Chickasaw County, Mississippi.
    -Initially self taught multi-instrumentalist.
    -Philosophy major at UCLA.
    -One of the first females to write and produce her own music.
    - Release of “Ode” knocked The Beatles out of number one place for four weeks.
    - First female country artist to be awarded a Grammy for best new artist.
    - Designed, produced, choreographed, etc. her stage shows including her major stays in Vegas.
    - Left performing and whereabouts is basically unknown.

    The album is usually a quietly produced series of songs with Gentry playing acoustic guitar, finger picking each track in the familiar plunk plunka plunka beat. Background strings arranged by Jimmie Haskell and Shorty Rodgers fill out the sounds that accompany the tales of young country women and their exploits and desires while dealing with life in the backwoods and deltas of the deep south. The instrumentation mixed with her singing often gives you the feeling of that slowed down southern life. Gentry’s rich voice, which really takes on a solid level of quality in the song “Hurry, Tuesday Child”, moves throughout the compositions and never feels forced. Sonorous is the word to describe it. The songs are so enjoyable you just want to eat some poke salad annie with her while shooting the breeze, sitting on the porch. And then there is “Mississippi Delta” which may be one of the top underground club dance LOOSE IT songs from my twenties. It is one of the true definitive examples of country swamp rock. You’ll pull some muscles dancing to it. BOBBIE GENTRY RULES!!!!!!!!

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on February 5, 2016 at 10:19 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Country
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  • Intersystems – “Intersystems” – [Alga Marghen]

    A spectrum spectacle from max’d mixed media men, Toronto late 60′s,
    produced more than just this triple vinyl hippy trip-trek. There were
    installations and tactile rooms and sculptures, all long gone but are
    ears are still there thanks to this Alga Marghen release. Noise
    concrete chopped with early Moog movements and analog achievements
    courtesy of John Mills-Cockell. Draped in tapes, especially those
    capturing the poetry of Blake Parker (stark intoning, with a delivery
    like a Dalek narrating Fractured Fairytales.) Parker’s poems fix
    your attention, not so much with their content but with their
    clipped delivery (and the clipped feeling of a Dream Machine
    splicing sentences together). That being said there is a sort
    post-modern attack on “Number One” (Ezra Pound and T.S.
    Eliot are summoned, but then so is the sound of the air
    conditioner). On “the second lp, Peachy” that’s where the
    fairytale dust was sprinkled in with the LSD, at times more grim
    than the Brothers Grimm. Guns appears and you know what
    happens when they do in fiction. Parker with an odd cadence
    concludes vignettes prounouncing a malediction of sorts
    “The story has been told it is ended; it is the end.” On the
    third record, “Free Psychedelic Poster Inside” a comic book
    romance/tragedy/assembly line soap opera is unveiled and
    an actual cut-up comic accompanies this glorious package.

    Altogether ear-bending explorations that have fared well
    and will transfix the grandchildren of hippies tuning in today
    via KFJC and dropping out of the internet for a bit Whether
    played raw (you feel some of the chains rattling and taped
    vox humana warpage best that way) or cooked up in a modern
    method with our samples layered on top.

    KFJC was lucky to have the Cortical Foundations first pass at
    gathering some of this material (less lucky was Cortical founder
    Gary Todd as discussed in artist Tom Recchion’s contribution
    to the massive liner book included.) The full liner experience
    sort of torpedo’d my enjoyment after a first pure listen, but it
    connects dots to artists known and not (KFJC has neither
    Syrinx nor Kensington Market but youtube beckons one),
    Reading all those liners I hit a kind of headache harmony of
    the gospels. But I’m sure people connected to the scene at
    that time will appreciate a flashback today to the flashbacks of

    The sounds were clearly ahead of their time, and I suspect this
    record will be a favorite dipped into off and on for years to come.
    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on February 5, 2016 at 5:26 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Julius, Rolf – “Lullaby For The Fishes” – [Tochnit Aleph]

    Eerily beautiful instrumentals, originally released in 1985. On
    first listen, there’s a mechanical quality, one almost imagines
    a Rube Goldberg series of devices set up to then generate the
    sounds. There’s not pronounced percussion, but a polyrhythmic
    vibe is created in each little loop of soundscape, and how they
    don’t necessarily line up perfectly. Like a bunch of buoys
    bobbing on the ocean waves. Some other sounds reminded me
    of baby humpbacks singing for their dead mother’s descending
    in a whale fall, or maybe the “fa love pa” squeak-speak.
    Is it a decrepit organ, or a feeble oscillator. The sounds
    are short, clipped and a bit mysterious removed from the
    installations that originally featured them. The 3 Lullabies
    connected to the title are more soft drones, quite short
    and more sonic palate cleansers. “Minutenblues” was my
    favorite, but “Zwergenmusik” (dwarf music) is towering
    in its own minimal method. RIP for Rolf in 2011
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolf_Julius -fur deutsch
    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on February 5, 2016 at 5:22 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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