Hunter Gatherer

Wmf – “Lucky Seven ” – [Happy Island Music]

Hunter Gatherer   12/18/2005   A Library, CD

WMF is a mysterious trio consisting of Dave Mazza, John Dalton, and Lou Per. In the spring of 2005 they recorded this CD from ‘Live Improvisations with No Overdubs.’ But don’t let the Germanic capitalization fool you. This is a CD with 13 spacey, but driving, psych-rock instrumentals.

It’s hard to believe that just three people (guitar, bass, and drums) can open up this large a psycho-acoustic space. At times the drumming and guitar work get complicated and then you have to concentrate on it, but usually you can just ride along with the music and let it invoke alpha waves.

In particular I like tracks 1 (Tears of Rage) and 3 (Lullaby for a Dime Bag). They are as good a place to start as any. All instrumental.

–Hunter Gatherer

Time Machine Tm Radio [coll] – [Glow in the Dark Records]

Hunter Gatherer   12/18/2005   CD, Hip Hop

Released in June 2005, this is a hip hop sampler from the Glow In The Dark label with the conceit that it is a radio show. The hosts are Washington DC’s Time Machine which is comprised of Mekalek, Jaysonic, and Comel. We added their 12″ EP Grime Machine earlier this year.

The CD has the feel of a mix tape, except the songs are back announced and there are features like a mini interview? with Celph Titled (introduced as the Rubix Cuban) before he goes into his (non-FCC compliant) rhymes. Another feature is a Mekalek Mixshow in which he mixes a few (non-FCC compliant) tracks together in tracks 10 through 14.

As a result, many of the tracks have an intro or outro that won’t make much sense if played along with the song because it will sound like someone is back announcing other songs. This happens on tracks 1, 5 (intro and outro), 8 (outro), 10 (intro), 13 (outro), 14 (intro),16 (outro), 19 (outro). It’s a shame that these weren’t marked off as separate CD tracks.

A good part of the charm of this CD is the way the music flows together. But even picking and choosing individual tracks will still yield some very worthwhile underground hip hop.

I think that Time Machine is cleared to start doing grave shifts.

19 is a particularly chill instrumental

Language: 4 ‘fuck,’ 11 ‘fuck’ ‘motherfucking? ‘fucking,? 15 ‘shit,? 16 ‘shit? ‘fuck,’ 17: ‘motherfuckers?

–Hunter Gatherer

Atmosphere – “You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun ” – [Rhymesayers Ent.]

Hunter Gatherer   12/18/2005   CD, Hip Hop

Atmosphere, from Minneapolis, is a hip-hop duo of Slug (Sean Daley) who emcees and rhymes and Ant (Anthony Davis) who handles beats and production. This is their 5th full-length release.

In this release we find Slug smoking in plain sight of a No Smoking sign and wrestling with his demons, which have been tweaked by such things as being on the road too much, not being on the road enough, ex-girlfriends, future ex-girlfriends, obnoxious scenesters, and what have you. In the meantime, Ant‘s understated production chugs along underneath the rhymes with plenty of soulful samples and catchy beats.

This CD comes with a lyrics sheet with 42 pictures of various friends on the back. The intelligent, self-deprecating, and funny rhymes cover a large range of topics, most of them not very pleasant like the rape and murder of a fan at a show a few years ago in That Night and three rap ‘letters? to his son, his dad, and himself in Little Man. At the end of most songs is a simple explanation of what the song was about (example: This song is about my disdain for music ‘scenes?’) so it’s hard to misread their intent.

The lyrics have some great lines like And now I got a head full of better off dead (Bill Withers reference?), Built a prison out of conjugal visits, and ‘I’mma act like I don’t give a make love.

Start with Say Hey There, Smart Went Crazy, and Get Fly

Note: The tracks tend to run into each other, so be careful or put the CD player on single mode.

Language: 1 ‘fuck,’ 8 ‘shit? (barely audible)

–Hunter Gatherer

Doormouse – “Xylophone Jism ” – [Cock Rock Disco]

Hunter Gatherer   12/18/2005   A Library, CD

Doormouse is Dan ”Doormouse’ Martin, who has been creating seriously messed up breakcore beats since 1994. He is also the head of the label Addict Records, which he started in 1997. Released in April 2005 this is clearly the less introspective of the two releases out this year. (The other, Major Changes, explores the effects having a daughter, Kaya, and moving his family to Miami from Milwaukee.)

I am told that he is the nephew of Motorhead‘s Lemmy though I have no way of verifying this.

This CD is incapable of disappointing any listener due to its dizzying jumble of obscure samples and twisting time signatures. Hardcore techno or breakcore – ‘I’m not quite sure what to call it, so call it what you like. Samples zoom in from country, jazz, funk, rock, and places unknown. (I noticed a Sharon Jones sample on Swimming With The Fishes, which pleased me greatly.) Joshua Anonymous helps out on drums, and the aforementioned Kaya can be heard briefly.

If you doubt that cut-and-paste can be an artform, check out the sheer mastery of One Man David Lee Roth Cover Band and especially Dizzay. If you liked the Venetian Snares that we added earlier this year, you will certainly like this.

Bonus track: 12

Language: 11 ‘Turn that shit up?, 12 ‘fucking,? ‘fuck you,? ‘stupid fucking asshole,? etc.

–Hunter Gatherer

Les Biberons Batis – “Ok! C’est Correct! ” – [Tir Group]

Hunter Gatherer   12/18/2005   A Library, CD

Released in 2002, this is the second release by Les Biberons B’tis (The Baby Bottles in English), who is really Bruno Tanguay, who also goes by the name Satan Belanger. He owns a record store in Montreal.

This is a goofy jumble of electronic music, featuring analog synthesizers, sampled beats, a guitar, bass, and a vocoder. I heard a sitar on one track as well. It’s all put in a blender and poured onto a CD. There are elements of disco and dub at various points.

Lyrics are in French and usually put through a vocoder, but ‘I’m willing to bet that an understanding of French wouldn’t make much difference.

Some of it works quite well (check out Elastic Dubstar, Stress Controle, and Je N’irai Pas Joner Live) though a few of the tracks were lost on me.

Language: no violations in English, anyway

–Hunter Gatherer

Hunters of the Dallol Mawri – “Hunters of the Dallol Mawri ” – [Radio France]

Hunter Gatherer   12/18/2005   CD, International

This is a CD of hunting-related music made by musicians in an area of western Niger called Dallol Mawri. It was released this year (2005) by Radio France’s label Ocora.

Four musicians (two masters and their apprentices) are recorded singing and accompanying themselves on the gurumi, a lute-like instrument containing three strings (high, medium, and low pitches). In all 15 songs, the lead musician begins a phrase and the apprentice joins in to finish it. They are banging away on their gurumi throughout.

The musicians and their songs play an important role in the success of their village’s hunting. There are songs that praise particularly strong and agile hunters, suck up to the leader of the hunt (and his assistant), and remind hunters that the whole village is counting on them. Interestingly, magic plays as important a role in hunting as weapons, so there are a lot of songs about magical animals and genies. Most songs begin with praise to Allah.

On the chance that you don’t know Hausa (the language of this region), parts of the lyrics are included in the excellent insert booklet. Some of my favorite lyrics:

‘You’re the only one who can saddle a lion and ride it without a problem.’

‘You who kill wild animals like tame ones?

‘Whoever knows the true worth of a musician must know us/For we’ve performed in Senegal?

‘Shooting from far away leads to uncertainty?

‘You know I don’t eat lizard/That’s women’s food?

‘In this world you’re only loved if you’ve got something?

–Hunter Gatherer

Funkstorung – “Return to the Acid Planet ” – [K7]

Hunter Gatherer   12/4/2005   12-inch, A Library

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the existence of such a thing as Funkst’rung, they have released a double vinyl album containing 12 tracks some time in June 2005. Funkst’rung is a duo consisting of Michael Fakesch and Chris De Luca of Munich who create experimental electronic music. One interesting note about this album: it will only be released on vinyl and iTunes – no CD release.

The inspiration for this album came when they found some old tapes and vinyl around the time of their first releases in 1995 on the Acid Planet label. Without the original equipment to work with, they just ripped it to their hard drive and worked with the material that way.

The result is some great techno with bass synthesizers and acidy sounds that totally grooves and is mixed with a lot of wit and humor. Enjoy the familiar sounds of the Roland TB-303 and TR-808.

Particular favorites are Punk Motherfucker (watch the video on their web site) and Wearing Old Armani, which is undoubtedly a reference to Robert Armani, not the suit guy). AP1105 puts one in the mind of Venetian Snares. The Commodore C128D gets a name check.

By the way, the C-128D reference is an elaborate joke that might take too long to explain in a break: The Commodore C128D was banned because it caused too much RF interference. And interference in German is funkst’rung. And it also happens to be the first computer Mr. Fakesch used.

You don’t listen to this music so much as compute its Fourier transform.

–Hunter Gatherer

Deerhoof/Sicbay Split [coll] – [Modern Radio]

Hunter Gatherer   12/4/2005   7-inch, A Library

7″ single split between Deerhoof and Sicbay containing three songs, released in Sept 2004. Even the label is split because it’s a co-release of Modern Radio Record Label and Sawtooth (Nick Sakes from Sicbay‘s label). The first 600 have this fancy handscreened cover designed by Amy Jo Hendrickson.

Deerhoof, San Francisco’s musical darling geniuses, take the A-side with two songs not available anywhere else:

A1: Insist – Instrumental. It starts off with some bass noodling, then some noisy stabs, then groups of noisy stabs, then pandemonium breaks loose. Excellent.

A2: United He-Ho Brothers – Singer/bassist Satomi Matsuzaki sings words that aren’t quite words. Something like ‘He-ho! He-ho! Na-na-na.’ There is a false stop, then driving guitars and drums.

Sicbay, a power noise pop trio from Minneapolis with a very clever name, fill up their whole B side with one song.

B1: The Rise Of Phantom White – Described on their own website as one of their few ‘deliberate pop songs,? it’s somewhere between The Monkees and Sebadoh. I am told that it is about the approach of winter, something every Minnesotan must dread, but the only lyrics I could make out were fits like a blanket and ten feet off the turnpike.
–Hunter Gatherer

Fall, The – Fall Heads Roll – [Narnack Records]

Hunter Gatherer   10/31/2005   A Library, CD

Manchester, England’s The Fall is back with the latest in their uncountable number of releases. When I opened the CD I thought, ‘Wow, they really changed their line up.’ But don’t worry: Mark E. Smith and company have merely substituted pictures of themselves with pictures of Rwandans for some reason. However, since The Real New Fall LP there is a new bassist and drummer as well as someone named Dingo joining in on banjo and bass.

For 14 songs and almost an hour, Fall Heads Roll will keep you in thrall as it crashes, rumbles, and thunders. There are respites like Midnight Aspen (4) and its Reprise (6) that allow you to catch your breath, but for the most part this is straight forward aggressive rock and punk rock.

The band sounds great with its stomping chainsaw guitars and sawed off synths, but the real attraction is Mr. Smith twisting the language to get his point across. A lot of lines have the suffix ‘uh appended. As in I read the newspaper-uh. It made me unhappy-uh. and this blunt but effective line from the first track: You’re a nothing-uh. At times the lyrics drip with sarcasm and disdain. Other times he sounds like someone yelling incoherently as he is bring dragged out of a bar. Or maybe he sounds like a battle MC after having a stroke or after dental surgery. Which is to say it is so great.

Flip through the tracks, and you will find something you need to hear. I found that for a few hours after listening to this I had free access to the darker side of my personality. Such is the power of this release.

–Hunter Gatherer

Breakestra?Hit The Floor – [Ubiquity]

Hunter Gatherer   10/31/2005   CD, Soul

The world has waited four years for this release from L.A.’s live soul ensemble Breakestra. (2001’s The Live Mix, Part 2 is in Hip Hop/CD.) They appear to have moved from Stones Throw to Ubiquity.

Breakestra mastermind Miles Tackett and his inhumanly talented musician friends give us just over an hour’s worth of original funk/soul/hip hop/soul jazz compositions. They ask (and answer) the music question: Why go to all the trouble of sampling break beats and digging around in musty record stores when you have the DNA to soul music embedded in your head, heart, and butt?

The music is 2/3rds looking backward and paying homage to 70’s soul and funk masters like The Meters, The J.B.s, and countless others while the other third is looking forward to the unlimited possibilities that lie between genres.

Instrumentation: guitar, bass, drums, sax, trumpet, trombone, fender Rhodes, flute, bari sax, organ, upright [sic] cello. Vocals are provided by Mix Master Wolf and Music Man Miles with guest vocals by Darryl Jackson (14) and Chali 2na (of J5), Soup, DoubleK, & Darryl ‘Munyungo? Jackson (11).

This CD sounds good on every sound system in my house. How do they mix it to do that?

Instros: 4, 6, 10, 12
Language: 14: ‘Kiss my ass?
–Hunter Gatherer

Ashby, Dorothy – ?The Rubaiyat of Dorothy Ashby? – [Cadet Records] – 33 rpm

Hunter Gatherer   10/4/2005   12-inch, Jazz

Dorothy Ashby (1932 – 1986) was a great jazz harpist. Rubaiyat is the last in a series of 10 albums that she recorded between ’56 and ’70. It’s a follow-up to Afro-Harping, which we have in Jazz/12″. She also played harp on popular recordings for Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder (If It’s Magic from Songs In The Key of Life), and Earth, Wind, & Fire.

Rubaiyat means quatrains in Persian and in this case it refers specifically to the poetry of Omar Khayyam, which influenced Ms. Ashby in the writing and recording of this album.

The Middle-eastern influence is apparent, which is amazing considering that she is pulling the sounds out of a harp accompanied by very few non-Western instruments. On Joyful Grass and Grape and For Some We Loved, she plays the koto (pictured on the front of the album). A thumb piano called a kalimba is also on a few tracks.

The feel of the album is dreamy and spiritual with Ms. Ashby‘s sweet, soulful vocals (sounding like the soundtrack to a spy movie at times). The backing percussion and rhythm guitar and string arrangements can sound kind of lounge-y and dated at times, but the soulful middle-eastern vibe comes through for the most part. If you give yourself up to this album, you won’t be sorry.

My favorite track by far is The Moving Finger (B5), which starts out with a spooky chant (now I know where Troubleman got it on Time Out Of Mind) and settles into some Eastern Soul with harp and fuzz guitar solos. This track is heavily sampled and sought after.

Almost every song has lyrics or a title about drinking or getting high. Not good music to abstain to.

–Hunter Gatherer

Venetian Snares – ?The Chocolate Wheelchair Album? – [Planet Mu Records] – 33 rpm

Hunter Gatherer   10/4/2005   12-inch, A Library

Venetian Snares is Canadian producer Aaron Funk. Released in October 2003, this album was originally titled The Stupid Chocolate Wheelchair Album for some reason by Mr. Funk but cooler heads prevailed.

The music on this release is not at all like the music on the Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett that we added earlier this year. This is drill ‘n? bass glitch-core, with messed up beats that have been crumbled, fractured, rubbed in static and glued back on the vinyl using a combination sequencer/Uzi for your listening pleasure. This is angry, violent, frenetic, and somehow clean music that doesn’t make you want to smash things so much as take them apart carefully piece by piece.

Some highlights: A1 features a sample of X-Ray Spex Oh Bondage, Up Yours. A2 is a Motley Crue song that has been taken apart and put together with some pieces left over. B1 is named for a paper by Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen that predicted wormholes in space-time. C1 has a messed up Sesame Street theme song lift at the end. All tracks feel like they are jammed with an album’s worth of ideas.

–Hunter Gatherer

[coll] ?Look Records Sampler 2005? – [Look Records] – 33 rpm

Hunter Gatherer   10/4/2005   12-inch, Hip Hop

This is a sampler from the San Francisco-based Look Records offerings for 2005. It features three solid underground hip hop songs from three local artists: A.G. a.k.a. Andree the Giant, DJ Design, and Grip Grand.

A1 Take A Ride (A.G.) – Produced by Madlib. This track begins with a woman winning some Cincinnati marijuana then a fuzzy riff with some very funny laid back rhymes on top. For example, they rhyme Mexican with sex her friend. Isn’t that what it’s all about? 100bpm

A2 Get On The Floor (Design) – Produced by DJ Design. Energetic rap with pulsing electronics underneath in which the protagonist persistently (and rather ungallantly) asks a woman to get on the floor. Heavy breathing sounds. 112bpm

A3 But Anyway (Grip Grand) – Produced by Grip Grand. This one starts out with the same horn flare as Insane In The Membrane but then settles into its own groove. A second sample with soul singing (There’s one thing that ‘I’m sure of) is featured on the chorus. Fanfare ForThe Common Man by Aaron Copeland has yet to be sampled if I recall correctly, but that’s neither here nor there. 100bpm

It’s all clean! I think A3 is my favorite.

The B side contains instrumental versions of A1-A3.
–Hunter Gatherer

Turner, Ike – The Bad Man – [Night Train International]

Hunter Gatherer   10/4/2005   CD, Soul

This CD contains 20 ultra-rare tracks produced by guitarist/producer/polymath Izear Luster Turner, better known as Ike Turner, from a period of his life between starting his own labels after moving to L.A. in 1962 and signing to the Kent and Modern labels in 1964/65.

With a carefully assembled band from his stints in Memphis and St. Louis, Mr. Turner started five labels (Innis, Teena, Sonja, Prann, and Sony) to record them in various configurations and under various names. This is a project that would only be undertaken by someone with boundless energy and serious control issues. Check out the CD insert for the full story.

The music is R&B with a southern feel, and it’s interesting to hear Mr. Turner trying out different arrangements sounds from song to song. A DJ in his teenage years, he was known to play everything from country and western to jump blues.
The two brightest voices on the CD are Anna Mae Bullock, better known as Tina Turner, (3-5, 8, 9) and the great Fontella Bass (10, 16)(check her out on Cinematic Orchestra‘s All That You Give on A/CD).

Mr. Turner‘s instincts were not always true. For example on (4) Tina is supposed to be crying but it sounds like she’s laughing her head off. It’s a bizarre effect. One major complaint about the album is that there isn’t enough of Ike on guitar. I’ve always been a fan of his guitar playing.
This is the sound of one pimp slapping.
–Hunter Gatherer

Eccentric Soul [coll] – [Numero Group]

Hunter Gatherer   10/4/2005   CD, Soul

This is an amazing compilation of soul singles from an obscure label called Capsoul from Columbus, Ohio. Recorded between 1970 and 1974, it’s a miracle that enough 45s were extant to make this compilation after the master tapes were destroyed in a flood and the label founder Bill Moss recycled all the 45s he could find in a fit of pique. Check out the CD insert for the full story.

The music is straight ahead soul music with a lot more heart than technique. For the most part it is excellent, but a few of the tracks sound like the ‘let’s put on a show and save the farm? climax of an after school special. I like the slow tracks the best. I swear I recognize some of these records from growing up in Toledo.

There are seven artists represented on nineteen tracks. Johnson, Hawkins, Tatum & Durr sounds like like a law firm, but check out tracks 1 and 11. Marion Black is great growling away on track 2. Elijah & The Ebonites do a semi-tasteless song called Hot Grits!!! (12), a tribute to Al Green‘s being scalded by an ex who then committed suicide. They redeem themselves with Pure Soul (18) with fake audience noises in fine, hallowed tradition. The aforementioned Bill Moss scolds the player haters with two versions of Sock It To ‘Em Soul Brother (4, 19-instro).

–Hunter Gatherer

Murphy, Roisin – “Sequins ” – [Chrysalis Records Ltd.]

Hunter Gatherer   10/4/2005   12-inch, A Library

This is the first of three limited edition EPs (500 pressed) by Roisin Murphy (formerly of Moloko) co-written and co-produced by Matthew Herbert. Some members of his Big Band are helping out as well. All four songs on this EP can also be found on her latest LP Ruby Blue.

Ms. Murphy has a beautiful, soulful voice that is somewhere between sultry and nutty (both of which are extremely sexy especially when coming from a redhead). The backing music has looping electronics and loping brass, with discernable elements of Northern Soul, Tom Waits, electronica, and jazzy lounge.

The lyrics are about breaking up, bitter recriminations, and looking back on your former lover and wondering just what the hell you saw in that person. This makes the album just that much more accessible.

The more I played it the more I liked it. Cool.

–Hunter Gatherer

Lord Loves A Working Man “Lord Loves A Working Man” [self]

Hunter Gatherer   9/5/2005   CD, Soul

Lord Loves A Working Man — or Lord Loves for short — is a 9-piece band (with 4 alternates) based in San Francisco’s Mission district. This self-titled, self-released CD is a studio recording from 1/2005.

This isn’t a Rush cover band, like I hoped when I saw the cover. Even better, it is horn-driven soul and vintage R&B, music that they clearly love and respect. 8 of the 10 songs are their own compositions. The two covers are Clay Hammond‘s I’ll Make It Up To You and Curtis Mayfield‘s Hard Times.
Ben Flax‘s vocals are earnest but always on the right side of over the top. The horn section, rhythm section, and rest of the band are in tune and on time.

My only complaint about this CD is the songs they picked to record are too slow and ballad-y. The band simmers but never boils. I want to know that the drummer is working his ass off, and I want to hear this horn section unleashed and playing something more interesting than block chords.

3, 5, 7, and 9 are instrumentals
–Hunter Gatherer

Fog “10th Avenue Freakout” [Lex]

Hunter Gatherer   9/5/2005   A Library, CD

Fog is Minneapolis, MN native Andrew Broder, and this is his 4th release and 1st one on Lex. Previously he was with Ninja Tune.

I really like the packaging for this CD. It contains step-by-step illustrations showing hunter gatherers killing a mammoth, and there are drawings of different types of spears on the back. I also like the integral symbols that break up the lyrics. Very cool.

Mr. Broder is a strange hybrid turntablist/singer-songwriter/sound-collagist and he lets it all hang out on this CD. The music is a great mixture of natural instruments, samples, and found sounds. I am less fond of the lyrics and vocals, which appear to always be hiding behind something, whether it’s obscure imagery (I’d puncture the lucky planet/And suck out all the magma) or a deliberately flat delivery. By the second song he’s name checking Jesus, the President, and American Idol. He could benefit from some editing.

The music is along the lines of The Books or maybe the Paul Brill we added earlier this year. Martin Dosh helps out on percussion and brightens up the tracks that he’s on. A Murder (track 12) and The Rabbit (track 4) are the strongest tracks in my opinion.

Language: track 6 ‘shitty?

–Hunter Gatherer

Bohren & Der Club Of Gore “Geisterfaust” [Wonder Records]

Hunter Gatherer   9/5/2005   A Library, CD

This is Cologne, Germany-based Bohren & Der Club Of Gore‘s 4th studio album, though they have been playing together since 1988. It was released in 2005. The album title translates as Spirit Hand, and each of the five songs are named after a finger.

Think of silence as an instrument and you are a long way to understanding what this music sounds like. It takes a whole band to play the “slience.” It is spare. It is slo-o-o-w. Like when Bugs Bunny is being chased by Elmer Fudd after they both accidentally get dosed with ether.

It’s bass-heavy with an 8-string bass, contrabass, tubas (plural), and bass trombone. Some people refer to the music as ‘horror jazz? whatever the hell that means.

It’s also very beautiful – light and heavy at the same time. I found it hard to listen to all the way through, apparently because my mind lacks the necessary stillness to follow one of the songs through to the end.

–Hunter Gatherer

Susumu Yokota “Symbol” [Lo Recordings]

Hunter Gatherer   9/5/2005   A Library, CD

Susumu Yokota is in ambient, electronica mode more than house mode in this 4/2005 release called Symbol, his 25th.

In this vibrant and beautiful album, he is creating electronic music and using the entire field of classical music as a sort of music whole cloth to cut from and stitch into his compositions. Sometimes the themes are buried in the music; other times it is holding the piece together.

‘I’m sure I missed at least half of the themes, but I was able to pick out Saint Saens, Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Debussy. This filled me with anxiety because it reminded me of a music appreciation class that was my first ‘B? in college. Stupid, damn electives.

The beautiful female voice heard on some tracks in Meredith Monk. I had to find this out on the web. It wasn’t on the CD packaging.

This is the kind of music that you put on in the background, and when the CD has ended you’ve forgotten what you were doing and you’re sitting down transfixed.
–Hunter Gatherer