What separates some stand-up schmuck from
the superstars of comedy? With the latter
you get a small glimpse of the ironic dark
wells of pain obscured by the limelight
and the laughter. Here, if you listen
carefully through the zingers, you can hear
the confession of a tortured man in a bad
suit…well, almost if Neil would quit
milkin’ your funny bone. Sure there’s one
or two klunkers here, as Neil deals with
the minor travails of the travelling comic-
the irate then awol manager, the interrup-
tion of the bar jukebox, the fact that the
audience doesn’t speak a lick o’ English…
but in the end, the great ones triumph. And
when Neil says, “Am I through?” You pray to
HBO he isn’t? The silence would hurt too
much. Fuck dentists, I’m a Hamburger Helper!
What separates some stand-up schmuck from
Oneida (and this is the first imprint of Oneidan Fat Bobby’s
label) get a rustic rhythm going up and over the levee
with tub-thump drum and dangling banjos…on top of it a
drifty falsetto riding the rails of this railroad car rock.
About two thirds of the way, all the strings pile into
the caboose and cut loose from the insistent percussion.
Modern minstrel mode, but Bobby sends a synth pulsar in the
stead of the heavy beat, every bit as hypnagogic.
Chicago’s Plastic Crimewave Sound’s “End of Cloud” may be
mistitled. As this number to me sounds far more terrestial,
like a pounding, probing tunnel to the center of the earth.
Relentess dum-drum thwack attack and magma-coated guitar
sparking along the sides drive this deeper and deeper. At
some time, a sort of chanting is “unearthed” are we going
to reaquaint ourselves with the Residents Molemen? Are we
going to find an alternate university with members of Gong
forever youthful?’ Or are we going to hear some scattered
and slow-slurred poesy? Ah, ya peeked…
Juggling fact and fiction via the arching use of
slowcore-inspired organ/keyboard/guitar textures
of repetition, CASS is back ??? good news for fans
who favor rough-edged yet pretty pop???.???Equinox???
opens things with a ringing guitar pattern/swelling
keyboards/syncopated bass notes, each given a
turn at carrying the melody???
???Of all the creatures in the wood /
one law is perfectly understood /
Deep in the heart of Fountainbleau /
The marriage of a whore and a Jew /
the bride???s true dowry black rocks??????
???Subtraction??? builds on a frenetic drum line & one-note
bass???.extra clean guitar work on ???Sacred Heart??? lights
dark lyrical corner with bright musical fa???ade???.???Cuckoo???
is a sulking slouch of perverse moodiness, grey with
foreboding?????????Tourist Woman??? finds MCCOMBS calling
the kettle black with ???.???Romantics are doomed / and
that???s a good thing???.??? Elusive, allusive, high concept
and obscurantist, CASS MCCOMBS (best on # 1, 2, 5,
6, + 9) continues to produce high-quality indie pop.
MITCH September 2005
Prince Paul (so you know it’s goofy) and Dan
Nakemura aka The Automator…so you know it’s
tight. The constructed sound-beds rule above
even the clever lyrics, the super-star cameos
(Paula Frazer of Tarnation briefly, El P from
CoFlow sizzles, Biz Markie fizzles, Guido
Sarducci offers the final benediction) the
funny samples (God Bless Chris Eliot and his
all too short-lived TV show). But aside from
good ol RuPaul ribaldry…the sample/turntable
work here is decked out to the nines. Especially
on the track where DJ Shadow drops his diamond
cufflink needle into the fray. Fun and
fashionable…try on the PJ’s first and then
mix and match and accessor-super-size.
Vienna Art Ensemble loony flugelbirdhornman
with an old lp where he does the one-man,
many-tracks overdub creation. Sustained
horn drift that all your Space-y Heads
dig…definite alien landscape jazz, but
with a friendliness. Lazy me, I wish I’d
written this review back when we added
this album and all the things I liked about
it were fresh in my mind. It’s solid european
jazz…more math/melody, plenty of adventure,
less aggression than US jazz which I also
dig. Respect to all multi-instrumentalists!
German Engineering rock like clockwork.
The promise of the 7″ has been traded
in for pretty straight ahead rock here
w/ no subtitles. Cool horn flavorings
help keep the motors running, and at
times there’s a sense of ska riding on
the back of a Tortoise. Little tangly
guitar lines (no-wave echoes?’) and
crisp percussion keep this on ze Autobahn.
There’s not many detours into peculiar
places, it’s a sunshiny seatbelt drive.
I might’ve been hurt by high expectations,
your mileage may vary.
Beyond the ol’ 1-2 of techno and taught post-
rock Tortoisology come Bergheim 34 (actually
it’s the street address of their recording
space.) Germane German elektroniks sprouting
in some fresh directions : the wrist-decoder
vox of “take my soul”, an elongation of time
feel to “minor throne” & “new ground”, the
digital stompometer unveiled on “the spy who
dubbed me.” Solid circuit tekno roots include
pitch-wheel glides, the cowbell patch, and
everyone’s fave : the synth’d hand-claps. Add
a point for a Steely Dan ref.
Boot-gaze over glazed beats?
Eight-legged solo album of “that can’t be
a sax” sounds. A baritone barrage of audio
amazement: rocket launcher pfoots, morse
code mouthings, tone scraping baboonery,
filtered yelps, foghorn flutter, scrawing
(don’t know what it means, but I heard it)
sustained train brake whistle…and on.
Cool valve-popping exploding percussive
sounds throughout. Always inventive and
engaging, recorded with more dark reverb
than a Pole LP (and lot’s of Swedish body
English on that horn). Rec’d in splendid
Italian slow-mo espionage psych. The synths
have a squishy bloopiness, that you just
can’t digitize. So quit trying…goddammit..
…and enjoy this. Lyrics sung(and swallowed)
in English over friendly, familiar melodies.
Bathed in lava lamp electronics, reversible
drums, reverbed guitars. Not a lot of frenzy
coming out of Firenze, this is a relaxorama.
“End/Exploring the City of Ghosts” clearly
stands out with some fine pan craziness.
A bootleg album of home-cassette recordings
that probably should never have been made,
but then Nick Drake probably should never
have left this earth so abruptly, so young
and by his own hand. So we’re dourly blessed
with these 18 sparse solo selections. (Well
“All My Trials” actually features his sister
gently chiming in with him) The warble of
the tape (even bleeding through faintly at
times) add to the haunting quality here. I
remain amazed at the gentle quality of Nick’s
voice masking such a troubled soul.
In 1967 the Rome Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Bruno Maderna, recorded four atonal, serial, and/or aleatory works. Ignore the Fresh-Air-esque middlebrow notes on the back of the record sleeve and just drop the fukkin’ needle.
The four pieces:
Kontra-Punkte (Stockhausen, 1952) – It sounds like music being built from the ground up. Tones are clustered into molecules of sound called a ‘group.’ Tone, length, timbre are set against each other to give a feeling of conflict and restlessness. (Name drop! ‘I’m friends with the nephew of Frederic Rzewski, who plays piano on this recording.)
Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima (Pendercki, 1960) – Originally called 8? 37″, this piece starts off like those annoying THX promos they play before a movie. But then you are softened up with a light pummeling by blocks of string sound. This gives way to a dreadful silence that gradually fills in with ashes and embers of sounds scraped from string instruments. One last whack with a sound block sends you on your way to side B.
Available Forms I (Brown, 1961) – This piece is partially composed by the conductor because he can pick from events on the score in any order. I think this piece is about a big amoeba that keeps eating instruments it can’t digest. Or maybe that’s a book I read to my kids.
Rimes pour differentes sources sonores (Pousseur, 1959) – This is my favorite one. Here we finally get some electronic sounds from our electronic pioneers. Natural sounds are fixed up with electronically processed sounds by a mutual friend and wind up taking a white noise shower together on their first date. The second section, more of a coda really, has two sextets with brass and woodwinds scraping up against each other until they both disappear.
The Boom Bap Project are MCs Karim (a.k.a Nightclubberlang), Destro Destructo, and DJ Scene. From Seattle, they are part of the Oldominion crew. This 12″ single was released in anticipation of their latest full length entitled Reprogram.
Each side contains a 1-clean, 2-street, 3-instro, and 4-accapella version of a track.
Side A: In Rock The Spot, BBP want you to know (1) that they are here tonight to rock the spot and (2) that they are adept at their hip hop craft and (3) that they are from the Pacific Northwest. It’s energetic hip hop that pays tribute to its roots. Produced by Jake One.
Side B: Wyle Out brings in ringer Gift of Gab from Blackalicious. The beat lopes along, almost comically, punctuated with a hook from a brass section. Mr. Gab lets fly with a stunning barrage of words that somehow rhyme and fit together. I can’t listen as fast as he can rap, so I have no idea what the text means. Check out the acapella version (B4). Produced by Vitamin D. Impressive.
A2, A4, B2, B4 – language
This is a 12″ hip-hop single by Hezekiah – not the 8th century B.C. king of Jerusalem who banned idol worship, but rather the 31 year old MC/DJ/producer who grew up in rural Delaware and now lives in south Philly. This single was released 3/15/2005 in anticipation of his debut full-length release titled Hurry Up And Wait.
A1: The first song, Soul Music, is just the thing. It features Eleon singing soulfully, almost mournfully, in a baritone that ‘everybody needs a little soul.’ The singing is contrasted nicely with Hezekiah‘s beats and rapping.
A2: Next up is a remix of the previous song by Phase One, making it much funkier with falsetto singing, references to Soul Power, call and response, and of course grunting.
A3: My Life is way over on the R&B side of the R&B-hip-hop continuum. Also featuring Eleon‘s soulful singing, it has the over all mood of yearning or searching. ‘You got questions/You need answers,? say the lyrics. It gets a little Star Search-y at times for my taste, but it’s definitely worth a spin or two.
B1, B2: Instro versions of A1 and A2. A2 has vocal samples, so don’t use it as a bed. Focus on the beats and enjoy.
B3: Bonus beats! Called Three Crates Of Porn, it grooves and grooves then stops very abruptly. Very nice.
All tracks are clean!
Released on 4/22/05, this is a 12″ hip-hop single by LA’s DJ Exile (1/2 of Emanon) and Detroit’s Slum Village. The 2nd song features Blu.
The first song, Time Has Come, has a nice R&B feel with a bouncy piano, hand claps, and a touch of who’s-that-lady guitar. The rap is a reminiscence of growing up poor (‘drinking cherry Kool-Aid from a mayonnaise jar?) and fatherless.
The second song, Soul Provider, is straight-ahead hip hop with a self-aggrandizement rap by fellow Sound In Color artist Blu. He compares himself to Dolemite and brags about the number of back seats (?) he has seen. I can’t figure out what the crazy sample in the background is – the Three Stooges going whoop whoop whoop? Muskrat Love? It’s a mystery.
Both tracks are clean! The B side is an instrumental version of the A side. Enjoy.
All hail Egon (nee Eothen Alapatt) for compiling this collection of rare funk music from the late 60’s and early 70’s and putting it out through his offshoot of Stones Throw called Now-Again. This is the official follow up to The Funky 16 Corners collection (which we have in Soul/12″). He also put together the compilation Third Unheard – Connecticut Hip Hop ’79-’83 (which we have in Hip Hop/CD).
Sadly this double LP didn’t come with the 28-page booklet of liner notes promised on the web site. (I’ll steal one from Amoeba the next time I go there, since that’s where I got this copy.) For brief bios of the bands, you’ll have to go to http://www.stonesthrow.com/nowagain/artists.htm
The sound quality is excellent, which sets it apart from most other funk compilations. But more importantly, the tunes are all smokin’ and funky as you might expect. Check out in particular the mellow middle section of Free Your Mind by Amnesty (A2) and the cover of War‘s Slipping Into Darkness by the Dayton Sidewinders (B3), and the alternate extended jam take of Mr. Chicken by The Soul Seven (D1). Most of the tracks were recorded in that hotbed of Funk known as the Midwest (OH, IN, MI, NE, KY) and a few were recorded in AZ and TX. It’s always interesting to hear the different local sounds.
Judging from the rarity of these tracks, maybe we should send Egon to Iraq in search of WMDs.
This album is a compilation of songs from the prolific but obscure West African band T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo. They have been going strong for over 40 years putting out over 50 LPs and 100 45s, but this release focuses on the years 1972-1980. Some notes on their name(s): The T.P. stands for tout puissant, or all-powerful in English. You can find them filed under various suffixes as de Cotonou Benin (pronounced be-NIN or be-NEEN), de Cotonou Dahomey (the colonial name for Benin), or just de Cotonou (the capital of Benin).
The 13 tracks on this release cover a wide range of styles, combining Afro-beat with Latin, Soul, Psychedelic, and Funk influences. The rhythm (or rhythms) of most songs is complex but generally comes down on the 1, making the music instantly accessible. Once the band settles into a groove the horns punctuate it, guitars noodle and jam with it, and vocals (in French, I think) shout into it.
It’s music for when the air-conditioning in the Master studio is busted. Perfect for summer!
If you liked the Love’s A Real Thing collection (International/CD) added a few months ago (these guys did the title track), you will certainly like this album. Drop the needle anywhere and funk out.
Archie Shepp is the man. Smart, soulful, a stirring player
nd here leader). This album has two that really stoke the
fires, and one more sparse electronic mediation between them.
On the title cut, there’s some pretty early use of noisy
overloaded electronics percolating beneath the chanted
mantra that if you blur your ears almost sounds like “Space
is the Place.” You’ve also got LeRoy Jenkins sawing away on
his violin, James Spaulding’s flute dances through the flames
as well. A true *battery* of percussion drives this pressure
corker to pop. And pop it does as Shepp drops some gas into
the mix on the second half…an elevating melody comes in
towards the end, but Shepp rises again with a solo, and the
album ends in locked groove of Romulus Franceschini and
Donald Cooper going galaxian eternally. As ruling as that is
“Money Blues” is where it’s at. It starts with an almost
whispered chorus, as if folks are politely watching the
clock at work….but it quicky rises in tone and demand.
Thus we get 18 minutes of payday, with Joe Lee Wilson as
union negotiator and vocal labor leader…but it’s the
Shepp family (backup) singers and deep brass bump-bump
Bump-BUMP that give this a Motown-like 1-2. Add in other
solo spirals and an avalanche of drums.
Cash this one in often…
Marching arpeggios, smeared siren horn synths, dark and thick
like the Fog… Rother delivers a commanding audition tape to
take over John Carpenter’s soundtrack work. Percussion is
silent to subtle here, instead it is the repetition of those
simple crawling/cycling notes and occasional forays into
half chord down-tempo drift that propel this beauty and the
beat. Pitch-shifting every once in awhile to change lanes
and pass sections. There’s a wind tunnel that envelopes you
on the second cut on the second side. Rother maximizes his
minimal approach…good glacial gaseous whooshes slide
through the rapturous repetitions. And the tone is consistent
and dark. They’ll be playing this in churches in fifty years
during the moment the true but truly flawed believers reflect
upon their sins, their many sins. -Snake Pliskin
First release on a new label run by Rother to boot!
Chris McGregor grew up in South Africa and made his first mark on jazz as a member of The Blue Notes, a racially-integrated band that combined traditional African rhythms with the free improvisation of American jazz. Unfortunately, that band was forced into exile, along with other notable South Africans like Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba, during the tumultuous apartheid regime of the 1960’s. Relocated to London, McGregor began to emulate one of his musical heroes, Duke Ellington, by forming his own big band, a large ensemble that included members of The Blue Notes along with some of the best ‘free jazz? musicians Britain had to offer at the time. This 1971 release is the first recording by McGregor’s large ensemble, dubbed the Brotherhood of Breath, which continued to tour and record throughout the 70’s and 80’s with a revolving cast of characters. Side One of this record features three compositions of medium length, two energetic ensemble pieces bookending a quieter middle section that focuses on a smaller ‘jazz combo? sound. Be sure to check out saxophonist John Surman’s highly impassioned contributions on the third track, ‘The Bride.’ Side Two delves even more deeply into the band’s African roots, starting with a lively foray into township swing, followed by a 20-minute improvisation that sounds like Sun Ra if he’d come from South Africa instead of Saturn. The final track is a quick but sprightly march, driven along at jazz tempo. All in all, an auspicious debut for McGregor’s Brotherhood.
When you’re ready to hone your turntablist skills on the 1’s and 2’s, you could find a lot worse than this collage of obscure battle breaks and beats from the Netherlands. According to the label, this is the first volume of a trilogy focusing on Dutch vinyl rarities from the last three decades, done up in a hip-hop mix-tape style. Occasionally you’ll hear a few snatches of American tunes like ‘Crimson and Clover? and ‘Oh What a Nite,? but mostly it’s a mixture of euro pop, rock riffs, funky breaks, musical instruction records, easy listening, and other thrift store sounds, all thoughtfully sequenced and ready for your scratchin’ pleasure.
12345 S. El Monte Road Los Altos Hills, California 94022
Public Inspection File