Crazy harsh reality from 8 Hour Animal. Blasted electronic industrial beats, scorching power electronics, dark furious ambience with sharped stabs of metal, and pure bloody noise annihilate your ears making you cry (and possibly pee yourself) in the corner. Effected vox, who knows what he’s screaming about, if it’s dog shit on the yard I can relate. It’s chaotic and ruthless, blasting right through like a Tasmanian devil on a rampage.
Sabreen formed amidst the drama of political turmoil in 1980 as a collective of Palestinian musicians & artists interested in channeling the generational sentiments wrought from social strife and the hope of eventual conciliations. Death of the Prophet, originally recorded on cassette at the beginning of the first intifada (the insurrectionist rebellion of Palestinians against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank) in 1987 and was re-released in 2020 by the Akuphone label.
This album blends traditional classical Arabic music with popular folklore:
—Barbed chords pluck misery from heaven as the larynx releases a white dove.
—A sanguine calligraphy bleeds out an arsenal of poetry to wrangle the holy landscape.
—Ghosts send up a solemn prayer for peace that the usurpers hold mute.
The oud and the kanun instruments preserve echoes of their classical origins, but are adapted to modern composition with freer improvisation. Lyrics deploy sanctified words from the Palestinian poets, Mahmoud Darwish and Samih Al Qasem, imbuing this album with postcolonial righteous zeal.
ITCHY-O’s second full-length album, From the Overflowing was released on Alternative Tentacles in September 2017. Itchy-O is a 50+ member avant-garde, percussion centered electronic performance group based in Denver, CO. Lauded as one of today’s most unique musical-performance groups. With a driving drum corps battery, taiko drummers, an arsenal of electronics including synthesizers, theremin, vocoders, and other custom-made sonic devices, ITCHY-O completely engulfs an audience from every angle in an electric bog of music, ephemera and spectacle.
Infamous from Colorado to Tasmania for astounding unsuspecting audiences with their aural and visual insanity, itchy-O returns to unleash a fresh new album to add to their legendary live spectacle.
“…with their latest Alternative Tentacles release “From The Overflowing”, this marching band on acid has found a way to capture their fury and intensity which fans can listen to long after the lights come up and the sweaty masses of the audience wonder what the hell they just witnessed…Simply put, the marching band nerds have grown up and they’re one-hundred times cooler and more sinister than anyone ever imagined.”–The Marquee Magazine
Rhyton is a trio devoted to exploration built on a foundation drawn from psychedelic rock, roots music of many stripes, and modernist soundscapes. Composed of multi-instrumentalist David Shuford, Jimy SeiTang (bass) and drummer Spencer Herbst. Rhyton developed from Shuford’s desire to return to open-form music, which he’d explored in great depth with the No Neck Blues Band.
The three pieces on “The Emerald Tablet” are improvised and wide-open, though they hew closely to rhythms and modes derived from North African and Middle Eastern music and the dusky textures inherent in Shuford’s electric mandolin. Like the bastard child of John Cipollina and Rudolph Grey, Shuford unspools incredible midrange fantasias, chunky and feedback-drenched but equally dexterous and graceful.
If you are curious a rhyton is a type of drinking vessel used in ancient Greece, typically having the form of an animal’s head or a horn, with the hole for drinking at the bottom.
Side 1 – Untitled
Opens with tribal drumming, adding high timber beats beginning the long quest upon camels in the fictional Chalisa Desert, circa 2027. This must be a long incessant dream of the artist ‘Black Joker’
Desert flutes romance the listener in the next stage of the quest, whose destination is unknown, and creates tension amongst the clan as to its purpose. Yet they continue along the windswept dunes. Their spirit is uneasy, yet this is who they are…tradition, culture, routine.
Mind spitting intermittent pings, relentlessly, over and over, as the sweltering heat overwhelms them, their minds are melting, yet the camels know the way, they have been here before.
Evening approaches, awakening from the unconscious spell, realizing their predicament, the pursuit of rest is near, and there’s a feeling of hopefulness, joy, that begins to awaken the spirit within.
The pace quickens and is consistent as the drudge of the daily routine wears off and they inherently know who they are. The beauty of the blackness of the sky, the stars sparkle with the illumination that they not only seek but crave.
Side 2 – Untitled
Another day continues similar to the last, methodical beat of the camels’ pace, and there’s a new inspiration unlike before, as a mirage appears in the distance. Even the knowingness of this false hope, the spectacular vision of the distant mountains lets them know they are closer to their destiny and offers a sliver of hope.
the rhythm of the caravan is comforting to the soul and they know who they are…
Disruption and confusion enter in suddenly, as there is a treacherous path to climb, and it is the urging on of the leader that this is but temporary. The desert wind blows its might, but alas they are through it. Press on, press on, upward, onward….the destination is just over the summit…and it is clear, their journey is near the end. Excitement builds, as the overwhelming sandscapes begin to lessen and reveal the lush life approaching. We began together, this odyssey, wandering through the sand, and as the cool evening descends upon our arrival, we know this is just a temporary pause; we have not yet reached our final destination
Experimental musician Black Joker, aka Spencer Clark, The Skaters, Fourth World Magazine, Monopoly Child Star Searchers, Vodka Soap,
abstract – ambient experimental, Desert atmospheric soundscape, hypnotic , tribal
A history in song of the white (Southern) cotton mill workers and the mills they worked in. Brown Lung Cotton Mill Blues started at the end of the Civil War. Black people were excluded. Instead poor whites and especially women and children worked in these mills. Promises made by mill owners about schooling, good pay and realistic hours were broken. It was a tough life and the conditions were unsanitary, leading to TB. brown lung and other complaints. The workers unionized and had strikes in the 1920s and ’30s which eventually gained the attention of leaders like President Franklin Roosevelt. The music is largely Appalachian Southern song style with guitar, banjo and mandolin accompaniment. Learn the history you never learned in school through these songs. AArbor
This short-lived Brooklyn outfit was the garage band’s garage band. Here they offer seven all-instrumental rock jams, heavy on guitar. Muddy recording mostly buries the bass and especially the drums, but the lead guitar freakouts are front and center and that’s what it’s all about. The final track is the longest and it starts off in a gentle manner. The other tracks pretty much start off full-tilt and never let up. Recorded in 2018, released in 2019.
TEKE::TEKE – “Shirushi”
Japanese garage, surf, psyche-rock from Montreal? Yesss!! This Quebec ensemble will transport you in the way-back machine to the raw sounds of the late 60’s Japanese and Asian psych rock scene to a modern day, transformative, high energy, psychedelic rock-n-roll experience. On their 2021 debut release “Shirushi”, front woman and visual artist Maya Kuroki lays down powerfully energetic vocals, injecting raw emotion into sizzling instrumental energy that includes a traditional Shinobue (bamboo flute), trombone, and ample guitar fuzz to satisfy the fuzziest of ears. Listen and enjoy the journey to the other ghostly side.
These are well-known Amhara wedding songs from Ethiopia. Amharans are an indigenous group who live in the northwest highlands of Ethiopia, and have their own language. They are about 26% of the Ethiopian population. In Ethiopia Amhara families invite as many people as possible when there is a wedding. Festivities can start as much as a week before the actual wedding day. Read the notes for more details about what each song means and how it fits into the wedding festivities. AArbor
Lord Flea was the stage name of Norman Byfield Thomas who was a Jamaican mento musician credited with helping start the calypso craze in U.S. With his band The Calypsonians, Flea toured the U.S. throughout the late 1950s, and released just this 1 album before he died (before the age of 30) in 1959.
Mento is a style of Jamaican folk music that predates and has greatly influenced ska and reggae music. It is a fusion of African rhythmic elements and European elements, which reached peak popularity in the 1940s and 1950s. Mento typically features acoustic instruments, such as acoustic guitar, banjo, hand drums, and the rhumba box — a large mbira in the shape of a box that can be sat on while played. The rhumba box plays the bass part of the music.
Mento is often confused with calypso, which is from Trinidad and Tobago. Although the two share many similarities, they are separate and distinct musical forms. During the mid-20th century, mento was confused with calypso, and mento was frequently referred to as calypso. As in calypso, mento uses topical lyrics with a humorous slant, commenting on poverty and other social issues. Sexual innuendo is also common. Mento draws on musical traditions brought by enslaved West African people. AArbor
Dwight Trible, who is originally from Cincinnati, is a versatile vocalist, and known as the godfather of the L.A. jazz scene. He’s collaborated with a range of musicians from J.Dilla to Pharoah Sanders for 40 years. He is best known for promoting and creating opportunities for others in the LA Jazz community, rather than in the spotlight. This release puts Trible firmly in the spotlight, showcasing his own compositions as well as covers of others’. You can hear his talent as a jazz vocalist quite clearly here. He is surrounded by some well-respected instrumentalists who support him with solid playing. AArbor
Watch How The People Dancing [coll] – Unity Sounds from the London Dancehall 1986-1989 [Honest Jon Records]
These singles and instrumentals show no-name locals rocking mics over the toy-store electro-beats that marked reggae’s transition into modern-day digital dancehall.
Presented as a next-generation companion to London Is The Place For Me: the mood is more defiant — a Jamaican secession from London — with themes of inner-city sufferation running alongside hymns to the dancehall & herb. Spot-on mastering from Moritz von Oswald.
Tunes you would expect at the closing hours of the afterparty of a Jamaican dancehall mix.
In the ’80s, when reggae was changing from roots to dancehall, the Unity sound system was already a big player in London. And when the digital sound started, they were inspired to start making their own tunes, instead of simply playing others. Using a Casio and a four-track cassette recorder, they laid down the rhythm tracks, then went into a real studio to add vocals and overdubs. On the majority of the vocal cuts, an instrumental “version” is appended (just as it would have played on a sound system). The result is true street-level British reggae from the dawn of the digital era, and all surprisingly good, given that none of the people involved were musicians — they all worked for Unity Sound, except for some of the singers. – Thee Opinataur
These recordings are a mixed bag of recording quality from track to track. Some lyrics are difficult to hear clearly, some fuzzy static which adds a nice raw element to these early blues.
This album captures a wide range of Sara Martin’s vocal capabilities, from the higher range Achin’ Hearted Blues to a deeper more sensual register in Death Sting Me Blues. While her voice is solidly classic blues, in some of these tunes, she sounds unrelaxed and a bit uptight. She is at her best when she reflects her personality which comes through in ‘Taint Nobody’s Bus’ness If I Do’ and ‘Hole in the Wall’. A couple of nice duets with Clarence Williams, I’m Cert’ny Gonna See ‘Bout That’ and ‘Squabling Blues’ brings out her sassy personality.
Sara Martin (b1884 – d1955) was a well-traveled singer on the African American Vaudeville circuit in the early 20th century. Known as the ‘colored ’ Sophie Tucker’ and The Famous Moanin’ Mama” she was signed by Okeh Records in 1922 and recorded dozens of songs accompanied by the most accomplished musicians of the day including Clarence Williams, King Oliver, and Fats Waller. – Thee Opinataur
Recorded in 1958
Side A – read by Cyril Cusack – a famous Irish actor of his day, albeit South African born which can be detected in his voice.
These poems drip with a self-examination of human life and death, as Yeats spent much of his life examining. Threaded with somber tones and melancholy, he wastes no words in bearing his true inner self to the listener.
Side B – Read by Siobhan McKenna – Irish stage actor – born in Belfast
This side is filled with many of Yeats romantic and intimate poems of love and sensuality and is beautifully interpreted.
Yeats’s poetry reflects his sheer beauty of words and phrases. Many of his poems were meant to be chanted or sung.
Yeats, in addition to writing some of the best Irish poetry of his day, was also a well-established playwright being co-founder of the Irish National Theater society. While a self-professed Irish protestant, he shared a fascination with occultism and spiritualism which influenced much of his poetry. – Thee Opinataur
Pan-African-themed concept album recorded in Harlem in 1972. Re-released in 2018, Segues between free jazz, R&B, and African drumming. There is a cover of the Supremes song ‘Come See About Me’, (A4), with Baraka adding a spiritual call to ‘Allah’.
By far the most thought-provoking and articulate, well post-civil rights black awareness album I think I’ve ever heard. Amiri Baraka successfully imparts his message just direct talking politics and beliefs that don’t seem any less relevant listening now than when they were recorded in ’72. The music on here is fantastic too. There is some real sweet Motown soul, deep heavy Afro-centric jazz, not to mention the endless percussion and backing rants vocals and interplay. Poetry is rooted in Black-centric politics, positive and uplifting. Anyways, this blew me away and almost made me a card-carrying member of the Black Nation. Not just a spoken word album, much more, much respect to how the album draws upon jazz, R&B, and Soul that makes everything sound easy. It continues to crescendo into a higher and higher gear.
Black people from all walks of life get up and get busy to cultivate the consciousness and commitment to come together to build Black institutions, mobilize and organize movements and fight for our liberation “by any means necessary.” It was an “all Black hands on deck” call to action for Black people to join the Black Freedom Struggle and to use whatever we had to achieve victory! and nearly 60 years later, many of these topics are still relevant. – Thee Opinataur
Released in 2016 to commemorate Lee’s 80th birthday
Here we see yet another great collaboration with Lee Perry and Mad Professor giving us some classic Perry cuts a dub over. Cuts are re-recorded, re-vamped, and refreshed Lee has some fun with ‘No More Roast Fish’, a play on his classic ‘Roast Fish and Cornbread’. Doctor Shit‘ sees Lee re-visit an old Ska classic ‘Doctor Dick!’
Many believe his Black Ark years were Lee’s peak period of creativity, and this album is a great representation with a fresh 21st-century facelift making it all brand new again.
Amazing career, amazing life until the very end, RIP Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, 1936- 2021.
The guys who wrote the book and the music for the musical HAIR wrote quite a few more songs which were not included. These are the songs that didn’t make it into HAIR. AArbor
Moon Duo “Occult Architecture Vol. 1”
Another superb musical trip released by Portland’s Moon Duo. This 2017 release, “Occult Architecture Vol .1” is the first in a dual psychedelic journey through light and dark. (Occult Architecture Vol 2 in the cue) This first LP in the series explores the darker side or life and hints at demise, death of the human spirit, and prepares listeners for a rebirth. Fuzz guitar, rhythmic pounding, and head jaunting explorations await. Join Moon Duo on a journey through your mind and through the musical expansion of psychic imagination.
El Banda “Skutki Uboczne”
Hailing from Warsaw, Poland, El Banda brings it with their unique blend of in you face punk energy with occasional sprinklings of an electronic dream scape. Be prepared to engage and confront your angst as front woman, Anna Zajdel, brings it with an energetic vocal energy that doesn’t hold back on the outrage. Fast, furious, and full of surprises, El Banda is a perfect release for that pent up disappointment in the human condition. This double LP release may cure you of all your mental derangements.
Reprint of 2016 album where the talented tweaker Mary Ocher pits herself between dueling drummers, Stefan Widdess and Oliver Rivera-Drew (aka Your Government) hard at work. The drums keep her grounded, and keep the bpm meter running. Things get off with a blast-off, “#&*” is like a space-chimp hyperventilating, Ocher’s voice often is a third percussive instrument. On other tracks, her voice has razor blade runner sharpness, cutting through spaced lady synths beneath the boys with the beat. Catchy art-pop that could fill the skies nicely next to old floating Silver Apples swarmed by Damaged Bugs. Little guitar strum on the swaggering anthem “The Sound of War” – a song with funk/fury and excellent cold stops. But mostly the music here has bloomed from her rock to artwerk krafted from keyboards. “Man vs Air” at 2:18 begs for a 12″ dancehall remix, synth slithers through the left and right channels. Her Dad reportedly was a voice (and puppet theater) actor! Her vocal gyrations would do her otyez proud! Check out “Now (Fear)” for crazy flair and a serious kookiness. If David Bowie hadn’t been eclipsed by that damn Black Star, she’d probably be opening his next tour (and they’d talk about how they both feel such happy discomfort recording in Berlin). Seems she goes through drummers like Spinal Tap (rough enough for Government workers).
Bonus tip: her evolving visuals won’t disappoint fans of these audio trips!
Ocher as in “Oh-chen” Horrorshow, my-ee droogs!
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