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Music Reviews

Psych Funk Sa-Re-Ga: 1970-1983 [coll] – [World Psychedelic Funk Classics]

MSTiZA   3/9/2011   12-inch, International

Featured on this release is the golden years, 1970-83 of Indian Psych-Funk sounds. R.D. (Rahul Dev) Burman’s music on these tracks that is theatrical and soundtrack-ish. It’s no wonder what his influences are considering he is the son of the Bollywood music director, Sachin Dev (S.D.) Burman. Kalyanji Anandji are two brothers, one of who scored many films. Their sound is heavier and considered to show more of the western influence. Keith Kanga of Atomic Forest had taken to recreating versions of british and American film scores. His work shows moer variety than that of the previously mentioned artists. Horns, percussion, flange, abstractions & drama are laid about like saris tossed to the wind in a dance sequence. Bhangra and Dandiya elements are found in between original Indian compositions & interpretations of western songs. Fans of surf, psych, funk, will enjoy this all with an international spin.

3WR: Droppin’ the Bombay

Son of P.M., The – “Hey Klong Yao! : Essential Collection of Thai Music…1960s” – [Em Records]

MSTiZA   3/9/2011   12-inch, International

The Son of P.M. has been featured on several Thai collections form Sublime Frequencies. This thai sound is full band of traditional musicians. You hear the guitar, organ, and what seems to be wind instruments, the ranad, hand percussion, & more. The elegance of these songs lie in the instrumentation. You will hear the trance of molam mixed with myanmar; eastern sounds with explosive percussive elements that stay true to the claim that the sound is modernized thai of the 60’s. It’s layered and folk driven. This is more roots than covers as we have seen “the sons..” do in other collections.

Pakistan Folk and Pop Instrumentals ’66-’76 [coll] – [Sublime Frequencies]

MSTiZA   3/9/2011   12-inch, International

The region of the world we know as Pakistan had been part of almost every surrounding kingdom, greek, Indian, Persian, Tukic, Arab. Eventually, in 1947, a united Pakistan emerged from under british rule. With declared unity as an Islamic republic and adoption of a constitution, things were looking up. However a coup courtesy of Ayub Khan had stalled civilian rule. After it’s second war with India, dissent and political tensions grew. It was from 1972-77 that civilian rule had resumed under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. It is from this era in Pakistani history that these folk and pop sounds were made. You hear on this record a decade of Pakistani sounds. These sounds are layered with sounds of the east- electric sitar, organs all made with the tranced psychadelia worshipped heavily by american students abrouad in the late 60s early 70s. Under the heavy guard of Eastern sounds you can catch a hint of other influences. Definitely not as crossover garage as the Psychadelic Aliens. Hear the sound of surf, garage, and Pakistani folk set along side pop dreams in eastern lands.

Nyabole [coll] – [Wergo]

humana   1/23/2011   CD, International

This is one of those releases that requires you to read the liner notes as you listen to the songs so that you can fully understand their significance. The photos and diagrams illustrate beautifully the culture of the Hamar of Southern Ethiopia, captured from 1970-76. This lesson in ethnomusicology is not to be missed, so sit back and listen to the musical bow, lyre, flute, and voices as they sing and tell stories of dances, ancestors, and war.

Pentecostes Vibrations : Spanish Xian Garage Psych & Beyond [coll] – [Hundergrum]

Thurston Hunger   1/23/2011   12-inch, International

Okay, so 13 tracks of Christian rock, which artist is going to be the
Judas? Hmmmm, we’ll get back to that, first the story on this is that
Hundergrummers in their digging up the “Andergraun” of Spanish sonic
soil from the 60’s/70’s noticed a thread developing in some of the
less overpowering items. A certain omnipresence if you well, you know
the X in Xian. Dios tuyo, pero no mio. Another unifying thread might
be that the vocals are a little more scrubbed/refined than you might
find in other psychedealings. The Spanish scene works in some horn
charts, on Los Mil-lers and Los Cirros. Units here are lead by a
dewey-eyed femme that earth folkers still will worship to this day.
Keyboards/organs appear, never the full-on church full-stop organ,
but meandering lines on that Los Mil-lers track and wobbly, warbly
ones on Enarat. Bremen’s “Mundo de Hoy” has a hint of power-pop
twinkle that comes out of its bassy bopping beginning. There’s a
tidiness, not necessarily sanctity, that restrains this, but it’s
a nice sonic capsule of one element of Spain post Vatican II. If
not in the garage, maybe in the rec room behind the igleisa?
Little oral blurbs “Spiritus Sancti” start each side and end
the second (stronger in my opinion) side.

-El Hombre del Hambre.

PS Not sure how much Pablo y Richard (note: not Ricardo) were paid, maybe 30 pieces of silver?

Psychedelic Aliens, The – “Psycho African Beat” – [Soundway Records]

MSTiZA   1/19/2011   CD, International

This Academy release is bound to please fans of blues, funk, and garage. It’s less psychadelic but to the Lebanese and Ghanian’s that made up the band and the time they emerged, it was this era of music that impacted their sound and success. In Accra, Ghana; they played with visiting bands and solo gigs as often as they could. They shared bills with big players, but early in their it was the Heartbeats who would change their path when they shared their equipment with the band. The Psychadelic Aliens began to purchase their amps and PA from touring bands whose contracts had ended and this is how they acquired their Vox Continental organ which you hear throughout this release. The booklet enlightens you to the depth of this equipment endeavor (fuzz and wah wah pedals) as well as their influences. Tracks 2 & 8 are instrumental, and track 3 is heavily influenced by Jimmy Hendrix vox. Enjoy this one with a bit of nostalgia for the times and you will not be let down.

Senor Coconut – “Yellow Fever” – [Nacional Records]

aarbor   1/12/2011   CD, International

Yellow Fever is Uwe Schmidt’s (a/k/a Atom Heart, ATOM TM etc.) tribute to Japan’s Yellow Magic Orchestra. He’s upgraded to a full sized big band instead of just samplers and computer gear. Accompanying him are various artists including vocalist Argenis Brito, Deelite’s DJ Towa Tei, Mouse On Mars, and YMO’s Ryuchi Sakamoto. Essentially he’s transmogrphying the work of Yellow Magic Orchestra into classic Latin style pop songs. Atom Heart’s aim is to invent a super eclectic style of music and as usual, his cosmic sense of humor is a key part of the mix. Play, laugh, dance!  AArbor

Singh, Charanjit – “Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat” – [Bombay Connection]

aarbor   1/5/2011   CD, International

Charanjit Singh is a veteran of countless Bollywood soundtrack orchestras in the Hindi film industry of the 1960s and ???70s. Singh would turn up at sessions with the latest new synthesiser, acquired at great expense from London or Singapore. He was not, however, widely regarded among his country folk as someone “pushing things forward”. His band, the Charanjit Singh Orchestra, made their rupees touring weddings, performing the hits of the day, and even though he played on many popular Bollywood recordings, Charanjit Singh was never a household name.

In 1982, though, Singh did something unusual. Inspired by the sound of disco imports from the west making waves among Bombay’s hipster cognoscenti, he went into the studio with some new kit ??? a Roland Jupiter-8 keyboard, a Roland TR-808 drum machine and a Roland TB-303 ??? and decided to make a record that combined western dance music with the droning ragas of Indian classical music. Recorded in two days, Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat garnered some interest, excerpts finding their way on to national radio, but it was a commercial flop and was soon forgotten.

In 2002, record collector Edo Bouman came across Ten Ragas in a a shop in Delhi. “Back at my hotel I played it on my portable player, and I was blown away. It sounded like acid house, or like an ultra-minimal Kraftwerk.” But it was the date on the record that shocked Bouman. Released 1982, it predated the first acid house record. AArbor

Sounds of Siam, The [coll] – [Soundway Records]

aarbor   1/5/2011   CD, International

This collection is an outstanding fusion of Thai folk with western funk and rock. It???s the result of years of crate digging in Bangkok???s Chinatown by UK DJ and producer Chris Menist. Luk-thung (“country song”) was the music of the poor, its wavering ??? often female ??? voices tell tales of hard work and heartache over beats borrowed from James Brown or the Stones, and Bollywood-tinged arrangements. A very cool example is track 9. For a taste of Molam, from the Laotian north, try Sodsri Rungsang, (track 16) wailing over a blues bass line, fiddle drone and twanging surf guitar. Don???t miss track 12 which has a wonderful Jumpin??? Jack Flash riff. A standout! AArbor

Afrocubism – “Afrocubism” – [World Circuit]

Cousin Mary   12/8/2010   CD, International

This collaboration between musicians from Mali and Cuba playing both tunes from Cuba and Africa puts a new light on the African roots of Cuban music. Delightful beats, singing, instrumentals and percussion.

The Africans on this recording had been slated to perform on the seminal release “Buena Vista Social Club”, but were unable to get to that recording. “??Cuando llegar???” (When will I arrive? (track 2)) Fortunate for us, the answer is “ahora” (now).

Sabri Brothers – “Ya Habib” – [Real World Records Ltd.]

Cousin Mary   12/1/2010   CD, International

The Sabri Brothers are a well known “Qawwali” party from Pakistan who sing in Urdu, accompanied by the harmonium (a pump organ that sounds a bit like an accordion), clapping and percussion. Qawwali (pronounced Kwa-WAL-li) is Sufi music, repetitive and long with the purpose of making a direct spiritual connection for the listener. Sufism is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam.

Forceful singing and the driving beat are very beautiful and moving.

Quantic – “Addis to Axum: a Mix By Quantic” – [Mochilla]

humana   11/26/2010   CD, International

In 2004 Quantic traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and unearthed albums that reveal traditions of Ethiopian music rarely heard anywhere else. Quantic presented this mix of the treasures he found as an opener to an LA show featuring Mulatu Astatke, Ethiopian jazz pioneer. Sit back and let DJ Quantic???s magic transport you to Eastern Africa.

Jansch, Bert – “L.A. Turnaround Bonus Tracks” – [Drag City]

Cousin Mary   11/24/2010   CD, International

This CD contains bonus tracks and video for this 1974 album by Scottish folk musician Bert Jansch. Former Monkee Michael Nesmith produced and played guitar. Musicians include Red Rhodes (steel guitar), Byron Berline (fiddle, mandolin) and Jesse Ed Davis (guitar).

Very fancy guitar work, nice singing. Jansch fans will get a kick out of the archival footage in the video.

See also review of main 12″: http://spidey.kfjc.org/index.php?p=3934

Next Stop…Soweto Vol. 2: Soultown [coll] – [Strut]

humana   10/23/2010   CD, International

This compilation represents the irrepressible spirit of bands who would not let apartheid silence them. I learned more from the liner notes than I did in school. Don???t let the upbeat rhythms and the colorful psychedelic packaging of this CD fool you–these songs make a political statement by their very existence. Never mind that they were relegated to backrooms often located in the midst of gang violence, these bands played on, regardless of the circumstances. Drop the laser anywhere.

Group Inerane – “Guitars From Agadez Vol. 3” – [Sublime Frequencies]

humana   10/9/2010   12-inch, International

Political unrest notwithstanding, Group Inerane takes a licking but keeps on ticking with Volume 3, featuring a new second guitarist (Koudede) after the other one was gunned down. Enjoy the Nigerian flavors and guitars, bass, drums, and vocals that shine through despite, or perhaps because of, the chaos of their immediate environs. Third-generation Tuareg music triumphs.

Deflez, Gilbert With Jacky Chalard – “Je Suis Vivant, Mais J’ai Peur” – [Finders Keepers]

humana   10/8/2010   CD, International

French art pop: Take a guy named Gilbert Deflez who had a radio show where he read science fiction stories and also taught karate, and another named Jacky Chalard who was the ???ultra-hip Dynastie Crisis rock guitarist??? and happened to be one of Deflez???s martial arts students. Their chance meeting led to this concept album conceived and narrated by Deflez (plus other voice actors) with musical accompaniment by Chalard and friends. Francophiles will love the atmosphere of this comic book set to music. Read the liner notes.

Unheard Ofs & Forgotten Abouts [coll] – [Tompkins Square]

humana   8/27/2010   CD, International

This compilation seems to have been made with Art Crimes??? Temporary Village and Old Weird America show in mind. Culled from the 78 rpm record collection of Frank Fairfield, these songs originate from as far afield as Indonesia, Japan, Scotland, Africa, and France to various American territories, and the time span covered is just as broad. There???s even a recorded sermon on Track 16. Read the fascinating liner notes for a history of each song, and enjoy!

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