20.4.15

VA - Canada: Jeux Vocaux Des Inuit (1989)


Recorded 1960 in Pelly Bay, 1975 in Gjoa Haven, 1976 in Pond Inlet, 1977 in Igloolik, 1978 in Ivujivik, 1980 in Spence Bay & Eskimo Point.

90 types of gestures and games are (mostly) sung by two people facing each other, sometimes alternating arm movements, sometimes holding shoulders, crouching, dropping to heels and then standing up; they make throat sounds, pant, quack like ducks, and make other noises, with half of the games telling a story. Some songs are made by two women with their heads side by side singing into a basin, or alternately by one woman singing into metal bowls which act as a resonator (in older times, they used water bags made from caribou hides). Some games are based on single words repeated in a sequencing pattern drawn from a story -- without the whole story ever being told; there are stories of fish, dogs, and even one of a woman who counts the stars to find out how many children she will have, but the stars are covered by cloud and fog. There are games to make your friends laugh, and to imitate the sound of zero degree weather. It is enjoyable for the sound of the songs, and fascinating for the sheer variety, and depth, of their poetry and philosophy of experience. ("Blue" Gene Tyranny)

19.4.15

The B-Music Of Jean Rollin 1968–1979 (2012)

The very controversial legacy of French filmmaker Jean Rollin is the subject of one of the latest compilations on the B-Music and Finders Keepers imprints with the release of The B-Music of Jean Rollin. As a specialist of the fantastique genre (science fiction, horror and fantasy), Jean Rollin’s controversial and influential low budget works have stood the test of time and are important examples into the flourishing history of underground cinema. B-Music and Finders Keepers have entered the deep soundtrack vaults to Jean Rollin’s best films between the late 60’s and late 70’s for a thirty-one track comprehensive collection on the music that was so vital in making Jean Rollin’s music stand out the way it did. Jean Rollin’s films were given some of the most diverse music to accompany, hitting on jazz, folk, psychedelia, soundscape, funk, pop, the Middle East, experimentalism, it all had a place in Rollin’s films.

The collection The B-Music of Jean Rollin covers a variety of soundtrack pieces of film that spans one of the most startling times for underground cinema. All of the music is sequenced to create an album within itself. Starting with Rollin’s debut Le Viol du Vampire, there is four tracks from this 1968 film feature spread across the disc. It couldn’t have been more controversial and is the best opener for this compilation with the very short piece ‘Blind Songbird’. I can’t help but hear the unmistakable guitar riff that sounds like Pink Floyd’s Overstellar Interdrive in the Acanthus piece ‘Le Frisson Des Vampires’.

Almost all of the tracks have the voice over and special effect inclusions left intact, reflecting the horror eroticism and mysticism that dwells in the movies they accompany. Jean Rollin was just as surreal as he was anything else and that aspect of the films intentions comes out in the music the most.  The composers music selected stretches every corner of the globe, even having a track dedicated entirely to percussion. Spaghetti western battles, occult ceremonies, sci-fi based UFO encounters, slaughterhouses and zombie apocalypses are just a few of the things that come to mind when I listen to all of the deviated from the norm and exotic music that comprises The B-Music of Jean Rollin.

Collecting material from 1969’s La Vampire Nue, 1970’s Le Frisson des Vampires, 1971’s Requiem pour un Vampire, 1973’s Jeunes filles impudiques and 1979’s Fascination, The B-Music of Jean Rollin is one of the best compilation soundtracks I have ever heard and is another crowning achievement in the B-Music and Finders Keepers legacy.  The cover of The B-Music of Jean Rollin comes from the Jean Rollin poster print for his 1979 film Fascination. ---- Erik Otis

Plastic Crimewave Sound - Goodbye To the Divine (2008)


Plastic Crimewave (guitar, vox)
Cat Chow (guitar, vox)
Lux (bass)
Andy Ortmann (keyboards)
Lawrence Peters(drums)

Plastic Crimewave (born Steven H. Kraków), otherwise known as Steve Kraków, is a Chicago-based illustrator and writer, avant-garde musician, music historian and impresario. He is the editor of Drag City-published magazine Galactic Zoo Dossier, eponymous front man for Plastic Crimewave Sound, founder of the Million Tongues Festival, and Vision Celestial Guitarkestra. He writes and illustrates the "Secret History of Chicago Music" comic in the Chicago Reader and co-hosts WGN-AM's Secret History of Chicago Music series. He runs the Drag City imprint label, Galactic Zoo Disk.

Crimewave's band, Plastic Crimewave Sound, was a psychedelic acid punk band based in Chicago. The band consisted of Plastic Crimewave, bassist Mark Lux (Raspberry Kidd), drummer Lawrence Peters (Skog Device), Steve's brother Adam (Hands of Hydra) on second guitar. They toured with Acid Mothers Temple, Comets on Fire, Oneida, The Ponys, The Gris Gris, Marble Sheep and others, and played at the Terrastock festival and international festivals. The band has been compared to Chrome, Can, Yo Ho Wha 13, Sonic Youth, Hawkwind and has a cult following. After Plastic Crimewave Sound disbanded, Kraków formed a power trio, Plastic Crimewave Syndicate.

 This show was recorded live at subterranean in chicago on saturday june 21, 2008. Plastic crimewave sound had just gotten back from a tour so they were tight! Sadly this was nick’s last show with the band, but they send him out on fire! literally melting hundreds of faces that night! Truly mind expanding versions of all yr pcws favorites: i am planet crushing, far in/out, shockwave rider… plus a cover of the dead c’s bad politics! crucial!

Barre Phillips, Catherine Jauniaux, Malcolm Goldstein - Birds Abide (2010)


“This set was my favorite one of the entire Festival. It was most magical and flowed organically. For me, this was the perfect trio, with Malcolm on the high end, Barre on the low end and Catherine somewhere in the middle with her immensely charming voice & presence. I kept thinking that this trio is perfect, communicating on a high level and taking us with them on an inner journey that only our fearless fellow travelers could do.” — Bruce Gallenter, Downtown Music Gallery

Reporting on records by artists whose standing equals that of Phillips, Jauniaux and Goldstein is getting harder and harder. The typical stratagem of employing the review's first half to recount an artist's career in pills, thus smartly reducing the analytical space, is not acceptable to this writer. On the other hand, the propensity for enthusiasm in front of an unimpeachable release is malignantly stigmatized by incompetent members of the official intelligentsia.

Make no mistake, though: Birds Abide is a great record, the remarkable fusion of three profound souls constantly striving for shared excellence. The set — recorded at the Victoriaville Festival in May 2010 — consists of six tracks that communicate urgency, theatrical qualities, extraordinary technical prowess and the sort of enlightened quest for unlikelihood that pushes an improvising artist to choose the less expected move. In this particular case the attitude is totally winning, the resulting music appearing as a crying-and-kicking newborn creature.

Jauniaux is definitively back to her highest highs, a voice able to scintillate, peep, squirrel-talk and cut like a sword. Occasionally she's also a fine imitator of her partners' string-based expressiveness, the fruit of decades of manual practice but — above all — of a complete development of the ability of listening interactively. Goldstein's violin generates fragile fireflies, hard crumbles and melodic splinters, the emotional control remaining consistent throughout. Phillips sustains the influence of the lower frequencies adding a stouter percussiveness without flinching when necessary; his participation in the performance's more elegiac circumstances — the moments in which the trio really becomes a single, multi-faceted entity — is certainly essential. Exactly as is this album, which one feels glad to hold after a mere couple of listens.--- Massimo Ricci

18.4.15

Clutchy Hopkins - The Life Of Clutchy Hopkins (2006)


Clutchy Hopkins is purportedly a multi-instrumentalist musician based out of California. His existence has not yet been fully verified, though he is widely believed to be a pseudonym for one of several popular DJs. The true identity of the person (or people) behind the music is not publicly known.

On September 9, 2006, a YouTube video claiming to be documentary footage about Clutchy Hopkins was uploaded. The video's end credits contain the URL www.misledchildren.com. Originally, this website featured a 12-track album titled "The Life of Clutchy Hopkins", plus a white-label store that sold the album, a brief description, and contact information for a seemingly random Hotmail address. The YouTube video's credits also mention a Myspace page which features grainy photos of a ragged-looking bearded man wearing a flannel shirt.

In February 2007, music blog Idolator published a brief post on the music, describing it as "MF Doom-like hip hop instrumentals with India-influenced guitar tracks and some smoother downtempo work that might fool Portishead fans" and speculating that Clutchy might be a pseudonym for DJ Shadow.[citation needed] Additional attention from Okayplayer and KCRW DJ Jeremy Sole sparked discussion among music bloggers who postulated that Cut Chemist, Madlib, Money Mark or Shawn Lee might be responsible for the music. Clutchy's true identity was never discovered, but in early 2008, noted funk label Ubiquity Records released "Walking Backwards", a full-length album of new Clutchy music, featuring guest vocals from Darondo. It was followed by two collaborations with Shawn Lee and the 2009 album "Music Is My Medicine", credited to Clutchy Hopkins and Lord Kenjamin. In April 2010, Ubiquity released another solo album titled "The Storyteller".

Also in 2008, Porter Records released an album titled "Odean Pope and the Misled Children". While the relationship remains unclear, the sound of the Misled Children is very similar to Clutchy Hopkins, and the URL from the YouTube video suggests a connection. Another Misled Children album titled "Peoples Market" is listed on AllMusic.

Noted graphic artist Jim Mahfood has created artwork and album covers for recent Clutchy Hopkins projects.

In 2012 Clutchy Hopkins and future soul artist Erik Rico collaborated on an upcoming music project for the Animated Cartunes label.

New Age - All Around (1967)


After Pat Kilroy’s LP in 1966, which was already half song music and half folk-psychedelia with an eastern influence, Pat after some time had formed the trio called The New Age (a suiting name long before a genre was intended with that name), with mainly flute improviser Susan Graubard (now known as Susan Archuletta) and conga player Jeffrey Stewart.

There has been a serious 10-page article in Ugly Things (issue 25), written by David Biasotti, revealing the whole background story of Pat Kilroy and The New Age, with visions of others who surrounded him revealing also some series of events that led to more Indian associated ways of playing. Bob Amacker, for instance, who played on Pat’s first album, 'The Light of Day', on Elektra (1966) (and later, on Peter Walker’s raga guitar pieces album from ’67, besides more interesting music with many others, among them Tuvan musicians later on) tells how after his drums had been stolen, he could only afford tabla’s, immediately when he bought them he was introduced to an Indian teacher, and thus rolled into this different way of playing. He started to play them everywhere, even on bluegrass, along with Stefan Grossman. Through Stefan, Bob and Pat Kilroy came into contact with one another for Pat’s first album. After the sessions, Pat and Susan went on a long trip as if on a gypsy-like mission, and went to places like the UK (meeting Jansch/Renbourne), Spain and Morocco. When returned, Bob no longer wished to continue with Pat. Luckily, they also knew Jeffrey Stewart, from Big Sure (a wonderful place pressed between mountains, where they could not receive radio or TV transmissons, and therefore people very much enjoyed live music, the place where all their early developments had started). Jeffrey played voodoo drums, and so replaced Bob to form a new Trio called The New Age. Jeffrey was a cousin of John Francis Gunning, drummer for Country Joe and The Fish, and jammed together more often with them. Both bands got befriended and CJ&F even became fans of The New Age for they were the only exotic and acoustic band around. They joined stages regularly playing at Jaberwocky. Pat already since his solo album had been a serious student of Eastern mysticism, and took all musical and spiritual influences that taught him more seriously, was one of those people stimulating that influence everywhere. In Berkeley, the trio now took lessons at the American Society for Eastern Arts, the place where Ali Akhbar Khan was teaching. Pat studied sarod, Jeffry tabla and Susan learned koto, shamisen (sort of lute) and shakuhashi (flute, with Kodo Araki), and later Indian music on viola (with V.G. Jog, and then continued with Ali Akbar Khan, when V.G. Jog returned to India). The article states how early 1967 in that area Timothy Leary was encouraging people to “turn on, tune in, drop out”, Alan Ginsberg chanted, Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service were gathering and huge crowds attending, and LSD was brought into the mix. Before the New Age recording, Susan once was unexpectedly invited to jam along with Dizzy Gillespie. She also had occasionally played with The Floating Lotus Magic Opera. Also revealed in the article that the free-form viola on “Dance around the sun” was slightly influenced by Sun Ra. Unfortunately the album was never released because Pat became seriously ill with cancer and died rather quickly. It took until 2006 for a first LP reissue. This first CD reissue completes the sessions with 6 bonus tracks which give very much an idea how the sessions were developed. The extra tracks sound a bit more like first ideas of improvisations, and a song, but they are equally charming and enjoyable.

The nature of the recording sounds for a part logical to our ears, like improvised psychedelic acoustic music, with a very raga-alike feeling, taking the time for instrumental (flute / guitar / conga) improvisations, but although the time was right for this to happen rarely such sessions were recorded or even published at the time (like Seventh Son’s "Raga" from 1966). More than this I can also notice a secular celebrative influence (the article said Pat used to sing in a choir at Sunday masses), revealing unusual but still rather intuitive vocal techniques which hold the middle between Sufi chanting like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, a less in rhythm structured and more intuitive Indian vocal-less improvisation and jazz mood improvisation, probably a self invented compromise reflecting ideas from Arab / Middle Eastern and Indian origins. Another fantasy, like “Alone in Wonderland” recalls the theatrical idea of a flute player with snake in a basket. The flute improvisations are always brilliant, but also the guitar performs raga-like evolutions, while the conga replaces the tabla, but also with a different character to Indian styled tabla. Here and there viola, bass, and droning tamboura can be heard, and song inspirations are also paired with the importance of the improvisational freedom. The absolutely rewarding album of 7 tracks reveals a perfect, psychedelic folk mood and can indeed be regarded as being ahead of it’s time, even when there were more comparable albums hidden with similar ideas around the same period.

The bonus tracks were recorded live in a radio show on KPFA-FM in Berkeley, months before they recorded the album. Included on some of these tracks is the acoustic bass playing of Mark Levinson, who also recorded on the album. On the bonus track “Bamboo mood” the percussion is more African in nature.

Susan continued with her approach towards music. She worked with electronic composer Don Buchla and Christopher Tree. In 1972 she recorded the Habibiyya album (which is reviewed on the next page), together with ex-Mighty Baby members. This album, at the best moments, to a degree continues something of The New Age approach, be it with a few more instruments, like koto, and with more instrumental music. She also recorded (on flute) "Tassajara" with Robbie Basho on The Falconer's Arm, Part I. (Robbie also asked her to collaborate with him on a Sufi Opera that he told her he was writing in the 80s. He died unexpectedly before that happened). Other later groups she was involved with are Cloud Chamber and the Now Ensemble. (source)


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