30.7.10

Caspar Brötzmann Massaker - Koksofen (1993)


Masywny, marszowy rock, posępne recytacje i psychodeliczne improwizacje to niepospolita kombinacja. Dlatego warto zainteresować się tym, jak na płycie „Koksofen” własną, nieschematyczną wizję muzyki gitarowej przedstawił zespół Massaker dowodzony przez Caspara Brötzmanna. Tak, z tych Brötzmannów.

Nazwisko założyciela grupy kojarzone jest zazwyczaj z jego ojcem Peterem, który przez 40 lat kariery stał się jednym z najważniejszych Europejczyków we freejazzowym światku. W roku 1968 ten niemiecki saksofonista zaatakował uszy melomanów „Machine Gun”, swoim najpopularniejszym dziś albumem, mimo upływu lat nadal brzmiącym prawdziwie radykalnie, a Jimi Hendrix wydał „Electric Ladyland”. Pierwszy z nich przekazał synowi w genach talent do płodzenia niebanalnego hałasu, by razem z nim nagrać krążek „Last Home” (1990). Z drugim młodszy Brötzmann jest często zestawiany, chociaż kiedy zaczynał tworzyć własną muzykę, dorobku legendarnego gitarzysty jeszcze nie słyszał, a gdy usłyszał, ten nie zyskał jego uznania. Być może więc za powód do porównań wystarczyły leworęczność i użytkowanie stratocastera, jednak trudno negować pewne duchowe powinowactwo.

Uformowane w 1986 r. trio debiutowało rok później płytą „The Tribe”. „Koksofen” (1993) to czwarty i ostatni album z premierowymi kompozycjami wydany pod banderą Caspar Brötzmann Massaker. Dwa lata po nim na rynku pojawił się jeszcze „Home”, gdzie znalazły się powtórnie nagrane utwory z pierwszych dwóch płyt – trzeba przyznać, że faktycznie lepsze od pierwotnych wersji. Niektórzy – zapewne ze względu na mylący tytuł – do wydawnictw grupy zaliczają także solowy materiał lidera z 1999 r., „Mute Massaker”; nie wydaje się to jednak zasadne. Tym samym właśnie opisywany krążek ukazywać powinien najdojrzalsze oblicze zespołu. Niezbicie zaś prezentuje najmroczniejsze.



Kluczem do „Koksofen” jest minimalizm. Wykorzystano najbardziej podstawowe rockowe instrumentarium (poza śpiewającym i grającym na gitarze szefem w skład formacji wchodzili basista Eduardo Delgado Lopez i perkusista Danny Arnold Lommen); zagrano – choć gęste brzmienie i pozorny chaos sugerują rzecz przeciwną – tylko niezbędne nuty. Prosta zwykle praca sekcji rytmicznej wzmogła hipnotyczny charakter muzyki. Jak w „Wiege”, gdzie przez połowę utworu Brötzmann szeptem recytuje tekst na tle powtarzającej się, równej sekwencji uderzeń w bębny, a potem dokłada do tego brudną i równie nieskomplikowaną partię gitary. Najważniejszego narzędzia budującego przytłaczające walce Massaker.
Mimo ciężaru i bezdyskusyjnej nowoczesności korzenie stylu Niemca samouka sprawiają wrażenie tkwiących w latach 60. i 70. – na pewno nie w rozumianym na dzisiejszy sposób metalu. Nie ma tutaj miejsca na wymuskane galopady i tradycyjnie pojmowaną wirtuozerię – jest pierwotność, agresja, maltretowanie strun. Autor swój kunszt pozwala poznać nie tyle w szkieletach kompozycji, co w artykulacji – jest bardzo kreatywny w wydobywaniu z instrumentu zaskakujących tonów.

Gniewne popisy Brötzmanna nie byłyby tak imponujące, gdyby nie oczekiwanie, budowanie napięcia. Klimatyczne zbitki dźwięków, które same w sobie niekiedy trudno nazwać muzyką – to także stanowi istotną część płyty. Bywa, że gitara „podszywa się” pod dzwony, innym razem przywodzi na myśl tykanie zegara; często wstawkom towarzyszy ochrypły głos lidera tria (a język niemiecki jest jakby zaprojektowany specjalnie do topornej z założenia twórczości Massaker). Ekstremalnym przykładem jest zamykający całość utwór tytułowy, czyli właściwie 16 minut okraszonych na początku ponurą deklamacją drone’ów i sprzężeń przypominających odgłosy eksploatowanego kamieniołomu lub – jak wskazuje nazwa – pieca koksowniczego.

Co prawda końcowy numer jest wyjątkiem, lecz trzeba uczciwie przyznać, że takie fragmenty mogą być dla niektórych poważnym mankamentem. Jeżeli okaże się ich zbyt wiele, pozostaje spróbować innych, bardziej rockowych albumów zespołu, co po przesłuchaniu „Koksofen” i tak powinno stać się priorytetem. Ten krążek bowiem to porcja fascynującej muzyki, a Caspar Brötzmann, choć najpewniej nie jest artystą na miarę ojca, ewidentnie nie zasługuje na pozostawanie w jego cieniu. (Mieszko B. Wandowicz)



Formed in Berlin, Germany in 1987, the Caspar Brötzmann Massaker was a vehicle for its nominal leader, an acclaimed guitar virtuoso (as well as the son of saxophonist Peter Brötzmann) whose intense work summoned the spirit and power of traditions ranging from heavy metal to free jazz. A trio also comprised of bassist Eduardo Delgado Lopez and drummer Danny Arnold Lommen, the Massaker debuted in 1987 with The Tribe, a showcase for Brötzmann's dive-bombing guitar work and ominous vocals. With 1992's Der Abend der Schwarzen Folklore, the trio broadened its structural and rhythmic horizons over the course of four epic tracks ranging in sound from throbbing metal to blues; the following year's Koksofen continued the group's advancement, but only 1995's Home earned any significant mainstream attention. The live effort Zulutime was released in 1996. Mute Massaker followed four years later.

Among the many things that can be said about Caspar Brötzmann's power trio Massaker, one is that it sounds like no other band on the planet. From the first dirty, warped guitar strum, listeners know whose world they have ventured into. There are times when he appears to have taken a page from Japanese guitarist Keiji Haino's band Fushitsusha  in terms of a certain loose and expansive quality, but Brötzmann's sound revolves much more around a throbbing, almost tribal rhythmic sense, a conception echoed in his cover drawings with their allusions to the cave paintings at Altamira. The opening track here, "Hymne," is one of his most powerful and successful, from the initial scratchings and feedback whorls to the irresistible grooves riding beneath his hyper-fuzzed and bathed-in-overtones guitar. The subsequent tracks follow the same general form, with length enough to allow both frequent shifts in approach (often beginning in a slow haze and then suddenly focusing) and ample time for Brötzmann's dark ruminations. As on previous albums, the music is largely instrumental; whatever vocals here are delivered in a slurred, guttural fashion that blends in seamlessly with the accompaniment. The title track translates into "Coke Oven" and the piece spends the entirety of its 16 minutes in a stark and chilling representation of an acrid, claustrophobic industrial cavern, suffused with harsh poundings and reverberations. This one composition alone puts most "industrial" bands to shame. Recommended. (AMG)

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27.7.10

Jimi Hendrix - Let's Drop Some Ludes & Vomit with Jimi(1995)



Chyba nie ma potrzeby przedstawiania nikomu sylwetki Jimi Hendrixa. Album, który chciałbym zaprezentować ma status bootlega. Zawiera outtake'i i jamy z różnych sesji dokonanych na przełomie 1969/1970. Chociaż wiele bootlegów Hendrixa ma nienajlepszą jakość to ten znacznie się wyróżnia. Nagrania są w bardzo dobrej wersji, ale najciekawszy jest pod względem muzycznym. To taki Hendrix, którego najabrdziej lubię - długie, transowe wersje - w znacznej mierze instrumentalne.



Record Plant jams, and some damn good ones, too! In fact, it's subtitled "Record Plant Jams Vol.2" (although Strato Strut was recorded at Electric Lady).

  1. Drivin South/Everything's Gonna Be Alright -The jam with John McLaughlin (you can barely hear him) -- as in any jam, parts are absolutely ferocious, and other parts bog down with uninspired noodling, but the sound quality is great. Sounds almost as if it was recorded outdoors!
  2. Drone Blues - Despite the track listing, this is actually a tryout version of Night Bird Flying, without vocals. Sound quality is good here, too, and there are some smokin' guitar solos.
  3. Easy Blues - A more complete version of the track that was on Nine to the Universe. Larry Lee plays on this one (as well as Jimi of course) -- a cool, loping blues.
  4. Strato Strut - Not Strato Strut at all, but Drone Blues, I believe. An uptempo instrumental.
  5. I'm A Man (instrumental) - Part of a jam with Buddy Miles (no bass player at all), in which parts sound like Calling All Devil's Children.
  6. I'm A Man (with vocals) - An early tryout/jam of Stepping Stone.
  7. Instrumental Jam - Listed as "Embryonic version of Tomorrow Never Knows", this is a long meandering jam -- there are two guitars here but I'm not sure who the second guitarist might be.
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Erica Pomerance - You Used To Think (1969)



ERICA POMERANCE . . . . . . and the Spell of Freedom

interview and introduction by Cary Loren

YOU USED TO THINK is one of those rarities of pure inspiration that rates up there with first platters by the MC5, Stooges, Fugs, Velvet Underground, Silver Apples, Godz, Pearls Before Swine, etc... a classic ‘68 underground album: a collage of fucked-up eastern ragas, jazz, and atonal folk rock, delivered in a beautiful, raspy, feverish, drug-induced howl, featuring the poetry and singular voice of Erica Pomerance. ESP produced more than its share of outsider visions and here was an album more like a situation, that peeked inside and outside the bullcrap of the music world and the various genres it endlessly pumps out.

Pomerance shook things up, taking what she wanted, dissecting the past and reconstructing her own tightly woven original folk blast. Groovy flutes, buzzing sitar, minimalist piano, bongos, sax squawk, and tambourines create a vision-drenched psychedelic stew -- with Pomerance's voice wavering over the surface like a skipping stone ... in a 45 minute laid-back one-take, the album goes riffing off in a dreamworld, falling into occasional French language raps and shimmering drones: making a perfect backdrop for the student riots of ‘68.

there are no profits, only victims... of moral mania... citizens of the great society...everybody’s lips running red-lights, love lord, lying down by the cold riverside is the price of freedom...” (Burn, Baby, Burn)

The album goes in and out of consciousness, presenting an oblique postmodern Caligarian world, teetering on destruction, possession, beauty and revolt. Pomerance will make you think. She is the real fairy godmother of free-rock and the acid-folk movement. Her global post-rock attitude is bold and triumphant, unpredictable, spitting out ironic anthems, anti-anthems, zen metaphors, surrealist flower-power, humor, knowledge and razorblade street slang.



You used to think that images were answers,
but you were really seeing what you see.
that ghostman in your parlor chair of laughter
he was frozen to the bone, you gave him tea..” (You Used to Think)

to think is the treason, we play with the time,
to a rhythm which often lacks reason or rhyme
for thoughts are the risk... i continue to breath them as if we don’t dare...how sublime... how sublime...” (to Leonard from Hospital)

Listen up and dig the cry of creation in action: words and music dripping abstract paint. Vocalizing in a way only Thelonious Monk would understand. Her canvas is the back streets and corridors of the mind. The process is organic, naked without artifice. Largely acoustic with almost no studio effects, the album is transparent and borderline Victorian: there is an affinity for the 1960s fascination with art nouveau lyricism, mixed with a knowing pissed-off street style.

THINK is a revolutionary album, penetrating into the meat and marrow of the matter. Abandoning the fey sentimentality of folk, Pomerance is alive with romantic passion and fire; a baedekker to freedom. Life in its stinking glory. Pomerance takes on thought and the process of freedom. A can opener for the mind. THINK is a manifesto in words and sound. Beautiful dark bombshells aimed at the twittering bleach-blonde scene.

The French revolution has crumbs in its socks as I always suspected... born in the barnyard vision of parents emancipated, then you learn how to pass the blade while they masturbated under the big black anarchy flag...and where was Brigitte Bardot? When at last you found your new bag and you needed her to tell you where to go...” (French Revolution)

the slippery morning dawns in on my dreams,
my tongue went to lick it, and it tasted of honey
and then i woke to a world of confusion, a black and white battle that faded to gray..” (Slippery Morning)



The voice of Pomerance is not often pretty. Rolling off in sonic waves: warbling, groaning, scatting, coughing and bouncing. Sculpting sound like Coltrane on Om. A voice you can hear miles after listening... a founding member of the free wailing folk-bop sisterhood of Patty Waters and Yoko Ono. Listen to the bone-chattering drone in the opening of "Koanisphere":

“To rhyme with the sound of your soooullll....the meaning of nothing......”, then the voice mutters off, incoherently into a dizzy realization. The vision is LSD and pot enhanced, offering no further evidence or clues. It's all risk, and that’s part of what makes it a classic. The lyrics are a mosaic of flowing imagination yet tightly composed. Few recordings outside free jazz have broken into this rich style of vocalizing and word improv:

I know every morning in all of its colors..
you pass the air for a glimpse of my dreams
cowboys and cargoships, silence at sunrise
all strange settings that float on the sea..
(Slippery Morning)

The dialogue of musicians on "Anything Goes" falls into drug-induced hilarity -- the type of track heard on Zappa’s Straight / Bizarre albums. Done in a lighthearted way, it mixes cosmic consciousness with cosmic jokes and insane utterances:

there all close up mics... even the walls have ears...
sitting in a parlor smoking hashish... i wonder where
all the other parlors are? air, air, is that air?
take us to a new site with trees.. oh, and water, fish and sand... have you noticed the grains? There so immaculate.... What do you see when you look at the stairs and stars? Stare at the stars, with a tuna fish can in your window... That’s the end, which is the beginning, Om....” (Anything Goes)

I was first exposed to the glories of ESP disks in the late 60s via Detroit FM-radio (WABX) and in the mid 70s as found in Jim Shaw’s legendary record collection. It would be likely for YOU USED TO THINK to have made itself known then, but it would be 1995 when I would first hear it. A bookseller colleague sent me a cassette tape of THINK as it reminded him of the Monster Island music I had just sent him. Indeed, hearing Pomerance for the first time brought an immediate flash of recognition, a pleasing awareness that here was a lost relative: a sister/cousin on the tree of deviant music.



After fruitlessly searching for information, I decided to try and fill-in some of the unfortunate dead-end that was her biography. I approached Blastitude’s main branch about revising issue #13, and they enthusiastically agreed to give home to the Pomerance story. I was led to Erica through Bernard Stollman at ESP records and I offer him my gratitude, however it is unfortunate she’s not received a single payment in regards to the various labels and licenscing deals that YOU USED TO THINK has gone through over its lifetime.It was not my intention to implicate ESP in a royalty dispute, but perhaps this famous and highly regarded “artist run” label can live up to its ideal and work out something to their mutual benefit.

It was great fun connecting with Erica . . . she is energetic, witty, intelligent, and still fighting for her vision of freedom and empowerment in the world, now through documentary films. She is in the process of completing a trilogy investigating African art, music and dance. In the first half of the interview, questions were posed via e-mail. A phone interview concludes the second half of the interview, and explores her recent activities. You can check out a website devoted to her last film DABLA! EXCISION at: www.dabla-excision.com, her first film TALABA can be accessed at: www.nutaaq.com. I would like to thank Erica for her openly honest freedom-filled spirit and the generosity she gave in sharing her world.

I've heard a few rumors (the flu, LSD, cosmic meditation, etc.), but perhaps you could outline how you came to do the ESP disc You Used to Think -- and the circumstance around its recording. Were you pleased with the results then? With the distance of time, how do you now feel about the work?

The circumstances were pretty much as described on the liner notes, since I provided the info on which they're based. The context was the late 60s, I had come to New York to do this record and was very much under the influence of a former boyfriend Richard Heisler whose thinking I admired and who actually performs on the album. He was into both yoga (of a while he was a disciple of Swami Vishnu Devananda) and mind-expanding drugs such as LSD -- these were the heady days of Timothy Leary and the West Coast school of psychedelic meditation . . . the whole works. I must admit I was attracted to both currents, but never got totally indoctrinated -- I eventually moved back to Canada and went on a ‘back to nature’ spree that lasted 15 years and replaced the chemical highs of my earlier Woodstock and Haight-Ashbury days.

As for the recording, I was playing mostly ‘hoot’ nights in Village cafés, and was heard by Bernard Stollman of ESP Disk who offered to do the record. I ended up working as an administrative clerk in the ESP office and then one night in a snowstorm went into the studio. It was actually done in two sessions, the first with jazz musicians with whom I had been jamming around New York and the second on that snowy acid-laced night. We were totally inspired. However I was a little disappointed with the production values -- there was not much production and the mix was done really quickly -- in one session if I remember right. ESP was knocking out the psychedelic rock recordings one after the other. The Fugs, Pearls Before Swine and Patty Waters were the most successful of the groups they recorded in that vein. I don’t think they really took that much time to mix or promote them -- it seemed a little haphazard, as did many things in those days. SO I was alternately pleased and frustrated with the recording when it was released. It got a fairly good response at the time, for something which got virtually no promotion. I got a huge photo and a nice little article in Vogue magazine, they compared me to Lotte Lenya, the Brechtian singer. I also remember doing a long interview on a ‘folk friendly’ FM radio station (I can't remember the call letters but it was the station for folk and more underground music), Izzy I think was the radio host’s name, it seems to me he was the same guy who had a folk music store in the Village that sold guitars, strings, Folkways and Elektra records and books about Leadbelly by Alan Lomax etc. My memory is a bit fuzzy, but many people would remember Izzy, he is a legendary guy and I feel stupid not remembering his last name. New York in the mid 60s was user-friendly and not expensive. My apartment in the Village was dirt cheap ( it came equipped with cockroaches), there was lots of improvised music around and exciting people and situations onto which one could stumble. I stumbled into a number of pretty unsual situations myself… some of which inspired my later songs.



Could you talk about where you grew up in Canada, and what kind of effect that had on you?

I grew up in Montreal in the 1950-60s on the English side of town. Montreal is divided into two halves, French and English (less so these days), by the median of St. Laurent Boulevard, once the hub of immigrant Montreal. This area, where I live now, has now become more trendy for artists and young professionals, as have other old immigrant neighbourhoods. But I was raised in more middle class surroundings -- every time my father could afford it, we moved to a better neighbourhood, eventually into the suburbs. Then back downtown to a posh apartment when I was in university. I remember I changed schools a lot. My family is Jewish, grandparents from Romania, Ukraine and Poland. My parents were born in Canada. They were left wing when I was a child. (Flash -- an early memory -- sitting on Paul Robeson’s lap as a toddler -- he visited my parents as I recall, when he gave a concert in Montreal -- this was before he was exiled to Poland.)

Our family was considered non-conformist, we didn’t go to synagogue and I felt pretty much an outsider among other Jewish kids and my classmates, most of whom had regular type middle class parents and aspirations. I spent a lot of my free time taking modern ballet, drama and piano classes, taught by left-wing people my parents knew. My closest friends in primary school were the kids of my parents' friends who thought like them. All had left the fold, been seduced and then disappointed by Russian communism, but they didn’t believe in God anymore or the system but in some elusive form of social justice. My father became a sceptic. Both parents were autodidacts, but my mother went to college. My dad spoke many languages, was a natural historian and knew a lot. But he was old fashioned in some ways. Naturally in my high school years I fell into the peace movement sort of (I was never a militant anything), and eventually became attracted more to the countercultural revolution. My closest friend in high school was an artistic kindred soul girl from New York, Wendy Workman, whom I had met at summer camp. She was very sophisticated in comparison to my Montreal classmates, she did photography, hung out in the Village and went to folk dance clubs, had cool boyfriends. We wrote long letters to each other almost every day and spent our vacations together. I inherited her group of NY friends, her boyfriend (she became gay) and shared her dreams, ideals and tastes in literature and fashion. She reperesented my secret inner life. It was as if I was marking time in Montreal. We both idealized with Joan Baez, whom we eventually got to know through various personal connections. We were Joan Baez groupies actually: I was a Joan Baez clone for several years: When I was 18 I went to Québec City for the summer to work in a department store and learn French. All sorts of artists did portraits and drawings on the streets of Old Quebec for the tourists and I was a lure for this caricature artist David, singing Joan Baez songs to lure customers.

I went to McGill University where I played and sang in a folk duo with my long time friend Fran Avni, who is now a performer and record producer, mostly of Jewish revival music, out of the San Francisco area. One year I was president of the McGill Folk Music Society. We sang madrigals with the McGarrigle Sisters. We brought in performers such as Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, whom I had met as a young child in a lefty summer camp.

Can you mention what kind of music or books you responded to early on?

Folk, blues, classical (I like the impressionists like Ravel and Debussy a lot), and then rock, but I also had a penchant early on for World Music, listening to Miriam Makeba, Harry Belafonte, and also Greek, Bulgarian and Romanian music. As I child I loved Elvis Presley in his early phase when he was singing music lifted from race artists.

During my university years I also hung out with Leonard Cohen, who was just getting into performing music (he was known as a novelist and poet in those days). My crowd hung out at folk and blues clubs mostly owned by this musician and folk aficionado Gary Eisenkraft, many greats came and played there. I met John Hammond, Reverend Gary Davis, Jem Kweskin, Joni Mitchell, The Mothers of Invention, Paul Butterfield to name a few. It was quite the scene. There was no alcohol in the clubs, only coffee. You could always get a toke of hash in the back room, or buy beer next door at the Swiss Hut. I was also highly influenced by Bob Dylan, however when his first record came out my parents didn’t like his voice and I had to play it when they weren’t around.

Another early influence was jazz -- I went to hear Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Monk, Sonny Rollins, plus there was the after hours club the Black Bottom where jazz musicians played all night after their gigs. I had this friend Sonny Greenwich when I was at University -- he actually played on a cut of my album which we didn’t keep. I think I preferred a more way out version.

Records that influenced me in the early 60s: in jazz, specifically Miles Davis and Gil Evans' Sketches from Spain and French chanson, notably Leo Ferré, Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf, and the new wave of Québec artists -- Claude Gauthier, Gilles Vigneault, Renée Claude, Robert Charlebois, Diane Dufresne. I later moved to rural Québec and was one of the first English Quebec performers who sang and composed in French.



The mix on this record is one of the strangest I've heard (even for an ESP disc) -- did you have a strong input on the recording methods and mix?

As I said not much. We just went in and recorded live in the studio and then it was mixed another evening. I knew nothing about sound engineering, except that I had done sound recording as part of a small documentary film crew. But studio sound -- nothing.

Did you play with the same musicians on the album?

Only in San Francisco and Mexico, on an informal basis. I used to play a lot with Richie Heisler, but our group never really took off, we were too dispersed and lacked discipline and the drive to ‘make it.’

Did you play many live gigs? What were those like if you did?

On campus with different friends including Fran, but later in the US, I played mostly solo in Village folk clubs, and in '68 in San Francisco and Mexico with the same musicians as are on the record. I also had a lead role in the Montreal Production of Hair in 1970. I did a lot of street singing in cafés in Paris and in Old Montreal, and eventually when I moved to the Gaspé and Iles de la Madeleine in the 70s, performing in small clubs and Boites à chanson, with various musicians who played mostly Acadian folk style music. We also went on tour throughout the Gaspé playing local theatres and auditoriums in all the villages along the coast. Two of our tours were televised by Quebec’s national broadcaster. In the 1980s a group on the Iles de la Madeleine put on a review in the summers called La Folie des Années Roses, based on the Golden Age la chansonette français -- period stuff by Piaf, Trenet and Montand etc. We wrote sketches around the songs to create a kind of pastiche based on stories and characters in a light vein with historical context (i.e. the French Resistance, post war Left Bank Paris etc.). I always played the role of the American in Paris, singing Bessie Smith, Ella Fitzgerald or Bille Holliday classics. We did this for 5 summers -- the show was very popular.

"You Used to Think" has attained a kind of renewed interest -- a cult status since its reissue on CD -- many people consider it a milestone psychedelic/jazz/folk album -- it seems somehow without boundaries -- in a genre by itself -- were you conscious of this condition?

I never thought this record would go anywhere at all. Leonard Cohen listened to it when it first came out (the last song is dedicated to him). I remember we were sitting in my parents' living room when I played it for him and he predicted it would perhaps gain a very small following of people interested in experimental musical styles. I got the feeling he wasn’t sure it would ever be appreciated or understood -- perhaps he was right. I am totally surprised at the interest being shown now. Do you know that I have never received a single cent of royalties for this album from any of its editions.

Do you see yourself as a spiritual or religious person?

Not religious in the formal sense, but in quest of a spiritual path for my own life through the material surrounding of our western culture and environment. I am interested in animism, not as a believer of predestination nor as a blind devotee, but in order to cull knowledge and practices from various traditions that correspond to present needs and to my own experience and worldviews. Being a woman with a strong feminist streak, I reject traditional belief systems that reduce women’s importance and place them in a secondary, subservient role. That pretty well says it for the world’s great religions, which are founded on patriarchy, doesn’t it. However I do embrace rituals or traditional knowledge and practices that reserve a place for women’s visions and sensibilities. The environment, the importance of art and expression, music, dance, celebration, exchange and dialogue between men and women, and cross cultural exchange, the science and art of meditation to replace war and physical aggression. I also believe in astrology and Tarot as means of projecting one’s inner subconscious, as a guide, but also as a kind of game with one’s inner intuition, to use the imagination and visualisation. Each one of us holds the inner secrets of how to live our individual lives, how to choose the path we take, we have learning tools innate in us and also in our environment and our surroundings, in our friends who are also our guides since they can see us reflect who we are . . . I believe in connections and the phenomenon of significant coincidences. But I am against the fatalist view of destiny proposed by many traditional religions -- I believe that collectively we still have a certain amount of individual and collective choice or free will to sculpt or shape our own destiny with the psychic and material tools we have inherited from past generations. However I am hardly a traditionalist -- I believe in delving into tradition in a contemporary way, adapting past knowledge and ritual to our present circumstance – a vital necessity if we wish to really deal with the crucial issues of our age -- which are the result of an accumulation of unresolved attitudes, inequalities, domination, and humanity’s blindness to the ultimate beauty and perfection of our universe.

There is a strong political and feminist force that runs behind both your music and film work -- do you consider yourself an artist or activist first? How do you balance these forces?

I don’t consider myself a militant feminist, at least I don’t belong to feminist organisations. I am involved in several film groups to promote documentary film and freedom of _expression in film and television. I do believe in an active equality for women and I am interested in reflecting women’s rights and issues in my work but as a militant filmmaker I am more involved in fighting for freedom of _expression, specifically for cultural diversity: more space for visible minorities and exposure for other points of view within the mainstream culture on radio and television, issues like that -- training for filmmakers in third world countries, a better visibility for African artists whose talent is mostly ignored by the West, issues like that. I am also very involved in the diversity issue in music.

I love the range of lyricism and colourful imagery in your songs -- I wonder if there are some other visual influences -- such as painters or films that might have left a strong impression with you? Do you also paint or do other forms of artwork?

I used to paint, and now I create images mostly using video and with Photoshop on images taken from my camera work -- I’d say the most visual art form I practice nowadays is video -- I shot my last film and really enjoy cinematography. I also like to write and have written poetry and prose. Have written two feature film scripts (not yet produced). I do a lot of writing for documentary proposal and treatments and work with others on their projects in a script consultant capacity. I like editing as well and will soon have my own digital system up and running.

You have a strong reputation as a documentary filmmaker, with an interest in third world countries -- Could you discuss what makes a project interesting for you and how you choose these? To what degree is financing a problem or hurdle in producing films you would like to do?

I seem to be working on the connections between Africa and America -- this has been the theme of all my personal point of view film projects for the past 6 years. Women’s issues also are important, and multicultural issues -- the lack of visibility for artists of colour or of minority cultures in the mainstream media, film, television, stage etc. I also work a lot on films involving native issues. However ‘cultural appropriation’ has become an issue here -- people don’t necessarily want others to make films or write books about their cultural perspective -- they want the funds to do it themselves. I can understand that. However so far I have been lucky no one has criticized me or rejected me for my involvement in such issues.

Funding for independent documentary is less of a problem in Canada than it is in the US -- our cultural policies, on both federal and provincial government levels, are very supportive of arts and culture -- we have Canadians art councils grants and also on the provincial level in many provinces including Quebec. We also have national (state) television with a cultural mandate in this country, and there are agencies and various funds where one can apply for either grants or investments. However broadcast pre-sale commitments are the basis of this system, without one you can't access most of the funding available. And it is hard to find out what the broadcasters want. They want very dramatic stories, based on personal people-oriented approach, even in documentary. It is hard to sell most projects to broadcasters -- they might find the theme interesting but not like your approach as being too wide or not punchy enough. Anything involving sex, drugs, war, violence will sell, however it was not easy to get a broadcaster for my film on FGM. Everyone (even PBS) wanted something done on the issue, but not if it centered on the work being done by African women in Africa. They wanted something their viewers could ‘relate to’. Nevertheless, it is still much easier for us to make films here in the west than it is in developing countries or in countries where there is a lot of repression and no support for the arts. So I can't complain really. It is my fault if I am not mainstream enough to make a living with my own documentaries. I can survive by doing other things like translating, research, script treatements, and various other film-related tasks like line producing. But one has to be a multitasking person to make it as a freelance filmmaker unless one becomes a cult director or an expert that gets invited to all the festivals. That is not my luck, still I have a very interesting life and am involved in all sorts of projects with interesting people, sit on the boards of a couple of festivals and filmmaker associations -- that kind of thing.

What film would you like to make if financing was not an issue?

I have a few projects on the board -- two features and at least two other docs about African issues. Too long to go into here.

Can you describe your film's DABLA and TABALA? Do you think there is a chance for a wider release-- perhaps on DVD in the United States?

Fat chance. PBS didn’t buy DBAL, I think they didn’t find it focused on one person’s case, there wasn’t a real human interest story, it dealt with too many different issues and aspects for their taste. They didn’t say so but I think that was it. Also it had lots of subtitles. It would have to make a TV sale or get into a US festival to get more attention. However here in Quebec it played theatrically, on television and got tons of great reviews in every conceivable magazine and newspaper, radio and TV coverage too. TABALA has played several times on BET in the US.

I am hoping my new project Blues Niger will attract some interest in the US after Scorsese's series on the Blues… we’ll see.

Are you listening to any specific music today? or reading anything interesting?

Yes I listen to lots of traditional “world” music, some blues, jazz and world-jazz fusion. We have some great radio programs on both CBC and and alternative stations that play music of different cultures. I don’t listen to mainstream rock or even too much alternative techno stuff -- though sometimes I tune in to this great late night program called Brave New Waves on CBC which plays the cutting edge in new electronic music. I like classical and contemporary serious music as well (though I am not mad about anything too atonal that sounds depressing). I really like the Bartok, Stravinsky, Mahler, Satie, Ravel, Villa Lobos… the list goes on. I am a big jazz fan though not a serious music collector. I listen to public and community radio more than my own CDs.

Reading -- that’s a whole other subject. I read lots of recent novels and nonfiction -- intgereted [sic] in politics, history, development issues, women's issues, and really good novelists like Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison, Grace Paley, and many others, anything that’s recommended that I can get my hands on.

I read at night before going to sleep and in the morning when I wake up. I usually read three or four books at a time. I am now reading simultaneously several books on the history of blues and jazz and ethnomusicology of Africa for my new film project. Plus a book on African women south of the Sahara -- a collection of essays, most interesting.

Do you think art can help relieve or remove some of the problems we face today?

I think art is good as a practice, like yoga or dance or music. I think art is way overrated as a social panacea for the world’s wrongs, in that it mostly preaches to the converted. There is also a whole snobbish elistist aura around the western art world. I think documentary is as close as it gets to being a useful art form in that it informs and creates awareness about the world's injustices and about things that must be done -- it takes people out of their own little cocoons of comfort and individual isolation and self-indulgent misery to see that we are relatively well off and lucky here and that the world around us is a much more difficult place than we are prepared to admit. Plus documentary is hard to make -- it is an art form that is defiantly not ‘Art for art's sake'. Nevertheless I appreciate other forms of art too. I just think that the role of the artist is way overrated in our society. We needlessly put artists on a pedestal, they can make millions of dollars -- what is the purpose of that. It just removes the artists from contact with the world around them. The commodification of the artist is a sad fact of industrial society -- and the star system reigns in every art form these days. People try to ‘make it’ and forget often what they are really striving to do in terms of self-_expression. I admire writers or other artists who refuse to play the media game and who see themselves as artisans rather than ‘artists’. In Africa the griot or praise singers (a caste or class in West Africa) do not consider themselves artists -- they are or plant or forge iron or whatever. We have put the arts and the sports players on a pedestal and made them into gods. There are so many other people playing roles that try to alleviate human pain and suffering or stop war (i.e. aid workers or teachers or care givers) who will never be adulated or renowned or remunerated for what they do -- we don’t even know they exist or even hear about them.

I don’t know why we worship art (as entertainment) so much in western society. Perhaps it is a sign of decadence. I also think the nature or art changes in a society which has material over abundance. In a society where life is a struggle art has more meaning. Here we search for meaning in art, in struggling countries where there is less freedom, art is more directly related to the struggle for freedom of _expression -- and just plain freedom.

I wonder if you have other recordings, lyrics or poetry that might surface one day? Or if you have any interest in performing or recording again?

Yes I am interested in recording again but it takes time and money. Someone actually made me an offer recently to do a recording. But if I do another one I would like to have certain musician friends play with me. I also did a recording a couple of years ago -- I have two songs on a compilation CD.

I do have quite a few poems and song lyrics which have never been published. I have had a few poems published and even a short story some years ago. I do write a lot -- mostly film treatments. I work in both English and French. Most of my recent poetry has been in French.

(blastitude.com)

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26.7.10

Chimera (1969)



Chimera was a group that consisted of two females by the names Francesca Garnett, Lisa Bankoff, and numerous and somewhat famous musicians. Here is what the Tapestry of Delights says about them:

An obscure band whose "Peru," features distinctive high-pitched vocals somewhere between Fairport Convention and Trees. Amazingly they cut 20 tracks for the label yet had nothing released. An album's worth of material was compiled in the '80s for possible release but it too remains unissued. Tracks like Come Into The Garden, The Grail and Sad Song For Winter showcase Bankoff's delightful vocals augmented by some fine guitar and sometimes melodramatic piano and keyboard work. It would be great to see this released.

Bob Weston later played with Fleetwood Mac, Nick South (ex-Alexis Korner), went on to play with Elke Brookes and Roy Temro sadly died some time ago. Lisa Bankoff was the groups songwriter:- "The band was managed by Pink Floyd's Nick Mason, and both he and Rick Wright were featured on some of the tracks. eg. The Grail, The Game and possibly, I Met A Stranger Once. Even the Floyd's roadie Alan Styles played Sax on one track. The project fell to pieces mainly because I had a car accident shortly after the recordings were finished and couldn't walk for a couple of years. Our producer was called Mal Luker."

Reputedly, Cliff Wade and Danny Beckerman were involved in some way too, although this may be incorrect.

Lisa Bankoff now lives in Perth, W. Australia and still writes songs and plays "a little bit here and there". She and Francesca have recently written a book about their life in London during the late '60s / early '70s called "Making It! Famous Names and Silly Girls".



Lisa Bankoff - guitar (tracks 2,3,9) and vocals on all tracks
Francesca Garnett - vocals on all tracks except "Sad Song For Winter"
Mal Luker - guitar and keyboards on "Sad Song For Winter"
Bob Weston - guitar on tracks marked *
Nick South - bass on tracks marked *
Roy Temro - drums on "Mary's Mystery"
Nick Mason - drums on "The Grail"
Rick Wright - keyboards on "Lady With Bullets In Her Hair"
Ian Milne - keyboards on "The Grail"

The unreleased 1969 album by Chimera. Featuring future Fleetwood Mac guitarist Bob Weston - was partly produced by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason who, like Rick Wright, makes a cameo appearance. First released a few years ago in vinyl-only release of 1000 numbered copies on 190gm audiophile vinyl, this first-ever CD issue adds an extra eight pre-album demos to provide the definitive Chimera anthology.

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"The Wild Angels OST" feat. Davie Allan & The Arrows (1966)


[PL]

Czym dla kalifornijskiego surfu był Dick Dale & His Del-Tones, tym samym dla biker sound był Davie Allan, który wraz ze swoją grupa The Arrows nagrał w latach '60 około 30 soundtracków (część anonimowo) dla wytwórni Tower Records oraz jej malego sublabela, Sidewalk.

Tower Records została utworzona w 1964 jako ramię koncernu Capitol i zajmowała się z początku promowaniem "Brytyjskiej inwazji" w Stanach Zjednoczonych, jednak już dwa lata później wypuszczala prawie tylko i wyłącznie winyle z muzyką do filmów exploitation, które w większości pochodziły z katalogu legendarnej stajni American International Pictures (AIM). Tower Records przeszła także do historii rzucając jako pierwsza na rynek amerykański, płyty zupełnie wtedy nieznanych Pink Floyd.



W praktyce, od 1966 katalog Tower był zdominowany przez produkcje Sidewalk, małej, kalifornijskiej wytwórni założonej w 1963 przez dziewiętnastoletniego wtedy Mike'a Curba, muzyka surfowego, utalentowanego kompozytora i producenta, a także doskonałego menadżera, który potrafił obrócić swoje produkcje w natychmiastowy sukces finansowy. Jedną z jego decyzji było dokonanie w 1965 mariażu z Capitolem, który dał Sidewalk dostęp do szerokiego rynku konsumenckiego. Znacznie później Mike dał się także poznać jako zwycięski polityk republikański i przyjaciel Ronalda Reagana.

Kiedy w 1966 Roger Corman odpalił jeden ze swoich najbardziej pamiętnych filmów exploitation, "The Wild Angels" z Peterem Fondą w roli głównej – obraz, który zapoczątkował całą serię biker movies i stał sie bezpośrednim prekursorem kultowego "Easy Ridera" – Tower wypuściła na rynek soundtrack, skomponowany przez Curba (wytłoczony w wersji mono i stereo). Muzyka nagrana zostala w dużej mierze przez ówczesne gwiazdy lokalnej sceny surfowo-instrumentalnej, grupę Davie Allan & The Arrows, ale także przez garażowy, praktycznie nieznany band z Los Angeles, The Hands Of Time.



Davie Allan & The Arrows powstali zaledwie dwa lata wcześniej, gdy surf zaliczał już niską falę, ale stacje radiowe w Kalifornii wciąż grały numery instrumentalne i dzięki nim utwór "Apache '65" (z płyty o tym samym tytule) stał się jednym z ostatnich wielkich tune'ow krótkiej, lecz intensywnej ery muzyki plażowej. Wkrótce potem Allan został zwerbowany przez swojego przyjaciela ze szkoły średniej, Mike'a Curba, na sesję nagraniową do "The Wild Angels", dzięki której stał się królem zupełnie nowej szkoły grania. Sama płyta ma dzisiaj kultowy status, szczególnie ze względu na cztery instrumentalne killery: "Blue's Theme", "Bongo Party", "Rockin' Angel" i "The Unknown Rider" – przynajmniej w mojej opinii. Mamy tutaj także inne perełki, dwa kawałki, grane przez The Hands Of Time: "Lonely in the Chapel" oraz "Midnight Rider".

Opiewany w pismach muzycznych i na wielu blogach, garażowo-instrumentalny "Blue's Theme", to idealna wypadkowa surfowej gitary, garażowego przesteru i soczystej perkusji, który został włączony do wielu kompilacji tj. chociażby znane wszystkim "Nuggets...". Zaczynający się od dźwięków odpalanego Harleya tune zabiera nas w krótką podróż po rozgrzanej autostradzie, gdzieś w okolicy North Beach. Gitarowe piękno samo w sobie. "Bongo party" to z kolei kawałek zdominowany przez partie bongosow z charakterystycznym feelingiem w stylu The Shadows czy The Surfaris. Obydwa kawałki stały się tak popularne, że jeszcze w tym samym roku wytłoczono je na singlu, który jest obecnie rzadką gratką dla didżejow i kolekcjonerów.




W mojej opinii, przede wszystkim zamiasta tutaj strona B, szczególnie jeśli weźmiemy "The Unknown Rider", przepiekną surfową kompozycję w stylu Dicka Dale'a czy The Pyramids, która każe nam natychmiast zjarać jointa i pokontemplowac chwilę dźwięki gitary. To takźe dobry album wspomagajacy start z rana, szczególnie w wolny dzień. Warty gorącego polecenia motocyklistom lubiącym z rana walnąć sciechę i browara, a potem pojeździć z godzinkę czy dwie dla relaksu. Fani Elvisa mogą zadumać się chwilę z kolei przy balladce "Lonely in the Chapel", a łowcy perełek puścić sobie kilka razy pod rząd garażowy "Midnight Rider".

Uwaga didżeje, jeśli szukacie dobrych, instrumentalnych kawałków do swoich garażowo-psychedelicznych setów, natychmiast kupujcie ten album. W Wielkiej Brytanii oryginalne tłoczenie mono może dojść wprawdzie do 50 funtów, ale w USA płyta jest wciąż tania, jak barszcz. Singielki są niestety bardzo rzadkie w Europie, ale w USA da się je znaleźć za rozsądna cenę.

[EN]

What Dick Dale & His Del-Tones were for Californian surf, the same were Davie Allan & The Arrows for biker sound. They recorded about 30 soundtracks in the 60's (partly anonymously) for Tower Records and it's smal sublabel, Sidewalk.

Tower Records was established in 1964 as an arm of Capitol, strictly for promoting and selling British invasion records in United States, however just two years later they were releasing almost only exploitation cinema soundtracks and these movies were produced in gross by legendary American International Pictures (AIM). Tower Records also shaped history throwing Pink Floyd records on American market as a first company in this country – when they were still completely unknown out of UK.



Practicaly, since 1966 Tower's catalogue was dominated by productions of Sidewalk – small, Californian label, established in 1963 by Mike Curb (nineteen years old at that time), surf musician, talented composer, producer and brilliant manager, who turned all his music choices into pure cash. One of his decisions was to marry Sidewalk to Capitol in 1965, which connected it to the wide consumer's audience. A bit later Mike became even a successful Republican politician and Ronald Reagan's friend.

When Roger Corman decided in 1966 to go full throttle and make one of his best remembered exploitation movies, "The Wild Angels" starring Peter Fonda – a picture, which became a blue print for a whole bunch of biker movies and was a direct inspiration for cult "Easy Rider" - Tower released a soundtrack, composed mainly by Curb (pressed in mono and stereo). Music was recorded largely by local surf-instrumental scene stars, Davie Allan & The Arrows, but it featured another band from Los Angeles as well, obscure, garage act – The Hands Of Time.

Davie Allan & The Arrows sprouted only two years earlier, when surf music was catching the last wave, but Californian radio stations were still playing instrumental tunes and DJs loved their very catchy track - "Apache '65" (from an album with the same title), which became one of the last great tunes of short, but intense, beach music era. Soon after that Allan was drafted aboard of Tower Records by Mike Curb, his friend from high school, to record a soundtrack for „The Wild Angels”, where his sound mutated into rocky, monstrous sound. The record itself has a real cult status today mainly due to four instrumental killers: "Blue's Theme", "Bongo Party", "Rockin' Angel" and "The Unknown Rider", at least in my opinion. We get some other nuggets here as well, performed by The Hands Of Time: "Lonely In The Chapel" and "Midnight Rider".



Glorified by many music magazines and covered on plenty of blogs, garage-instrumental "Blue's Theme" could be described as a superb mix of surf guitars, garage fuzz and crisp drums, which due to it's thrilling sound was compiled on many records such as well known "Nuggets..." It starts from Harley's engine sound kicking in and takes us on a short ride down the burnt-by-sun motorway, probably around North Beach or something (Californians amend me). It's a genuine guitar beauty. "Bongo Party" is dominated by bongo sound and has this peculiar vibe of The Shadows or The Surfaris. Both tunes became so popular, that the same year they were pressed as two sides of 7” single, which is now a real rarity for collectors and DJs.

As far as I'm concerned, side B swipes out here however, most probably if we point "The Unknown Rider", fantastic surf composition resembling Dick Dale or The Pyramids, which calls for a fat joint and slow contemplation of guitar sound. It' basically very good album bringing you right up in the morning as well, especially on your day off. It's worth being highly recommended to bikers, who like to go for a line and a brew in the morning and then ride for and hour or two just for relax. Elvis' fans may ponder a ballad "Lonely In The Chapel" for a while and pearl hunters might play garage "Midnight Rider" couple of times in a row.

Watch out DJs, if you're looking for good instrumental tunes for your garage-psych sets, buy it straight away, cause it's steamy stuff. In UK original mono pressing can go up to 50 pounds, but in USA this record is still cheaper than cheap. Singles in Europe are very rare unfortunately, but still in USA you can find them reasonably priced.

18.7.10

The Search Party - Montgomery Chapel (1969)




Christians eh? Buncha weirdos. Believin' and believin' and, if you don't count black people, making the dreariest noise you ever heard. Whitey never got the hang of celebratin' the lord like the black folks did. Apart from 'Jesus is just alright with me...'. That was pretty cool. And so is The Search Party's 'Montgomery Chapel'.

That's right 'n' shock horror. A buncha do-goods got together to extol the virtue of Jeezis via folksike and popsike, and you know damn well that every single time they say 'he', it damn well has a capital H. This is in the 0.001% of Christian Rock that doesn't completely blow... and weirdly, as an ardant non-believer, all that hokey Jesus stuff is kinda endearing, much in the way all those '60s bands discovered the joys of Victoriana and talkin' about The Squares...

Fact is, The Search Party may well preach The Good Book, but not in a way you heard before. Instead of gunnin' for that Happy Clappy crappy, they've obviously been digging weird modal psych like The Music Emporium, but remembering to make a good LP. It's fulla nods to Gregorian bizz, with weird death-trip choiring and sinister Farfisa... which kinda makes this album feel more like the right side of religion. All weird and cultish. If you're gonna dig Christianity, it's gonna be via Revelations, with the falling wormwood and plagues, rather than the old gay bashing and dung eating. These cats are stood between reverie and being shit-scared of The Almighty.

'When He Calls' looks like it could have been a joyous romp, but in actual fact, it's "when he calls, he'll ask you to die...", which is way more interesting. This is creeped out Christianity. 'Speak To Me' talks about "suff'rin' faces" and cries about not finding God, like he's some lost lover or sumpin. It's from the same place as Jefferson Airplane at their twilight mayhem moment. Joanie Goff is Grace Slick... only on a mission.

'So Many Things Have Got Me Down' is a mid-point between Aphrodite's Child and The Byrds at the their most languid (think 'Triad' or 'Tribal Gathering' with a slowed-down Roussos hovering in the mix). It's proof that not all Christians are ball-less judgers in slacks. This is pure wig-out, coming in at just shy of 10 minutes, dischordant and tripped out.

For the most part, the LP is either trippy or folky, but there's room for a coupla rockers. 'The News Is You' and 'You And I' feature some seriously fucked up fuzz guitar (think that bonkers double solo in 'Mr Soul' by Buffalo Springfield) with yet more Grace Slick styled wailin'. They're fuckin' Grade A! Man, it pains me that there ain't Christian Rock like it knockin' around now... I might even go to church for the free gig.

That all said... if you really hate the whole Christian thing, you can dig this LP like any long-forgotten psych LP. You can easily tune out the God stuff, but you'd be advised not to because all that Christian business adds to its peculiar charm. It's the sound of hippies finding God, which in itself is a sweet 'n' hokey thing. (electricroulette.com)



I try not to get too carried away with featuring records that I have never owned, but I will probably never ever ever own this one, so whatever. If knowing that I do not actually own an original pressing of this hinders your enjoyment of reading about it on the internet may I suggest you seek therapy.

This is definitely one of the most haunting and beautiful Christian records I've heard. There is a charming, rough-hewn quality to it that almost reminds me of something like a school band record. About half of it has a slightly fuzzed out, semi-rockin' sound, but the really amazing cuts are really mellow with high female vocals, spooky organ, and deep muffled bass-lines. A good example of which can be heard on "When He Calls".

If someday I might only touch the hem of the garment of a quality vinyl reissue of this then my life shall be a bit more complete and meaningful. (waxidermy.com)

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Pat Kilroy - Light Of Day (1966)




I kolejny "nieznany" - Pat Kilroy... Bardzo interesująca płyta. Niby to folk, ale zahaczający o wiele muzycznych regionów - psychedelia, eksperyment, blues, raga. O samym muzyku nic nie potrafię powiedzieć. Polecam !!!

***

Despite receiving little to no notice upon its late-1966 release, Light of Day stands as an eclectic breakthrough (and only) solo effort from Pat Kilroy (heard here on vocals as well as guitar, Jew's harp, percussion, and electric bass) -- who was likewise a member of the Bay Area duo New Age alongside Susan Graubard. Kilroy's highly stylized blend of acoustic folk and blues is fused with a distinctly Eastern-flavored sensibility to create an appealing aura quite unlike most other mid-'60s fare. Kudos should likewise be given to the foresight of the powers that be at the seminal imprint Elektra Records. Under the direction of the label's founder, Jac Holzman, they became renowned for giving unique and deserving talents -- such as those found here -- an outlet. Joining Kilroy are a few well-known names, primarily Graubard (flute/glockenspiel), Stefan Grossman (guitar), and Eric Kaz (mouth harp). Bob Amacker (percussion) is prominently featured on the tabla. Although in short order this popular and distinct-sounding hand drum would find its way into more mainstream pop music, its use here is one of the first incorporations of the instrument from traditional Indian music into Western culture. It is immediately evident on Light of Day's mellow and blithe opening melody, "The Magic Carpet." Lacking the opulent tonality of Tim Buckley, the funky "Roberta's Blues" bears a similar one-man-band austerity.

Holding together Kilroy's wails and screams are the unusual support of the artist's own undulating bassline, Kaz on harmonica, and some well-placed and wholly unobtrusive congas, courtesy of Jim Welch. Far more introspective and intimate is the gorgeous "Cancereal" -- based on the fact that Kilroy, Graubard, and Amacker's birth dates all fell under Cancer's astrological sign. Rather than traditional lyrics, Kilroy's presumably improvised wordless vocalizations interject rhythms and harmonies over the sparse yet effective backdrop. Several songs have discernible roots in other familiar melodies. For instance, "A Day at the Beach" seems to be built off the familiar chord progressions of Allen Toussaint's Crescent City soul classic "Fortune Teller." That said, Kilroy's emphatic slide guitar and rousing vocals turn it into a completely different direction. Notably, the Toussaint composition has no overt relationship with the Kilroy selection of the same name. Stefan Grossman's influence is clear and strong on the excellent "Mississippi Blues," whose structure mirrors the W.C. Handy classic "St. Louis Blues." The stars also align on the stunning title track and other original works such as "Vibrations" and "Star Dance," truly allowing Kilroy and company to reveal their considerable musicality as a unit. ~ Lindsay Planer (Record Collector)

This is called "The First Psych Album" According to Pat Kilroy's liner notes he was influenced by writers like Herman Hesse, Aldous Huxley, and George Gurdjieff, making it literally interesting to this book. All compositions were by Pat Kilroy and the album was produced by Peter K. Siegel and supervised by Jac Holzman. Several of the musicians came from New York City so perhaps Pat Kilroy did too. Best known amongst the supporting cast is Stefan Grossman (earlier in Even Dozen Jug Band) and Eric Kaz (Bear, Blues Magoos and Happy & Artie Traum).

The album contains a mix of folk, strumming blues and some Eastern moves with lots of tabla. Kilroy had a very improvised, unusual vocal style that pre-dated Tim Buckley's similarly avant garde approach by two years. The final track, Star Dance, would have been at home on an Incredible String Band album. The best tracks are probably the dreamy/trippy folk songs, but the album is a highly original work and adventurous listeners will appreciate much of its content.

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David Stoughton - Transformer (1968)



Jedyna płyta bliżej nieznanego artysty - Davida Stoughtona. Jedyne co o nim wiadomo to to, że był matematykiem na Harvardzie. Coś musiało go widocznie zainspirować skoro postanowił nagrać płytę i to całkiem niezłą. Brzmieniowo przypomina ona dokonania prezentowanej tu grupy United States Of America i White Noise. Jest to przyjemna dla ucha psychedelia, ale ze śmiałymi muzycznymi eksperymentami.

David Stoughton - vocals, guitar
Devi Klate - vocals
Mal Mackenzie - bass
Peter Chapman - horns
Joe Livols - drums
John Nicholls - vocals
Steve Tanzer - flute, piccolo

A Harvard mathematician, Stoughton played the Boston folk circuit in the early 1960s before coming under the spell of John Cage’s musique concrète. While certain songs – “The Sun Comes Up Each Day”, say – are musically reminiscent of Tim Buckley at his most extreme, Transformer also contained experimental sound collages.

Probably the weirdest of all Elektra albums. The album cover says “produced and created by David Stoughton,” which explains it all, because this sounds more like performance art than music, as some off-Broadway wannabes sing bizarre lyrics over a soundtrack-type backing that includes synthesizer experimentation. This is not a rock or folk album, as most people will tell you, but an experimental music record. Some of it is pretty interesting, but some is pretty annoying too.

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17.7.10

The Horrors (US) - Autodramatics - Paul Cary



No żesz do kurwy nędzy .... I znowu mi szczęka opadła. To poznawanie wciąż nowych rzeczy staje się chyba niebezpieczne i chorobliwe. Tym razem stało się to za przyczyną jednego człowieka, który maczał palce we wszystkich prezentowanych pozycjach - niejakiego Paula Cary'a. Nie zdążyłem jeszcze przeszperać internetu żeby się zgłębić w ten temat, ale dzielę się z nim na gorąco - tak samo jak gorąca jest ta muzyka.

The Horrors - Vent (2003)

The Horrors to sposób na nudę w mieście Cedar Rapids (Iowa), gdzie postawiono pierwszy meczet na terenie USA. Nuda przekuta w dziką i garażową odmianę rock'n'rolla, krzyczy twarzą podobną do Pussy Gallore. Grupa niestety już nie istnieje. (serpent)

Paul Cary – vocals & guitar
Andrew Joseph Caffrey – guitar
Jamie Mclees – drums

Back in 2OOO three 2O-year-olds belched up one extremely raw debut recording: in your face, out of tune, overblown, 1OO% pure raunch that you could actually dance to… kind of. They toured the States and Europe to wild acclaim for their explosive live performances. The Horrors are now finally ready to drop their second album; this time they traveled to Memphis, and enlisted Greg Cartwright (formerly of The Oblivians, currently with Reigning Sound) to produce at the legendary Easley Studios. The results are what could be called a quantum leap for the band; some of the words are actually understandable this time. The boys still lay down quite a filthy blend of country blues, rockabilly and retardo garage punk, but this time the results are much more cohesive and, well, danceable. Kind of. This is a sincere and honest attempt by The Horrors to create rock'n'roll along the lines of the bands they worship - The Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Howlin' Wolf. The end results, however, earn them a rightful place along side the likes of The Gories and The Oblivians in the scuzz blues hall of fame. There's no one else doing this type of shit as good as The Horrors these days - believe that!



Autodramatics - Find The Gun (2008)




Autodramatics to efemeryczny projekt Paula Cary'a. Grupa nagrała tylko jedną płytę i to w bardzo ograniczonym nakładzie.

Raw Punk Blues from Iowa. Here's the new project by Andrew Caffrey from the fame of The Horrors (the U.S. band on In The Red, of course). Killer stuff! Only 300 copies. (Goodbye Boozy)

Paul Cary - Ghost Of A Man (2010)




Solowa, nieco spokojniejsza od dokonań The Horrors płyta Cary'a.

When “The Curse of China Bull,” the first track of Ghost of a Man, the new solo album from deposed Horrors frontman Paul Cary (no, not the good Horrors. Some other one) comes on, it promisingly blends haunting rockabilly with old, old, old-school blues--think Robert Johnson. When track two, “Yes Machine,” comes on, it repeats the exact same trick. When track three, “Iryna,” comes on, it...well, Cary is nothing if not reliably, unflappably, slightly sadly predictable.

At his best, Cary recalls a slowed down Fake Problems, except with far fewer instances of country-rock, humor or awesomeness. At his worst, well, he sounds like every other self-important rocker with a fetish for early 1900s blues. Yeah, the recording quality mimics scratchy recordings from yesteryear and yeah, he gets the chords right, but why anyone would feel the need to reach this far back into the rock ‘n’ roll canon is beyond me. While the songs never grate (although lines like “Where do all the wild things go?” and “Someone take the needle off the record and stick it in my eye” are laughable), they sure do bore.

Ghost of a Man has the following things going for it: Cary’s songs are at least short and focused. He doesn't seem to have too much ego about himself. Even though the tunes are stripped down--vox, guitar chords and drum and bass parts so simple they usually play a single note per measure--he never forces himself to be the star. His voice is suited to the genre--it just happens to be a dull genre. That said, “Bad People,” near the end of the record, slides in some slight mariachi rhythms to great effect, hinting that maybe Cary might have some better ideas in store. (punknews.org)

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16.7.10

The Mod Scene



Subkultura modsów powstała w końcu lat 50-tych po części jako reakcja na subkulturę Teddy boys'ów, po części zaś jako owoc konfliktu pokoleń pomiędzy nastolatkami i ich rodzicami. "The Modernists"wywodzili się z rodzin urzędniczych lub sami wykonywali w większości prace biurowe; chłopcy pracowali na poczcie, dziewczyny były sekretarkami lub sprzedawczyniami. Ostro akcentowali swoją odrębność od starszego pokolenia i poddawali krytyce lojalność rodziców wobec pracodawców, urzędników czy władz. Chcieli być traktowani jak dorośli, nie jak dzieci. Wyznawali ideologię "życia beztroskiego": wolnego od pracy i zmartwień, spędzanego na zabawie i rozrywkach. Przeciwstawiali się konwencjom i normom społecznym obowiązującym w świecie ich rodziców i dziadków. Marzyli o stworzeniu nowego, lepszego stylu życia - stąd nazwa: The Modernists (moderniści, nowocześni) i szczególny sposób ubierania. Modsi pragnęli bowiem wyglądać odmiennie, nowocześnie, toteż ubierali się ze szczególną elegancją, co miało symbolizować wolność od obowiązków i ich aspiracje konsumpcyjne. Początkowo charakterystycznym strojem modsów były włoskie buty i obcisłe, szykowne garnitury, białe koszule, wąskie krawaty, ciemne okulary. Słuchali takich gatunków muzyki jak jazz, soul i blues, później ska, spotykali się w klubach tanecznych, gdzie spędzano czas na całonocnym tańcu. W latach 60-tych pojawił się nowy, wygodniejszy styl ubierania. W tym czasie można już jednak mówić o trzech różnych podgrupach wśród modsów. Pierwszą grupę stanowili młodzi ludzie rekrutujący się z wyższych szkół artystycznych. Preferowali oni styl, który nosił nazwę "collage boy" lub "ticket style". Byli to najbardziej zniewieściali, snobistyczni i zarozumiali spośród wszystkich modsów. Styl "collage boy" był bardzo prosty, klasyczny. Noszono bardzo krótko obcięte włosy, proste, wąskie spodnie lub dżinsy, zamszowe buty, wojskowe amerykańskie kurtki tzw. "parkas" i tenisowe koszulki polo "Freda Perry'ego" (nazwane tak od mistrza tenisowego z Wimbledonu z 1930 roku) z charakterystycznym złotym wieńcem laurowym na piersi. Ticket style był preferowany przez dziewczyny należące do subkultury modsów. Nosiły one proste, niewyszukane ubrania, najczęściej męskie spodnie i koszulki. Miały wydepilowane brwi oraz krótko obstrzyżone włosy w stylu lat 20-tych - mocno natapirowane i wygolone na karku. Dziewczyny, w przeciwieństwie do chłopców nie stosowały makijażu. Drugą grupą byli tak zwani "hard mods" (twardzi); nazywani tak, gdyż w większym stopniu akcentowali swoją niezgodę na otaczający ich świat. Nosili oni dżinsy i ciężkie, wysokie robotnicze buty przemysłowe; włosy obcinali bardzo krótko. Ten odłam modsów jest powszechnie uważany za prekursorów współczesnej subkultury skinheadów, która zaczęła kształtować się w późnych latach 60-tych. Trzecim, najbardziej charakterystycznym odłamem modsów byli tak zwani "scooter boys" (chłopcy na skuterach), którzy ubierali się podobnie jak "collage boys" w wąskie spodnie, koszulki polo i wojskowe kurtki. Najmodniejsi i najlepiej ubrani z grupy nazywani byli "Faces" (czoło), inni, którzy nosili koszulki z wydrukowanymi na nich wielkimi numerami nosili miano "Numbers" (numery). Byli najbardziej liczną podgrupą modsów, toteż stali się synonimem całej subkultury. Wszyscy oni poruszali się na skuterach, które ozdabiali chromem i błyszczącymi dodatkami (np. lusterkami lub reflektorami) . Skuter jest to mały, dwukołowy, lekki pojazd o pojemności pomiędzy 50 a 200 ccm; coś pomiędzy motorowerem a motocyklem.



W latach 60-tych największą popularnością cieszyły się wygodne i tanie, proste w obsłudze, włoskie skutery: produkowana przez Piaggio - Vespa i należąca do rodziny Innocenti - Lambretta. Dla modsów skuter był wyznacznikiem prestiżu, symbolem nowoczesności, elegancji i niezależności. "Przyozdobioną dodatkowymi lampami i lusterkami Lambrettą można było zadawać szyku, krążąc samotnie lub z dziewczyną pomiędzy kawiarniami i boutiqami na Carnaby Street, lub pomknąć całą zgrają na festiwal muzyczny do nadmorskiego Brighton". Nadmorskie kurorty należały do miejsc najchętniej odwiedzanych przez modsów, ze względu na panującą w nich atmosferę zabawy, liczne festiwale i koncerty. Właśnie tam - w Brighton i Clacton wybuchł konflikt z subkulturą modsów i rockersów. Modsi stanowili całkowite przeciwieństwo rockersów. Byli zadbani, eleganccy, podczas gdy rockersi - brudni, nieokrzesani i niechlujni. Dla rockersów z kolei byli oni "zniewieściałymi paniczykami" z makijażem, podczas gdy ideałem osobowym był "easy rider": twardy, męski outsider. Motocykliści nie pretendowali zatem, tak jak modsi, do bycia nowoczesnym i schludnym, nie próbowali zmieniać świata,nie wyznawali także hedonistycznej ideologii. Pogardzali modsami, których uważali także za mięczaków w stosunku do kobiet, gdyż subkultura rockersów zakładała całkowitą męską dominację, podczas gdy wśród modsów, kobiety traktowane były tak samo jak mężczyźni. Rockersi od modsów różnili się także stosunkiem do narkotyków. Choć bowiem ich sposób prowadzenia motocykli był stricte samobójczy, dostarczał tyle adrenaliny, że nie potrzebowali i nigdy nie pozwalali sobie na takie używki jak alkohol czy popularne wśród modsów narkotyki. Wszystkie te różnice wpływały na obustronną niechęć i pogardę obu.


Mods invading the beach at Margate, Kent
waving sticks and throwing bottles at retreating Rockers, 18 May 1964


Wojny - toczone w większości nocami na plaży rozpoczęły się w lecie 1963 roku. Były to niebezpieczne walki; modsi używali młotków i kijów, zaś rockersi łańcuchów motocyklowych. Kiedy w Wielkanoc 1964 roku w Clacton doszło do walk na ulicach i rozbijania witryn sklepowych, prasa nagłośniła konflikt obu grup, robiąc z niego regularną wojnę gangów. Około 1968 roku wojny pomiędzy oboma grupami zostały zakończone, a subkultura "scooter boys" zaczęła upadać i wkrótce całkowicie zanikła lub przekształciła się w inne kultury młodzieżowe. Jednym z powodów zmian była nowa moda - nastał czas fali Flower Power. Oprócz tego dawni modsi mieli już ponad 20 lat i większości rezygnowali z hedonistycznej ideologii na rzecz odpowiedzialnego życia i stabilizacji zawodowej. (z www.kat.riders.pl)



Mod is a subculture that originated in London in the late 1950s and peaked in the early to mid 1960s.

Significant elements of the mod lifestyle included pop music, such as African American soul, Jamaican ska, and British beat music and R&B; fashion (often tailor-made suits); and Italian motor scooters. The mod scene was also associated with amphetamine-fuelled all-night dancing at clubs. The mod scene developed when British teenagers began to reject the "dull, timid, old-fashioned, and uninspired" British culture around them, with its repressed and class-obsessed mentality and its "naffness". From the mid to late 1960s onwards, the mass media often used the term mod in a wider sense to describe anything that was believed to be popular, fashionable or modern.

For mods, Italian scooters were the "embodiment of continental style and a way to escape the working-class row houses of their upbringing". They customized their scooters by painting them in "two-tone and candyflake and overaccessorized [them] with luggage racks, crash bars, and scores of mirrors and fog lights", and they often put their names on the small windscreen. Engine side panels and front bumpers were taken to local electroplating workshops and recovered in highly reflective chrome.



Scooters were also a practical and accessible form of transportation for 1960s teens. In the early 1960s, public transport stopped relatively early in the night, and so having scooters allowed mods to stay out all night at dance clubs. To keep their expensive suits clean and keep warm while riding, mods often wore long army parkas. For teens with low-end jobs, scooters were cheaper than cars, and they could be bought on a payment plan through newly-available Hire purchase plans. After a law was passed requiring at least one mirror be attached to every motorcycle, mods were known to add four, ten, or as many as 30 mirrors to their scooters.(wiki)

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