29.2.12

Manu Dibango - Soul Makossa/Big Blow [12"] (1976)



[EN]

There is one musician, who's let afro-funk sail across the music ocean – his name is Manu Dibango. This today music superstar was born in Cameroon learning to play and sing since he was a child. He had crafted his talent with many skilled musicians in Paris, in the 60's, but was to be exposed to the world in 1972, when someone found a record with his vibrant, hot tune – "Soul Makossa" in New York. As they say, person who found it was David Manusco himself, who afterwards popularized this tune by playing it during his legendary "Loft parties".

As we know very well today, there were other African pioneers before Manu Dibango, who had been turning their gigs into total dance madness. In the middle 60’s West African music scene was dominated mainly by afro soul wave, represented by Orlando Julius and Geraldo Pino, who inspired all generation of musicians in Ghana, Nigeria and Benin – the greatest was obviously Fela Kuti himself. History likes to make pranks though, cause for the rest of the world they stayed in shadow until their wicked albums were reissued by labels such as Strut and Soundway (after year 2000).

"Soul Makossa" single had become foundation-stone of disco era in NY. With its innovative production, which pushed bass forward making it powerful rhythmical tool and melodic saxophone lines, which gave up only to Manu Dibango’s hypnotic voice itself, humming "ma-ma-ko, ma-ma-ssa, ma-ma, ma-ko-ssa", this tune quickly became a hit. Based on simple, repeatable phrase, "Soul Makossa" set a totally new direction in music jumping between revolutionary energy of Sly and Family Stone and underground productions of Larry Levan.

"Big Blow" came up first in 1976, released by Fiesta Records as a single promoting "Afrovision" LP. In the same year both tracks were released as 12" (format, which started gaining popularity with disco issues) and they were never out of print since as they’ve been smashing every dance floor like a hurricane. Basically, this single has never grown old – both sides are fulfillment of dj’s dream, they just boil the public. "Big Blow" as a bit more dynamic track with electrifying saxophone line is a perfect twin for upbeat "Soul Makossa" energy. This is a must-buy for every follower of African music!



[PL]

Jest pewien muzyk, bez którego afro-funk nigdy nie wypłynąłby na szerokie wody, a nazywa się Manu Dibango. Ten urodzony w Kamerunie saksofonista przez lata pogrywał z wieloma znakomitymi muzykami, jednak świat miał go poznać po raz pierwszy dopiero w 1972, kiedy w Nowym Jorku nagle pojawił się pewien gorący, wibrujący tune, znany jako "Soul Makossa". Jak głosi legenda, w jednym ze sklepów muzycznych na Brooklynie znalazł go sam David Manusco, by natychmiast włączyć do swoich setów podczas kultowych "Loft parties".

Jak wiemy dzisiaj, przed Manu Dibango byli w Afryce inni, którzy pociągali za sobą do tańca tłumy. W połowie lat '60 zachodnio afrykańską scenę muzyczną dominowały afro soulowe podrywy Orlando Juliusa i Geraldo Pino, którzy zainspirowali sobą całe pokolenie muzyków z Ghany, Beninu i Nigerii – w tym samego Felę Kutiego. Historia lubi jednak płatać figle, gdyż reszta świata dowiedziała się o nich całkiem niedawno. Ich talenty na światło dzienne wyciągnęły dopiero reedycje takich wytwórni, jak Strut czy Soundway, wypuszczone po roku 2000.

Singiel "Soul Makossa" zapoczątkował w Nowym Jorku erę disco. Ze swoją nowatorską, jak na owe czasy produkcją, która wypchnęła do przodu bas czyniąc z niego potężne narzędzie rytmiczne i melodyjnymi partiami saksofonu, które ustępowały tylko hipnotycznemu głosowi Manu Dibango, nucącemu "ma-ma-ko, ma-ma-ssa, ma-ma, ma-ko-ssa", utwór ten natychmiast stał się hitem. Oparty o prostą, powtarzalną frazę, tune ten wyznaczył nowy kierunek idealnie wpasowując się pomiędzy rewolucyjną energię Sly and Family Stone, a podziemne produkcje Larry'ego Levana.

Kawałek "Big Blow" pojawił się po raz pierwszy w 1976 jako zwiastun albumu "Afrovision". W tym samym roku obydwa kawałki zostały jednak wydane przez Fiesta Records jako singiel 12'', który od tego czasu wznawiano wielokrotnie ze względu na swoją huraganową siłę. Ten singiel w zasadzie do dzisiaj się nie zestarzał, gdyż obydwie strony są spełnieniem snu każdego didżeja o hitach podrywających natychmiast ludzi do tańca. "Big Blow" jako kawałek nieco bardziej dynamiczny z elektryzującą partią saksofonu jest idealnym dopełnieniem energii "Soul Makossy". Obowiązkowy zakup dla każdego miłośnika muzyki afrykańskiej!



27.2.12

Gamelan Semar Pagulingan From Besang-Ababi / Karangasem: Music From Bali (1996)


Wiele z rodzajów muzyki, które są spuścizną dwóch zlepionych ze sobą kulturalnie kontynentów Azji i Europy, wciąż pozostaje nieodkrytymi. Związane jest to m.in. z przekłamaniami, jakich dokonała afroamerykańska kultura muzyczna – podstawa tego, co jest dziś najlepiej promowane na rynku. Jednym z gatunków, który wciąż pozostaje w cieniu jest indonezyjski gamelan. Rozpowszechniony jest przede wszystkim na wyspie Bali i zachodniej części Jawy. 

Cóż to jest ów gamelan? Należałoby zacząć może od tego, że gamelanami zwane są również albo przede wszystkim orkiestry, które grają tą muzykę. Są to grupy składające się najczęściej z 25 do 60 czy 70 nawet osób. Wykonują one muzykę perkusyjną, tworzoną przy użyciu gongów, ksylofonów (metalofonów) i również bębnów. Metalofony tu używane są najczęściej zrobione z brązu. Są to grupy poziomo umieszczonych małych gongów o zagiętych brzegach lub płytek, które z kolei są zawieszane na ozdobnych podstawach wykonanych z bambusa, często bogato rzeźbionych, inkrustowanych. Używane są również gongi, rozmaite dzwony, czasem też flet, piszczałki, rodzaj dwustronnych skrzypiec podobnych nieco do indyjskiej sarangi. Możemy wyróżnić około trzech do pięciu części utworu na balijski gamelan: pengawak (wprowadza główny temat), pengisep (melodyjne rozwinięcie) i pengecet (to coś na kształt finału, zakończenia). Wszystko to na rzecz duchowej i muzycznej polifonii i polirytmii. 

Bali jest swoistą hinduistyczną enklawą w muzułmańskim kraju. Muzyka gamelanów jest silnie związana z hinduistyczną obrzędowością jak też i wiejskim teatrem cieni – wszystko to przenika codzienne życie mieszkańców. Granie gamelanów jest swego rodzaju zbiorową medytacją -– dokonuje się tu przemiana duchowa, którą można porównać do alchemicznej przemiany pierwotnej materii w metafizyczne „złoto” ducha. Godny podkreślenia jest tu aspekt techniczny, który zahacza o duchowy wymiar swoistego egalitaryzmu: w gamelanach grywają zarówno muzycy technicznie „przebiegli” jak i wszyscy ci, którzy potrafią nieco zagrać a mieszkają w danej wsi. Zatarta jest granica między muzyką amatorską a zawodową. Muzyka gamelanowa ma też inny wymiar – jest czynnikiem oczyszczającym energetycznie przestrzeń, co zbliża ją do feng shui. Instrumenty takie są używane często przy profesjonalnym feng shui (dzwonki, gongi). 

Muzyka z Bali mocno inspiruje wielu twórców, spośród których należałoby wyróżnić twórców minimal music – Philipa Glassa czy Steve’a Reiche’a. Ten ostatni wykonał zresztą w Filharmonii Narodowej 24 września 1997 r. utwór „Drumming”, w którym wpływy gamelanowe dają się dobrze odczuć. Gamelan wkracza też w estetykę nowej elektronicznej awangardy z wytwórni „Warp”. Mamy tu przykład w postaci utworu „Gong Acid” z płyty „Budakhan Mindphone” Squarepushera, który brzmi jak „psychodelicznie zmasakrowany gamelan”. Innym przykładem wpływu estetyki gamelanów może być utwór „Wounded Knee” grupy Primus z płyty „Pork Soda”. 

Muzyka gamelanów przypomina, że synkopa i „połamane” rytmy pojawiające się w nowej muzyce nie wywodzą się wyłącznie z jazzu i nie tylko tam są obecne. Gamelan jednak wciąż czeka na odkrycie. (Hubert A. Napiórski)


Gamelan music is the most popular and important kind in Indonesia. Gamelan orchestras accompany all dances and dramas. Gamel means 'to hammer', and most of the instruments of a gamelan orchestra are struck with wooden mallets, padded sticks or hammers.The conductor of a gamelan orchestra is a drummer who is part of the orchestra.

A complete orchestra could have about 40 or more different instruments. There would be instruments that are struck to produce sound, such as kettledrums, xylophones, and gongs of various sizes. There would be a wind instrument, a bamboo flute called a suling, and string instruments such as a zither or lute. There would be instruments whose sounds are produced by vibration, such as drums, bells, cymbals and gongs.

There are also two sets of instruments that are tonal: the slendro tuned to five tones and the pelog, tuned to seven tones. The slendro is used to suggest festivity or cheerfulness, and is believed to have developed in Java in the eighth century. The pelog is used to express sadness, and is also very ancient in its origins. These two cannot be played together, but are used according to the mood of the piece being played.

Gamelan music is complicated. It is an ancient form of music and has been handed down for many generations, never written down, but learned by being played. Gamelan is an essential part of Indonesian life. It is slightly different from island to island. (asiarecipe)

Gamelan semar pegulingan is an old variety of the Balinese gamelan. Dating back from around the 17th century, the style is sweeter and more reserved than the more popular and progressive Gamelan Gong Kebyar. Semar pegulingan is derived from the ancient flute ensemble gamelan gambuh which utilizes a 7 tone scale. Semar pegulingan also uses the 7 tone scale which enables several pathet (similar to modes or scales) to be played. Semar is the name of the Hindu God of love and pegulingan means roughly 'laying down'.It was originally played near the sleeping chambers of the palace to lull the king and his concubines to sleep. The ensemble includes suling, various small percussion instruments similar to sleigh bells and finger cymbals, and trompong - a row of small kettle gongs that play the melody. A similar type of ensemble, Gamelan Pelegongan, substitutes a pair of gendérs for the trompong as the melody carrier and plays the music for a set of dances known as legong. (wikipedia)

26.2.12

Palmer Eldritch - Koniec świata (2011)



Z prawdziwą przyjemnością prezentujemy Wam -

"Palmer Eldritch - projekt założony na początku roku 2011 przez Rapha oraz digana. Poznali się trzy lata wcześniej za pomocą netlabelu Outstage Music, który Raph współtworzył wraz z warszawskim raperem Stepem, a w którym digan wydał dość głośną w podziemiu płytę instrumentalną Banned Cartoons. Korzenie członków Palmera wywodzą się z hip-hopu, jednak z biegiem lat panowie coraz bardziej eksperymentowali z innymi gatunkami, ostatecznie zmierzając w stronę kompletnie niemożliwą do sklasyfikowania. Powodem stworzenia projektu była chęć przypomnienia o zapominanych już gatunkach, takich jak trip-hop, trip-rock, czy post-rock, aczkolwiek na ich płycie, Koniec Świata, wypuszczonej 15 grudnia 2011, znaleźć można również wpływy m.in. rapu i rocka progresywnego.

Płyta Koniec Świata rozpoczyna się ewidentnym nawiązaniem do "The Dead Flag Blues" od Godspeed You! Black Emperor, a kończy się na tytułowym numerze, który można opisać jako Sigur Rós po mrocznych LSD-tripach. Pomiędzy tymi dwoma pozycjami, spotykamy się z typowymi trip-hopowymi jazdami, ostro pociętymi samplami, gitarową rzeźnią, pseudo dubstepowa impresją, elektroniczno-gitarowym mariażem z pięknym wokalem, czy kawałkiem, na którym osadzony jest spoken word od Wojtka Cichonia (znanego także jako Kidd z elbląskiego Skweru: składy Osete, Miedzymiastowa, Ddekombinacja; udziały na streamtape'ach Qulturapu).



Całość jest o tyle ciekawa, że składa się na spójny koncept-album, pełny wyobrażeń o Końcu Świata. Krótko mówiąc, tak jak w opisie płyty "chcieliśmy powiedzieć więcej, gadając mniej. Dlatego cała płyta opiera się na symbolach - pojedynczych obrazach, pocztówek z czasów przyszłych. Bo chyba każdy z nas ma w głowie własną wizję końca świata - taką, która jemu podoba się najbardziej. My tylko staraliśmy się stworzyć muzykę do waszych wizji."

"Panowie szykują się do wypuszczenia epki Bluedive, w całości opartej na motywach wody, oceanu i ucieczki. Premiera jej datowana jest prawdopodobnie na koniec lutego/początek marca"
  • Raph: sample, syntezatory, perkusja, voc & txt (7)
  • digan: syntezatory, gitara elektryczna, gitara basowa (10), perkusja dodatkowa (3, 10), voc (1, 9), txt (1, 9-10)
  • Patryk Sznajdrowicz: gitara basowa (3-8, 12)
  • Ewa Judasz: voc (10)
  • Wojtek Cichoń: voc & txt (12)
I cóż ja mogę dodać od siebie ? Płyta bardzo inspirująca, transowa i - powiem szczerze - z ogromną ciekawością będę czekał na kolejną produkcję. A zespołowi życzę żeby nie odszedł od swoich muzycznych poszukiwań, bo propozycja jest jedną z ciekawszych jakie ostatnio słyszałem. Moi absolutni faworyci to Fin de siecle i Szamani.

Strongly recomended new musical project from Poland !!!

Troyka (1970)





Robert Edwards -bguitar, mandolin
Michael Richards -drums, vocals
Ron Lukawitski - bass, bongos

Naszło mnie, żeby przypomnieć tę płytę - jedyny album kanadyjskiej grupy Troyka z 1970. Choć nie jest to może jakiś analogowy rarytas na rynku kolekcjonerskim to uważam, że powinien znaleźć się na półce każdego szanującego się fana muzyki przełomu lat 60/70-tych. O historii samej grupy nie wiem nic - pojawiła się, nagrała fantastyczny materiał i zniknęła. Naszła mnie teraz taka refleksja, że może coś w tym jest - jakaś świadomość muzyków - że mają do zaprezentowania coś znaczącego - trzeba to nagrać i już nie wracać do tego - bo często bywa, że po pierwszym albumie wiele znakomitych grup nie nagrało nic specjalnego - było to takie swoiste połaszenie się sukcesem debiutu. Można po prostu przedobrzyć. A tu muzycy - zagrali konkretną, wystrzelającą w kosmos muzykę - bez zbędnych ozdobników. Jest to praktycznie wszystko od ostrej gitarowej psychedelii po delikatną balladę. Czad jednym słowem. Nazwa grupy sugeruje, że jeden z członków grupy ma korzenie białoruskie lub ukraińskie. Ach i byłbym zapomniał - jeszcze jedna moja muzyczna teoria - uważam, że optymalnym składem dla wielu grup jest trio.

[ENG]

Wow, Troyka. Where do I start? I guess 1965, with Edmonton, Alberta's rock-and-roll group The Royal Family, a group of four young Edmontonians who released two singles on the Apex label, one of which contains a comp'd garage-punker called Solitude. After touring and recording for a while it became apparent that Apex was pushing them towards a more pop-sound, something the band members did not wish to do. It was decided that Rob Edwards (guitar), Rumor (Ron) Lukaweitski (bass), and Michael Richards (drums) would split to form Troyka. With the contacts they made recording for Apex, they landed a deal with Atlantic's new division Cotillion, even having infamous Velvet Underground producer Shel Kagan get involved.

Round Sound Studio was created, the first home-studio in Edmonton, and the group decided to have jam sessions open to the public on Friday nights. These sessions were packed by locals, either fans of the Royal Family or the new burgeoning "psychedelic scene". Each song on the Troyka album was born from one of these sessions, which helps to explain the sometimes erratic (in a good way) nature of the album.

Unlike so many stories that usually end right here with the group producing an acetate that never saw the light of day until it was found and reissued by labels like Rockadelic, Troyka's album was finished and released. I have no idea how the album sold, but it did receive a review from Rolling Stone (Issue #58, 1970) of which Rob Edwards wrote a hilarious 35-year late reply that I will post below. However, after the fact, the album has become somewhat legendary amongst psychedelic collectors.

The album sounds very much like the manner in which it was recorded; over a series of sessions. While it can be argued there is no "consistent vibe" to the album, Shel Kagan and Troyka did an amazing job at ordering and choosing the tracks in a way that makes the album have a natural flow. It is obvious the band was having fun, experimenting, fooling around, all the while making good music. Everything is captured on here: wild hard-psych with grunted lyrics, East-European influenced awesomeness (is that a Kobza on Dear Margareta?), dreamy soft-psych (see early morning below), melodic 6 minute psychedelic guitar jams, and all complete with awesome theme'd interludes, keeping the flow together. Overall? This album is amazing.

There is not one thing I would change. It is unique, charming, hilarious, weird, outrageous, exciting, and brilliant. The type of album you could show to people who don't get record collecting and they would briefly understand.

It shoud also be noted that the group recorded many of these sessions, and that somewhere these tapes exist…

After releasing their album the band went their separate ways. Michael Fraser, who became increasingly interested in spiritualism and yoga, left to British Columbia and has not been heard from since. Rob Edwards continued to write music and is now a music teacher (visit his web-site below, both informative and funny). I'm unsure what Ron Lukaweitski is doing now, but him and Rob are still friends, and even recently performed as "Troyka" and "The Royal Family" (with assistance from Holgar Peterson, who produced the ACME Sausage Company album I reviewed on here).

I have had the pleasure of meeting Rob Edwards on several occasions, and it has been nothing short of awesome. It's weird, I never really thought about it before hand, but he could very well have been a crusty old psychedelic dude more interested in reviving his Troyka heritage than actually discussing music. Nope, instead I got a stream of hilarious e-mails and anecdotes, and I can say he is a good reflection of the album itself. He's even a fellow record digger/collector, even going on a short to trip to the flea markets with me one saturday morning. "I'm like you Aaron, I'd rather find that stuff for a buck in a thrift store!".

Finally, for an album that rarely gets negative reviews these days, an album that is scarce even in the city it was made, an album that is sought after by many psychedelic collectors the world- over, it is surprising that you can still get it for cheap on eBay. In fact, I am completely bewildered by this every time I see a copy selling. But, this is to your benefit. So go and get a copy (there is a German reissue, but I'm unsure as to the legitimacy of it). (source)

25.2.12

Eric Kloss - Consciousness! (1970)



Eric Kloss is a world renowned alto and tenor saxophonist, a multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, composer, clinician, educator, and television personality. Blind from birth music became his vision. A true child prodigy he performed with his mentor Sonny Stitt at age 12. Backed by jazz guitarist Pat Martino, his recording career began at age 16 with the release of “Introducing Eric Kloss”. Blending hard bob, be-bop, pop, rock, funk, free jazz, classical and world music, he went on to release 22 critically acclaimed recordings on the Prestige and Muse labels. A who’s who of jazz masters appeared as sidemen on his albums including Gerald Veasley, Barry Miles, Don Patterson, Jaki Byard, Gil Goldstein, Richard Davis, Alan Dawson, Cedar Walton, Jimmy Owens, Kenny Barron, Booker Ervin, Leroy Vinnegar, Billy Higgins, Kenny Barron, Bob Cranshaw, and Alan Dawson. His most acclaimed album, Eric Kloss and the Rhythm Section, features the Miles Davis rhythm section of Corea, DeJohnette, and Dave Holland. Kloss toured the USA and Europe for 25 years wowing audiences with his technical brilliance and wild improvisations.



Eric was a frequent guest on the PBS TV show Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, second only to pianist Johnny Costa for most appearances by any musician. In 1989 he became a spokesman for Yahoo Music promoting and performing with the sax-like MX-11 wind synthesizer. In the 1990s he began teaching at Duquesne University and went on to become head of the jazz department at Carnegie Mellon University. As an educator and clinician he mentored a new generation of jazz performers and instructors. The Fantasy Jazz label has reissued several of his recordings: First Class, About Time, the 2 CD box set Eric Kloss & the Rhythm Section/Love and All That Jazz, and the 2 CD box set Sky Shadows/In the Land of the Giants. Eric withdrew from teaching and performing in 2001 when he became seriously ill. He continues to write and plans to perform and record if his health improves. The unreleased work Cosmic Adventures demonstrates his musical mastery --- All About Jazz

24.2.12

Blast Muzungu - Gaijin Gabba (2006)



Jan Pęczak - guitar
Piotr Zabrodzki - bass
Marcin Gańko - sax
Marcin Ułanowski - drums

Muzungu w języku suahili znaczy "Biały Człowiek". Posłuchajcie zatem, co ten Biały Człowiek wykreował łącząc grindcore, speedmetal, freejazz oraz noise. To wybuchowa mieszanka - w końcu Blast znaczy wybuch - muzyka która nie mieści się w głowach.

Co się stanie, gdy połączy się czterech doświadczonych muzyków o różnych muzycznych rodowodach? Odpowied1 może być tylko jedna: powstanie wybuchowa mieszanka wyrywająca trzewia. Sprawcami tych męczarni są: "Jan Pęczak - uznany gitarzysta funkowo-metalowy, wirtuoz i innowator; Piotr Zabrodzki - basista i pianista, współpracował i nagrywał m.in. z perkusistą zespołu Painkiller - Tatsuya Yoshida oraz z czołówką polskich muzyków; Marcin Gańko - saksofonista, filar takich zespołów jak Calle Sol czy Easy Band All Stars; Marcin Ułanowski - perkusista, niegdysiejszy członek grupy Sistars, swobodnie porusza się w każdym stylu muzycznym" - podając za notką wydawcy.

Wprost nie do pomyślenia ile rzeczy dzieje się na debiutanckiej płycie Blast Muzungu. Mówi się, że od przybytku głowa nie boli, ale niektórzy po wysłuchaniu tego krążka na pewno zmienią zdanie. Rzeczy jakie wyprawiają Warszawiacy to hołd złożony mistrzowi awangardy Johnowi Zornowi (szczególnie projektom Painkiller i Naked City) oraz nieokiełznanej twórczości Mike'a Pattona. "Gaijin Gabba" to godowy taniec noise'owej masali. Z niesamowitą gracją jednym d1więkom udaje się zapłodnić następne d1więki, przejść perwersyjnie ze stylistyki w stylistykę.

Grindcore szarżuje, przejmuje kontrolę, trzyma w ryzach każdy najmniejszy ruch, jest jak seksualna domina zadająca ból - depcze, wiąże i bije. A biedaczkom spod znaku free jazzu, r&b, funku czy nawet reggae pozostaje się poddać, bo cóż innego mają począć? Takich pozycji nie zna nawet kamasutra! Takiej to właśnie grzesznej rozpusty dopuszcza się Blast Muzungu. Dzieło dla muzycznych masochistów.--- LookAsh Mijała

To bardziej popis umiejętności i zdumiewającej matematyki w liczeniu taktów niż płyta z muzyką. Wzięci muzycy (Sistars, Calle Sol) pobawili się w łączenie stylów nieprzystających. Z jednej strony freejazzowe eksperymenty, a z drugiej rozszalały grind czy speedmetal. Przygotować się należy na wycieczkę w chaos (pozorny), jazgot (dosłowny) i emocje rodem z zakładu dla obłąkanych, którym dano do zabawy wzmacniacze i komputery. Dla przywiązanych do muzyki z radia - jedna gwiazdka. Dla tych, którzy rozumieją termin noise i lubią Merzbow czy nawet Naked City, powiedzmy, że cztery, choć dobrze wiedzą, że ocena jest niemożliwa.---Tomasz Michniewicz, Polityka



Remember how you felt the first time you heard Naked City? Get ready to feel that way again with the music of their Polish grindcore equivalent. More manic and brightly coloured than Zorn's trio, there's something of early Boredoms in there as well. Judo Jamboree comes in at under two minutes, but it's packed full of a bucketload of music. From their 2006 album Gaijin Gabba.

Kup / buy

Geraldo Pino & The Heartbeats – Let's Have A Party (1970)




[EN]

Geraldo Pino is one of these African legends, who influenced musically such giants as Fela Kuti himself. Born in small Sierra Leone he was to dominate whole West African scene in the late 60's. As Fela recalled before he passed away: When that guy Pino came to Lagos in '66, he came in a big way: in a convertible Pontiac, you know, one of those big American cars, man. Flashy new equipment. Lots of bread. He was doing his thing, man. He had everything I didn't have. He did a three-day show in Lagos. Then he went up the country to the North for a month, then came back to Lagos again for five days. After that he was to go back to Ghana. What worried me was that he was going to come back again to Nigeria. I had seen the impact this motherfucker had in Lagos. He had everyone in his pocket!

Geraldo Pino was undoubtedly one the most important African musicians of all times and definitely the biggest music star of the late 60's. Storming down the clubs of Ghana and Nigeria with his band The Heartbeats, he came as a new voice, bringing a fad for American soul to West Africa, which shortly smashed traditional styles like juju and highlife into pieces! His impact cannot be overlooked as his famous tour of '66 turned every skilled musician to fiery soul and raw funk, which eventually led to discovering new ways of music expression by many outstanding afro bands. Styles like jerk and afrobeat were soon to overwhelm African imagination, while traditional rhythms and Western influences were loosely mingling and melting together.

His fantastic album – "Let's Have A Party", was cut in EMI studios, in Lagos – the best recording house in Nigeria at that time. It was Pino's second LP, largely steered towards hard funk of James Brown – no doubt about it – but when that was totally reinforced by following Pan-Africanist ideology on a verbal level, it landed as a cracking-ass example of Geraldo Pino's creativity! When finished, it was the real shit! Accompanied by The Heartbeats and supervised by legendary African producer – Odion Iruoje, Pino had perfect conditions to record the immortal monster, which the world has overlooked for more than 30 years. Fortunately, it was saved by cult British label – Soundway Records, which reissued the album as a limited, high-end pressing (1000 copies) in 2005. You're not gonna find a lot of collectors, who want to drop their copy on the market as the original is impossible to find and even when found it won't guarantee you the same quality of sound.



Nothing wrong with that as all six compositions, featured on "Let's Have A Party", are mighty floor swipers making your blood boil and go screamin' crazy! There's "Heavy, heavy, heavy", ultra-funk, high pitched killer, overspilling with ecstatic percussion lines, telling the story of a very hot chick. A perfect component of a DJ set, determined to make public get sweaty & naked in a jiffy. "Africans Must Unite" is another hectic bomb, calling all the Africans to reunite around their common, cultural roots – it's definitely fast. Finally, we get "Power To The People" – a kind of pean to grassroots democracy a la George Soule's "Get Involved". I cannot praise that record enough! It's a must-must-buy!

[PL]

Geraldo Pino to jedna z legend Zachodniej Afryki, która wpłynęła swoim stylem nawet na takich tuzów, jak Fela Kuti, który mówił o nim tak, gdy zobaczył jego występ w 1966: "Ach, ten facet z Sierra Leone to było za dużo. Geraldo Pino z Sierra Leone. Nigdy go nie zapomnę. Nigdy wcześniej nie słyszałem takiej muzyki (...)" Szturmujący wraz ze swoim zespołem The Heartbeats kluby Ghany i Nigerii w połowie lat '60, Geraldo Pino był głosem przynoszącym Afryce modę na amerykański soul i roznoszącym popularne wcześniej juju i highlife w drzazgi.

"Let's Have A Party" to płyta, nagrana w znakomitym studiu EMI, w Lagos, będąca jego drugim albumem. Geraldo Pino obrał w nim hard funkowy kierunek na Jamesa Browna jednocześnie przechodząc ideologicznie do obozu afrykanistycznego, co stanowi iście eksplozywną mieszankę. The Heartbeats - towarzyszący skład muzyków z Ghany zapewnił mu pod okiem legendarnego producenta, pana Odiona Iruoje, idealne warunki do nagrania nieśmiertelnego potwora, który zaginął dla świata na trzydzieści lat. Uratowała go reedycja Soundwaya, doskonałej jakości pressing na czarnym winylu, limitowana do tysiąca egzemplarzy, której rzadko kto chce się pozbywać, jako że oryginał jest jeszcze rzadszy i znacznie, znacznie droższy nie gwarantując przy tym tej samej jakości dźwięku.



To jednak nie dziwi, gdyż sześć utworów na tej płycie to killery nie do zaduszenia, doprowadzające do szału i wrzenia krwi każdy parkiet. Mamy tu przede wszystkim "Heavy, heavy, heavy", ultra-funkowy, szybki numer z rozbudowanymi partiami perkusji, opowiadający krótką historię pewnej gorącej kobiety. W odpowiednim secie może doprowadzić do nagłego zrzucania z siebie ubrania przez publikę. Jest tu także wybuchowy "Africans Must Unite", nawołujący do odnalezienia przez wszystkich Afrykanów wspólnych korzeni, oczywiście w bardzo szybkim tempie. W końcu, mamy też "Power To The People", pean na cześć bezpośredniej demokracji w stylu „Get Involved” George'a Soule'a. Nie ma końca pochwał dla tej płyty! Pozycja esencjonalna!

23.2.12

Weird Nightmare - Meditations on Mingus (1992)





Producer Hal Willner had created a reputation as a fascinating instigator, organizing homages to composers as diverse as Nino Rota and Thelonious Monk wherein he conscripted the services of musicians from all over the stylistic map, allowing them to bring their unique interpretations and approaches to bear on the subjects. For his Charles Mingus project, his central idea was as inspired as it was loony: to incorporate the amazing instruments invented and designed by another equally maverick composer, Harry Partch, into reinterpretations of Mingus' work. By and large, it works, making Weird Nightmare a strange and wonderful one-off event. There's a central band at work based around bassist Greg Cohen and guitarist Bill Frisell, with guest stars, mostly from the rock world, including Robbie Robertson, Dr. John, Keith Richards, and Chuck D Highlights abound; when Partch's Marimba Eroica is struck during "Pithecanthropus Erectus," the floors of the listener's dwelling may buckle. Elvis Costello's reading of the title song is, well, eerily weird. One special high point is the version of "Gunslinging Bird" where text from Mingus' autobiographical Beneath the Underdog is angrily and righteously declaimed by Chuck D.; it's arguably as pure and forceful as anything he ever accomplished with Public Enemy and makes one wonder why he never pursued this seemingly rewarding path. There are several missteps as well, to be sure. Most egregiously, Keith Richards' sneering condescension on "Oh Lord, Don't Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb on Me," as though he had better things to do, is embarrassing. But eventually, it's simply the gorgeous music of Charles Mingus that carries the day, showing itself more than capable of shouldering the ghost of Harry Partch and the wayward inclinations of its interpreters. Most of the pieces glow in these unusual treatments, and make Weird Nightmare a must for any serious Mingus fan. --- Brian Olewnick, AllMusic

Some project members: Don Alias, Elvis Costello, Bill Frisell, Diamanda Galas, Dr. John, Vernon Reid, Keith Richards, Robbie Robertson, Henry Rollins, Leonard Cohen, Henry Threadgill, Charlie Watts, Marc Ribot...

Produced by

Hal Willner (born 1957, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American music producer working in recording, films, TV and live events. He is best known for assembling tribute albums and events featuring a wide variety of artists and musical styles (jazz, classical, rock, Tin Pan Alley). His first tribute album was Amarcord Nino Rota in 1981.

In the 1970s he worked under record producer Joel Dorn. He was music supervisor of Saturday Night Live from 1981–1990, occasionally returning in subsequent years. He was also a producer of the TV program Sunday Night hosted by David Sanborn.

Willner has produced albums for Marianne Faithfull, Lou Reed, Bill Frisell, William S. Burroughs, Gavin Friday, Lucinda Williams, Laurie Anderson and Allen Ginsberg, among others. He produced a live tribute concert to Tim Buckley, that ultimately launched the career of Tim's son Jeff. He has released one album under his own name: Whoops, I'm an Indian, which featured audio samples from 78 rpm records from the early-mid 20th century.

In January 2010 Willner produced the pirate-themed concert event Rogue's Gallery for the 2009 Sydney Festival. The mulitnational cast included Marianne Faithfull, Todd Rundgren (who had contributed to Willner's Thelonious Monk tribute album), Tim Robbins, Gavin Friday, Peter Garrett, Baby Gramps, David Thomas, Sarah Blasko, Katy Steele, Peaches, Glenn Richards, Liam Finn, Camille O’Sullivan, Kami Thompson and Marry Waterson. (wikipedia)

Ondřej Smeykal - Didgeridoo Solo (2004)


Ondřej Smeykal - wirtuoz gry na didgeridoo z Czeskiej Republiki zamieszkały w Pradze. Na scenie muzycznej działa od ponad 14 lat. Uznawany jest za twórcę nowego stylu w dziedzinie didgeridoo. Jego gra odbiega nieco od tradycyjnej gry Aborygenów, jest zdecydowanie bardziej perkusyjna z niesamowitą i klarowną różnorodnością dźwięków. Utwory posiadają wyraźne i pełne dynamiki aranżacje, a każdy kolejny grany jest na innym instrumencie.

Ondřej grał w zespołach: ”Wooden Toys”, ”Monika Naceva”, często też współpracuje z legendarnym alternatywnym perkusistą Pavel Fajt co w efekcie końcowym doprowadziło do powstania rewelacyjnej grupy „Autopilote”

Obecnie skoncentrował się na solowej pracy, ale udziela się także w różnych projektach muzycznych, z którymi jeździ i koncertuje po całym Świecie, dając niesamowity 1,5 godzinny show. Muzyk od kilku lat koncertuje i robi warsztaty nauki gry na didgeridoo w Polsce. Spotyka się z wielkim entuzjazmem, wiec Ci którzy go znają na pewno nie przegapią spotkania, a ci którzy nie spotkali Ondry jest okazja na niezapomniane doświadczenie! (etno.serpent)


A one-man Didgeridoo orchestra is perhaps the best way of describing the extraordinary music of phenomenal Didgeridoo player Ondrej Smeykal. His highly original style of play is the result of a life completely devoted to his instrument. For well over a decade and with ever increasing intensity, Ondrej has been developing and redefining his own unique approach to the Didgeridoo. His predominant use of unusually long Didges and “extensions” of up to 4 metres in length, enable him to play incredibly deep tones and to produce a much wider range of sounds and overtones than are possible on regular didgeridoos. Each composition, or song, as he refers to it, is very different in style, ranging from break-beat and organic Didgeridoo techno, to trance, ambient and anywhere in between. 

"Didgeridoo Solo was my first attempt at playing and recording the Didgeridoo without any other accompanying instruments and in this album I tried to maintain an upbeat rhythmical feel similar to dance music. After years of playing with other musicians, my resolution to play solo had ripened and resulted in hundreds of concerts and years of searching and analysing. Didgeridoo Solo is the result of this period and of my evolution as a Didgeridoo player up to and around the year 2004". (smeykal)

Piotr Kachny - malarstwo i ....



Nazywam się Piotr Kachny i pochodzę z Kluczborka. Ukończyłem studia na UAM w Poznaniu (wydział pedagogiczno artystyczny w Kaliszu) na kierunku EASP (dyplom z malarstwa) oraz Natonal College of Art and Design (Dublin) jako student z wymiany.

Zarówno w malarstwie jak i fotografii interesuje mnie postać ludzka. Używam wizerunków często znanych mi osób jako pretekstu do zbudowania obrazu. Sama twarz jest dla mnie np. budynkiem architektonicznym. Jednakże najistotniejsze jest to, co bardzo często niewidoczne na pierwszy rzut oka: emocje, uczucia, stan ducha, charakter... Ponadto, ukazuję to, co w człowieku zmysłowe, a z czym stracił kontakt na skutek oddziaływania kultury, związanych z nią konwenansów, w tym również edukacji (wychowania). W moim malarstwie inspiruję się różnego rodzaju postawami czy wzorcami zachowań społecznych.



Wystawy
  • Galeria BWA Kalisz 2009 „Czas na obraz” - wystawa zbiorowa
  • Galeria BWA, Kalisz 2010, „ANimAL attrACTION”
  • Galeria “Szatnia”, Kalisz 2008, “a mNIE boli”
  • Collage Art Cafe, Kluczbork 2011 „Nieporozumienie kobiet 8 marca”
  • Miejska i gminna biblioteka, Kluczbork 2011 „Made in China”
  • Galeria „Browar Mieszczański” Wrocław, Wystawa zbiorowa z okazji festiwalu „Podwodny Wrocław”, 10- 11.06.2011
  • Collage Art. Cafe Kluczbork 2011 „30 minut do oświecenia”
Konkursy
  • Laureat nagrody Ericha Lütkenhausa w konkursie Ars Universitatis za pracę "The pregnancy". Kalisz 2008


The main and the most inspiring subject for me, is the human face, which I use primarily as an excuse to show what is hidden inside the human being. I’m trying to capture the various emotional states and feelings. I’m interested in human beings as a whole but basicly the face allows me to express myself.

The face is also the part of my architecture that built the whole image. In my paintings I showthe true nature of human being. The side that has been lost due to the interaction of culture, related conventions, including education (upbringing). Besides, I am inspired by all sorts of attitudes and patterns of social behavior.



Artist websites

http://piotrkachny.cba.pl
http://artemondo.pl/i/gwiazdozbior-nad-wisla-i00278
http://www.saatchionline.com/Kachny

22.2.12

Angel Face - A Wild Odyssey 1976-1977 (1985)





"This album is dedicated to John Lennon and Yoko Ono."

Angel Face were a five-man French band who evolved between 1974 and 1977 in their Parisian garageland with a sound is suspended between Ronald Frank Asheton’s guitars on “Fun House” and (Detroit’s, not Manchester’s) The New Order playing earliest Destroy All Monsters on a shoe-strung budget that only allowed for half a pack of guitar strings if only the three-pack of ‘Normal Position’ C-60 cassettes were successfully five-finger-discounted to capture the evening’s rehearsal. After kicking around to almost no applause for nearly four stinkin’ years in an environment none too suited for their ramalama, Angel Face took the inevitable dirt nap with the fragments of its recorded legacy resigned to a couple of reel-to-reels and cassettes stored next to their prized Detroit records. For years, these recordings consequently gained in strength until former leader of the group Julien Farrey could no longer bear the angry silence seeping from his shelves so he issued a compilation of their greatest sonic spews in a sleeve every bit as black & white & red all over. It is obvious that various members were equally inspired by early British punk and BedRock’n’Roll alongside their long-standing devotion to Detroit’s greatest sonic attacks: evidenced by the back cover plastered with black and white snapshots of the band onstage and off exhibiting Detroit auras as dedications to Gene Vincent, Trans-Love Energies, John Lennon and Yoko Ono are noted underneath the track listing.

With two leather-jacketed longhairs one can only presume to be brothers Pascal and Julien Farrey, these brers fronted a furry, fuzzy froth that was not confined exclusively to Stoogeland as Pascal was a synthesizer playing bassist who would electronically unfurl at intervals, or sometimes not at all. For most of their tenure they occupied the same no-man’s land of 1974 to 1976 as The Pink Fairies prior to their one single on Stiff, and they braved it all with a similar aviator-shaded attitude of maladjusted acid punkery that saw any readjustment of image or sound as no option at all because their attitude was already leagues ahead of the tunnel-visioned punk bandwagonnaires le monde already at large in Paris. But unlike their later contemporaries formed in the wake of London punk, Angel Face never released any records during their lifetime. But that did not keep them from recording and playing live throughout their tenure, which witnessed at least three lineup shifts around the core of Riton Angel Face and the Farrey brothers; two of which are represented with one side apiece on “A Wild Odyssey.” Side A contains three tracks by the 1977 configuration: a newly-reconstituted line up featuring Riton Angel Face (rhythm guitar), Julien Farrey (fuzz guitar), Pascal Farrey (bass, synthesizer) with newcomers Eric Tendz on vocals and Straight Finger on drums. “Wolf City Blues” begins with a lone wolf howl with accompanying birdsong. Then howls some more. And again, the lone wolf keeps baying at the moon until an assembled pride starts kicking up in response, setting off the whole pack into unnerving howls. This cuts directly into a fuzz-guitar rhythm clearly aligned with the one Wire used to kick off “Reuters” on “Pink Flag” that rips out of the left channel while a sustained, under-recorded feedback salvo issues forth from the right and lead vocalist Eric Tendz is left squalling right in the middle as a bare-chested Ig-alike, doing to Iggy’s Jagger vocalisations what The Bananamen’s vocalist did to The Emperors’ “I Want My Woman.” Namely: going overboard and spazzing it up to exaggerated proportions while his own unique contribution is a high pitched retching like a squealing stuck pig at the end of every fifth verse. Tendz lets another one loose, causing the right speaker to re-erupt into a screeching wall of distinctly un-hippy wah-wah, then distortion then straight feedback that glides tautly above. It’s the outro to “1969” and it took Angel Face two guitarists to cover all of Ron Asheton’s massive terrain and they’re not holding back in the least, either -- earning both themselves and Ron one big fat solid in the process.



Pascal W. Farrey - bass, keyboards
Fred Goddard - drums
Julien D.R. Farrey - guitar
Riton Angel Face - guitar, vocal
Eric Tende, Henri Flesh - vocals

“121” follows and is nearly Chrome’s “Cold Clamy Morning” as played by “Pink Flag”-era Wire and about twice as short. Tendz’s over-energised vocals cuts itself on the ever-converging sharp corners as the double guitars continue to blaze forth. A slight break in the action signals Julien Farrey to once more pull out all the stops and wail up a storm that crowds the right channel. It sez it’s peace punk and quickly, then cuts out.

“Pride” opens with a pitch-shifting synthesizer line that escalates its way up to the trance floor of the D.I.Y. department store and crashes straight through the roof as it breaks up into old-fashioned sci-fi film echo. Cutting off into a super-strangulated, mega-guttural stutter from the throat of Eric Tendz comes “AWWWWWWOOOUUGGHHH!!!” with as great an Osterbergian shriek as he can muster. Like his underwear is no longer fun to wear cuz it’s shrunk several sizes while constricting his testes to a pair of caper berries due to sweatin’ up a storm and he even tries to puncture the surrounding air just like Iggy did on “Loose” with a pair of “Woo!”s. It’s effective as hell in shoring up the double guitar barrage that leads into the main confines of “Pride”: a place where severe fuzz rhythm and wah-wah’ed, echoed distorted guitar signals wend into a vortex that wind up sucking Tendz into a fury he alone cannot control. After hearing this, I picked up the nearest atlas to double check that Paris and not Detroit was the capital of France in 1977 (Turns out it was, of course but with a blitz like this, I figured anything was possible.)

Side Z (!) shows how far Angel Face had progressed in a year’s time. Turn up the next couple of tracks, for they reside in the confines of sub-“Metallic K.O.” C-60 cassette-recorded (probably on a Scotch Highlander, natch) aesthetics that for all its low noise filtered through the scrim of mono condenser microphone hum, one robust boost of the volume improves it greatly. The first four tracks are in varying degrees of finish, from rehearsals including early fragments of “Biker’s Ride” (appearing later in its complete form as the finale and the undeniable highlight of this side) to barely-formed demos. Drummer Fred Goddard and vocalist Henri Flesh (who soon left to front French punk band 84 Flesh before going the way of all flesh) join Riton Angel Face and the Farrey brothers on “Endless Road (Cut Up Songs).” An array of abortive rehearsals and a miscellany of highlights, some of it shambling but all of it reaching outward from basement ground zero as they work it on out. After an embryonic “Biker’s Ride” and couple of quick cuts it’s suddenly tres ’77 punk with a passage that sounds like “Private World” meets “Wild Thing” meets “Vicious” in someone’s garage where they start fighting over who’s more punk. The whole collage makes “Louie Louie” seem ornate in comparison, as some ideas quickly lose gas, break down, or just thrash about in the afterbirth of its own creation, flailing on the garage floor.

For the next three songs, the recording quality tips up (but not by much) and Angel Face are here reduced to not only elemental sketches of tracks, but with the skeleton crew of R. Angel Face on vocals and guitar and Pascal Farrey handling faint, harmonic synthesizer backing. They run through three originals “I Don’t Care,” “Shadows And Lights” and “Before -- Now And After.” They are not altogether lacking in their stripped down state as much as lacking in powerful vocals and Julien Farrey’s wah-wah bombardments. Which come soon enough with the last track, “Biker’s Ride.” Saving the best for the last, “Biker’s Ride” is the result of countless hours of re-grinding it out over and over and was probably the shining moment that kept them as hard at it for as long as they did for it is epic. Disembodied voices intonate the title in zombie monotone far behind the outwardly psychedelic and brutalised cycles of punishing wah-wah abuse and buzzing rhythm guitar. Like an almighty amassing of Ron Asheton’s approaches to speakers, foot pedals and six-stringed releases on the first two Stooges albums and boiled down into a careening wall of sound, a whirlpool of patterns and gradually shifting textures applied via that trilogy of terror -- wah-wah, distortion and feedback -- to its constant rotation. And still the vocals drone on and get drowned out, nearly chanting the title whenever it feels right.

“Biker’s Ride” shoulda-coulda-but-didn’t see release; not even on Skydog. But Angel Face existed out of necessity and not fleeting fancy or fame. And since this collection came along almost a decade after it was recorded, it has and will continue to bequeath to all Rock Music fans a clutch of moments that crash and burn with freefalling, twin guitar assaults and overall savagery to blow minds, make people happy and inform the present day with how it can be done. --- The Seth Man

21.2.12

Whysp (2004)





Only just now I tried a summer sell-out copy of Santa Cruz based band Whysp's first LP. It was recorded in Phil Elverum (Mount Eerie)'s Nowhere studios in 2004. The band was formed by a trio (Josh Alper, Hugh Holden and Jeffrey Manson), but quickly became a loose musical communal foundation featuring members like Glenn Donaldson (Skygreen Leopards, Thuja and The Blithe Sons), Christine Boepple, Hugh Guthrie Holden, Jr., Ia Hernandez, Jeffrey Manson, Michele Hannigan, Caroyln Pennypacker-Riggs, Margaretha Haughwout, Karl Blau, Tom Child, Phil Elverum, Aaron "A-Ron" Emmert, Nicky "Dinosaur" Emmert, Kyle Field, John Garmon, Mike May, Adam "Handel" Payne, Niki Selken, Emily White. During this LP they were a sextet, which is is the founding trio with the already mentioned Tom Child, Emily White and John Garman. The band very much was inspired by Forest, an Incredible String Band alike UK folk band, with the new version of that band they were going to do some new recordings.

The first side showed an attractive mixture of the forest people meet 60s sounds with an Incredible String Band alike touch and a few more strummed Syd Barrett directions. The vocal harmonies of the full band are one of the strongest parts throughout the album. There are some weird flute harmonies, some mouth harmonica, 60s psych organ. There's an overall acoustic feeling, a playing with some loose ends, nearly amateurish. And somewhat primitively recorded and played with band's enjoyment, with a context like being involved with nursery rhymes, lullabies and ballads. On the second side some less convincing, with somewhat lazily sung male vocal songs with simple strums dominate more, which takes away some of the enjoyment elsewhere, the primitivisms, despite its charm, could have been recorded better.

Currently the group is Josh Alper with Zachary Watkins, Annette Marines, and Cole Willsea. (source)

The Ashantis - Let's Stay Together (1975)


[PL]

Są płyty, które bronią się jednym, gorącym tunem. Są też inne, które bronią się dwoma. "Let's Stay Together" stała sie w ciągu ostatnich lat jedną z najbardziej poszukiwanych przez kolekcjonerów i didżejów płyt z muzyką afrykańską właśnie ze względu na dwa, a konkretnie jeden wybuchowy element – ociekający tłuszczem "Everybody's Groove". W porównaniu z nim, tytułowy "Let's Stay Together" goni już tylko niestety pierwszy. Ponowną eksplozję zainteresowania grupą wywołała pierwsza z legendarnych kompilacji, odsłaniających rzadkie dźwięki z Afryki - "Club Africa" (1999), wydana przez znakomitą, brytyjską wytwórnię Strut, dzięki której killer "Everybody's Groove" został rzucony na rynek muzyczny po raz pierwszy od 1975.

Pomimo tego, że zwykle daje się dosyć dokładnie ustalić pochodzenie i skład afrykańskich bandów, wygrzebanych ze studni czasu, tu pozostają jedynie domysły. Jedno źródło wskazuje na Ghanę, drugie zaś na Kenię (są też inne, sprzeczne źródła). Podobny problem jest z ustaleniem składu grupy na płycie, wszyscy wiemy, że grają na niej czarni muzycy, a jesteśmy w stanie dotrzeć tylko do włoskich kompozytorów, aranżerów, producentów oraz włoskiej sesji dętej. Ashantis pomimo tego z całą pewnością nagrywali tą płytę w Milanie i byli w latach '70 dosyć znani we Włoszech. Odbywali także trasy po Szwajcarii i Niemczech, reedycja jednej z ich płyt została także wydana w Polsce ("Disco Play", 1976). Niemal pewne jest, że byli wówczas częścią europejskiej sceny disco funkowej, dobrze zagospodarowanej przez przemysł muzyczny. Wydanie brytyjskie, w którego posiadaniu jestem, jest licencjonowane przez EMI i Red Bus. Rodzinną wytwórnią Ashantis była jednak wówczas włoska Cipiti Records.



"Let's Stay Together" to w zasadzie album, który można by zaliczyć do szerokiej działki popu i podpisać: SŁABY, gdyby nie tych kilka korzennych, afrykańskich perełek. Obok hipnotycznego "Everybody's Groove", opartego na pulsującym afro-funkowym rytmie z charakterystycznym offbeatem – dałbym temu kawałkowi 10/10 – mamy nie najgorszy, disco funkowy "Let's Stay Together" (to nie jest cover Ala Greena – sic!) i definitywnie zainspirowany tradycyjnymi afrykańskimi rytmami, kończący płytę tune - "The Finders" z ciekawymi partiami sekcji dętej, afrykańskimi zaśpiewami i obowiązkowymi congami! Jako, że nie jest to płyta równa, reszta materiału grzęźnie niestety gdzieś pomiędzy gównianym afro rockiem ("I Got My Troubles"), popowymi balladami ("Suzanne") i latynoskimi stylizacjami ("Senora"). Płyta oczywiście jest obowiązkowa dla kolekcjonerów współczesnej muzyki afrykańskiej, ale każdy inny może ją sobie po prostu odpuścić. Album nigdy nie wypuszczony na CD!

[EN]

There are records killing with one steamy tune. There are the other ones, which shoot down with two. "Let's Stay Together" has become recently one of the most searched African records by DJs and collectors specifically due to one floor smasher – dripping with phat "Everybody's Groove". In comparison with this gem, title one, "Let's Stay Together" is only running after. Revival of band's popularity has basically started with the release of first legendary, rare African music compilation (kicking into essential modern afro sounds compilations' blossom around Europe) - "Club Africa" (1999). Released by cult, British label – STRUT, this compilation has spread "Everybody's Groove" tune virus far beyond imagination, tossing it to the public for the very first time after original issue.



Although it's releatively common to pinpoint cultural backgrounds of compiled bands and to determine credits most of the rare African records, dug out from the well of time, here we can only make conjectures about the country of origin. One source says it's Ghana, Kenya says the other one (there are other, contradicting ones as well). There's similar problem with revealing the band members, we all know they're black musicians, but we can only confirm Italian composers, arrangers and Italian brass section (as credited on the back cover). Despite uncertaintities, Ashantis were for sure recording that album in Milano and were fairly known to Italian public. They were touring Italy, Switzerland and Western Germany, one of their albums has been also reissued in Poland ("Disco Play", 1976). It's almost certain they were part of European disco funk scene, well treated by the music business. UK issue, which I possess, was released on licence by EMI and Red Bus. Though home label of Ashantis was Italian Cipiti Records.


"Let's Stay Together" is basically an album, which might be shelved along 70's pop music with a sign POOR written on, but is saved by these few genuine African pearls. Next to hipnotic, based on pulsing afro-funk, offbeat rhythm, "Everybody's Groove" - I would rate it 10/10 - we get not too shabby, disco funky "Let's Stay Together" (this is not Al Green's song cover – sic!) and definitely traditional African rhythms inspired, finishing B side, "The Finders", with interesting brass section parts, African chanting and obligatory congas. However, it's an inconsistent act. Rest of the material gets stuck somewhere between trashy afro rock ("I Got My Troubles"), easy listening ballads ("Suzanne") and Latino songs ("Senora"). This record is obviously a must-buy for modern afro sounds collectors, but everybody else can just forget about it. Never released on CD!

20.2.12

Gnod & White Hills - Gnod Drop Out with White Hills II (2010)





I once saw Gnod play in a strange disused building in Manchester about four years ago as a friend's, friend's band and it was quite an experience even then. It was nothing short of ketamine fueled madness involving several drum kits, guitars, effects and a lunatic reading a crazed mantra from a piece of screwed up paper. From this early onslaught on the senses, Gnod have no doubt been through lineup changes, countless gigs, touring, jams, recording sessions and the like and my word does it show.

I'm not sure of the who-did-what on this album being both Gnod and White Hills collaborating, but I like to think of it as a huge hazy jam session with a dozen musicians playing off each other & zoning out. Because that's as sure as hell what it sounds like. This is very much a psychedelic rock record; glorious repetition, driving basslines, lots of textures, hazy vocals, and marching drums. The album revolves around some of the most solid and zoned out bass playing I've ever heard.

Drop Out consists of 4 epic jams (5 if you have the bonus track that comes with the reissue) interspersed with a few shorter tracks. The first proper track is 'Run-A-Round' and it's catchier than syphilis. Whether it's the bassist from White Hills or Gnod (most likely both together!) they probably play these lines in their sleep they're so damn... insistent! I can't get them out of my head! Drumming and and bass frequencies just force you to move; I challenge you to stay still for the duration of this tune. No chance matey.

'Spaced Man' sees more White Hills influence with a relative orthodox two note riff and even a chord change or two! But that massive dirge-like riff is irresistible and forms a solid base for the swirling psychedelic effects blanketed over the top. The track drops out at the end of 7mins and is bathed in a warm sea of synth effects for the rest of its 5min duration. This drone segues into 'Well Hang', which is a more tempered affair but the tension is ratchetted up a notch. Drums are forsaken for blocky percussion and the track is led by spooky layers of keyboard. 'Well Hang' serves beautifully to break up the insistence of the bass frequencies and brutal repetition of the epics either side of it and it's actually pretty damn melodic too.

The entire record burrows itself into the subconscious & fragments of music will pop into your head now & then & you'll realise they're from this album. Making a mostly instrumental album memorable is a mean feat but making bits actually stick in your head is astounding. Also something you'll notice here, which is glaring, is the absence of meandering guitar solos.

Usually when psychedelic rock is mentioned all there is to think of is endless fuzzy guitar leads. Yet Gnod & White Hills are all about the transcendental nature of repetition; wanky guitar solos would break up their mantra and you know what; I don't miss 'em at all.

Obviously, as you've probably gleaned from my descriptions, this record is an acquired taste. I seem to have gone a bit overboard on the positive superlatives here but Drop Out came just at the right time when I wanted something fresh and exciting and for me at least, Gnod and White Hills have delivered in spades. Because of the nature of the music it's not going to be a classic album or anything but it's a mighty fine effort that everyone should check out and is certainly one of my favourite discoveries in a long while. --- Amplified Man

Quiet Days In Clichy OST (1970)





Is it sexploitation? Is it art? Let's just call Quiet Days in Clichy a sexplartation film for now...

The "Situationist" philosophy of avant-garde director Jens Jørgen Thorsen is given free reign in this adaptation of controversial author Henry Miller's 1956 novel. The film chronicles the sexual exploits of expatriate American writer Joey (Paul Valjean) and his good buddy Carl (Wayne Rodda), a carefree Frenchman, who share a flat in the Clichy section of Paris. Though it's mentioned that Carl has a job with a newspaper and Joey has been published, the two men have very little money between them. This doesn't bother them in the slightest, however, as their lack of funds never inhibits their ability to pick up women — even though most of their 'conquests' are prostitutes. Their biggest problem is getting a decent meal once all the francs are gone.

Joey and Carl apparently care about nothing except getting laid. This, then, is the entire thrust of the film (if you'll pardon the pun). They wander the streets, haunting the cafés and bistros, continually trolling for chicks. That women other the prostitutes would have anything to do with them seems problematic. These aren't exactly the best-looking guys in the world — balding, bespectacled Joey is modeled after Henry Miller himself — and, as mentioned, they're constantly broke. They don't treat women too kindly, either, dismissing most of them as "cunts"... even to the ladies' faces. The pair drift in and out of casual, meaningless relationships. They share a laugh about spreading venereal disease; Joey even tries to give it a philosophical bent, as if infecting their numerous partners with the clap was some kind of performance art. Such charming lads.

And that's pretty much the entire plot. The film shows us vignettes of Joey and Carl's bohemian existence and then just peters out. The end.

Thorsen, a painter and experimental short film maker, uses some interesting techniques to create Clichy's loose narrative structure. Text captions from Miller's novel occasionally flash on the screen; every now and then a comic strip-style word balloon appears to relate Joey's inner thoughts. Montages of still photos are often used to convey the two men's wanderings about Paris (as well as a brief excursion to Luxembourg). There are long stretches without any dialog.



Frankly, this all gets to be rather boring after awhile. The interminable 'walking around' sequences, in particular, routinely lapse into tedium. Anyone peering in on Clichy in pursuit of of the purely prurient — try saying that fast 5 times! — is apt to be disappointed. The women shed their clothes at the drop of a hat but some of them are kind of skanky. (Real Parisian prostitutes were cast in the film.) The one scene in which the movie skirts the edge of hardcore porn involves close-ups of Carl's scrotum as he's pumping a hooker. (Oh, thank you, Mr. Thorsen. Just what I wanted to see...) In fact, a sizable chunk of the movie is concerned with showing us a nude bald white guy lying atop various women and squeezing his ass cheeks together. This just isn't exactly my idea of thought-provoking or titillating entertainment.

Yet there is some worthwhile stuff here. I liked a good deal of the music score by '60s folk rock artist Country Joe MacDonald. (Its songs, replete with silly 'blue' lyrics, act as a sort of amusing Greek Chorus throughout the film. Where the score shines, however, is in its moody instrumental pieces.) A scene set in a jazz club features some wonderfully smoky riffs from sax player Ben Webster, who plays on camera. Some of Miller's prose is quite arresting, when not completely gonzo. ("It was steaming like manure under her dress.") There's a really funny scene involving Joey being flat broke and starving. (After resorting to the apartment's garbage can for a few unsatisfactory morsels, he goes to bed hungry and is plagued by nightmare visions of food.)

There's a bathtub joke that could've come straight out of a Farrelly Brothers movie, too. But these moments are few and far between. Quiet Days in Clichy is mostly a yawner.

Call me an Alan Alda pantywaist if you will, but my biggest problem with the film is its total disregard for the female characters. It is antifeminist to the core. Women are portrayed as nothing but dumb, neurotic cum receptacles for our protagonists — even the ones that aren't hookers.

I've never read any of Miller's works, and am cognizant he wrote the story a half century ago, but Clichy was filmed in 1970... its unapologetic misogyny is simply galling. The absolute nadir comes in the form of Colette (Elsebeth Reingaard), a mentally-challenged teenage girl whom Joey and Carl take in as a virtual sex slave. In between banging her they make the girl clean the apartment, later joking that "all her brains are between her legs." Now I enjoy a good T & A flick like the next hetero dude, but Clichy's two protagonists just aren't the type of fellas I'd like to hang out with. C'mon, guys! Show a little respect to the gals whose brains you wanna ball out. --- Brian Lindsey

Tori Ensemble - Five Directions (2008)


Tori Ensemble to trwający od 2007 roku efekt udanej wspópracy bardzo szanowanych artystów spod znaku koreańskiej muzyki tradycyjnej oraz  muzyków nowojorskiej sceny awangardowej. To kolejne, inspirujace spotkanie Wschodu z Zachodem okazało się harmonijnym i z pewnością wartym poznania połączeniem koreańskiej muzyki ludowej z zachodnią muzyką współczesną.

Yoon Jeong Heo - geomungo (zither)
Ned Rothenberg - clarinet, saxophone, shakuhachi
Erik Friedlander - cello
Satoshi Takeishi - percussion
Kwon Soon Kang - vocal, gong
Young Chi Min - daegum (flute), janggo (drum)



The Tori Ensemble consists of three extraordinary Korean traditional musicians and three renowned New York-based musicians. Based on Korean musical traditions, The Five Directions will offer a new musical world with interactive collaborations by a creative musical meeting of artists who specialize in musical traditions and cultures beyond Western classical music.

Tori mixes Korean and Western musical instruments to explore the great diversity and potential of Korean music, reinterpreted by artists who embrace both traditional Korean music as well as other musical forms such as jazz, in works that include both composed and improvised.

19.2.12

Alessandro Alessandroni & Nora Orlandi - Music For Strange Situations (2002)





The first Hexicord comp, including previously unreleased recordings by Alessandroni and 4 uncut suites by Nora Orlandi. Original music from the soundtrack of “Lo strano vizio della Signora Wardh” (The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh), not included in the OST release.Several of the tracks include “I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni”, with the participation of singers Edda Dell’orso, Gianna Spagnulo and Giulia De Mutiis.

The title of this comp definitely fits the sound. Alessandroni is best know for his whistling work with Ennio Morricone, but apparently he has made around 50 soundtracks and other albums himself. Alessandroni is a fuzztone guitar virtuoso, and many of his psychedelic moods can be found here on this album.

The tracks alter between the two Italian composers throughout the mix and take us deep into strange moods, psychedelic atmospheres, cocktail party jams and eerie choir arrangements. There isn’t really any filler on this disc if you ask me, both of these composers are very edgy and keep things fresh and spooky. (nature film)



Alessandro Alessandroni isn't a household name in popular or film music, but his contributions to the two fields have made his work among the most familiar of any musician to emerge since the 1950s. Born in Soriano nel Cimino, north of Rome, in 1925, Alessandroni never aspired to formal music training -- he was entirely self-taught, and started learning the guitar and the mandolin by listening to and watching the men who made music at the family's barber shop. He listened to classical music on his own and bought his first mandolin at age 13. He also discovered as a boy that in addition to being proficient on a multitude of stringed and keyboard instruments, he had an uncanny ability to whistle. By his early thirties, he was making a living touring Germany as a singer, pianist, and guitarist, and he later formed a group in Rome called the Four Caravels whose sound was modeled on the work of the Four Freshmen, and served as their arranger as well as leader. The multi-talented Alessandroni was soon to become one of the busier session musicians in Italy, and achieve stardom in a wholy unexpected musical idiom.

During the early '60s, Alessandroni crossed paths professionally with a slightly younger former boyhood friend, Ennio Morricone, who, after a few years as a musician working in jazz clubs, had begun to emerge in the field of movie music. Morricone had just scored his first Western and was working on another, and wanted to add some new sounds to his work. Alessandroni's guitar and his abilities as a whistler came to the fore on the resulting score for Guns Don't Argue, within the framework of a traditional Western ballad. But that success was merely a toe in the water in terms of their collaboration -- Morricone had another project in the pipeline, called A Fistful of Dollars (1964), a Western that was anything but traditional, and it was here that Alessandroni began collaborating with him in the making of some much more important music, and utilizing far more of his range as a guitarist as well.



With a lonely, echo-drenched whistle over a repetitive guitar figure, with added flutes, whip-cracks, and Alessandroni's Duane Eddy-style electric guitar coming in along with a wordless male chorus -- courtesy of Alessandroni's vocal group, now expanded to a dozen or more members and renamed I Cantori Moderni -- the haunting title track redefined the sound of Western movie music. Ironically, Alessandroni could almost have been the Brian Wilson of Italy -- he certainly made use of some of the same sources of inspiration, including the Four Freshmen and the twangy guitar of Duane Eddy or Dick Dale, that had led Wilson and the Beach Boys to their brand of surf music, but simply utilized them in a different combination that seemed somehow uniquely suited to the Western. Alessandroni subsequently worked with Morricone on most of the latter's Western scores of the period, including the gorgeous theme for A Pistol for Ringo -- which was a dazzling showcase for Alessandroni as a guitarist and I Cantori Moderni, in a hauntingly lyrical mode, far from their usual rough vocal fills on the Sergio Leone Western scores. He was all over the main title theme for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and his guitar and vocal group were also featured prominently on Once Upon a Time in the West. He and Morricone also worked on such non-Leone Westerns as A Gun for Ringo -- which was a dazzling showcase for his guitar and I Cantori Moderni's singing in a much more lyrical mode, in place of their usual rough fills in the Leone movies -- The Big Gundown, Navajo Joe, and the non-Western Without Apparent Motive. By the end of the 1960s, as Hollywood began noting the success that Leone was achieving with his Italian-made horse operas, the production of Westerns began anew in earnest in the United States, and the brief given composers such as Dominic Frontiere and others on movies such as Hang 'Em High was to emulate Morricone, which was also meant to emulate Alessandroni. Thus, American session players such as Tommy Tedesco ended up paying homage to the Rome-based guitarist who'd started out a fan of the Four Freshmen, Duane Eddy, and Dick Dale. And thanks to the continued interest in Morricone's scores and their durability as music, as well as the critical attention accorded Leone's movies, Alessandroni remains one of the most prominent and influential musicians ever to play on film scores or, through that medium, to influence popular music around the world. Over the decades since his music was popularized in film music, Alessandroni has worked with dozens of star performers, including Americans such as Paul Anka, and most of Italy's top talent. --- Bruce Eder, AllMusic



Interview by John Mansell

Where and when were you born ?

I was born in Voghera (Lombardia), Italy on the 28th of June 1933.

What musical education to you have ?

I studied at the academy of music in Voghera (Conservatorio).

Did you come from a musical family background ?

My mother, Fanny Miriam Campos, was a great lyric singer. My father and my brother were merely passionate for music, while my sister is a singer too. She worked with me as soloist and vocalist in both my two groups: the 2+2 and the 4+4. As for my present family, my husband is my most precious collaborator: he helps me in everything.. . last September we celebrated 50 years of marriage! I have 2 sons and at least 5 nephews, aged from 7 up to 22.

You began primarily as a singer in a group with Alessandroni, when did you decide to form your own singing group ?

To tell the truth the group was mine… and I gave to Alessandroni the possibility to join! He was one of my first vocalists. Subsequently I had the pleasure to work with Massimo Cini, one of my vocalists for 30 years, and also there is Enzo Gioieni, who I have worked and performed with since almost the start of my career.

You have worked with many composer on film scores, who would you say was the most enjoyable to work with ?

Every composer or performer I have worked with I have enjoyed collaborating with, my collaborations have always been undertaken with enthusiasm and positivity, independently from the composer or the film. Passion is something you have inside and I merely offered it to everyone that called me to work.

What was your first film score, and how did you progress from a performer to a composer ?

In 1953–54, at the age of 20, I composed my first film score: “Non Vogliamo Morire”.
I really don’t remember the day I became a singer professionally: it is too far away!
Do you conduct all of your own music, or do you sometimes have a conductor ?

No, on the contrary: my scores have always been directed by someone else more famous than me... for example Paolo Ormi and Robbie Poitevin.
Besides I was busy with many other projects, and did not have enough time available to conduct my own music.

Do you think enough of your music from film has been released onto LP or CD?

I haven’t never paid much attention to that matter. Soundtracks are only the 30% of my work, the rest was compounded by various performances, TV and radio-phonic shows, advertising spots... Moreover I took part in about 15 San Remo music Festival’s.

How do you work out your musical ideas, do you utilize a piano or do you work with a synthesizer ?

I utilize neither a piano nor a synthesizer. I compose without any instrument and only at the end I check what I wrote (generally with a piano): only Mozart could write without checking!

How many times do you normally watch a movie before you start to get any fixed ideas about where the music will be placed and what style of music you will employ ?

Most of the times you must ask expressly to watch the film. Often it is sufficient to watch some parts of it, only one time, to understand the more suitable musical style. The music must be a “sound photography”, parallel to the images, it depends really on each individual project.

How long did you normally get to work on a film score, maybe you could use THE SWEET BODY OF DEBORAH as an example.?

It depends from the kind of the job… I don’t exactly remember how much time I got to work on a singular film score. Perhaps it is too difficult to quantify it because I could not devote so much time to a sole work. As I have already said, soundtracks are not my priority, even though they are a way of artistic expression that I have a particular passion for myself .

Do you prefer to work on a particular type or genre of movie, or are you happy working on all types of subject matter?

I am happy working on any type of film, because it is always a very interesting artistic experience. As spectator I love very much thrillers... but unfortunately I haven’t had the opportunity to do many of these.

Have you ever had a score rejected, or have had to do a rush job on a film after another score had been discarded ?

Thankfully, this has never happened, I am very fortunate.

What do you think of the film music of today?

In my opinion the film music of today is generally good… however, if it is music from yesterday or of today it is always film music: a “light” entertainment! This kind of music isn’t a committed artwork, but a “light” artwork with a specific beauty.

Would you say that you were influenced by any composers in particular, classical or film music composers ?

No, not really. For me to write music that is influences by another composer would be very much like plagiarism, of course it is possible for this to be done unconsciously.

When a soundtrack recording is released on record or compact disc do you have any input into what music will go onto that release?

When one of my soundtracks is released on record or CD, certainly I am very glad, but I’m not interested to intervene in the track’s selection. Once I finished my work of music composition I spend my time with other projects. I’m very busy!

Do you orchestrate all of your scores yourself ?

No, I don’t. It depends by the situation, the needs…and, most of all, by the time I can spend in it, so sometimes I work on them myself other times not.

Are you working on anything at the moment ?

Personally I’m busying myself with some very interesting teaching projects... But I always take into consideration what people offer to me.

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