30.3.12

Death - Spiritual Mental Physical (1974-1976)





Pairing R&B chops with scorching, Stooges-worthy bashing, Death's mid-1970s demos-- compiled and released by Drag City as For the Whole World to See-- lived up to every bit of their missing-link and lost-classic billing when they finally arrived, more than three decades late, in 2009. Spiritual, Mental, Physical-- a follow-up collection of grotty practice tapes and studio goofs culled from a set of tape reels recently unearthed in a Detroit basement-- is a bit less awe-inspiring.

To be fair, For the Whole World to See set a high bar. By the time they hit the studio, Bobby, David, and Dannis Hackney-- a trio of Detroit-based, African-American brothers who temporarily set aside their Motown roots for steam-rolling proto-punk after checking out an Alice Cooper concert-- had their chops down pat. During their original, five-year lifespan, Death didn't make many waves. A self-released 7"-single, "Keep on Knocking" b/w "Politicians in My Eyes", was the group's only official release. It quickly faded into the record collector-ether. But listening now, the music sounds visionary-- a missing link between MC5 and the hardcore punk of the early 1980s. The songs are performed at blistering speed, burbling over with bad attitude. Death were not messing around. In just 27 minutes and seven songs, the trio made a potent argument for its place on punk's Mount Olympus.

But Spiritual, Mental, Physical is the sound of the band figuring out its chops one freewheeling basement jam at a time. The takes are raw-- most of them recorded live to two-track tape in the band's practice space. They're loose and, frequently, unfocused. In a few instances, Death's brilliance is clearly evident. "Views", a choogling riff-rocker that kicks off the collection, wouldn't have sounded out of place on For the Whole World to See. "The Masks" explodes with heavy-metal thrashing, but quickly dials back the fury for a verse lifted directly from the Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life". The song's main trick-- leap-frogging back and forth between mellow melodies and full-bore grind-- is one that the band would put to more polished use on songs like "Let the World Turn" and "Politicians in My Eyes", from the For the Whole World to See sessions.

But the record's B-side is padded with less revelatory material-- solo-instrumentals, psychedelic asides, and half-finished song ideas. Aside from "The Storm Within", a garage-leveling three-minute freak-out, it's mostly unremarkable. If anything the collection proves that Death were not produced into existence during a handful of studio sessions. Even goofing off in the practice space, their musicianship is clear, even if their vision hadn't totally solidified. The majority of Spiritual, Mental, Physical was recorded in a practice space, with no intention of public release. It's a collection of unguarded, unconsidered moments. On For the Whole World to See, Death were getting down to business. Here, they're having a good time. (source)

28.3.12

Anthony Braxton - For Alto (1969)


W szkole średniej Braxton rozpoczął naukę na klarnecie. Zaliczył jeden semestr w Wilson Junior College i wstąpił do wojska, gdzie kontynuował naukę gry na klarnecie, ale opanował także grę na saksofonie altowym.

W 1966 r. dołączył do Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), nowo powstałego stowarzyszenia czarnych muzyków kierowanego przez Muhala Richarda Abramsa i Roscoe Mitchella. Wkrótce Braxton założył własny zespół (później znany jako Creative Construction Company), do którego zaprosił Leroya Jenkinsa i Leo Smitha, a w 1968 r. nagrał płytę "3 Compositions Of New Jazz". Zawarta na niej muzyka była swego rodzaju ilustracją eksperymentalizmu muzyków chicagowskich, kładących nacisk na barwę, fakturę i przestrzeń - jako przeciwwagę do skrajnie ekspresyjnej i intensywnej muzyki Johna Coltrane'a dominującej na scenie nowojorskiej.

Braxton wylansował kolejną koncepcję AACM polegającą na wzbogaceniu instrumentarium. Wkrótce opanował grę na wszelkich instrumentach z rodziny saksofonów, klarnetów i fletów. Jednak jego głównym instrumentem pozostawał saksofon altowy. W 1969 r. nagrał podwójny album "For Alto", pierwsze w historii jazzu całkowicie solowe nagranie saksofonowe. W tym samym roku grupa Creative Construction Company wyjechała do Paryża. Niebawem zespół został rozwiązany. Braxton wrócił do USA, zamieszkał kątem u Ornette'a Colemana i zarabiał na życie grą... w szachy.

W 1970 r. połączył swe siły z Chickiem Coreą, Dave'em Hollandem i Barrym Altschulem w zespole Circle, jednakże kłótnie na temat ich akceptacji filozofii scjentologicznej doprowadziły do rozpadnięcia się zespołu. Braxton wrócił do Paryża, gdzie występował ze śmietanką europejskich przedstawicieli awangardy, jak Globe Unity Orchestra Alexa von Schlippenbacha czy w warsztatowym zespole Dereka Baileya, Company.

W 1974 r. Braxton podpisał kontrakt z Aristą zaproponowany mu przez producenta Michaela Cuscunę, wrócił do Stanów i założył kwartet z Hollandem, Altschulem i Kennym Wheelerem (którego później zastąpił George Lewis). Współpraca z tak prestiżową wytwórnią jak Arista gwarantowała niezależność dla muzycznych koncepcji Braxtona oraz - co także ważne - komercyjną promocję nowej muzyki. Braxtonowi mało było jednak opinii ekscentryka, na którą zasłużył sobie, np. tytułując swoje kompozycje enigmatycznymi diagramami. Zaczął wzbudzać kontrowersje w jazzowych kręgach także swoimi płytami, jak "For Trio" (1978), "For Four Orchestras" (1978) czy "For Two Pianos" (1982) - inspirowanymi po części dziełami Schoenberga, Stockhausena i Cage'a. Nagrania te ujawniły zainteresowania Braxtona muzyką współczesną. Mimo to artysta stale podkreślał swoją miłość do jazzu, oraz że jego faworytami są John Coltrane, Paul Desmond i Warne Marsh.

Jakby dla udowodnienia tej fascynacji, w 1974 r. nagrał dwie płyty pod wspólnym tytułem "In The Tradition" (w latach późniejszych serię tę wzbogacił o fascynujące nagrania poświęcone Theleniousowi Monkowi i Lenniemu Tristano), wyprzedzając jakby w ten sposób o kilka lat obsesję lat 80. "powrotu do korzeni". Również w latach 70. powstały dwie płyty zawierające improwizowaną muzykę nagraną przez Braxtona w duecie z gigantem bopowej perkusji Maxem Roachem: płyta z występu kwartetu Braxtona w Dortmund oraz obsypana nagrodami Creative Orchestra Music z 1976 r. z awangardowymi kompozycjami na big-band, którą wielu znawców uważa za jeden z najlepszych albumów saksofonisty.

W latach 80. w muzyce Braxtona coraz liczniej pojawiały się elementy znamionujące jego zainteresowanie mistycyzmem, teatrem i kolażami. Napisał serię "rytualnych i obrzędowych" kompozycji związanych z astrologią, numerologią, kostiumologią i tańcem, które znalazły swoją kulminację w ostatnim, nadal nie dokończonym dziele składającym się z dwunastu oper, "Trillium". Złożoność formy przeniknęła także do kompozycji Braxtona pisanych na kwartet, który był głównym realizatorem jego eksperymentów nawiązujących do jazzu. Na płycie "On Four Compositions - Quartet" (1983) Braxton wprowadził koncepcję "struktur wyznaczonych pulsem", jako odpowiednika progresji akordów. Nieco później zajął się także "multiple logics music", polegającą na tym, że muzycy (przez ostatnie sześć lat stali partnerzy Braxtona: Marilyn Crispell, Mark Dresser i Gerry Hemingway) mogą wykonywać dwie, trzy lub cztery kompozycje naraz, jak na płytach "Quartet - London" (1985), "Quartet - Birmingham" (1985), "Quartet - Willisau" (1991).

Mimo że Braxton ma także inne zajęcia (od kilku lat wykłada w Wesleyan College w Connecticut), jest niesłychanie aktywnym twórcą: napisał prawie 400 kompozycji, nagrał ponad 70 płyt jako lider i pojawił się na co najmniej 50 innych. W 1985 r. opublikował "Triaxium Writings", trzytomowy traktat filozoficzny, a w 1988 r. pierwsze tomy "Composition Notes". Jego ostatnie płyty to nagrania solo, w duetach, triach i kwartetach (np. z ROVA Saxophone Quartet), a także w dużych składach (np. z London Jazz Composers Orchestra).

Braxton tworzy muzykę na nowym poziomie intensywności, abstrakcji i piękna. Choć artysta nadal traktowany jest ze sporą podejrzliwością przez zatwardziałych zwolenników muzycznej konwencji, a także przez czarnych nacjonalistów, nie można nie doceniać znaczenia jego nowatorskich poczynań i wpływu na młodych twórców nowego jazzu, jak Tima Berne'a czy Johna Zorna. (diapazon)


Genius is a rare commodity in any art form, but at the end of the 20th century it seemed all but non-existent in jazz, a music that had ceased looking ahead and begun swallowing its tail. If it seemed like the music had run out of ideas, it might be because Anthony Braxton covered just about every conceivable area of creativity during the course of his extraordinary career. The multi-reedist/composer might very well be jazz's last bona fide genius. Braxton began with jazz's essential rhythmic and textural elements, combining them with all manner of experimental compositional techniques, from graphic and non-specific notation to serialism and multimedia. Even at the peak of his renown in the mid- to late '70s, Braxton was a controversial figure amongst musicians and critics. His self-invented (yet heavily theoretical) approach to playing and composing jazz seemed to have as much in common with late 20th century classical music as it did jazz, and therefore alienated those who considered jazz at a full remove from European idioms. Although Braxton exhibited a genuine -- if highly idiosyncratic -- ability to play older forms (influenced especially by saxophonists Warne Marsh, John Coltrane, Paul Desmond, and Eric Dolphy), he was never really accepted by the jazz establishment, due to his manifest infatuation with the practices of such non-jazz artists as John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Many of the mainstream's most popular musicians (Wynton Marsalis among them) insisted that Braxton's music was not jazz at all. Whatever one calls it, however, there is no questioning the originality of his vision; Anthony Braxton created music of enormous sophistication and passion that was unlike anything else that had come before it. Braxton was able to fuse jazz's visceral components with contemporary classical music's formal and harmonic methods in an utterly unselfconscious -- and therefore convincing -- way. The best of his work is on a level with any art music of the late 20th century, jazz or classical.

Braxton began playing music as a teenager in Chicago, developing an early interest in both jazz and classical musics. He attended the Chicago School of Music from 1959-1963, then Roosevelt University, where he studied philosophy and composition. During this time, he became acquainted with many of his future collaborators, including saxophonists Joseph Jarman and Roscoe Mitchell. Braxton entered the service and played saxophone in an Army band; for a time he was stationed in Korea. Upon his discharge in 1966, he returned to Chicago where he joined the nascent Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). The next year, he formed an influential free jazz trio, the Creative Construction Company, with violinist Leroy Jenkins and trumpeter Leo Smith. In 1968, he recorded For Alto, the first-ever recording for solo saxophone. Braxton lived in Paris for a short while beginning in 1969, where he played with a rhythm section comprised of bassist Dave Holland, pianist Chick Corea, and drummer Barry Altschul. Called Circle, the group stayed together for about a year before disbanding (Holland and Altschul would continue to play in Braxton-led groups for the next several years). Braxton moved to New York in 1970. The '70s saw his star rise (in a manner of speaking); he recorded a number of ambitious albums for the major label Arista and performing in various contexts. Braxton maintained a quartet with Altschul, Holland, and a brass player (either trumpeter Kenny Wheeler or trombonist George Lewis) for most of the '70s. During the decade, he also performed with the Italian free improvisation group Musica Elettronica Viva, and guitarist Derek Bailey, as well as his colleagues in AACM. The '80s saw Braxton lose his major-label deal, yet he continued to record and issue albums on independent labels at a dizzying pace. He recorded a memorable series of duets with bop pioneer Max Roach, and made records of standards with pianists Tete Montoliu and Hank Jones. Braxton's steadiest vehicle in the '80s and '90s -- and what is often considered his best group -- was his quartet with pianist Marilyn Crispell, bassist Mark Dresser, and drummer Gerry Hemingway. In 1985, he began teaching at Mills College in California; he subsequently joined the music faculty at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where he taught through the '90s. During that decade, he received a large grant from the MacArthur Foundation that allowed him to finance some large-scale projects he'd long envisioned, including an opera. At the beginning of the 21st century, Braxton was still a vital presence on the creative music scene. (Chris Kelsey)

The Monks – Black Monk Time (1966)




One of the most peculiar 60's avant garde/garage combos was formed in 1964 by five American GIs stationed in Germany under a name The Torquays. Started off as a very traditional surf & rock'n'roll outfit, the band's been bashing out all standards of the time and that included Chuck Berry tunes, Dick Dale instrumental compositions and The Beatles hits. The musicians were: Gary Burger (lead guitar/vocals), Larry Clark (organ/vocals), Dave Day (rhythm guitar/vocals), Roger Johnston (drums/vocals) and Eddie Shaw (bass/vocals). For about a year and a half they played in German clubs 7 days a week, up to 8 hours onstage and at a certain point they became bored with the same routine every night. Tossing down the worn format guys eventually turned to sound experimentation, getting rid of melody and focusing almost solely on a rhythm... on a savage, primitivistic over-beat.

However, their new style did not come out of the blue. It took about a year to get the sound right. Musicians experimented all the time and although big part of rehearsal-coined pieces were total failures and some of the songs were clearly terrible, they kept the ones which had something special. Over time these compositions became more defined and with a careful polish eventually gained a real ass-kicking edge. One of the most important components of the new sound was guitar feedback, discovered by Gary Burger independently of many English bands like The Kinks or The Troggs, which still are heralded as the main inventors of this powerful effect. In the same time the band changed it's name to The Monks and guys shaved tops of their heads off making a real statement as well as playing for publicity, convinced to do so by their German managers. In 1966 they recorded their one and only album "Black Monk Time" for German Polydor – an instant killer LP. It's brutal minimalism cannot be matched by anything else created in the 60's, maybe except two first LPs of The Sonics.



Beyond any doubt it's one hell of an album! The music and lyrics are cut to the bare bones, which saves it from being dated by the musical frills, that many other recordings garnish according to any fad there is at the moment. The Monks crafted their songs all together blending individual influences and melting them into a single, hybrid style. "Black Monk Time" is basically the eruption of noise and rhythm of five fierce refugees from blues structures and beat/pop harmonies, which dominated early 60's music due to enormous success of British Invasion. The Monks didn't want to be another copycat act and what they offered instead was dark, twisted smash of guitar and Vox organ cacophony, a thick and vigorous drum bottom, fat bass lines and schizophrenic vocals with occasional yodeling. That can be heard all over "Black Monk Time", but especially on I Hate You, Complication or Monk Time, which resemble unstoppable brain ripping, immediately getting to your head. The music has been so far ahead of it's time, that years were to come before somebody took the same path. From today's perspective "Black Monk Time" paved the way to many later kraut rock, EBM, industrial and punk rock acts, which used creative stripdown of the musical stucture as a base, even without being aware of the door open already.

In 1999 The Monks reunited to play in New York, Las Vegas and Spain, which brought fans from all over the world to see this dark legend on stage after such a long time. Although musicians never gained recognition at their time and "Black Monk Time" was released in USA for the first time on CD as late as 1997 by Infinite Zero label – it was virtually impossible in 1966 due to blatantly nihilistic, anti-social message – The Monks are considered today one of the most important 60's garage groups if not the most important one. Definitely, they were the biggest guitar music experimentalists of their time, who came up with an unique vision of sound. Original pressing of their only LP is today practically untraceable and those who have it will never put it up for sale. Fortunately, it was repressed by Polydor in 1979 and then in 2009 from the original masters – all three pressings released only in Germany. The last one is still around, but it's price is going up, so if you wanna hear this mythical album from a quality copy, hurry up and grab it!



27.3.12

Sva - Ulahado-ulahado (2004)



Tatyana Kalmykova (also known as SWA and SVA) - singer, composer, researcher of ancient Russian music. Born in 1976 in Moscow. Took part in a number of expeditions exploring Russian singing traditions in Smolensk, Bryansk, Belgorod and Vologda regions, Khakassia and Tuva. Tatyana Kalmykova is a student of the well known master and teacher of folklore, the founder and the head of ensemble of folk music Dmitry Pokrovsky. In her projects Tatyana combines tradition, authentic singing and improvisation.



"Ulahado-Ulahado" is the first solo album of Tatyana Kalmykova (Tanya Svaha). She has travelled a lot in Russian North and Altai and gathered not only lots of knowledge about pagan Slavic rites and musical traditions, but has become herself a part and continuation of these traditions. This album is dedicated to spring. We can hear the echoes of an ancient cult of a wife and a serpent. This is it, this dark and at the same time most bright character, the serpent, coming from darkness, stands at the cradle of a year. "U-la-ha-do, u-la-ha-do" - one song features this conjuration with a name of a pagan Slavic deity of love - Lada (Lado).

http://www.tatyanakalmykova.com

Pelt - Ayahuasca (2001)



Formed in 1993 in Richmond, Virgiania, Pelt are unique amongst (post) psychedielic drone bands because of their predominantly accoustic sound. Theirs is a twenty-first century indigenous music, tribal and universal. They are aboriginal shamans of the global village, the creators of a timeless music that leaves you wondering whether they are people of the present day or time-travelling magicians from four thousand years ago. Ayahuasca, considered by many to be their finest studio recording, is dedicated to the late John Fahey, a musician whose sound defies any attempts at pigeon-holing but which has been described as bluegrass, blues, folk, avant-garde and ambient. Thurston Moore, Sonic Youth's guitarist, acknowledges him as a "secret influence". Ayahuasca, it has been said, attempts to create a music "bridging John Fahey, Grateful Dead, Ravi Shankar and LaMonte Young ". Many would call this an overly-ambitious goal, but so over-achieving are these archaic revivalists that they attain it with apparent effortlessness.

Ayahuasca, a word which translates as "vine of the dead" or "vine of souls", is a hallucinogenic brew used by South American shamans. It can be made from a variety of plants but is usually made from a combination of the bark of a vine known as Banisteriopsis caapi (which can grow to be over 100 metres long and a ton in weight) and the leaves of a plant called Psychotria viridis:

"The origins of ayahuasca are very old; it has a tradition of use which predates written records. It is part of both the ancient religions and the healing customs of people who live throughout the Amazon area, from Brazil to the upper areas of Columbia, Equator and Peru. Many studies have been reported on its use in shamanism, and especially in healing rituals. Sadly, many of the people who have defined the culture there are today being disenfranchised as second-class citizens because they lack both Western language and political representation. No, it is worse than that. In the opinion of most South Americans, the native Indians are filthy, stupid and lazy, and are certainly holding up progress." (Alexander Shulgin, Tryptamines I Have Known and Loved, pp.286-7)

The decision to name this album "Ayahuasca" is not simply a statement about psychedelics and shamanism, but also a political statement.

It kicks off with True Vine, a primal, bassy, resonant drone with a higher-toned string instrument winding eastern, call-to-prayer melodies through it. Plucked strings vibrate bassily. This is a serpentine, undulating sound, dream-like, natural, organic. It makes me think of sunrise over Turkish cityscapes, of tribal ayahuasca ceremonies deep in the shady secrecy of the Amazon:

"The experience of ingesting ayahuasca... has a number of characteristics... Its themes and hallucinations are oriented toward the organic and the natural world... [including] extremely rich tapestries of visual hallucination that are particularly susceptible to being 'driven' and directed by sound, especially vocally produced sound. Consequently, one of the legacies of the ayahuasca-using cultures is a large repository of 'icaros', or magical songs... In the actual curing sessions, both patient and healer ingest ayahuasca and the singing of the magical songs is a shared experience that is largely visual." (Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods, pp. 227-8)



This album is a collection of such icaros, and the air hangs thick with rippling curtains of pulsating vision. The melody is indescribably beautiful, filled with a longing, a yearning, winding like the hypnotic dance of a jewelled, hallucinatory serpent or the prolific snaking growth of jungle vines. It gives me the feeling I get when I sit around the camp fire with old friends. It stirs something ancient in my soul, an ancestral wisdom.

Deer Head Apparition is less tuneful, a discordant, scratchy drone, deeply hypnotic, entrancing, enchanting, lacking the melodies of True Vine. Huge, unsettling, powerful bass notes tear through it. It has a dry feel, like dead wood. This aboriginal sound speaks to the most ancient part of your humanity, to your hunter-gatherer soul. It is animalistic, wordless, speaking to the parts of you that have no words. This is such a primitive form of expression that humans must have been creating music like this for as long as we have walked the Urth. The tones are not of a constant pitch but bend slightly, slowly, like the deep lowing song of the cow. After just under quarter of an hour of this fayre the drone suddenly drops away, exposing a dark, vast, echoing space that rumbles and shivers to the foreground. Insect voices chatter and whisper feverishly. Indeed, it has all the unreality of a fever-dream, your glistening brow burning chillingly. It intensifies, a chaos of pounding hoofbeats, loud crashing sounds, the occasional bright bell lost in the darkness. Eventually this rattling tempest calms to a drone reminiscent of the end of Queen Elizabeth's Tal-y-fan, hanging eternally, shining slightly. It sounds like the marshes at night, the air thick with swamp-gases and fog, will-o-the-wisps wandering alluringly, the ground steaming. High toned plucked strings sound restlessly, bending, repetitive. Bassier movements slither beneath. The bowed strings return, painting a tense, jumpy atmosphere. As it builds shadowy giants shudder and heave, unseen, a sound reminiscent of Queen Elizabeth's Callanish but with strings and ancient, droning horns. Finally it fades like a brooding thundercloud. A long silence follows.

The Cuckoo and Deep Sunny South are very different from the first two tracks. They are traditional Appalachian folk songs, the music of North America's indigenous people. Don't let the word "folk" scare you, though - this isn't the morris-dancing, elbow-swaying, tired, cliched modern English folk music that is summoned to mind by that word. This is folk music in its truest sense - the songs of the people, the songs that are basic to being human. Folk music in the Bob Marley & Bob Dylan sense of the word (though lacking, obviously, the unique geniuses of the two mighty Bobs). It also reminds me of certain songs by Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari. Guitar and banjo, played with an impressive musicianship, create a psychedelic tapestry of sound, bowed strings sounding softly within it. The melodies are simple, the sort of tunes that appeal to everybody because they are an integral part of our humanity. The lyrics are hard to make out: I have given up trying to decipher The Cuckoo, though Deep Sunny South is a love-song to the land and a war-song about defending the land. Although these are American songs, this is a music beyond any one nation that can speak to people from all over the world. It is rural, rustick, a musick of ancestry, roots and belonging.

The final track on the first CD, Raga Called John pt. 1, is the first of this album's three pieces paying tribute to John Fahey. The raga is an Indian musical form, the name being derived from the sanskrit words "raga", meaning both "colour" and "passion", and "ranj", meaning "to colour". A raga is a piece of music that tries to "colour the mind of the listener with an emotion" (quoted from http://www.chandrakantha.com/articles/indian_music/raga.html) - this music is trying to colour your mind with the energy of John Frehey, capturing his soul's vibration in sound. It starts serenely with both bowed and plucked strings. It feels like a carefree sunny meadow, flower-heads nodding in the sleepy breeze. The acoustic guitar is a warm weft of golden strings, sweeter than honey, gentler than a lamb, stronger than the Sun. As it develops its tempo increases, a simple, foot-stomping drum beat driving it ever faster. This is the music to which the flower goddess (Blo) dances, blooming blossoms flowering at her feet. The guitars eventually fade and the bowed strings take over, introducing discordant elements. It sounds like the most beautiful flower that you never-did-see (except in your dreams) slowly opening, unfolding. The plucked strings return, playing single notes and simple, repetitive melodies that gradually build into a whirling Siva-dance, sparks flying. A temple-bell occasionally rings purely. This music has the intensity and heat of the August Sun, the plucked strings hopping and jumping as though they were dancing on hot coals, firewalking.

The second CD begins with The Dream of the Leaping Sharks. The bowed strings begin tentatively, as if testing the water, only to eventually rush in like a shadow falling across the land. None of the strings are constantly sounding - they come in silky slivers. A thick, exotic sound like the smell of spice or of marijuana, incense burning in a Hindu temple. The sound is primitive and Urthy, rumbling from the deepest belly of the ground beneath your feet. There is a sorrowful feeling in it. Ancient, wise, knowing; strong, deep, dark. Purple satin throbbing with deep blues. Hot as the desert. Exotic as the Bedouin. Shimmering with heat haze. After just over quarter of an hour the drone becomes more harmonious, warm light enveloping you like an embrace. But it is not long before the darker atmosphere returns, only to slip away slowly, endlessly fading, falling.

Bear Head Apparition begins unsettlingly, stuttering unpredictably. A bell ringing over a throbbing bass synth, a darkness, boundless, expansive, echoing, rattling, shifting, unquiet. The raw scream of a feedbacking guitar unfolds discordantly, tunelessly from within it. A disorienting, almost nauseous sound. In some respects it is machine-like, mighty cogs turning, the ancient ethereal machinery that underlies reality. A sound like the lurching Urth torn away from beneath me, a gaping hole swallowing me. Falling, falling endlessly, the violence of stone tearing apart beneath me, rotating all around me, crashing closed behind me.

Will You Pray For Me? is a bright, high-toned bowed string sound with incredibly fast plucked strings. There is a sound in it that could be a human voice, but that could also be a bronze-age hunting horn. Someone is singing a song deep down in it, but the vocal is so drowned as to be unintelligible, mysterious, the softness giving it a chant-like quality. This has the atmosphere of sunrise or sunset, the twilight times, the gates between night and day, between the worlds.

Raga Called John pt. 2 is a lot like True Vine, the slow, deep drone wound with mystic, serpentine melodies. A drone as thick as primal soup, swamping all. The melodies are deliberately soft so as to be drowned in the droning miasma. It is filled with the slow, majestic strength of the Urth, entrancing enough to charm even the fearful world-serpent of Norse myth. The dark, scratching string tones weigh down my thought processes, the primal soup swamping my brain like treacle. Slower, slower they crawl. Eternities fill every passing moment and still the moment stretches out longer, slower... Finally all thought ceases and I have escaped time. Amazingly, just at this moment the music flowers into sweetness, the rumbling, unsettling bass giving way to rich, warm mid-tones. Plucked strings dance gently, blowing through it like a sparkling peaceful breeze. The darkness soon resurfaces, however, welling up like a flood of Indian ink, more frenzied this time, tense with pent in power that burns and smoulders within. The scratchier strings and distorted guitars, melded into one sound that transcends the individual instruments, sound like the tearing of the walls between the worlds. It develops into all-out screeching, but smooth, the scream of the motors driving your shamanic flight as they are strained to the limit. The sound rises and falls, engine-like, and there is the occasional Doppler effect as some giant object whirls past. The thundering sound of rocket-propulsion, huge distorted guitar explosions bursting, thrusting behind me, a hurtling power.

Between Raga Called John pt. 2 and pt. 3 there is a short interlude, a fragment of folky jamming with guitar and banjo, the musicians talking to one another, working the song out. This brief fly-on-the-wall moment ends with the words "shut that fucking door, man", and Raga Called John pt. 3 begins. This is a sparser string drone with sitar-like accoustic guitars. It is a golden sound with a carefree, rustick feel, swallows swooping through it, diving in swirling spirals. The dappled, patterned sound slowly builds up speed, gaining momentum, a dancer spinning faster, faster, until a peak of frenzy is reached and the sound slowly calms and smooths. This is music of the Sun seen through heat haze, a sound like a magickal garden filled with the rich perfume of honeysuckle, clematis, peacocks strutting vainly, their tails as colourful and shining as precious stones. It is in this beautiful, dreaming place that the album draws to a close. (source)

Konrad Ponieważ - Malarstwo i mordobicie



Imię to Konrad, nazwisko Ponieważ a rok urodzenia 1980. Absolwent Gdańskiej ASP oraz Lubelskiego Instytutu Sztuk Pięknych. Mieszkający i działający w Gdańsku. Zajmujący się Malarstwem, grafiką, video oraz szeroko pojętym dźwiękiem. W malarstwie głównie skupia się na formie, natomiast treść stanowią często absurdalne, pozbawione jakiegoś istotnego znaczenia sytuacje. Punktem wyjścia są przeważnie fotografie lub przypadkowo znalezione materiały będące jedynie pretekstem do zabawy z formą i kolorem, do dekonstrukcji, przebudowania, zmutowania postaci lub sytuacji. http://vvorkss.tumblr.com














26.3.12

Róbert Mandel - East-European Hurdy-Gurdy Music (1983)



Jedna z teorii głosi, że powstanie liry wiąże się z pobytem Maurów, muzułmańskich mieszkańców Półwyspu Iberyjskiego. Prawdopodobnie przywieźli (albo wymyślili na miejscu?) coś tajemniczego w podobnym kształcie.

Pierwsze pismo traktujące o tym instrumencie to “Quomodo organistrum construatur”, opat Odo z klasztoru w Cluny opisał budowę wczesnej formy liry – organistrum, obsługiwanej przez dwie osoby. Zaprezentował nam to rzeźbiarz z Santiago de Compostela w Hiszpanii.

Dwuosobowa lira korbowa, między innymi z powodu ciężkich przycisków była w stanie wydobyć z siebie jedynie nieskomplikowane melodie kościelne. Dopiero w XIII wieku, zgodnie z duchem postępu hurdy-gurdy zostało zminiaturyzowane. Od tej chwili można było skomponować również weselsze historie na jednego grajka. Wraz ze zmniejszeniem instrumentu uszczuplił się też jego udział w świątyniach.

Wędrowni bardowie wzięli lirę na plecy i ruszyli w kontynent, na długi czas określając ją mianem “Symphonia”. Obszar jej migracji był imponujący, a w XVII wieku zdobyła już uznanie w całej Europie. W Niemczech nazywano ją “kręcąca się harfą”, Włosi woleli “kręcący się wynalazek”, a Węgrzy “kręcili lutnią”, korzystali też z dźwiękonaśladowczej wersji: “nyenyere”.

Grajków w pewnym momencie było tak wielu, że Anglicy w 1651r. wydali dekret, na mocy którego muzycy byli zobowiązani do wyrobienia specjalnej licencji. Urzędnicy uznali, że wraz z lirami dochodzi do pogwałcenia zasad dobrych obyczajów;

The hurdygurdyists, both men and women should be removed completely so that we no longer need to see their vulgar and disorderly talk and gestures which the travelling musicians delight in cultivating together with other impertinances.

Może właśnie dlatego Hieronim Bosch umieścił hurdy-gurdy na jednym ze swoim obrazów. W nie najlepszym towarzystwie. Z czasem regiony wypracowały własne wizje estetyczne liry. We Francji “vielle a roue”, czyli “obracające się skrzypce” dotarły na salony króla Ludwika XIV i awansowały do roli instrumentów dworskich. Wiązało się to z poważnymi nad nimi studiami i próbami wydobycia głębi brzmienia, które zadowoliłoby uszy najwybredniejszych ze słuchaczy. Oczywiście wypolerowano je i ozdobiono fantazyjnymi, kwiecistymi wzorami. Kompozycjami na lirę nie powstydził się Vivaldi, trochę później Mozart. W międzyczasie siedemnastowieczny filozof, pisarz, ale też kompozytor – Jean Jacque Rousseau – postuluje powrót do człowieka natury nieskalanego cywilizacyjnymi wytworami. Wypomadowana arystokracja mogła więc grając na ludowej symphonii rozpływać się w poetycznym nastroju dzikiego.



Nie na długo, już Ludwik XV wykazał się mniejszą chęcią rozkoszowania się klimatem swoich poddanych.

…proponuje się: aby bez szkody dla dobrego smaku wyrzucić lirę do karczmy i pozostawić ją ślepcom. Bowiem, nie obrażając pięknych dam, które oddają się od lat grze na tym instrumencie, jest on tak ograniczony, jego ustawiczne rzępolenie tak niemiłe dla wrażliwych uszu, że powinien być bez litości wyrzucony”.

Lira dogorywała za Marii Antoniny, rozsmakowanej w neo-klasycyźmie, a zupełnie znikła z pałaców podczas rewolucji. Wciąż jednak grano na niej poza Paryżem, a już w połowie XIX wieku znów zawitała na ulicach stolicy. Wiązało się to z przyjazdem chłopów, sprzedających tam swoje produkty (wina, sery) i pogrywając w ciasnych uliczkach (prawdopodobni pradziadkowie Edith Piaf). Podobno za czasów Napoleona lirę zabrali do siebie Kozacy.

Zajrzyjmy do Niemiec. Przecież i Joseph Haydn komponował na hurdy-gurdy, lira korbowa zainspirowała też Schuberta. Ten ostatni nazwał swój kawałek dokładnie jak Donovan, tylko że po niemiecku – “Der Leiermann”. Muzykolodzy zwracają uwagę, że kompozycja jest tak przemyślana, aby pianino przypominało brzmienie hurdy-gurdy. A piosenkę śpiewa trup. I zaczął się romantyzm.

Wróćmy z filharmonii na ulice, gdzie historia liry nabiera rumieńców. Otóż na początku XIX wieku niemieccy rzemieślnicy robili niezły interes na sprzedaży mioteł. Co ciekawe, dość szybko skojarzyli, że ich sprzęty sprzedawały się o wiele lepiej gdy handel prowadzony był przy akompaniamencie liry korbowej, obsługiwanej przez młode dziewczęta. O miotłach zapomniano, a interes przekształcił się w show. “Hessian Broom Girls” obleciały cały świat, a część z nich wolała nawet zostać w saloonach.

A co z nami? Tylko kilka źródeł odnosi się do liry na polskich ziemiach, ale niewątpliwie również miała spore powodzenie.

“Harnaś” i jego kamraci po napadzie na pastuchów, koniarzy i chłopskie domostwo w Sidzinie udali się do organisty, “gdzie przyszedszy, posłaliśmy po Gabrjela Lirę z Makowa rodem [...] Tam tedy u organisty tańcowaliśmy, a ten Gabrjel grał nam na lirze. Stamtąd, zostawiwszy owego Gabrjela, poszliśmy w las.” (1736)

Lirę korbową możemy zobaczyć w “Ogniem i mieczem”, w jednej ze scen korbką kręci przebrany za żebraka Zagłoba.

W naszym stuleciu o hurdy-gurdy na jakiś czas zapomniano, lub starano się zapomnieć. W latach 30tych Stalin po prostu wyeliminował wielu z ukraińskich lirników.. Dopiero w latach 60tych, za sprawą takich artystów jak Bob Dylan, czy Pete Seeger Europa zainteresowała się na nowo swoją muzyczną tradycją. Lira korbowa pojawiła się na folkowych festiwalach, ale prawdziwy renesans ten instrument przeżył w ostatnich latach. Jeszcze piętnaście lat temu możliwość kupna nowej liry graniczyła z cudem, w tej chwili w Europie możemy znaleźć mnóstwo mistrzów fachu. W Polsce najbardziej znanym jest Stanisław Wyżykowski. (źródło)



"The hurdy-gurdy came to Eastern Europe at the beginning of the nineteenth century and was brought in by Western European travelling musicians, and by the middle of the 20th century it was no longer part of living folk music anywhere. The instrument had no repertoire of its own and bagpipe music, of a similar sound, was usually played on it. These days in Hungary one can bare by meet a hurdy-gurdy player or two of the older generation in the rural farmstead regions of Szentes, Csongrád, Kecskemeét.

The opening piece is a characteristic Central Hungarian hurdy-gurdy music. (These original tunes are performed by József Kiss of Fábiánsebestyén and István Balla of Szentes.) The second and the sixth piece on Side A present an old complete series of dances from Southern Transdanubia. The third piece presents the hurdy-gurdy-clarinet combination which is peculiar to Hungary. 'Two red peonies' is a pairing up tune from Zala County (4). Hurdy-gurdies and bagpipes in combination appear only rarely. Palóc bagpipe tunes, and an olibotone peculiar to that region, are featured on this track (5).

The sound of the Bulgarian bagpipe, of the gadulka (a peculiar type of string instrument), and of the kaval (a kind of transverse flute) are a perfect match to that of the hurdy-gurdy (6). It was also widely used in Poland, and was called lira. The two tunes Oberek and Polka originally intended for the leather bagpipe (kozioł) (7). In the Ukranie, in the Soviet Union, they called the hurdy-gurdy relya and beggars used it to accompany their songs (8). In Rumania, the hurdy-gurdy was known as lira or viella mecanica in the last century. It is likely that the repertoire was the same as that of the leather bagpipe called cimpoi.'

Róbert Mandel - Mihály Sipos

Robert Mándel was born in Budapest in 1957. He took up the hurdy-gurdy when he completed an appranticeship as a musical instrument maker. Performing on instruments of his own making, he has regularly been touring Hungary, Austria, Britain, Finland, France, the Netherlands, the two Germanies, Switzerland and the United States. He has featured on numous radio and television programmes; his articles have been published in various periodicals, both in Hungary and abroad." (from the liner notes)

25.3.12

Volcano the Bear - Classic Erasmus Fusion (2006)


W dzisiejszych czasach trudno jest stworzyć coś oryginalnego, naprawdę nowego. Kiedy masz już za sobą takich tuzów jak: Faust, This Heat, Albert Ayer, Nurse With Wound, La Monte Young czy John Cage cóż można powiedzieć więcej. W naszym przypadku przestaliśmy kupować NOWĄ MUZYKĘ, a "rozejrzeliśmy się do tyłu"- tymi oto słowami VOLCANO THE BEAR określa swój własny punkt widzenia na fenomen zwany muzyką. Ciekawe i bardzo inspirujące jest to stwierdzenie, stawiające przed muzykiem bariery, a jednocześnie będące wyzwaniem, rodzajem bramy do "nowych przestrzeni". Z takim oto nastawieniem Nick Mott, Aaron Moore, Daniel Padden oraz Laurence Coleman pod sztandarem Volcano The Bear postanowili w 1995 roku przedstawić swoją własną doktrynę muzyczną. Panowie skoncentrowali się na wykreowaniu nowego kontekstu i kombinacji dźwięków, które wcześniej nie współgrały i nie wchodziły w związek ze sobą. Na potwierdzenie tych słów proponuję "przyjrzeć się" serii CDRów wydanych przez grupę własnymi siłami jaką VOLVCAN Rec. Słuchając tych materiałów ("Volseptor", "Volve", "Volvheat", "Volfur") można porównać je do erupcji wulkanicznej lawy. Porozciągane, rozimprowizowane utwory kumulują niesamowitą free energię, okraszoną wokalnymi przyśpiewami, wręcz surrealistycznymi chorałami! Uzupełnione trybalnymi rytmami, przygrywakami- eksplodują niesamowitym potencjałem energetycznym, wciągając słuchacza w swoje absurdalne historie i opowieści. Grupa, do stworzenia tych wulkanicznych bram, używa potężnego arsenału instrumentalnego- głównie akustycznego: dzwonków, piszczałek, perkusji, klarnetów, wszelkiego rodzaju "strunowców" oraz elektroniki: szyn analogowych i preparowanych pętli (taśm). Z punktu widzenia Volcano The Bear nie istnieje żadne ograniczenie w doborze instrumentów, co pozwala na maksymalną eksplorację spektrum muzycznego. Równocześnie pokrywa się to z drugim, ważnym (obok kontekstu) punktem w działalności kwartetu- ekspresją. Wystarczy zanurzyć się w ich mini-lp "Yak Folks Y'Are" (wydanym przez Pickled Egg Rec.'99), aby słowo ekspresja objawiło się w swojej pełni. (Marek Nawrot)


Volcano the Bear are an improvisational/experimental English band formed in Leicester in 1995. The group's members are Aaron Moore (drums, trumpet, vocals), Nick Mott (saxophone, guitar, vocals), Clarence Manuelo (tapes, electronics) and Daniel Padden (keyboards, guitar, clarinet, vocals). Although the principal roles of each member are as listed, the group use a large array of additional sound-making objects to create their music.

Their early work was characterized by theatrical live performances and unconventional recording methods; for example The One Burned Ma, their second full-length album, contains no tracks on which all four members appear. Having self-released a handful of cassettes and CD-Rs, they came to the attention of Steven Stapleton of Nurse With Wound, who revived his United Dairies imprint to release The Inhazer Decline, their first full-length album. However, a proposed collaboration with Nurse With Wound was not completed. They continued to release regular live CDRs on their own Volucan imprint, and later albums such as Five Hundred Boy Piano and much of The Idea Of Wood were performed live in the studio.

A hiatus in group activity occurred in the early part of the 2000s with Mott and Moore reviving their pre-Volcano the Bear unit Songs Of Norway. Manuelo created an album and EP as Earthtrumpet. Padden founded The One Ensemble Of Daniel Padden initially as a solo project, later expanded to a quartet, with Chris Hladowski and Aby Vulliamy (both of Nalle), and Peter Nicholson. This unit has subsequently issued its releases as "The One Ensemble", with Padden releasing an album in 2006 of his solo material under his own name. Padden has also played with the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra.

Moore played drums on the 1999 L.P. Free Surf Music #1 by Alan Jenkins and The Thurston Lava Tube, drummed for The Nightingales for a while, and in 2005 formed the duo Dragon or Emperor with occasional VtB collaborator Stewart Brackley. He also released a solo album The Accidental on which Alex Neilson and Andrew Liles appear. He is currently a member of the Brooklyn band Freetime.

In early 2006 the band reconvened to release a double album Classic Erasmus Fusion to excellent reviews, and later that year released a live recording of their first performance as a full band in four years entitled Egg and Two Books. (wikipedia)

Zu & Eugene Chadbourne - The Zu Side Of Chadbourne (2000)



Eugene Chadbourne — guitar
Roy Paci — trumpet
Massimo Pupillo — bass
Jacopo Battaglia — drums
Thomas Mai — saxes (virtually)

For this endeavor the mad Doctor Chadbourne performs with a deliciously irreverent pianoless Italian quartet. More structured than some of the other recordings by Chadbourne, this one enjoys the impressive trumpet sounds of Ray Pacci, who seems to anticipate the guitarist's every move and adds a sort of Lester Bowie sound to the proceedings. Pacci effectively uses mutes and grows, plus short emphatic blasts and guttural blats, to pave his way. At times sounding a touch like late Miles, at others like Bowie, while always forging his own path, the trumpeter leads the procession with pomp and glory. With Jacopo Battaglia's hard core drumming and Massino Popillo's strong bass, the results are usually exciting and even thrilling at times. Overcoming some of the rambling that has characterized some of Chadbourne's earlier projects, this one is highly focused post-modern jazz mixed with a touch of avant-fusion. Chadbourne's electric guitar churns away and he leads the ensemble through dangerous terrain with barely a glitch. --- Steve Loewy, AllMusic

You know you’re in for a major surprise when the CD artwork displays guitarist/composer and sometimes humorist, Dr. Eugene Chadbourne dressed up in garb that might insinuate he was some hierarchical luminary of the Catholic Church. - Along with snippets and graphics that contain religious overtones, the Italian band who go by the moniker of “Zu”, featuring guitarist Eugene Chadbourne have assembled a bold, adventurous and somewhat intimidating affair, titled The Zu Side Of The Chadbourne.

“Zu” is: Roy Paci; trumpet, Massimo Pupillo; bass, Jacopa Battaglia; drums and saxophonist Luca Mai yet Mai does not appear on this release as the liners mention something to the effect that he had cut his finger; hence, his name is explicitly crossed out of the lineup. Basically, Chadbourne is at the top of his game here and along with these fine musicians go straight for the jugular on pieces such as the humorously titled, “Somewhere Over The Chadbourne” which is not a tribute to Judy Garland by any stretch of one’s psyche! Here, fans of the “New York City Downtown Scene” should enjoy the often loud, crash and burn motifs atop the funk/reggae yet pounding and at times surging rhythmic structures. Trumpeter Roy Paci’s blaring phrasing along with Chadbourne’s sizzling leads and crunching chord progressions wreak havoc and destruction! Throughout, the musicians meld odd-metered time signatures, with contrasting dialogue and traces of good old prog-rock as mayhem and intensity take on new connotations.

Chadbourne and co. perform with such verve; tenacity and power one might correlate the experience to a roller coaster ride or perhaps witnessing a rocket launch. The potent and assertive rhythms supplied by Pupillo and Battaglia combine elements of hard-core fusion and free-jazz with solid backbeats and fluid motion as the soloist’s scrupulously convey some sort of cosmic meltdown. “Inna Gadda Na Chadbourne” (sorry, not a tribute to Iron Butterfly) features King Crimson style percussive grooves along with slightly off-center shuffle beats and a few swing motifs yet Chadbourne and Paci execute with the rapidity of a high powered automatic weapon. With “‘O Chadbourne Mio” (are we catching on yet?) the musicians develop unorthodox themes that might suggest some sort of mutant or bastardized form of surf music along with a bit of free-form jazz thrown in for good measure. These compositions often comprise twisted or bizarre unison lines that place the listener in an otherworldly environment or something

Dr. Chadbourne and the members of “Zu” evidently share intrinsic attributes or perhaps.... peculiarities? The music is often mind-bending, extremely aggressive, impacting, unclassifiable and at times gut wrenching for the sheer intensity and combustibility as they shift themes on the fly without providing any advanced warning. Rapid forward motion loaded with unimaginable soundscapes is part of what “Zu” are all about, yet besides the seriousness behind the musicianship and intuitive group interaction this recording is brimming with light hearted overtones as the musicians are obviously having a blast! The Zu Side Of the Chadbourne will most certainly stir or delve into the cavernous depths of one’s imagination while providing themoptimum in cutting edge musical entertainment along the way! Highly recommended --- Glenn Astartia

24.3.12

Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band - Merseytrout (Live in Liverpool 1980)



Recorded at the Rotters Club, Liverpool, England on 29th October 1980 Merseytrout is a cracking show shoddily packaged and presented with uninformative and uninteresting liner notes. Sound quality is very good and the show is, typically of the period, a corker. The Captain is in fine voice, and the Magic Band sound alarmingly agitated, ablaze in a precisely controlled frenzy, particularly on the behemothic blitz that is Safe As Milk. Don appears a little confused on occasions; he introduces one song with the words 'I'd like to do one from Trout Mask Replica' - perhaps he would but they launch into a particularly taut Dirty Blue Gene instead. As live recordings go, this is way up there with Don's Birthday Party. (source)

Here you would have a famous version of the Magic Band live 1980, 21 tracks, songs from 7 albums + 2 otherwise unreleased gems. I have to disagree w/ Theo below, being familiar w/ his site & writings, he's just being a bitchy trainspotter, forgetting that we don't all have a tonne of Beefheart bootlegs & are actually quite glad to see something like this come out. The sound quality is quite clear & good, & the way Don isn't always in time w/ the band is the way he almost always was live, although when he gets it right, like near the end of this gig, it's superb. It bugged me a bit too the way it was chopped up not giving it any continuity, but that doesn't warrant 1 star, Theo's shooting himself in the foot & something you need to stop analysing, sit back & listen, as I decided to do leaving room for a sense of surprise. Okay, the songs: Dr Dark is not done quite as intricately as on Lick My Decals Off Baby & seems a little bit sloppy but still good, Hot Head & Dropout Boogie rock indeed, Her Eyes shows the softer side of Beefheart but w/o getting too sappy. I was glad to see Bat Chain Puller here, its odd grooves very satisfying. Gary Lucas appears solo on guitar for Flavour Bud Living & recites One Man Sentence, but doesn't appear to play in the band though. Jeff Morris Tepper does a similar job for The One Red Rose That I Mean. Eric Drew Feldman opens up the show w/ Toaster before the whole band shows up for Nowadays & Don quips "you'd nearly think we were commercial" over snazzy drumming, though from who we can't be sure, as maybe in tribute to the sleeve of Trout Mask where Drumbo didn't mentioned, the same happens on Merseytrout. Other classics presented are My Human Gets Me Blues, Kandy Korn, Best Batch Yet, & the closer Big Eyed Bean From Venus which manages to rise above gimmicky status w/ the real driving force of the music. Historic this recording maybe isn't but damn fine it is indeed. --- Funkmeister G

***

Almost 20 years after the Captain's final world voyage a "legitimate" live album appears. This concert is an excellent measuring stick for the entire tour. A number of these shows, European and American, have turned up in both vinyl and on CD. However, all were of the bootleg variety; only accessable to the die hard, hard core fanatics out there. (Of which there are still a few). The Liverpool show comes out at a time when availability of the "boots" have all but vanished. And the desire for an unheard show have reached it's peak.

The entire bands' performance was stellar, to say the least! The Captain's vocals were raw and intense and the occasional forgotten line and the fact that he forgot "Dirty Blue Jean" was off "Doc at the Radar Station" and not "Trout Mask Replica" only added to the feeling of an honest live show!

The opening bass solo, which in the past was the Spitball../Hair Pie Intro lost me. This piece, titled "Toaster", was the only lost attempt in the show. "One Man's Sentence", a recited poem that was also performed at the Beacon Theatre, NYC 11/80, is present for the first time in any recorded form. 5 of the cuts are from the newly released (at that time) "Doc at the Radar Station".

Although missing oddly enough is "Ashtray Heart", usually played right after "Hot Head". The remander of the show is filled with the standards, Abba Zabba, Kandy Korn, Veterans' Day Poppy and Big Eyed Beans. All in all a good listen. But do be advised, each track is seperated(I'm sure it's for radio play! ) and because of this, applause is not heard after a number of the tracks. In fact, "Big Eyed Beans..." ends the show, and not a peep is audible after the last note. The silence is deafening! Thanks Captain & Band! --- Steven Viola

(amazon)

Nu & Apa Neagra - Omag (2008)


Kwintet z Timisoary prezentuje niezwykle dojrzałą, a przy tym brzmiącą niezwykle świeżo i atrakcyjnie muzykę osadzoną w etnicznej tradycji sięgającej kulturowego archaiku, adaptującej jednak niezwykle śmiało technologiczny potencjał współczesności i kreślącej bez mała futurystyczną wizję postindustrialnej etno-psychodelii. Instrumentarium z jazz-rockowego arsenału (gitara, bas, klarnet) spotyka tu tradycyjne instrumenty ludowe i egzotyczne (saz, kobza, sitar) oraz zaawansowane techniki rejestracji i obróbki dźwięku (field recordings, studyjna postprodukcja), tworząc muzyczną narrację o wielkiej intensywności i dużej "gęstości", ewokującą lokalne tradycje muzyczne Rumunii, rockową ekspresję, jazzowego ducha improwizacji, a także postindustrialną fascynację elektroniczną dekonstrukcją i rekonstrukcją materiału dźwiękowego. Powracają tu echa etnoambientu znanego z dokonań Rapoona oraz wcześniejszych nagrań zoviet france i pionierskich reinterpretacji ludowego kanonu muzyki Orientu Muslimgauze'a. Równie wyraziste są motywy sięgające do źródeł jazz-rockowej psychodelii, nie stroniącej od improwizatorskich wycieczek inspirowanych egzotycznymi skalami, rytmami i brzmieniami. Obecny jest wreszcie, nieodzowny tu, nieco zawadiacki duch rumuńskiej muzyki ludowej, unoszący niekiedy improwizacje instrumentalistów w rejony ekstatycznego "wyzwolenia przez dźwięki". Jest to więc znakomita próbka środkowoeuropejskiej, archaiczno-futurystycznej psychodelii, będąca świetnym dowodem nośności tej konwencji muzycznej oraz twórczego potencjału muzyków Nu & Apa Neagra. (Dariusz Brzostek)


NU & Apa Neagra is a psychedelic ethno-drone collective from Timisoara & Bucharest, Romania. The group was formed in 2001 by the visual artist and baglama saz-player Sasa-Liviu Stoianovici and Alexandru Hegyesi. 

Formed in Romania in 2001, this sound project is a heady blend of improvised vocals, wyrd folk, spacey electronics and more traditional songs, the songs imbibed with a dizzying vitality that brings the music alive.

After two atmospheric opening tunes, thing get serious with "The Man With Platinum Mouth", a moody slice of psychedelia that slowly crystallises, the wind instruments creepy and very effective as they crawl across the song like a cold northern wind. Next up, "Over the Mountain" keeps the sonic landscape intact, choosing instead to take to the skies, a magnificent droning landscape revealed below. With guitar set to mangle, "Gallop in 2/4", is a short wyrd folk frenzy that works best at high volume, or in the dark, or both!

With a twisted, repeated vocal line, the excellent "Pneumatic Cobza Player" has the feel of Steve Reich remixing Syd Barrett, an engaging piece of music that has hidden depths as repeated listening reveals. Offering a mellower experience "The Shadow and the Iron Tree" is a drone-led slice of electronic effect and drifting vocal, sounding like an outtake from Vangelis / Aphrodite's Child, the ethnic instrumentation buried deep inside the drone, only to be released on "Rusty Dulcimer", a rattling ball of Kraut style kosmiche madness.

At over seven minutes, the title track is also the longest track on the disc. It could well be the bands signature as well, with every element present, the instrumentation and vocals creating a chanted drone that is filled with a forest of sounds, so alive and organic that you can smell the damp earth below your feet.

Finally the album ends with a remix (by Alan Holmes) of "Over the Mountain", the piece turned into a rising joyous drone, taking you out on a high, wanting to hear the whole thing again. (Simon Lewis)

22.3.12

Uriel - Arzachel (1969)



Kiedy w połowie lat sześćdziesiątych w Ameryce rodził się nurt psychodelii, jego nierozerwalną częścią była muzyka. Idea wolności, w tym muzycznej, całkowitego oderwania się od rzeczywistości, czasu, przestrzeni (w czym, jak powszechnie wiadomo, pomagały liczne środki psychotropowe) a nawet znajomości warsztatu muzycznego, doprowadziła do ograniczenia rozwoju i wtórnie do samozagłady. Tylko niewielu udało się przetrwać. Do takich, niewątpliwie, należy ten wspaniały "popołudniowy" album.

Początki jego powstania, należy wiązać z dwoma wydarzeniami: przypadkowym spotkaniem przez członków grupy Egg, Peter Wicker'a, właściciela Studio 19 oraz działalnością muzyczną grupy Uriel. Ta ostatnia, utworzona została pod koniec 1967 roku przez dwu muzyków:

STEVE HILLAGE'a (ur.1951 ~ g, voc) oraz MONT CAMPBELLa (a właściwie Martin Montgomery ~ Campbell' a ur.1950 ~ bg, g, p). Pozostałymi członkami grupy zostali: DAVE STEWART (ur.1950 ~ org) i pozyskany przez ogłoszenie w "Melody Maker", CLIVE BROOKS (dr).

Nazwę grupy zapożyczono od imienia, jednego z archaniołów, a żródłem, według relacji Stewarta, był poemat J.Miltona "Raj utracony". Debiut grupy odbył się w młodzieżowym klubie w Sheen, a repertuar grupy stanowiły przeróbki utworów J.Hendrix'a i grupy Nice. Jednak z czasem, członkowie zespołu zaczęli tworzyć własny repertuar a nawet nagrali ("Egoman") płytę demo, która do chwili obecnej, nie została oficjalnie wydana**. Lato 1968 roku przyniosło występy w Ryde Castle Hotel, na wyspie Wight, zakończone odejściem Steve Hillage'a, który podjął naukę na Kent University w Cantenbury. Pozostali członkowie zespołu postanowili nie przerywać działalności muzycznej i występowali jako trio. Dzięki przypadkowej znajomości z Bill Jellettem, grupa rozpoczęła występy w sławnym klubie The Middle Earth. Za namową, Dave Howsona i Paul Waldena, którzy podjęli funkcję opiekunów grupy, dochodzi do zmiany nazwy na EGG (styczeń 1969). Po licznych zabiegach muzycy podpisują umowę z wytwórnią nagraniową Decca, czego efektem było nagranie pierwszej płyty. W tym samym czasie muzycy byli częstymi gośćmi baru kawowego na Gerrard Street, w którym pracowała jako kelnerka, żona B.Jallett'a. Tam też poznali właściciela małego studia nagraniowego, Peter Wickera. Pewnego razu zadzwonił on do członków grupy z propozycją nagrania płyty w konwencji rocka psychodelicznego. Był jednak pewien warunek. Koszt nagrania nie mógł przekroczyć 250 funtów. Był jeszcze jeden problem. Muzycy Egg związani byli umowa z wytwórnią Decca Record. Oba problemy rozwiązano w dość prosty sposób. Całość materiału nagrano w jedno popołudnie w Studio 19 (Londyn, Denmark Street). Do nagrania płyty muzycy zaprosili swego dawnego kolegę, Steve Hillagea, a wszyscy przyjęli pseudonimy wraz z zmyślonymi biografiami. I tak: Sam Lee ~ Uff ~ to D.Stewart, którego pseudonim był nazwiskiem jego nauczyciela łaciny, Basil Downing ~ a właściwie C.Brooks, pseudonim od nazwiska nauczyciela matematyki, Simeon Sasparella to S.Hillage (przyjęcie takiego pseudonimu, przeuroczo tłumaczy Stewart: "nazwisko było dobre do testowania mikrofonów"). Czwarty członek zespołu to Njerogi Gategaka, a właściwie Mont Campbell, którego życiorys umieszczony na okładce płyty był najbliższy prawdzie (Campbell, rzeczywiście urodził się w Afryce i na poczatku lat 60 wyemigrował do Anglii).

Nazwa zespołu w/g relacji D. Stewart'a pochodzi od nazwy jednego z kraterów na ziemskim księżycu. Nagrany materiał muzyczny był bliski wcześniejszym dokonaniom grupy Uriel. Ciekawym jest również fakt, że rysunek z okładki płyty narysował sam D.Stewart, a gdy dokładnie się jej przyjrzymy, znajdziemy tam "magiczną" liczbę ~ 250 (chodzi oczywiście o budżet płyty ). Album wydany po raz pierwszy w 1969 roku, miał kilka legalnych i ... wiele nielegalnych wznowień. Przez długie lata był jedną z najbardziej poszukiwanych przez kolekcjonerów płyt, osiągając zawrotne ceny. Dalsze losy muzyków grupy Arzachel były nadzwyczaj barwne.

S.Hillage występował z grupą Khan, Gong, a od 1975 roku realizował swoje solowe projekty muzyczne, w tym jako producent innych wykonawców (K.Ayers, T.Banks, Blink, Can, Charlatans). Od początku lat dziewięćdziesiątych jest członkiem System 7. M.Campbell po rozpadzie grupy Egg w 1972 roku, współpracował z Hatfield & the North, National Health, Mosaic i realizował swe własne projekty. C.Brooks przez dwa lata współpracował z Grounghogs, a później Liar. D.Stewart od 1972 roku grał wspólnie z Ottawa Music Company, Khan, Hatfield& the North, Gong, National Health, Bruford, Rapid Eye Movement, nagrywał płyty solowe oraz był współtwórcą popowego !!! duetu Stewart ~Gaskin

UZUPEŁNIENIE (IV.2010 rok)

Powyższy tekst napisany został w 2002 roku. Przez te kilka lat, na rynku płytowym pojawiło się kilka wydawnictw, o których muszę bezwzględnie napisać. W dniu 07.12.2007 roku, wtwórnia Egg Archive, której właścicielami są muzycy Arzachel / Egg , wydała pod numerem CD69-7201, płytę zatytułowaną "Arzachel Collectors Edition by Uriel". Zawiera ona utwory z płyty winylowej oraz nagrania demo dokonane w 1967 roku przez zespół Uriel (7.Introducing The Bass Guitarist 8.Egoman 9.Swooping Bill 10.The Salesman Song 11.Saturn, The Bringer Of Old Age 12.The Stumble). Kompakt ten, ukazał się w dwu wersjach - limitowanej, z autografami muzyków Arzachela i seryjnej. Zawiera również obszerną książeczkę opisującą dzieje zespołu. Ponadto, w 2008 roku, Estońska firma Piper, wydała kolejne kompaktowe wznowienie płyty, pod numerem 086 ("niebieskie", z nazwą grupy). (źródło)



Uriel were an English psychedelic/blues band formed in 1968, consisting of Steve Hillage (guitar/vocals), Dave Stewart (organ), Clive Brooks (drums) and Mont Campbell (bass/vocals). The band produced their sole album under the name Arzachel in June 1969.

Formed while Hillage, Campbell and Stewart were at the City of London School, they initially played covers of Cream, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and The Nice. After Hillage left in mid-1968 to attend university, the remaining trio began playing original material written by Campbell and Stewart. Bowing to pressure from their managers, they changed their name to Egg in early 1969. Shortly after Egg signed to Decca, a tiny company named Zackariya Enterprises gave the musicians an opportunity to record a psychedelic session for the burgeoning market. Since this was not "Egg material" (and besides, they were under contract now to Decca), Uriel re-united to produce their sole album in June 1969, a one-off psychedelic project under an assumed name Arzachel (named after a crater on the moon, itself named after a medieval Spanish astronomer). The musicians also used pseudonyms on the album, although their biographies each contain some measure of truth:
  • Simon Sasparella (Steve Hillage) - lead guitar and vocals. Sim was born in Seatoller, Cumberland in 1948, and has been playing guitar for 11 years. His dark Northern ruggedness is offset by the coolness of his manner. These two qualities are reflected in his playing – heavy, emotional work, and soft, subtle sounds. He believes that music is the only really physical art form – and is in a lifelong search for the ultimate musical power, on the same scale as the rocky Lake District crags from whence he came.
  • Njerogi Gategaka(Mont Campbell) – bass guitar and vocals. Njerogi was born in Mzumi Springs, a small border town in the north of the Kenyan Rift Valley. He trained to be a Manjanga drummer for the local Kyuma dances, but came to England with family in 1962. He lived in Brighton for five years, then moved to London, where he formed Arzachel with Sim, Basil and Sam. He believes that music stems largely from the sexual urge, both of which have an integral part in rhythm, having been taught this as part of his drum training.
  • Basil Dowling (Clive Brooks) – drums. Basil was born in Tottenham in 1947; as one would expect, he was an ardent Tottenham Hampton F.C. supporter in his younger days, but decided it would no longer be wise to go to football matches when his wiry bushy hair reached shoulder-length. He has been in seven groups, playing every conceivable style of music from dance band to skiffle. Basil is a heavy, violent drummer; he has been known to break fourteen sticks in as many bars. He believes that if it were not for Arzachel's music, his violence would still be expressed in seat-slashing and toilet-roll throwing.
  • Sam Lee-Uff (Dave Stewart) – organ. Sam was born in Lewisham in 1949 – he could play the piano when only two years old, and began to take organ lessons at the age of seven. He was expelled from public school, and spent eight months living on crusts, playing a battered accordion on street corners. This he refers to as his "hang-up" period. When the Psychedelic scene began to blossom, Sam joined various unsuccessful groups. Arzachel was a result of meeting up with Sim and Njerogi. Sam's favourite artistes include Heinz; Mike Ratledge; Holst; P.J. Proby; Vincent Crane. He believes music to be an expression of one's inner being – this expression, he says, will lead to the ultimate spiritual liberation of one's personality.
The album Arzachel was recorded and mixed in a single session in London. The 'A' side has four songs, while the 'B' side consists of only two mind-bending psychedelic tracks, the longer of which is a 17-minute jam entitled 'Metempsychosis'. It was issued on the short-lived Evolution label (also home to the debut by Raw Material) and quickly became a collectors' item. A pirate version is thought to have circulated in the late 1970s, and it has been much bootlegged in more recent years. It was eventually released on CD by Demon Records in 1994. (wikipedia)

Ułani Kapitalizmu





Napisał do nas bardzo fajny, młody zespół ze Szczecina i poprosił o prezentację na blogu, co też z miłą chęcią czynimy. Bardzo nam miło, że możemy promować interesujących artystów. Muzyka grupy to bardzo ciekawe połączenie progresywnego rocka, jazz rock i muzycznego kabaretu (w dobrym guście oczywiście). Ze wszech miar wspieramy takie oryginalne propozycje. Nie wiem czy grupa nagrała już jakieś demo CD, ale czekam z niecierpliwością na obszerniejszą dawkę.



"Ułani Kapitalizmu to zespół ze Szczecina grający szeroko rozumianą muzykę improwizowaną. Same improwizacje o których mowa, obleczone są w specyficzne kompozycje. Nie ma tutaj mowy o żadnych inspiracjach, utwory powstawały luźno rzucanych, wymyślonych przez członków zespołu, tematów które później były konsekwentnie rozwijane na jamach. Jeśli coś było głównym czynnikiem w tworzeniu, to abstrakcyjne poczucie humoru i chęć eksperymentowania.

Skład jest młody, powstał spontanicznie w 2010 roku i dopiero się rozkręca. Z racji, że pełny potencjał kompozycji można usłyszeć dopiero na koncertach, zapraszamy do śledzenia naszej strony na facebooku".

Strona grupy na Facebooku
Reverbnation

21.3.12

Out of Focus - Palermo 1972 (2007)


Zespół powstały pod koniec roku 1968 w Monachium to jedna z ważniejszych niemieckich grup rockowych lat 70 ubiegłego wieku. W skład grupy weszli: gitarzysta Remigius Drechsler, organista Hennes Hering, wokalista (grający także na flecie i saksofonach) Moran Neumuller, basista Stephan Wisheu i perkusista Klaus Spori. Znakiem firmowym grupy były politycznie zaangażowane teksty o zabarwieniu lewackim, pisane przez wokalistę Out of Focus. Muzyka tej grupy to mieszanka rocka, jazzu i psychodelii, zagranych z lekkością i polotem, opartej na współbrzmieniu gitar i saksofonu. Out Of Focus nagrał dla rodzimej wytwórni Kuckuck Schallplatten trzy albumy. Na pierwszym z nich "Wake Up" odnajdziemy muzykę ostrą, emanującą mocą, z elementami stylów Jethro Tull (partie fletu) czy The Doors (długie fragmenty gitarowo-organowe przemieszane z melodeklamacjami). Drugi album grupy - "Out Of Focus" - przynosi brzmienia juz nie tak oschłe jak na piewszym albumie. Miejsce fletu zajmuje tym razem saksofon, przez co brzmienie zespołu nabiera zupełnie innej barwy. Wiecej tu teraz spokoju i zadumy, czasmi wręcz jakby lenistwa. Na czoło wysuwa się ostani utwór - Television Program oraz równie długi Whispering. Godne polecenia są także dwa krótsze kawałki - Blue Sunday Morning i Fly Bird Fly. Trzeci dwupłytowy album "Four Letter Monday Afternoon" to świadectwo ogromnej ewolucji stylistycznej zespołu w kierunku jazz-rocka. Druga płyta zestawu druga zawiera jazz-rockową suitę, chwilami bardzo swobodną, niepodobną do niczego innego co usłyszeć mogliśmy wcześniej w twórczości zespołu. Album zaskakuje potężnym brzmieniem rozmaitych instrumentów dętych, częstymi zmianami nastroju i różnorodnymi aranżacjami. Z początkiem roku 1973 formację opuścił (na rzecz zespołu Sahara) klawiszowiec Hennes Hering , a dołączyli gitarzysta Wolfgang Gohringer i saksofonista Ingo Schmid-Neuhaus. Grupa zdołała jeszcze wiosną 1974 roku zarejestrować w domowym studiu materiał na następną płytę, zatytułowaną "Not Too Late", ale nie zdołała znaleźć dla niej wydawcy i wkrótce potem rozpadła się. Materiał z tej płyty przeleżał ponad 25 lat, by wreszcie ukazać sie w roku 2000 ! Myzyka z tego zapomnianego albumu to swoista kontynuacja stylu zaprezentowanego na poprzedniej płycie, z tym że tym razem zrealizowanych bez pomocy rozbudowanej sekcji instrumentów dętych. W roku 1975 Drechsler reaktywował Out Of Focus w całkowicie zmienionym składzie, zwracając się tym razem w kierunku bardziej stereotypowego jazz-rocka. To drugie wcielenie zespołu przestało istnieć wraz z odejściem Drechslera do formacji Embryo. Reasumując - wszystkie płyty zespołu to arcydzieła i należy je znać. (pejzaze.trojka)


Out of Focus was one of the many creative groups that arose from Germany in the early '70s. Its inventive take on fusion laid the groundwork for their three LPs released a year apart from each other. The first record was excellent and each successive album got even better. Out of Focus began in Munich, Germany, in late 1968 with Drechsler, Hering, Neumuller, Spori, and Wisheu. Very much a product of those times, the group combined jazz, folk, blues, psychedelic, and progressive rock, as well as political and social awareness as often exemplified by Neumuller's lyrics. They quickly developed their style and from 1969 onward, they toured constantly, gigging all over Germany and opening for Amon Düül II, Nektar, Ginger Baker, Kraan, Kraftwerk, and Embryo, among others. By mid-1970, the Kuckuck label signed them. After several months in their practice room to work on their chops, they recorded material between October and December and by the end of the year, their debut, Wake Up, was released. In June 1971, the group recorded a second album for Kuckuck that came out later that year. This eponymous second album contained less rock riffing as the band branched further into jazz, improvisation, and experimentation. Out of Focus went back into the studio in the summer of 1972 to record Four Letter Monday Afternoon, an even more experimental double album with much longer tracks, including the 50-minute "Huchen-55," which took up the entire second record. The group on this record was expanded to an 11-piece with the temporary addition of Dechant, Schmid-Neuhaus, Polivka, Breuer, Thatcher, and Langhans. Kuckuck pressured the group for a hit single. Both the unruly behavior of the group and the dislike the owner of Kuckuck had toward Four Letter caused Out of Focus to be dropped by the label soon after that record came out. At the beginning of 1973, the group and their wives moved 30 miles out of Munich to the countryside. By now, Hering had left the group and Schmid-Neuhaus and new member Gohringer had joined. Without a new label, they began pre-production work on a fourth album between March and May 1974, but these recordings were not released until much later, on the album Not Too Late. By 1975, the group started to fall apart as the various musicians drifted away. By the time they performed at the 1978 Unsont & Draussen festival, Drechsler was the only remaining original member and their music was far more straight-ahead jazz. A year later, Drechsler joined Embryo and Out of Focus disbanded. (Rolf Semprebon)

Karol Schwarz All Stars - Odkąd Ptaki



Drodzy Państwo, chciałbym uroczyście zadeklarować się jako absolutny fan Karol Schwarz All Stars prowadzonego przez prawdziwego tytana pracy Karola Schwarza. To, co wyczynia to jest absolutne mistrzostwo świata w artystycznej kreatywności. Muzyk, organizator, animator - tygiel pomysłów. Jak on znajduje na to wszystko czas ? Do prezentacji muzyki KSAS jeszcze kiedyś powrócę w obszerniejszym poście. Właśnie ukazał się teledysk "Odkąd ptaki" do mini albumu "Odkąd ludzie", a na dodatek - jak mnie poinformowano - w kwietniu grupa będzie nagrywała kolejną płytę. I jak tu nie podziwiać Karola & company ?



"Trójmiejski zespół Karol Schwarz All Stars udostępnił w sieci świetny teledysk "Odkąd ptaki". Piosenka jest interpretacją wiersza Haliny Poświatowskiej, a film do niej promuje minialbum "Odkąd ludzie", na którym są jeszcze dwa utwory.

Odkąd ptaki jest powrotem do trzyutworowej epki, którą Karol Schwarz All Stars wpuścili do internetu na zaledwie dwa tygodnie, w wigilię Bożego Narodzenia w 2008 roku. Materiał zawiera także utwór do wiersza Wisławy Szymborskiej "Wszystko" i brawurowy utwór "Ludzie się boją".

Kierownik zespołu i reżyser teledysku Karol Schwarz opowiada: - Nigdy nie planowałem żadnej promocji tego materiału. Epka jest trochę ciężka i przerażająca, szczególnie ostatni utwór. Często natomiast wracałem do utworu "Odkąd ptaki". Bardzo często. Chciałem też uwiecznić klimat Rozewia - szarego Rozewia, które tak lubię. Te dwie rzeczy z czasem połączyły się w to wideo.

Wideo "Odkąd ptaki" powstało w zeszłym roku na Rozewiu według scenariusza Karola Schwarza. Autorem zdjęć jest Robert Suszko, a w roli głównej wystąpił Jacek "Cent" Tomczak, interpretujący wiersz Poświatowskiej także w warstwie dźwiękowej.

Cały minialbum można odsłuchać i kupić na tej stronie." (Gazeta Wyborcza)

20.3.12

Joakim Skogsberg - Jola Rota (1971)



Even if we didn't make this Record of the Week, we'd probably still be selling quite a few of 'em, as we're sure we've got a lot of knowledgeable record-collector-type customers for whom adding this to cart will be but the work of a second, the second after their eyes bug out upon seeing the artist and title listed above. But since this reissue is not only of an incredible rarity but also of an incredible record, we wanted to make sure everybody heard about it, besides those for whom it's already a "holy grail". Yep, Joakim Skogberg's original 1972 Jola Rota LP definitely falls into the highly obscure "holy grail" category, a lost treasure for lovers of weird, wonderful acid-folk and underground psychedelia. The sort of thing that develops a legend that it can't possibly live up to... but then DOES, blowing minds when it's finally reissued. The sort of thing that's whispered about among connoisseurs of psych, written of in a few select fanzines and blogs, heard only by a lucky few who got an Nth generation cassette dub or cd-r burn from a friend, who got it from a friend, and so on. The sort of thing, that even a few years after a brief exposure to its wonders, will make you stop and think every once in a while, dang when is someone finally gonna reissue that amazing obscure album??? Some other recently excavated examples would include Moolah's Woe Ye Demons Possessed, Bobb Trimble's Harvest Of Dreams, and Gary Higgins's Red Hash... and before that, once upon a time Comus's First Utterance too would have fallen into that category. Bruce Haack's Electric Lucifer as well, though originals of that were and are much MUCH easier to come by. Whereas *this* album was originally pressed in an edition of around just one thousand copies -- of which only a few hundred were ever sold back in the day, with the remainder of the pressing being, gasp, melted down to be recycled into other LPs!

So, here it is, artist Joakim Skogsberg's lone album Jola Rota finally, officially reissued for the very first time! Our hearts went pitter pat when we found out. We first heard this when our friend Loren Chasse (of Of/Thuja/Jewelled Antler/etc. fame) floated us a cd-r burn he had gotten from a pal overseas a couple years ago, as per the scenario outlined above. He figured we'd like it, and of course he was right. What's not to like? Swedish-forest-folk hippie ritual mixed with droned-out psych guitar. Truly strange, and captivating, vocal mumble. And, get this, it was actually mostly recorded out in a forest, on portable reel-to-reel gear!! Once out of the woods, the raw recordings were overdubbed (Skogsberg being responsible for all sounds on this album) in studio, but remain quite raw, the mystery and majesty of northern landscapes, dark shadowy places, placid lakes, tall trees and moss-covered rocks utterly alive in the music of the nature-loving Skogsberg.

Side One starts off with "Jola Fran Ingbo", which introduces Joakim's unusual "Jola" singing style derived from Swedish trad folk, also heavily influenced by Buddhist chant, accompanied by staccato bowings of ominous violin. Immediately this is waaaay darker than most other Swedish folk/psych we've heard! Seriously droney and austere. That's followed by the more freaked out, rockier "Offer Rota", which finds Skogsberg singing whilst pounding away on percussion and unfurling a thick layer of distorted guitar murk, with what sounds like a Jew's Harp warbling in the background. The next piece, "Fridens Lijor", on the other hand, is an unaccompanied vocal piece, close-miced and intimate, all about Skogsberg's fragile Jola babble...

Beginning side two, "Besvarjelse Rota" builds up a dubby, bassy electronic rhythmic whomp-whomp throb beneath its damaged psych guitar wail, that (in our warped imagination) foreshadows modern minimal techno a la Chain Reaction, "heroin house" beats.... could almost be Pole jamming with Algarnas Tradgard or something! Later, the lengthy "Jola Fran Stensate" harkens back to the solemnity of the album's first track, and then "Jola Fran Leksand" winds up this unique, amazing trip with something of a pagan campfire dance piece, for folky fiddle and rattling hand percussion.

Overall, though, Jola Rota's mood is solitary and ceremonial. Skogsberg not a guru leading his followers, but rather one man, inspired, singing devotional songs to nature, in personal communion with the ancient deities of Sweden and the universe... it IS universal, probably why it sounds simultaneously like krautrock and Tibetan worship and Native American prayer-songs.

The universality of the drone, and the human voice in spiritual reverence regardless of language. At its droniest, many moments here recall Parson Sound or the aforementioned Moolah. Totally, magically mesmeric. Wow... EVERYONE who's heard this since we got it in has been entranced. And we're extra happy that not only has this been reissued, but that the reissue was done by our pal Johan's Tokyo-based Tiliqua Records (along with EM Records, one of our absolute favorite reissue labels from that part of the world, or anywhere else). Which means, it's done up deluxe, packaged in a swank miniature gatefold LP-style sleeve, and it's been remastered from the original tapes with the help of Skogsberg himself. There's also new liner notes and previously unpublished photos of the long haired and bearded (of course) Skogsberg included. Nice! Sadly, this too is limited to a one-time pressing of only 1,000 copies... and unlike the original vinyl edition, we doubt the label will be left with any unsold copies to recycle! - Aquarius

First time official reissue of one of Sweden's greatest and sadly unknown psychedelic treasure is this sole album by Joakim Skogsberg out of 1971. Tiliqua acquired the exclusive rights to this gem and this reissue comes with a remastered sound taken directly from the original master tapes and with the kind assistance of Mr. Joakim Skogsberg himself. The album “Jola Rota” is about Joakim Skogsberg's love for the grandiose Swedish landscapes, which has put its imprint upon his songs. On “Jola Rota” Joakim single-handedly created a minimal psychedelic and acid folk masterpiece infused with incredible soundscapes of derailed fuzzed out violins, soaring guitars, rattling hand percussion, droning vocals and pulsating bass rhythms, complimented by Joakim's “jolor”, a special singing style with roots in an ancient Swedish tradition of folk music.

The album was for the most part recorded out in the woods, with a portable Nagra-reel-to-reel-tape recorder and a simple Philips-cassette recorder. Upon completion it was suggested for the album to appear on Gump Records, a subsidiary of Metronome. The reason was that the music was just too underground and weird to be in Metronome's register. Apart from Joakim's original recordings, some overdubs and effects were done in the studio during the autumn of 1971. - Tiliqua

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