September 10, 2012

Wait for Me

August 6, 2012

ግልጽ ያልሆነ ጉድጓድ: More Songs by Yeshimebet Dubale

Yeshimebet Dubale was the singer I started off the ግልጽ ያልሆነ ጉድጓድ series with a couple of years ago. I still know nothing about her. One notable development since then is an instrumental cover of her song "Tiz Alegn Andesew" by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti called "Reminiscences (Before Today [2010])." And then there are these three new videos. መደሰት!

March 31, 2012

رقص رقص قبل از انقلاب

Dance Dance Pre-Revolution—from the Persian film Mehmaan (The Guest) with Naser Malek-Motiei, Leila Forouhar, and Shahnaz Tehrani.

February 20, 2012

January 31, 2012

Inter-Groupie Psychotherapeutic Elastic Band - Floating 7" (1971)

At first listen, Inter-Groupie Psychotherapeutic Elastic Band sounds a lot like their name suggests: feel-good hippie commune music with a lot of acoustic guitar— somewhere in between Ya Ho Wa 13 and The Family International. But the grandiosity of the harmonies might clue you in to the group's proggier pedigree. The songs are credited to A. Koulouris and A. Loafer (a pseudonym). The former is Argiris "Silver" Koulouris, guitarist for Greek cum French psych superstars Aphrodite's Child. A. Loafer is most likely* bandmate Vangelis, who went on to great fame as a solo artist, in particular as composer for the Bladerunner soundtrack and this fucking song.

Floating was released on BYG Records (1967–1978), a French label that focused mainly on psych, jazz, and progressive rock out of France and the US. (For an excellent introduction, check out the Finders Keepers compilation The BYG Deal [2009].) While keeping the lights on with reissues of classic American jazz records for the French market, BYG recorded a string of avant-garde and free jazz albums under the Actuel imprint for the likes of Don Cherry, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Gong, Brigitte Fontaine et Areski, Sonny Sharrock, and Archie Shepp.

This single is the only recording made under the name Inter-Groupie Psychotherapeutic Elastic Band, but the members of Aphrodite's Child would continue to play together, mostly on each other's solo material but also in other one-off side projects like this one.


Update: Apologies to anyone who had trouble opening the file. I've reuploaded it, so the music is yours for the listening.

Oiseau de nuit (1975)

Night Bird speaks to the dreary lives people create for themselves. And when we finally find some means of escape,  we all too often retreat to the same drab existence we sought comfort in all along. The film premiered in 1975 at the inaugural Annecy International Animated Film Festival. Animator Bernard Palacios helped found the Annecy film club in 1971, and then helped organize the AIAFF in extension. Night Bird is better remembered abroad as part of a program of animated shorts that had first been shown at AIAFF but rechristened as the Fantastic Animated Film Festival in the US. 

Today, Palacios teaches animation workshops
in St-Laurent-le-Minier and organizes the animation festival Le Lézard Vert. He recently wrote a book of poetry,  Mes ordinaires trésors sont. See the Comments section for his full filmography.

January 29, 2012

December 30, 2011

Chiko Hige x Kaoru Sato + Chiko Hige x Kaoru Sato 12" (1985)

I mentioned this record by Chiko and Kaoru in the earlier EP-4 post, where I linked to its original blog progenitor  Music is a Better Noise. The link there has since expired, so I hope min min won't mind I proffer here with love and spaghetti for good friend F. Strap, Esq.

Just to rehash: Chiko Hige played the drums and sax, first in the early 70s avant-garde ensemble 3/3. He and bandmate Reck then moved to New York, where Chiko played in The Contortions. Reck played with Lydia Lunch in Teenage Jesus & the Jerks. Eventually they both moved back to Japan and formed Friction, a crazy band with a crazy deam. Chiko Hige released solo material as well: the Killer Wood 12" (1982)—which I would love to hear—and Trap (1985). 

Kaoru Sato recorded RNA Organism (1980) when he was 19, releasing just the one LP and a compilation track. He started EP-4 around the same time, and also served as producer for some of the wildest 80s underground groups in Japan, free of charge when necessary.

This eponymous collaboration really bears the influence of both musicians equally. Hige played drums, bass, and sax; Sato contributed vocals, noise, and percussion. The lyrics are all taken from Taro Tominaga, a 20th-century poet influenced by Baudelaire.

• For fellow Kaoru Sato fanatics, I may or may not have found an EP-4 twitter feed? @mEssed_uP_4

チコヒゲ +

December 14, 2011

Out of Blue (2002)

Zarina Bhimji is an artist and filmmaker of Ugandan-Asian heritage living and working in London. She made this 16mm film for Documenta 11 (a lecture from which this Manuel De Landa post was borne). Bhimji looks to create an "architecture of the internal," haunting empty rooms and locations filled with the inference of life. Out of Blue explores violence on the periphery of war-torn Uganda. I am particularly attracted to Bhimji's use of sound: screaming insects, chants and radio broadcasts, marching feet, and burning grass provide the narrative for evocative, almost still, images of destruction. But while war is the ultimate conclusion, life still teems and threatens to take over. The film inevitably recalls the days of Idi Amin Dada. In 1972, following a dream he had, Idi Amin expelled the entire Asian immigrant population from Uganda. Most of them were Gujarati Indians who originally settled there more than a century before. Bhimji and her family were among those given 90 days to leave or face probable genocide.

Watching this video in full screen with headphones is highly recommended.

November 30, 2011

TRIBO MASSAHI - Estrelando Embaixador (1972) / EMBAIXADOR - 45 (19??)

Tribo Massàhi is a perfect example of how user-generated content online is overturning how we create cultural canons. This obscure gem has been posted on a great many blogs over the last several years. Though seemingly much loved, details about the album or its creators still remain unknown. La Colmena de Humo seems to have pulled together a few facts. Apparently the lead songwriter—known as Embaixador (Ambassador)—appeared in at least one film in Brazil, playing a gangster in the James Bonds-like musical Roberto Carlos em Ritmo de Aventura (1968), and is reported to have died in the 90s. I am assuming he recorded the single first, a more conservative affair as evidenced by the tamer version of "Fareuá" on the B-side, before making an ensemble album, Estrelando Embaixador, under the collective name Tribo Massàhi. The production quality and experimentation on the Tribo Massàhi recording is an exponential leap forward from the the 45. Estrelando Embaixador  is candomblé-inspired psychedelic party music, taking the Afro-Brazlian sound into some wild territory. It's a heady mix of tropicalismo, chimed guitar, conversational chatter, studio fuckery, and heavy percussion with a female chorus. The songs blend together so that each side of the record runs as a continual piece. Side A is called "Timolô, Timodê;" Side B "Lido's Square."

A few notes: Though the original record Estrelando Embaixador plays nonstop start to finish on each side, I have separated the tracks here for your mp3/deejay convenience. I also tried to slightly clean up the sound, but the higher bitrate here may be misleading; I appropriated the same source files as posted on Brazilian Nuggets, which is where I bid you go if you prefer the unedited files. I also just ripped the singles for the Embaixador 45 off of Youtube because that's the only way to hear them so far to my knowledge. More info in the comments section.


Murky Recess

Body found at the Detroit Public Schools Book Depository

September 30, 2011

Possible Worlds: The Most Respectable Animal in the World

The missionary mating practice of the elephant, as imagined by the French naturalist Buffon.

No single person had a greater impact on naturalist thought in 18th-century Europe than Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon. Published over the course of four decades (1749–1788), his 44-volume Histoire Naturelle attempted to chronicle and synthesize all biological knowledge. His work was widely read among the educated classes and translated into many languages. On the strength of his colorful descriptions and the fanciful illustrations of his artists, Buffon painted an awesome, if anthropomorphic, view of the world. At the same time, he was the first naturalist (of the modern era) to suggest a common ancestry between humans and apes; he believed that the earth was 3,000,000 years old; and he noted organic change in the universe. 
"If the human species be excepted, the elephant is the most respectable animal in the world. In size he surpasses all of the terrestrial creatures; and, by his intelligence he makes as near an approach to man as matter can approach spirit."

September 23, 2011

EP-4 - Partial Discography (1983-1985)

EP-4 formed in 1980 out of a scene at Club Modern in Kyoto, mainly a collaboration between Kaoru Sato and keyboardist/tape manipulator Banana Kawashima. Sato had already released an album earlier that same year as RNA Organism for Osaka's Vanity Records. RNA Organism, along with the rest of the Vanity catalog, has a sound unto itself, as though from a parallel plane and more difficult to put into words. EP-4 are easier to define, having described their own sound as "cool, no-sweat funk." While it's true funk is the driving force, farther-flung realms are visited. Skeletal grooves become increasingly drenched in compressed and distorted sound, evolve almost biologically. EP-4 is, as it were, the 'power of the four elements,'

The band released an LPLingua Franca-1 (昭和大赦)on both a major and independent label simultaneously, using secret shows and other guerrilla marketing strategies to get the word out. The album name caused contentious political debate, even calls for censorship, when it was learned the subtitle was 昭和崩御 [Death to Emperor Showa]. EP-4 eventually changed it to 昭和大赦 [Amnesty for Emperor Showa], a kind of underhanded capitulation. They saved the more treasonous subtitle for Lingua Franca-X (昭和崩御), which came with a strange booklet of poetry:

Revelations of the salt which flows in flesh,    
The white trace revealed like a secret mark
It calls on belief in a creative sea,
The possibility of the first Christ figure
We look at the sea's solaris dream
The human love of distant objects    
Has changed into concrete
The love which does not designate distance as distance
That cell

from "Life Tides" [rough translation
After Lingua Franca-1, EP-4 released a handful of 12"s, cassettes, live bootlegs, and singles before disbanding around 1985(?). Sato and Banana played together in a few other projects, notably: Chiko Hige × Kaoru Sato (a collaboration with the drummer of Friction and formerly the Contortions), and Tako, a one-off album of acid punk, new wave, bizarre sound experiments, and a motley amalgam of other weirdness.  

Lingua Franca-1 (昭和大赦) LP (1983)
•Lingua Franca-2 (1983??)
Lingua Franca-X (昭和崩御) 12" (1984)
Found Tapes 12" (1984)
•Five to One 12" (1985)
The Crystal Monster 12" (1985)

•Seifuku Nikutai ??? (1983)
Multilevel Holarchy: A Collection of Live Recordings  from 1980 to 1983 12" (1983)
Costume, Corps, Copy (live cassette) (1983)
appears on VA//Case of Telegraph: Product 2 (1983)
5.21 split 7" (w/ Grim Skip) (1985)

(Holler if you know of additional information or can otherwise fill in the blanks.)

My biggest thanks to Music Is A Better Noise for giving us the bulk of EP-4's catalog and many other artifacts from Japan's underground.
Readers of Japanese can find a wealth of additional EP-4 info and materials here.


August 31, 2011

Dead Hoofers

ግልጽ ያልሆነ ጉድጓድ: Zenet Muhaba

I can find no information about Zenet Muhaba online, but I hope these videos will serve as introduction enough. Like the posts I've done in the past for Yeshimebet Dubale and Tsehaye Yohannes, these state television performances are the only songs I can find by Zenet. The quality of these videos are usually poor at best, grainy, and often smattered with URLs in tacky fonts. The third video below, perhaps my favorite by Zenet Muhaba, is hopelessly marred by clipped audio. It's nevertheless well worth listening to. By the way, if you chance upon any of recordings by Zenet, Tsehaye, or Yeshimebet, please share them with the rest of us.

Check out previous posts in the ongoing ግልጽ ያልሆነ ጉድጓድ series.

July 29, 2011

Ill Repute: Pour joindre à votre collection!


Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Agnes//Unknown//Unknown//La Polar//Solea "La Morena"//Conchita

July 16, 2011

C.O.M.A - Coma (1979)

Seriously, how great is that cover? Before becoming French pop star Charles de Goal, Patrick Blain was part of C.O.M.A, an electropunk band that recorded one bizarre album, chock with ideas, then dismantled shortly after. Some will find similarities to Metal Urbain in their sound, especially tracks like "Assaut," but C.O.M.A is perhaps the stranger, dumber beast—an eclectic mix of clangy guitar punk, proto-industrial synth, harmonica, and slapdash electronic drums. Each song is its own experiment.

To my ears, Charles de Goal's distinctive guitar sound has always separated them from their new wave contemporaries in France. You can hear the auspice of that tone in C.O.M.A.  Blain started Charles de Goal just a year after this release, but it wasn't until 1984 that the group crossed over into the mainstream. In 1983, Blain reconvened with C.O.M.A members Philippe Huart and Philippe Ross as Danse Macabre (one of several Danse Macabres of the era) for another one-off album, a very cool untitled 12" dark, like early industrial, with that dense experimental atmosphere the French do best. Danse Macabre reunited in the '00s and Charles de Goal released a new album in 2008. 

Clinik Organic Muzak Anatomik

June 30, 2011

Hell's Bells

Polly Jenkins and Her Plowboys in the Gene Autry film Man from Music Mountain (1938).

Baby at Your Door

May 31, 2011

MUSTAPHA BAQBOU - Baqbou [EH1271] (198?)

The Marrakech-born Maâlem Mustapha Baqbou is one of the great sentir (or gimbri) players of gnawi trance music. Gnawa is traditionally healing music and shares similar characteristics with Malian n'goni music, perhaps because the gnawi people were once slaves of the Mali Empire centuries ago. A mixture of Islam and West African religions, gnawa ceremonies rely on a maâlem like Baqbou to summon benevolent spirits to the aid of the unwell. In all-night ritual ceremonies known as lilas (or derdebas), participants are drawn into a trance state by the maâlem's sentir and the aid of a priestess. Qraqebs (or castanets) offer rhythmic accompaniment as supernatural entities possess the bodies of ecstatic dancers.

Baqbou was briefly a member of the seminal group, Jil Jilala, a flagship band in the Chaabi movement of the 1970s which sought to revitalize Moroccan music by incorporating the region's many different musical styles and traditions. He continues to perform today. This cassette from the Editions Hassania label features Baqbou's solo vocals and sentir-plucking with no chorus or qraqebs. 

Utmost thanks to Tim Abdellah for identifying the artist and translating the Arabic cassette cover. Be sure to check out Tim's new blog, Moroccan Tape Stash, for more Moroccan pleasures.

NOTE: Thanks again to Tim for his keen eye. It appears that the tracklisting on the cassette cover bears no relation to the songs on the tape. The following appropriation reflects the correct song titles, as identified by Mr. Abdellah. 

بــا قــبــو‎‎‎‎‎