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

Train I'm On

Elizabeth "Libba" Cotten performs in her Syracuse, NY home at the age of 90. Segment aired on Aly Bain's BBC series, Down Home (1985).

See a longer version of this performance here.

May 25, 2011

THE LATIN JAZZ QUINTET + ERIC DOLPHY - Caribé (1960) + The Latin Jazz Quintet (1961)

Despite being hideously assassinated in his prime by the mass mind's collective will, Eric Dolphy's music has thankfully not been lost to time, as evidenced by the fulsome profferings thereof on-line and on-bootlegs. While I'd be amiss not to point you first to Out There and Out to Lunch, as well as Dolphy's work with Andrew Hill and Oliver Nelson, I can just as enthusiastically recommend these two summerly warm latin sessions (parts at least). Eric Dolphy sat in on two different latin jazz sessions in 1960-61, one with a group called the Latin Jazz Quintet, the other with a group of musicians led by Felipe Díaz who also called themselves the Latin Jazz Quintet. Dolphy is, however, the only common player between the two recordings, which both feature vibraphones to make it that much more confusing.  

Though the music here is hardly adventurous, Dolphy's performances on sax, flute, and bass clarinet boost the joy-creation quotient manyfold. The bass clarinet meandered through time a transient derelict before Eric Dolphy fingered it. The eponymous Latin Jazz Quintet album makes for excellent hot weather listening, though I admit songs like "Cha Cha King" and half of Caribé are better seldom heard. Perfect music for those with no place to hang their hammock.

dolphy summer driving

May 18, 2011

Early Apparatus: Adam's Ale

Two early underwater diving machines: Frederic Drieberg's Le Triton, 1805 (top) and Karl Heinrich Klingert's copper kettle, 1797 (bottom).

April 28, 2011

BETWEEN - Einstieg (1971) + And the Waters Opened (1973)

Between formed in Munich around two classically trained musicians—minimalist maestro Peter Michael Hamel and Popul Voh oboist/inventor Robert Eliscu—and Roberto C. Détrée, an Argentine bossa nova guitarist. Taking in a future superflautist and two African-American jazz percussionists, Between forged from their diverse musical backgrounds a strange beast. Relying on classical Western instruments, they created avant-garde improvisational music with a wholly Eastern sensibility. They used distorted piano and organ instead of synthesizers and Eliscu's robotic single-stringed motocello to make acoustic kosmische hum. These first two albums have grown on me quite a bit over the years, particularly And the Waters Opened. I also recommend Dharana (1974), a worthy follow-up, if a bit too soaring and majestic at times for my taste.

April 23, 2011

April 16, 2011

The Quickening Power of Holy Ghost People

Filmed in Scrabble Creek, West Virginia, Holy Ghost People (1967) joins the Holiness church for worship. Director Peter Adair's ethnographic vérité style creates an intimate portrait of true faith. The congregation sings, dances, speaks in tongues, drinks strychnine, and handles poisonous serpents. The transcendental atmosphere is cut with tension, more so when I tell you someone gets bitten.

Get the Ghost:  watch or download the full documentary.

April 9, 2011

SECOS & MOLHADOS - Secos & Molhados (1973) + Secos & Molhados II (1974)

Originally the brainchild of João Ricardo, Secos & Molhados took definitive form in August 1972 with the addition of the bisexually charismatic countertenor, Ney Matogrosso. Ricardo wrote many of the songs on the group's first album when he was still a teenager. By the time he was joined by Gerson Conrad, who shared songwriting duties, Ricardo had pretty much formed the concept—face paint, a combination of Portugese vira, tropicália, schmaltz, and glam rock, and a male singer with a very high-pitched voice. After a few less successful lineups, Ricardo met Matogrosso through a mutual friend, Luli (of future Luli e Lucinha fame). After a few months of intensive practice, they played their first show in December and signed to Continental Records almost immediately. They were an overnight success, breaking records within the first couple of months and eventually selling over a million copies.

Ever since I first learned of Secos & Molhados from WFMU's blog post in 2005, I've been fascinated with the group's enormous success there. For one thing, despite Brazil's well-known record of sexual tolerance and a thriving gay community, they also have the highest rates of violence against homosexuals anywhere in the world, with few murder cases ever being solved. Furthermore, Secos e Molhados came on the scene when the right-wing military junta still kidnapped and tortured subversives. If their Indo-Hippie pansexual thing wasn't wild enough, instead of lyrics they quoted poems from the likes of Fernando Pessoa, Julio Cortazar, Oswald De Andrade, and João Apolinário (Ricardo's father). At any rate, Secos & Molhados were a short-lived affair, breaking up less than two years after they formed. They released a second eponymous record (underrated in my opinion though admittedly spotty) and then they broke up shortly after over some money shit. Matogrosso went on to a successful solo career, but hung onto the persona well into the MPB years. He eventually lost the face paint after reinventing himself as a singer of standards in 1986. Ricardo did some fairly interesting solo work but returned to claim the Secos & Molhados name in the late 70s and 80s with little success and no original members.

April 3, 2011

March 31, 2011

ግልጽ ያልሆነ ጉድጓድ: Tsehay Yohannes

The fact that Tsehay Yohannes (ፀሃየ ዮሃንስ) has not been featured on the voluminous Ethiopiques series is a testament to the richness of Ethiopia's musical history. Born in 1961, Yohannes (also spelled Yohanis) started singing for the Kebur Zebegna band at age 14 and recorded his debut album, Tey Munit, in 1974. He later played with the Roha Band and Dadimos Band. Having grown up in Tigrai but born in Gondar, Yohannes sang both in Amharic and Tigrinya and promoted cultural unity in his lyrics. Great dissension remains today between separatist Eritreans, Habesha, and Ethiopians alike. Because Amharic is considered an invasive language to the other cultures, illiteracy is a complicated issue in Ethiopia. Yohannes' hit song "Berta Zemede," a tribute to activist Edeget Beheberet Zemecha, became the official theme for the the "Manbebena Mestaf" and "Meseret Temehert" movements which almost doubled the literacy rate of the country in the 70s and 80s. He released a new album in 2007 and continues to perform today. The videos below range from fried psych funk to the more traditional and show this electric performer's full range as well as his special way of singing with his hands.

See more of the amazing Tsehay Yohannes hear, hear, hear, hear, and hear.
Wade deeper into Murky Recess' ongoing ግልጽ ያልሆነ ጉድጓድ series.
Visit the man's lionizing website
A partial discography is posted in the Comments Section.

March 27, 2011

STEVE TREATMENT - 5A-Sided 45 (1978) + Heaven Knows (Juvenile Wrecks) 7" (1979) + Change of Plan 7" (1979)

Not long after moving to the city in the 1975, Steve Treatment fell in with the glam kids who haunted Marc Bolan's central London office, most of whom would people London's punk scene in the years to come. Steve became fast friends with Nikki Sudden, who had already started Swell Maps with his brother, Epic Soundtracks. Steve and Nikki became kind of Bolan's main youngblood associates. It was by their heed that T. Rex brought The Damned on the Dandy in the Underworld tour in 1977. As an interesting aside, Steve Treatment also caught the eye of director Derek Jarman at this time. He helped Jarman cast Jubilee by serving as liason with London's punk kids and can himself be seen in Jubilee's bonfire scene.

With the success of Swell Maps' first single in 1977—released on their own Rather Records—they started to put out music from other bands. Rather's second release was Steve Treatment's debut EP, 5A-Sided 45. Swell Maps served as Treatment's backing band on this record, but you'd hardly be able to tell. Stripped to their essential core, some of these songs have just one or two chords and were recorded in as many takes. The slipshod approach imbues the record with that infectious joy of creating. Everything's drowned in reverb and rendered weird by Treatment's double-tracked vocals, and yet his Bolan kick remains front and center. In fact, an engraving on the run-out groove says "BOLAN WAS STOLEN." Steve Treatment never once played out for these records, despite finding some success on the independent charts. He self-released two more 45s on his own Backbone Records, delving even further into rock'n'roll hysteria. His double vocals can even be heard arguing with each other at the end of "Step Into a Worn Out Shoe!" Treatment would go on to play with Ticket Inspectors in the late 80s and early 90s but didn't release music under his own name again for 25 years. He has become quite active in the past ten years, releasing new music on Messthetics and, in 2006, a CDR compilation of his early recordings.

I don't understand why you bit the head off a raven

March 24, 2011

Ganesha In Spiderman Incarnation

I want to extend heartfelt appreciation to Doug from Give the Drummer Some on WFMU for devoting an hour of his show to music posted here at Murky Recess. To receive praise from a brother strange to you is beautiful indeed. If you are not already a follower of Doug's ongoing series, Mining the Audio Motherlode, I advise you rectify your unfortunate situation sooner than later.

Murky Recess as through the well-pricked ear behind Give the Drummer Some.

March 20, 2011

ROS SEREYSOTHEA - Boiled Snail Girl: Chlangden Pops from Phnom Penh's Golden Voice [MR#2, 2011]

When Cambodia's King Norodom Sihanouk gave her the official title, "Queen of Golden Voice," Ros Sereysothea was the most popular female singer in Phnom Penh's psychedelic scene; but ultimately her life was an unhappy one. Born Ros Sothea to a large family in the Battabong province, Sothea's father walked out early on, leaving her mother struggling to provide for her five children. As a way to help support the family, Sothea sold boiled snails in the village and was often heard singing as she walked from place to place. In fact, her family sang and performed to earn extra money; Sothea and her brother, Serey, became known throughout the area for their powerful voices, even winning local singing contests. Sothea would eventually pay tribute to her brother by combining their names.

Changing her name when she moved to Phnom Penh to pursue a music career, Ros Sereysothea sang in a variety of restaurants and bars before catching the attention of Sinn Sisamouth, the most popular male singer in Cambodia. She recorded her first single in 1967 and a number of duets with Sisamouth, eventually catching the ear of the once and future King Norodom Sihanouk (Sihanouk was ousted in 1970 by the Lon Nol government, reinstated by the Khmer Rouge in 1975, ousted again, and reinstated in 1993). Starting in the 60s with the invasion of Vietnam, the US Armed Forces Radio broadcast pop and rock songs throughout the region, including Phnom Penh, where many people fled during the US bombings of rural areas in Cambodia. Inspired by these new sounds, Western-inspired bands popped up around the city, infusing traditional Khmer songs with Anglo pop hooks. The most hopeful time in Sereysothea's life was in the early 70s when she fell in love with a parachutist for the Lon Nol government. She experimented freely with different musical styles, starred in a few movies, and became a consummate parachutist with the help of her lover. After the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot took power in 1975, they sought to purge the country of Western influence. Sereysothea was kidnapped in 1977 and treated with great cruelty. She was forced to dig ditches, sing revolutionary songs for the new regime, and married against her will to one of Pol Pot's assistants, who savagely beat. Her whereabouts after 1978 are unclear, but there were rumors she was found shackled and starved in one of the rural work camps. Another account found her cleaning out the pens at an industrial pig farm and subjected to general humiliation. Regardless, she was never heard or seen from again and most likely died, along with her family, at the hands of Khmer Rouge.

The songs compiled on this collection are inspired by Sereysothea's haunting voice in light of her tragic life. It should be noted that these are not original recordings, but rather products of the karaoke lip-syncing phenomenon endemic to Southeast Asia. Chlangden pop is the pervasive and ribald practice of adding a drum machine track and sometimes other instruments over a classic tune to make the song "new" again. Primarily used in karaoke bars, these songs have been reviled, justifiably, both for their disrespectful treatment of cultural history and also for ruining many songs by drowning out the vocals and muddying the tracks. Just the same, it is almost impossible to have access, in Cambodia as well as in the West, to many of the original recordings. Culled from over 300 hundred Chlangden tracks, Boiled Snail Girl offers songs more or less unavailable in any other form. While far from substituting the originals, Chlangden appropriations like "saryka prot ku" and "lolok sor kut" showcase Ros Sereysothea's fearless experimentation while offering a transcendently mutant view into how classic Khmer singers continue to live on in Cambodian culture today. 

 រស់ សេរីសុទ្ធា
[Tracklist is provided in Comments in both anglicized and Khmer form; any help with translation would be greatly appreciated.]

March 11, 2011

Graces Me!

March 7, 2011

SALI SIDIBE - L'enfant cheri du Wassolon, Vol. 1 (1980) + Formidable! (1982)

Sali Sidibé is one of the best-known kamalen n'goni singers from Mali's southern Wassoulou region. Since the 90s, her Wassalou-pop style has made her popular in the West, exemplified by the Divas from Mali (1997) compilation. She was a forerunner in modernizing the n'goni style and her contemporary music has since become available the world over. And yet any trace of her prior career, purported to span over 30 years, has been more or less lost to the ether—until now. worldservice has only recently proffered the hard proof that Sali Sidibé indeed recorded as early as the late 70s and possibly even the 60s. I'll leave it to wrldsrv to expound upon the particulars, but suffice it to say that the two rescued artifacts there posted provide ample claim to Sidibé as a godmother of modern n'goni and a matchless singer. Let this be the quintessential example of how music blogs are creating new canons and rescuing histories from oblivion.

L'enfant cheri du Wassolon, Vol.1 (1980)
Formidable! (1982)

Another great Sidibé cassette Radio Mali (197?)

March 4, 2011

Left My Baby Down by the River

Memorial portraitures, otherwise known as memento mori, were a common means of remembering loved ones in America until the turn of the 20th century; it is still popular in parts of the world.  

February 27, 2011


Brigitte Fontaine recorded a solid string of avantfolk albums for the ineffable Saravah label in the seventies that started with her pop-oriented debut, Est Folle... (1968, arranged by Jean-Claude Vannier!). Beginning in the late 60s, Fontaine partnered up with fellow musician/actor Areski Belkacem; the pair continue to record together today. Their records in the 70s were a mix of theatre performance, non-rhyming chanson folk, and a sophisticated confluence of musical styles accentuated by Areski's exotic percussion and the duo's constant experimentation. Le Bonheur is Fontaine and Areski's follow up to L'Incendie (1974), a cult favorite as the years go by and their most cohesive record (not to say cohesive's the gold standard). Areski also joined Fontaine for Comme à la Radio (1970), a mind-blowing collaborative album with the face painting free-jazz troupe, the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Within a minimalist aesthetic, reflected in their sparse 2-track recording style, the pair create a hushed atmosphere and steadfast intimacy that doesn't appear to age. Naturally, Le Bonheur was recorded in the dead of winter in a theater, a kitchen, and also a studio.

February 26, 2011

February 21, 2011

LARRY YOUNG - Contrasts (1967) + Mother Ship (1969)

Larry Young, later Khalid Yasin, was born into his peculiar position as the post-bop era's jazz organist. The Jr. to professional organist Larry Young Sr., Larry was trained by his father in classical and jazz piano from the time he was a toddler. His passion for the organ came when his father opened a nightclub called The Shindig in downtown Newark, New Jersey. Naturally, he had an Hammond organ installed there, and Larry Jr. gravitated to the instrument's distinct qualities. He quickly mastered the difficult Hammond B-3, leading his own jazz combo before he was old enough to play in clubs. He also sang bass for the Operetta Club and local R&B group, the Challengers. By the time he signed to Prestige, he was solely committed to jazz and the Hammond. In 1964, he switched to Blue Note, where his music was heavily influenced by John Coltrane and a shift in his own consciousness. He experimented with drugs, Eastern music, and unique ability to play with resonance and dissonance with the Hammond's modal pedals. At Blue Note, he was given free rein to experiment, but his musical expansion eventually moved beyond jazz as a genre. He began to infuse his music with his earlier influences of R&B and rock 'n' roll, but only to further venture into more experimental realms of musical possibility. After Blue Note decided not to release Mother Ship, Young left the label, converted to Islam, changed his name to Khalid Yasin, and went on to play in some of the most successful experimental jazz-fusion outfits of the 1970s, including Tony Williams' Lifetime Trio (1969-71), Miles Davis' Bitches Brew ensemble (1970), free rock trio, Love Cry Want (1972), even a session with Jimi Hendrix (1969). His sudden death to unknown causes at the age of 37 remains a mystery today, but bears the all too familiar hand of a black ops assassin.
Like the recent blog favorite Lawrence of Newark (1973), Contrasts (1967) was recorded with a large ensemble of musicians Larry knew coming up in Newark. Both albums explore a soul-jazz style reminiscent of first-generation B-3 master, Jimmy Smith, and also Eddie Gale's contemporary Blue Note efforts, yet more experimental than both. Contrasts was largely overlooked upon its release and far less successful than Unity (1965) or Of Love and Peace (1966). It's as free a session as the quartet that created Mother Ship (1969), which was so far out that Blue Note sat on it until 1980, effectively ending their relationship with Young. Both Contrasts and Mother Ship feature saxophonist Herbert Morgan and drummer Eddie Gladden. Lee Morgan completes the quartet on Mother Ship, one of his final Blue Note recordings before being murdered on stage by his ex-common law wife. On these quintessential post-bop records, Larry Young's whoozy organ plays under and over the other instruments, feeling every bit as good as Unity (1964) but occupying the same interstellar space of his free jazz explorations in later years.


February 18, 2011

February 13, 2011

KITCHEN & THE PLASTIC SPOONS - Serve You! (7", 1980) + Icecream to God (Flexidisc, 1981)

Kitchen & the Plastic Spoons formed originally under the name Gdansk after members of Swedish punk bands Psyco and Porno Pop joined with singer Anne Taivanen for a festival gig in Stockholm. They added an extra synth player to become a five piece and self-released their first 7" in 1980. Adding Patrik Lindvall as guitar player in 1981, they released their final record, a flexidisc single, before calling it quits in the fall of that same year. Despite their brief time together, they must have been remarkably active. Besides the several songs found on various compilations, they also recorded many others left unreleased. A few years ago, a compilation of these songs came out on CD, shedding light on just how great and productive this band really was. Kitchen & the Plastic Spoons are the most essential group of Sweden's post punk scene. And "Happy Funeral" is one of the most fun songs of the entire genre.

O look my mother's grave, what a shame

February 9, 2011

Foet (2001/7)

As in foetus. An adaptation of F. Paul Wilson's short story by filmmaker Ian Fischer.

February 3, 2011

Politics as Unusual: China Trips the Light Fantastic

The following seeded clouds, lion-tamers, good soldiers, disike dancers, and mounted storks depicted in Communist China's brilliantly exaggerated propaganda posters span from just before Chairman Mao signaled the Cultural Revolution by swimming in the Yangtze River to the Socialist Spiritual Civilization that spawned the Strawberry generation in the 1980s. Rather than merely expect obedience, propaganda posters also gave their blessing, so to speak, to sanctioned ways of having fun as a Communist citizen. Through equal times of desperation and tremendous growth, propaganda remained an important means for China to convey optimism about the Communist future. 

Check out the first edition -- Politics As Unusual: Space Is the Chinese Place.
Youthful Dance Steps (1986)///Ge Xing (1989)

Twilight first shines on the military drilling ground (1974)

Face the enemy courageously (1979)///Work the clouds and sow rain to seize a bumper harvest (1976) 

White Rabbit Theater Play (1950s)

Xun hu yan yuan (1963)///The lion trainer (1987)

Practice hard to master the ability to kill the enemy, and be ready to combat at any instant (1970)

A ginseng child and sika deer (1987)///Joys of longevity (1983)


Stefan Landsberger has a great collection of Chinese propaganda posters
Additional Chinese propaganda posters reside here by the gobs.

January 29, 2011

عطلة غامضة: Master Mahwash

Ustad Farida Mahwash (فریده مهوش), singer from Kabul Afghanistan, 198?. In 2006, she became the first woman in Afghanistan to be given the honorary title of Ustad (master). She currently resides in California, USA.

January 26, 2011

FACTUMS - Gilding the Lilies CS (2010)

With new Gregorian years come new thoughts about old practices. Or maybe it's the simple fact that the best band in America has released a new cassette, and it's so essential to American survival as to best this blog's resolve not to post newly released musics. This being a singular case up to this point, I suppose it's only proper Murky Reset take this opportunity to say, if the creators or monied disseminators thereof take issue with this digital representation of an otherwise analog cultural artifact, kindly cable me via interweb and it will be removed from the sight directly. Specifically, this prerogative would extend to Shawn Reed, member of Wet Hair and owner of the Night People label, and also, of course, Factums.

Whether it's Factums, Rodent Plague, Intelligence, AFCGT, or Children's Hospital, there is a loose group of dudes in Seattle who make warped eleki buumu noise rock I tend to wait each year for with bated breaths. So naturally when I heard Factums had a 2XLP coming out in 2010, I wasn't mad at em. Searched though as I may, I never have seen or put my hands on this item. Instead, what we have here is a cassette with the same songs purported to be on said album, but with a different track order. I don't know if these are the same or different versions of those songs, but the Gilding the Lilies c45 will certainly do for now. It's Factums' best effort yet, and this blog's favorite release from said dudes since the AFCGT CD-R (2008). The boggy analog bliss this tape grooves in makes like a lost tape from Vanity Records, and yet it sounds singularly inevitable, like timeless. People need to hear this. 

Guilting the Lilylivers