January 29, 2011
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
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
January 23, 2011
If you have ever looked for and found the name Bezunèsh Bèkèlè on your Ethiopiques 13 CD or searched out her Greatest Hits compilation, then you'll likely to drool when you hear this album. For those less familiar with the "First Lady" of Addis Ababa's Golden Era, she started performing as early as the 1950s and was the first female singer in the tumultuous capital city to go modern. She gained great popularity as a singer for the Imperial Body Guard Band, and her success continued well into the 1970s. Most of the great Ethiopian musicians of this time played for institutional bands like the Army or Police orchestras. The Imperial Body Guard attempted to overthrow Emperor Haile Selassie in the early sixties, and failed. As a result, the emperor removed the band's 'imperial' title, and the "Golden Age" of Ethiopian pop was ushered in by smaller bands free to self-organize.
The songs featured on this collection were probably first released in the early 70s, though I can't say for sure. The heavy horns, perhaps the Body Guard Band or Dahlak Band, outmatch James Brown for hard fevered funk and Bezu's liltingly casual style belies the reedy sensuality of her voice. The sleeve pictured above, which is from a Philips-Ethiopia 45, is not the official cover for this collection, which is either a bootleg or perhaps released in a neighboring country. If you have more information about Bezunèsh Bèkèlè or this compilation in particular, you are welcome to write in.
January 22, 2011
I noticed in posting Zru Vogue's first album and 7" that the band's side opus, which had been hosted at 7" from the undergound for a time, had apparently expired its hyperlinkage. Many of these great blogs that have given heads so much sound over the years are beginning to show signs of decay. My recent way of thinking has been that anyone inclined to share these old digital artifacts should do so for the sake of posterity. I personally have never found offense in people piggybacking any offerings of mine own. There's a time for honor among thieves, and perhaps a time to rally to fort so that a stable exchange of global goodness might be gained through the proliferation of personal computer storage and subsequent sharings under whatever internet paradigm that might befall us. At any rate,
Science Patrol's original lineup was Andrew L. Jackson, known here as Andrew 'Our Hero' Finkle, and two fellas known as Pity and Spike. The band got its name from the 60s Japanese TV series, Ultraman. Later Jackson's partner in Zru Vogue, Rick Cuevas, and a guy called Dad joined the group, and they started playing out in the Bay Area. The group infused electro-funk synth noise with rap freestyling, Dada-inspired video art, and a Mattel Magical Musical Thing. Jackson and Cuervas started their own label to release Science Patrol's Bandit Ducks From Outer Space, the group's only 7" which has since become a much sought after item. It's hard to say what's so addictive about these two slabs of experimental post-punk funk. The songs tread territory somewhere between Vox Populi! and Dark Day. On "Pop ABCD"—four songs mashed together on the single's B-side—Science Patrol chose random lines from Tristan Tzara poems for the lyrics. Their first single, "Virgil Wilson," about a real person who had a tracheotomy, featured electronically mutilated vocals. The group eventually killed the Magical Musical Thing and looped the sound of its destruction through their Korg synthesizer, along with everything else. Feeding the guitar through the Korg created a clean and creeepy guitar tone that can also be heard in Zru Vogue.
Form a new religion/Feed it to the pigeonsPalo Alto's avant-pop darlings Zru Vogue have wooed many an ear with "Nakweda Dream," their woozy independent single voted best by Sub Pop in 1981. The lyrics, some of Murky Reset's favorite of times, were supposedly produced out of Dada sessions and generated on the spot, as is more aptly demonstrated on single's tribal B-side, "Cumulonimbus." The band was essentially a collaboration between grade school pals Rick Cuevas and Andrew Jackson, who continue to play together today as Zru Vogue. They put out their debut LP in 1982, a seemingly more straight-forward new wave effort that descends into funky Liquid Liquid-like territory and ends with "Do the Zru," a dark Dada dance mashup that exemplifies the band's potent joy-creation. They started Zero Risk Records in 1981 to release Zru Vogue (1982) and also to put out their side project Science Patrol's first and only 7", Bandit Ducks from Outer Space (1981), an experimental synth-psych masterpiece that bears well under the duress of obsessive listening, as I can personally attest to. Cuevas and Jackson have been kind enough to compile Zru Vogue's early demos and proffer them here freely.
January 16, 2011
Train In Landscape, 19??
"I wake up with an idea that won't let me get back to sleep. So I get up and make that idea."
The son of a freed slave, Steve Ashby was born in 1904 in Delaplane, Virginia, and never left his hometown. He started working as a farmhand with his father when he was still young. He later worked as a gardener and a hotel waiter before his retirement in the 1950s. After his wife died, had many idle hours. When he made his first life-size sculpture of her likeness, dressed in her clothes from panties to outer wear, the neighbors were shocked at first to see her tending to her daily chores again. He took to making smaller "fixing-ups" that he produced prodigiously out of wood, and found objects like magazine cutouts, tool parts, fabric, marbles, and toys. These art objects, many designed with whirlygigs and moveable parts, ranged from the expressive to the pornographic fantasy, and were often a vehicle for Ashby's keen eye for social details. He stuck an assortment of his sculptures in the ground, on the fence, and in the trees around his yard. The pornographic cutouts were kept under his bed, shared only with great reluctance. The droll perceptiveness of his work is all the more accentuated by the crudenss of the carving. The characters, caught in the middle of their mundane daily lives seem imbued with laughter and terror in equal amounts. Since his death in 1980, Steve Ashby's work has been in many exhibitions of outsider art around the country, and he has been anthlogized in several books on African-American folk art.
Untitled (Cat's Head), 1970s
Pregnant Woman, late 1960s