December 25, 2010

December 24, 2010

2010 - Year In Music

I hope, in the year since my last list of annual favorites, my lack of interest in criticism has been duly indicated. And I don't profess to have heard enough new music to know what my favorite albums of 2010 will be in 2011. At any given time, there are people in far-off places doing amazing things. If ever you feel cynical about the current state of artistic achievement, you should question first your quantum approach, not the liveliness of humankind, which clutters every corner of the world with wonders, just like its human streams of shit. So, fully acknowledging a lack of interest at the moment for listing things, here are musics released commerically this year that I most enjoyed concurrent to this year, 2010:

+current outfits+
 •MI AMI • Steal Yr Face
 •NAKED ON THE VAGUE • Heaps of Nothing
 •NOTHING PEOPLE  • Soft Crash
 •BALACLAVAS • Roman Holiday
 •SOFT MOON • Soft Moon
 •D-W/L-SS / JBe • Split 7"
 •GROUP DOUEH • Beatte Harab
 •BLANK DOGS • Land and Fixed + Phrases 12"
 •WHITE RING • Black Earth That Made Me
 •HAYVANLAR ALEMI • Guarana Superpower
 •LA VAMPIRES MEETS ZOLA JESUS• LA Vampires Meets Zola Jesus
 •BLACK ORPHAN •Metal Leg 7"
 •A F C G T • A F C G T
 •SILVESTER ANFANG II • Communen Cassetten
Ummm... Did I happen to say?
 •OLSON TWINS & CO.• Gimme Pizza (Chopped & Screwed)

+once old now new again+
 •EMAK • A Synthetic History of EMAK (1982-1988)
 •SAM SPENCE • Sam Spence Sounds
 •OMAR KHORSHID • Guitar El Chark
 •MARIKA PAPAGIKA • The Further the Flame, the Worse It Burns Me
 •NEON JUDGMENT • Early Tapes
 •ABNER JAY • The Original Folk Song Style of Abner Jay
 •ROB JO STAR BAND • Rob Jo Star Band
 •VA//Brazilian Guitar Fuzz Bananas: Tropicalia Psychedelic Masterpieces 1967-1976
 •VA//The World Ends: Afro Rock & Psychedelia In 1970s Nigeria
 •VA//Afro-Beat Airways: West African Shock Waves--Ghana & Togo 1972-1979
 •VA//The Sound Of Siam: Leftfield Luk Thung, Jazz & Molam from Thailand 1964 -75
 •VA//Luk Thung! (The Roots Of Thai Funk)
 •VA//Music from Saharan Cellphones  Vol.1 + Vol. 2
 •VA//Excavated Shellac: Strings--Guitar, Oud, Tar, Violin and More from the 78rpm era
 •VA//The World Is A Monster: Columbia Hillbilly 1948-58
 •VA//Field Recordings From Alan Lomax's Southern Journey 1959-60 , Vols. 1-5
 •VA//Been Here All My Days: Selections From The George Mitchell Archive
 •VA//Written In Blood, Vols. 1-5
 •VA//Turkish Freakout (Psych-Folk Singles 1969-80)
 •VA//Dengue Fever presents: Electric Cambodia
 •VA//Vanity Records: Finest Selection 1978 to 1981
 •VA//Roots of Chicha 2: Psychedelic Cumbias From Peru
 •VA//Cumbia Beat, Vol. 1: Experimental Guitar-Driven Tropical Sounds From Peru 1966-1978
 •VA//Peoples' Potential Unlimited Family Album
  •VA//Saigon Rock & Soul: Vietnamese Classic Tracks 1968-1974

December 18, 2010

Reflect Yourself

White Elephant Escaped From the Zoo With Love (Captain Beefheart Died)

                                    LETTERMAN: Can you tell us a little of the origin of Captain Beefheart?
                                    VAN VLIET: Captain Beefheart-- a beef in my heart against this society.

Corn Thief
Zebra Bees
Gray Twist
Golden Birdies
Feather x a Feather
Dragon Gown
Dylisheus III

 • Paintings of Don van Vliet
The Lives and Times of Captain Beefheart (Babylon Books 1971, 2nd Edition)

December 12, 2010

EDUARDO MATEO - Mateo Solo Bien Se Lame (1972)

Eduardo Mateo came to prominence in Montevideo's rock scene in the late sixties. As a boy, he would skip school to play candombe drums in the street with his brother and father. He eventually dropped out altogether and became a beekeeper. His mother gave him a guitar when he was 14; he learned quickly and shortly went on to tour throughout southern Latin America in a variety of samba, bossa nova, and tropicalia outfits. In the mid-60s, he played in a variety of so-called protesta beat bandsbasically anglo pop cover bandsas Uruguay's government began to unravel.  Beat bands were disparaged in the press for coopting imperial culture, but many of the Montevideo beat bands were more or less progressive in thinking and strove for higher artistic aims. Employing threatrics and a particular drollness, groups in Montevideo might be dragged on stage in coffins or seen simulating a cello giving birth to a violin. 

Mateo joined the group El Kinto in 1968. By this time, he was devoted entirely to music and a pretty sharp dresser. He served as the band's taskmaster, expecting total commitment to the group. He urged his bandmates toward greater experimentation and imposed his candombe background on the others. When his bandmates' creative output disappointed him, he would scream or storm out. El Kinto led the pack in forging the candombe-beat sound, which exploded in popularity throughout Uruguay and Argentina at the time. By the early 70s, Mateo's long-term drug abuse started to take a toll on him. He began taking amphetamines as early as '64 and was high almost constantly by the time he joined El Kinto. He was indiscriminate, taking anything he could get his hands on, even cough syrup. His appearance deteriorated, and his behavior grew more sporadic. He believed his music benefited from exploring psychoactive states; he urged El Kinto to rehearse on LSD, but they refused, compromising by getting drunk instead. He became increasingly paranoid and difficult to talk to. His voice would trail off on nonsensical divergences  Then, he started hearing voices. 

In 1971, Mateo was asked down to Buenos Aires to record a solo album. What originally was supposed to be a week-long stay turned into two months of sporadic recording. Each morning, the studio would send someone down to Mateo's hotel to try and catch him before he slipped away; but Mateo no longer played music unless he absolutely wanted to. He sought authenticity in each performance, assiduously studied other musical forms (like Arabic, Indian, and Haitian) and was never satisfied with recordings. After months of cat-and-mouse sessions at the studio, Mateo returned to Montevideo one day without saying a word.  Mateo's only solo album is a collection of these recorded tracks in Buenos Aires, hashed together by the De La Planta record label. His collaboration with Brazilian percussionist Jorge Trasante, Mateo y Trasante (1976) has since gained a cult status. He continued to record into the late 80s. Influential, but never again successful, Mateo would drift further into poverty, eventually homeless and pan-handling. Hiding illness from everyone, Mateo was suddenly rushed to the hospital in 1989, diagnosed with an advanced case of abdominal cancer. He died two weeks later at age 49.


December 5, 2010