Tuesday, 27 November, 2007

Bernard Parmegiani - L'Oeil Écoute (1973)

An enduring reflection of the essence of time perceptible in its own right, can be established through the act of intimate listening where the self becomes immersed in re-living the experience of a journey or the immortalised passing of something disclosed as streaming images. As with all concrete music composers B. Parmegiani yields to this charm and in his works, it takes on the forms of continuous temptation marked throughout by a sense of the forbidden and by a certain fear. The listener is brought to wonder whether the composer actually intended to finish once and for all with the power of Orpheus.
In any case the train emerges as mans best friend and so it is here for Parmegiani the musician exploring and recasting dreamlike intricacy. Both through the effect of continuum and streaming images time is transformed into space literally transporting us.

The musical creation of Parmegiani is bounteous and broad in nature When not delicately distilled, brought in closer from afar or yet again built up from infinitely unprepossessing elements it is often boldly unveiled. We only need listen to the opening of l’oeil écoute, a sustained swirl and flurry emerging as a wave about to break, which we only just manage to glimpse at its approach, just like this train which we take at full speed surging forward headlong at the opening of the piece. At the very outset, on the one hand, everything is given in a single act, the music is already moving forward; and on the other the ghostly realm into which it takes us is already amply filed out.
We note that the large arbitrary breaks in tone Parmegiani achieves in l’oeil écoute and indeed throughout all his musical compositions, arise as searching encounters. As such they are gestures deriving from the sculptor himself. The blocks used are very imposing and the matter extremely dense...
The composer’s preference for this generously developed ghostly realm or space is also based on a specific creative foundation: it enables him to conceal things and thus especially allows him to disclose them to play on and with the ambiguity of their presence. Through its momentary and background quality the rather dense and complex matter in the piece gives rise to remarkable and constantly renewed perceptions of appearance and concealment able to assume utterly surprising forms since the interplay, mixing, blending and transparency of elements remains ever changing and is often highly unforeseeable. The surging fight of the potentiometers and balanced crescendos are all gradually chipped away at, carved out, transformed by the matter from which they are intended to extract specific essence. The entire work of B P. is imbued with such games of hide and seek and disclosure.

Philippe Mion, L’oeil écoute: An Analytical Commentary

link @320

Friday, 23 November, 2007

Bravo Tubes #2

Joseph Barbera & William Hanna, "Make Mine Freedom" (1948)

Download available at the Internet Archive

Thursday, 22 November, 2007

Charalambides - Joy Shapes (2004)

"To say that the words 'unique' and 'singular' are over-used in describing music is to state the obvious.  To apply these words to the sounds created by the various duo/trio configurations of the Texas group Charalambides over the last decade plus would be understatement. To be sure there are numerous antecedents to their music; to deny this of any artist's work would be akin to saying that they are deaf. But they have surely broken new ground in the primitive/folk/mystic/improv/psych valley in which they toil. This new album is certainly not for the faint of heart.

Five songs stretch and crawl over 75 minutes, with Christine Carter finding a new fearlessness in her voice that will draw comparisons to Patty Waters or the early work of Meredith Monk. Joy Shapes is the first studio album recorded by Charalambides in a long time.  The main tracks were recorded in June 2003, with subsequent overdubs, mixing and mastering done throughout the summer and early fall of 2003 including one night of vocals recording done in what Tom Carter calls a 'lost evening.'"

Kranky Records' website

Christina Carter: electric guitar, voice, bells
Tom Carter: electric guitar, lap steel guitar, acoustic guitar, chimes, wind wand
Heather Leigh Murray: pedal steel guitar, psaltery, voice


Monday, 19 November, 2007

Bravo Clippings #18

Frank King, Gasoline Alley, 10 May 1931

Wednesday, 14 November, 2007

Phil Ranelin - The Time is Now (1974)

A lost classic from the legendary Tribe Records label of Detroit -- home to some of the most groundbreaking soul jazz of the early 70s! This set is one of the more "out" sessions on the legendary Tribe label from Detroit -- and one that features many of the label's great players, like Wendell Harrison, Marcus Belgrave, Charles Moore, and Ranelin himself. The tracks are long and progressive, with distinct political overtones that work well with the avant playing of the set. Titles include "Black Destiny", "Time Is Running Out", "He The One We All Knew", and "The Time Is Now For A Change". Plus, this reissue also features 3 previously unissued bonus tracks -- "He The One We All Knew (extended)", "Time Is Running Out (extended)", and "The Time Now Is For Change (outtake)".

Phil Ranelin: trombone, percussion
Haroun El Nil: alto saxophone, bass clarinet, percussion
Wendell Harrison: tenor saxophone, percussion
Marcus Belgrave: trumpet, flugelhorn
Charles Moore: trumpet, percussion
Keith Vreeland: piano
John Dana: bass
Reggie Shoo Be Doo Fields: bass
George Davidson: drums, percussion

Monday, 12 November, 2007

Ground Zero - Consume Red (1996)

"It's easy and maybe even cool to say "to hell with copyright." But of course, things aren't really that simple. What exactly is the difference between someone using your performance on their own CD without your permission and making a load of money, and GROUND ZERO sampling a revolution-era Pekinese opera to make a CD that DOESN'T make money? It burns me that a Japanese television network rotting in money can use my music without my knowing it, and I still don't get a cent out of it. But as long as a TV network is paying JASRAC (the one and only copyright organization in Japan) I'm told it's not illegal. So am I allowed to sample that TV channel without paying a cent, and make a CD from it? And then, what happens when that CD is sampled yet again by Stock, Hausen and Walkman?

The two main reasons for the existence of copyright are this. When a work is created by someone, there is ownership in that work. And, if such ownership exists, there is the question of how to justifiably turn that into money. My problem is about the fact that not all forms of creativity can be accredited to a single entity. And if I'm correct, what about copyright?

In the general flow of things, which do not consist of mere solitary products bobbing along but of things sampled and re-sampled, how can anybody say for sure who created what? The first question needs to be directed to the idea that an artistic work is born from a single entity's creativity. And so forth and so on. So rather than to go on talking about it, the idea is to go ahead and do it.

So it comes to this. GROUND ZERO samples the musical performance of a Korean national treasure, Kim Suk Chul. Any artistic purist should fly into a rage right there. His superhuman playing is without question a product of his own creativity, but it could also be that he is in fact a vessel for the voices of gods or ancestors. So GROUND ZERO takes and samples this brilliant music sacred enough to blow away any puny ideas about copyright. Then we will have this remixed by a number of unique sampling artists and place the two versions on a "chopping board" of consumption and sampling. Call it public sampling if you will. It's up to you how you cook with it. Mke it techno or enka or anything you like. What we want to see is not style or perfection but something beyond that (that is, if there is such a thing). The jumble of criticisms and questions that may emerge should outbalance today's definition of copyright together with its messy problems and questions of creativity. Go ahead and butcher this with your own hands. We can talk later". Otomo Yoshihide

Otomo Yoshihide: turntables and guitar
Sachiko Matsubara: sampler
Yumiko Tanaka: futozao-shamisen
Masahiro Uemura: drums
Yasuhiro Yoshigaki: drums
Naruyoshi Kikuchi: soprano saxophone
Mitsuru Nasuno: electric bass
Uchihashi Kazuhisa: electric guitar, effects

Sampling guest: Kim Suk Chul (hojok)

link @224

Sunday, 11 November, 2007

Bravo Tubes #1

Waldemar Bastos - Live in Amsterdam (2004)

Thursday, 8 November, 2007

The Jam - Sound Affects (1980)

Sound Affects is a 1980 album by British group The Jam. This release, their fifth album, is frequently considered the closing point of The Jam's artistic peak begun on their third LP, All Mod Cons and carried through on its follow-up, Setting Sons. This is considered by many fans and critics to be The Jam's best album; only All Mod Cons receives more claims thereto. Paul Weller considers this album to be The Jam's best work.

After the ambitious, harder-rocking Setting Sons, The Jam returned to the pop-oriented outlook of All Mod Cons, albeit with a noticeably different sound. The most salient influence on this album is '60s British psychedelic pop, such as The Beatles' Revolver, The Who's The Who Sell Out, and The Kinks' The Village Green Preservation Society. The psychedelic overtones run throughout the album: in the backwards guitar on "That's Entertainment"; in the swirling, gauzy feel of "Man in the Cornershop"; in the punchy British horns of "Boy About Town" and "Dream Time". Other obvious influences are post-punk groups such as Wire, Gang Of Four, and Joy Division and, particularly evident in Rick Buckler's drumming, Michael Jackson's Off the Wall album. Indeed, singer/guitarist/songwriter Paul Weller said at the time that he considered the album a cross between Off the Wall and Revolver.

The album's cover is a pastiche of the artwork used on the various "Sound Effects" records produced by BBC Records during the 1970s. This album features the group's second UK number one single, "Start!", built around a bassline obviously inspired by The Beatles' "Taxman", the lead cut on Revolver. Ironically, Polydor pushed for "Pretty Green" to get the single release instead, thinking it a surer bet, but Weller insisted on "Start!"

"Pretty Green" is perhaps the apotheosis of the Michael Jackson and Beatles fusion, melding a throbbing funk bassline and rhythm with melodic guitar breaks and psychedelic sound effects. The group would later explore the "Britfunk" sound in earnest on their next and final album, The Gift.

Perhaps The Jam's best known and most acclaimed song is the striking acoustic ballad "That's Entertainment"; it was recently named to the List of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time at #306, The Jam's lone entry. For a full discussion of this song, see the relevant article page.


link @192

Bravo Clippings #17

Chris Ware, ACME Novelty Library #1, Winter 1993-94 

Wednesday, 7 November, 2007

The Who - Live at Leeds (1970)

The Who came to Leeds in 1970 with the specific purpose of capturing the power of their live show for an album. They were fresh from a US tour that had made them a huge draw there (...). The band had recorded hundreds of hours of performances, with the intention of culling a live album from the tapes, something that would convince the UK there was more to them than just another 1960s band hanging around and overstaying their welcome.

But they were too lazy to listen to the American tapes - in fact, legend has it that Townshend instructed a roadie to burn them. It was easier just to schedule a show at a smallish UK venue - the refectory - and record that.

From that night, clad in a brown paper sleeve that made it look like a bootleg, came the definitive record of the Who in their pomp: Live At Leeds.


The crowd that night were crammed in. The refectory is not a huge hall anyway - it's just a student cafeteria, seemingly unsuited to rock music - but it was made smaller by a partition halfway down the hall. Between the screen and the stage, 2,000 fans were piled on top of each other. It was like "the sweatiest club you've ever seen," [53-year-old Paul] Goulden [who was in the audience] says. "Because it was February, people had gone in full dress. Sweat was literally dripping off the ceiling."

To capture the event, [sound man Bob] Pridden had set up mobile recording gear in the refectory's kitchen, surrounded by the stoves and fridges, pots and pans. The technology was basic - he was working with "just a bunch of boxes. Very archaic and antique, but I think that was the secret. We did very little overdubbing. It was all raw live." To avoid sound leakage - where one instrument can be heard on the track reserved for another - Pridden used far fewer microphones than usual, with a single one suspended above the audience to capture "the ambience". His trickiest task was recording drummer Keith Moon, a violently unpredictable eruption of percussion. Pridden placed mics around Moon's drum kit, but far enough away that he couldn't knock them over or break them in a fit of destruction.

Only six of the 34 songs played that night appeared on the finished album, including a 14-minute version of My Generation, during which the band explode into snatches of other songs and innumerable tangents. Goulden remembers the moment as being like "everything was exploding. That everything you thought about music - and everything else - was being taken to pieces there and then."

But if the show was that good, why did the Who not release more of it? There were so many pops and crackles on the tape that the vast majority of the recordings were unusable (they have since been cleaned up, and Live At Leeds was expanded to 13 tracks in 1995, and 33 in 2002).

It might not even have ended up as Live At Leeds, Pridden says. "We actually recorded the following night at Hull, but the bass didn't make it on to tape. It could easily have been Live At Hull. It doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it?"

That serendipity extended to the sleeve, which has become almost as famous as the music. The original idea had been for a live shot, but the band gave the job of taking the cover image to a 17-year-old schoolboy photographer, Chris McCourt, who had gone to the band's office to show off his portfolio. He was paid £50 and went along armed with his dad's 1959 Pentax. He found himself "gazing up at their nostrils, right next to the speakers with things going zap in my head". He says that every time he hears the Leeds sleeve described as a "post-modernist, anti-establishment statement", he shrieks. The reason for the sleeve coming out the way it did "was because they sent a not-very-good photographer who didn't come up with the goods." He now works in the furniture trade.

Dave Simpson, The Guardian (June 16, 2006)

[Remastered 1995 CD:]

1. Heaven And Hell *
2. I Can't Explain *
3. Fortune Teller *
4. Tattoo *
5. Young Man Blues
6. Substitute
7. Happy Jack *
8. I'm a Boy *
9. A Quick One, While He's Away  *
10. Amazing Journey / Sparks *
11. Summertime Blues
12. Shakin' All Over
13. My Generation
14. Magic Bus

* Previously unreleased

link @320 [1]
link @320 [2]

Ali Farka Touré - Ali Farka Touré (1988)

Internationally feted at the age of 50, Ali Farka Touré's life was not always so easy. Up till the release of this, his first album, he was virtually unknown in West Africa and a non-entity in the world music community. Before this album bought him fame, if not fortune, Touré's life resembled Amos Tutuola's in Palm Wine Drunkard, a mixture of hard times and legend. What made Touré stand out from the crowd was his mixture of these two elements, a blues-based singing style close to John Lee Hooker and a particularly African choice of subject matter, often rooted in West African myth and folktale. On this release, Touré performs most often unaccompanied relying entirely on the magnetism of his beautiful voice and the counterpoint of his rhythmic guitar. Occasionally, Touré is accompanied by traditional instruments such as calabash or bongos, which he also plays, but the real strength of this album lies in his magnificent voice. While he sings in several different languages, including English, the power and genius of Touré's compositions easily carry through the language barrier. This album inaugurated a new marriage of American blues and African musical traditions of which Touré is the best practitioner.

Brian Whitener, All Music Guide

link @192

Saturday, 3 November, 2007

Pharoah Sanders - Africa (1987)

Pharoah Sanders, originally Farrell Sanders from Little Rock, Arkansas, became well-known in the local jazz scene in Oakland, California, in the early 1960s. In the middle of the decade he moved to New York, where he worked with Sun Ra and other luminaries of the new jazz avant garde. He was asked by John Coltrane to join his group in 1965, and so became a part of Coltrane's most experimental unit. After Coltrane's death in 1967 he continued in musical collaboration with Coltrane's second wife, Alice.
Sanders is known for a distinctive sound, including a split reed technique. While primarily playing the tenor sax, he has also recorded playing the soprano sax, flutes, and percussion. He can coax unearthly sounds from the tenor saxophone, and, according to jazz legend, can cause a saxophone to continue to shriek for minutes after removing it from his mouth.
Through the 1970s he explored the melding of West and South African rhythms into free jazz, experimenting with layers of percussion and voices. By the late-'70s he began, like many jazz musicians, to coat his spiritually-tinged jazz with a glossy pop-funk sheen; in his case produced by drummer Norman Connors. In the 1980s he changed course to play the standards. In 1996 he returned to his "Nubian space jazz" sound with A Message from Home. He has also recently recorded albums in collaboration with African Gnawa musicians and in tribute to his mentor John Coltrane.

01. You've Got To Have Freedom
02. Naima
03. Origin
04. Speak Low
05. After The Morning
06. Africa
07. Heart To Heart
08. Duo

link @320

Thursday, 1 November, 2007

Woody Guthrie - The Very Best of

1. This Land Is Your Land
2. Pastures Of Plenty
3. Pretty Boy Floyd
4. Take A Whiff On Me
5. Do Re Mi
6. Put My Little Shoes Away
7. Washington Talkin' Blues
8. Hard Travelin'
9. Jesus Christ
10. Whoopee Ti Yi Yo, Get Along Little Doggies
11. Grand Coulee Dam
12. A Picture From Lifes's Other Side
13. Talkin' Hard Luck Blues
14. Philadelphia Lawyer
15. I Ain't Got No Home
16. The Wreck Of The Old '97
17. Keep Your Skillet Good And Greasy
18. Dust Pneumonia Blues
19. Going Down That Road Feeling Bad
20. Goodnight Little Arlo (Goodnight Little Darlin')
21. So Long It's Been Good To Know You

link @320