Compiled by Music and Program Director Brian Turner
Roberto Cacciapaglia "Sei Note In Logica (Second Part)" (MP3)
Cacciapaglia is an Italian avant-garde composer who contributed to Franco Battiato's amazing Pollution disc in the early 1970's, which is how I initially caught wind of him. He also issued some amazing works both hinting (like Battiato) at strong Krautrock/Kosmische ties, as well as stabs at minimalism that often got overlooked or merely written off as deviations of Glass/Reich's thing, or maybe scared off hipsters due to the New Agey looking album sleeves, who knows. Needless to say, he's an interesting character that deserves some more investigation than he's been given, and when I finally tracked down a copy of his Sei Note In Logica (comprised of variations on six set notes) I was blown away. Created for voices, orchestra, and computer, the ragged vocal approach by the female singers is hardly trained (in fact it somewhat reminds me of Kenny G guest Robin Kahn's take on Carol King's Tapestry we posted a few months ago) but the pure spirit of the ping-ponging voices (maybe evoking the odd tennis album sleeve?) and repeated phrasings is just incredible and organic; in fact the human/electronic intersect definitely has the feel of some of the more live-action Terry Riley pieces Cortical did years ago (like Olson III, or L'Infonie's In C). A CD issued in 2000 tacks on previously unreleased acoustic takes on Six Notes, this MP3 is a nice example of what listeners are in for.
Abner Jay "The Backbone of America Is A Mule and Cotton" (Side One: The Backbone of America Is a Mule and Cotton/My Old Kentucky Home/Oh Susanna/Camp Town Races/Old Folk At Home/Old Black Joe MP3) (Side Two: Amazing Grace/Old Rugged Cross/Steal Away/Deep River/Them Golden Slippers/How Great Thou Art MP3)
"Abner Jay, the first of the original black musicians. The only electric six string banjo you'll ever hear. Abner says the original thirteen are dead, and he is half dead. For forty two years Abner has been playing banjo, drums, harmonica, and singing all at the same time. Born in south Georgia. When Abner was born his Pa kept the birth records on the side of the house, the house burned down, the birth records were destroyed, and Abner hasn't been able to find out just how old he is. Abner is now enjoying his seventh wife, and he claims she is just about wore out too. His worst tragedy was the first time he got married. NOW ITS BUCK DANCING TIME!" So went the liners of Abner Jay's Underground Atlanta LP, one of quite a few releases that came from this travelling one-man band in the 1960's; most are impossible to find these days, and unfortunately a few have been pilfered by some slime from WFMU's library. What little I've heard of Abner has been stunning, the embodiment of southern Vaudeville tradition in its last throes, pure entertainment and spirit, some spittake-inducing declarations to boot. Subliminal Sounds issued a CD a few years back, and here we post a full LP in it's entirety for those hungry for more Abner. The title track is especially timely, Abner starting off his invocation with a nose-thumb at America's oil companies, declaring the mule and cotton to be the real backbone of the country.
The Ritualistic School of Errors "Spluttering Burble, Split Sides" (MP3)
Taken from a CD/DVD release on the amazing-out-of-the-gate Resipiscent label, which has seemingly dedicated itself to the art of documenting the seedy underbelly of the more Caroliner Rainbow-inspired contingent from the Bay Area and beyond. RSOE is from Chicago, and is none other than beloved WFMU blogger and Creepy Meatball tee-designer Fatty Jubbo, who hammers the nail on the head (somewhat literally based on some of this audio) in terms of conjuring up what you'd expect in a traffic jam of the Carnival of Souls organist and the entire cast of Freaks, holed up in the InaGRM laboratories. In Mr. Jubbo's words: "a very modern ballet performed on broken legs by little girls, overweight imbeciles and an orchestra featuring the finest talent available", and claims to have made its debut in a dark and moldy Chicago basement in 1948.
Matmos "Roses and Teeth for Ludwig Wittgenstein" (MP3)
How we love Matmos. Through the years they've continued to intrigue and challenge our senses by creating electronic music unlike anyone else; whereas many laptoppers are content just manipulating samples, Drew Daniel and MC Schmidt go out and find their sound sources in esoteric locations that evoke the spirit of the most pioneering days of French concrete laboratories, mixing in live instrumentation as well. I say spirit, because even Pierre Schaeffer never recorded and manipulated the sounds of latex condoms turned into fractured electronic rhythms, nor did he have the chance to record lipsuction fat being sucked and people getting plastic surgery. We've all been huge fans for years, and apparently so has Bjork, who absorbed the duo into her own recent live touring ensemble in recent years, though thankfully hasn't kept them from continuing on with their own fascinating projects. Matmos have also been tremendous to WFMU, doing a benefit for OCDJ in 2002, and on their last visit to our studios (real audio from the Re:Mixology program from September 2003) sampled a real live tapdancer who performed along during the broadcast! They even released a full album of the sounds of a mic'd cage containing a captured apartment rat and the cage even sported a WFMU bumper sticker on the CD cover. This time around, Matmos pay homage to various iconic figures they've been personally fascinated with including Joe Meek, would-be Warhol assassin Valerine Salonis, William Burroughs and more. Sequencers and samples go up against a vacuum cleaner, cow uterus, garden snails, theremins, french horns, and assorted instrumentation provided by guests like the Kronos Quartet as well as Mother Nature. Drew even samples him yelping while gettingn an infamous "Germs burn" cigarette to the arm from Germs drummer Don Bolles in homage to Darby Crash, ouch. And surely Folkways in their vast field recording archives would never conceptualize the descriptipion "mini-disc recordings of anonymous sex acts made surreptitiously at Blow Buddies in San Francisco during International Bear Weekend." The Mp3 up here, courtesy Matador who have just released The Rose Has Teeth In the Mouth of a Beast, features excerpts from Ludwig Wittgenstein's "Philosophical Investigations" read aloud accompanied by assorted cows and teeth. Oh yes, New York area peops can see Matmos Friday May 5th at the Whitney Museum, more info here.
Quo Vadis "Zeppelin Party" (MP3)
In my never-ending, unquenchable thirst for the greatest proto-metal, this appeared on a compilation of all 1970-72 era French stuff called Tetes Lourdes. Whoa! Included is a band called Rotomagus, who, besides having a killer track called "Fightin' Cock", have this insane Gainsbourg-whispering thing going on with "Eros" which what sounds like Armageddon playing while Keith Relf was being electrocuted. But being the hound for the Stupe Factor that I am, I had to choose this Quo Vadis track, mindlessly aping Jimmy Page riffs while some guy screams "whooooahhhhhhhhhhhh!! Led Zeppeliiiiiiiiin!!" over and over. Most of the other stuff on the comp didn't really hit the "metal" buttons as much as heavy psych, but all in all, a pretty swank document.
Third World War "Preaching Violence" (MP3)
As long as we're in the neighborhood, here's some more proto-metal heaviosity from this UK trio that also were torchbearers to the working-class punks to come way after their self titled 1971 debut appeared. They gigged around with the likes of Roy Harper, Arthur Brown, and the Pink Fairies and by all accounts blasted everyone off the stage; vocalist-guitarist Terry Stamp probably got together on regular social terms with Crushed Butler and Stackwaddy and debated new ways of kicking Kevin Ayers' ass around town. Third World War did one more LP a little less brutal than this one but still great, and then disappeared in 1973. Stamp did a solo LP in 1976 for A&M which I haven't heard, but by accounts is pretty devoid of the thuggery that existed here.
The Muldoons "Agitated (live on WFMU)" (MP3)
The mighty Joe Belock left all of our mouths agape when he aired a session with Detroit's Muldoons, a sixth grader and a third grader both playing electic guitar with their dad on drums. They SLAYED! I mean, for kids who were being born the last time I reorganized my dresser, and one of which was still in the womb when Kurt Cobain was already feeding wormage, the idea of playing blasted fuzz, primitively pounding covers of Nirvana, the Stooges, Electric Eels (MP3 here) and Kelley Stoltz (!?!) just goes to show that if you get a kid the first couple Ramones records, the universe is theirs for the taking. You should go to the archive and listen to the interview as well, they had just gotten off a giant stage the night before opening for Jack White and they were more excited about buying action figures in St. Mark's Place. Man, pissed off kids make the best music on the planet.
Brian Joseph Davis "All You Got From Love is 22 Songs" (MP3)
Davis had somewhat of an FMU hit a couple of years back with a disc consisting of recordings taken from melted-down vinyl put back on a turntable and played (somewhat of a riff on Milan Knizak's recordings of broken records), and has some other of his various projects on display at his site. My fave is the portable Presidential podium and curtain that could be set up anywhere for anyone to audition to be the new Commander in Chief. On Greatest Hit, which just turned up in the WFMU mail, entire albums of Kenny G, Whitney Houston, the Stones, Metallica and the Police are crunched together into one convenient track. This MP3 takeks its source from the Carpenters 1968-83 hits package.
This Heat "SPQR (live)" (MP3), "The Fall of Saigon (live)" (MP3)
Most discerning FMU listeners may already know that Britain's This Heat were one of the highest caliber musical trios that nation has ever produced. How to describe them? Well, All-Music Guide has them catagorized under "whimsical", "anxious", "fractured" and "sophisticated"; they have appealed across the board to fans of punk, prog, and experimental music, and probably can be credited in large part to the arrival of the so-called "post-rock" tag that has informed everyone from Fridge to Shellac. The core trio of Charles Bullen, Charles Hayward and Gareth Williams incorporated electronics into the traditional guitar/bass/drums setting and created intense, complex, dynamic workouts while using bare-boned means; in a way they simplified highbrow music in a new way like Wire did to punk on Pink Flag, actually tacking something on to musical vocabulary that no one had thought of before, yet many would refer to much later on. Though they were all skilled players, they adopted an approach to sound akin to the Velvet Undergound instrumentally, striving for an overall definition of the whole unit rather than highlighting individual prowess. It's no wonder that like spiritual forerunners Faust, ReR is now issuing a complete box set of the works of this amazing band. To celebrate, here's a few MP3's of two of my favorite songs, taken from a Krefeld, Germany gig in 1980. "SPQR" features Hayward's propulsive drumming at its best, voices intoning over chattering guitar bleak lyrics linking modern day man's uncontrollable urge for conquest back to Roman history; while "The Fall of Saigon" conjures up a dirge for yet another moment in history and conquest. For more reading material, on This Heat as well as Hayward's excellent Camberwell Now, check out this Perfect Sound Forever article. In the meantime though, now is the time to snap it all up, the visibility and availability of their material through the years as varied greatly and you couldn't ask for a better time to soak in this amazing music.
Below is a recap of all MP3-related posts on Beware of the Blog from the past month (frosted and sprinkled by Liz Berg):
- Listen to the infamous Daniel Johnston / Yo La Tengo live set on WFMU from 1990; Daniel sang over the phone from West Virginia while Yo La Tengo performed live in the WFMU studios.
- An audio clip of the latest White House protester, who got a lot off her chest before the Secret Service hauled her away.