N.A.D.M.A. - Paura (Alga Marghen)
Italy's Natural Arkestra de Maya Alta released on LP on RCA in 1973 which FMU is lucky enough to have a copy of, and in terms of big band avant ensembles, it's one of the most stellar examples of soundmakers from varying background converging into a unified freeform artistic statement. Full of heady doses of modernist classicism, structured and free-flowing jazz attacks, both Far Eastern and African music elements thrown in, and just sheer joy in the very-communal melding of it all. It's one of those records that fall between the genre cracks exhibiting such a great spirit all its own. So it's high time someone lot the magnifying glass on this group and what they were up to, and it's no surprise that Alga Marghen has taken it upon itself (with its usual great style). Paura is the first of a series of discs to come documenting the group's live events in Milan circa 1973-74; it shows N.A.D.M.A. stretching out on some of the compositions from the LP, but going into more uncharted territory. Whereas much of Italy's musical underground was riding a heavy wave of prog, N.A.D.M.A.'s members were all well-trained and could easily had slipped into this scene, but instead expanded its focus on strictness and incorporated their horn and string-based setting into music that was influenced by the alternate vocations of its members (photography, modern art, etc.) just as much. This disc is available here, looking forward to future volumes and maybe a good stateside reissue of their Uno Zingaro di Atlante Con un Fiore a New York LP. Here's Real Audio of "Paura".
Keiji Haino / Sitaar Tah! - Animamima (aRCHIVE/Important)
People who haven't heard Japanese icon Keiji Haino have asked me where a good starting place is to jump in, and the truth is, it's really hard to say. There's his blistering free-rock ensemble Fushitsusha, countless collaborations with everyone in the experimental music world (I was pretty excited to have seen him briefly go up against the Boredoms' Eye at the Japan Society this spring) solo recordings on acoustic and electric guitars, hurdy gurdy, digital theremin, wave drum, waterphone, sampler, or just voice alone. I understand at some point there's even going to be a recording of him manipulating effects-rigged live crickets. Yet, truth be told, any of these discs are a good way of experiencing Haino, because whatever he plays demonstrates a direct unfettered line between his cortex and the amplifier. He is without doubt one of the premier living bluesmen, and by that we mean not in the traditional musical context, but in the way that he is able to purvey stark, emotional atmosphere unlike anyone else. If a comparison be made though, like Blind Willie Johnson, Haino's singing is at times wordless, yet speaks volumes. As for instrumentation, Haino's been noted to use massive volume to envelop the listener on pieces that can span over an hour at times, but in subtle/quiet mode he is equally effective. Here, he goes up against a 20 piece sitar orchestra complete with Tuvan throat-singer, and while many of Haino's collaborations are certainly indicative of his presence in an upfront way, this one has him slipping in to equal combat mode with a large group whose sound rises in astonishingly united voice with/against him. Truly trance-inducing sounds over this immaculately packaged 2CD set (which I think is pretty limited so act now.) After that you could do a lot worse than picking up the double live Fushitsusha CDs on PSF. Or almost anything else. Real Audio excerpt from Evan Muse's radio show here.
Various "Oh No You Didn't" (No Label)
The worst R&B/funk/disco compilation you'll ever hear. More groans than chuckles, unfortunately, but worth having just because there is an 80's track called "Disco Tossed Salad." Lots of Fairlights, Breakin' 2 Electric Boogaloo rhythm tracks, "Say No To Drugs" admonishing between all the gettin' freaky, and an obscene take on C & C Music Factory's "Gonna Make You Sweat." Compiled by Italo-disco authority Alec Deruggiero, though I would wager Negroclash's DJ Duane (who has done a few "Incorrect" hip-hop specials with Small Change on WFMU in the past) has donated more than a few of these gems. Enjoy "Orpah Winfrey Style" (MP3) by Sporte. CD possibly found here or here.