Ernst Reijseger/Werner Herzog - Requiem For a Dying Planet (Winter and Winter)
Enigmatic filmmaker Werner Herzog has long travelled on the theme of man vs. nature (Grizzly Man, Aguirre, Fitzcarraldo, etc.) and has developed keen relationships with musicians he felt complemented his stunning visuals equally. With Popol Vuh's late Florian Fricke a hard act to follow up, Herzog has continued to mine avant-garde fields and his latest partnership with avant-cellist Ernst Reijseger and recent scores for The Wild Blue Yonder (immersed in outer space and undersea footage) and The White Diamond (documenting a jungle exploration by airship) have provided excellent listening as well as visuals, compiled on this single disc Requiem for a Dying Planet. Reijseger's haunting cello (sometimes raw, sometimes processed) is perfect match for the limitless shots of space from the Shuttle, or Henry Kaiser diving under Antarctic waters for extended periods; but even more amazing are the collaborations that fall in. There's a Sardinian quintet (Tenore e Cuncordu de Orosei) and a Senegalese vocalist (Mola Sylla) and they all blend together seamlessly. Many of these pieces stem from traditional religious texts, and the sort of pan-global approach Reijseger induces to the proceedings aim to not only represent the breakdown of geographic barriers musically, but to cloak the divisive elements of religion with an all-ecompassing spiritual vibe. They all succeed. and very much avoid the pitfalls of overtly-cheeseball World Music ethos or New Age nambyisms. Hear for yourself: "A Una Rosa" (Real Audio).
Richard Lerman - Music of Richard Lerman 1964-197 (EM)
Without a doubt my favorite reissue so far from this great Japanese label, which has at times been wisely mining some wonderful artifacts from the Folkways catalogue and giving them the deluxe treatment. Disc 1 of this 2 disc set revolves around 'compositions' for bicycles recorded both on stage and in actual public riding environs (the "Promenade Version" of Travelon Gamelon), and in the case of the public rides, amplification of the spokes through speakers on the moving bikes themselves, one of which is doing the recording. The sounds are amazing, the whizz of crowd voices passing by the moving bicycles captured, other bikes blaring their movements through their amps and the swell of the sounds makes for a terrific ambient environment while still sounding 'live'. Disc two explores some more
stationary sounds including tape loops, a bendy straw with reverb, a splicing of Mahler and Stan Kenton's City of Glass LP, and more. Real Audio: "Promenade Version: Travelon Gamelon".
The Bad Trips - The Bad Trips (Rocketship)
Few things are more life-affirming than a roomfull of misfits laying down psychedelic guitar madness into a two-track cassette recorder and putting the results out as is on vinyl. If anything good came of the 1990's it was the fact that the bands Monoshock and Liquorball merely existed and maybe taught a few people out there the concept of what punk spirit can accomplish via grotty recordings means and no fear (i.e. not worrying about whether or not the scene offers acceptance). While Liquorball still plays the odd show, Monoshock lives no more (but S-S did a must-own singles comp a couple years ago) and guitarist Grady Runyan sells records in Ventura these days. But now he's back, apparently, on this 5 song slab or filthy guitar scree and outer space mantra. Definitely not as
Hawkwind-worshipping as Monoshock, it still has some extreme trippiness amidst treading over giant piles of sonic muck, and everyone sounds completely roasted. Also allegedly contains memebers of
unknown-to-me bands the Broken Strings, Jacketmen, 100 Watt Warlock, and Diet of Worms, I'll take their word for it. Real Audio: "First Priority".