Give the Drummer Some's
Favorite Downloads from the MP3 Blogosphere
Forget quantity, it's the quality of free music available online that continually blows me away. As I make the rounds of the hundreds of vital album-sharing blogs on the Web, it's like ducking into the private listening room of one music obsessive after another, being treated to an endless succession of long-lost rarities and never-forgotten treasures.
Listening to WFMU Radio is a lot like that. Every few hours, a different music-besotted host takes over the airwaves to pour out the guts of their record collection, just for the Richard Hell of it. Maybe the most astonishing part of all this music sharing is that it costs nothing to partake. Bloggers spend gobs of time, posting their latest favorite albums—often with full scans of artwork and mini-essays about each track; DJs spend whole lifetimes (and bank accounts) scouring dollar bins and rare record auction lists to pad their weekly playlists.
While bringing all this music to you—here at Beware of the Blog and on WFMU—is a labor of love, is does not come without significant cost. That's why it's vital that once a year, during fund-raising time, listeners and readers alike step up to the collection plate and make a vital contribution.
For Mining the Audio Motherlode fans, I am offering a thank-you gift for your donations. Love Your Motherlode, Again is a full-length CD containing the mind-blowingest tracks from my favorite downloads offered during the past year of Motherlodes. Go to WFMU's Marathon pledge page and give at the "DJ Premium level." (Look for this CD under the Tuesday offerings.)
Once you've done a little giving, be sure to do a lotta taking, as this week's crop is amazing:
Give it to me baby ...
Dzhavanshir Kuliyev ~ "Music from Segei Paradjanov's film Ashik Kerib"
(Blog: Flash Strap)
"Here is something you won't find anywhere else, fellows and friends: The soundtrack to Sergei Paradjanov's sublime Soviet-Armenian film Ashik Kerib. An Azerbaijan folk tale of a minstrel's intense journey told in poetic imagery, the film is damn near chock-a-block and wall-to-wall with blistering lute workouts, Azerbaijani traditional and spiritual musics, mystifying juxtapositions, otherworldly atmospheres, the occasional electronic flourish, and generally brilliant sound design. Watching the movie, I found myself breaking into a cold sweat. It's not quite Paradjanov's best film (such an honor would go to Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors and/or Color of Pomegranates, although I would still venture to declare Ashik Kerib an unequivocal masterpiece), but here his always-beyond-genius use of imagery is augmented by Dzhavanshir Kuliyev's work on one of the best, most relentless soundtracks I've ever heard." (Flash Strap, at Flash Strap)
Maki Asakawa ~ "Asakawa Maki No Sekai"
(Blog: For the Dishwasher)
"Having to describe Asakawi Maki's music is an impossible task. Mix some Billie Holiday and Nina Simone in with a cup of Nico, then add to taste a couple of cartons of cigarettes along with a few bottles of sake, dress it in all-black, throw the concoction inside of a dank Japanese jazz club...and you still don't have Asakawi Maki. It's probably going to take some listening on your part." (Leclisse, at For the Dishwasher)
Bernard Purdie ~ "Soul Is... Pretty Purdie"
(Blog: Milk Crate Breaks)
"World's Most Recorded Drummer"
"A wild one! After the straight hard funk of some of his earlier recordings as a leader, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie breaks out here in a compelling album of soul jazz tracks done in a number of styles. The approach is sort of big studio funk – with some cuts that have a harder sound, and others that open up in a groove that's gotten a lot more complicated than the early days. Horace Ott arranges, conducts, and plays electric piano, and Richard Tee plays organ on a number of cuts – but the real charmer is Purdie, whose work on drums is always great! Funky tracks include "Heavy Soul Slinger", a medley of "What's Goin' On" and Ain't No Sunshine", and "Good Livin'". Also features a cover of Aretha Franklin's "Day Dreamin'", plus the extended "Song For Aretha," which is Purdie's extended tribute to Aretha (with whom he'd recorded), and one that features a very strange monologue!" ( Dusty Groove blurb)
Cheikh Imam ~ "Chante Negm"
(Blog: Afro Soul Descarga)
"The story of Richard Nixon's laughable skedaddle to the Middle East in June of 1974 became rich fodder for the duo of Ahmed Fouad Negm, a poet and folk hero who spent nearly two decades in prison for his subversive writing, and the blind troubadour Sheikh Imam Eissa. Together they wrote and performed songs lauding Che Guevara, denouncing the war in Vietnam and mercilessly ridiculing every Egyptian leader since 1962, when they began their partnership." (Read more from my July 2, 2008 post at Beware of the Blog)
Jackie McLean ~ "'Bout Soul"
(Blog: My Generation)
"'Bout Soul does not mean the same thing as soul-jazz, as the opening track "Soul" makes abundantly clear. Written by Grachan Moncur III and poet Barbara Simmons, "Soul" is a tonally free tone-poem that features Simmons' spoken recital. It's about what the concept of soul is, not what soul music is, and that should not come as a surprise to anyone acquainted with Jackie McLean's work. Even as his Blue Note contemporaries were working commercial soul-jazz grooves, McLean pushed the borders of jazz, embracing the avant-garde and free jazz. 'Bout Soul is one of his most explicit free albums, finding the alto saxophonist pushing a quintet...into uncompromising, tonally free territory. This is intensely cerebral music that is nevertheless played with a fiery passion." (Stephen Thomas Erlewine, at AllMusic )
Listen to my radio show Give the Drummer Some—Tuesdays 6-7pm, on WFMU and Fridays 9 to noon—on WFMU's web stream Give the Drummer Radio.
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