Friday, November 24, 2006

muluqen mellesse - hedetch alu
sebadoh - total peace
the shadow ring - lindus hologram
longmont potion castle - collette clitatouchie
jandek - come through with a smile
vertical slit - populatia defrequentia
leonard cohen - the partisan
smegma - madness mambo
longmont potion castle - lesbian mummy
alemayehu eshete - tereditchewalehu
daniel johnston - despair came knocking
guided by voices - weedking

other lissenins:
prurient - fossil
pig destroyer - painter of dead girls
genghis tron - dead mountain mouth
glass organ - s/t
butthole surfers - live pcppep
albert ayler - love cry
burning star core - three sisters who share an eye
poison idea - feel the darkness
tjolgtjar - the tjolgtjarian mass
richard pryor - that nigger's crazy

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I'm posting an olde timey unpublished review because it points out a couple of issues I want to further discuss, and it points out a me with quite a bit more faith in humanity. Plus it ain't half bad:

V/A : Tibetan Buddhist rites from the monasteries of Bhutan : Sub Rosa
The drone, it swells and recedes. Lately, it’s been seeping more and more into the Western consciousness through the cracks in the sonic underground, flowing from the space jams of Double Leopards to the magnetic pull of doom-metal giants like Earth and Sunn 0))). It anchors the psych-folk wanderings of Six Organs of Admittance and propels the primal clatter of Avarus and Sunburned Hand of the Man into their bent head-space. This isn’t exactly a coincidence, just a bunch of different sound-heads tripping off in their own direction and coming to the same conclusion. See, as musical ideas come, the drone is pretty damn convincing, making its case in a singular, uncluttered fashion. At its best, the drone is the sonic glue that holds sounds together while threatening to overwhelm everything with its own massive power. But really its just the sound of our underground catching up with what avant garde-ists like Tony Conrad and La Monte Young were doing in the sixties, which, in turn, was influenced by a vast array of non-Western musics that have existed throughout history. This is why Sub Rosa’s reissue of John Levy’s 1971 recordings of Buddhist rites from the Bhutan region has come at the perfect time.
Separate from Tibet yet sharing many similarities with its variation on Buddhism, Bhutan became a haven for Buddhists when China began its occupation and suppression of Tibet and its culture in 1959. While the homogenizing onslaught of Westernization is handily eradicating indigenous cultures all over the world at an alarming (horrifying? despairing?) rate, Levy managed to capture the full radiance of this one with his Nagra tape recorder in 1971. And it is HEAVY. Using mass chanted vocals, long horns which measure from 9 to 12 feet and a vast arsenal of smaller horns and percussion instruments, the monks of these monasteries created an awe-inspiring sound that was meant to invoke the blessings of their gods. This isn’t some psychedelic traveler’s approximation of something ancient and holy, it just is, and it isn’t exotic pleasantries for world music tourists, it’s high dose skullfuck that could appeal equally to the doom-metal massive and the spiritual seekers, if their minds are open enough.
As lovely as they are, tunes are few and far between on this 2-disc set, emerging between the roaring, cathartic power drones that dominate. They’re definitely most prominent on the second disc, where a lute melody precedes serene chanting and a wandering monk (Manip) sings a poem praising his guru. Levy’s exhaustive yet enthusiastic liner notes help guide the listener through all this uncharted territory, although I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking their academic nature detracted from the sheer kicks provided by these sounds. At one point, Levy wonders out loud whether our tendency to idealize a culture such as this is misleading, with the behavior of some monks leading him to believe that these people had just as much of a penchant for cruelty and abuse as the rest of humanity. Still, it’s minor when compared with his complaints against Chinese and Western cultures. It would be my own hope, however far-fetched, that his recordings would help us to find a way back into a culture less convinced of its own impending doom than our own.

So. World musics. However much I'd like to criticize audio tourists, I can't think of a genre, well, musical grouping, where it's laid more bare that I am one. I mean, I'll let the tastemakers tip me to goodness from round the globe, but I probably couldn't point out a gamelan if I heard or saw one. Maybe an oud, but it might just be a banjo. Leave it up to DJ /Rupture or Ethiopiques or Congotronics or Sublime Frequencies or whatever. They can figure all that jazz out. At least appreciation has evolved past that "Bollywood soundtracks are funny" garbage that was in vogue some years back. And maybe you can look down your nose at some Buena Vista Club Med asshat who wants a Mariachi band to follow him around while he drinks umbrella'd drinks and makes conference calls. They're the tourists, right?
I guess it makes sense. As experimental music embraces drones and non-Western melodies, world music starts to seem experimental. But really intuitive, almost as if they were traditions that had developed over time. And with singing, singing like you never heard. Singing that so deftly bares its soul, that expresses such a depth of experience it reminds me of those voices captured on pre-war blues music. And when I listen to that singing, so open to all its idiosyncracies, I think it's one of the greatest indicators of whatever that intangible is that our society has lost in this last century. It's why we need to step up the efforts to record the musics of all these cultures before they're completely wiped from the face of the earth. No punchline here kiddos.
Sublime Frequencies gets this. They put out world music releases that break all the world music rules. There's no academic backing, no extensively researched liner notes, no cut of royalties for the musicians. So they're just looting up the third world, right? Capturing the souls of these poor motherfuckers and whipping up cheaply put together releases to line their pockets. At least, that's what some erudite pud at The Wire would have you believe. And that's what he needs to believe, like some record-collecting Atticus Finch who needs to be convinced of his own benevolence before he can pull up the covers at night. The fact is that we're all compromised. We all try to do the best we can with our given circumstances. (Well, maybe the best of us try and do the best we can. The rest can choke.) No doubt those Sun City guys are shrewd businessmen (They'll sell you a copy of Torch of the Mystics right out of their own stash. Bit of a mark-up.), but many of these Sublime Frequencies releases seem like recordings that were made for their own benefit before they decided to be cool and share with the rest of us. Maybe that's a cop out, but I'd bet five times as many copies of Sublime Frequencies releases get downloaded as have been sold anyways. Artists are making music and people are hearing and enjoying it. Something about the circumstances under which they're recorded strikes me as more genuinely representative of our relationship with the third world anyways. Like a lot of those scenes in Herzog's Fata Morgana, just us looking at them and them looking at us, equally wary and fascinated.
So I just watched Jemaa El Fna: Morocco's Rendezvous of the Dead, a festival where musicians travel to some sort of fairground location to play their music and ply their wares. And there's some great looking backlit shots of steam rising off the gathered crowd in the night sky, but those performances are polluted by louder rhythms drifting in from the background. The performers seem frustrated, but you can't tell if its because of the distraction or because its being recorded. And then there's scenes that are pure magic, like the little fella who gets in the middle of a circle and gets real animated when the feeling overtakes him, maybe snatching a tambourine out of someone's hand and bashing the shit out of it. And the kids. There's the little girl who sings and dances and calls and responds, clearly loving the music, but she's also more acutely aware of the camera than anyone else in the film, constantly mugging for it. At one point, the cameraman catches a glimpse of a stunningly beautiful young woman and zooms in on her. She has the look of a teen whose uncle just got his hands on the acoustic guitar and wants everyone to gather round while he trys his hand at Freebird. "Like, are you sure we polished off the rum, cause I sure could use a drink." So while it's a pleasure to see these elders hoop and holler, clap their hands and mouth along to the words, there's that hint of loss there. I mean, what will the scene be when Hisham Mayet shows up with his camera ten years down the line? Ya dig? At least he caught this one.
Also, forget what I said before about Botch. We Are The Romans is a barn burner, and as good as any of Converge's pre-Jane Doe output. I'll even forgive my much loathed "clever song titles."
In fact, forget all kinds of things I said on this blog. Shit's embarassing. I'm nuts. Peace.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Now, being a rowdy nerd in Math Honors 9, my two favourite things were The Offspring and Green Day. Yup, music video style. If it counts for anything, this is pre-"novelty rock" Offspring and pre-"concept video" Green Day. Anyways, my friend Dave, he would lend anyone who expressed an interest in "punk" a mixtape madefrom his brother's cd collection. So it made its way to me, and it was a lot of Epitaph and Fat Wreck Chords stuff, lots of NOFX, leaned strangely heavy on Dave's Total Chaos obsession, probly just so peeps would think he was xtra tuff, and it ended with a song called "Underachiever's March And Fight Song" by a band called "Archers of Loaf." And I's like, "Music like this exists?"
Soon after I'd borrowed a tape of The Speed of Cattle, which is odds n sods, Peel Sessions, demo versions of Icky Mettle hitz, and it's the first time I remember listening to an album on headphones and just getting gone. Like, I was in a room with the tv on and my mom putting together a jigsaw puzzle but I just was not there. Graceland didn't come close.
He never got that tape back, and i just lost it a couple of years ago. And hearing it now, I'm glad it was the one. ("I'm glad it was you baby.") Most of it's pretty lost in the 3 Ds: dissonance, delay and lo-fi damage, and it somehow manages to be one of their more worthwhile collections of songs. It's certainly as close as I was getting to a Siltbreeze release at the time. And unlike, say, Vee Vee, none of the rockers are stilted. Matter fact, the playing tends toward the inspired, maybe somewhere betwixt Royal Trux and Polvo, while following J. Mascis on his slack quest for glory n nirvana. Like a tar thick summer day in that town, that indie rock town. You know, it was really important, like an indie rock burg of renown. Steve Malkmus would stride down the avenue while fresh faced girls in cardigans would smile from windows, hands clasped together. It was really important. Something.
As far as the newest in new newness goes, I've been listening to Dream/Aktion Unit's Blood Shadow Rampage, Flaherty, Corsano & Yeh's A Rock in the Snow and Vampire Can't's Key Cutter. I could hit myself in the head with a coffee mug and try and think up new ways to say "Chris Corsano is a mystical genius," but I think it's been done. Me too guys, me too.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

What's with these born agains? Yeah, I know this is supposedly a music blog, but I don't write no journal, so I'ma keep venting right here. Whiny existentialism for everyone. Nobody's putting a gun to your head anyways.
But really though. Doug Stanhope has made the point that there ought to be a law against teaching religion before the age of 18, because "if they didn't put that shit in your head while it was still soft, you know you wouldn't be buying it." Which makes perfect sense, but these born agains, they get a l'il bit depressed, and alla sudden they done found Jebus. He has scooped them up in his scrawny hippy arms and enriched their little lives. You just gotta hear about it.
Ol' Youth Pastor Harms (get a haircut), he brought his new squeeze to Sundy School, and she was just filled up with the spirit (and nothing else I guess.) We managed to argue her down to admitting that if some tribesman in South America had had but one opportunity in his life to accept Christ and hadn't taken it, he was surely going to hell. Just bask in the love of our Lord.
Still, Harms, he blew my mind this one time. Talking about Lennon's Imagine, he said, "So basically he's saying 'if everyone in the world agreed with the way I think, there'd be no war.'" Yes! And Boomers think that shit is deep.
So then everyone was sitting around saying how much they loved God, and I was like "Really?" And then I was talking about how "I know everything in the Bible is true, but when you read it it just seems like stories." And then I got laid. And it all took way too long, but I'm not winning any awards for efficient use of life anyways.
I was just watching Amando de Ossorio's Tombs of the Blind Dead, and I'm pretty convinced that Nate Young's Betrayor is an homage to it's soundtrack (and a greasy dollop of smoky goodness to boot.) Plus there's this scene where the lesbian and the swarthy guy (read: Spaniard) go to identify their friend's body, and the morgue worker just stands there grinning at them like a creep before he tears the sheet back. Many yucks were had.
This is a pretty interesting Harry Pussy self-interview. Best part is the ending:

Bill: Ok, let me tell you about a dream that I have. It's a recurring dream that I've had throughout my life. And this will probably give some insight into the band. I have this dream that I'm being chased by a really large angry mob of people and I'm running away laughing.
Adris: That's it. That describes us perfectly. How do you feel about that dream though?
Bill: It's a good dream for me, cause I always wake up feeling really happy. Cause I don't get caught, I escape.
Adris: So you feel like you're getting away with something, when you're playing.
Bill: I feel like I'm just....getting away.

I've got two new tracks up on the space of me. (Whalley) Well, one new track and one chopped and screwed track from 5+ years ago. Get stoned.