June 30, 2016

[Mix for NTS Radio] Getting Warmer Episode 1


Excited to share my first episode of "Getting Warmer" for NTS Radio. Tracklisting below. Enjoy!


Tracklisting:
1. Mark Isham - Raffles In Rio
2. Yas-Kaz - The Gate of Breathing (Excerpt)
3. A.r.t. Wilson - Rebecca’s Theme (Water)
4. Double - Naningo (Lexx Edit)
5. Elicoide - Mitochondria (Excerpt)
6. Yoichiro Yoshikawa - Nebraska
7. Salma Agha & Bappi Lahiri - Come Closer (Excerpt)
8. Len Leise - Forlorn Fields
9. Lino Capra Vaccina - Voce In XY
10. Eric Vann (Joel Vandroogenbroeck) - Algues Marines
11. Denny Lather - Timeless
12. Aragon - 家路
13. Dip In The Pool - Silence
14. Ryuichi Sakamoto - Put Your Hands Up
15. Grace Jones - The Crossing (Ooh The Action…) (Edit)

June 28, 2016

Música Esporádica - Música Esporádica, 1985


A dense and dream-like collaboration between members of Spanish avant-garde trio Orquestra de las Nubes, Spanish guitarist Miguel Herrero (on synths well as electric guitar throughout), and American percussionist, four-time Grammy winner, and John Cage collaborator Glen Velez. Soprano vocalist María Villa (of Orquesta) is featured in the first two tracks in a more textural, compositional way, with short crescendos and light, whispery Sprechgesang before returning on the third track to a more improvisational, avant-garde style. Much of the recordings' dynamism relies on Velez’s virtuosic performance on the Irish frame drum, the Bodhrán, with its signature scraping and clacking. As in his other recordings, he uses the drum as a resonant instrument, not simply as a tool to move the music along

Recorded in Madrid for the Spanish label Grabacionnes Accidentales ("Accidental Recordings"), this was released in 1985, the same year as another gem from the same label, Prima Travesia by Finis Africae.


June 24, 2016

Renée - Reaching For The Sky, 1980


Second full-length from Dutch pop band. New-wave tinged synth pop, at its best during sparse, nimble-footed sophisti-pop tracks like "Jimmy," "Come Closer," and personal favorite "Lay Me Down." Sultry, swingy vocal layering courtesy of Anja Nodelijk, who continued on to record as a solo artist while still using the name Renée. Mom, if you're reading, I think you'll like this one.


June 22, 2016

Terry Riley & Don Cherry - Live Köln, 1975


Guest post by Chad DePasquale (Aquarium Drunkard / Pride Electronics)

In 1975, pioneering minimalist composer Terry Riley and jazz trumpet cosmonaut Don Cherry joined forces for a magnetic performance in Köln, Germany. Recorded live, but never commercially released, the concert is something of a hushed treasure, as well as the only record of a profound spiritual experience and meeting of two free form jazz titans. Riley’s swirling synth, droning and clairvoyant and prescient in its clarity, parades along with a triumphant Cherry, leaving behind trails of mystery and a sense of beauty in a larger, more universal form. Side A, the twenty-minute “Descending Moonshine Dervishes,” is a transcendent moment of improvisational experimentation and spiritual jazz. As Cherry’s physical presence slowly liquifies, “the lonesome foghorn blows” into some kind of misty dawn. His mournful trumpet immerses the listener into dense layers of playful percussion and dissonance. When Karl Berger joins the duo on vibraphone for side B, the tone becomes more hypnotic and reedy – a strange mystical noir – with the final three-and-a-half minutes of “Improvisation” exuding a vivid imagination. A lucid and rhythmic front row seat to the startling beauty of minimalist explorations and eloquent fusions of Eastern and Western ideas.

buy / download

June 17, 2016

Penguin Cafe Orchestra - Penguin Cafe Orchestra, 1981


Arguably the definitive work from Penguin Cafe Orchestra, the project of UK-born composer and musician Simon Jeffes. Jeffes saw PCO as the ongoing soundtrack to a dream he had had while suffering from food poisoning in the south of France, as well as a vessel through which to explore his interest in "world" music, particularly African percussion. The ensemble's music resists genre, though--you can hear Jeffes's British proclivity towards the pastoral and an interest in folk music that splits itself between Western and non-Western traditions, but you can also hear a love for Reichian minimalism, a vaguely avant-garde quality that presumably compelled Brian Eno to release their first record on his Obscure label, Satie-esque piano ambling, flamenco, and even--going out on a limb here--the chug-a-chug forward momentum of Kraftwerk, for whom PCO opened in 1976 in their first major concert. Comfortably moving between unabashedly beautiful ("Numbers 1-4," "Flux," "Harmonic Necklace"), cheeky (the famous "Telephone and Rubber Band," based on tape loops of a telephone ringing tone, an engaged tone, and a rubber band), and the clever, all-purpose optimism that the best movie soundtracks happily exploit ("Air A Danser," "Cutting Branches for a Temporary Shelter," "The Ecstasy of Dancing Fleas"). There's a sense of déjà-vu to much of PCO's discography, but it's especially present here, and combined with meticulous musicianship (this album took almost four years to record), it makes for a deeply transportive listen--with the caveat that the destination isn't always clear.


June 15, 2016

Il Guardiano del Faro - Domani, 1977


Il Guardiano del Faro ("the lighthouse keeper"), aka Federico Monti Arduini, was a very prolific Italian musician, composer, and producer who was credited as an early adopter of the Moog synthesizer. Despite having had a slew of best-selling songs in Italy, there's very little information available about him on the internet--I don't even remember how this wound up in my hands! Really smart orchestral sensibility applied to lush, synthetic space-age smooth jazz fusion. Ideal cheeky retro-futurist bachelor pad soundtrack. Don't miss the syrupy quivering cover of "I Only Have Eyes for You."


June 10, 2016

New Age Steppers - Action Battlefield, 1981


Second full-length from UK dub supergroup New Age Steppers. Incredible lead vocals from Arianne Foster, aka Ari-Up (The Slits), backing vocals from a teenage Neneh Cherry (The Slits, Rip Rig + Panic, work with the Notorious B.I.G., Youssou N'Dour, and Massive Attack, among others; also Don Cherry's stepdaughter), bass from Crucial Tony (Dub Syndicate), and production by Adrian Sherwood (founder of On-U Sound, also the only consistent member in the N.A.S. lineup).

About as spacey as production gets, and more vocal-heavy than some of their other work. Mostly covers, including Horace Andy ("Problems"), Black Uhuru's Michael Rose ("Observe Life"), B.B. Seaton ("My Love"), and the Heptones' Leroy Sibbles ("Guiding Star"). Summer classic.


June 7, 2016

Gavin Bryars - The Sinking of the Titanic, 1990


A piece of music with a long and dense backstory which exists in many different iterations. As such, The Sinking of the Titanic feels very much like a living work-in-progress, just as contingent on the live performance as on composition, which is part of what makes it so special. Bryars explains the piece's inspiration here and details its growth and performances here. The piece is a consideration of the sounds generated by the string sextet who played on the boat deck of the Titanic as it sank, and what the sounds would do if the music had continuously played into the water:
Bride did not hear the band stop playing and it would appear that the musicians continued to play even as the water enveloped them. My initial speculations centred, therefore, on what happens to music as it is played in water. On a purely physical level, of course, it simply stops since the strings would fail to produce much of a sound (it was a string sextet that played at the end, since the two pianists with the band had no instruments available on the Boat Deck). On a poetic level, however, the music, once generated in water, would continue to reverberate for long periods of time in the more sound-efficient medium of water and the music would descend with the ship to the ocean bed and remain there, repeating over and over until the ship returns to the surface and the sounds re-emerge. The rediscovery of the ship by Taurus International at 1.04 on September 1st 1985 renders this a possibility. This hymn tune forms a base over which other material is superimposed. This includes fragments of interviews with survivors, sequences of Morse signals played on woodblocks, other arrangements of the hymn, other possible tunes for the hymn on other instruments, references to the different bagpipe players on the ship (one Irish, one Scottish), miscellaneous sound effects relating to descriptions given by survivors of the sound of the iceberg's impact, and so on.
Bryars began writing it in 1969 and recorded a 25 minute version of it in 1975 as a first release for Brian Eno's Obscure Records (Eno himself produced the recording). After Robert Ballard discovered the Titanic's wreck in 1985, Bryars dramatically reworked the piece to include additional sonic elements detailed above, as well as two children's choral ensembles. The work was performed at the Printemps du Bourges festival in Belgium in 1990 in a Napoleonic-era water tower, with the musicians performing in the basement of the tower and the audience listening on the ground floor. The empty top floors of the tower acted as a giant reverberation chamber. For this recorded version of the live performance, Bryars added the sound of other ambient spaces, including that of the swimming bath in Brussels where the piece was performed "live" on a raft in 1990.


June 2, 2016

Linda Di Franco - Rise Of The Heart, 1986


Slinky, balearic perfection from Linda Di Franco, who was a DJ in the Turin underground circuit (a scene about which I know absolutely nothing) before releasing Rise Of The Heart, her only full-length. Hard to pick a favorite track, but the unbelievably hard-hitting "TV Scene" has been stuck in my head for years. Her blissed out, bossa-tinged cover of Dusty Springfield's "The Look of Love" is a peak, as is the tropical jazz anthem "My Boss" (which, oddly, was released in Italy as a 7" split with Rod Stewart's "Love Touch"). This isn't a great quality rip, but it's the best I could find as the record is way out of print. If anyone has a better copy they'd like to share, let me know! For fans of Antena, Brenda Ray, Sade, and Gina X Performance.


May 31, 2016

Elicoide - Elicoide, 1987


The first of two releases from the mysterious Franco Nonni (keyboards) and Paolo Grandi (strings). They released a second album in 1990 with a larger ensemble (does anyone have this lying around?), and then Nonni went on to become a psychiatrist (cool reason to break up a band). This seems to get tossed around in progressive rock and jazz circles, though to me it's neither. I'd call it squarely fourth world (cringe term), with a dip into murky synth drone ("Interludio con Dedica," "Linfoceti") and some moments of brassy baroque-isms (title track). For me, the album peaks at its bookends: "Mitochondria" and "Mitosi" are sublime, drawn-out meditations that build and bubble, leaning heavily on what sounds like a synthetic gamelan ensemble and smoothed out around the edges with strings. Ideal for fans of Jon Hassell, Yas-Kaz, and Hosono's more ambient works. If it's for you, it's definitely for you.