May 28, 2015

Alice Coltrane - Divine Songs, 1987

Sweeping, powerful Hindu devotional songs arranged and performed by Alice oltrane (Turiyasangitananda) and accompanied by an orchestra and gospel choir. No words. Not available for purchase anywhere.

May 26, 2015

Arto Lindsay - Noon Chill, 1997

Arto Lindsay made a name for himself as a founding father of the New York no wave scene with his project DNA. He went on to work with the Lounge Lizards, Ambitious Lovers, and the Golden Palominos before producing a slew of solo records. Though American, Lindsay's parents were missionaries and he spent his teenage years in Brazil at the height of the tropicália movement. This Brazilian influence emerged more and more throughout his 40 year long career, spawning a trilogy of records dense with Brazilian sound: O Corpo Sutil (1996), Mundo Civilizado (1996), and finally, Noon Chill. Lindsay has also done production work for Caetano Veloso, Tom Zé, Gal Costa, Vinicius Cantuária, and Carlinhos Brown, to name a few. (Side note: he's also responsible for the weirdest/best cover ever of Prince's "Erotic City.")

Noon Chill sounds like a well-intentioned poolside afternoon gone on a codeine bender. Most of the songs are bossa nova at heart, but they continuously slip down dark, trip-hoppy rabbit holes and spiral off into ominous drum and bass riffs. It's like Tanto Tempo's sinister older brother. Combined with Lindsay's trademark disinterested vocals and lyrics like "I do love your lack of all expression/I find it not at all distressing," you can't help but see Noon Chill through heavy eyelids.

May 22, 2015

Model 500 - Deep Space, 1995

So much has been written about this important piece of techno history. If you're interested in analog machine-based retro future music, Juan Atkins, aka the godfather of techno, is a massive part of that sound's origin. Deep Space is a head-throbbing whirlwind of synths and samples from beginning to end, living up to its namesake. Engineered by Moritz von Oswald, with contributions from François Kevorkian and Kevin Saunderson, among others. All instrumental except for two tracks, one of which is sultry steamer "The Flow"--insane music video below.

Side note: XLR8R did a very cool piece on Atkins in 2002, with some really prophetic quotes from Atkins. Read it here (scroll down).

May 20, 2015

Λένα Πλάτωνος - Γκάλοπ, 1985

Greek musician Lena Platonos (Λένα Πλάτωνος) has an impressive discography ranging from dark electronic rabbitholes to post punky pop to the straight-up bizarro theatrical. She's an electronic music pioneer (and an aesthetic genius, having designed the cover above), so it's really exciting that Dark Entries has recently reissued her second solo record, Gallop (Γκάλοπ), which she wrote, performed, and produced. Gallop is an exercise in dark minimalism, consisting mostly of analog synths, a roland TR-808 drum machine, and her voice, speaking and singing her own surreal poetry. It's Greek to me, but I'm told that "lyrics deal with heartbreak, dreams, desires, and astutely predict the way that computers and technology would infiltrate our society in the years to come." (A word to the ASMR-wise: listening to her softly-spoken voice in headphones might trigger some particularly tingly feelings.) Alternating between spiky techno beats and long stretches of unpunctuated dreamy synth sprawl, Gallop is a haunting and very progressive record. Enjoy!

May 15, 2015

Monsoon - Third Eye, 1983

Featuring the voice of world-pop-fusion queen Sheila Chandra, Third Eye was released a couple of years before the launch of her solo career. As in her later work, production is certainly slick, but Third Eye has an inspired raw, youthful quality and an impressive array of world, experimental, and rock-oriented instrumentation. Sitar, tabla, ghatam, shine, ektare, swarmandel timbali, gong, cowbell, roto toms, tom-toms, wasp, tambourine, cabasa, fire extinguisher, electric guitar, hurdy-gurdy, mandolin, santoor, flute, synth, piano, celestia, a gamelan name a few. Even Bill Nelson shows up on his EBow guitar in the cover of "Tomorrow Never Knows." Music video for the hit "Ever So Lonely" below!

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May 12, 2015

Wally Badarou - Echoes, 1984

Wally Badarou is a legend. Paris-born and Benin-raised, he was part of the Compass Point Studios in-house recording team in the Bahamas; was a session musician for Grace Jones, Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Herbie Hancock, Level 42, Black Uhuru, Gwen Guthrie, Robin Scott, Talking Heads, Tom-Tom Club, Robert Palmer, and Manu Dibango; and produced for Fela Kuti, Salif Keita, and Marianne Faithfull, among many, many others. Echoes is an entirely instrumental, almost comically smooth piece of electronic funk wizardry. You've probably heard the single "Chief Inspector" in a million DJ sets, but the whole album is mixtape ready. Take it to the beach, y'all.

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May 9, 2015

Alton Ellis - Sunday Coming, 1970

Probably my absolute favorite reggae/rocksteady album of all time. Every track will either make you cry or laugh with joy. A complete and utter gem. I hope you enjoy this one for the years to come. 

May 5, 2015

Bil Vermette - Katha Visions, 1984

An album filled with absolute jammers which range in sound from intimate and solitary to expansive and cosmic. The album traverses genre too: new age, minimal synth, and progressive rock. Bil's unexpected vocal entrance on the minimal wave-y track Someday Soon is a highlight

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