April 29, 2016

Dadawah - Peace and Love - Wadadasow, 1974

Guest post by Daniel Peters

Comprised of four long ruminative tracks, the classic Peace and Love - Wadadasow is probably reggae’s closest answer to Ash Ra Tempel — highly spiritual and free-wheeling, totally enveloping in its psychedelic nature with some of the brooding appeal of dub. 

It’s the second album by Ras Michael, released under the moniker Dadawah, and here his passionate chanting and singing is treated with expansive post-production effects courtesy of Lloyd Charmers. Willie Lindo provides incredible bluesy guitar improvisation. The rhythm section is held together tightly by a constant bass groove, and "Zion Land," for instance, highlights the spiritual and emotional core of the album. It’s as much a spacey trip as it is an intensely devotional record. 

Dug Out's 2010 reissue contains a slightly different mix, with more present vocals and heavier reverb, while the original pressing (provided here) focuses more on the spacious, atmospheric instrumentation.

April 25, 2016

Jorge Reyes & Antonio Zepeda - A La Izquierda Del Colibrí, 1986

A La Izquierda Del Colibrí ("to the left of the hummingbird," named after Huitzilopochtli, an Aztec deity whose name translates roughly to "hummingbird's left") is a collaboration between Mexican prog and ambient cornerstone Jorge Reyes (who has collaborated extensively with Steve Roach) and Antonio Zepada, a dancer, free jazzer, and ambient musician. Both had a strong interest in pre-Hispanic instruments, and they're used extensively here (ocarina, teponaztli, and omichicahuaztli, among others) alongside a slew of synthesizers. A La Izquierda is mostly instrumental and heavily percussive, dense with tribal drums, purply synth pads, and rainstick textures. It also goes real hard on the wind instruments and field recordings of birds, so if you're not excited about pan flutes, you should probably skip this one. Otherwise, take it for a drive and enjoy! Note: the last track doesn't seem to be listed on any of the pressings that I can find, and I can't find any information about it, but it's really good so I'm including it anyway.

April 18, 2016

D-Day - Grape Iris, 1986

Deeply weird record. The first four tracks are straightforward enough: dusty-sweet synth pop, toy whirrs and blips, a Joy Division fan on board, pristine vocal harmonies, some half-hearted samba as the amphetamines are wearing off, sulky new wave guitar. Definitely perverse, but somewhere we've been before. Things start to get gnarly around track five, "Sweet Sultan," which sounds like a dirtier Lena Platonos pirated off a broken answering machine. It gets more confusing as new wave decomposes into no wave ("Dead End") and then into minimal wave ("Dust"), propelled along by what sounds like an 808 that's been dropped a few times too many. "Ki-Rai-I" is Grape Iris's maximum euphoria, with a Sakamoto-inspired marimba loop buried underneath Robin Guthrie-esque guitar warps and more static-scratched telephone-speak, the whole thing sounding like a tape that got left out in the sun. After one last frantic guitar stab ("So That Night"), closer "Float A Bort" returns us to strung-out delirium, slowly submerging itself in water as the sun sets. Keyboards and some production by Yoichiro Yoshikawa, who's worked with Yas-Kaz and is responsible for the gorgeous Miracle Planet soundtrack (I'll get there soon). Wowowow.

April 13, 2016

Mix for NTS Radio

We made a two hour mix for NTS Radio. Tracklisting below. If you like it, download it here. Enjoy!

0:00 Richard Burmer - Physics
3:31 Masami Tsuchiya - Nevermind (Excerpt)
6:28 Carlos Maria Trindade - The Truth
9:09 Joe Hisaishi - The Winter Requiem
13:49 Bill Nelson - Pansophia
14:41 Anna Homler & Steve Moshier - Celestial Ash (Excerpt)
20:09 Toshifumi Hinata - Chaconne
24:45 George Wallace - Electric Night
31:23 Danyel Gérard - La Vieux de la Montagne
35:41 Steve Tibbetts - 100 Moons
40:50 Hector Zazou & Dead Can Dance - Youth (Excerpt)
42:26 Codek - Tim Toum
46:22 Şenay - Doy-Doy-Doymadım
51:57 Joan Bibiloni - Sa Fosca
58:45 Jaco Pastorius - Okonkole Y Trompa
1:03:00 Blue Gas - Shadows From Nowhere
1:06:58 Rasta Instantané - Kylyn
1:11:56 Boban Petrović - Zajedno Srećni
1:16:52 Saâda Bonaire - More Women
1:21:51 Christy Essien Igbokwe - You Can’t Change A Man
1:25:34 Hiroshi Sato - Awakening
1:29:06 Love, Peace & Trance - Hush - A Mandala Ni Pali
1:33:15 Asha Bhosle & Ghulam Ali - Roodad-E-Mohabbat Kya Kahiye Kuchh Yaad Rahi Kuchh Bhool Gaye
1:38:52 New Musik - Areas
1:43:00 CFCF - Vermont
1:47:45 Hiroshi Yoshimura - Time After Time
1:56:27 Gervay Briot - Science

April 11, 2016

Yasuaki Shimizu - Kakashi, 1982

Guest post by Ian Hinton-Smith

Jazzy, dubby, experimental, ambient, joyous, meditative and so much more. Fans of Mariah's Utakata No Hibi will be visiting familiar territory here, as Shimizu is also the brain behind that long-awaited reissue from Palto Flats. There's the same simplicity and attention to detail present on Kakashi and, having been released a year before Utakata, it appears to have been a learning exercise for Shimizu.

For starters, check out the repetitive marimba lines weaving throughout the space-jazz-dub of "Umi No Ue Kara" (a personal favourite) for a whole eight minutes, acting as bamboo scaffolding for drips of guitar and Shimizu's sax lines which drift around it like a fine mist. Total masterful simplicity.

Elsewhere, expect ambient tracks that suddenly drop into a backstreet Chicago jazz club with dueling brass stabs and hand claps, only to drift out into smoke; abstract 8-bit sampling that could, frankly, send you a bit la-la until it flings you out into cosmic piano territory; uptempo psychedelic drama-ska; and, ultimately, the sound of Mongolian farmers having a stab at Arabic jazz!

Despite sounding a bit all over the place, there's enough of a thread throughout Kakashi to bind it all together, and after only a couple of listens, I promise you the pieces fall into place.

April 8, 2016

Robbie Băsho - Bonn Ist Supreme, 1980

Hard to know where to begin with Robbie Băsho, as he did so much in his twenty years of making music before his life was cut short by a freak chiropractic accident. He went to military school, then pre-med. He painted, sang, played trumpet, played lacrosse, lifted weights, wrote poetry, and changed his name to Băsho after the Japanese poet. He went through phases of cultural and musical obsession, including Sufi, Buddhist, Hindu, Japanese, Indian classical, Iranian, Native American, English and Appalachian folk, Western blues, and Western classical "periods." He "used open C and more exotic tunings and he developed an esoteric doctrine for 12- and 6-string guitar, concerned with color and mood. He spoke of 'Zen-Buddhist-Cowboy songs' a long time before Gram Parsons mentioned his vision of Cosmic American music." He studied under Ali Akbar Khan. He pushed for a broader appreciation of the steel-string guitar as a classical concert instrument. He made 14 studio albums in 19 years. He wrote “a Sufi symphony” and another for piano and orchestra about Spanish and Christian cultures coming to America. He's considered one of the geniuses of American folk and blues, and yet his name often gets lost in conversations about John Fahey, Leo Kottke, and Sandy Bull.

Although several of his studio recordings are among my favorite albums, I wanted to share this live recording because (unsurprisingly) there's a specific rawness to it that I love. The master files have been lost, so this is a cleaned up version of a second generation tape, and it shows. Băsho lets himself pick up speed at the expense of precision, often bordering on sloppy, and he sings unabashedly in a voice that many have snickered about but that gives me chills. It's terribly intimate, and the audience is all but inaudible excepting polite bits of applause. You hear Băsho talk a bit about his guitar tunings, about his 115 year old instrument, and banter a little in bad German. More importantly, Bonn Ist Supreme gives an overview of his dizzying range, incorporating his signature guitar raga style, American spirituals, a reworking of Debussy, blues, themes from Wagner's Parsifal, and Celtic folk melodies. Sprawling and trancelike.

April 4, 2016

World Standard - Allo!, 1986

Hooked on this one. World Standard is the project of Sohichiro Suzuki, who seems to still be releasing music as of 2013. Surprise surprise, a few of his releases feature Hosono production. Allo! is full of of the dry genre-referencing that I strongly associate with Japanese 80s pop, especially leaning into cheesy movie soundtracks, doo-wop, chanson, and bossa nova. It's off-putting for some, though I think this is an unusually well-executed instance of it. Cleverly built pop songs with swingy vocal layering and shivery synth blips. For fans of Asami Kado and Miharu Koshi. Thank you Ian for the World Standard tip!