Thursday, October 31, 2013

add 0520 lost highway

Lost Highway is the soundtrack album for the 1997 David Lynch film of the same name. It was produced by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), and includes original music from the film recorded by Reznor, Angelo Badalamenti and Barry Adamson, as well as songs by other artists used in the film. The album reached No. 7 on the Billboard 200 and reached Gold status in the United States.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "I'm Deranged" (edit) – David Bowie – 2:37
  2. "Videodrones; Questions" – Trent Reznor – 0:44
  3. "The Perfect Drug" – Nine Inch Nails – 5:15
  4. "Red Bats with Teeth" – Angelo Badalamenti – 2:57
  5. "Haunting & Heartbreaking" – Angelo Badalamenti – 2:09
  6. "Eye" – The Smashing Pumpkins – 4:51
  7. "Dub Driving" – Angelo Badalamenti – 3:43
  8. "Mr. Eddy's Theme 1" – Barry Adamson – 3:31
  9. "This Magic Moment" – Lou Reed – 3:23
  10. "Mr. Eddy's Theme 2" – Barry Adamson – 2:13
  11. "Fred & Renee Make Love" – Angelo Badalamenti – 2:04
  12. "Apple of Sodom" – Marilyn Manson – 4:26
  13. "Insensatez" – Antonio Carlos Jobim – 2:53
  14. "Something Wicked This Way Comes" (edit) – Barry Adamson – 2:54
  15. "I Put a Spell on You" – Marilyn Manson – 3:30
  16. "Fats Revisited" – Angelo Badalamenti – 2:31
  17. "Fred's World" – Angelo Badalamenti – 3:01
  18. "Rammstein" (edit) – Rammstein – 3:26
  19. "Hollywood Sunset" – Barry Adamson – 2:01
  20. "Heirate Mich" (edit) – Rammstein – 3:02
  21. "Police" – Angelo Badalamenti – 1:40
  22. "Driver Down" – Trent Reznor – 5:18
  23. "I'm Deranged" (Reprise) – David Bowie – 3:48

add 0521 marc ribot

Albert Ayler compositions have been in Marc Ribot's book for many years, so it shouldn't really be a surprise that he put together a band to play Ayler tunes. However, when Ribot started playing Ayler songs he couldn't have dreamed that he'd be playing them with Henry Grimes, the original bass player on a number of Ayler's seminal mid-'60s recordings (Grimes walked away from music in 1967 and remained out of sight until 2002). Rounding out the group are Roy Campbell on trumpet and Chad Taylor on drums and percussion.
The album is called Spiritual Unity, but it's not a direct cover of Ayler's Spiritual Unity album. In fact, Ribot's band only tackles one song from that particular album, "Spirits." Actually, although they do play Ayler's music, the band's mission statement says it's not about performing the tunes by rote, it's about seeking "a ritual process, through improvisation." To that end, although it sounds remarkably like an Ayler tune, "Invocation" is actually a group improvisation offered before the Ayler material. When they do get to that material, they work much like Ayler's quartets did, moving quickly from the head into fiery collective improvisation. This is free jazz to be sure, but Ayler's free jazz was grounded in marches and gospel music and those elements can come to the surface even during the roiling improvisations. Henry Grimes is remarkable. His ideas never seem to slow down and it's nearly incomprehensible that he didn't touch a bass for three decades. Chad Taylor has long been known as a supportive drummer and Ribot and Campbell's work probably needs no introduction. They operate here as a unit, not a collection of soloists, and they honor Ayler's musical process as much as the man or his compositions. Ayler's time on earth was far too short, but Ribot and company show that this music still lives on in the present moment, not simply as a relic of the past. Spiritual Unity isn't for the timid, but Ayler fans will find a lot to enjoy.

add 0519 kevin coyne

Such is Kevin Coyne's relative obscurity that one of his few albums released in America is his Peel Sessionscollection, which of course isn't an album per se to begin with. Like many of the best such radio session compilations, though, Coyne's serves both as a good introduction to his work, and a reasonable overview of highlights over time. With the exception of the concluding "I Couldn't Love You," recorded in 1990, all selections are from his 1970s heyday, inasmuch as such a cult artist as himself could be said to have had one. Something that will grab any new listener will be the generally warm feeling of the music and performance. Coyne is hardly singing about light subjects, as song titles like the freaked "Evil Island Home," and steadier "Poor Swine," confirm. However, his backing band, which stays fairly constant throughout most of the sessions aside from a few solo cuts here and there, kicks up a good enough mid-paced rock/R&B stew. There's even a bit of jazzy scatting on "Dance of the Bourgeoisie," though the intent is more than a little satirical, turning into more random free forming as it goes. "Cheat Me" is a more straightforward example, with the electric guitar giving everything the right twang, while Coyne's acoustic work on songs like "The Miner's Song" have the same good vibe. Coyne's voice is more than twangy itself; if he's yet another British singer of his age who often sounds like he wants to be from around New Orleans, he carries it off better than some, and isn't afraid to let his natural accent surface more than once. Let his lyrics and the gruff explosions of frustration and rage that often accompany it sink in, though, and everything is much more than a genre exercise


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

add 0518 charlie mariano

Saxophonist, flutist, and composer Charlie Mariano was 26 years into his recording career as a leader when he popped this wild bit of hardcore jazz-rock fusion out in 1976. He'd been playing with musicians from all over the world for most of his tenure, and Helen 12 Trees was no exception. The musicians Mariano was capable of recruiting had always been astonishing; in fact, it was his norm, but this group, despite being together for a very short time, was one of his finest. Mariano is aided by Jan Hammer from the Mahavishnu Orchestra on keyboards, former Graham Bond Organization and Cream bassist Jack BruceSoft Machine drummer John Marshall, Polish violin wizard Zbigniew Seifert, and Asian percussionist Nippy Noya. Just under 40 minutes in length, this is one of the great, under-heard records to ever come from the fusion years. Tracks like "Parvati's Dance," where Mariano plays the Indian nagaswaram, a reed instrument that has a very unusual tonality, is gorgeous when juxtaposed against the droning violin of Seifert or the high-pitched wandering keys of HammerBruce and Marshall are playing a near dub rhythm of pulse and bubble. "Thorn of a White Rose" is by Hammer, the only non-Mariano cut here. It carries within it dueling winding lines of violin and saxophone, and Hammer becomes the funky part of the rhythm section where Bruce carries a straight series of four-note lines very forcefully as Marshall plays his kit in knotty, military style with heavy snare.Mariano's solo hits the skronk a bit before Hammer comes right back to post-bop jazz on the Rhodes. "Neverglades Pixie" is a ballad gone to wonky funk, where the hand percussion on bells, vibes, metal rods, and other more standard instruments adds another layer to Marshall's rimshots as Seifert takes a solo right out of Cajun fiddling and the blues -- until he gets to meet Hammer's big, cluttered chords and winds it out to the Gypsy jazz side of things. The bottom line is that over seven tracks, this set never runs out of surprises, grooves, kinetic energy, or astonishing improvisational ideas. But more than this, because of the great sensitivity Mariano has as a leader, it never runs out of soul either. There is pure poetry in this music, albeit of a very strident nature, and is certainly one of the finest under Mariano's name as a leader -- it's a stone classic and one of the best examples of post-Miles jazz-rock fusion ever recorded! MPS was a visionary label, and kept putting out quality jazz, rock, and big band records until it closed its doors in the late '70s, and this title is prime evidence of label boss Joachim Ernst Berendt's vision.


add 0517 brazilia

Fila Brazillia's debut album established many of the band's ingredients: warped structures building to mild climaxes, a need to explore the absurd end of chill-out without relying on comical extremes, paranoid sample-based polemics working as unified LP concepts, and a host of dance psychotropics waiting in the fringes ready to take everything over the edge. Old Codes, New Chaos may sound restrained compared to the creditable but not always successful moments of band's later eccentricity, but there's also a clean and bracing straightforwardness to its awkward downtempo that was often lacking in the band's slow development. Along with much of its back catalog, Fila Brazillia reissued the 1994 album on its own label, Twentythree, in the middle of 2001, not soon after the release of the band's style-shattering Another Late Night mix effort.


add 0516 doobie

The Doobie Brothers' third long-player was the charm, their most substantial and consistent album to date, and one that rode the charts for a year. It was also a study in contrasts, Tom Johnston's harder-edged, bolder rocking numbers balanced by Patrick Simmons' more laid-back country-rock ballad style. The leadoff track, Johnston's "Natural Thing," melded the two, opening with interlocking guitars and showcasing the band's exquisite soaring harmonies around a beautiful melody, all wrapped up in a midtempo beat -- the result was somewhere midway between Allman Brothers-style virtuosity and Eagles/Crosby & Nash-type lyricism, which defined this period in the Doobies' history and gave them a well-deserved lock on the top of the charts. Next up was the punchy, catchy "Long Train Runnin'," a piece they'd been playing for years as an instrumental -- a reluctant Johnston was persuaded by producer Ted Templeman to write lyrics to it and record the song, and the resulting track became the group's next hit. The slashing, fast-tempo "China Grove" and "Without You" represented the harder side of the Doobies' sound, and were juxtaposed with Simmons' romantic country-rock ballads "Clear as the Driven Snow," and "South City Midnight Lady." Simmons also showed off his louder side with "Evil Woman," while Johnston showed his more reflective side with "Dark Eyed Cajun Woman," "Ukiah" and "The Captain and Me" -- the latter, a soaring rocker clocking in at nearly five minutes, features radiant guitars and harmonies, soaring ever higher and faster to a triumphant finish.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

add 0515 kidjo

State-of-the-art production and mainstreamed African dance beats are poised to propel this talented singer from Benin to international pop stardom. Branford MarsalisRay Lema, and Manu Dibango contribute.


add 0514 van zant

It's kind of spooky how things come full circle. Who would have through that Donnie and Johnny Van Zant, brothers to one of rock & roll's true icons and heirs apparent to the Lynyrd Skynyrd legacy, would find themselves in a musical climate so friendly to the excesses of Southern rock in the 21st century? As it stands, nine years after their supposed one-off debut, the pair are not only going strong, they've had all of their previous recordings reissued as DualDiscs. That said, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The wild rebel yell of Lynyrd Skynyrd's raucously soulful three-guitar attack that railed against everything Nashville stood for -- no matter how much they may have admired some of country music's legends -- has been co-opted and decidedly de-spined by that very same place. Sure, acts like Montgomery Gentry and Gretchen Wilson know how to raise the roof and let it rip, and sometimes they can do it on records as well as live, but more often than not, that screaming guitar sound has been compressed to death, tamed inside focus group radio-programmers' meetings, and fed to the masses without all of its fangs bared.My Kind of Country showcases both sides of the argument: the album's opening track, written by the brothers withTony Mullins and Craig Wiseman, comes roaring out of the gate with slide guitars blazing, thunderous drums, and a howling wall of blues-rock noise. The refrain is an anthem that is not unsimilar to Skynyrd's finer moments (hey, if you all don't want to hear that, then don't write songs like this). It's Southern rock that's as good as it gets in 2007 and a far sight better than almost anybody else trying the same thing. Oh yeah, the latter half of tracks like "Free Bird," and elements of a Blackfoot song or two come rumbling out of the speakers at full-tilt boogie. Things are promising until you take in the next coupe of tunes. First there's "These Colors Don't Run." Also written by the Van Zant brothers andMullins. It's a honky tonk waltz with pedal steels whining that's a patriotic anthem. It's fine as far as it goes, and these fellas are as entitled to speak their notions about the nation, its military, and their pride in it, as John Mellencamp is on his side of aisle. That said, if only it rocked as hard as "Train." Instead of coming off as a loud honky tonk song -- of which there are plenty -- it would have been far more effective as a rollicking road burner that sounded like a bomber about to drop its payload. Speaking of Mellencamp, "Goes Down Easy," written by some corporate Nash Vegas songwriters, is nothing more than a cheap and crummy clone of a Mellencamp move circa Uh-Huh. And all the authentic heart these cats put into singing the song can't save it from being terrible. All that and we're not even 15 minutes into the album.
Unfortunately, more generic country follows in "That Scares Me," by another couple of "professional" songwriters. It's indistinguishable from 90-percent of the formula that passes for country music these days. If anybody had a license to turn the formula inside out it is the Van Zant brothers, who fought so hard for so long to make their own brand of Southern-fried rock and balladry that this album is simply unpalatable. And it's not that this stuff feels like a grown-up version of the past, either. These are just bad songs. Things come back to normal a bit on the title track written by the brothers, and on a couple of others. But at least it feels like it was written for the brothers and not for Darryl Worley orToby Keith, though why the songwriters felt they had to name the Skynyrd and .38 Special pedigrees is beyond imagining. Talk about overselling. When the Van Zant's write, as they do on three other tracks here, even when they are working with generic Nash Vegans, they add something that country's new tradition can't take away, even when they are singing about Jesus as on "We Can't Do It Alone." Whether you are Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Zoroastrian, Confucian, Taoist, Mormon, or even agnostic, it's tough to deny the authentic feeling in this tune, and its heart can't be scraped out by generic production either. The roiling guitars, the dynamics, the snarled out words breathe conviction. It's not just the lyrics, it's the music, big, bad, rough and ready rock. Even the easier and breezier country cuts like "It's All About You" offer something lyrically and musically that is, even in its everyday working woman and man lyrics, the kind of hope that comes from something that runs counter to formulas: genuine soul. The same goes for the closer, "Headed South," a bluesy, simmering road song about longing for home. It's a slice of life tune written from the dark side of the road, where the bus becomes a prison and each town becomes a blur, making one wonder why the hell they chose this life. The guitars bite, cut and riffle, the harmonies barely contain one another, the tom toms pop and rumble, and the entire cut begins to drift into some ether of otherworldly rock before it fades into silence. It's as fine a finish as these cats have ever laid down. Apparently, this pair can write "contemporary country" songs without having to compromise their pedigree and the music they grew up making. If there is any justice, there won't be any ringers on the next Van Zant record albeit with Justin Niebank and Mark Wright still in the producers' chairs. If anyone gets it, it's them. As it stands, My Kind of Country has plenty of good to go along with what's less than desirable.

add 0513 Zappa

Following in the footsteps of the Grateful Dead and other vintage artists, the Zappa Family Trust has begun to issue archival live recordings by Frank Zappa through its website, Buffalo is a two-hour-and-20-minute, two-CD set chronicling Zappa's appearance at the Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo, New York, on October 25, 1980. At that time, the 39-year-old composer/guitarist/singer had assembled a particularly adept band including "stunt" guitaristSteve Vai and virtuoso drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and, freed from record company restrictions, was preparing a lot of new material for his new Barking Pumpkin Records label. The concert reflects that, looking forward to the upcomingTinseltown Rebellion live album to be issued in May 1981 by presenting the title song, "Pick Me, I'm Clean," and "Easy Meat." You Are What You IsZappa's second double LP of 1981, was anticipated by the inclusion of its title song, "Mudd Club," and "The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing." And there was even an improvisation, "Buffalo Drowning Witch," that presaged the 1982 album Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch. When Zappa wasn't introducing new material, he was, for the most part, reprising recent songs such as "City of Tiny Lites," "Broken Hearts Are for Assholes," "I'm So Cute," "Dancing Fool," and "Bobby Brown" from Sheik Yerbouti, "Joe's Garage" from Joe's Garage, Act I, and "Keep It Greasy" and "Stick It Out" from Joe's Garage, Acts II & III, all released in 1979, and his 1980 one-off single, "I Don't Wanna Get Drafted." Only "Ain't Got No Heart" (also to be featured on Tinseltown Rebellion) dated from the '60s. The technical abilities of Zappa's band allowed for the rhythmic complexity and sudden shifts from one song to another in which he delighted, as the group suddenly changed from rapid-fire improvisatory playing to subtle vamping behind one of his comic monologues. The Buffalo show was not one of Zappa's great performances; in fact, his repeated stumbling on the lyrics to "Honey, Don't You Want a Man Like Me?" might have condemned it to remain in the vaults. But it was a good one, and representative one of the 1980 tour, which should make it valuable to Zappafans, particularly because it provides a true audio record of a full performance without the kinds of edits and overdubsZappa was wont to employ on the live recordings he issued during his lifetime.


Monday, October 28, 2013

add 0512 fila brazillia

Even more experimentally hyper than on previous LPs, Fila Brazillia cross-fertilize styles with abandon on Luck Be a Weirdo Tonight, resulting in such genre-bending as prog-blaxploitation and space-disco, as well as more straight-ahead fusions like lounge-disco.


add 0511 anja garbarek

Anja Garbarek's third album -- and her first for a major label -- is a departure from her previous efforts in that she's enlisted the help of musicians who understand how to blend her electronic textures with more organic instrumentation. The daughter of ECM jazz saxophone legend Jan GarbarekAnja has moved far from the distorted soundscapes of her debut, the elegantly weird Balloon Mood from 1996. Here she employs the talents and tactics of musicians such as Mark Hollis (formerly of Talk Talk), Richard Barbieri and Steve Jansen from Japan and Rain Tree Crow, respectively, and the production savvy of Steve Wilson from Porcupine Tree. Her sound is all but impossible to describe, but there are moments where the wispy, almost invisible vocal style of Stina Nordenstam echoes in the mix, as the does the lyrical irony of Laurie Anderson, and the broken poetic phrasing of Bjork. But this is no comparison, as shades and specters of different music such as jazz, classical, rock, trip-hop, and even dub waft through this airy mix, through all of them appear as ghosts, musics that are what we remember them as, from some near future emptiness, rather than as current constructs from which to make music from. There is the notion of observance, Garbarek is always the outsider, witnessing small occurrences in everyday life and reading who knows what into them. There is a duet with Robert Wyatt, entitled "The Diver," where besides a double bass -- present in every track -- there is little but a spare, lilting piano, some string, and an oboe. The pair's voices comment on witnessing the art of a diver's plunge. Their voices entwine and then separate, creating a view both from pool side and in Wyatt's case, distance. The up-beat trip-hop of "That's All," where drum loops engage a chamber group with bass; a flute slips and slides along underneath the listener like a ball rolling under the couch, almost moving by you before it can be grasped: "And he crawls to the door in a warm nurse/where he walks for the first time/surrounded by the dry clouds/he is leaving a trail/that's all we know." The next piece, the melancholy, "And Then," with nothing but a bass, the London Session Orchestra, and harpist Helen Turnstall, is at once a song of absence and arrival: "Unpack moments/the girl in the redcoat turns/passing. Entering. Going places/bring her name under the chain of lights/kneeling down/she throws herself into sound/passing. Entering. Going places..." In the broken lyric and shimmering instrumental quality we hear an artist emerging from her influences into a music of her own creation, shedding the pop influences of her past; in the process she is unearthing a signature music which turns in on itself before slowly opening to the listener in mysterious and wonderful ways. Smiling & Waving is an opaque, sensual gem.


add 05410 angelique kidjo

Coming full circle, Angelique Kidjo returns to her Beninese roots for the star-studded Djin Djin album, whose title, which loosely translates as Seize the Day, aptly sums up the set and its themes. Djin Djin kicks off with the bright and breezy "Ae Ae," just the type of irrepressible pop/world-without-borders number that regularly takes all of Europe by storm, booming out of clubs from Iceland to Ibiza. It's so infectious that, even though the lyrics are apparently in Spanish, the entire continent joins in regardless, although few will grasp its serious message of the economic distress driving Africans onto European shores. Slightly more sophisticated but equally irresistible is "Papa," an urban club monster-to-be whose blistering rhythms vie with Kidjo's belted-out vocals, all wrapped in a supple arrangement that beautifully blends funk, soul, Afro-beat, and more. And then there's the funky, carnival-styled cover of the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter," which almost seems to celebrate rape and murder. Kidjo's anger is more evident on "Senamou," featuring old friends Amadou & Mariam, a song themed around the upper crust's bling-shackled life, and whose universal truths are reflected in an arrangement that combines African, Middle Eastern, funk, and rock elements. Carlos Santana's elegant guitar illuminates "Pearls," while Kidjo and Josh Groban valiantly try to give weight to Sade's bathos-bathed lyrics. Much better are the haunting title track, featuring Alicia Keys and Branford Marsalis; the smoldering "Salala," which twins the singer with Peter Gabriel; and the Afro-reggae "Sedjedo," where she's joined by Ziggy Marley. "Arouna" also has a reggae tinge around its Arab-esque arrangement, and celebrates individuality on a crowded planet. "Emma," in contrast, explores isolation, and does it with a country twang, a styling that also infects the bouncier "Mama Golo Papa." With the final track, "Lonlon," Kidjo completes the journey, across an inspired vocal version of Ravel's Bolero, a piece that itself broadly hinted at the ties between North and South, East and West, connections made even clearer here. With its many moods, fusions of styles, exploration of serious issues, uplifting themes, and alternately haunting or infectious melodies, Djin Djin is a stunning set, enhanced by the efforts of the fabulous musicians within and Tony Visconti's masterful production. This CD was nominated for a Grammy award in 2007 for Best Contemporary World Music Album.