Sunday, January 27, 2013

Not-So-Daily Double: Ennio Morricone - Frantic OST (1988, Elektra) and Scott Walker - Climate of Hunter (1983, Virgin)

1. Mr. Morricone

So, last night I re-watched Roman Polanski's "Frantic" and loved it again, for different reasons and the same reasons. The music really captured me this time - and I noticed for the first time that Ennio Morricone did the soundtrack. Something about those swirling synths and prominent, high-register bass was making me think that Scott Walker's one 80's album might have been a good fit for the film - but I'll get to that in a second.

It's not just the Morricone backing that I liked, Grace Jones' re-working of Astor Piazzola's "Libertango" was great, as well as this one haunting number that plays during the scene where Emmanuel Seigneur's character is changing in her room and H. Ford shuts the door (I'll buy whoever can give me the title to that one a beer). Really, the whole movie gives you feel, the sense of this American doctor scrambling in a seedy Polanski Paris... and Morricone's stellar at conveying this, as usual!

One you unfortunately won't get on the OST: 

2. Mr. Walker

Someone should really do a montage of scenes from "Frantic" set to this album - it would work. I've been really enjoying this one lately. It's got that "too good to be so short" feel - you got to give Scott his room, but I would like another few albums with this sound before we get to the heebie-jeebies of his latest style (really I shouldn't be making this claim, I haven't tread too deeply into his work from Tilt on). But yeah, this is the one for me - this and the first four tracks from Nite Flights

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Betty Wright - Betty Wright Live (Alston, 1978)

I know, I've been inexcusably tardy here, but I've been thinking of you, honest... I'll try to make it up to you through the day.

This find is all thanks to my good friend Phillip, who's running the newly created Tonight is the Night blog, titled in homage to the stunning track on this album. I've been trying to track down the studio version (featured on her '74 album, "Danger High Voltage"),  but no avail. Looks like I might actually have to patronize a physical store/iTunes...

To be honest, I'm as new to this record as all of you, I just love grooving to "Tonight is the Night", especially when it comes on LA's Hot 92.3 sandwiched between Prince and some other hot slice of funk, I can't remember which...

Enjoy here

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Arthur Russell - The World of Arthur Russell (Soul Jazz, 2004)

So, my plan was to post one of his more subdued, songwriter-with-cello recordings, like World of Echo or Another Thought, but for a number of reasons, I've decided to go with this one.

1. I'm not feeling well, and this comp. record pumps me up. I need to get through this week, so these choice disco beats and groovy sounds will keep me on track, hopefully... and you too!

2. This was the first music of Russell's I ever encountered, so, if you've never heard him, why not start here? It's the most fun you can have in his discography. 

3. My burned CDs are horribly disorganized since moving and I can never find what I want...

Bitch, bitch, bitch... Anyway, it's ARTHUR RUSSELL, people! Keep the party going.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Joe Meek - I Hear a New World (Triumph Records, 1960)

A memory so worn I'm sure I'm misrepresenting, nevertheless - during one of my first visits to the indispensible True Vine record store in Baltimore, Jason, the store's owner, counted off on his fingers a list that has remained in my brain... although its context eludes me. The four best artists of all time? His four essential artists? I can't remember, nor can I recall the fourth name, just Sun Ra, Moondog, and... Mr. Joe Meek. [This prefatory statement meant as a gesture of respect for such a kind and giving individual - please give back by patronizing his store when you're around.]

Althrough I've pretty much stayed on the surface of the general obsession surrounding Mr. Meek, I never tire of this recording (I also recommend the compilation of his girl group productions, featuring one of my favorite fractured bubble gum tracks, available just below...)


...but that's another story. "I Hear a New World", credited to Rod Freeman & the Blue Men, has to be one of the curios of the oxymoronic genre "underground pop". Shifting from dreamy exotica melodies to some of the eeriest "wasteland" drones I've ever heard (without the use of synthesizers - correct me if I'm wrong), it's always a singular, captivating listen. I hope you enjoy it if you've never had the pleasure.

Get it here, complete with interview tracks! (.m4a files again, let me know if this is a problem)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Flying Lizards - Fourth Wall (Virgin, 1981)

For my money, the best of their albums (we won't count "Secret Dub Life", which is pretty great, too). I was reminded of it on picking up the first Michael Nyman Band album at Amoeba today and noticing that "Hands 2 Take", one of my favorite songs here, is built out of edits of Nyman's "Bird List Song". Nice!

 The weird pop of the S/T album is here (the hooks of tracks like "Move on Up" and the title track can't be denied), but what takes the cake are David Cunningham's forays into instrumental synth/tape music, like "Cirrus" with its vocal loops or the incomparable "New Voice". I wish I could find more of this stuff - maybe one day a vault will open with tons of his unreleased solo work. I can dream, can't I?

Enjoy it here

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Jacques Dutronc - S/T (Vogue, 1968)

(A.K.A. "Il est cinq heures, Paris s'éveille")

(This is not the cover, it features a trademark shot of Jacques with a fat cigar, but I like this silly image better, it seems his label was always dressing him up in costumes for promo shots)

Jacques Dutronc is many things - spouse of Françoise Hardy (maybe the coolest thing about him), singer, movie star later in his career (after the music career fizzled)... I'd like to know who was listening to this record in France in 1968, a time of manifest conflict between classes and social groups in the country (and elsewhere, of course). Dutronc (and his assisting songwriters) certainty take a Ray Davies-style approach, satirizing the wage-slave hierarchy of the office workplace ("L'augmentation"), the empty "philosophy" of the hippies, etc. As with the Kinks, the listener is left wondering what positions aren't condemned by the singer/songwriter. But maybe the context I'm trying to place this in wasn't really there at all. It's more likely that this was an album made to appeal to a younger, "liberal" audience (stylistic shades of garage rock, Dylan, etc.) and that Dutronc was the pretty face/voice that fit with the product. Color me cynical, people, this isn't to take away from the album as eminently enjoyable to this day, removed from its milieu...

"Si vous ne m'aimez pas, ça n'a aucune d'importance /
C'est moi qui vous aime et vive la France"

Get it here (Heads up: these are .m4a files)


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Gregory Isaacs - Mr. Isaacs (1978, Cash and Carry Records)

"Gregory Isaacs The Coolest Entertainer on Earth no one can dispute that Guidance Mr. Isaacs Jah Leggo"

Preaching to the choir... 

This seems appropriate as my first post of the new year. Greg Isaacs (I really wanted to call him that), the Cool Ruler, laying it down smooth with the Heptones and the Revolutionaries backing and keeping it real, with some really affecting lyrics about inequality and racism. Let's keep our heads, people, keep our feet on the ground and know what's going on in the world this year! Then we can make a habit of it...

As the first shall be last and the last shall be first, let's sample some rebel music...

Get it here