Friday, September 30, 2016

Taeko Ohnuki - Copine.

Oh, just your standard, mid-'80's, Francophile, utterly masterful Japanese synth-pop record. I know I heard the lead-off track, "Les Aventures de Tintin," somewhere recently - maybe that Ice Choir mix? Dunno. Anyway, this album's got some range, apparently it was arranged by both Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yasuaki Shimizu, so that gives you some idea... my favorite track is featured below, nice mix of MIDI-fried syncopation and wavering arpeggios (strings? horns?), probably courtesy of Shimizu, whose own music I really need to share here at some point...


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Pascal Comelade - Paralelo

Saw that M. Comelade will be playing with Richard Pinhas (!!!) near me in January. Pascal Comelade, the name sounded familiar, then I recalled a really enjoyable album he put out with Jac Berrocal, Jaki Liebezeit, and others in the '90's. Maybe I'll put that up on here soon.

This album is a very nice mix of electronics on the listenable side (for me) of harsh and acoustic instrumentation (some piano, clarinet). Robert Wyatt is cited in one of the track titles, not sure if he plays on this, though that vocal loop attributed to Gavin Bryars in "Automne" sounds a lot like him... Also hearing traces of Harmonia (The loping loop of "Nicaragua") and Throbbing Gristle/Tolerance (the long siren sound/drum track of "Mouvement décomposé"). If you dig that stuff, chances are good you'd dig this!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bert Jansch - L.A. Turnaround

This choice is brought to you by... the seemingly institutionalized languor of Sundays in France and my missing Los Angeles (places, family, friends and felines). Often on late night French TV you'll find documentaries about some overdetermined moment in Hollywood history, replete with archived interviews with actors/directors/producers and plenty of stock footage of the downtown LA skyline, film studios, palm trees, what have you. I'm surprised to say that these images sometimes make me long for places I so often grumbled about while inhabiting them - home is where we make it, but also where we've been, inescapably.

Soothing these feelings of spatial disconnection, Mr. Jansch walks us through stories of sea captains, travelling men, and presumably more topical issues (political corruption, drug addiction...). Another wonderful player/singer I waited too long to check out. This album, not least because of its opening track, is perfect for a slow-moving Sunday morning.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Robbie Basho - Visions of the Country

I'm not sure why I never sought out Robbie Basho's music. Maybe I thought I had to pick sides in the American Primitive tradition? (I went with John and Leo.) My loss. This album is incredible in its emotional and technical range - I had no idea he was a piano player, but "Orphan's Lament" followed by "Leaf in the Wind" might be my favorite section of the album! His voice justifies that overused adjective, haunting, reminding me often of Antony. And of course the guitar playing throughout is superb. A fine introduction for me, I look forward to exploring his catalog!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Kenny Wheeler - Gnu High

The cover of this album sticks out in my memory, but I'd never heard it before this morning. A particularly strong set from the Standards trio and some lovely flugelhorn soloing by the late Mr. Wheeler. This is my introduction to his playing, and I'm ready for more. I'm also particularly taken by Jarrett's solo exploration about 8 1/2 minutes into "Heyoke." There may be a spate of autumn jazz albums on this blog, be forewarned.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Michel Chion - Requiem

Stumbled upon a post for a sound art/noise music festival happening this weekend where I'll have the honor of hearing M. Chion perform this piece. I know him primarily as a writer on sound in film, but I had the vague awareness that he made electroacoustic music with le Groupe des recherches musicales (INA-GRM) (think Bernard Parmegiani, Michel Redolfi). This work is quite powerful, just listened through it for the first time, the relationship between the treated sounds (which can be quite harsh at times, attention) and reciting voices building meanings throughout.

What Chion has written about the piece / my translation...

Le Requiem a été composé en pensant moins à cette majorité silencieuse que sont les morts qu’à cette minorité agitée que sont les vivants; pour l’auditeur, il se propose comme un parcours dramatique accidenté dont les courbes et les soubresauts traduisent une incertitude fondamentale devant la vie, la mort et la foi. [...] Avec le Requiem, je n’ai pas voulu livrer de message, de manifeste pro- ou anti-religieux. Il s’agit plutôt d’un témoignage personnel, où j’invite l’auditeur à se projeter lui-même, s’il lui plaît d’habiter cette musique de son expérience et de sa sensibilité.
I composed Requiem thinking less of the silent majority of the dead than of the agitated minority of the living ; for the listener, it is intended as an uneven dramatic journey of which the curves and jolts translate a fundamental uncertainty before life, death and faith… With Requiem, I didn’t want to deliver a message or a pro-/anti-religion manifesto. Instead, it consists of a personal testimony, where I invite the listener to project themselves, if it pleases them, to live within this music of their experience and their sensibility.

Here you go... 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Jah Wobble, Jaki Liebezeit, Philip Jeck - Live at Leuven

"It's raining today..." - some guy

I forgot what rainy days were like living in the desert. The humidity breaks, things cool off, less people in the street - you stay in, you do the things you've been meaning to do but keep putting off (if you're lucky and don't have to slog off to work) - reading, writing, listening to some tasty dub/electronica loopiness.

This lives up to my expectations of what a collaboration between these three artists would sound like = quite good. Tight-as-heck rhythm section that barely deviates once they've set things up, and Jeck doing his funny business on the turntables (I want to say?). Good for wet afternoons.

Oh, and do check out the Listen to This! blog, they posted a mix that introduced me to a fantastic group, Ice Choir. Recommended for you fellow YMO/Scritti Politti nerds, 100% ear candy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Eroc - Eroc 1 (1975)

Grobschnitt aside, here's the real deal. It's been posted before on blogs, but I imagine a fresh run is warranted...

This ambitious (in the best sense), protean record sounds like the result of someone bursting with ideas, normally constrained by the necessary compromises of working in a band, who is suddenly able to explore and make all the calls. It's pretty much all over the shop - about half is filled with gorgeous synth journeys, experimental vocal echo pieces, etc., while the other half sounds like the lost soundtrack of a genre-crossing western/teen beach movie. Absolutely wonderful. This is the 2007 German CD reissue with several bonus tracks, some of which I haven't heard yet...

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Grobschnitt - Jumbo

Bienvenue à

So I had this romantic idea that living in Europe, I'd come upon my favorite chanson/rock français and kosmische records for cheap, because, hey, they must be swimming in copies over here, right? Not so much - it would seem the vinyl craze is just as heavy/heavier in France (for example, it would seem that people are more than willing to pay well over 15 euros for ECM records...). I did see a decent copy of the third album of these OG weirdos for 10 euros.

Grobschnitt (no idea what the name means, but it's silly) seems to straddle very adroitly the fine line between krautrock jamming and prog pretension. I mean, look at that cover - these guys were a bunch of goofs that knew how to play. I got into them via the solo work of drummer Joachim Ehrig, a.k.a. Eroc - you'd be well advised to check out his meandering masterpieces (S/T I - IV). The songs on this album remind me at times of his solo work, more of prime Guru Guru. Not super into the vocalist, but he sounds OK when he sings in German. Choice jam: "Sunny Sunday's Sunset/Sonntag's Sonnabend."

N.B.: This version contains both the English language and German language recordings.