Good Music We Can Know

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Red Velvet and Other Dollar-Bin Records I Have Loved

Every year, during its fall fundraiser, WFMU has "Singles Going Steady Week" – all DJs who choose to do so play whole shows of 45s and singles.  Here in the Explorers Room, we don't have a lot of singles, and only one working turntable at the moment, so in observance of the week's spirit if nothing else I'll be spinning extended selections from some of my most cherished dollar-bin LPs.  All vinyl, all $1 or less. Mambo, utter schmaltz, surf, private press weirdness, exotica, Hawaiiana, etc.  Let's get dustier than usual, even, and spend an evening on the floor together with some of my least-valuable, most-valued capsules of mood music.


And now a note on the WFMU fundraiser: WFMU and Give the Drummer Radio encourage, implore, beseech, cajole, and entice you to contribute to our INTO THE BLACK fundraising campaign during the month of October. If you're already a supporter, consider converting your one-time pledge into a monthly sustaining pledge. This is our SWAG FOR LIFE option, which you can join for as little as $10 per month. Tell us how much and we will charge your card for that amount each month until you say stop. THIS IS THE SINGLE BEST WAY THAT YOU CAN HELP US.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Music in Mahogany

Tonight we'll hear some more Latin American exploratory sounds, a bunch of music from and about Haiti, and further grooves from hither and yon. Join in the sounds, jump in the comments, get in the Explorers Room tonight, 7-10:00.  See you there!

And now a note on the WFMU fundraiser: WFMU and Give the Drummer Radio encourage, implore, beseech, cajole, and entice you to contribute to our INTO THE BLACK fundraising campaign during the month of October. If you're already a supporter, consider converting your one-time pledge into a monthly sustaining pledge. This is our SWAG FOR LIFE option, which you can join for as little as $10 per month. Tell us how much and we will charge your card for that amount each month until you say stop. THIS IS THE SINGLE BEST WAY THAT YOU CAN HELP US.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Música Cósmica Folclórica y Cumbias Psicodélicas

Tonight we hear sundry South and Central American folkoricisms, extremely psychedelic cumbias from Colombia and Peru, and some wonderfully animist experimental Mexican synth music with pronounced pre-Columbian elements.  Also some stuff from the new Meridian Brothers, which is really, really unbelievably great.

Also, WFMU's annual October Silent Fundraiser has begun, and I urge you in earnest to pledge what you can.  In uncertain and alienating times such as these we need more than ever to maintain this portal into Total Sound Liberation and affirm our humanity by keeping something good and right actually alive for once. From each according to their ability, give so we may keep these good sounds in the ears of all.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Children of All Ages (Just Might Turn Out to be Sages)

Children of All Ages (Just Might Turn Out to be Sages): Tonight's Explorers Room starts with jazz for children and flows outward from there, into the beyond. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Relaxing with Cugat, Jazz Toccata & Fugue, Stormy Weather

Tonight in the Explorers Room, we come off that four-part series and take a little coolout episode.  Some back-to-basics fun stuff: Xavier Cugat, some records I've picked up recently, some jazz toccatas and fugues, and some storm-themed exotica.  Also, one particular unheralded marvel of obscure exotica that I just discovered and am very happy to put a spotlight on.  Tune in, jump in the comments with your other explorers, relax with Cugat and me.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: In Search of New Languages – Women in Electronic Music (Commercial & Mystic – All Dreams Are Not For Sale)

First off: Holger Czukay, one of the great musical heroes of our time, is gone and will be profoundly missed.  There are a lot of musical tributes floating around this week but I humbly recommend giving my own Czukay-centric Explorers Room a listen, part of a three-part Can series I did in 2015.  The pool just got less cool, the dancing spot a little less hot.  Goodbye Holger Czukay, thanks for everything.

Tonight in the Explorers Room we will hear the fourth and (for now) final installment in our series on the great women of electronic music. This evening will encompass a wide variety of approaches, from commercial to mystic to Oramic, with all the meditation, provocation, and pure exploratory research such a spread implies.  Heavily (but not exclusively) featuring: the great and only lady of Oramics, Daphne Oram; another BBC Radiophonic legend, Delia Derbyshire; and the liquid sublimity of Suzanne Ciani.  Tune in, join in the comments, hang out.

The study of sound and its relationship to life

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room – In Search of New Languages: Women in Electronic Music (Switching On & Classical Astronomy)

Tonight in the Explorers Room we will hear the third installment in our series on the great women of electronic music. This evening will find us focusing on the legendary Wendy Carlos – Moog vanguardist and pioneering practitioner of the switched-on classic – as well as a few others in the switched-on field, further studies in the occult, and some particularly conceptual planetarium music.

Tune in tonight and join in in the comments! 7-10, followed by The Cool Blue Flame with Little Danny.  And tune in next week for the final installment in the series (for now, anyway).

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room – In Search of New Languages: Women in Electronic Music (Astral Traveling, Forces of Nature, Dance & Performance)

Tonight in the Explorers Room we continue our look into some of the great women of electronic music, including the mysterious Pauline Anna Strom, both Laurie Anderson and Laurie Spiegel, and several other artists included on the groundbreaking 1977 compilation, New Music for Electronic and Recorded Media.  Expansive cosmic synths, linguistic play, and experimental performance works.  Same time (7-10), same place, same open invitation to join in the comments and add to the fabric of some pretty fascinating conversations.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: In Search of New Languages – Women in Electronic Music (Extended Vocal Techniques & Dream Revelations)

The Explorers Room is back, comrades!

Tonight in the Explorers Room, we embark on the first in a series of episodes exploring the wide-ranging world of women pioneers in electronic & synthesizer music.  Tonight we'll hear unusual vocal techniques and collaborations; themes of magic, mysticism, dreams, and eroticism; and some massively psychedelic, ego-death inducing legends of the field. Special attention paid to Annette Peacock, with appearances by Delia Derbyshire, Anaïs Nin, Joan La Barbara, and many more.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: A Full Dose of Dub

It's sweltering, the humidity is like hot fog, the sun a radioactive strobe.  The only cure for a heatwave like this is to get your chalice ablaze and have a full dose of dub.  Tonight will be wall-to-wall dub stuff, some of my very favorites. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Jazz Spirits and Arkestral Mind-Expansion

Tonight in the Explorers Room: an extremely heady selection of exotic, spiritual, and psychedelic jazz. From Phil Cohran and Eddie Gale to Tino Contreras and Gabor Szabo, tonight will be a vortex of consciousness-expansion, righteous fire, and inner peace.  Tune in, listen, jump in the comments, hang out with like-minded heads.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Fourth World Dream Theory (The Possible Musics of Jon Hassell)

Tonight in the Explorers Room we'll be excavating the invented ruins of the Fourth World, which is to say, it will be a program dedicated to exoticist, Eno collaborator, and originator of the musical term/concept of "Fourth World." Is Fourth World just a postmodern renaming of exotica? Or has Hassell opened the portal to another dimension of reconstructed otherness?  The only way to find out is to go there.

"The ability to bring the actual sound of musics of various epochs and geographical origins all together in the same compositional frame marks a unique point in history"

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Auvidis Library Sounds

Tonight in the Explorers Room, we will again investigate a bunch of library music from a single label. This time that label will be Auvidis, drawing mainly from a discrete grouping of synthi and funky LPs released in series between 1978 and 1984. There will be multiple appearances from our beloved J.P. Decerf, including a pretty wild collaboration with the Mauritian singer-songwriter Clarel Betsy. We'll also hear an extended foray into Auvidis' bizarre series of 7" field recording/music releases.  Click the Auvidis logo below to visit the playlist page, listen to the show, and join in the comments.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Exotica Concrète: The Dead Mauriacs – Beauté Des Mirages

I meant to post about this the second it came out, because I was so excited, but as usual I'm slightly late to the unveiling.  Better late than never, I write now to announce that the new Dead Mauriacs LP is out on Discrepant, and it's spectacular. 

I'll get this out of the way now: I did the cover art, and I think it looks really great, and goes well with the music on the record, and I'm very proud of it.  It's a collage I did last year, called Desert Song: The Sheik Manifests in the Garden (As the Green Man of Lore), really with no intention of using it for anything design-wise, but when I heard this record, which is itself all about illusions and disruptive intrusions in the paradisal exotic fantasia, it obviously resonated.  But I want to talk about the music for a minute. Anyone familiar with my own collage work and ideas regarding the complex subtextual landscape of exotica (and its relationship to Surrealism) will understand my enthusiasm and admiration for this record, which is in many ways specifically in line with those ideas.

The Dead Mauriacs are a mysterious French entity specializing in exotica concrète (mixing samples of exotica records with musique concrète strategies); all their releases are absolutely essential listening, especially with regards to anything that might be called contemporary exotica.  This new release, entitled La Beauté Des Mirages, is a tremendous panorama, a wide-screen sound collage from pieces of original exotica.  It lulls you into dream-state phantasmagoria and then tears at the fabric of fantasy with disturbing juxtapositions, discontinuities, and abrupt shifts.  In these moments of rupture, it's as though you're being asked to wake from the dream, but you're being pulled deeper into it, into feverish places where the utopian surface cracks and falls apart, revealing subtextual demons and chimeras of contradiction – the otherwise unaddressed colonial nightmare and industrial alienation that serves as the unacknowledged foundation for tiki and exotica's escapist pleasures.  I like to think Georges Bataille would have liked this record, that it aligns with his notions of ethnographic surrealism.  And I think someone like Martin Denny – who once described exotica as "a modern sound that evokes some very primitive feelings" and "pure fantasy," and always understood the total absurdity of it all – would love it too.  Maybe I say that because I love them both, and I love this, but they're as good a pair of reference points as any in describing the Dead Mauriac's sound.

This is not the first Dead Mauriacs release to treat exotica to exhilarating reconstructions and radical interventions – the last release, also on Discrepant, is excellent, as are Nouvelles Fonctions Exotiques, and the wonderful The Golden Age Of Artificial Inflatable Islands Or Ecstatic Free Love In A Ballardian Dystopia (and everything else I've heard). 

So check it out, explorers: Beauté Des Mirages

While you're at it, let me plug once again the other two Discrepant LPs I've done art for: Visions Congo, Mulago Sound Studio & Mike Cooper, Reluctant Swimmer / Virtual Surfer, because they're both absolutely brilliant, revelatory records that I personally love putting on the turntable and letting myself get sucked into their scenic soundstage and dreamy otherworldliness.  I've been lucky to do art for music this good, this adventurous.  Future projects are in the works, stay tuned.  (And if you have good music, get in touch with me, I'll make art for you too.) 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Creazioni Artistiche Musicali (Phantasms & Twists in the CAM Music Library)

Tonight in the Room we'll restrict our ears to hearing only library mindbenders and soundtrack jazz & twist produced for the prolific Italian CAM label. With a particular emphasis on two special synthi boys, Marcello Giombini and Jean-Pierre Decerf. Also making appearances: some usual suspects (Piero Umiliani, Stelvio Cipriani, Piero Piccioni) and some lesser-knowns as well (The Fine Machine, Giampiero Boneschi, and Lamartine).  Tune in, get your library card, and get ready for some weird stuff.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Membranophones & Idiophones, Surfer's Nightmare, Nihilist Picnic

Tonight in the Explorers Room, we'll hear percussion taxonomies (both authentically ethnographic and, I guess, pseudo-ethnographic, which is to say it'll be library music), some killer surf instrumentals, and extremely bizarre jazz imported from an alternate dimension.  It's all great – tune in, catch wave nine, and drop out.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Fringe, Romance, Contraband, Lend Me Your Era! (An Evening with Robert Wyatt)

Tonight in the Explorers Room, we celebrate the surprise success of Corbyn in the UK – and the broader, hopefully hopeful implications that result has for left politics going forward – by spending an evening with the music of Robert Wyatt.  I probably would have done this show regardless of the electoral outcome; it's a necessary tonic in victory or defeat.

In 1972, Wyatt asked, "how long can I pretend that music's more relevant than fighting for a socialist world?"  The music resulting from that conundrum gives us an invaluable vision of socialist-informed art: not only steadfastly political, unflinchingly critical, and committed to the cause of human emancipation, but also absurdist, experimental, endlessly playful, romantic, and deeply personal. Tonight we'll hear from a variety of Wyatt's solo and collaborative projects, both political and poetic (as if the two weren't one).  Tune in and hear He of the Great Voice.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Hingus (Breath) / Syncro (Systems)

Tonight will find us alternating between ecstatic&esoteric breathing exercises and long-form psychedelic Nigerian juju/highlife.  Process the hyperventilating insanity of the day, and prepare your mind for the action of tomorrow, with deep lungfuls of air and ears full shimmering cosmic guitars.  Join me in a room where kings and admirals are friends of the common man, and the air is always clean and holy.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Lewiston, Belew, Hybrid Dub, & Radical Jewish Culture

Tonight in the Room, we'll have a great deal of variety as we pay tribute to the great music-explorer, David Lewiston (who left this world on May 29, alas); some wild and often exotic offerings, all featuring one of my favorite guitarists, the absurdly talented Adrian Belew; a wide variety of hybrid, progressive, and post-punk dub projects; and some choice tracks from Tzadik label's Radical Jewish Culture series, among other things.  Tune in, let's get wild.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Africa is the Place and Revolution is the Dub

Tonight in the Explorers Room, we hear free jazz as it hearkens to notions of liberation in a symbolic, geographical and historical "space" such as Africa, bookending a big steamy set of dub, reggae, and deejay toasts on a variety of subjects not limited to but certainly including the aforementioned intersection of identity & Africa (also boxing, fine menswear, curfew law).  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Water Planet - Amazonia - Space Trip

Tonight in the Explorers Room, we'll have a lazy day show of kalimba garden music, synthi library jungles, hot world jams, and psychedelic jazz.  Tune in, get zen and then turn that zen onto a funky trip.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Five Hour Show(!), Cluster / Moebius & Roedelius 1971-1983

Tonight in the Explorers Room, I'll be going from 7-Midnight as I fill in for The Cool Blue Flame with Little Danny.  To best make use of all that extra time, I'll be doing something I've wanted to do for some time now, but always felt I needed more than three hours to accomplish (as well as performing a follow-up to a the Neu!-themed show of a few weeks back): tackling the impressive, sprawling ouvre of Moebius and Roedelius, the duo that makes up Cluster, is 2/3 of Kluster and Harmonia, collaborated with Eno, split off into seemingly infinite, mind-blowing solo projects and collaborations, and worked extensively with supergenius Conny Plank.  In order to be able to cover any of these albums (a dizzying number of which qualify for greatest albums of their kind – or any kind, really), I've constrained myself to the period from 1971-1983.  We'll hear motorik odysseys, post-war avant garde, synthi candies, monastery garden meditations, agressively experimental noise, singularly unusual reggae appropriations, lullabies, drones, and sounds for which there are no satisfying descriptive words, all hammered out into a timeline structure that's not too far off the mark, I think. 

Tune in for the Cluster marathon, join the conversation there, keep me going through a five-hour endurance session of some of the greatest krautrock material ever made, ever. 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Cover Art: Visions Congo, Mulago Sound Studio (Discrepant)

Very pleased once again to say that I have another cover coming out for the Discrepant label, this time for a record by the Discrepant jefe, under the moniker Visions Congo.  Two sprawling sides of field recordings and synth, playing games with authenticity and immersion.  Here's the official blurb, which sums it up fairly well:

Visions Congo is yet another moniker from Discrepant’s head honcho, Gonçalo F Cardoso, taking Africa as a starting point to evoke the memories and re-imagined experiences of his 6-month stay in the region back in 2015.
Most of the recordings and compositions were done in the great lakes of Africa region of Uganda, Congo (DRC), Tanzania as well as the island of Zanzibar. Meshing impromptu in situ compositions with old dusty samples and his own field recordings is the go to modus operandi of Gonçalo F Cardoso's various monikers (ie Gonzo, Papillon), creating deep layered 'exotic/alien' soundscapes of various moods and feels. Here’s another series of surreal and augmented field recordings that try to brace the listener with fresh alien authenticity before toying very pointedly with antiquated constructs by mixing avant-garde dustbin synth music with concrete field recordings and humorous, tongue in cheek intersections - not to ‘ever’ be taken too seriously.
With a brand new art collage by US artist Evan Crankshaw. 

Check it out, man!  It's good stuff!

And also: for album art or related art&design needs, email me. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Loops, Oneness, Soul Repetitions

Tonight in the Explorers Room we'll have a sort of laid back show as I prepare for next week, which will be a 5-hour program (likely to be focused on Cluster, Moebius & Roedelius - don't miss it).  But tonight won't be a slouch by any stretch: we'll hear from the new Antropoloops EP, some more top-notch Italian minimalism (more straightforward and less exotic than the last time around, but just as good if not better), some funky selections from Oneness of Juju (which developed out of the band Juju, is just as awesome if less militant), and a set of repetitions on a "soul" theme. And more. A very groovy night. Tune in, explore with me.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: The Laughing String, A Science Experiment

Tonight's Explorers Room, in observance of the Fine Art of Goofing Off, will explore the weird world of the incredible Laughing String.  The Laughing String can bring joy and mirth into your home; this has been proven true, with the scientific realities of our day, in this time.  Those of you who are in analysis I think will understand the function of this object: lace the string around the group, or gang of cats, or around the periphery of your body, and wind it up tight. The laughter will come, at about mid-ships.

Please join tonight in this laughing experiment, and keep in mind that it is recommended to store the string in a little plastic container when not in use.  It has a kind of radioactive electronic thing about it which gets completely dissipated.  It's a sort of in-group thing. Make it swing while you go and try to hear all the sounds while you fall out.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: 100th Episode! White Goddess – King Kong

On this historic evening, the 100th night of the Explorers Room, we'll once again embark on exotic and surreal exploration: in search of the glorious monster, the king of all beasts, the great and powerful Kong; through the strange echoes and lost plateaus of Frank Hunter's classic Ondioline-exotica album, White Goddess; and feverishly revisiting some especially salient favorites from the very first show.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Avant-Alohas, Italian Minimalist Jungles, Inflatable Arcadias

Tonight in the Explorers Room, we return from last week's absence to traipse feverishly through disorienting jungles devised by exotica concrète and other strategies, including a lengthy sojourn to those of Italian minimalist/fourth world/ethnosurrealist outfit Futuro Antico, and some of the various offshoots of that collective scene.  We'll also spend some weird time in various visions of Hawaii, from indigenous Hawaiian avant-garde music, to bizarre conceptions of Hawaii in psych and outsider music, with some other stuff that's hard to classify filling in the gaps.  Should be a jungly one, sailors.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: M O T O R I K

Tonight's Explorers Room will be spent in perpetual motion, an exploration of the motorik sound – also referred to as lange gerade (long straight), endlose gerade (endless straight), or the Apache beat – mainly as practiced by its sort-of originators, Michael Rother & Klaus Dinger of the legendary krautrock duo, Neu!  We'll hear manifestations of motorik in Neu!'s various recordings, and its continuing evolution & influence in a variety of Dinger/Rother solo/side projects and collaborations with other krautrock luminaries.  Two lines, only occasionally converging, barrelling straight ahead at a constant speed, indefinitely.  No destination necessary.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: MARATHON MAN Week 2! Support WFMU!

Tune in tonight to the Explorers Room for WEEK TWO of the WFMU FUNDRAISING MARATHON.  I'll be playing awesome sounds from the various albums that are my lot to award as prizes, to you, provided you have the means, revolutionary fervor, love of music, passion for emancipated & emancipatory programming, and goodness of heart to donate to the cause, the righteous cause of keeping WFMU afloat and a-broadcasting, beaming via radiowaves and pneumatic internet tubes a multivalent, multi-platform, neverending supply of sonic sustenance for an otherwise sorely alienated world that isn't sure it feels like itself anymore.  Help, please, help. 


A pledge of $20 or more during my show will make you eligible for prizes (see above); a pledge of $75 or more will also guarantee you this years Explorers Room Premium (see below): Madness – The Feast of the Drum.  A collection of percussive ritual sorcery, imitation voodoo, bongo fetishisms, ethnographic hallucinations, the rare authentic, and throbbing mysteries from exotica's jungle night imaginary.  African drumming packaged as exotica, exotica packaged as ethnographic document, and all the ambiguities and fever dreams in between.

See the pledge widget below:

TONIGHT: Each at the forge must do their duty! Strike while the iron is hot!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: MARATHON MAN, Week 1

Tune in tonight to the Explorers Room and dig my small part of the 2017 WFMU annual fundraising marathon.  Pledge to support a revolutionary organization that challenges the tyranny of sonic hegemony and consistently advances the cause of liberated music programming, all without underwriting or blood money to muddy the mission.  A world without WFMU is a worse world, so let's keep it around.  The only way that happens, and somehow this seems to work, is through contributions from listeners and human beings like yourself.

A pledge of $20 or more during my show will make you eligible for prizes (see above); a pledge of $75 or more will also guarantee you this years Explorers Room Premium (see below): Madness – The Feast of the Drum.  A collection of percussive ritual sorcery, imitation voodoo, bongo fetishisms, ethnographic hallucinations, the rare authentic, and throbbing mysteries from exotica's jungle night imaginary.  African drumming packaged as exotica, exotica packaged as ethnographic document, and all the ambiguities and fever dreams in between.

See the pledge widget below:


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Storm Comin'

Tonight in the Explorers Room, sort of un-themed show of music I've been listening to this week and enjoying.  Lots of Keith Hudson, Mighty Sparrow, Eddie Harris.  You get the picture.  It'll be good.  It's my birthday this week, so I'm just playing music to please myself, basically.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Indigenous Protest, Antropoloops, Aesthetic Expressions Of Psychedelic Funk Music

Tonight in the Explorers Room we'll hear protest, folk, and art music from American indigenous peoples; a healthy serving of ecstatic sound-collages from the deliriously brilliant Antropoloops project; and other psychedelic exorcisms from around and about this throbbing planet. 


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: I Mean Damn, Get Out of Your Seat!

Tonight in the Explorers Room, let's completely boogie out the room with some Nigerian funk, militant disco, purplefunk squiggle music, underground dance experiments, mutant reggae, and queer cosmic allegories.  Your explorers room is now a dancefloor: how will you use it, explorer?

And then tomorrow we see how the February 17 general strike will go.  Probably not very well, particularly without a strong union involvement, but dammit that's no reason not to participate.  Don't work, don't shop.  Stay home and goof off, which, as Henry Jacobs reminds us, is a creative act of radical self-determination.  Or follow Brother D's words of wisdom: go out and AGITATE! EDUCATE! ORGANIZE!

In the meantime, see you tonight, 7:00 sharp:

Sunday, February 12, 2017

"Expedition" Now Available at Printed Matter, Inc.

Very very pleased to announce that my book, Expedition, is now available at Printed Matter, an incredible organization "dedicated to the dissemination, understanding and appreciation of artists' books" at 231 11th Ave in New York.  Pop in and check it out.  It's also in the online catalog, here.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Songs of Blood and Fire

Tonight in the Explorers Room we'll be hearing a program of Jamaican music with revolutionary & polit(r)ic(k)al overtones, among other subjects of passion & righteousness.  Lots of stuff by/produced by Lee Perry, Joe Gibbs, Keith Hudson, and Niney the Observer, from all-time, I-know-you-know-them full metal classics to dubplates, b-sides, and album tracks. 

The current state of things dictates that we must listen to and learn from various resistance musics dating to earlier days – and other regions, geographically speaking – of the struggle; additionally, under even the most utopian imaginable circumstances, this music would be too good not to play.  See you tonight, 7-10, in the usual room.  Devils beware, you ha fe get a beaten.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Hear the Helicopter, Hear the Thunder – In Memoriam Jaki Liebezeit

Tonight's Explorers Room will be a sort of tribute to the fallen god of drum, Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit.  Liebezeit, as you probably know, died of pneumonia on January 22nd.  At that time, I already had an entire show planned – and since portions of it concerned relevant protest and immigration issues I figured it best not to postpone – but I still wanted to do a show in memoriam of this great artist and master drummer.  I hope you won't mind if it's a week late, so to speak. As though it's ever the wrong time for Can.

Back in October 2016, I dedicated three consecutive programs to Can and their various activities, together and apart.  With those shows, I played most of the material from (what I consider to be) their prime, the run of LPs from Soundtracks to Landed, as well as most of my favorite tracks from their best solo/post-Can projects.  Of course, I could put together a show of all the stuff from those albums that I didn't play and it would be just as good – such is the greatness of Can, the greatest band – but tonight I think I'll mainly play stuff from areas I didn't get to last time around.  That means pulling from the great wealth of bootlegs, live performances, and studio outtakes, as well as some of the best tracks from their LPs in the post-Landed 70s: Flow Motion (probably the best of this period), Saw Delight, Can, Out of Reach.  Far from their best albums, but nonetheless excellent, and inevitably full of great work. Mindblowing stuff, actually, and often overlooked.  There will be an emphasis on drum-heavy tracks, of course.  Tonight will take us to space, my friends, and thus a millimeter closer to brother Liebezeit, so dearly missed on this wretched earth.

In the meantime, or whenever, check out the archives of my previous Can shows:

October 1, 2015: Communism-Anarchism-Nihilism: CAN, the Greatest Band
October 8, 2015: Let's Get Cool and Normal in the Pool with Holger Czukay (Can Members, Post-Can, Pt. 1)
October 15, 2015: Irmin Schmidt, Jaki Liebezeit, Michael Karoli, & Damo Suzuki (Can Members, Post-Can, Pt. 2) 

Also check out fellow GTDR host Jesse Kaminsky's (of Kaminsky Kamoutsky) tribute to Liebezeit here

Then join me tonight in the Room for some drummin' from the other side of the mind

Friday, January 27, 2017

Cover Art: Mike Cooper, Reluctant Swimmer / Virtual Surfer (Discrepant)

Hello all! Very pleased, very proud to say that there's a new Mike Cooper release coming out this February, with sleeve art by yours truly. 

Time and again, Cooper heroically expands the horizons of exoticism (and everything else) with experimentalism and improvisation. An absolutely brilliant artist, a gentle titan, a true and revolutionary exot. The album, Reluctant Swimmer / Virtual Surfer, is being released on vinyl by the Discrepant label, which has put out tons of field recordings, exotic, experimental, and globally-minded music.  From the Discrepant site:

The 'icon of post-everything,' Mike Cooper, returns to Discrepant with a recording of a live set recorded at the Controindicazioni Festival of Improvised Music in Rome in 2003.  The music moves very slowly through four movements: Reluctant Swimmer,” Movies is Magic,” Virtual Surfer,” and Dolphins. 'Floating in out of the exotic ether and disappearing like smoke, engulfed in the alien hugeness of nature... a very elegant set by a visionary artist.'

Mike Cooper says 'the first half is played on my old 1920s National tri-plate lapsteel guitar and the second half on my Vietnamese electric lap steel. I also sing two songs along the way. Movies is Magic by Van Dyke Parks and “Dolphins” by Fred Neil. It was the first time I had ever sung the last song.' 

Seriously, the rendition of "Movies is Magic" (originally on Van Dyke Parks' & Brian Wilson's strange, wonderful, frustrating album Orange Crate Art), is totally transformative, just deeply moving, especially in the context of the performance, where it truly emerges from abstraction and atmosphere, then disappears again.  Listen to the two versions together sometime.

 Check it out here.

I have a couple more covers for Discrepant coming out this year, stay tuned.  Very exciting music.  I love making cover art for good music; let me know if you have one and perhaps I can provide the other. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Funk, Jazz & Calypso (With and Without Social Significance)

Tonight in the Room we will hear South African liberation jazz; political calypsos on themes of corruption, poverty, and immigration (most from a big box of calypso LPs I only just bought, and am still exploring); and a scorching downpour of dance funk from each installment in Hamilton Bohannon's insane run on the Dakar label (six LPs from '73-'77), and one from his Phase II on Mercury.  Most everything will be from my collection tonight, which pleases me.  Tune in, be with me, get funky, get mad.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: If the Drum is a Woman – March

Tomorrow, Trump will be inaugurated, ushering in a heightened normalization of discriminatory discourse and an escalation of persecutions and aggressions based on that discourse (among many other nightmares, undoubtedly).

The next day, there will be a Women's March in D.C., and many smaller regional marches and protests around the world.  I have my doubts that the big march will be as revolutionarily intersectional and class-conscious as it should be, or support a significant anticapitalist or anti-imperialist aspect (to my mind, crucial components of globally-minded feminism).  But I think this march will prove to be more than just a bourgeois exercise.  It will be an inevitably historic moment, and its message is ultimately not reliant on the aims and stated policies of the march's founders, or the media – in truth, the message of this protest is yet to be written, and when it is, it will be done collectively, by those in attendance.  

So tonight's show is an expression of solidarity to all the sisters and brothers and comrades who will be attending the march, and all its satellites – committing their presence and their voices to this demonstration of resistance, this continuation of the struggle.  

Saturday, January 14, 2017

New Flash Strap Mix – "Vega-Tables: Eating Human Meat Under Friendly Observation" – For Food& Magazine

Very pleased to announce that a new mix of mine has just been put out by Food& magazine, entitled "Vega-Tables: Eating Human Meat Under Friendly Observation."  For their second issue, AliensFood& is an appealingly bizarre enterprise, focusing on "unusual encounters with food," an absurd idea for an ongoing publication.  There's an undeniable surrealism to the whole notion of smashing two unlike concepts together just to see what the resulting juice will taste like.  I like this.  I like juxtaposition, for its own sake or any other. Here's a little more in the way of description, if you care to learn.

Anyway, I did what I think is a pretty good mix/podcast that you can listen to on the site, and an attendant interview outlining some of my feelings relating to food, aliens, music, etc.  Check it out.  I also have a piece of art in the print magazine, so if you buy a copy, rest assured you'll see it there, looking back out at you.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: The Rebels are Coming to Town

Tune in tonight for a sprawling program of diaspora music, rapso, calypso-disco, funk, jazz, and political soul from Trinidad&Tobago, Ghana, Zambia, Angola, and pockets of the USA, among others.

That's a short, basic write-up, I know, but just know that the tunes tonight will be out of control.  See you there.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Through a Veil of Moon Mist – Adventures in Time & Space

Tonight in the Explorers Room, join me as we journey through time and space, to the future, to the moon, to planets and galaxies exotic and mysterious.  Space-age exotica, library themes, and early experimental electronics attempting to connote the unknown as we know it with bleeps, bloops, bubble sounds, echo effects, theremins (and ersatz theremins), tape effects, wordless vocals, and so on and so forth, into the future of sound as imagined by the stereowizards of the past....

Join me, tonight, 7-10. First show of the new year.