Good Music We Can Know

Sunday, February 20, 2011

On Patrol (Tuff Stuff): Control- Control (19??)

Do you even see how dope this cover is. Do you. I snagged this over at Soul Funk, one of those scrappin', bargain-bin-style blogs that doesn't always provide information or dates. No matter. I got it on the strength of the cover alone, and was pleasantly surprised to find that the contents (at least, the twelve-and-a-half minutes/two songs worth of content provided by Soul Funk- is this a single? who knows) were nearly as thin and hard and funky as the art might suggest. True, I might not be so keen on these brittle ghostbuster-funk tracks if it weren't for the perfect image in my head when I listen, but all art is a collection of disparate influences, and sometimes one ought not be afraid to conflate the packaging with the product. Control is awesome. Control is On Patrol. Control is tuff stuff for your car's tape deck. Believe.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Spiritual Jazz Obsession: Don Cherry (& Jazz Composer's Orchestra)- Relativity Suite (1973)

I would have thought I'd have posted more Don Cherry by this point. Alongside Archie Shepp and Alice Coltrane, Cherry is one of my favorites of the spiritual/free jazz scene. The clamor of free jazz, with Cherry, is always (well, often) organized for maximum emotional depth and musical diversity, using world-influenced patterns to attain a sense of consciousness-raising, either through meditative repetition or expansive soulfulness. He's also a wonderfully intuitive soloer, a truly inspired assembler and leader of ensembles, and he's not afraid to use vocals. I love him.

Here's a great slice of Cherry, in full World-Jazz mode. Featuring Indian karnatic singing, tamboura, a ching, Indian-sounding strings (not unlike some of what Alice Coltrane does with strings, albeit a bit smaller in scale), Cherry's floating cornet lines-- and generally employing the kind of Eastern/African/Asian influences one might expect from mid-70s Cherry. The whole thing rolls along beautifully, especially in its first half, at times challenging and at others completely meditative-- until the final selection, anyway, a gonzo marching brass tune entitled "March of the Hobbits."

This is wonderfully dynamic, exploratory work, highly recommended for Cherry fans. (For Cherry beginners, I'd recommend starting out with the excellent Eternal Rhythm, which is my favorite, but this would do well also.)


Gigantic thanks to Brewing Luminous, from whom I attained this. Go there for your jazz desires.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"Cast Away the Poison, Throw Down The Dagger! Rejoice, Sister!": Music From Sergei Paradjanov's Ashik Kerib- Dzhavanshir Kuliyev (1988)

Here is something you won't find anywhere else, fellows and friends: The soundtrack to Sergei Paradjanov's sublime Soviet-Armenian film Ashik Kerib. An Azerbaijan folk tale of a minstrel's intense journey told in poetic imagery, the film is damn near chock-a-block and wall-to-wall with blistering lute workouts, Azerbaijani traditional and spiritual musics, mystifying juxtapositions, otherworldy atmospheres, the occasional electronic flourish, and generally brilliant sound design. Watching the movie, I found myself breaking into a cold sweat. It's not quite Paradjanov's best film (such an honor would go to Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors and/or Color of Pomegranates, although I would still venture to declare Ashik Kerib an unequivocal masterpiece), but here his always-beyond-genius use of imagery is augmented by Dzhavanshir Kuliyev's work on one of the best, most relentless soundtracks I've ever heard... so moving and powerfully otherworldly, I felt as though my brain was being penetrated by Colonel Kurtz's diamond bullet, an epiphanic moment of clarity betwixt beauty and horror.

As soon as the film ended I was on the computer hunting for the soundtrack, and came up empty-handed. As far as I know, no such artifact is available. So when I got the Paradjanov box set for Christmas (oh, what a gift it was- thanks Mom), I set to work extracting audio from the film and compiling a home-made soundtrack. Here it is. Please subject your brain to these pleasures.

Here is the soundtrack, the fruit of my humble looms. It is audio curated straight from the film, which is mostly music (the music of Dzhavanshir Kuliyev, with some songs sung by Alim Gasimov), but does include some dialogue/in-film singing and aspects of the film's excellent sound design. I feel it is sonically interesting even for those unfamiliar with the film. To reiterate: the music is insane.

If you've never seen the film, you very much should. You'd love it. If you've never seen any Paradjanov films, then I urge you to rush to reverse this. I promise you such wild depths of satisfaction and inspiration. Truly one of the most gifted, unique, and important masters of cinema, he is also one of the most obscure, especially today. Tarkovsky once said, "We are guilty of not thinking of him daily and of failing to discover the significance of a master." To view his films is to find a missing link in the history of film, an enigmatic singularity whose influence is felt all over, but whose voice has never been even nearly reproduced or equalled. After viewing a Paradjanov joint, such a magnificent visual stylist and viscerally spiritual filmmaker as Alejandro Jodorowski begins to ring somehow hollower than before (not to be needlessly didactic), in comparison to Paradjanov's hallucinatory visual realm, which is based on, but not slavish to, esoteric rituals of real peoples; using cultural traditions and truths as a poetic kaleidoscope through which to experience passionate, humanist, mystical surrealism.

from wiki: Critic Alexei Korotyukov remarked: "Paradjanov made films not about how things are, but how they would have been had he been God."
Mikhail Vartanov wrote in 1969 that "...Besides the film language suggested by Griffith and Eisenstein, the world cinema has not discovered anything revolutionarily new until The Color of Pomegranates ...".

Get familiar with Mr. Sergei Paradjanov, dear friends.


For those of you with an interest: I have an unedited file of the film's complete audio. The whole thing plays as an extended, layered sound collage, with even the dialogue being mostly sung or musically delivered, so if you're hungry for a bite this big, then I offer it to you. Let me know if you want that, or I might not bother.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Altered Exotica- Flash Strap Presents Exotiste 2: Schooner in the Mist-Snakes Among the Gods (2011)

Due to what seemed like pretty good feedback, and a somewhat surprising download rate, I decided to go ahead and finish my second volume in the Exotiste series. Exotiste 2: Schooner in the Mist- Snakes Among the Gods is now here, and trippier than its predecessor. I really am quite pleased with it, myself. If you indulge this, and like it, there may well be more in the future, as I find I'm becoming slightly obsessed with this process of slow-and-lowing these pristine Space Age concoctions and watching them uncurl into sprawling jungle-doldrum purple poison-potion hallucinations.

The other night the dogs caught a desert hare and brought it into the yard, but didn't eat it. They just stood watch over its noble corpse. To honor their kill, and its sacrifice, we built a funeral pyre and sent it, ashen and ablaze, to the Gods, glowing in the Mexican night... along with the accompaniment of cocktails and herbs strange, what sounds do you think augmented the magic of the air? Exotiste. EXOTISTE.

Try it on for size, if you please! Set your schooner adrift in the mist, experience your man-made fantasy as it becomes lost on the purple clouds and enters the native land of myth, exploring the unknown depths-- until you find yourself at the foot of the temple, surrounded by snakes mating in massive balls, amassed in erotic worship of the Exotic Gods.


1. Paradise Cove- The Surfmen
2. Strange Echoes- Frank Hunter
3. Moon Mist- Out Islanders
4. Bali H'ai- Tak Shindo
5. Medley: Rain Forest/Rain in Rangoon/Rain- Les Baxter/Markko Polo/Les Baxter
6. Taboo- Ferrante & Teicher
7. Song of the Bayou- Martin Denny
8. Saycusca! (The Weary Stones)- Elizabeth Waldo
9. Bahia- Michel Magne
10. Happy Voodoo- Arthur Lyman
11. Spellbound Concerto- Marty Manning
12. Moonflowers- Warren Barker
13. Perfidia- Xavier Cugat
14. The Ancient Galleon- Les Baxter
15. Ecstasy- Les Baxter & Bas Sheva
16. Bora Bora- Les Baxter
17. Babalu- Stanley Black