Good Music We Can Know

Saturday, December 29, 2012

"Conscious Wielders of Creative Fire": Joel Andrews- The Violet Flame (1976)

I was recommending The Violet Flame to a friend the other day.  Naturally, I directed him to the source, the phenomenal Crystal Vibrations-- but when we got there the link for this particular treasure was long down.  So I figured I'd resurrect it here for the benefit of all, and take the opportunity to direct all those still-unfamiliar toward the hallowed New Age hall of wonders that is Crystal Vibrations.  Many priceless jewel-boxes (with live links) thrive there still.

Joel Andrews' The Violet Flame is a delight, and incredibly simple.  Each side of the LP is fully given over to a single "side-long meandering" on solo harp.  You cannot lose.  From the liner notes:

"During the time of the winter solstice, 1976, Joel gathered with a small group for a meditation to invoke, anchor and broadcast the Transmutive Seventh Ray activity of the Violet Flame through the medium of music. This is a result of that meditation and is a companion to the first album released entitled Kuthumi."

"the devic and elemental kingdoms are at one, and work interdependently on the horizontal grid of physical manifestation. therefore the vertical process of personal individual transmutation becomes a part of the process of planetary transformation, and through the symbol of the cross, stands as an essential link in bridging the elemental, human, and angelic kingdoms. this transmutative work, carried out from below by conscious wielders of creative fire, when couple with the transformative activities of those dispensers of cosmic force from on high, illustrates the highest quality of co-creative effort in building a new heaven and a new earth, and becomes a practical demonstration for the vision of a new age. LET LIGHT AND LOVE AND POWER RESTORE THE PLAN ON EARTH"


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Guardian of the Eastern Dark: Duke Pearson- The Phantom (1968)

The title track of The Phantom is an orgiastically successful piece of exotica-jazz.  A smoldering triumph of hazy tropic/modal bluesy languid-erotic repetitions-- with Pearson's piano acting as mysterious guide through the spiritual structure and Bobby Hutcherson's vibes as both explorer and scurrying wildlife, accented by a classic jungle-shadow flute sound (from Jerry Dodgion), and a killer bass line-- this track lives up to, and indeed surpasses, the sensual and exotic experience impossibly promised by the exquisite cover art.

The rest of the record is less successful-- at times it struggles even to be interesting-- but at the very least it does manage to lay down a handful of unobjectionably laid-back (and back-ground) samba-esque and Latin jazz numbers.  They're pretty sweet and winning in the moment, with nice performances from all, but ultimately a little forgettable.  "The Moana Surf," however, is a definite highlight full of understated excellence: Dodgion and Hutcherson really get into some nice sections together, the drums are awesome, and the composition pokes a toe into "The Phantom"'s shadowy realm. It's great stuff, in fact.

Mr. Pearson may not have been able to hold down an LP's worth of the kind of deep-grotto jazz-monsters perhaps promised by the title track-- and that's too bad, my god-- but The Phantom would be worth it for that selection alone.  It bears repeating, however, that the lesser tracks hold their share of quiet virtues and will no doubt occasion to delight you in an unguarded moment of luxury.  So pop this on and get down with The-Ghost-Who-Walks.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sphere Sauvage

A message to any of you out there who might be reading from the St. Louis area: In the unbelievable scenario that you haven't got anything better to do with your Friday evening, you might consider attending the opening of a show in which I have the above piece (a collaboration with my beloved colleague, Raleigh Gardiner) at Luminary Center for the Arts, at 2644 Cherokee St., from 7-10.  Further info

Come penetrate our exotic terrarium, sink in the stereo-wingback chair, and read my book.  Or check it out anytime through Feb. 1st.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bibliothèque Exotique: Roger Roger- Musique De Iles, Méditerranée (probably 1960-1962?)

"Bolero Chinoise"

A little over four years ago, a blog by the name of Painted on Silence blasted out a hot stream of rare library LPs-- an admirable collection brought into the light by what must have been considerable labor and expense.  Among the many bright jewels of this windfall were quite a few excellent selections from Roger Roger and/or Nino Nardini. 

Their links lived but a short time.  Fortunately, Mr. Durango of Val Verde Music (among other things) was courageous enough to resurrect many these treasures.  You can still find them, four years later, here.  These otherwise rare selections, as rescued by Mr. Durango, helped me immensely in compiling my Roger Roger & Nino Nardini project, Obsession Exotique.


While many of the LPs from which I culled the selections that ended up on Obsession Exotique were worthwhile in their entirety (more or less, anyway) these two LPs seemed to me to beg for a spotlight of their own.  The idea of Obsession Exotique was to find the exotica selections sprinkled throughout a massive and obscure ouvre, but these particular LPs are openly, classically, wall-to-wall exotica.    

Exotica of a sort, anyway: they're what we might call vacation/"foreign film" exotica, more in the manner of Morton Gould or John Scott Trotter's Escape to the Magic Mediterranean (or even, sad to say, 101 Strings), than Les Baxter or Jungle Obsession, but for a true exotica hunter they surely hold enough allure to be worth a good listen.

Musique Des Iles is the stronger of the two, mixing in with those silver strings and that Scheherazade sound an occasional samba rhythm, some snazzy percussion, a playful sensibility, and sometimes coming out sounding like a Fellini soundtrack.  "Bolero Chinoise" is a real highlight, as is the sexy build-up of "Sortileges", where flashes of Roger Roger's admiration for Mr. Baxter possibly shine through.  Méditerranée is pretty cool too, just a little more same-y throughout, and overall a bit lighter in tone.  I'm particularly fond of "Tears" and "Anouman."

Check these out.  But also follow the above links through and pick up the rest of the story-- thanking the gentlemen responsible along the way.  Their labors are our pleasures.  (And check out Obsession Exotique, if you haven't already.)



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Jungle Symphony: Ananda Shankar- Sa-Re-Ga Machan (1981)

If you've never heard this, you're surely in for a treat.  You may very well have heard it, however, since it's been drifting about upon the flotsam-strewn blogsea for quite some time.  I think I got it from EXP ETC a few years ago, when he did that Ananda Shankar mega-post.  But since those links are now gone-- and I'm currently enraptured anew of this record-- I thought I'd take a moment to toss it up.  Let's try and catch up to any unfortunate souls who may have thus far eluded this slinky Indian tigress.

Mr. Shankar is, of course, the nephew of Ravi Shankar, though I hasten to add that one did not educate the other in the art of sitar, and thus the detail is of mainly anecdotal significance, at least as far as I know.  Indeed, in my (egregiously uninformed) estimation, Ananda's sitar stylings have never been the strongest suit of his East-meets-West psych/jazzy fusions.  The shredding on his most famous track, "Jumpin Jack Flash", feels to me ultimately more Strawberry Alarm Clock than Stones-circa-Satanic Majesties (though undoubtedly it is technically superior to anything from either).  What I do find so enchanting about Mr. Shankar at his best is very simple.  His wonderful cross-pollination sets Indian tradition alongside Western funky popcraft, employing a half-and-half band of tabla, sitar and the like, and electric guitar, drums, moog, etc.  The result is deeply, classically exotic, and has the kind of muted, cinematic, sexy trippiness of the best production library LPs (Roger Roger and Nino Nardini spring to mind, but you knew I'd say that, I'm sure). 

Sa-Re-Ga Machan is my favorite Ananda Shankar outing.  Perhaps precisely because it has so little sitar, and so much flute and moog and the like.  Or maybe because it sounds almost exactly like Jungle Obsession, replete with those Stringsonics string sounds, or a more Indian version of "Soul Vibrations" from Dorothy Ashby's Afro-Harping.  Whatever.  You'd love it.  Nearly every track is a mysterious ecstasy of jungle shadows and lurking seductive danger. Music that sounds like this positively requires a tiger for its cover art.

Just a side note: if you grabbed my last Jungle Shadows mix, you've definitely heard my all-time favorite track from the record, and one of my all-time favorites period, and that is the sleek and exquisite "Night in the Forest." 


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Like Tears in Rain": Tomita- Snowflakes Are Dancing (1974)

Here it is, the most beautiful shit ever.  A set of exquisite "virtuoso electronic performances of Debussy's beautiful tone paintings." Tomita's first, and almost certainly best, LP.

If you're unsure whether this is for you-- if you've heard other Tomita, or any of a number of "switched-on" classical records, and been left cold-- all I can say is this: listen to the one-two punch of "Clair de Lune" (towering glacial beauty, utter revelation) and "Arabesque No. 1" (where Tomita's innovative cartoon-robot whistles and coos can be heard in their finest incarnation) and you will certainly be a believer.  Of course the whole record is superb (other standouts include "The Engulfed Cathedral," a Blade Runner-esque doom-dream of stark and moving beauty, and the impossibly elegant "Girl With the Flaxen Hair"), so of course you could just slide in at the beginning and let it take you on that chilly odyssey.  Weep to the electronic sublime, kiss the sweet frozen dew of the flowers of Venus.

You can read up a bit on the technical aspects here.

TOMITA (320)

Thanks to Sid, for playing this to me, lo those many years ago.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"The Body Memory of Longing Never Quenched": Gato Barbieri- Bolivia (1973)

"The life-affirming, surging spirit of these performances - with their supple range of colors, rhythms, soaring melodies - is the essence of that basic, visceral beauty that gives hope to lovers and revolutionaries and to all those who believe in real life before death. His music is an embodiment of perennial possibility that is made of blood and flesh rather than vaporous dreams. Gato, in sum, is among the the least abstract of musicians because he is so explosively, specifically alive."- Nat Hentoff, liner notes for Bolivia

If you enjoyed Chapter One: Latin America, you'll certainly love this record.  I think I love it even more-- indeed, it may be my favorite of Gato's albums, and the title track is among his very finest efforts.  If you love Lonnie Liston Smith's first gorgeous Cosmic Echoes record (Astral Traveling), you'll want to hear this immediately (assuming you haven't already, the very idea of which may be a foolish notion on my part). 

Flabbergasted Vibes of course has the post-to-read on this incredible LP, and the download-of-choice, recently re-upped.  Go there today, and pump this passion into your spiritual ears like the liquid tropical sex-gold that it is.  Follow the link below (and thank the fellow).

If the Flabbergast link isn't happening for you, a kind commenter has left an alternate mediafire link in the comments.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Music for the World: Gato Barbieri- Latin America (Chapter One) 1973

Oh, Gato.  What a treasure.

For readers only familiar with Mr. Barbieri through his molten work of romantic genius on the original soundtrack for Last Tango in Paris, the wonderful news is that this sly Argentinian cat has a phenomenal body of work at least comparable to, if not greater than in some cases, the 70's output of such other spiritual/fusion giants as Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, Joe Henderson, or Don Cherry, to name a few.

If you are only familiar with his relatively successful commercial stabs at sexy Latin-disco-jazz, such as Caliente! or Tropico, then please be reassured that his prolific early/mid-70's output is another universe entirely.  Not that those later records don't have a trashy appeal and some great sax sex solos.

But perhaps no LP from that golden period is as indispensable as Chapter One: Latin America (though Bolivia, with Lonnie Liston Smith, is perhaps my favorite-- but we'll get to that one some other day).  The first and best of four Latin America albums, for these sessions Gato headed down to Brazil to record with a bevy of locals (or, as the album copy puts it: "an astonishing aggregation of Third World musicians") on varied instruments such as: quena, Indian harp, charango, anapa, erke, siku, erkencho, bombo Indio, cavaquinho, a large field of samba drums, pandeiro, quica, and agogo, once again to name a few.

The sound is overall quite in line with Gato's other work from this period as a bandleader or composer, with a "spiritual" openness and attention to atmospheric textures-- and a lot of the native instruments are employed more along those lines, indicating an exotic Latin cosmos bursting with incidental musical details all along the edges of Gato's forceful but always-sensual blowing (though I have to say, the flutes do a lot of heavy lifting, especially on "India").  The whole LP is surprisingly both tight and expansive, with uncommonly exquisite compositions (the opener, "Encuentros", and side two's "La China Leoncia Arreo la Correntinada Trajo Entre la Muchachada la Flor de la Juventud" especially) and arrangements (the absolute all-time great and album highlight, "India").  Of course, the saxophone work at center stage is beyond superb.

This is a giant masterpiece of 70's jazz.  Indispensable.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Musica de el Campo: Roberto Cantoral- Hijo Malo (19??)

Hijo Malo, the Bad Son. Sterling old-school Mexican country music from the esteemed Roberto Cantoral. Shimmering guitars, a prairie echo, and that high lonesome wail-- the campesino yodel, a coyote call-- abound. Total Mexican cowboy stuff, and it wouldn't be wrong to compare it to something like Sons of the Pioneers or Gene Autry-- although there's a vitality and wildness here, along with a miles-deep romantic streak, that makes it rather especially invigorating. In its way, this is a pretty perfect record.

Especially excellent is the track "El Caballo" (which I had to put on one of the Jungle Shadows comps), with a sublime interplay between swirls of organ and cowboy yodels/coyote yips emerging from the murky quality in a very special alchemy, making it among the greatest songs of its type that I've ever heard-- although I hasten to point out that the rest of the record is consistent with "El Caballo" in terms of style and quality. Alas, mi español es muy malo, y solo tengo un poco poquito, so I can't speak to Mr. Cantoral's lyrical strengths in any helpful way. But the sound is so exactly right, my friends. Please enjoy.

Originally got this one, years ago, from this site. All the links are dead there now, but credit where it is due. Gracias, señor, whoever you are.


Speaking of Mexican music, I'm looking for a quality rip of Juan Manuel's Caballero- Songs of Old Mexico from the "Adventures in Sound" series. I have a torn-up vinyl copy that I treasure (it's a really good record, in my opinion), but it's no good to rip from. Help Brother Flash out if you can, friends.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jungle Bells, Summer Storm: John McFarland- Provocatif (1959)

"Queried as to his method of composition... McFarland asserts that he simply clutches the piano ouija-board style until he finds a musical figure that 'feels good' and proceeds to 'play it 'til it turns into a song, grabbing a little of 'this' with his left hand and a little of 'that' with his right.' While hesitating to recommend this wild-eyed routine as the new mode in composition, it must be admitted that McFarland's Mystical Method yields consistently exciting, humorous, dramatic, and intensely exotic music."-excerpt from the Provocatif liner notes by Blanchard King

I picked this beauty up in a Memphis antique mall many years ago. The first thing I heard upon setting foot in that blighted dragon's cave was the proprietor's blistering racism-- a paint-peeling and ignorant tirade that nearly sent me scurrying immediately back towards the exit. I persevered, warily, and had I not it would have been a tragedy-- for, upon the third floor of the place, in some long-forgotten bin, I found John McFarland's Provocatif. I was pleased to say the least when I paid my fifty cents and carried this superb work of art out of that foul ogre's lair and into the bright, loving world.

Provocatif is on the shortest list of great Exotica LPs not by Denny, Baxter, or Lyman-- a list which includes Drasnin's Voodoo, Hunter's White Goddess, Prado's Voodoo Suite, Sabu's Sorcery!, and Shindo's Mganga, to name a few. It's a true delight, and actually a lot of fun. Here's Mr. McFarland, in all his suavity, posing behind a potted plant on a stool, for some reason.

This is Exotica in the Denny vein-- a piano-led, small combo playing purely archetypal "exotic" compositions (many of them originals, awesomely enough), and making use of "exotic" sound effects and a variety of "exotic" special instruments. You could almost convince someone that this was a Denny record, but there's something rather notably different-- dare I say unique-- in McFarland's approach. All throughout the LP-- but particularly on the opener, "Jungle Bells", and the utterly exquisite "Watusi"-- you can hear a more pronounced language of jazz experimentation. As WFMU's Listener Mindwrecker puts it in his article on Provocatif: "McFarland's piano work is quite interesting and has some unusual colorations, with a tendency to push just so far out as he can within the piece without breaking up the structure altogether, which Sun Ra does so well on records like Super-Sonic Jazz."

It's this mild fracturing of the otherwise lush and inviting compositions that lends the record a kind of satisfying tension and makes it so particularly enduring. McFarland's work here is really wonderful, and a few tracks make a case to be considered among the best the genre has to offer. I'm so rapturously fond of "Watusi"-- which is an original McFarland composition, it should be noted-- but I'd be remiss to exclude the utterly sublime nocturne, "Midnight by a Persian Waterfall". Basically every song is pretty grand, even the more comic, zany "Chimp and the Bumble Bee", which is a pretty great specimen of its ilk, I have to say, although I do tend not to prefer those tracks in general.

This is really just wonderful stuff. Enjoy on some warm night, friends.

Thanks to the original ripper for the lovely 320 rip.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lost to the Waves: Dorival Caymmi- Caymmi e o Mar (1957)

"I have written 400 songs, and Caymmi 70. But Caymmi has 70 perfect songs, and I do not."
-Caetano Veloso

I am no great scholar of Brazilian music-- it doesn't help that I don't speak Portuguese-- but I do have a deep and abiding love for popular Brazilian music of the 30's-50's. As has been noted before, my own enthusiasm stems from the same source as that of many Americans-- especially those who fell under the spell during the Carmen Miranda-dominated heyday of Brazilian music in the US-- and that is Disney's exquisite 1944 masterpiece Three Caballeros, which you should watch immediately, if you haven't already. The inclusion in that film of Ary Barroso's "Na Baixa do Sapateiro" (also known simply as "Baia" "Bahia" or "Baixa")-- as well as an electrifying number from Carmen's sister, Aurora Miranda, augmented by some of the greatest animation, ever-- cemented in my heart, and the hearts of many people all over the world, a love for the lush romanticism and exotic pathos of this type of music. Dorival Caymmi, the subject of today's post, is a legend in this field.

is an extremely major figure in Bahian popular music from this period, but his name has since fallen into a baffling shadow of some undeserved obscurity. So when I first heard his music, I had no idea who he was, or the degree of his importance. Just another Brazilian singer of many, as far as I knew-- but immediately I loved what I heard, and in that special way. I believe the song was the fantastic "O Mar," his angelic baritone and matchless melody sweeping me into an exotic dream like the ghost perfume of mist upon the sea, or the memory of a love lost to the waves.

So here is the LP, Caymmi e o Mar. It's gorgeous. I can't recall if I originally snagged this one from Loronix or Toque Musical (the latter being the wonderful Brazilian blog which seems to have recently gone private), so think kindly of both of them as you listen. This is a gorgeous record, my friends. The songs may well be perfect. Please listen deeply.

E O MAR (320)

And here's a really awesome compilation of various artists singing Caymmi's songs, that I definitely got from Toque Musical, way, way back. I don't really know anything about this one, except that the music is solid, and sounds like it dates pretty far back. There's a wonderful rendition of "O Mar"by Edy Pollo that I liked so much I had to put it on Grzimek Safari. Highly recommended.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Re-ups reach their conclusion, more or less.

Re-ups are more or less completed, for now. Finished off the "Jazz" section with these:

Hans Dulfer- Morning After the Third

Don Cherry- Actions

Mills Brothers- London Sessions

Ornette Coleman- The Empty Foxhole

•And the greater "Electronic" category should be completed now as well:

Peru- Continents, Constellations

Rolf Trostel- Two Faces, Der Prophet

Proxyon- Proxyon

Charlie- Spacer Woman

•I also fixed that buggy Bowie link for Strange Fascination.

•And here's a couple more goodies:

Just Julia

One Dog Each

COMING SOON: more stuff, that is new and cool, and not just re-ups for chrissakes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Re-ups: David Bowie and more.

I have now re-upped what few Bowie selections I have to offer. Check them out, and please allow me to insist that you also check out Pushing Ahead of the Dame-- the great song-by-song Bowie blog and, truly, one of the best blogs in all of existence.

I also re-upped all the Velvet Underground.

And all the dub. Have at it!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Flash Strap Presents: Black Art + Machine Gun Funk Vol. 3

I can't wait for you guys to hear this one. A little more in the way of experimental funk-jazz and politically engaged commentary than the first two in the series, but still deep in that murky, swirling, groove-pocket.

Listen righteously and please come back tomorrow and let me know if you liked it.

1. Synopsis One: In The Ghetto / God Save The World- The 24 Carat Black
2. Everybody's Got A Problem- Father's Children
3. 1990- The Undisputed Truth
4. Skull Session- Oliver Nelson
5. Who Will Survive America- Amiri Baraka
6. Shape Your Mind to Die- Leon Thomas
7. What's Your Word- Gloria Ann Taylor
8. Blasé- Archie Shepp
9. The Young, Tough And Terrible- The Lost Generation
10. Message To Mankind- O.C. Tolbert
11. Freedom- Ndikho Xaba
12. Political Rag- King Solomon
13. Woman Of The Ghetto- Doris Duke

14. Singerella--A Ghetto Fairy Tale- Gary Bartz & NTU
15. Bad Cloud Overhead- Blackrock
16. Here Comes the Family- Archie Shepp
17. Move Your Hand (edit)- Lonnie Smith
18. Taurus (edit for instrumental)- Pt. 1 Cannonball Adderley
19. Sympathy For the Devil- Gangsters of Love
20. Anima Christi- Mary Lou Williams
21. Celestial Blues- Andy Bey
22. Kohoutek- Father's Children
23. This Is The Lost Generation (Vocal)- The Lost Generation
24. Taurus (edit for instrumental) Pt.2- Cannonball Adderley
25. Old Uncle Tom Is Dead- Mr. Wiggles
26. Dr. King, The Peaceful Warrior- Archie Shepp
27. All Hid- Camille Yarbrough


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sven Libaek: Re-upped and Up-dated

As I've been working through re-ups, so I decided to drop all the Libaek in a handy mega-post, so here you go. I don't have to tell you how much I love this man's work. Everything here is utterly essential.

Put these on some tapes. Put a tape in a waterproofed portable cassette player. Take a small boat or aquatic car out upon the water. Or embark on a desert stroll-- if you have no water-bodies in your region-- or a dune buggy ride. Either way, the adventure shall unfold, with delight and discovery, with the aid of these perfect sounds. Good luck to you.

White Horse and Walkabout are surfing and nature documentary soundtracks, respectively. Full of discovery. Two of the consistently best, most necessary records in his catalog-- masterpieces, really. Both 192.

Inner Space is a shark documentary soundtrack, and it's a giant masterpiece. Some tracks from here notably used for The Life Aquatic. This is the king of underwater music records.

It should be noted that this is not the retrospective comp of the same name (with "Lost Film Music of Sven Libaek" appended to the title)-- this is the original soundtrack album. Also, this is not the original Aussie Festival release with the William Shatner narration included, which is cool too-- you can grab that here, and I highly recommend that you do-- although this one is probably your #1 choice. This rip is courtesy of Owl, from the Holy Warbles days. 320, of course.


Sven's audacious symphonic concept piece, thematically focused on the Norwegian's adopted home. Longer compositions, grander ideas, sweeping and epic-- but still the same glorious composer. Truly, he is a god damn secret genius.


Soundtrack to an Australian television series. Very similar to White Horse and Walkabout, with a little more in the way of "action" horns-- but still mostly the Libaek signature sound of outback contemplation and wide-eyed exploration. Used to be hard to find, this one. Really really good.

BONEY (192)

Although perhaps not his most consistent album
, this little treasure nonetheless contains some of his best & coolest tracks, including the superb "Misty Canyon", which is an absolute must-hear.

MY THING (224)

Ostensibly a space-themed Library record, the mood here is actually just as underwater-y as his best work. A lot of great sounding old electronics on here too. Includes "Meteoric Rain," one of his all-time greatest tracks, and many more gorgeous jaw-droppers. 256.


Certainly this is a hit-or-miss effort from Libaek-- there's a lot of vocal tracks, though they aren't bad at all-- but it still has some really cool stuff. One of his best pieces ever is here, the amazing "News From the Exchange." Try it.

Rip originally uploaded by Digital Meltd0wn, check him out and say thanks. You can also check out a longer post on this LP, by me, here.


Another great soundtrack, this one to a sort of Australian counterculture film. A surprisingly wide range of emotions and evocations of scene and mood can be found within these 19 selections, all delivered in a warm, jazzy, smoky sound. Velvety, even. Marvellously sophisticated stuff, even for Libaek. Fuckin' fabulous.

Again, I've written a bit more on this one here.

THE SET (192)

Mr. Libaek's phenomenal first record, available over at Urban Bowerbird, a fantastic Australian music blog. This one is rare as hen's teeth and utterly sublime to boot-- a real holy grail. Go there, thank the man, and check out his other treasures.


There's a few other Libaek and Libaek-related things there, including these items:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Exotic Re-ups and the Sophisticated Daydream of Exotica: Jungle Jazz (1958), African Jazz (1959)

I've re-upped everything with the label "exotic" or "exotica." Have a look through, if you haven't already.

To better consecrate the return of these albums, I'm also re-posting these two Baxter records. In an old post, I showered these both pretty qualified praise-- a critical oversight I've since come to regret. These are amazing Exotica artifacts, and positively phenomenal records. When it comes to Baxter, it's all about Tamboo!, Ritual of the Savage, and Caribbean Moonlight-- but these two are just barely behind. So damn great.

Jungle Jazz
(128, please let me know if you have a tip on an upgrade-- this one sounds pretty good though)
African Jazz (320)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Always in My Heart: Trio Los Panchos- The Music of Ernesto Lecuona (19??)

I've made it clear my passion for the compositions of Ernesto Lecuona, so it should be no surprise that I love this record. Trio Los Panchos weave an achingly gorgeous, classically romantic, sun-dappled Latin dream with shimmering guitars and floating harmonies. All compositions are vocal versions of Lecuona pieces. This is an endlessly pleasant record to have-- highly recommended. All the songs are wonderful, just grand.

You may have heard one of the tracks, "Canto Karabali", on the first Jungle Shadows comp, if that helps.

And on a related note, does anyone know of a good collection of older Lecuona compositions, preferably recorded by him?


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Krautrock re-ups

All Krautrock posts now re-upped. Love y'all.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Refilling the Trough With That Cosmic Slop- Re-ups are the order of the day.

All items with the tag "funk" or "soul" are now re-upped. Check them out if you haven't already-- but first, afford this excellent Funkadelic film project a few crazy minutes of your time.

Black Art + Machine Gun Funk 3 is ready to drop any day now, I just gotta get my shit together.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Return of the Black Art Master- Re-ups continue with Archie Shepp

Continuing the re-up renaissance, I've re-upped all the Archie Shepp posts. Also, both the Black Art + Machine Gun Funk comps. (I have a volume three in that series which is basically done, does anyone want to hear it or is enough enough?)

If you have not heard these Shepp albums then please take this opportunity to correct yourself, my darlings.

Let me know if there's anything you'd like me to re-up next, otherwise I'll just keep pluggin' in my own way.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Brutal Penetrates the Vortex: Re-ups have begun

Re-ups are already in progress. The Jungle Shadows series, the last few posts, all the Piero Umiliani and most of the Les Baxter, and Dub Hot Dubs 2-- all are re-upped. This is just the beginning. This is not a dead place, filled with the phantoms of dead links. This is a self-healing fungus, and it is immortal. Some day soon we will be restored to our former glory, hopefully even surpassing it as I take the time to upgrade certain links and improve terrible writing.

EDIT: I've also upped the Paradjanov soundtracks, Dub Hot Dubs 1, the Exotiste series, Afrokraut•Control Car, Roger Roger&Nino Nardini-Obsession Exotique, and Archie Shepp's Coral Rock. By the morning I will have the Grzimek Safari series and all the Martin Denny.

Thanks to the anonymous commenter(s?) who've been dropping re-ups as well. And don't be afraid to make a request-- I actually don't mind.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Intoxicating Scent of an Eastern Fantasy: Paul Mark- East to West (1961)

Absolutely phenomenal Japan-centric Exotica. I don't have much in the way of info on this one-- but if I recall correctly, I believe that Mr. Mark, like Tak Shindo, was a Japanese musician working in the Western-Exotic mode. The results are surprisingly unique. Jazzy, crystalline productions with Far-East/Japanese melodies and traditional Asian instruments alongside surf&jazz guitar and an exceptionally well-employed organ. Otherworldly, elegant, almost alien-- and thoroughly exotic. Don't be afraid to skip the irritating "Children's Melody", but every other track is a winner.

This is a pretty singular LP in the Exotica universe. I haven't heard much of anything quite like it (save, perhaps, Takeshi Terauchi & Blue Jeans Let's Go Eleki-Bushi, or All-Star Orchestra's A Far East Fantasy In Latin Dance Rhythm, but those are both quite unique in their own fashion). Extremely strong recommendation, and thanks to the original ripper for this nice 320 rip.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Flash Strap Presents: Jungle Shadows III

Jungle Shadows, Part 3. For your summertime excursions, aquatic invasions, and up-the-river assassination odysseys. I hope I don't toot my own too gratuitously if I say: I think this is a good one, friends.

Please enjoy, leave a comment, follow through the links and thank the other librarians...and let me know if I should brew up another one of these, by and by-- I got some ideas, you know.

1. I Cover the Waterfront- The Ink Spots
2. Freefall- Vangelis
3. The Enchanted Sea- Alfred Newman
4. Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea- Frankie Avalon
5. The Enchanted Sea- Martin Denny
6. Quiet Village (Exotiste•Control Car Style)- Lalo Schifrin
7. 5.21 - Five To One (with Grim Skip)- EP-4
8. Give Me Your Soul- Dunkelziffer
9. Indecent Sacrifice- Scott Walker
10. Kurikuté- Sara Chaves
11. Le Berber 2:15- Afro-Soultet
12. 2 West 46th Street (from Moondog Suite)- Kenny Graham and His Satellites
13. Genocide- Link Wray
14. Osamu's Theme: Kyoko's House- Philip Glass
15. Summertime- Santo & Johnny
16. Baia- Dick Schory's New Percussion Ensemble
17. Big Bamboo (feat. National Recording Calypso Band)- Mighty Sparrow
18. I Want To Love Him So Bad- Jelly Beans
19. Single Pigeon (Early Take)- Paul McCartney

20. Night In The Forest- Ananda Shankar
21. Africa- Shelly Manne
22. Het lied van Lima- La Esterella (Thanks to Feq'wah! This song is amazing)
23. Paradise- Sun Ra
24. Sad Love Story- Hans Dulfer
25. Fleurette Africaine- Duke Ellington/Charlie Mingus/Max Roach
26. Black John The Conqueror- Dr. John
27. Ibistix- Syrinx
28. Sweet Song Of Summer- Bee Gees
29. L'éléphant- Henri Texier
30. More Creation- Lennie Hibbert
31. Amazon Trail- The Ian Langley Group
32. Japan- Pharoah Sanders
33. Sunshine Sometime (Unreleased Instrumental)- Paul McCartney
34. Is Life Worth Living- Prince Buster


Monday, June 4, 2012

Shadow of Love and the Enchanted Reef: Les Baxter- The Soul of the Drums (1963)

Here's another phenomenal Baxter record that might not crack the "Top Five," but really deserves to heard nonetheless. It's been rather idiotically paired with his movie themes album, Academy Award Winners, for the CD reissue, when it should have been coupled with the previous year's Primitive and Passionate (itself thoughtlessly paired with Les Baxter's Balladeers, an even dumber pick). That's beside the point-- who cares what these assholes do-- but it is worth noting that, like Primitive and Passionate, Soul of the Drums is another Baxter album from the early 60's that largely adheres to that marvellous "Les Baxter Sound," with fabulous results. Where Primitive and Passionate might subtly highlight horns, however, Soul of the Drums obviously favors an ever-present drum sound. Though it must be said: this is not the drum-centric disappointment that is Baxter's Teen Drums.

From its opening moments, this is absolutely classic Exotica. The first track, "Girl Behind the Bamboo Curtain", is just one of those quintessential upbeat flute safaris, a light, bouncy composition of the sort favored by Martin Denny. "Coffee Bean and Calabash Annie" once again finds Baxter cannibalizing bits of his earlier melodies-- in some circles this could be seen as a negative but such repetitions are right at home in Exotica, a genre that lives and dies on derivations on familiar themes. "Sunrise at Kowloon" is a perfectly archetypal string-led piece of orchestral Exotica (and may bring up warm memories for anyone who's ever been to the tiki behemoth Kow Loon in Saugus-- RIP Mr. Wong). "River of Dreams" is at least as lovely as it sounds, and "Shadow of Love and the Enchanted Reef" is a romantic canoe-trip masterpiece with just enough mystery to make it titillating. The closing track, "Ceremony", is a drum workout which may seem a bit tepid to anyone who's grooved to Sabu or Tito's exotic-mode drum orgies, but it ain't bad.

The record is, in general, sterling stuff-- even if it is a bit light. The real standout track, though, is a funny little masterpiece called "Lord What a Morning". With a woody, spirit-jazzy bass sound, a folksy zither (or autoharp? I don't know), and crisp, snappy drums-- coupled with the usual perfume-y sound of the Les Baxter strings-- the selection has a unique feel and freshness, a real sense of musical discovery. As much as I love Baxter, I wish that in his later days he would have fooled around with these type of slight but striking derivations even further.

Also: very good sleeve art. They don't make 'em now like they once did, that's for sure.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tender Bird of Paradise: Les Baxter- The Primitive and the Passionate (1962)

Here's some Les Baxter. Is it phenomenal? Why yes. Yes it is.

To be clear, however: this isn't Mr. Baxter in a deep or mysterious mode, nor does this album find him tinkering too much in experimental ideas. It's just straightforward, phenomenal Exotica. Very upbeat and sunny, but still exotic and sensual enough to excite that fantasy of adventure & paradise. Bird calls, tiger growls, and the moans of a goddess abound, alongside cinematic strings and the classic Les Baxter sound. It may be a little "light" to qualify alongside his very best, but it's still top-notch, wonderful stuff. Really not all that far from Ritual of the Savage, at least at its best moments.

There are a few standards that hit a little weak-- "Via Veneto" is the low point, and "Laura" and "A Taste of Honey" are both pretty safe and easy, though it must be said that they still display the glory of solid Baxter arrangements, and thus sound pretty damn good-- but there's more than enough big winners on here to heartily recommend the record. "Fiesta Brava" starts as a big brash Latin horn thing, then wisely takes a deep turn into surprisingly sultry territory. "A Night With Cleopatra" does get a tad garish, but more than redeems with elegant undertones and a winning Italian soundtrack sensibility (it actually sounds a lot like Riz Ortolani's work on Mondo Cane). "Peking Tiger" is rock solid stuff. "Tenderly" is superb romantica. "Slave Ship" and "Bird of Paradise" are both utter Exotica classics, the latter pushing an echo of "Quiet Village" in a pleasing (if not exactly revelatory) manner.

Hey, I'm gonna say it: I actually love the version of "A Taste of Honey". I think it's a pretty great composition to begin with, and Baxter hits it, softly but deftly, out of the park. No apologies. Herb Alpert is pretty cool a lot of the time.

This is a good record, friends. Take it out in that old sun and enjoy your life.