Good Music We Can Know

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.