Good Music We Can Know

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Flash Car: Summer Storm/Changing Lights (2013)

I present to you all the debut single from Flash Car, the project of a one Mr. Morgan Friedman: longtime friend of the blog, even-longertime friend of mine as a hu-man and knucklehead from the day, a fellow member of the Cumberland County Mean Gang, and artist of sound in the first degree.

I know that I have tipped the hand of my bias (and I'll tip it further-- I myself supplied the cover art), but I say this with complete conviction and sincerity after bracing self-reflection: these two songs are fantastic.

The first track, "Summer Storm," produced in collaboration with a Mr. Boogie Reverie, is a sparkling jewel of 60's pop with crumbling edges-- the naiveté and baroque tinge of Buffalo Springfield or Left Banke by way of the oddball, just-off-center and out-of-time pop sensibility of someone like Eddie Callahan:

The second (in collaboration with another venerable Gang member, Sid Martin, who does some phenomenal work here), is a sexy night drive, on patrol in the land of Robocop: "Changing Lights."  Like "Tusk" filtered through the pilot episode of Miami Vice, but even better than that sounds:

This is some great "now sound," friends.  I hope you get down and into it, pump it into your own zippy little flash car and make it go.

Check out Flash Car's bandcamp to download the tracks at name-your-price.  You can't lose with a deal like that.  Have a good day on this day.

F L A S H  C A R

Monday, April 15, 2013

Trance-Like With Glazed Eyes: Bianchi and His Jungle Sex-Tet- Music to Play in the Dark (1959)

I've wanted to post this for a long time, but I've never had a great quality copy.  My hope was that someone would put out an upgrade on the 128 rip that's been floating around for years, but alas, to my knowledge no one had done so.  Today I come to you with that same tired old rip, sad to say, but only because it's a record worth hearing even in a diminished state.  If you'd rather wait until 320 kbps pop up like a little a wild strawberry, be my guest, but if the last three years are any indication, you may be in for a long wait.  Or, perhaps just by my posting this or by total coincidence, someone will pony up a knockout copy.

Music to Play in the Dark is a sexy little slice of exotica flute-jazz, with a touch of beatnik cool by way of the hotel lounge.  Bianchi (also known as Bob Romeo, on flute) leads a small ensemble with very Denny-esque piano (Eddie Cano, so no surprise there), nice Latin guitar with a tinge of surf (from the great Laurindo Almeida, perhaps channeling a bit of his surf sound from Lalo Schifrin's Gone With the Wave), drums by the top-notch session jazzman Alvin Stoller, percussion by Carlos Vidal Bolado (formerly of Machito's Afro-Cuban boys), and Rafael Vasquez Jr. on bass (whom I know nothing about).  The album copy sums up the sound rather well, I would say:

The persuasive spell of the flute and the primitive pulsating background of timbales and bongos creates a delightful, lavish mood in which even the most modest and restrained males and females have been know to take flight to another and more exotic dimension, on a journey of mysterious and romantic sensations.  With rhythmic sounds of the jungle, the excitement of Lisbon, and the strange exotic sounds of Algiers, they sway, trance-like, to and fro with glazed eyes, drunk with sound, in an emotional fantasy under the hypnotic spell of the lonely flute.

Perhaps it over-states its case just a tad.  The record's promotional accolades give you a better idea of what they want to sound like (an admirable fantasy in this case) than how they actually do.  This album likely won't drive you wild with amorousness and exotic hypnosis-- it's far too mild to achieve any such thing-- but it will set the mood of languor and cool with precision and grace.  It sounds a lot like the rather homogenous, but utterly intriguing and atmospheric, "exotic" jazz from cinema, such as the nightclub scenes in Fellini's La Dolce Vita (or perhaps just my memory of such scenes).  Give it a spin, have a martini and a sex party while wearing an Italian suit.

SEX-TET (128)

Album art images above from Like...Dreamsville's post on this very album (good post, link dead unfortunately).  Thanks be to him for what he's done.

ALSO: Does anybody have a line on Bob Romeo's Aphrodisia?  I've always wanted to hear it, but it's rare as hen's teeth apparently.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Obcure Little Beast on the Prowl: Orera- Orera (1970)

There's a lot of great stuff to be found over at Obscure Little Beasties, much of it original rips (I assume) and of course very obscure (at least it is for me, as I know relatively little about the Russian/Soviet/Eastern European diaspora)-- but since there is almost nothing on the blog in the way of description, it can be a difficult or intimidating sea to navigate.  This is a fine way to run a blog as far as I'm concerned, as I love to spin the wheel and see what emerges from the mystery.  But recently I snagged something so delightful that I wanted to highlight it, ensure you knew about it, and send you all in its direction (and hopefully turn you loose on the wider pastures that Obscure Little Beasties has to offer).

I still know almost nothing about this group, Orera, other than that they are Georgian (perhaps someone out there can better fill me in).  They seem to be practicing a kind of harmony-laden vocal music, blending the (polyphonic?) vocal traditions of their region/culture with the poppy, sunny sensibilities of "sunshine pop" acts like Free Design and the like-- with a good amount of top-notch lite-jazz and Burt Bacharach mixed in.  At times they remind me of a Eurasian Duo Ouro Negro, and while I'm sure that's a shallow comparison, it may be of use in conveying the surface aesthetic at least. 

My inability to intelligently describe or analyze Orera should be clear to you by now, but my perspective isn't really necessary.  Orera are able to advocate for themselves with this video-delight (after which, nothing else really need be said):

Go to Obscure Little Beasties and check this right out, brothers and sisters.