Good Music We Can Know

Friday, February 14, 2014

Flash Strap Presents: Piero Umiliani- Esotico Ossessione

Good news for those of you out there who enjoyed my Roger Roger and Nino Nardini compilation, Obsession Exotique-- I've done a similar thing with that other unbelievable maestro of library exoticisms, Piero Umiliani.  I do hope you find it to be an enjoyable outing.

Umiliani has produced a great wealth of material, much of it exotic in one way or another.  I've done my best to draw from as much of his ouvre as possible (at least what I can hunt down, which is a lot but not everything), and of course a few LPs loom rather large: Continente Nero, Africa, Polinesia, La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna, and L'Isole dell'Amore.  A great many of the best tracks from those albums are present here, along with many others from the wide catalog of Omicron and beyond, both library LPs and soundtrack work.  In an attempt to put them in as interesting and productive a new context as possible, I've collected them in a vaguely narrative order across two sprawling volumes, each concerned with its own themes.  Volume one, Esplorazione, deals in exploration: danger, adventure, mysticism, ethno-encounter.  Volume two, Paradiso, is paradise: sensuality, relaxation, sex, happiness.  Heart of Darkness, followed by Loti's Rarahu.  Each track title is accompanied by a parenthetical concerning the originating album and, when necessary, an English translation (the best I can do, anyway).

Play vol.1 as you canoe down the dark jungle river of madness and immensity, then pop on vol.2 once you land on the beach and start sippin' out of a coconut and smelling the noa noa fragrance of "the islands."

Mondo Inquieto, track 13 (from Mondo Inquieto, "Troubled World")
Viaggio Nel Tempo ("Time Travel"; from Genti e Paesi del Mondo, "Peoples and Countries of the World")
Nel Villaggio ("In The Village" from Continente Nero, "Dark Continent")
Nuove Realtà ("New Realities" from Continente Nero)
Exploration (from To-Day's Sound)
Cantata Per Maryam (from La Ragazza Fuori Strada)
Oasi (from Continente Nero)
Bongos en Suspense (from Percussions)
Erbe magiche ("Magic Herbs" from Polinesia)
Il Santone dell'Isola ("The High Priest of the Island" from La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna, "The Girl with the Skin of the Moon")
Ultimo Stregone ("Last Sorcerer" from Continente Nero)
Canoe (from Polinesia)
Danza della Luna ("Moon Dance" from La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna)
Arabian Synthetyzer (from Synthi Time)
Un'Isola Felice ("A Joyful Island" from La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna)
Lonely Village (from Africa)
Saudade (from Angeli Bianchi… Angeli Neri)
Rite (from Africa)
Danza Magica (from Polinesia)
Drums Suspence (from Africa)
Viaggio Nel Tempo #2 ("Time Travel" from Genti e Paesi del Mondo)
Pelle di Luna - feat. Edda Dell'Orso ("Moon Skin" from La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna)
Richiamo del Golfo ("Call of the Gulf" from Polinesia)
Stream- alt. (from Il Corpo, "The Body")
Tropical River (from To-Day's Sound)
Savana (from Il Corpo)
Continente Nero (from Continente Nero)
Stella del Sud ("Southern Star" from La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna)
Funerailles d'un Heros ("Hero Funerals" from La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna)
Nostalgia (from La Ragazza Fuori Strada)

Desert Island (from Il Corpo, "The Body")
Momento Ritmico (from Effetti Musicali)
La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna ("The Girl With the Skin of the Moon" from La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna)
Princess - alt. (from Il Corpo)
Le Isole Dell'Amore ("The Islands of Love" from Le Isole Dell'Amore)
La Foresta Incantata ("The Enchanted Forest" from Angeli Bianchi… Angeli Neri)
Crepuscolo Sul Mare ("Twilight On The Sea" from La Legge Dei Gangsters)
Isola Sperduta ("Desert Island" from Le Isole Dell'Amore)
Desert Island #2 (from Il Corpo)
Sotto le Palme ("Under the Palm Trees" from Polinesia)
Sotto le Palme #2 ("Under the Palm Trees" from Polinesia)
The Body (from Il Corpo)
Synthi Pianola (from Synthi Time)
Venere Creola ("Creole Venus" from Venere Creola)
Addio Isola Felice ("Goodbye, Joyful Island" from La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna)
Seychelles Isole Dimenticate ("Seychelles, the Forgotten Islands" from La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna)
Il Tamoure' dei Bambini ("The Children of Bambini" from Le Isole Dell'Amore)
Isola Tuttofare ("Island Handyman" Le Isole Dell'Amore)
Vita Pigra Ai Tropici ("Lazy Life In The Tropics" from Piccola Jam)
Laguna Tropicale ("Tropical Lagoon" from La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna)
Blue Lagoon (from To-Day's Sound)
Lady Magnolia (from To-Day's Sound)
Synthi Melody (from Synthi Time)
Plenilunio ("Full Moon" from Polinesia)
Green Dawn (from Africa)
Nuku (from Le Isole Dell'Amore)
Synthi Marcia (from Synthi Time)

VOL. 1 (Esplorazione): Part 1Part 2
VOL. 2 (Paradiso): Part 1Part 2
(re-upped with zippyshare as of Feb. 2015)

Notes on the album art: vol.1 has an image from Thor Heyerdahl's Aku-Aku: The Secret of Easter Island (the snake is an unidentified image from an old encyclopedia).  vol.2 features a photo from Bengt Danielsson's Gauguin in Tahiti.  Yes, both authors were part of the crew of the Kon-Tiki, fancy that.

Oh, and here's some great footage from La Ragazza Dalla Pelle di Luna:

Friday, February 7, 2014

Collages Musicales: Antropoloops

I just want to take a moment to say that I really like this project and I admire the way it's carried out: Antropoloops.  Sound collages of music from various far-flung regions, full of interesting juxtapositions and propelled by infectious rhythm, each track accompanied by a world map (detailing each geographic point from which a fragment is derived) and individual art (a collage assembled from the LP covers of each of the fragments).  This is how it should be done, in my opinion, and it has my profound respect as a fellow artist, collagist, collector, and student of cross-cultural exchange and phenomena.

It's also really good, musically, and fun to listen to.  No imposed beats, no extraneous gestures towards contemporaneity, and really good, smart construction that's exciting to listen to-- both aesthetically and textually-- as it unfolds. 

Go check out the site, listen to the tunes, drop a comment if you please-- and download the mixtape, I doubt you'll regret it.

A bit of explanation, from the site:

This project is like a celebration. A celebration of the diversity of musical expressions in different cultures and historical moments. And a celebration of the amazing possibilities that the web offers as far as knowledge sharing and the collective construction of a common public domain.
I have always been fascinated by the presence of something close and familiar in distant and culturally alien music. I think this project responds in part to this fascination, or at least i see it as a way to work with it.
All songs uploaded are based on a fragment of a song, to which other fragments are added following a set of minimal rules:
  1. The tone is not changed, all loops are in their original tones
  2. Only small time adjustments are made so that the original character of the song does not vary in excess.
  3. Working with 8 tracks, there are a maximum of 8 loops playing together