music

GINGER BAKER

Always a lil sad to hear when the people whose talents you grew up with appreciating pass away. Ginger Baker had a good run, taking off from this earth at 80 years old, considering what a maniac he was. He was a character and damn good drummer, not just with Cream but in his life after that mega stardom. Thanks for the rhythms Ginger.

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CORONER

Coroner has long been a favorite metal / thrash band of mine. With the release of “Grin” in 1993 they switched things up a bit, introducing some electronica and industrial sounds. Some people hate it but I love this album. Always keep an open mind kids.

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THE CLAYPOOL LENNON DELIRIUM

I’m not too sure what I think about this album yet. It features Les Claypool from Primus, who I like and Sean Lennon, who I honestly only know as John Lennon’s son. But this is their second album I learned, so they must have an audience.

It does have a distinct sound, a retro feel but I don’t think it’s as psychedelic as some others do. The best tune I heard so far is “Blood and Rockets”. Great hooks, a nice fuzzy guitar sound and Lennon’s voice is perfect for this song. I have a feeling that with a few more listens this will become a favorite of mine. Definitely worth the time to check it out.

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LOU REED

Lou Reed is an icon for many different reasons for many different people. He is a polarizing figure to many as well; you either love Lou Reed or hate him. I’ve met few people that don’t have a strong reaction either way. I’ve felt both ways about him at different points in my life but it always comes back to the love side (though it’s arguable love and hate are essentially the same thing).

There’s far too much to say about the man than I want to for a simple music post, but this album Transformer, is a pretty fair summation of why I always end up loving Lou. The deceptively straightforward simplicity of his music, his ability to distill so much in a single line, his awkwardness that lied right next to his ultra coolness.

Transformer has all that wrapped up in one album. There may be objectively better records than this, or personal favorites that rise and fall as the years go by, but I feel this album showcases the man and his music consistently over time and throughout the record itself. The fact that Mick Ronson and David Bowie worked with Reed here doesn’t hurt, but ultimately the storytelling is all Lou. And it’s his storytelling that always brings me back to most of his work.

There isn’t a bad tune on this album in my opinion and it flows wonderfully. If you’re one of the rare people who’ve never heard Lou Reed or only know him from a hit or two, you can’t go wrong by starting here to see what a lot of the fuss was about the man.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS (JAPAN)

 

More experimental stuff. A compilation from Japan in 1981 featuring a lot of lo-fi, field recordings mixed with various noise and instruments. I haven’t figured out who’s who just yet as there’s no track times to match the info below. Although my guess is it’d be difficult to find any one artist, but who knows. It’s been a terrific backing soundtrack while I work on things. Here’s all the info if you don’t want to head to YouTube:

Label: Vanity Records ‎– vanity 0010-11
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Compilation Box Set
Country: Japan Released: 1981
Tracklist:
A1 Pessimeist - Sattyuzai
A2 UnAble Mirror - Hischool Pigs
A3 UnAble Mirror - Ignorant Animal
A4 MR - 213
A5 Adode/Cathode - …Of The Passive Voice Through The Light
B1 Kiiro Radical - Denki Noise Dance
B2 Kiiro Radical - Denki Noise Dance
B3 Kiiro Radical - Denki Noise Dance
B4 Kiiro Radical - Denki Noise Dance
B5 Kiiro Radical - Denki Noise Dance
B6 Tokyo - Cassette Tape
C1 Daily Expression - Inka Sanka
C2 Daily Expression - Inka Sanka
C3 Plazma Music - Green Brain
C4 Nose - Dolby Nr On
C5 New York - 1976
D1 Arbeit - Bunders Nachrichten Dienst
D2 Isolation - Invivo
D3 Necter Low - Artificial One

Enjoy.

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VITOR JOAQUIM

I’ve been feeling a bit down and off lately. Nothing serious but in looking for music to fit my moods or guide me through them so to speak, I just searched for “experimental music” on YouTube. I was looking for nonlinear, noise, abstract type of stuff and found quite a few good things.

Among the top were this guy Vitor Joaquim from Ukraine. I’d never heard of him but seems he’s pretty accomplished with some albums under his belt and being in the scene since the mid 80’s. He’s worked with a lot of dance troupes and collaborated with different kinds of people.

It was the right prescription for me. Definitely not for everyone but if you’re open minded I think you’ll find much to enjoy about this album.

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IRREVERSIBLE ENTANGLEMENTS

A friend of mine turned me onto this just the other day. Kind of free / experimental jazz with some strong spoken word on top. Jazz isn’t really my strong suit and I don’t listen to much but I like this a lot. As my friend noted the rhythm section are top notch. The spoken word performances are powerful biting critiques of life in America towards the ruling white elite / military class. I have to give it a few more listens but I’m all ears with this one.

CAMAE AYEWA / VOICE

KEIR NEURINGER / SAXOPHONE

AQUILES NAVARRO / TRUMPET

LUKE STEWART / BASS

TCHESER HOLMES / DRUMS

Learn more about them here.

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DR. DRE

Got this the day it came out in 1992. Start to finish a great listen, of which I couldn’t tell you how many times I have. Not only did it solidify Dr. Dre after leaving N.W.A. as a force of his own, it introduced Snoop Dogg to the world and ushered in the West Coast G-Funk sound. Featuring Nate Dogg, RBX, Daz and others this is a must have in any collection.

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METALLICA

There’s no doubt Metallica is and will be one of the biggest bands to ever be. They’ve changed music in the way Led Zeppelin did in the 1970’s, in other words, redefined music. Along with a handful of other bands in the early 80’s they formed the thrash genre and are without question the band almost every human with an interest in music is aware of.

That said, they’ve never really been my favorite thrash / heavy band. I’ve always liked them and consider “Master of Puppets” the album that changed everything. I listen to that and “Ride the Lightning” on a regular basis, two insanely great albums. But I never dug much of anything they did after that. I should say I never liked any complete albums after “Master”. They are way too talented not to have tunes that I like from various albums.

Somehow to me, they lost something after original bassist Cliff Burton died in a tragic bus accident (no offense to Jason Newsted, his replacement who I like a lot). In my view, the main songwriters James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, got way too serious about themselves and micromanaged the music to the point they couldn’t make a cohesive project. Certainly, “And Justice for All”, the first album with Newsted was cohesive but produced so badly I could never stand it. Similarly, the songs were so self conscious I found it hard to enjoy. I’ve tried many times over the years and have softened a little on it but still think it’s not the great album it’s made out to be. What the fuck do I know though?

After seeing the documentary “Some Kind of Monster” which was a really bad decision to film as the band struggled to stay together after Newsted quits and Hetfield goes to rehab while trying to record a new album, which would become “St. Anger”. It’s the least rock n roll movie ever and shows the band for what they’ve become, a soulless band comprised of guys who are disconnected from each other, rich beyond their wildest dreams and not into what they’re doing. With it’s goofy happy ending I never thought I’d check out anything new by these guys ever again.

Which brings me to “Hardwired to Self Destruct”, their last studio album from 2016. I vaguely recall hearing about it’s release and paid no attention to it. Then the other day it popped up on my YouTube suggestions and I figured what the hell, I’ll give it a listen. I was definitely surprised to say the least. It’s a really good fucking album! The best thing they’ve done in years and years. The album flows well, it’s loose, heavy, and unpretentious. You get the feeling that they actually enjoyed making this record. There’s a kind of fun vibe that shines through.

I’m happy for them to have a solid album out again (*me more than two years after it’s release). I’ve watched a lot of interviews with Hetfield over the past couple of years and he definitely seems like he’s mellowed and is an interesting guy to listen to. Not that you have to personally like artists to enjoy their work, but in this case I get the feeling his state of mind translated into a really good, back to basics, solid piece of work.

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BOB LOG III

There’s a guy who plays Delta style blues slide guitar, wears a motorcycle helmet with a mic inside, wears a slick sort of one piece jumpsuit and plays a kick drum with one foot. That would be BOB LOG III, a mystery, a legend, one man band who tours relentlessly. You either dig it or you don’t I think. I’ve seen him several times back in the day when I lived the U.S. and it’s an awesome experience. Very punk rock, funny, kind of awe inspiring and a good ol time. I like his records too but I think you have to see him live to fully appreciate what he’s all about.

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SANTANA

I was lucky to grow up with a lot of family around me, cousins and what not. Being the youngest growing up I had pretty much no say in what went on the record player when everyone was hanging out. It wasn’t much of a problem as I really didn’t have much of an opinion about music at eight or nine years old. So I’d listen to what my brother or my cousins or anyone older for that matter and soak it all in. It was great to listen to a really wide variety of styles and sounds.

My cousins were big on Santana and this album especially. I remember I was just learning how to play guitar when they played this for me. Blew me away at 10 years old. Still does. Santana’s style is so pure and distinctive and all the rhythms going on are really magical. I was real happy years later to take one of those cousins to see the band in New York City at Pier 84. At least I think I paid! Was a loooong time ago…1988 I think. I saw him again at the Fillmore in San Francisco sometime in the early 90’s as well. Very good band to see live.

If you’ve never dug on Santana this is a great album to start with. I’m not a superfan and don’t know the whole catalog but this one never gets old.

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BOREDOMS

The legends from Japan who were at the vanguard of the “noise” music scene in the late 80’s - early 90’s. I played the hell out of this CD when it came out along with John Zorn’s “Naked City” project which featured Boredoms vocalist Eye.

All incredibly out there stuff back then (still is) but there is always method in the madness the more you listen. Boredoms have other classic albums such as “Pop Tatari”, “Super æ” and “Vision Creation Newsun”, all of which I love. Not everything is as chaotic as “Chocolate Synthesizer” but it’s all usually stuff you gotta ease into.

As for the other band members it’s been a lot of rotating people who come and go, do side projects or guest on an album. Eye seems to be the anchor of it all. In any case, Boredoms are must have for your collection if you have a wide taste in music.

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BOSTON

This eponymous debut album by Boston came out in 1976. Filled with tunes that are perfect hard rock, radio friendly gems I remember hearing from late elementary school to this day. I never owned a copy of this that I can recall but there isn’t a song on here I don’t like. They were constantly played on any FM rock station anyway.

As I grew a little older I learned that guitarist Tom Scholz was not only a pretty good guitar player but a technical whiz. He created many of the electronic devices used to get the amazing guitar sounds that really define Boston’s sound. As a side note he invented the Rockman portable guitar amplifier that were wildly popular back in the day.

This is really a fun album to listen to from start to finish. Really brings up feelings of good times and letting go of the word for about 40 minutes. Great songwriting and amazing sound make this a go to listen for me a few times a year.

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CAPTAIN BEEFHEART

Seminal album in avant garde / experimental music. I’ve been listening to this regularly my entire adult life. Never fail to find something new to appreciate each time I give it a full listen from start to finish. Slap on some headphones, open your mind and feast on “Trout Mask Replica”.

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