Thursday, 30 April 2020

Tony Williams ‎– Play Or Die (1980)

Genre: Jazz, Rock
Format: Vinyl
Label: P.S. Productions, Vollton Musikverlag

Tracklist:
A1.   Beach Ball Tango
A2.   Spencer Tracy
B1.   The Big Man
B2.   Para Oriente
B3.   Lawra

Credits:
Composed By – Tony Williams
Drums, Percussion – Tony Williams
Electric Bass – Patrick O'Hara
Keyboards – Tom Grant
Producer – Tony Williams, Peter Schnyder

Obscure session released on a small german label. It would be for the drummer's fans only if there weren't a pure vocal masterpiece, 'Lawra' a deeply emotional and groovy modal piece with nice electric piano chords playde by Gilles Peterson. Recommended.
Paris Jazz Corner

PJ Harvey ‎– The Hope Six Demolition Project (2016)

Style: Alternative Rock, Indie Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Island Records, Universal Music Group

Tracklist:
01.   The Community Of Hope
02.   The Ministry Of Defence
03.   A Line In The Sand
04.   Chain Of Keys
05.   River Anacostia
06.   Near The Memorials To Vietnam And Lincoln
07.   The Orange Monkey
08.   Medicinals
09.   The Ministry Of Social Affairs
10.   The Wheel
11.   Dollar, Dollar

Credits:
Written-By – Jerry McCain, PJ Harvey

PJ Harvey memorably recorded The Hope Six Demolition Project as part of a Somerset House art installation last year. Her ninth album is now ready to land, and it takes us much further afield than the small box she created it in. 
The double Mercury Prize winner’s latest effort follows four years spent researching and visiting Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington DC with Irish war photographer Seamus Murphy. The result is a characteristically gritty record that skilfully distils the pervading sense of desolation she experienced in places downtrodden by conflict and hardship. 
Predictably, The Hope Six Demolition Project is unconcerned with mass market appeal, making it a tricky album to navigate and an even harder one to enjoy. Harvey assumes the role of a musical war correspondent, demanding immersion into a challenging theme underscored by powerful lyrical intensity. Unswervingly political, the originality comes from her position as an observer rather than a Dylan-style protester. Her words, here as visceral as fans have come to expect, could at times be mistaken for a Wilfred Owen poem.

Produced once more by Flood, who has worked with Harvey since 1995’s Bring You My Love, the new record presents detailed snapshots of the horrific aftermath of wars, both physical, as on the raucously rocky “The Ministry of Social Affairs”, and mentally, on the harrowing, sax-heavy “Chain of Keys”. Its a tough but important listen in a world plagued by social inequality. 
Chugging guitar underlines the ever-present sense of disenchantment in ironically bleak opener “The Community of Hope”, named after a local charity and already controversial with Washington DC citizens angry at being branded “zombies” living in a “drug town shit-hole”. By closing refrain “They’re gonna put a Walmart here” you’re already drowned in life’s pointlessness, and there’s still ten more songs to go.

“The Ministry of Defence” hears Harvey apocalyptically conjure intimidating images of “sprayed graffiti”, “broken glass” and “balanced sticks in human s**t”, supported by aggressive guitars, while her disturbingly carefree falsetto on “A Line in the Sand” jars with its recounting of life working in an aid camp for the displaced. 
There is a disarmingly upbeat tone at times, notably on midpoint song “Near the Memorials to Vietnam and Lincoln”, which reflects the morally troubling sight of “people lumbering over the grass to squeeze into plastic chairs” next to tributes rendered little more than tourist attractions by the ignorant masses. Thundering highlight track “The Wheel”, about those missing from war zones, reverberates poignant relevance in the midst of the refugee crisis.

“Medicinals” draws on modern day dependence on alcohol as a numbing agent to life’s troubles, rhythmic percussion recreating happier, simpler times of old before a sudden, effective drop in tempo and dynamics brings the listener smashing back down to earth where a wheelchair-bound woman swigs booze from a paper-wrapped bottle. 
“The Orange Monkey” morosely continues the theme of buried history while “River Anocostia” opens and closes with the humming of black spiritual song “Wade in the Water”, a risky move that stops short of cultural appropriation thanks to Harvey’s strong retention of her own, unique sound. 
Closing track “Dollar, Dollar” sees a beggar boy approach Harvey at some traffic lights, only for her car to pull away leaving him impoverished and helpless in the dust. This one packs a particularly guilty punch with its realistic road noise intro complete with children’s cries, Harvey’s vocals becoming as haunting as the vanishing dot in her wing mirror. 
Despondency runs through The Hope Six Demolition Project, making for an unsettling ride. Harvey’s vivid storytelling audibly paints every sigh of it, reflecting the world’s injustices back at us and forcing us to inspect their ugliness.
Jess Denham / The Independent

Paul Simon ‎– Stranger To Stranger (2016)

Genre: Rock, Pop, Folk, World, & Country
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Concord Records, Universal Music Group

Tracklist:
01.   The Werewolf
02.   Wristband
03.   The Clock
04.   Street Angel
05.   Stranger To Stranger
06.   In A Parade
07.   Proof Of Love
08.   In The Garden Of Edie
09.   The Riverbank
10.   Cool Papa Bell
11.   Insomniac’s Lullaby

Credits:
Producer – Paul Simon, Roy Halee
Vocals – Paul Simon

Of all the baby-boomer heroes to make it past 70, none have been old longer than Paul Simon. Raised in Queens to first-generation Hungarian-Jewish immigrants, he copyrighted his first song, “The Girl for Me,” with Art Garfunkel when he was 14, an indication both of his preternatural ambition and a belief that art is as much a business as it is a means of self-expression. He never rebelled, never played to fashion, never seemed as interested in the dangerous divinations of rock‘n’roll as in the quiet diligence of songwriters from the 1930s and ’40s, who kept short hair and bankers’ hours. He has claimed that he tried to be ironic a few times, but it didn’t work. His first crime is mildness; his second is thinking. He might be your parents’ favorite musician, but your grandparents probably thought he was a pretty decent guy too. 
The same qualities that made Simon seem square as a younger artist made him durable into—and beyond—middle age. His second solo album, Paul Simon, invented the literate, introverted style we now call indie-folk, and beat Oscar the Grouch by two years in suggesting that melancholy isn’t a weakness, but a form of insulation against even worse emotional weather. In the ’80s, when Bob Dylan was making kabuki disco albums and Simon’s other ’60s peers—the Rolling Stones, for example—were getting lost in the open ocean of too much encouragement, Simon recorded Graceland, an album whose South African sound was both middlebrow and radical, universally likable and yet alien to Simon's typical audience. (For further listening on this subject, visit the compilation The Indestructible Beat of Soweto, released just around the time Graceland came out. It endures.) 
Simon’s lyrics, which had always been less about people being free than people getting by, were maturing: He was more aloof now, but funnier, too. Take this, the first verse of a song called “Gumboots”:

"I was having this discussion in a taxi heading downtown/Rearranging my position on this friend of mine who had a little bit of a breakdown/I said, ‘Hey, you know, breakdowns come and breakdowns go/ So what are you going to do about it? That’s what I’d like to know.’” 
Twenty years earlier, he would’ve zeroed in on the breakdown and thrown an orchestra at it; now it was relegated to a couple lines on an album with a host of other problems to compartmentalize. Here was someone stepping into the tempered disappointments of being 40 like they were shoes bought just a little too soon. This, he recently told a class at Yale, is when Simon says he was finally comfortable admitting he was an artist. 
Simon’s post-Graceland career has had its embarrassments, but as with a lot of older, canonized artists, critics seem to take an unusual kind of glee in magnifying them, when, near as I can tell, he bothers the public far less than the rest of his graduating class. There was The Capeman, a musical about the Puerto Rican gang member Salvador Agron, which is one of those sub-middling projects nobody would’ve heard about if it wasn’t coming to us from Paul Simon, but since it was coming to us from Paul Simon, people heard about it a lot more than they needed to. (Several writers—myself included, I admit—have noted how unconvincing Simon is when using the word “fuck,” which he attempts several times on the soundtrack.) There was 2006’s Surprise, which found him working with Brian Eno, an artist of related but incompatible genius whose deference to atmosphere tended to wash out the quiet precision of Simon’s songs. 
So Beautiful or So What from 2011 was a lot better, and, for an artist of Simon’s stature, surprisingly weird—the sound of an elder statesman settling into his own idiosyncrasies, seemingly unconcerned with legacy or relevance. More than anything, Simon in the ’00s reminds me of the Brazilian singer Caetano Veloso, himself a national treasure whose albums have only gotten leaner and more enigmatic as he keeps making them. 
Which brings us to Stranger to Stranger, a compact, often jittery album populated by schizophrenics, disenfranchised teenagers, musicians locked out of their own gigs, and some kind of avenging werewolf coming to kill the rich. I’ve always attributed part of Simon’s enormous popularity to how good he is at teasing out life’s silver linings, at softening disappointment with bittersweetness, regret with nostalgia. Even his saddest songs contain the implicit bromide that life goes on. 
Here, things feel less reassuring, more open-ended. Several of the album’s songs—“Street Angel,” “In a Parade,” “The Werewolf”—are bemused and overstuffed, rickshaw rides down busy, unfamiliar streets with people you can’t quite get a read on. Even the album’s friendliest moment, a light, West African-style folksong called “Cool Papa Bell,” is shadowed by lines about “the thrill you feel when evil dreams come true.” (It also contains Simon’s most convincing use of the word “fuck” yet.) Here, Simon’s voice—always boyish, always a little bit distracted—takes on the ominous warmth of Albert Brooks in Drive, who isn’t slitting your wrist until he is. 
The shift here is from wisdom to prophecy, from certainty to contingency. Musically, it’s his most adventurous album since Graceland, filed with strange rhythmic kinks and a junkyard’s worth of barely identifiable sounds. Simon’s appropriation of new styles has often had the unfortunate effect of making it seem like he’s domesticating them, making them palatable for the king’s court. (This was, of course, a big debate around Graceland.) Here, he gets as close as he’s ever been to the romantic ideal of kids gathered on a corner banging on what they found in the alley, or of the weird old guy bumping down the road in a wooden cart filled with treasures unknown, from the chimes of “The Clock” and the accidental ambience of “In the Garden of Edie” to the vocal sample on “Street Angel,” flipped and processed to make it sound like a clogged drain. (The sample comes from the Golden Gate Quartet, a proto-gospel group who Simon also sampled on So Beautiful or So What, and who invented what in my estimation is the safest anti-depressant on the market.) 
Simon has claimed inspiration in part from the American composer Harry Partch, who envisioned a scale that broke up the customary 12 tones into 43, creating slippages and interstices and little gradations of sound that might seem like dissonance to Western ears but that have an oblique, mysterious beauty. Simon borrows a couple of Partch’s homemade instruments here—the zoomoozophone, the chromelodeon—but also borrows a little of his spirit, of a transient life, of quick fixes and no clear plan. My favorite lyrics sound thrillingly unwritten, raw footage of wit in action. Consider it a corrective to a career of smoothing things over: Stranger to Stranger is unpasteurized, mongrel music. 
Simon has always been subject to criticism for a certain kind of exceptionalism. Two of his biggest songs, “I Am a Rock” and “Sounds of Silence,” deal with characters who wear their alienation like badges, dark lords of their own personal libraries left with no choice but to turn their faces heroically away from the sheeple who surround them. This was a guy who responded to the news of his partner going to work on a movie in Mexico by writing a song called “The Only Living Boy in New York,” never mind the other 6 million people living there. 
As his career wore on, the alienation mellowed into casual arrogance. By 1983’s Hearts and Bones, which Simon himself has acknowledged as an artistic dead-end, he had become the kind of guy who shows up at the party but never has a good time, bored by life but willing to smirk at it, who thinks he’s better than you but is too polite to say so. 
We see some of that guy on Stranger, just as we see him on every Paul Simon album—that’s part of what makes it a Paul Simon album. The musician on “Wristband,” for example, who draws an analogy between his own frustrations getting back into the VIP area and what poor people must feel on the brink of a riot. Personally, I see it as satire, the portrait of someone who has mostly lost touch with reality but still has to answer to it eventually. My guess is many will see it as condescension. 
Then again, pop has always been nicer to artists who portray struggle than relative ease, more welcoming of emotional engagement than emotional detachment, and increasingly hostile both to intelligence and ambiguity. Simon is all these supposedly bad things and worse. For every one of him, there are 10 guys waiting to stuff him into a locker—that’s how it is, and probably how it’ll always be. “It turns out to be a great thing for me, I don’t worry/I don’t think,” he sings at the beginning of “Cool Papa Bell.” “Because it’s not my job to worry or to think. Not me. I’m more like—every day I’m here I’m grateful.” Anyone familiar with Simon's music knows he must be talking about someone else; his genius is being able to sell the line anyway.
Mike Powel / Pitchfork

American Gypsy ‎– American Gypsy (1975)

Genre: Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Philips, MCA Records, Chess

Tracklist:
01.   Inside Out
02.   10,000 Miles
03.   Ooh Why Not
04.   Golden Ring
05.   Lady Eleanor
06.   Angel Eyes
07.   While Its Cold Outside
08.   Stuck On You
09.   Let Your Life Lead By Love
10.   Tribute To American Gypsy

Credits:
Arranged By – Piet Souer
Bass Guitar, Mellotron, Vocals – Joe Skeete
Drums, Percussion – Richard James
Guitar, Vocals – Dale Harrel Jr., Michael Hamane
Percussion, Vocals – Lorenzo Mills
Piano, Alto Saxophone, Lead Vocals – Steve Clisby
Producer – Hans van Hemert

‎MitsoGusto – Far Out (2020)

Genre: Avantgarde, Electronic, Jazz, Funk
Format: FLAC
Label: Fortune Cut Records

Tracklist:
1.   Invasion
2.   W.O.T.T.
3.   Portamento
4.   Heavy Smoke
5.   Offset
6.   Lookingforthebinary
7.   Passingmeby
8.   PyroCb
9.   Landing

Credits:
Synth, Keys, Modular, Percs, FX - M
Flute - Leonidas Sarantopoulos
Bass - Dave De Rose
Guitar - Marius Mathiszik
Sax - Giannis Kassetas
Piano - Giannis Papadopoulos
Wurlitzer - Giannis Papadopoulos
Upright Bass - Vassilis Papastamopoulo
Drums, BassSynth, Guitar, FX - G
Drums - Manolis Giannikios, Panagiotis Kostopoulos

Some people need air to breathe, or food to eat. Others just need to make noise.
So, what do you get when you put two of the latter, in a room full of toys that make noise?
MitsoGusto! A sound defined by Gustav Penka’s knack for grasping vintage aesthetics and Mitsos Kalousis’ lust for the futuristic and obscure.
"...Versatile and ever-evolving, their compositions blend hard-hitting groove with delicate melody, earthy tones with space-age curiosities.
They stride along the lines of funk, jazz, psych and electronica, inspired by the work of consequential artist/producers such as Malcolm Catto, Madlib and Scotty Hard.

So, it’s nasty, deconstructed, distorted, groove music. Sure, but not quite.

Their work features performances of their own on various instruments (drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, vinyl), as well as those of revered guests, offering an enchanting variety of flavour and texture.
Atmospheric, dark and psychedelic. Raw, spontaneous and dynamic.
Could find more words, but less is more: MitsoGusto sounds like people having fun while making music!"
Their debut studio was realesed on April 27th via Fortune Cut Records!

VA ‎– 12"/80s (2005)

Style: Pop Rock, Dub, Goth Rock, Synth-pop, New Wave
Format: CD
Label: Family Recordings

DISC 1
1-01.   The Cure - A Forest (Extended Mix)
1-02.   Aztec Camera - Walk Out To Winter (Long Version)
1-03.   The Icicle Works - Love Is A Wonderful Colour (12")
1-04.   Soft Cell - Tainted Love / Where Did Our Love Go?
1-05.   ABC - Tears Are Not Enough (12" Mix)
1-06.   Simple Minds - Promised You A Miracle (12" Mix)
1-07.   Spandau Ballet - To Cut A Long Story Short
1-08.   Echo & The Bunnymen - Never Stop (Discothéque)
1-09.   Fun Boy Three - Our Lips Are Sealed (12" Mix)
1-10.   The Jam - Precious (12" Mix)
1-11.   Siouxsie & The Banshees - Spellbound (12" Mix)
1-12.   Bauhaus - She's In Parties (Extended Mix)


DISC 2
2-01.   The Human League - Love Action (12" Mix)
2-02.   Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls (12" Mix)
2-03.   Visage - Fade To Grey (Extended)
2-04.   Yazoo - Situation (U.S. 12" Mix)
2-05.   Japan - Quiet Life (12" Mix)
2-06.   Talk Talk It's My Life (U.S. 12")
2-07.   Stephen 'Tin Tin' Duffy - Kiss Me (Mixe Plural)
2-08.   The Style Council - My Ever Changing Moods (Long Version)
2-09.   Simply Red - Money's Too Tight To Mention (Cutback Mix)
2-10.   Animotion - Obsession (U.S. 12")
2-11.   Tom Tom Club - Wordy Rappinghood (12" Version)
2-12.   The Passions - I'm In Love With A German Film Star (Long Mix)



DISC 3
3-01.   Grace Jones - Pull Up To The Bumper (12" Mix)
3-02.   Kid Creole And The Coconuts - I'm A Wonderful Thing Baby (12" Mix)
3-03.   The Blow Monkeys - Diggin' Your Scene (Extended Mix)
3-04.   Lloyd Cole & The Commotions - My Bag (Dancing Remix)
3-05.   Hipsway - The Honeythief (12" Mix)
3-06.   Tears For Fears - Sowing The Seeds Of Love (Long Version)
3-07.   Junior -Mama Used To Say (12")
3-08.   Grandmaster Flash - White Lines (12" Mix)
3-09.   Man Parrish - Hip Hop, Be Bop (12" Mix)
3-10.   Monsoon - Ever So Lonely (Extended Mix)
3-11.   Curiosity Killed The Cat - Down To Earth (12" Mix)
3-12.   Black - Wonderful Life (12")


Credits:
Compiled By – Dorian Wathen

Tuxedomoon ‎– Bardo Hotel Soundtrack / MTM VOL. 38 (2006)

Genre: Electronic, Jazz, Rock, Stage & Screen
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Crammed Discs, Made To Measure

Tracklist:
01.   Hurry Up And Wait (Flying Sequence)
02.   Effervescing In The Nether Sphere
03.   Soup Du Jour
04.   Flying Again
05.   Triptych
06.   I'm Real Stupid
07.   Airport Blues
08.   Needles Prelude
09.   Prometheus Bound
10.   Baron Brown
11.   Jinx
12.   Loneliness
13.   Remote (Pralaya)
14.   Dream Flight
15.   More Flying
16.   Vulcanic, Combustible
17.   Mr. Comfort
18.   Another Flight
19.   Invocation Of
20.   Carry On Circles

Credits:
Music By – Tuxedomoon
Guitar, Bass – Peter Principle
Saxophones, Clarinet, Keyboards, Tapes, Sounds – Steven Brown
Additional Material Sounds – George Kakanakis
Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Harmonica – Luc Van Lieshout
Violin, Guitar, Computer – Blaine L. Reininger

Tuxedomoon has been together forever; they played concerts with Throbbing Gristle and PiL back in the crazy days of post-punk when no one knew what direction music would go next. Tuxedomoon stood out for their wacky instrumentation -- playing punk clubs with cellos and horns; classic -- and their commitment to finding a new way in the rock wilderness. (Read much more about them in Simon Reynolds' book Rip It Up and Start Again.) 
We haven't heard a lot from Tuxedomoon in the last few years, but this release (on the awesome Belgian world music label Crammed Discs, which is also rereleasing some of their more fascinating back-catalogue records) begs one question: why not? Sure, it's weird as all hell: more than an hour of ambient jazz-pop noize, occasionally breaking into brass-band oddness or dark funk. 
This isn't everyone's cup of decaf herbal green tea. And there are more obstacles as well: A) It's just about all instrumental, with the only vocal guideposts being field recordings. B) While this music was apparently made to be the soundtrack to a movie by filmmaker George Kakanakis, the movie itself is not included, and it is unclear if it really exists as a film-qua-film, or if the music here is really a soundtrack to it at all. C) The Bardo Hotel is a group construct, apparently representing all hotels, the state of rootless restlessness, the feeling of permanent exile, in the minds of the bandmembers. 
Yes, this all sounds pretty pretentious, and Tuxedomoon does not really care how you feel about that. However, if you are brave enough to get past all this, this album is pretty damn good. The textures are constantly shifting between doomy drones and moments of clearwater beauty. The first real "composition" seems to be the second track, "Effervescing in the Nether Sphere", which rides a minor "Bolero" bass riff so that Luc van Lieshout's soaring trumpet work can lift us out of the murk. This is one of the few times when a piece seems to stay together -- a lot of other songs here seem to fall apart before they have even begun. Sometimes this is a bad thing, but in the Bardo Hotel it makes perfect emotional sense. 
The album's centerpiece is the epic-length "Vulcanic, Combustible". Here, Blaine Reininger's violin turns into an entire orchestra blasting out blocky angelic chords, while Peter Principle's guitar sneaks in to deliver sly commentary. The tension builds until about the nine-minute mark, when a lot of it drops away so that the theme (and, for a change in post-rock music, there really is one here) can be restated on a more intimate level. This piece actually does sound both volcanic and combustible; what it really is is a beautiful piece of modern classical music. 
The record's most interesting section comes right in the middle, when it breaks out into the Balkan-band impression of "Baron Brown" -- what makes it so weird is that it seems to be a real song, with actual (if wordless) vocals. Sure, it doesn't last all that long, but it re-energizes the album before busting into the multi-part choral weirdness of the snippet called "Jinx". The only orientation is disorientation. And in this universe, it makes perfect sense. 
Well, if you're still reading, you are not afraid of pretention or oddness in music, so you will likely be interested in spending some time in the Bardo Hotel. It's a fascinating place -- but don't hold your breath waiting for the mint on your pillow.
Matt Cibula / PopMATTERS

Damon Locks Black Monument Ensemble ‎– Where Future Unfolds (2019)

Style: Avant-garde Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: International Anthem Recording Company

Tracklist:
01.   Statement Of Intent / Black Monument Theme
02.   Sounds Like Now
03.   Solar Power
04.   Rebuild A Nation
05.   Which I Believe It Will
06.   Which I Believe I Am
07.   The Colors That You Bring
08.   The Future?
09.   Power
10.   From A Spark To A Fire

Credits:
Clarinet – Angel Bat Dawid
Drums, Percussion – Dana Hall
Electronics, Bells, Voice – Damon Locks
Percussion – Arif Smith
Vocals – Eric McCarter, Lauren Robinson, Monique Golding, Phillip Armstrong, Rayna Golding, Tramaine Parker

Four years ago, the Chicago-based improvisational artist Damon Locks began layering vocal samples of speeches from the Civil Rights movement over original beats programmed on a drum machine. These politically charged sound collages gradually expanded and transformed into the Black Monument Ensemble, a 15-member performance collective that features singers from the Chicago Children’s Choir and musicians active on the city’s jazz and improv scene, including clarinetist Angel Bat Dawid, drummer Dana Hall and percussionist Arif Smith. Where Future Unfolds is the fruit of Locks' vision, an ensemble performance recorded live at the Garfield Park Botanical Conservatory last year. Locks' project feels revelatory in its bridging of the past and future, its blend of old and new. This is uplifting activist jazz for tumultuous times. 
"Statement Of Intent/Black Monument Theme” fires the ten-track album into life. It’s a song commandeered by Locks, who delivers an impassioned sermon against a backdrop of shimmering wind chimes and rattling percussion. “Confrontation/Dislocation by avenues and blocks/Whole neighborhoods upturned/Officials constantly re-framing, presenting, re-presenting, composing and positioning," roars Locks in a similar fashion to hip-hop poet Saul Williams, before reaching and repeating the climatic mantra “Some things never change—black monuments.” 
The music moves easily between Afrofuturist gospel—typified by the spacy synths of “Which I Believe It Will” and the luminous electro beats of “Which I Believe I Am”—and hip-hop grime. “The Colors That You Bring” sets the choir’s soulful harmonies against wavering strings and murky boom-bap drums, like a civil rights protest movie scored the RZA. Upping the intensity, sampled fragments of archived speeches are embedded in the songs; on “Solar Power” a voice proclaims, “There's no black person on this planet that will disagree with freedom.” These spoken snippets give the album a militant edge, recalling interludes from the classic Public Enemy records, where speeches from social reformers like Frederick Douglass were fused with steely breaks.

Where Future Unfolds began as a retelling of the Civil Rights movement of the ’50s and ’60s, but as the title suggests, it is also concerned with what is to come. At one point we hear the sweet, youthful voice of Rayna Golding—the daughter of Black Monument Ensemble singer Monique Golding—leading the choir in a vow: “I can rebuild a nation no longer working out.” The line comes to encapsulate the tenor of the album: gritty sentiments that radiate an optimistic glow. In the way that music from old eras can be sampled and repurposed into new forms, Locks’s majestic work strives to reach better days by looking back and learning from the past.
Phillip Mlynar / Pitchfork

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Shabaka And The Ancestors ‎– We Are Sent Here By History (2020)

Genre: Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Impulse!

Tracklist:
01.   They Who Must Die
02.   You've Been Called
03.   Go My Heart, Go To Heaven
04.   Behold, The Deceiver
05.   Run, The Darkness Will Pass
06.   The Coming Of The Strange Ones
07.   Beast Too Spoke Of Suffering
08.   We Will Work (On Redefining Manhood)
09.   'Til The Freedom Comes Home
10.   Finally, The Man Cried
11.   Teach Me How To Be Vulnerable

Credits:
Alto Saxophone – Mthunzi Mvubu
Double Bass – Ariel Zamonsky
Drums – Tumi Mogorosi
Fender Rhodes – Nduduzo Makhathini
Percussion – Gontse Makhene
Piano – Thandi Ntuli
Trumpet – Mandla Mlangeni
Vocals  – Siyabonga Mthembu
Written-By – Shabaka Hutchings
Producer – Dilip Harris, Shabaka Hutchings

Reed player Shabaka Hutchings became the first British musician to sign to the iconic (for once the word is justified) Impulse! label when his band Sons of Kemet did so in 2018. It was a deal for which his management could rightly be proud. It was also an affirmation which Hutchings felt deeply, for in the 1960s and 1970s Impulse! had recorded many of his formative influences, John Coltrane, Archie Shepp and Pharoah Sanders among them. In 2019 Hutchings took another of his projects, The Comet Is Coming, to the label. Shabaka & the Ancestors makes that a hat trick. We Are Sent Here By History is the Hutchings-aside South African group's awesome (for once this word is justified, too) second album, following Wisdom Of Elders, released on London's Brownswood in 2016. 
If signing to Impulse! was something of a coup for Hutchings, it also puts some fire back in the belly of the label, which for most of its post-1970s existence has been little more than a logo wheeled out by its holding company, Universal Music, for the occasional project. Alice Coltrane's 2004 swansong, Translinear Light, was one of a tiny number of new releases worthy of the Impulse! imprint. But with three Hutchings bands on the roster the label's credibility is boosted spectacularly, for Hutchings is one of modern jazz's deepest and most singular talents. 
Given his head, Hutchings will likely bring more bands to Impulse!, particularly those from the new London alternative jazz scene of which he is a leading light. The various artists compilation of emergent London bands, We Out Here (Brownswood, 2018), which Hutchings curated and produced, was a demonstration of his considerable A&R skills, featuring as it did soon-to-be stars Ezra Collective, Theon Cross and Nubya Garcia among its attractions. 
Message is a vital ingredient in Hutchings' music and never more so than on the new album. Sons of Kemet's Your Queen Is A Reptile (2018), The Comet is Coming's Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery and Afterlife (both 2019), and the Ancestors' Wisdom Of Elders and We Are Sent Here By History each carry social-political narratives as powerful as the music in their grooves. They pick up the militant spiritual-jazz banner which Impulse!, and other US labels such as Strata-East, carried back in the day. 
The message on We Are Sent Here By History is clear and uncompromising. "It is a meditation on the fact of our coming extinction as a species," says Hutchings. "It is a reflection from the ruins, from the burning, a questioning of the steps to be taken in preparation for our transition individually and societally if the end is to be seen as anything but a tragic defeat. For those lives lost and cultures dismantled by centuries of western expansionism, capitalist thought and white supremacist structural hegemony the end days have long been heralded as present, with this world experienced as an embodiment of a living purgatory." 
Musically the album is a fast-forward spin going on futuristic reinvention of the South African township jazz pioneered by artists such as Hugh Masekela, Chris McGregor and Dudu Pukwana in the mid 20th century. Ancient and modern, visceral and cerebral, epic yet intimate, it is jazz at its best. If humankind's extinction is inevitable, as Hutchings fears, then at least we have some extraordinary music with which to play ourselves out.
Chris May / All About Jazz

Pirí ‎– Vocês Querem Mate? (1970)

Genre: Latin, Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Far Out Recordings, Quartin

Tracklist:
A1.   Reza Brava
A2.   As Incríveis Peripécias De Danilo
A3.   O Som Do Roberto
A4.   Sombra Morta
A5.   Vocês Querem Mate?
B1.   Cupído Esculpido
B2.   Chão Vermelho
B3.   Lágrimas
B4.   Espiral
B5.   Porta Do Sol

Credits:
Bass – Jorge Marinh
Drums – Wilson das Neves
Flute – Danilo Caymmi, Paulinho Jobim
Percussion – Juquinha
Vocals – Tita Lobo
Guitar, Vocals, Composed By – Pirí
Directed By, Producer – Roberto Quartin

The latest in the ongoing series of classic Brazilian re-issues from the rare as hen’s teeth Quartin label on original vinyl, longer-term fans of the Far Out label will have fond memories of the mid-1990s compilation that featured several tracks from the group Piri. This complete album now provides the whole story behind a stunning early 1970s slice of Brazilian psychedelic folk with jazz tinges into the mix. Setting the scene to stunning effect is the opener, ‘Reza brava’, which could just as easily be off a long-lost Quarteto Novo album and the wordless vocals lead into a berimbau breakdown of distinction. Equally good is the introspective, ‘Lágrimas’ with a flute solo that fits the mood to perfection. Arguably, strongest of all is the repetitive and ultra-catchy riff of, ‘Cupido esculpido’, with a piano vamp that on less than Sergio Mendes would be proud of and again featuring some tasty flute soloing. 
Band members were something of a Brazilian instrumental super group and these included percussionist Wilson das Neves and Juquina, while the double pairing comprised Danilo Caymmi from the first family of Brazilian folk music and another family of international repute, Paulinho Jobim. Little wonder the music is so compelling in this calibre of company. The name Piri is actually the first name of male singer Piri Reis who combines on a male-female joint vocals on the lovely uptempo groove of, ‘Chão vermelho’. Of note is that Reis has collaborated with some of the Brazilian jazz greats including guitarist Egberto Gismonti and drummer/percussionist Robertinho Silva. Furthermore, the music of Reis has been covered by musicians of the calibre of bassist Charlie Haden and multi-reedist Jan Garbarek. Another uptempo winner in the Quarteto Novo vein is, ‘Espiral’, while for those of a more leisurely persuasion, the folk-influenced, ‘As incriveis peripécias de Danilo’. is sure to please on the ear. 
The iconic front cover of the album with four band members in a tipped wheel barrow like cart virtually says it all and sums up the relaxed and rootsy atmosphere present on the album. With sunny summer days and night now seemingly the norm at present, this is your ideal musical accompaniment. Roll on more Quartin re-issues when the listening experience is as enjoyable as this!
Tim Stenhouse / UK Vibe

XTC ‎– Skylarking (1986)

Style: New Wave, Pop Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass.
Label: Geffen Records, Virgin, Ape House

Tracklist:
01.   Summer's Cauldron
02.   Grass
03.   The Meeting Place
04.   That's Really Super, Supergirl
05.   Ballet For A Rainy Day
06.   1000 Umbrellas
07.   Season Cycle
08.   Earn Enough For Us
09.   Big Day
10.   Another Satellite
11.   Mermaid Smiled
12.   The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul
13.   Dying
14.   Sacrificial Bonfire
15. Dear God

Credits:
Bass, Vocals – Colin Moulding
Guitar, Vocals – Andy Partridge
Piano, Synthesizer, Guitar, Chamberlin, Vocals, Tiple – Dave Gregory

Late one morning in 1986, Todd Rundgren awoke at the Sunset Marquis hotel in West Hollywood to ominous news: A space shuttle had disintegrated in the stratosphere, killing the entire crew on live TV. The same morning, he received a message from the British wing of Virgin Records, concerning a wily pop band from rural England. In the label’s view, XTC were in dire need of a no-nonsense producer, arranger, and authority figure, preferably all in one—somebody with an American touch and a hint of the madcap and... well, how did his schedule look? 
Rundgren’s appointment secured the savvy pairing of two brilliant and doomed minds. Between the anglophile producer and songsmith Andy Partridge were a thousand common interests and one great chasm that would subsume egos and tear up the studio floorboards. The rift did not concern taste or etiquette so much as—how else to put it—vibe: In one corner, the shaggy-haired, acid-frazzled Philadelphian whose passive-aggression belies a loose, honky-tonk approach to life; in the other, a three-piece reputed for 1) turning down their record label’s cocaine and 2) crafting technically brilliant pop. It was a match made in some 5-star hotel-lobby hell, and the calamity of it all enriches every second of Skylarking. 
Rundgren was optimistic about working with XTC. A few years earlier, he had caught the Swindon group in their element, twisting from off-brand punk toward whip-smart new wave. Soon after, in 1982, Partridge suddenly quit touring, suffering from valium withdrawal and on-stage panic attacks. He announced XTC would join the ranks of Steely Dan and late-phase Beatles as a studio outfit—a commercial disaster, to nobody’s surprise. Singles flopped, fans lost faith, and before the year was up, the group shrank to a trio when drummer Terry Chambers stormed out for good during a rehearsal.

But by 1985, Partridge, at least, believed XTC were in the form of their lives. Though recent LPs Mummer and The Big Express lacked a hit to follow 1982’s “Senses Working Overtime,” the frontman’s studio indulgence (and bossiness) finally had free rein, even as the band entered free-fall. A parachute opened when the Dukes of Stratosphear, their cartoonish side project, released a period-psychedelia EP that briskly outsold the previous XTC record. 
Virgin hoped an American producer would collar the firebrand and hammer the new album into the transatlantic mold of U2 and Simple Minds—a notion that, like almost everything involving the label, Partridge found laughable. Consider the demos: Back-garden symphonies like “Summer’s Cauldron” and “Season Cycle,” among his ripest compositions to date. Fellow songwriter Colin Moulding, inspired by his move to the ancient Celtic settlement of Marlborough Downs, was clomping down the same path, composing pastorals like “Grass” and “The Meeting Place” from sampled lathes and thrums of pagan folk. If anything, Partridge reasoned, the album would be their most English ever. 
Caught between a quixotic artiste and a label tapping its watch, Rundgren was diplomatic. Who was he, a producer extraordinaire whose second home was a spacecraft-style recording bunker, to mock a studio fiend like Partridge? Hatching a plan, he accepted Virgin’s $150,000 fee and quickly discarded dozens of the band’s demos, assembling a tracklist around a concept of his own. The song cycle would plot a lifetime over the course of a day: daybreak in “Summer’s Cauldron,” then a suite of infatuation, heartbreak, marriage, temptation, and existential reckoning that concludes—on “Dying” and “Sacrificial Bonfire”—in the dead of night. 
All this was news to the band. To Partridge, it was virtually treasonous. The 32-year-old was still on the mend from a 14-year addiction to valium prescribed for erratic school behavior, and had landed in an enlightenment phase, philosophizing over nature and “questioning things deeper: God, existence—the chewier questions,” he later said. The transformation in his lyrics was undeniable; and his voice, once a rabid yelp, had softened into serene hysteria, like a rescue puppy outgrowing its trauma. Despite their media portrayal as backwater bumpkins, XTC were brewing a new identity—something a star producer would surely dilute. 
Partridge’s bandmates felt differently. Guitarist Dave Gregory, a Rundgren superfan, was thrilled, and the docile Moulding—by now immune to Partridge’s arm-twisting—sided with Virgin, reasoning they all had mouths to feed. If only to humor them, Partridge held his nose and acquiesced. 
At his Utopia studio in the Catskills, Rundgren insisted on recording the songs in order, so sessions commenced with “Summer’s Cauldron.” His fingerprints are instantly visible: Skylarking opens in the nervous charge of dawn amid dog barks and crickets. As Rundgren’s melodica smears sunlight across the horizon, Partridge swans in from the wings and belts out a Broadway-sized croon, duetting with the lazy arc of a Moulding bassline. Just as the song builds to fever pitch, the producer plays his ace, scooping you out of “Summer’s Cauldron” with the summer’s-breeze strings of “Grass,” Moulding’s ode to al-fresco romance. A dreamy riff plays off his West Country burr, fizzles and dies like something unsaid. 
Beneath Skylarking’s twin sunrise, optimism was dimming. It’s hard to pinpoint when hell broke loose, but within a few days the studio had descended into extravagant pettiness. Partridge says Rundgren had sarcasm down to “an extremely cruel art,” mocking everything from his lyrics to his trousers; when the singer flubbed a vocal take, he impatiently offered to record him a guide track. Partridge, in turn, deemed Rundgren’s keyboard skills “incredibly primitive,” nicknaming him Old Banana Fingers. Whenever the producer hulked toward the studio, weary and long-faced, the band had taken to jamming the “Munsters” theme tune. 
One flustered night, Partridge gathered his bandmates. “I’m thinking of knocking the album on the head,” he confessed. “It’s like having two Hitlers in the same bunker.” 
As war raged, the sessions remained a spring of wonder. Moulding, a psych-pop reformist, came into his own with songs like “The Meeting Place,” reflecting Swindon’s rituals and industry in gorgeous stained glass. Partridge specialized in the melodic trapdoor, establishing awkward patterns and flooding your serotonin receptors at unexpected moments. The lyrics are just chewy enough to distract from each incoming sugar rush, creating endless replay value. (“Who’s pushing the pedals on the season cycle?” he quips wonderfully in “Season Cycle.”) Themes and images trespass between songs, from the vaudevillian pomp of “Ballet for a Rainy Day” into the melodramatic “1000 Umbrellas,” whose Dave Gregory string arrangement makes heartbreak seem an ancient, noble fate. 
In all this, Skylarking expresses a comic, cosmic apprehension of the natural world—not the banal site of ready-made tranquility but the arena of psychedelia, godliness, and permanence. Partridge and Moulding grew up on the border between urban and rural Swindon, ever ready to abandon the cinema of smalltown life, hop a fence, and explore a fantasyland of wildlife. Their formative years account for two XTC archetypes: the put-upon breadwinner and the serene observer of nature. That contrast—as much as Partridge and Moulding’s divergence—is a crux of the band’s character. 
Part of the tension with Rundgren was that his pastoral concept snubbed Partridge’s trademark social commentaries. Though his politics were fuzzy, the songwriter took pride in penning morality plays that skewered Middle England’s delusions of grandeur, sending up the bootlicking class that was then rallied behind Margaret Thatcher. 
Before parlaying that skill into songs like the anti-fascist operetta “No Thugs in Our House,” young Partridge had been famed for caricaturing schoolteachers, and it was this hobby that established creativity as his lifeline: initially to distract bullies, then simply to show off, drumming up attention he lacked at home. Though Partridge’s father played in a Navy skiffle band, his periods of absence and violence afforded little investment in his son’s artistic pursuits; his mother, whose mental health struggles led to electro-shock therapy, dished out verbal abuse and often sent Partridge to stay with other families, giving him “no sense of permanence about anything,” he explained in the book Complicated Game. Music and satire were pillars of Partridge’s identity that Rundgren would threaten to demolish. 
The songwriter’s roots in social antagonism deepened in his teens, which he spent pottering between oddball bands in a tasseled suede jacket, observing Swindon’s social and cultural trends from afar. XTC missed the 1976 punk rush because he had a job as a window dresser in a Victorian emporium. While the band had contemporaries in Elvis Costello and Robyn Hitchcock, the late-’70s new wave stopped short of welcoming Leonard Bernstein nostalgists. 
Assembling the Skylarking tracklist, Rundgren had shot down all but one addition to the band’s catalog of smalltown vignettes. To his credit, it may be their very best. Grounded by a snare that sounds airlifted in from a quarry, “Earn Enough for Us” spins a power-pop yarn pitting love against the material restrictions of poverty: “So you’re saying that we’re gonna be three/Now, a father’s what I’ll be,” Partridge sings between snakes-and-ladders hooks. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m so proud, but the belt’s already tight/I’ll get another job at night...” 
Despite rankling Partridge, Skylarking’s departure from sociology frees space for wildcards like “That’s Really Super, Supergirl,” a reject that Rundgren rescued, sped up, and made garish. His funhouse keys and a helter-skelter bassline lean into the lyrics’ comics-nerd pathos, Partridge sarcastically commending a girlfriend who presumes to ditch him for his own good. On tape, it came out as a burbling blast of Disneyfied pop. Partridge was horrified. 
“Could you play it a bit tighter?” he yelled, exasperated, as Rundgren perched behind the keyboard. 
“That was good enough!” the producer replied. 
Rundgren was gallivanting about like a ludicrous child savant—one moment darkly inscrutable, the next digging out cobwebbed keyboards and swaggering into the light. While Partridge fumed, Moulding and Gregory wrestled with their own frustrations. A month into recording, relocating to San Francisco for overdubs failed to heal rifts cleaved between the trio years earlier. During bass sessions for “Earn Enough for Us,” Moulding briefly quit the band, collateral damage in a Rundgren-Partridge power struggle that was now crescendoing. At one point, says the producer, Partridge fantasized aloud about plunging an axe into his head. 
Occasional stabs at communication worked miracles. Rundgren’s ability to brandish spectacular arrangements from his back pocket freed the band to reinvent songs on the spot. On a whim, he flipped a dirge called “The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul” into something fancy and louche; the recorded version saunters like a Scott Walker Bond theme. Partridge was justifiably wary of Rundgren’s exhibitionism, but in the wonderland of Skylarking, where Moulding’s bucolic songs are right at home, it is Partridge’s—bedecked in half-drunk keys and Vegas suave—that astonish. 
For a while, Partridge feared the completed album was ruined. He lambasted “Herr Rundgren” in the press and, as usual, fought bitterly with the label—but this time, with roles reversed, it was Virgin selling him on his music’s merit. As Skylarking awaited its fate, he and Moulding sulked in his Swindon loft and, on a giant board spread across the floor, set about re-enacting the great battles of 18th Century Europe. 
Lead single “Grass” bombed in the UK, and the album stalled at No. 90—a death sentence even by their commercial standards, albeit grim vindication for Partridge. But in America, a one-time single contender demoted to a B-side was making hay. On college radio, “Dear God” had sparked a moral panic: its narrator, griping with an absent god, appalled Bible Belt Christians and prompted a bomb threat to a Florida radio station. Everyone else seemed to love it. In a sheepish U-turn, the band’s American label, Geffen, smuggled the track onto the U.S. release of Skylarking. Over six months, the album outsold XTC’s entire prior catalog three times over. 
For all “Dear God”’s histrionic conviction, Partridge remains skeptical of his biggest hit, a pedantic screed that itches with a trite, secular holiness of its own. As a college-rock time capsule, it’s delightful; as for its moral import, Partridge was spitballing more soulful takes with interviewers. “If you can create Heaven for yourself without creating Hell for somebody else, fine,” he told the fanzine Limelight. “Try and create Heaven for somebody else as well, but don’t create Hell for anyone, ’cos that’s less than animal.” 
Partridge had finally earned the cachet to pursue a better contract with Virgin. But negotiations faltered and, after two more albums, the band went on strike, eventually winning the right to release elsewhere in 1997. Partridge never lost his air of thwarted ambition, drifting into the future for which he seemed destined: tinkering away in his home studio, mostly free of expectations and interlopers. (That includes Moulding, who stepped back from XTC in 2006, effectively ending the group.) Among his arsenal of guitars, Partridge now keeps company with a legion of toy soldiers, battle-prepped and awaiting its master’s command. 
In Skylarking’s immanent grace, you sense the perverse chemistry of warmongers relishing a battlefield bloodbath. A sweet photo from the sessions catches their repressed innocence: Gregory, Rundgren, and Partridge in fleeting unity, mouths agape, serenely piping out vowel sounds. Here you have Skylarking’s ideal form: three adult boys accidentally in their thirties, pooling harmonies for Partridge to plunge into, like something beautiful shot from the sky.
Jazz Monroe / Pitchfork

The Undisputed Truth ‎– Face To Face With The Truth (1971)

Genre: Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Motown, Gordy, World Record Club

Tracklist:
1.   You Make Your Own Heaven And Hell Right Here On Earth
2.   What Is It
3.   Ungena Za Ulimwengu (Unite The World) / Friendship Train
4.   Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)
5.   Take Me In Your Arms And Love Me
6.   Don't Let Him Take Your Love From Me
7.   What's Going On

Credits:
Producer – Norman Whitfield
Backing Vocals – Billie Rae Calvin, Brenda Joyce Evans
Bass – James Jamerson
Bongos, Congas – Eddie Brown
Drums – Aaron Smith, Andrew Smith, Richard Allen
Guitar – Eddie Willis, Joe Messina, Melvin Ragin, Robert White
Lead Guitar – Dennis Coffey
Lead Vocals – Joe Harris
Organ – Johnny Griffith
Piano – Earl Van Dyke
Tambourine, Maracas, Percussion – Jack Ashford
Timpani, Vibraslap, Bells, Percussion – Jack Brokensha
The Undisputed Truth Are: – Billie Rae Calvin, Brenda Joyce Evans, Joe Harris

As another vehicle for the talents of producer Norman Whitfield, soul trio The Undisputed Truth never quite enjoyed the same success as his other notable musical charges, The Temptations. With hits like "Ball of Confusion" and "Cloud Nine" The Temptations pointed the way to soul music's future in the late 1960s and early 70s. Their other great hit of the era, "Papa Was A Rolling Stone", was originally recorded by the lesser known group, before getting its definitive reworking with The Temps. 
Released in 1972, the spirit of the age is very evident on this record. The conscious lyrics, the psychedelic riffs and dark and brooding funk rhythms- it's a world away from the assembly line pop of Motown's golden era. Joe Harris's heavy baritone is rich and clear, making "You Make Your Own Heaven And Hell Right Here On Earth" a compelling lesson in the era's political realities. 
Like Rotary Connection they may have been a little ahead of their time, and perhaps a little way out for many. That said, most of the tracks have stood up well to the passing of the decades. (Apart from the baffling inclusion of a funk-light cover of "Take Me In Your Arms & Love Me.") There's even an introspective and mellow version of Marvin Gaye's "Whats Going On" that, despite the risks, works well. 
The Undisputed Truth offered Norman a space to experiment in, exploring ideas he would later refine with his more mainstream projects. And, although theres nothing quite as good here as the bands earlier hit "Smiling Faces Sometimes", this album offers a fascinating insight into the mind of one of soul's most adventurous producers.
Greg Boraman / BBC

William Bell - This Is Where I Live (2016)

Genre: Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Stax

Tracklist:
01.   The Three Of Me
02.   The House Always Wins
03.   Poison In The Well
04.   I Will Take Care Of You
05.   Born Under A Bad Sign
06.   All Your Stories
07.   Walking On A Tightrope
08.   This Is Where I Live
09.   More Rooms
10.   All The Things You Can't Remember
11.   Mississippi-Arkansas Bridge
12.   People Want To Go Home

Credits:
Executive-Producer – William Bell
Mastered By – Gavin Lurssen, Reuben Cohen
Mixed By – John Leventhal
Producer, Arranged By – John Leventhal
Recorded By – John Leventhal, Rick DePofi

Stax Records was recently revived under the umbrella of the Concord Music Group, in a commendable gesture to acknowledge the southern soul artists on the legendary label. When Stax (formerly Satellite Records) originated in 1961, one of the first artists signed was a young singer/songwriter named William Bell, who hit the charts that same year with "You Don't Miss Your Water." But it would be for his monumental song "Born Under A Bad Sign" co-written by Booker T. Jones, and recorded in 1967 by Albert King that he is remembered. Bell, now age 76, returns to Stax after forty years with This Is Where I Live, a testament of truthful soul singing at its best. 
Teaming up with producer John Leventhal, Bell revisits that classic Stax sound where he began so long ago, like returning home, picking up where he left off. Memphis is the home of Stax, so there is a mild undercurrent of country, but this is pure soul. From the mid-tempo groove of "The Three Of Me," Bell wastes no time in setting the stage, and showing he is a singer of the highest caliber. His mastery of lyrics and ability tell a story everyone can relate to is evident on "The House Always Wins," a tale of life told in terms of gambling and losing. The tempo picks up with "Poison In The Well," and it drops way down on "I Will Take Care Of You," a poignant promise to an ailing love. 
He revisits "Born Under A Bad Sign," this time a bit softer, but he still has no luck at all. Digging into the Jesse Winchester songbook, "All Your Stories," is an acoustical look in the mirror, a perfect vehicle for a man with a long and interesting past. Bell sings of this life in "This Is Where I Live," and how music has been his sanctuary and refuge, whereas "More Rooms," depicts an empty house, after the love is gone. The impact of harsh words shaped "All The Things You Can't Remember," as forgiveness is erased from possible options. The Staple Singers groove springs into "Mississippi-Arkansas Bridge," a colorful painting of a musician's life in the south, and he goes back to his roots with "People Want To Go Home." 
There was a lot of pressure in the making of this record. The sheer magnitude of the Stax legacy is a hard act to follow, so it had to be someone who came from the primordial source. William Bell is that person. An introspective soul singer who not only has the credentials, but most significant, has the voice.
James Nadal / All ABout Jazz

Luigi Russolo ‎– Die Kunst Der Geräusche (2000)

Style: Electroacoustic, Modern, Noise
Format: CD
Label: WERGO

Tracklist:
01.   Luigi Russolo - Risveglio Di Una Città
02.   Luigi Russolo - Crepitatore
03.   Luigi Russolo - Ululatore
04.   Luigi Russolo - Gracidatore
05.   Luigi Russolo - Gorgogliatore
06.   Luigi Russolo - Ronzatore
07.   Luigi Russolo - Arco Enarmonico
08.   Antonio Russolo - Corale
09.   Antonio Russolo - Serenata
10.   Francesco Balilla Pratella - L'Aviatore Dro Op. 33: Fragmente 2. Und 3. Akt Für Klavier, Rombatore, Sibilatore, Scoppiatore, Ululatore Und Stimmen 
11.   Giacomo Balla - Macchina Tipografica
12.   Fortunato Depero - Canzone Rumorista
13.   Riccardo Santoboni / Rossana Maggia - Omaggio A Luigi Russolo Für Stimme Und Digitale Intonarumori

Notes:
This CD is part of a book+CD set of the same title.

Il Futurismo fu un movimento autenticamente rivoluzionario ed anticipatore di un “mondo nuovo”. Affermo questo prescindendo dai suoi risultati estetici, spesso mediocri, alcune volte inesistenti (a parte gli alti esiti della grafica e della pittura). Esso fu, innanzitutto, negli anni Dieci, una reazione sincera e clamorosa all’Italia millenaria a ciò che, pur con qualche equivoco, possiamo chiamare il genio del popolo italiano. Le radici greco-romane, il cristianesimo e il cattolicesimo poi, la retorica, la compostezza classica, l’antinazionalismo, l’ambiguità, il provincialismo antieuropeo, l’accademismo vennero riconosciuti e combattuti dai Futuristi come caratteri deleteri e millenari dell’italianità; viceversa, l’esaltazione della guerra, della velocità, della macchina, l’antimonarchismo, l’anticlericalismo (strepitoso il neologismo “svaticanamento”) rappresentarono il ricostituente da mandare in circolo nel corpo sfinito della nazione. Se vogliamo ricercare la radice della dialettica profonda fra Futurismo e Italia possiamo renderlo plastico nella contrapposizione fra Francesco Petrarca e Filippo Tommaso Marinetti: il primo è l’epitome dell’Italia premoderna, agreste e pastorale, che ha lentamente distillato il miele della retorica classica e la dolcezza del Cristianesimo, levigata la figura muliebre come un marmo d’ispirazione classica, simbolizzato la Natura, creato un monumentum aere perennius da venerare nel buio delle biblioteche sino ad assurgere a simbolo della Roma-Italia trimillenaria; il secondo disprezza proprio tale carattere eterno, brucia la retorica con le sinestesie più brutali, aborre il sentimentalismo (“Uccidiamo il chiaro di luna!”), vilipende la donna, non sa che farsene della Natura (“La benzina è divina!”), agita le folle, gode dell’architettura delle nuove Metropolis, s’inebria alla distruzione delle testimonianze di un passato ridotto a rovine venerande, gode del tumulto e dei terremoti, esalta l’inorganico e l’acciaio delle bombarde della Grande Guerra. Non a caso uno dei maggiori nostalgici del premoderno, Pier Paolo Pasolini, custode del bello italiano e testimone dolente dell’avanzata turbocapitalista (lancinanti le sue inquadrature in “Mamma Roma”, in cui il cemento dei nuovi quartieri dormitorio fa da sfondo ai ruderi romani), riserva parole omicidiali a Marinetti: “Non esiste nella storia della poesia italiana un facitore di versi più povero di lui… la sua enigmaticità è semplicemente dovuta alla sua mancanza  di intelligenza… (Marinetti costringe) a prendere in esame la presenza di uno stupido là dove tutto è prodotta dall’intelligenza… (la sua è) cultura orecchiata attraverso una generica esperienza cosmopolita”. Difficile non notare nel Futurismo tale componente cialtronesca. Lo stesso Marinetti, peraltro, abiurerà gran parte del suo programma rifugiandosi nel seno del Fascismo di governo; è indubbio, però che, per la prima volta in Italia, l’estetica tradizionale venne attaccata alle radici: in questa voglia furente di liquidazione, condotta con gusto assolutamente postmoderno, sta il fascino dell’intero movimento (a cui mancano, come detto, esiti artistici davvero rilevanti). Il maggior rappresentante del Futurismo musicale fu Luigi Russolo (1885–1947), già pittore di buon livello e personaggio disinteressato e modesto. Nel suo Manifesto dell’11 Giugno 1913 egli chiarifica la sua posizione: “Ecco dunque la necessità… di attingere i timbri dei suoni dai timbri dei rumori per la vita. Ecco… la sconfinata ricchezza dei timbri dei rumori… è necessario che questi timbri… diventino materia astratta, perché si possa foggiare con essi l’opera d’arte… e l’Arte dei Rumori da me ideata non vuole certo limitarsi a una riproduzione frammentaria e impressionistica dei rumori della vita”. Egli intendeva, perciò, arricchire la tavolozza musicale e trasformare il nuovo rumorismo della vita (post)moderna in sonorità universali (John Cage fu uno dei primi a interessarsi del “bruitismo” di Russolo. Il primo studio di un certo rilievo sarà, invece, quello di Fred K. Prieberg in “Musica ex machina”.). Russolo divise il rumore in sei famiglie:

1. Rombi, tuoni, scoppi, scrosci, tonfi e boati.
2. Fischi, sibili, sbuffi.
3. Bisbigli, mormorii, borbottii, brusii, gorgoglii.
4. Stridori, scricchiolii, fruscii, ronzii, crepitii, stropiccii.
5. Rumori percussivi su legno, metalli, pelli, pietre, terrecotte.
6. Voce di animali e di uomini: gridi, strilli, gemiti, urla, ululati, risate, rantoli, singhiozzi. 
Ogni rumore avrebbe avuto il suo strumento, l’intonarumore (raccolse poi i vari intonarumori nel rumorarmonio… una sorta di armonium). L’elenco degli intonarumori ricorda un catalogo fantastico di François Rabelais: ululatori, ronzatori, sibilatori, crepitatori, frusciatori, gracidatori. Esiste un solo 78 giri (La Voce del padrone serie nr. R6919, realizzato grazie al fratello Antonio, sostituto di Arturo Toscanini) che documenta l’esecuzione degli originali intonarumori; due brevi registrazioni, Corale e Serenata. Ancora una volta l’esiguità del lavoro prodotto sembrò dar ragione ai detrattori, ma lo spirito del musicista veneto anticipò, di fatto, la sostanza e l’ideologia delle avanguardie. In esse vivono anche le sue intuizioni.
Magazzini Inesistenti