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

Harold Budd & Hector Zazou ‎– Glyph / MTM VOL. 37 (1995)

Style: Trip Hop, Downtempo, Ambient
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Made To Measure, Crammed Discs

Tracklist:
01.   Pandas In Tandem
02.   You And Me Against The Sky
03.   And Then She Stepped Aside
04.   Around The Corner From Everywhere
05.   Gorgon's Anxious Pansy
06.   Johnny Cake
07.   Reflected In The Eye Of A Dragon Fly
08.   As Fast As I Could Look Away She Was Still There
09.   Autre Django
10.   The Aperture
11.   The Light Gave Us Away

Credits:
Vocals – Lian Amber
Flute, Clarinet – Renault Pion
Contrabass – Daniel Yvinec
Midi Guitar – Carlos Vivanco
Guitar – Barbara Gogan
Treated Guitar – Lone Kent
Pedal Steel Guitar – B.J. Cole
Trumpet – Christian Lechevretel, Mark Isham
Kantele – Timo Tuovinen, Minna Raskinen
Percussion – Brendan Perry
Keyboards, Electronics, Loops, Piano, Electric Piano, Vocals, Producer, Arranged By – Hector Zazou

Like drum 'n' bass, ambient is a genre which relies on making a little go a very long way; the resultant glut of weedy minimalist pastiches barely bears a cursory listen for the most part, but this collaboration between Harold Budd and Hector Zazou demonstrates better than any recent offering how the spaces between the sounds can be made pregnant with possibility. 
On "Pandas in Tandem", the ghost of Erik Satie treads lightly over a shuffle breakbeat; the result is fragile and crystalline, as tentatively pristine as snowflakes. Elsewhere, heavy rhythmic breathing carries "Around the Corner from Everywhere"; slivers of what sounds like hammered dulcimer undulate through "Johnny Cake", and clarinets collude conspiratorially on "As Fast as I Could Look Away She was Still There". 
BJ Cole adds a lustrous haze of pedal-steel guitar tones to "Reflected in the Eye of a Dragon Fly". Sometimes there are trumpets, and sometimes guitars intrude. Sometimes Budd recites a poem. But nothing endangers the fragile poise which Budd and Zazou sustain throughout, and there is never the slightest suggestion that any of these pieces are in thrall to arbitrary rhythmic fashions. It is all beautifully simple, and simply beautiful.
Andy Gill / The Independent