Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
In listening to this remarkable series of improvisations by Euro reed/woodwind madman Peter Brötzmann, Japanese guitar shaman Keiji Haino, and fellow Nippon drum demigod Shoji Hano, I am struck by a fantasy. What would it be like to reunite Brötzmann with bassist Bill Laswell and enlist Haino and Hano to re-form Last Exit? Even considering this possibility gives you a decent clue as to what this wondrous album sounds like: Skronk and overdriven, passionate excess given direction and fluidity by three strong personas who understand how to push each other's buttons and to hold back when the (rare) occasion calls for it. This CD is one of the European concerts played by the trio in 2000. The group had played as a trio together only once before back in 1992, so these concerts were a proving ground to see if after eight years of individual development they could come together and improvise and make it work. Haino here is exceptional. His playing (and vocal screaming) is the equivalent of the Buddhist hell realms and pure lands becoming extensions of one another, and Brötzmann's empathy for Haino's need for music to be an ever-revelatory enigma here stands in sharp contrast to his own need for raw expressionism and an aggressive approach to breaking sound barriers. Shoji Hano is more than merely support; he creates the bridge his collaborators breathe fire on and then destroys it in their wake in order to erect another one. "Shadows" is the longest piece here, divided into three sections: The first is a blasting, stratospheric crack of an eruption. The second begins far more theoretically but gradually works itself into a frenzy of activity, with Brötzmann turning his saxophone inside out and Haino inventing percussive chords to play in contrast to the cymbal and tom work of Hano before taking himself into the single-string shred zone. The last section combines both sets of dynamics and tonal extension on the plane of drones that shift according to where Brötzmann moves with his horn as Hano opens up spaces inside his runs. "A Silhouette" is close to jazz, as it uses spatial dynamics, tempo, and even time in places to dictate a particular transference of improvisatory energy into a somewhat structured space. Haino's singing here, long and short in low- and high-pitched tones, adds an eerie and haunting effect that is nonetheless stunningly beautiful. The "Encore," a mere two minutes, sounds like a short musical conversation that sums up all the places the trio traveled to over the previous hour. This is not going to be everybody's cup of absinthe, but for those whose tastes run toward the extreme, there are few albums as transcendentally excessive as this one. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide
No longer available, download it.
Haino is the name to follow in underground circles in Japan. Notorious for the noise he makes on his guitars, this short 45-min set has him with Coil stripping the blues to the bone. You’ve never heard these blues standards played like this before.
The band are Keiji Haino [vocals, gtr, harmonica], Natsuki Kido [gtr], Takeharu Hayakawa [bs] and Eiji Tanaka [drms].
It's not much of a write up, but thats all I could find. Really good whacked out renditions of blues.
Track 01 Bad To The Bone
Track 02 Suzie Q
Track 03 Spoonful
Track 04 Got My Mojo Workin’
Download it. This is no longer available.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
The dark German collective back with completely catchy kraut-improvisations. All tracks deliver memacing heavy, fuzzy psychedelic moments that merit a serious listening. After their amazing and most popular effort, "Nibelungenlied" stresses the free-sonic-destruction dimension of their music. The sound is always dominated by screaming / electric bluesy guitar parts, sound experiments and macabre keyboards effects. "The heroic deeds of Siegfried" is a dark and minimalist, melancholic composition with a dubtle "medieval" flavour. The savage percussions announces a delicate, simplistic guitar sequence in a moody tone. "Nibelungenlied I" is an agressive, dynamic guitar orientated composition, featuring really hypnotic, rocking sequences; all in improvisation with a repetitive bass line and some vicious guitar solos. "Gunter & Brunhild", "Hagen von Tronje" & "Siegfried's death" are bluesy-kraut jam with wha wha effects and strangely doom, sinister atmospheres. Heavy, complex, weird & cool! A "poisoning" masterpiece. This album only has to be avoided by those who can't support an extremely poor, infect sound production
Not available anywhere that I know of.
Psychadelic rock from Japan. Vinyl release from 1971, from what I hear it's extremely hard to find, but has been reissued. This is the original vinyl rip.
I’m not sure if these guys actually existed as a performing band, or if they were only a studio super-session project. Guitarist Kimio Mizutani had previously [or simultaneously, or shortly after?] played with Love Live Life + One and Masahiko Satoh’s Sound Brakers . At any rate, their sole album, the concept piece ‘Ceremony – Buddha Meet Rock’ [Teichiku, 1971], is an absolute classic. The album came with extensive liner notes elaborating on the intended meaning for each track – the whole album flowing more or less as a conceptual whole. As the title would suggest, it was an attempt to fuse a Buddhist-influenced spiritual vibe into an innovative oriental form of hypnotic psychedelic progressive rock. It’s all quite unique and doesn’t sound like any preceding groups that I’m aware of, though some bits are like a much less-heavy Flower Travellin’ Band circa ‘Satori’. It’s a bit jazzy in places, hinting at some of Stomu Yamash’ta’s work with Come to the Edge.
There’s lots of nice fuzz guitar leads and overall, a very sanctified vibe that makes this a deep but groovy experience. Following this , Mizutani recorded his equally great solo album.
Quite a weird little record -- part psychedelia, but with some really rootsy elements -- and also some odd use of recorded music as well! The sound here is really mindblowing -- experimental and trippy, but never too free or over the top -- and the core instrumentation includes lots of fuzzy guitar, organ, and rough percussion -- plus additional vocals in parts, and even a bit of sitar as well! The production abstracts some of the sounds nicely, but never too much -- and at times a more traditional Japanese style of music lurks in the background, possibly as a brief nod to the Buddha in the title. Most unusually, though, is that the first track on the record features part of a David Axelrod album playing in the background! There's clearly an Axelrod influence going on -- both in the structure and sound of the record -- although the group also take things very much in their own direction too.".
Only place I can find to buy the reissue.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Myles Boisen is a guitarist, composer, improvisor, and record producer/engineer, best known around the Bay Area for his twin-necked twanging in The Splatter Trio, as well as musical exploits with The Club Foot Orchestra. Over the past two decades Myles has performed with John Zorn, Rova Saxophone Quartet, John Tchicai, Nina Hagen, Eugene Chadbourne, Vinny Golia, Myra Melford, Glenn Spearman, Ralph Carney,Miya Masaoka, Malcolm Mooney, Eddie Marshall, and his own "Guitarspeak" ensembles.
In collaboration with guitarists Fred Frith, Henry Kaiser, Elliott Sharp, Robert Fripp, and others, he has developed a potent musical language that combines a wealth of traditional and contemporary styles, focusing particularly on prepared guitar technique and improvisation. Myles' discography numbers over 40 compact disc recordings, including his Guitarspeak disc, ten CDs with The Splatter Trio, and musical work for MTV, film director David Lynch, and CBS.
Guitarspeak consists of 28 improvisational and highly free-form compositions, some recorded with Fred Frith and the Splatter Trio, among others.
"Is this the Mothers of Invention recording under a different name in a last-ditch attempt to get their cruddy music on the radio?" It didn't work, but who cares: This now stands as a much-loved, oddball item in the Mothers catalogue. Zappa's love for the '50s doo-wop style of early rock'n'roll was never much of a secret, and this collection of (just barely) original tunes was both a tribute and an affectionate sendup. As Zappa explained at the time, "We made it because we really like this kind of music."
After placing doo-wop homages like 'Wowie Zowie" on earlier Mothers albums, Zappa went all the way with silly gems like "Cheap Thrills" and "Jelly Roll Gum Drop," with the original Mothers in all their greasy splendor; while "How Could I Be Such a Fool" and "Stuff Up the Cracks" lampooned the melodrama of early rock ballads.
You may notice that this CD does not have a title but in fact it is metaphysically titled "How Far Is Far?" But you don't really need to know that. What you do need to know is that this is a self-produced improv recording and I'm really proud of it.
Fifteen completely acoustic tracks.
This unique, totally acoustic duo of bass and harp have been a part of the downtown music scene in Euphonic Productions presents: Trevor Dunn & Shelley Burgon plus special guests Lie & SwellNew York City since 2001, playing venues such as Tonic, Barbes, The Issue Project Room andThe Brooklyn Conservatory. Their repertoire consists of both strictly notated compositions as well as purely improvised music---a repertoire that walks the line between chamber music and extended technique. Utilizing instruments that are typically buried by thick orchestration, Burgon and Dunn make the most of their distinct setting by exploring subtle and sometimes barely audible properties of sound. Their dynamic range is as vast as their sonic palette. Between haunting, minor melodies one may hear bass strings played with mallets and harp strings pummeled with a metal rod.
"Wavering between patient meditation and maniacal catharsis Dunn and Burgon mine the narrow fissure between pure improvisation and through-composed chamber music, slashing at the extreme interplay between steel, string and wood. Strings are beaten or jimmied with clothespins, the harp alternately caressed and throttled. The sonic equivalent of a Joseph Cornell box, the duo has a haunting, cinematic quality that is both staggeringly complex and achingly beautiful."
- Tim Duroche, Willamette Week, Portland, OR
Shelley Burgon - pedal harp: Originally from San Francisco Shelley relocated to New York in 2002. Since her move Shelley has performed with John Zorn (Music for films by Joseph Cornell),a quartet with Chris Speed, Ikue Mori and Skuli Sverrisson, Tin Hat Trio, Marina Rosenfeld and Raz Mesanai. In November 2003 she was a part of the Ravished Limbs Improvised Music Festival where she shared the stage with Jim Black and Okkyung Lee.
Shelley has recorded and performed with the following projects; Eyvind Kang's early music project of Atalanta Fugiens by Michael Maier, a quintet interpreting the American Jazz Songbook with saxophonist Jackson Moore and trumpeter Nate Wooley, and in a large ensemble of downtown New York musicians led by drummer Kenny Wolleson with music by various living composers and conduction by Butch Morris.
Trevor Dunn - contrabass: Trevor Dunn known for his involvement in avant-rock bands Mr. Bungle and Fantomas, has recently been playing with John Zorn's Electric Masada, David Krakauer's Klezmer Madness, Susie Ibarra, Marc Ribot and Jenny Scheinman. He can be heard on over forty recordings including his own Trio-Convulsant whose new CD "Sister Phanom Owl Fish" was released on Ipecac Recordings in July, 2004.
Buy it direct from Trevor Dunn.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Here is the story. Sometime in the mid-90's the then member's of Earth Crisis decided to start recording a raunchy joke band called The Brownstars. All the songs were about shit, farts, vagina's and just being assholes. The line-up consisted of Kris Weichmann (Earth Crisis, Soulstice), Zebb Weichmann (Kris's brother), Ian Edwards (Earth Crisis), Kris Fuller (Soulstice), and possibly Eric Edwards (Earth Crisis, Cross Section) but I'm not 100% positive on how far his participation went (memory is shot these days)
It started by just them crashing shows locally in Syracuse and causing trouble. One show in particular, they pretty much destroyed most of the equipment and stage, Pete Speilmann then got on stage completely naked with a giant brown star painted on his ass and shot some sort of roman candle/ sparkler out of his asshole.
After about 3 shows, they were completely blacklisted across town. So they decided to start booking themselves under the fake name, Beerfest. With a name like that, they would get onto shitty local blues cover band bills and bad battle of the bands events. They would wear disguises so noone would know who they were until they would hit the stage, and declare that they in fact were the Brownstars. After that, fights would break out, cops would be called and alot of shit would get destroyed. Before ending the joke, they decided to quickly record a 4 song demo.
After the demo was recorded, only about 5-6 copies had been floating around, but the non participating members of Earth Crisis DID NOT want this demo to get out, it would ruin their repuation of being a serious , ultra militant group and show the world that they had a sense of humor. The dmeo was quickly swept under the rug not to be mentioned outside of close friends after that. This demo in fact was the skeleton in the Earth Crisis closet.
After rummaging through some old boxes in storage over the holidays, I unearthed a copy of this demo tape and decided to have it converted to MP3 for all to enjoy. I'm sure enough time is passed that anyone involved would not care and could actually laugh at this shit. Don't expect anything talented or good, just totally retarded fun and complete trash, you'll get a good laugh out of it and hell, consider it archival material.
Former Earth Crisis member:
Yeah this happened after Earth Crisis flipped their van and Dennis was hospitalized. It's also when they recorded the first Path album, because EC was on hiatus for at least 6 months.
They played a coffee house once on open mic night, except it was acoustic. Zabb was going up to people at their tables and yelling, "You're face smells like a fart face!" So they got kicked out of a coffee house as well as every other venue you can imagine in Syracuse.
Back then, they wanted to keep it under the lid that anyone in EC was in the band, but I honestly don't think anyone gives a shit now. The most remarkabnle thing is that these songs were written on the fly. Like all their songs were written in a few weeks. The music on this demo is better than most serious music that was coming out the moshcore scene of the mid-90s, IMHO.
1. Fart Face
2. Stinky Pussy
3. Red Alert
I came across this on a message board a while back. Its a joke band some guys did, recording country western versions of Minor Threat songs. I was surprised that it's actually done pretty well and I've wound up listening to it a lot more than I ever thought I would.
1. Straight Edge
2. Guilty of Being White
3. I Don't Wanna Hear It
4. Out of Step
5. Minor Threat
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
A free form rock band founded by a small community of 5 German hippies / "avant garde" artists back at the beginning of the 70's. Their self title effort was recorded in 1972 in a WWII air raid bunker. The cover of their self title album (a militaristic image which is a portrait of the third Reich military force) provides an illustration of anger expressed by the WWII’s young generation against their parents. By consequence German Oak's music is very tortured, dark and weird, dominated by heavy, "distorted" guitar solos & rhythms. The background creates "painful" & "ambient" sequences thanks to delay echoes, electronic "fuzzy" noises & repetitive bass lines. A funkadelic/jazzy felt punctuates with discretion this grandiose, "creepy" instrumental album. A first CD reissue was offered by Witch And Warlock in 1991. Today this album is re-edited by Radioactive records (2005). In a rather discretion they also released the moody, cloudy and experimental epic-kraut "Niebenlungenieg" (1972)
In the strange Olympic summer of 1972, the Dusseldorf instrumental group German Oak entered the Luftschutzbunker, or Air Raid Shelter, in order to record their eponymous first LP. Following in the footsteps of the percussive and organic Organisation and the remarkable Dom, German Oak had every reason to believe that this 3rd LP to be recorded by a Dusseldorf band would be warmly received. Unfortunately, German Oak were not only wrong in their assumptions that locals would embrace their music, but even local record shops rejected all the group's attempts to sell the albums in city outlets. Such was their lack of success that 202 of the original 213 copies were stored in the basement of the group's organist until the mid-1980s, when a thirst for undiscovered Krautrock finally brought German Oak back from the dead.
This is the original 1972 vinyl rip. This has been reissued with some bonus tracks but I don't think that is available anymore either.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Michigan's XBRAINIAX have created a brilliant, angry, and somewhat nerdy fast hardcore/violence sound, akin to if NEOS or LARM sat down and listened to classic powerviolence and threw in more metallic guitars
XBRAINIAX kick down a second round of their brand of A.D.D fastcore assault, with crazy time changes, rapid-fire vocals, and songs that clock in around 30 seconds.
Another one of my favorite power violence bands
Two 10 song Star Wars themed cassette demos by xBrainiax that maybe clock in about 5-6 minutes combined. One has a No Comment cover and the other has an Infest cover.
They have a ton of releases in print but these are gone. email chaosnonmusica(at)gmail.com for info.
or check out www.myspace.com/xbrainiax
I had a zine for a while with a great description of these guys but I can't find it now.
Tumor Feast is my favorite local band and have been for a while. Cincinnati power violence/grindcore. They've been around for a while but pretty much produce nothing. They play a couple shows a year that are ridiculous, most of the time they talk and bullshit around because they only have like 7 minutes of material.
The sound is complete Crossed Out worship. The recordings are great for being demos. The riffs are simple but cool and the drummer is retarded fast and plays hard as hell.
2 demos, the Clowned cassette and the Suicide CDr. Clowned is 16 songs in about 3 minutes, Suicide is 4 in about 2 minutes. Its a small file check it out.
These demos are all gone as far as I know, but they appear on the 625 Thrash comp Trapped in the Scene and have been saying for about 2 years they have a 7" coming out on 625 as well.
Friday, August 17, 2007
On this intriguing concept album, altoist John Zorn (who also "sings" and plays harpsichord, game calls, piano, and musical saw) utilizes an odd assortment of open-minded avant-garde players (with a couple of ringers) on nine themes originally written for Italian films by Ennio Morricone, plus his own "Tre Nel 5000." These often-radical interpretations (which Morricone endorsed) keep the melodies in mind while getting very adventurous. Among the musicians heard on the colorful and very eccentric set (which utilizes different personnel and instrumentation on each track) are guitarists Bill Frisell and Vernon Reid, percussionist Bobby Previte, keyboardist Anthony Coleman, altoist Tim Berne, pianist Wayne Horvitz, organist Big John Patton, and even Toots Thielemans on harmonica and whistling among many others. There are certainly no dull moments on this often-riotous program.
'The Big Gundown' was released in 1986. In the beginning John Zorn didn't wanted to accept the project,that was suggested to him by producer Yale Evelev, because he thought that Morricone's music was already too perfect in itself. But fortunately, as Morricone was one of Zorn's major influences he couldn't resist the temptation.
Now, John Zorn takes Morricone's music, strips it down to the bone, keeps only the essential and builds it up again, not so much a record of covers as re-incarnations. Zorn appropriates Morricone's music to himself.
The most important factor for Zorn in preparing the project was the choice of musicians: which musician was best to play the sound(s) that Zorn had in mind for each chosen Morricone composition on the record. Each track contains a carefully crafted combination of musicians (from completely different fields of music : Jazz, Blues, Rock, Avant-Garde, Classics) to produce the desired effect. Instead of taking one group and give the whole record an unique sound, Zorn assembles the musicians like a puzzle, not twice the same combination of musicians and not two tracks with the same athmosphere, exactly like Morricone choose different types of music for different films.
The musical width on 'The Big Gundown' ranges from Free Jazz influenced nervrecking guitar sawing like in 'The Big Gundown',' Metamorfosi', 'Once Upon a Time' to erotic soul :'Erotico' with Big John Patton's great organ playing, the Japonese Music influenced 'Giu La Testa', to the delicate 'Poverty' with Toots Thielmans on whistling and harmonica playing. On the Bonus Tracks there is even a possible 'hit single': 'The Ballad of Hank Mc Cain' with Mike Patton on vocals.
A brillant re-interpretation of Morricone classics.
This is the original 1986 version with 10 tracks, I unfortunately don't have the re-issue.
Download it here.
Buy the re-release with 6 bonus tracks here.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
A splinter group of popular post-rock ensemble Godspeed You Black Emperor, A Silver Mt. Zion (or, as they are referred to here, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band) is comprised of GYBE guitarist/pianist/singer Efrim, bassist Thierry, violinist Sophie, and other guests. But whereas the band's previous albums sometimes sounded like replications of GYBE's layered, largely instrumental formula, HORSES IN THE SKY is a different kettle of fish altogether. Raw, stripped-down, and vocal-centered, Silver Mt. Zion's fourth album is hushed, mesmerizing, and deeply affecting.
The opening track, "God Bless Our Dead Marines," begins with Efrim's tortured, yelped vocals over pizzicato strings, before dropping into a shifting Balkan dance melody and a chain of surreal lyrics about politics, Nina Simone, and drug abuse. On "Mountains Made of Steam," a mournful vocal tag, that sounds like it might have come from some nightmarish version of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF gives way to a surging orchestral passage and a piercing rain of electric guitar notes, while the title track is all hushed acoustics. The combination of unique instrumentation, angular arrangements, and Efrim's elliptical lyrics and chilling singing makes HORSES IN THE SKY a distinctive and recommended listen.
Buy it. also available on LP
Possibly one of NASA's most avant-garde projects ever, SYMPHONIES OF THE PLANETS is a five-CD set that is now out of print. Put simply, it consists of recordings made by Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 as they passed by the various planets and moons of our solar system. Although sound as we perceive it cannot travel in the vacuum of space, each planet and moon emits its own electromagnetic "signature" that can be picked up by the right instruments, and those emanations can be converted into sound and recorded onto compact discs for your listening enjoyment.
Of the five discs in the set, Volume 1 is my personal favorite, but all of them are definitely worth checking out. Each disc is only around 30 minutes long, but those 30 minutes are packed with cosmic ambience that is even more profound when you consider that no human artist composed this. Fans of Dr. Fiorella Terenzi's similar recordings of space will find this stuff to their liking, although a bit more "dark" and atmospheric than hers.
I only have volumes 1, 4 and 5 of this, I would up the rest if I had it. If anyone have volume 2 or 3 feel free to send it to me.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I saw this band last year while in Maine, they are a local oldschool hardcore punk band and they blew me away. I seriously loved them, this is their first EP, self released, and word is they have an LP on the way, but they never update their site so who knows whats going on. If you like political hardcore that sounds kind of like Minor Threat but faster, check it out.
This is available for download on their website (along with their demo) so if the link goes down find it here.
Best bet to get this EP is to contact the band here - firstname.lastname@example.org
Nunwhore Commando 666 is a trio cyber gore grind band which some member comes from Libido Airbag. So you can compare the same style between both band but NWC I think is more brighter than Libido Airbag. This is the recent album that contains with 17 songs in around 50 minutes. The content of NWC concerns with war-making,crime,terrorism and also sexual matter. About the music,if you ever listen to cyber gore music, NWC gives you the same feeling.
It is fast and aggressive,no more technics. It uses electronic equipment in such extreme way. Great!! The vocal I guess using vocal effect is many styles of inhuman voice; growling, screaming and vomiting.
I like this album. I think it is interesting. No more reason why I like it except you are already taste it. For you who want to join the world of cyber gore, I recommend this one.
That review is horrible but I can't find another one, I hope that English isn't his first language. I don't know why I like this album so much, its slow paced electronic grindcore that is overpacked with samples, dozens in each song. Features members of Gut. The vocals are over the top, tons of distortion but turned down so they fade into the music. Unlike most grind albums its not abrasive, the songs are long and its sort of slow and rhythmic with nice grooves giving it an industrial feel. Give it a listen.
Buy it cheap.
This was recorded in February of 1986 , only days after returning from The first Last Exit tour, Sonny went into RPM Studio in NY and cut the tracks for this, his much-acclaimed return to recording. A solo guitar album, it employs overdubbing, but true to the spirit of the people involved, its various parts are largely improvised, and most were recorded on the first take. Nicky Skopelitis should get special credit for helping Sonny get those beatiful guitar tones.
Sonny Sharrock's "Guitar" reintroduced the guitarist to the world as a solo performer. An album of overdubbed guitar performances, the tracks on the album consist of Sharrock overdubbing guitar lines (usually a rhythm and a lead part, but sometimes as many as four lines) to build songs, covering a variety of sounds and and genres, from funky blues ("Blind Willie") to aggressive psychedelic rock ("Kula-Mae") to something totally unique in the extended suite, "Princess Sonata".
Sharrock's playing is sublime-- he was a guitarist of seemingly endless inventiveness and technique-- drawing from masters of a number of genres, but synthesizing something wholly unique out of them, his playing is at times aggressive and forceful and at times delicate and beautiful.
Out of print for a long time, enjoy.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
I'll just say it up front: the title song of this album contains the best guitar solo in the history of rock music. You won't believe me, probably, because you have your own favorite solos clutched tightly to your chest, and anyway, isn't Funkadelic, well, y'know, a funk band? I salute your right to worship your own guitar gods; that's why we listen to loud music. But don't let the name of the band, or their color, or the age of this album fool you: Eddie Hazel recorded - in one take - the solo against which all other solos would be measured if he hadn't been African American. Sorry to play the race card, but it MUST be true.
The story on Maggot Brain is that George Clinton, out of his mind on Yellow Sunshine, told Hazel to play the first half of the song as if he had just heard that his own mother was dead, and then the second half as if he had found out she was alive. The result is beyond "astonishing" or "powerful" or anything else critics usually say; it's an improvised composition, of both deep blues purity and cold, hard, futuristic vision. There is a band backing it, but it fades out (reputedly because they sounded shitty next to Hazel), and it's pretty much just one man showing us what he's made of. If you've heard it, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, well, the record store is open and you just got paid.
The rest of the album is excellent, too, and diverse, with the soul of "Back in Our Minds" sounding great next to the Black Sabbath funk of "Super Stupid" (which contains, by the way, another stunning Eddie Hazel solo), and the Bernie Worrell organ burnout of "Hit It and Quit It." And the whole thing ends in perfect Funkadelic fashion with "Wars of Armageddon," a long-ass guitar workout featuring screaming, hilariously over-the-top crowd chanting, sound effects that make no sense (cows, farts, sirens, canned sitcom laughter), and the overall feeling that everything is coming apart. (Hey: it was Detroit in 1971.) This CD is not quite 37 minutes long, but it runs the gamut of emotions, musical styles, and points of view. And it contains the greatest guitar solo in the world.download it
This is the soundtrack to the most bizarre story in rock and roll. In 1966, five American GI's stationed in Germany decided to form a band designed to disturb people. Calling themselves The Monks, they shaved their heads, donned black robes and pounded out impossibly primitive songs like "I Hate You", "Complication" and "Shut Up". Radical stuff for audiences in the midst of Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" infatuation; predictably, their album went nowhere. This was, after all, an ocean away and a year before The Velvet Underground's first experiments with atonal noise, and a full 10 years before the punk explosion.
Three decades later, this reissue of The Monk's only album finds them still out of time, but slightly more acceptable to audiences. Only slightly - this is Very Wacky stuff. With pulsing fuzzbox bass, slashing electric banjo, tribal drums and deliberately amateur organ squeals, The Monks thumped out quasi-surf cacophony, two-chord rants, angst polkas and surprisingly catchy melodies yelped by "singer" Gary Burger with a dark, campy sense of humor.
There's nothing to these songs but raw energy and primal rhythms, with a lyric or two (at most) tossed in for emphasis, like "I hate you with a passion baby, but call me". That's all you get for 3 minutes, and that's all you need. Call them the first punks, call them angry delirious Beat poets, but any way you slice it, whether avant-garde weirdness, garage rock or vicious punk, these kids did it first. But really, it's all about the electric rhythm banjo. Where else are you going to hear that?
As far as I know this is thier complete discography, including the first first LP and two follow up EPs. They remind me of Crass and Devo long before their times, and thought of themselves as the anti-Beatles.
buy it if you want, but The Monks official website says the band doesn't make any money from this, so I wouldn't bother.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
For the uninitiated, Skullflower is one of the better-known bands that originated in the early 1980s power-electronics / noise scene, and one of the few to achieve any real recognition outside their homeland, especially in the United States (all the more remarkable in light of the fact that they have never toured outside of the UK). Unlike most of their contemporaries (such as Whitehouse, Con-Dom, Grey Wolves, etc.), they were an actual band (as opposed to one or two musicians employing a mix of instruments, synths, and tapes), and retained just enough of rock's basic structure to attract the attention of people beyond the power-electronics genre.
1st US full length release from 1993 featuring members of Whitehouse and Coil, Skullflower'S brand of feedbacking drone guitar sprawl will put you into a trance.