Friday, 31 October 2008

Tyour Gnaoua Avec Abdessalam Allikane

This is a beautiful album of Gnawa trance music - a musical technology that transports the listener/dancer into a liminal realm from which they can perform magical operations and communicate with spirits and the djinn. Gorgeous stuff that just sends you off into a blissful reverie.

Here's a film I made that uses one of these songs as the soundtrack. The images are from Bill Morrison's fantastic film Decasia, which is well worth checking out. The film uses decayed stock footage to present us with a different view of the past, and I think there may be some parallels between this decayed footage and the crackly old sounds that emanate from the old vinyl that is posted by many bloggers, but particularly Excavated Shellac.

You can get the zip of the whole album here.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Kwaku Baah & Ganoua - Trance (1977)

Rebop Kwaku Baah was a Ghanaian percussionist most famous for his work with Traffic (1971-74) and Can (1977-79). This weird album was recorded in Morocco in November 1976 with gnawa musicians Abdellcada Zef Zef (guembri), Mohamed Ben Hamou Saidi (guembri), Abdella el Hilalli (percussion), and the Ganoua Ensemble on backing vocals. Rebop's great conga playing works well with the gnawa music, and highlights the fact that this Moroccan trance music is not a fixed, static tradition, but a constantly evolving hybrid form. Though I don't like this as much as the Mahmoud Guenya album that I posted last month, it's still well worth a listen.

Side One:


Side Two:

Ma Haba
Rif Zef Zef
Dervish Jowi

Get the zip over here.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Scratchy old records from the Arabic speaking world

These pieces of vinyl were picked up over 10 years ago in a dirty old second hand shop. They were in a box, surrounded by knick-knacks, broken furniture and old tins filled with gaudy costume jewellery. I bought them for pennies, took them home and played them a couple of times, since then they've sat in a box in my house, surrounded by knick-knacks and broken furniture. The other day I found them, cleaned them up and played them again, hearing them with new ears. I like these scratchy old records. With the cd we're offered the promise of perfect sound forever, but I don't generally want that. I like the imperfection of old vinyl. Maybe its a fetish on my part, but the crackly sounds of old records serve to remind me that these commodities have TRAVELLED...across borders and through time. They've rested awhile in one place or another and then moved on and in the process they've witnessed a changing world. I sometimes like to think of the stories these objects might tell me, of the places they've been and the people they've met. These particular old records come from the Arabic speaking world...this is Arabic pop music from the '50s and '60s and how they came to end up in a junk shop is anyone's guess.

(Somebody has mentioned that this page is confusing, so just to clarify...the label photographs are followed by the songs from that record, ie this photo is of the label of the Om Kalsoum single and the two songs are side 1 and side 2. Hope this helps.)

Om Kalsoum was one of Egypt's most popular singers and her voice is wonderful on these two moody songs.

Pooran was a popular singer in Iran throughout the '50s, '60s and '70s. I'm loving the two songs on this 7", especially side 1 with its air raid siren and dubby echoes. This stuff feels a bit like its beemed in from another planet...Iran of the 1960s possibly?


Anonymous wrote: "Just so you know, these songs aren't Arabic, they're Persian. The first song is "Sheytoonak" (شیطونک), and the second is "Ghariba" (قریبه), both from the album "Darya Darya" (دریا دریا). The singer is Ramesh (رامش)." Thanks to him for the info!

I have no idea about these last two singles, who they're by or where they're from is a complete mystery. Please comment if you can enlighten me. In the meantime, enjoy these transmissions from a forgotten world.

Note added 29/11/08:

Still not been able to find out who the mystery records are by, but just read a lovely post about Umm Kalthum (or Om Kalsoum as she appears on this record) over at Babe(b)logue. You can read it here, and there's also a whole album of her best recordings to be downloaded.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Albert Ayler (with Don Cherry) - Ghosts (1964)

Great free-jazz from 1964 that oscillates between expansive, cosmic sounds and that kind of nervous, skittery free improv that comes on something like a teeth chattering amphetamine comedown. The small band on these European sessions consisted of Albert Ayler (alto sax), Don Cherry (trumpet), Gary Peacock (double bass) and Sunny Murray (all over that drumkit).

Ayler had this to say about his approach to life and music at the time:

My music is the thing that keeps me alive now. I must play music that is beyond this world. If I can just hum my tunes and live like, say, [Thelonious] Monk does, live a complete life like that, just humming tunes, writing tunes and being away from everything-if I could do this, it would just carry me back to where I came from. That's all I'm asking for in life and I don't think you can ask for more than just to be alone and create from what God gives you. Because, you know, I'm getting my lessons from God. I've been through all the other things and so I'm trying to find more and more peace all the time.

Track List:

1.Ghosts (short version)


3.Holy Spirits

4.Ghosts (long version)



You can get it here.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Acid Mothers Temple Family - Do Whatever You Want, Don't Do Whatever You Don't Want

This is a mega-post! Over 3 hours of psychedelic freak-outs from the modern masters of the (free) form. This is a great compilation that's unfortunately now out of print. It came out on the Earworm label back in 2005 then quickly disappeared. Disc one contains an hour long version of Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. live favourite Pink Lady Lemonade (You're So Sweet)...and what a sweet treat it is.
Here's a little taste of the electrik kool aid:

Spread across the other two cd's you get a fantastically varied selection of modern psych from Japan, France and the USA. Fursaxa provides a nice modernist madrigal, while we get plenty of the Acid Mother's hallucinogenic mix of prime Blue Cheer-esque riffing, drones, cosmic exploration. While AMT aren't as raw and noisy as many of the Japanese psychedelic underground bands (like High Rise, LSD March, White Heaven, Marble Sheep, or earlier bands like Les Rallizes Desnudes), their blend of beautiful melody and heavy, freaked out noise is always worth hearing. However, some of my favourite stuff on these discs comes in the form of the strange little folky numbers that pepper this fabulous compilation.



  1. PINK LADY LEMONADE (YOU'RE SO SWEET) / Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. *


  1. SHIZUKU NO YOUNI / Floating Flower
  2. SO FAR AWAY / Maquiladora
  3. Bésamé La Mucho / Zoffy
  4. DISCO, SPACE, BABY / Kido Natsuki
  5. MON LION / Fursaxa
  6. GANDAKI WARI G.P. / Gopal with Tsuyama Atsushi
  8. PARDON MONSIEUR (smash hits mix) /Pardons**
  9. LE LAPIN / Frédérick
  10. HELLO BABY / The Wild Riders*
  11. LOVE POTION 26 / Magic Aum Gigi*
  12. NO MORE RED NIGHTMARE / Tsuyama Atsushi*¡¡
  13. BLUES FOR MRS. TRIPLE H / Alien Social Dance Party*
  14. WHITE ROOM / Zoffy
  15. VALLEY OF THE WIND / Nipponianippon
  16. BRAHMAGNPATIRANA (early mix) / Seikazoku*
  17. UNTITLED (vanishing version) / Father Moo & The Black Sheep*
  18. CAMBOUS / Ueh*


  1. CONCURRENCE / Kawabata Makoto & Miyamoto Naoaki*
  2. WHITE FLOWERS ON THE HILLTOP / Shogo-nari with Kawabata Makoto*
  3. PLANET OF SOMNOLENCE / Space Machine with Kawabata Makoto*
  4. UCHU (comet comforter mix)/ Uchu**
  5. DOHKOKU / Tsurubami*
  6. THIRD EYE OF THE WHOLE WORLD (long version) / Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.
  7. I WANT YOU TO KISS ME AGAIN / Kawabata Makoto
You can get more in depth information about the disc over here.
You can hear the music here, here and here.

Friday, 10 October 2008

King Sunny Ade - Ijinle Odu (1982)

Another glorious album of light, airy but totally insistent grooves from King Sunny Ade. Ijinle Odu came out in 1982 on Sunny Alade Records of Ikeja, but is quite different from his Island Records releases from around this time, Synchro System and Aura, both of which blend the juju sound with synths, syn drums and dub effects. Ijinle Odu is an altogether more organic affair that just meanders along, languishing in its own beauty. Great, shifting rhythms, some fantastic guitar work and really amazing xylophone playing all combine to make this well worth some of your time.

Track Listing:

A1 Oro Oko Ati Irawo
A2 Aya To Pawo
A3 Ife Ki Ibinu
A4 Alhadji Jide Okunnu

B1 Aja Ngbo Nigbo
B2 Ika O Dara
B3 Ata Wewe
B4 Maje Nbi Were Lomo
B5 E Saiye Re

Although the sleeve and labels say there are 9 tracks, I've posted the album as two separate mp3s because each side works best as a cotinuous piece rather than as a collection of discrete songs. Like I said, the music just makes a subtle shift and you find yourself dancing to a different tune.

Get it over here.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Singers & Players - Revenge of the Underdog (1981)

Here's some fantastically messed up hybrid reggae from 1981. Its a heavy, heavy sound. The album was produced by the On U Sound don, Adrian Sherwood, and showcases the effects heavy science fiction style that was On U Sound's trademark and which came to be so popular with bong heads everywhere. The album features some fabulous vocals from the likes of Bim Sherman, Prince Far I and Jah Woosh on great songs like 'Dungeon' and 'Water the Garden'.

For me, this music, along with other On U sounds like African Head Charge, Tackhead and Dub Syndicate, was a big part of the sountrack to life in Thatcher's Britain, and so hearing this stuff again brings back a mixture of memories both good and bad.

Track Listing:

  1. "Dungeon"
  2. "Merchant Ship"
  3. "Jah Army Band"
  4. "Too Much Work Load"
  5. "Prodigal Son"
  6. "Follower"
  7. "Water The Garden"
  8. "Resolution (part 2/version 2)"
  9. "Thing Called Love (Don't Fight)"
  10. "Cha-Ris-Ma"

You can get the zip here.