Monday, 27 June 2011

John Pfeiffer - Electronomusic: 9 Images (1969)

Last post I hastily suggested that the internet can be a wonderful thing. Then I started reading Paul Virilio's book, The Information Bomb in which he asserted (way back in 1998, when the WWW was still just a rumour for folk like me) that the internet is, among other things, a civilianised military technology that has caused a further shift of gear in the acceleration of reality. Information flows too quickly to ever be grasped or comprehended:
"Motion sickness...was the logical forerunner of instant transmission sickness, with the rapid emergence of the 'Net junkies', 'Webaholics' and other forms of cyberpunk struck down with IAD (Internet Addiction Disorder), their memories turned into junkshops - great dumps of images of all kinds and origins, used and shop-soiled symbols, piled up any old how"

P. Virilio, The Information Bomb, p. 38

Released in 1969, John Pfeiffer's Electronomusic is a strange buzzing, whirring, fluttering beast of sliding tones and oscillating frequencies. The album ends with a track called After Hours which is made up of the martial sounds of frantic typewriters - urgent messages tapped out to important men of power. Telephones ring and tickertape spills from the mainframe. The music builds in speed and intensity and comes to incorporate the sound of the guns and military technology that were being used to in an attempt to defeat the Viet Cong and the spread of Communism. The piece seemed to synchronise with Virilio's theory of dromology.

Maybe you're interested and maybe you're not.

"Drops drop, sounds sound - analogies in rhythm. Drops are forms in space. But a "drop" suggests motion; motion and sounds are events in time. Can sounds then be Drops in time? Perhaps.
Dimensions of time and space occupy our physical attention, our physical being. But our conceptual being can warp time and space limitlessly. Fantasy, imagination, emotion - the transformations of the physical order - can interpret, clarify, contradict, affirm or deny, even create. It happens in moments. And musical events are moments strung together, time ordered, mood ordered. During those moments sound can order the sensory being to re-form time, space and their occupants."
From the sleeve notes.


01 Warm-Up, Canon And Peace
02 Reflection Of A String
03 Drops
04 Moments
05 Take Off
06 Forests
07 Pavone
08 Orders
09 After Hours

Get it HERE.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Sitara Devi with Choube Maharaj - Kathak Dance of India (1961)

This is another recent boot sale find. It came without a sleeve but I managed to find a scan of the front cover on a website dedicated to the Gramophone Company of India. The internet can be a wonderful thing.

Sitara Devi is one of India's most famous classical dancers of the Kathak style. The recording on this LP is pretty lo-fi and there seems to be a musical conversation flowing between Sitara Devi and the tabla player throughout of most of the tracks. The rhythms are complex and kaleidoscopic.

Here she is performing in the 1942 film, Roti:


01 Moordang Poornam & Trotakam
02 Parangaha
03 Bhav Parangaha
04 Tilwat
05 Tarana
06 Padakriya (Tatkar)
07 Dhamar
08 Choutal-Dhrupad
09 Jhaptal
10 Roopak

Get it HERE.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Mevlana Celaledini Rumi, Ulvi Erguner – Mevlana - Acem Aşiran Mevlevi Ayini (Ersak Records)

The Mawlawi order was founded in 1273 by Rumi's followers after his death, particularly by his successor Hüsamettin Çelebi who decided to build a mausoleum for Mawlâna, and then Mawlâna's son, Baha al-Din Muhammad-i Walad (or Çelebi, Chelebi, meaning "fully initiated"). He was an accomplished Sufi mystic with great organizing talents. His personal efforts were continued by his successor Ulu Arif Çelebi.

The Mawlawi believe in performing their dhikr in the form of a "dance" and musical ceremony known as the Sema, which involves the whirling, from which the order acquired its nickname. The Sema represents a mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through mind and love to the "Perfect". Turning towards the truth, the follower grows through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth, and arrives at the "Perfect". He then returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and a greater perfection, able to love and to be of service to the whole of creation.

The Mevlevi became a well-established Sufi order in the Ottoman Empire by realizing a blood relationship with the Ottoman sultans when Devlet Hatun, a descendant of Sultan Veled, married the sultan Bayezid I. Their son Mehmed I Çelebi became the next sultan, endowing the order, as did his successors, with many gifts.

Many of the members of the order served in various official positions of the Caliphate. The centre for the Mawlawi order was in Konya, where their 13th century guiding spirit, Mawlana (Jelaleddin al-Rumi) is buried. There is also a Mevlevi monastery or dergah in Istanbul, near the Galata Tower, where the sema (whirling ceremony) is performed and accessible to the public.

During the Ottoman Empire era, the Mevlevi order produced a number of famous poets and musicians such as Sheikh Ghalib, Ismail Ankaravi (both buried at the Galata Mevlevi-Hane) and Abdullah Sari. Vocal and instrumental music, especially the ney, plays an important role in the Mevlevi ceremony and famous composers such as Dede Efendi wrote music for the ayin (cycle of Mevlevi ceremonial music).

During the Ottoman period, the Mevlevi order spread into the Balkans, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt (and is still practiced in both countries where they are known as the Mawlawi order). The Bosnian writer Meša Selimović wrote the book "The Dervish and Death" about a Mevlevi dergah in Sarajevo.

The Mevlevi Order has some similarities to other Dervish orders such as the Qadiri (founded in 1165), the Rifa'i (founded in 1182), and the Kalenderis.

From Wikipedia

This recent boot sale find contains beautiful recordings of Mevlevi ceremonial music featuring Ulvi Eguner on the ney.


Side 1: Acem Aşiran Mevlevi Ayini
Nat-ı Mevlana
Acem Aşiran Peşrevi
Acem Aşiran Ayini (Birinci - İkinci Selam)

Side 2: Ayin (Üçüncü - Dördüncü Selam)
Son Peşrev Ve Son Yörük Semai
Segah İlahi
Son Taksim

Get it HERE.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Groupe Archach

Here is another of the cassettes I picked up in Marrakech recently. This is vintage stuff from Ali Chouhad and Groupe Archach. Beautiful, meditative and poetic Tachelhit music from the Souss region - fantastic banjo going on here and great percussion, if you liked Izenzaren, you'll love this. This one looks like it was first released in the early '80s judging by the fashions on display in the cover photograph.

I posted a more recent cd by this group some time ago, and that one is wonderful too.

Here's some fantastic archive footage of the band in action to whet your appetite:

Archache "Agharas issoutln orass nzdar" by titrit_2


Side One: Ash-Shabab / Arja f-Llahi
Side Two: Temment Noujdik / Alili war l-Khayr

In the meanwhile, get it HERE.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Marehemu George Mukabi - Sengula Nakupenda

George Mukabi (Musical Career 1956 to 1963)
Marehemu George Mukabi was born in Kisa near Kakamega. In his short musical career he recorded less than 30 songs. Each and every one of them without exception was a HIT. His first recording Sengula Nakupenda recorded in 1956 by AGS sold over 100,000 copies within a period of two years.

This record has been rereleased many times ver the years. It has never lost its popularity and even today after 25 years it is just as popular. George's name became so popular that I believe there isn't one musical fan who does not recognise his unique style of music.

George was a truly gifted artist and his Lyrics were that of a genius. he mixed emotions of joy love and tragedy which are truly part of everybody's life. His gift was that of a Unique Style of plucking a Guitar and combined with his Lyrics reached almost everybody's heart.

George Mukabi was tragically killed in 1963. Although in body he died his music shall live forever in hearts of all music lovers.

In this album the Producers AGS give just some of his masterpieces. We hope his music moves you as it has done thousands of others over the years.

This chap's music is a total joy. Gorgeous, playful vocals and a swinging, fingerpicked guitar make this one a real winner. And the crackles on this dirty old chunk of vinyl are a little reminiscent of a campfire if you wish hard enough.


01 Kweli Ndugu
02 Sengula Nakupendu
03 Ruben Achieng
04 Asante Kwa Wazazi
05 Kusema Wongo
06 Kuowa Tuna Owa
07 Omulanga Wamuka
08 Kunya Kidogo
09 Tuli Saliwa Vijano Tano
10 Furaha Wenye Gita
11 Bibi Mama Ngani Mzuri
12 A.G.S. Recodi Africa
13 Bibi Mzuri Nyumbani
14 Sis Na Malenya (by Peter Akwabi)

Get it

Friday, 3 June 2011

Abdul Halim Hafez - Live at the Royal Albert Hall

Abdel Halim Hafez was, alongside Oum Kalsoum, one of Egypt and the Arabic speaking world's most popular singers. Here's what the liner notes have to say about his 1967 performance at the Royal Albert Hall:
"For the first time in the long history of the Royal Albert Hall, this great and world famous auditorium was transformed for one evening in November 1967 into something resembling the palace of a great Caliph in the golden age of the Arab empire. It was filled to capacity with an audience of Arabs and thier friends of various nationalities, all of whom have a tremendous affection for the popular singing star of the Middle East - Abdul Halim Hafez"
The audience response on this album is rapturous, Abdel walks on the stage and the crowd go wild, it really is something special to hear. The music is often solemn and gentle in pace but its a beautiful melencholy sound which complements the singer's powerful voice perfectly.



Side One - Adda Al-Nahar / Ala Hisb Wihad / Al Tuba

Side Two - Sawwah / Al Masih

Get it HERE.