Friday, 28 November 2008

SOMETHING WEIRD: Perceptual Motor Rhythm Skills - Bananafish # 7

This compilation 7" came with issue 7 of the fabulous US 'zine Bananafish way back in 1992. I used to look forward to this arriving at my local vinyl pusher's, as it always provided a good dose of brain scrambling Dada-esque confusion. Occasionally there'd be stuff in there about music, but mostly I'd ignore that stuff in favour of the random ramblings of Seymour Glass and his unstable friends.
Like Lisa Suckdog's Rollerderby, what was interesting about this 'zine was the cut and paste artwork, and its skewed take on everyday life. Unfortunately, all my copies of this have long ago been sucked into a black hole, lost somewhere along my way. But I do have a few of these singles left. This stuff is bizarre, roughly cut audio collage, spoken word, noise, improv, prank call...strange messages from beneath the underground.

Press the play button to listen:

If you want you can download it here.

And here's the tracklisting:

A1 Reverend John Hawkins* Sermon Excerpt
A2 Hijo Kaidan* No Particular
A3 Tina Chopp vs. Bob Larson Excerpt
A4 Anne Eickelberg A Most Horrible Mistake
A5 Felipe X. Milstein Robert (Scare Stiff Of Penis)
B1 Crust Pumpchili
B2 Tina Chopp vs. Bob Larson Excerpt
B3 Royal Trux Theme Elementary School Psycho (Ax In Y Bad Boy BBM)

B4 Tina Chopp vs. Bob Larson Excerpt

Shameless self promotion - A Chapter in The Secret History of a Musick Yet To Be

I've just had an article what I did rite published in a real live magazine. Said magazine was put together by a motley crew of Cultural Studies students from that poncey hole, Goldsmiths College, London - its got some really good stuff in it, and is well worth a little look. Unfortunately, all the paper copies have sold out (already!) but you can read it here.

Anyhow, down to the important stuff...the article I wrote is called "A Chapter in the Secret History of a Muzick Yet To Be" (the title is borrowed from a line in Thomas Pynchon's fabulous novel Mason & Dixon) and its about all sorts of interesting stuff like the magical properties of music, the use of music as an instrument of torture or a means of control. Its about the War on Terror and the closing of borders in the post 9-11 world. Its also about the possibility of a mass musical exorcism of evil control systems. Maybe its a bit tongue in cheek, but maybe not. If you're remotely interested in any of that stuff (or in the work of Brion Gysin/William Burroughs/Throbbing Gristle/Genesis P.) then go and have a read over here. If you're not interested then maybe this opening paragraph will whet your appetite:

In July, a bulletin on the MySpace page of a group of Moroccan musicians sent my mind wandering down some strange paths, got me thinking about music as a technology, as something people use to perform certain actions. Indeed, music is possibly one of the oldest technologies available to humans, a means of communication, a playful way of strengthening communities, and a form of transport to carry us out of ourselves. It's also currently used to terrorise, dehumanise and narcotise individuals and populations around the globe, in ways that allow us to draw tentative lines connecting spaces that seem to be in different worlds, the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, the detention centres of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay or Diego Garcia, and the shining consumer wonderlands of the modern shopping mall or office space; spaces of chaos, control and of a particular, possibly perverse idea of freedom. We'll start our wanders around this strange territory in a place where the magical possibilities of sound are acknowledged and celebrated, a place where we might hear echoes of a future music of radical potentiality, a sonic weapon to counteract the narcotic spell cast over us, a musick yet to be.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Conjunto Orquestal Puno - Peruvian sounds from the 1950s

I picked up this strange Peruvian album in a charity shop in Brighton a couple of weeks ago. I can't find anything on the internet about the orchestra, but some of the songs on the album are Huaynos which are :
the result of the meeting of traditional mountain music with its high-pitched vocals, insistent beat, and breathy flutes - and more commercial, urban sounds, including those of Colonial music from Spain. Like contemporary North American musical hybrids, moreover, the kinds and combinations of instruments are often surprising: harps and harmonicas, mandolins and saxophones, panpipes and accordions, as well as guitars, violins and charangas.
Mark Greenberg — Sing Out!

To my ears, this is some strange stuff with its weird blend of Andean and western instruments and its melancholy sound.

3. JOYITA PUNEÑA: Huayno - Pandillero
4. LA PARADITA: Marinera Puneña
6. CARNAVAL DE ICHO: Danza Costumbrista
7. LINDA SERRANITA: Huayno Pandillero
9. IMILLlTA: Huayno
10 LA TRADICIONAL: Marinera Puneña
Director: Cástor Vera Solano

Get the zip over here.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Dr. Orlando Owoh & His Afrikan Kenneries Beats International - Money for Hand Back for Ground Volume 1

Earlier in November Comb & Razor posted the news that Dr. Orlando Owoh has died. Owoh was an important cultural figure in Nigeria, known for his soulful voice and philosophical lyrics, and for his hybrid of highlife and juju musics. Here's a little taste:

I picked up this cd bootleg of a late '70s album on a stall at East Street Market on my last trip to London. The man on the stall seemed to find it strange that I would be interested in this old Nigerian music, but he was selling some great bootleg cd's of some real classics, including albums by Sir Victor Uwaifo and Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe which I'll be posting at some point in the future.

Dr. Orlando Owoh & His Afrikan Kenneries Beats International - Money for Hand Back for Ground Volume 1


Money For Hand Back For Ground
His Highness Oba Oyekan Of Lagos
Eyo Omo Olode
Ailo Lore

Edun Jale Oforu-Lo
Ore Mi Ma Dale
Mori Sisi Kan L'Ode
Sisi Fola Shade
Salewaye Ye Salewa

The zip is over here.

Monday, 17 November 2008

El Maalem Mahmoud Gania - more Gnawa

Here's another fantastic cd of Gnawa trance music from Morocco. This Mahmoud Gania (or Guenya, or Guinia, or's confusing!) album seems to have more of an Arabic influence than other releases, and it includes some brainmelting electronic drums that might sound at home in Omar Souleyman's Syrian 'Jihadi Techno'. I don't know what the album's called, so any help with translation of the title would be much appreciated, but in the meantime enjoy this fantastic music.


01 - El Folani Baba Ya Sidi
02 - Allah Allah Ya Donia
03 - Adora Adora Ayieh
04 - Bolila Ya Bolila

The zip is here.

When I was at this year's Essaouirra festival, my camera ran out of charge almost as soon as I arrived. Towards the end of my stay I met a photographer from Luton who had been taking lots of pictures of the festival and of Morocco. His pictures are better than any I might have taken and you can see them here.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Franco et Josky Kiambukuta du T.P.O.K. Jazz - Missile

The Democratic Republic of Congo has been in the news quite a bit lately, short pieces in the broadsheet newspapers and on television telling of the current situation in the troubled nation. We get told about the displaced population, over a million people on the move around the land trying to avoid battles between government troops and rebel forces. We are told about tribal conflict...Hutu rebels, possibly supported by Rwanda. We get to see images of a people living in desperate poverty. Commentators have recently been telling us that this is the world's greatest humanitarian disaster, and all the while Western governments seem reluctant to get involved. Little is said about the region's vast mineral resources that continue to be mercilessly plundered by interests that are certainly not 'tribal'. The wealth created by those who mine the copper and coltan that are essential to the world electronics and communications industries, to the globalised 'network' society, seems to flow everywhere but back into the heart of Africa.

Seeing these images and hearing the news reports, it is easy to imagine that the African people have always lived this way, rolling from one disaster to the next, like children in constant need of parental supervision. Such views obscure Africa's bloody history and Europe's part in it. Brutal colonialism, the scramble for Africa, and years of ruthless economic exploitation have all played a fundamental role in the current desperate situation.

For me, music presents openings to other ways of thinking. The music of the Congo gives us a different view of the country and its people, so today I've posted another fantastic album by Franco et T.P. O.K. Jazz. Franco began recording in the early 1960s and soon became one of Africa's most popular musicians. The newly independent country was entering a period of political turmoil after the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, and Mobutu was consolidating his military power with the help of US and European governments who were worried about the spread of Communism in Africa. Mobutu came to power in 1965, and it is during this dictator's violent reign that Franco, and Congolese music more generally, enjoyed his most fertile period, leading a large orchestra and producing an unprecedented number of records that were hugely successful across the continent. It was during this time that Franco earned himself the title 'Sorcerer of the guitar'. His playing is indeed magical. In 1978 Franco spent time in prison after speaking out against Mobutu's regime. When he came out, the country's declining economic situation meant that the big bands he had been used to leading were no longer viable. The 1980s saw the decline of the Congo's previously vibrant music scene, musicians emigrated and nightspots closed as the country's money dried up.

Currently, 'Congotronics' groups such as Konono No 1 or the Kasai Allstars are enjoying some success with Western listeners:

This is fabulous music, but contrast the scene with this great '70s footage of Franco's band and we get some idea of the distance travelled, of the way the country seems to be sliding backwards, its poverty growing as global demand for its valuable resources increase:

Today's album is from 1982 or '83, and it features a smaller band than those on the other T.P.O.K. Jazz album we posted, its still a stellar listen though with those incredibly intricate duelling guitars snaking their way into the brain.


01 Missile
02 Chacun Pour Soi
03 Partage
04 Adieu Je M'en Vais
05 Tu Es Mechante
06 Laissez Passer
07 Ngai Te

You can get the zip over here.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Glenn Branca - Symphony Number 3 (Gloria) 1983

This is Glenn Branca's Symphony Number 3 (Gloria) Music for the First 127 Intervals of the Harmonic Series. Its an extract from a 1983 live performance by one of Branca's early guitar orchestras. This is a relatively small group compared to the ones he was composing for by the early '90s, some of which used up to a hundred guitarists. This particular performance featured a number of musicians who went on to become famous/notorious on the New York no wave/noise scene, including Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo (of Sonic Youth) and Michael Gira (of Swans/Skin). The first 20 minutes of this are pretty beautiful, kind of shimmering modern classical sounds, and quite slow moving and stately. Then the drums kick in and it all gets heavy heavy (but in a good way). If you like this then it might be worth checking out Kick to Kill's blog where you can find uploads of the Rhys Chatham box set (which is also very good).

I've posted this as one long mp3 rather cos it works better that way, and you can get it here.