Friday, February 01, 2008

David Crosby If I Could Only Remember My Name mp3s
Long Legged Woman Newtown Nights CDR
Semimuumio Vamos CD
Fluxion Vibrant Forms II mp3s
Cypress Hill s/t mp3s
Stop Smiling #33 (Jay-Z cover)
Jay Bayles Metabolic Eenhancement Waver CDR
Rhythm & Sound See Mi Yah Remixes CD
Maniacs Dream Turku Hold 'Em CD
Jay Bayles again while telling Angelina the Elaine Equi story
Fossils CDR

Nice blizzard all night and into this morning in Chicago - a good 7-8 inches and counting. It may be a California album, but because it's a 'bleak California' album, the David Crosby sounded really good while staring out of the windows of the train and then trudging through snowdrifted sidewalks, particularly the closing suite of "Traction in the Rain" into "Song With No Words" into "Orleans" into "I'd Swear There Was Somebody Here"... From Athens, GA, Long Legged Woman knocked me out last year with a disc called The End of False Religion. Two long tracks that kinda sounded like the entirety of Godflesh Streetcleaner exploding in slow motion. No riffs, no drum machine, I don't think any vocals, just blasted tape collage and guitar noise. Then I heard a track by 'em on a comp called Deeded To Itself: Athens Southernoise that was like weird folk, I guess, and good weird folk at that, with vocals. Both of these releases were on the Thor's Rubber Hammer label (who also brought us the raw-as-hell gutter-jazz Stoned and Zoned release from Owl Xounds in '07), as is this new one from the LLW duo called Newtown Nights. (I say "new one" but I think it's been hiding in the stacks for awhile - definitely also an '07 release.) It's leaning more towards the weird folk side than the exploding Godflesh side, but either way it's fairly unclassifiable - is it psychedelic pop? Bedroom shoegaze? Kinda like a softer-edged Sic Alps, or maybe a two-man Spectre Folk... short songs, short album, with an unformed/unfinished feel in places, maybe still stuck somewhere between soundscaping and songwriting, but I'm gonna keep up with 'em and see what's next...Lal Lal Lal week continues here at Blogstitude with another new CD, this one by a totally unknown band called...spell that for me again?....Semimuumio. I'm telling you, it's getting to where I just put the disc in the player with one hand and start scratching my head with the other...of course the artwork always keeps it goofy, the usual seemingly random hodgepodge of inscrutably domestic photographs and pop-art collage, a photo of a snow-covered car on the back (looks exactly like Chicago this morning), a close-up of really green plants on the inside, the usual dayglo/boho knicknacks/shelves snapshot, a close-up of a bed of straw with an owl in a sailor's cap collaged on top, okay, and the only text is like some excerpted internet chat in English about what to do in Helsinki... I give up, especially after hearing the music - it's like a goofy sampling album, stumbling pop-culture techno weirdness. It might be crude, but then it actually might be quite deft, I honestly can't tell even when listening closely. LLL website tells me that this is a solo project by one of the Tolvi brothers of free jazzish combos Lauhkeat Lampaat and Rauhan Orkesteri - wouldn't have guessed - and as usual they do the best (only?) possible job of describing this stuff: "Mostly sample-based partybeats for children and adults, probably not for teenagers. Call it emotional, adult-oriented beat (EMO-AOB)".... More wintertime music: this Fluxion stuff is sounding incredible. Minimal techno, dubby techno, don't know what this subgenre is officially called but it's the best. Score yet another for the Chain Reaction crew. If I had to choose one label (or label cartel) to listen to for the rest of my life, right now I would choose Basic Channel/Chain Reaction/Burial Mix/etc. I feel odd listing the Jay Bayles CDR because he's one of my best friends, I've known him for 14 years, in fact I've gone on tour with him, he's easily the best drummer I've ever played music with, etcetera. Jay has lived in Hastings, Nebraska for about 25 years I guess, and before that he spent most of the 1980s playing all kinds of music and generally whylin' among various art gallery/loft space/post punk/prog rock/garbage jazz scenes in San Francisco and Boston (where for example he knew the guy who made this killer video). As long as I've known him he's written and recorded songs, putting together cassettes and now CDRs of his latest batches and giving 'em to friends. I've got like 15 of 'em. Again, I feel odd about this because I know him, but it is of course outsider/loner material, would-be private press (except he has never actually pressed anything), and sure his music has a nice dislocated post-Oar one-man sound, usually built around stripped-down but active bass guitar and drums, embellished by who knows what - mostly acoustic and some electric guitars, but I remember a couple tapes he recorded with nothing but bass guitar, drums, and marimba. (For that out-of-nowhere Art Tripp feel.) His lyrics are always good, often cut up and resorted from various texts and poems (this CDR uses stuff by Elaine Equi, Georges Perecs, Blaise Cendrars, and Jay himself, who is more than capable of steady fractured surrealist prog word flow on his own). This batch may not be his greatest or most adventurous but it is definitely one of his most assuredly melancholy. Sure I'll go ahead and call it his On the Beach. Again, not to make him sound like some thrilling private press discovery, you might not like it or rate it or whatever, I mean he's got an odd singing style, troubadoury and not always on-key, maybe too high in the mix... the music also has a slightly proggy 1970s accent that might turn some off... sometimes the bass is fretless... either way it doesn't matter because who knows if Jay will ever put out a record, or even a CD, period. He does not have any desire to quit the day job, just to play and record in his spare time - I believe for some crazy reason like 'the love of music and art'. I think I'll probably end up posting this album as a zip file in the comments section so you can see what you think - watch for it if you're interested. AND I just have to tell a little story while I'm here - I had put on Jay's disc and kicked back on the couch to read this issue of Stop Smiling with Jay-Z on the cover, featuring interview after interview with all kinds of interesting people like Jay-Z ("On the streets, you have to have integrity, or you won't be there long. You can't give your word and then do the opposite. In business, people just run all over each other. It's unpoliced."), Lee Hazlewood ("I didn't know [Steve Shelley] at all. One of my daughters knew him. Or knew of him. But I didn't know the Electric-whatever-they're-called. I didn't know them at all...Sonic Youth."), Paul Verhoeven ("[Chicago] has a lot of New York things, and a great railway system and a certain sense of darkness like New York, and there's the beauty of the water around it. If you were to give me a city that is modern and gritty and is beautiful, then I think Chicago would probably be the best choice. But I have never been able to shoot there."), David Cronenberg ("If your movies are distributed around the world, there is the possibility they will be cut by censors of various kinds. But it hasn't really been a huge issue with me. The thing is, if it happens to you once, you never forget it. It really is a huge violation. And it makes you a huge champion of freedom of speech forever after."), Jimmy Breslin ("A column isn't a feature story - you've just got to go out and write and work and have an awful lot of writing and all facts, and somewhere in the middle, rising on strong, steel legs, is an opinion. You've got the opinion coming out of hard, long reporting. Stand in the rain - when you're standing in the rain, then you know you're in business."), Darryl Jenifer ("No one in Bad Brains was influenced by Jimi Hendrix. I never listened to a Hendrix record. I give respect to the pioneering brother, but his music to me was blues, and I wasn't a blues cat. When I heard about his records, I was into Black Sabbath."), Tom Araya ("But with 'Jihad,' he wanted to write the song from the perspective of the terrorist, and I thought that was a cool idea. We don't support terrorism or war. From a songwriting standpoint, it's an interesting perspective. It's a challenge."), and, right here on page 37, an intriguing poet I'd never heard of named Elaine Equi who lived in Chicago, now lives in New York, and writes some nice dreamy Creeley-esque verse. 30 minutes later I'm looking at Jay's handwritten liner notes to the disc I'm listening to and I see that two different tracks incorporated words by.... Elaine Equi. Apparently he just came across a book by her at the Hastings Public Library and checked it out on a whim. What can we say, life rocks.... Heard a bit of chatter about this Fossils group, I believe from somewhere in Canada, and although right now I'm not actively looking for more improvising noise/experimental collectives that have a cool one-word name and put out lots of CDRs and/or cassettes, this is not bad shit. Good acousmatic junkyard crumple aesthetic meets actual electric guitar, plus long small-noise drop-out sections which are the reason I keep listening to this, I can't figure out what's going on half the time, or if it's even still on. (That's a good thing.)

AND.... in case you missed the link in the text above, make sure you watch CALLING PLANET EARTH!

1 comment:

Ferrismick said...

I used to know Jay Bayles (his sister worked with my mother) when I was first starting to play bass as a teenager. He was great to jam with and taught me a lot about how to play along with a drummer. I remember recording something with him on his 4-track with just me playing my fretted bass, a fretless with an e-bow and Jay playing drums, the marimba and singing... I've long since lost that tape but would love to hear his stuff again. I've lived outside the country since '99 and must look him up again when i'm back in Hastings. Anyway, just stumbled across your blog while trying to find Jay online.

Blog Archive