Friday, February 08, 2008

Henry Kuntz Speed of Culture Light 4CS box
Xul People CS
Iron & Wine The Creek Drank The Cradle mp3s
Magical Power Mako s/t mp3s
Rhythm & Sound s/t mp3s
Fricara Pacchu Midnight Pyre CD
Metal Rouge Calling Winter CDR
Binges/Animal Law/C. Spencer Yeh/Axolotl/Lambsbread/The Skaters live @ AV-Aerie, Chicago
Lorna Doom The Diabolical EP CD
Eagles "Lyin' Eyes"
Roxy Music "Love Is The Drug"

Dreamtime Taped Sounds from Belgium did the LP reissue of J.D. Emmanuel's Wizards last year, and here's another archival release that's like a little world opening up, a four-cassette box set by Henry Kuntz. I don't think I've heard of him before, but he's from the Bay Area, played on Henry Kaiser's 1977 album Ice Death, formed his own "free jazz troupe" OPEYE in 1986 (there's a rather Sun City Girlish live shot in the liner notes here that shows Kuntz "presenting bat masks"), has played lots of solo music on various instruments, travelled the world, recorded prolifically, etcetera. I'm just getting started here, and much like Ashtray Navigations' new triple LP release A Monument to British Rock that came in the mail last week, records like these are kind of like novels, you don't plan on finishing them in one sitting. Get your bookmarks ready.... so far I've just listened to side one but that's been plenty: a wacked-out solo vocal piece from 1982 that reminds me of the "transverse" vocal pieces by another Henry (Flynt) - a long section of "TRIO OPEYE" live stuff from the mid-80s, weird gutsy free improv for violin, ukuleles, "Mexican hollowed-out log violin" and more, not your typical trio instrumentation, a collision of AACM and Chadbournean sensibilities - a couple Kuntz solo pieces from 2001, a long crazed harsh whistling number for tenor sax and the other on that same Mexican hollowed-out log violin, a piece that gets pretty trancey while still sounding broken and ragged. I could listen to a whole album of THAT - maybe not a whole 4-tape box set, but hopefully there are more solo log violin tracks spread around here, I'm only 1/8th done. It really is a box set, a see-thru plastic box that holds the four tapes and a plastic dinosaur nestled in a bed of cotton, along with a rather extensive insert that says heavy Don Cherry-type shit like "The True People of the Northwest Coast are Nomadic by nature. Spiritual and Physical Travelers. World People. Universal People. They are residents of nowhere and Everywhere. And this is reflected in their music, a nomadic yet specific expression that is culturally open-ended and of their Cultural making. A True Expression of A True People." Which is an interesting sentiment to keep in mind as the next Dreamtime tape goes in the player, the mysterious C40 expression by the True (?) People known as the Xul People. The handwritten note in the package called this tape "African S.F.," and online the label says "the XUL PEOPLE are a tribe of people who developed a higher form of self and inteligence. it is believed that this tribe communicates with "higer lifeforms" or e.t. lifeforms... XUL PEOPLE allways have been a big mystery for both outhoroties and antropologists. maybe this tape hold some of the secrets and facts?!" What it sounds like is a tape of modern-day field-recordings of African drum rituals, slowed down just enough to make the chants sound like roars and groans and maybe, just maybe, possession by demonic "higer e.t. lifeforms." Then again the custodian here at work came in while it was on and said, "This is music from Angola." Either way, it's a weird tape...makes me feel fact it makes me feel like I'm getting a.....a.....STOMACH ACHE. (Clase como de un dolor de estómago, non oui?) (Update a week later: actually I keep thinking about this tape, it's pretty fucking scary and I haven't had the guts to put it back in the player.) Funny story with this first Magical Power Mako album... none of us here at work had ever heard it before when the shuffle pulled up "Open The Morning Window," a dreamy and sweet femme-sung piano ballad, and everyone was like "Let's listen to the whole thing!" So we did, from the beginning, and we got quite the opposite, a harsh collision of post-war shock and cultural spasm that may be Faust-inspired but doesn't look back so much as it does forward, to stuff like Psychic TV. There are a couple more dreamy songs tucked away for the intrepid but this album bad-vibed everyone out, even me...not that I won't take these mp3s back to HQ for further study...although it's pretty clear that this thing needs to be heard on vinyl, preferably an original, for proper context. Bet they cost a lot. And speaking of back home, tonight's dinner music is this new Fricara Pacchu disc, which suddenly sounds about 200 times more mental than it did the first time I listened - this thing is like Martin Rev on 78RPM with all kinds of other genres bursting out of his drumbox - the expected noise/psych/spacerock melange but also cartoon/videogame/thrift-score/mood/lounge/tiki/surf/thrash/pop-punk/industrial/lo-fi. The second track is like a 1990s Roy Montgomery 4-track piece being interrupted by the actual footsteps of Godzilla, right outside.

CHICAGO SHOW REPORT CHICAGO SHOW REPORT CHICAGO SHOW REPORT CHICAGO SHOW REPORT CHICAGO SHOW REPORT CHICAGO SHOW REPORT CHICAGO SHOW REPORT CHICAGO SHOW REPORT CHICAGO SHOW REPORT CHICAGO SHOW REPORT CHICAGO SHOW REPORT CHICAGO SHOW REPORT CHICAGO SHOW REPORT CHICAGO SHOW REPORT CHICAGO SHOW REPORT And after dinner I got a babysitter to put the kids to bed and took off to this insane show, a six-band bill where I actually intended to watch all six bands. Also my first time at the AV-Aerie, which is a great venue - totally chill no-frills bar, tons of room to spread out and mingle, acoustics are fine, high ceilings, huge windows opening on sci-fi nighttime cityscape, clean, organized - I won't go on, hopefully you'll get a chance to visit it yourself. First band was Binges, from Chicago, who I first heard of a year ago, but had not actually heard until this night. They set up on the floor and while the electronics/tabletop/gtr/etc dude got his patch chords together, the drummer set up facing him, his back to the audience, and started playing pitter-patter free-flowing warm-up type stuff which slowly began to take on weight and draw the crowd. It was clear they were underway when the sparse soundchecky electronic pings and squelches that had been intermittently coming from the table-top started coalescing into weird sparse loops that were playful and even a little funky. The two took this mellow/aggro vibe and moved it very nimbly into more spacious and downtempo rock feels as well. Second song was louder and more wall-of, good but not as memorable as that great first jam. I tried to buy a disc but they didn't bring any. Animal Law was next, a 'Chicago supergroup' of Mark Solotroff (Bloodyminded, Bloodlust! label, et al) on vocals, Jason Soliday (Jason Soliday, et al) on baritone guitar, Dylan Posa (Flying Luttenbachers, Cheer-Accident, et al) on drums, Blake Edwards (Vertonen, C.I.P. label, et al) on percussion, and Geoff Guy (Gary Glitter's Hard Drive, Gays in the Military, et al) on guitar - when I first heard they were playing together I thought "this could be good," then I saw on MySpace that they were playing in the style of "Swans, Khanate, Bauhaus, Harvey Milk, The Goslings, My Bloody Valentine, Flipper..." and I thought "this could be really good." And judging from this show I'd say that it pretty much is, although they definitely played too long for being the second band on a six-band bill, and they are still working some stuff out here and there. First song was a great spaced-out dirge that had Solotroff staring down the crowd with cold melancholy for a good five minutes while Soliday's thunderous ax and Posa's minimalist drums held down the riff, Guy did psychedelic stuff on top, and Edwards placed the judicious scrap yard accents. When Solotroff finally came in it was on the attack, in a screaming Bloodyminded style. A couple other songs had a disarmingly poppier approach, with Solotroff doing a fairly explicit Ian Curtis thing on one, and some quirky changes attempted and not necessarily nailed. The dirges were pretty exquisite, though - looking forward to hearing these songs recorded. After Animal Law the locals were done and it was time for the touring party to begin. C. Spencer Yeh (aka Burning Star Core) went first, I think the first time I've seen him play a real solo violin set, that is low on the FX pedals, no laptop, no backing at all, just loud and heavy instrument. I realized while watching/listening that the reason I always love Yeh's stuff is that, no matter how 'noise' and 'experimental' it is, he always plays MUSIC. The first violin piece tonight was a blistering free-improv arc that dragged a laser-beam tonic on the low end with ragged-claw scuttle and spider chatter up top (it was that droning humming tonic underneath that made it fully musical). The second piece was noisier and shorter, using two bows to make heavy dismantling sounds, and then the set was over, kinda like a tape from his Solo Violin cassette-single series - maybe a little longer, a 10-inch record or a 3-inch CDR. Of music. Axolotl went on next, a strong surprise replacement for the disappointing cancellation of Emeralds. He played music too, totally solo set, looking like he walked straight out of Over the Edge or at least The Bad News Bears, long hair/T-shirt/blue jeans/sneakers, down on the floor hitting pedals. It was real loose and shaky, especially at first. A violin was sitting there, and after awhile he picked it up and slowly sawed out a low drone, just long enough to loop it into a light glow that allowed the whole thing to finally start moving, and it got really loud and wallish and sheets-of-celestial... but only for two or three minutes, after which he shut it off and the loose shaky vibe came back as he started to hook up something else. Second piece I actually don't really remember... wait, was that when he was sitting on the floor holding his mic between his knees and wailing into it? I don't know, it wasn't perfect but it was a laid-back and convivial set with flashes of the intense glows we've heard in flashes on his records. And then came Lambsbread. I seriously didn't think they were gonna play, cuz you know, I had heard that they'd "broken up" and everything, but there they were just like it was early 2006 all over again. There were differences though - it's still total go-for-broke improv insanity, but the guitar is playing more riffs and less leads, more low-end and less high-end and it sounds great. Second guitarist seemed even more indifferent than ever to what she was playing, but it hit me that her role in the band is to play 'tampura' to the 'tabla' and 'sarod' of the other two. Hell yes this was a killer raga, all 7 minutes of it. And hey, only one more band, I will be home before 3AM! Sienko wasn't sure, saying "It's the Skaters, I could see 'em playing for two hours," and I was a little more optimistic, like "Yeah, but I could also see 'em doing like one 30-minute piece" and he was like "Yeah, and then saying 'thanks do we have time for a couple more?'" No but seriously folks, they only did one piece and it was about 30 minutes, but they did light about 20 incense sticks right before they started, which did indeed cause a little grumbling here and there, but I love the smell of incense and I don't get to light it at home because of the kids. It made the room seem ill and foggy, which suits their music too, especially at the beginning of the set, when they tore right into something involving a crazy conga loop and these great weird funky Casio SK-1 garbage keyboards, actually quite jazzy. Not quite sure where the piece went from there, I just remember Spencer the tall Skater pacing the stage in his huge straw hat and grunting into the mic in a pretty groovy way.....after that I kind of got lost in a couple conversations, lost in the fog, all in a pleasant way. Nice comedown. MERCH HAUL: Monopoly Child Nightlife Band Pacific City Barbeque Pit Levitators Method (Levitators Anonymous) CDR, Burning Star Core Fascination 2CDR, Burning Star Core Body Blues 7-inch, Steve Hauschildt The Summit CDR. CAR MUSIC ON THE WAY TO THE SHOW: The Metal Rouge disc is a great desolate drone-blues album that I've been listening to for over a year without writing anything about it. Perfect wintertime urban wasteland music - probably be good as summertime desert wasteland music too - in fact it reminds me of the wire music of Alan Lamb, straight outta the Western Australia outback, which all you Halana readers out there will remember, but Metal Rouge scores it for guitars and electronics... CAR MUSIC ON THE WAY HOME: Lorna Doom was perfect as it kept the party going a little bit... drop off Sienko and then over to the radio (97.1 FM The Drive) for the glorious bringdown of "Lyin' Eyes" - I'm no Glenn Frey apologist, but I've thought that song was gorgeous and heavy since I was about 7 years old... and jeezus, then "Love Is The Drug" comes on... you will not hear a groove like that anywhere else at any time on commercial FM radio.... you won't hear vocal phrasing like that either, still can't believe the way Ferry sings "limbo down" and "you can guess the rest"...


Anonymous said...

Every form of refuge has its price.

Magas said...

"Lyin' Eyes"?! Rock on, Sam Wall!

Larry said...

Every form of refuge has its price...

Larry said...

I mean seriously, it's hard to make arrangements with yourself when you're old enough to repay but young enough to sell.

Anonymous said...

daily dance paid a price.

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