Laughter

the human race has one really effective weapon


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Broadcast 03: Four for Lou/Free Jazz

dolphy_in_studioBelow are two links to the WZBC Archives where you can listen to my October 27th radio show, broadcast on WZBC 90.3 FM in Boston. Those links will remain active until November 10th, at which point the show will disappear and be replaced by a new one. I will not be uploading permanent MP3 links.

I intended to play two solid hours of jazz on Sunday night, from musicians like John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra, and Joe McPhee. But after reading about Lou Reed’s death before heading into the studio, I grabbed three Velvet Underground records and played a few of my favorites from those. Many great words have been written about Lou Reed in the last day and half, all of them by people who have spent much longer with his music than I have. I encourage you to read the obituaries from Sasha Frere-Jones and Punk magazine co-founder Legs McNeil.

Here’s an excerpt from McNeil’s piece:

Lou Reed articulated things that were never supposed to be clarified, like those “rushing” sounds on “Heroin.” I actually get goose bumps listening to those sustained notes of the different drugs flowing from my bloodstream and magically walloping my brain that the song mimics. I mean, that’s a real fucking achievement—to audibly duplicate the experience of a drug hitting the brain. It’s so ludicrous, so exact, and so wonderfully transcendent that I can’t help loving Lou Reed for dedicating his life to making songs of the depraved. Not just for the hopeless, but music that spits back that private experience—just in case you’ve never had the pleasure—and makes it sound so beautiful.

I’d also like to point everyone to this obituary for Ronald Shannon Jackson, drummer for Last Exit, The Decoding Society, Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, and many others. It’s from Jeffrey Taylor’s excellent Jazz Diaspora column, part of the Line Out blog at The Stranger. That piece is the reason I picked up Köln last week and played it on the show. It’s definitely worth digging through previous entries in the Diaspora series, and Köln is an album that anyone interested in Peter Brötzmann, Bill Laswell, or Sonny Sharrock should check it out.

Almost no label links this time, as most of them wouldn’t help very much. You can find many of these records very easily  from the stores, shops, and distributors listed at the bottom of this page. Any questions or requests, send me an email (see the about page).

Thanks for listening.

Laughter: October 27th, 2013 – Hour 1 and Hour 2

  1. The Velvet Underground, “White Light/White Heat” from White Light/White Heat (1996) on POLYDOR – originally released in 1968 on Verve
  2. The Velvet Underground, “What Goes On” from The Velvet Underground (1996) on POLYDOR – originally released in 1969 on MGM
  3. The Velvet Underground, “Venus In Furs” from The Velvet Underground & Nico (1996) on POLYDOR – released in 1967 on Verve
  4. The Velvet Underground, “The Murder Mystery” from The Velvet Underground (1996) on POLYDOR — originally released in 1969 on MGM
  5. John Coltrane, “Mars” from Interstellar Space (2000) on IMPULSE — originally released in 1974 on Impulse, recorded in 1967
  6. Eddie Gale, “A Walk with Thee” from Eddie Gale’s Ghetto Music (2003) on WATER MUSIC — originally released in 1968 by Blue Note
  7. Joe McPhee, “Nation Time” from Nation Time (2000) on ATAVISTIC — originally released in 1971 on CJ Records
  8. Bill Dixon, “Pellucity” from Vade Mecum (1994) on SOUL NOTE — included in the Black Saint/Soul Note 9CD set
  9. Eric Dolphy, “Straight Up And Down” from Out to Lunch (1964) on BLUE NOTE
  10. Noah Howard, “Ole Negro” from The Black Ark (2007) on BO’WEAVIL — recorded and released in 1969, on Freedom Records
  11. Last Exit, “Hard School” from Köln (2005) on ATAVISTIC — recorded in 1986, Discogs shows the first release as 1990 on ITM Records
  12. Miles Davis, “Miles Runs The Voodoo Down (fragment)” from Bitches Brew (2010) on COLUMBIA/LEGACY — originally released in 1970 on Columbia


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The Monthly List: June’s Top 9

jackson_pollock_blue_poles

Jackson Pollock’s “Blue Poles” – the cover for “Spiritual Jazz Vol. 4”

The techno fever continues this month with a killer debut from youAND:THEMACHINES, aka Martin Müller of youANDmeBehind was released in June by Ornaments Records in three formats: CD, 3LP, and hand-painted, special edition 3LP. It is only the fifth full length from Ornaments. Two of the other four were compilations put together by Luke Hess and youANDme, so this is a special occasion. Müller mixes house, dub, and various other strands of techno together.

According to this interview, he uses nothing but analog equipment to do it and prefers creating his own sounds to using samples. I can hear that in the album’s production and in the way Müller builds his songs. He emphasizes texture and density as much as club-worthy rhythms and he shies away from conspicuous melodic themes. He also matches vocal contributions to the tonal color of his instruments and tosses ambient stretches of noise between dance tracks. I like it enough to get past those goofy house vocals, which together constitute the weakest part of the album. Though I’ll admit one or two of those songs have grown on me.

I’m almost certain the hand-painted edition is already sold out (it was limited to just 333 copies) but the CD and LP can still be found online and at certain record shops around the US. So don’t puss out and download it from some blog. Go find a copy, or at least buy the MP3s.

I finally got my hands on some of the new Erstwhile titles last month too. I plan on getting reviews up as soon as possible, but my review writing has slowed down recently due to other writing projects.

About this time of year, certain records solidify as my favorites so far, but there’s been such a glut of great new records that nothing’s become concrete for me. Only a few records carried over from last month, and I can’t decide which record among the three or four I like most is “the best.” So I want bother with a mid-year list or best of.

As always, formats posted are the ones I own. Others may be available. If you like any of the samples I link to, please buy the album. You can find numerous retailers carrying these titles at the bottom of this page.