Friday, July 30, 2010

The Golden Palominos - The Golden Palominos (1983)

I'm obviously drawn to things in the avant vein, so when I see an album that has a bunch of previously featured Out Sounds artists, I most definitely sit up and take notice. Two members of the early-80's downtown New York collective known as The Golden Palominos have already gotten their due; you may remember my Passover-related John Zorn post, or my tribute to prepared guitar wizard (and Oakland resident) Fred Frith. Those two musicians, along with drummer/composer (and former member of seminal new wave band The Feelies) Anton Fier, bassist Bill Laswell (who I learned of through his more recent work with Tabla Beat Science) and guitarist/singer Arto Lindsay (of No Wave-legends DNA) came together in 1981 to create an experimental funk-rock-jazz band that borrowed greatly from the No Wave movement as well as the avant-garde music and performance art of that whole downtown scene.

Conceptually; it's one piece of music that is broken up into its constituent parts; stylistically it flows pretty seamlessly from one track to the next- it sounds like a highly structured jam session where the bass and drum interlock perfectly with Laswell and Fier creating a pocket in which all the soloists improvise their respective parts; Frith and Lindsay weave guitars around each other, sounding at times like buzz saws and electric drills and other times hashing out intense riffs. Zorn's sax is either bubbling just below or comes at you full-force in the face, and "guests" like Jamaaladeen Tacuma on bass, Nicky Skopelitis on guitar and percussionist David Moss are all featured on various tracks. Knowing a little something about the nature of the musicians involved, I can almost guarantee that none of it is really "structured" per se; all the artists involved have carved out huge followings for their improvisational skills.

Now to the "why this record is important"; it features the first turntable scratching (from turntablist M.E. Mitchell) outside of a hip-hop record- and it doesn't sound the least bit out of place. Remember, rap music was still pretty new in 1983, so to hear this outside of a Grandmaster Flash or Rammellzee record might catch ears as strange.

Do yourself a favor; download this album now...


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