Thursday, October 28, 2010

Deltron 3030 - Deltron 3030 (2000)

What can I say about one of my favorite hip-hop records of all time? As far as concept albums go, it's one of the best- an intergalactic futuristic rap battle over Dan the Automator's productions and Kid Koala's scratching, El Cerrito's Del tha Funkee Homosapien absolutely kills everything in sight. Appearing here (respectively) as The Cantankerous Captain Aptos, Skiznod the Boy Wonder and Deltron Zero; the trio play so well together it's as if their spinal cord is fused into one being, that being is an album named Deltron 3030.

This was the impetus for the Gorillaz; the small-scale success of the Deltron project (is calling 1.2 million albums sold "small-scale" an insult?) gave way to the mega success of the ten-plus million units moved by that first record- just listen to the track Time Keeps on Slipping (featuring Blur's Damon Albarn) to hear an "early" Gorillaz song.

Anyway, if you want to hear what an intergalactic rap battle to save humanity while fighting oppressive governments and evil multinational corporations is all about, download this joint.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Two Albums from... Danzig

Glenn Danzig. You either hear the name and you bow your head in reverence or you bust out laughing. Either are understandable; take his work with The Misfits and you might consider him a legend. Take his post-Misfits work and you may consider him a total chode.

I actually prefer his hard rock/metal solo stuff to his early-80s hardcore horror punk; yes, gasp away you punkers, but the novelty of the devil-lock and The Fiend Club stickers wore off on me by the time I was 12. Yeah, I was a cynical little shit about everything back then, too.

I guess I'm too cool for school, but gimme that original Danzig line-up of Chuck Biscuits on drums, John Christ on guitar and Eerie Von on bass and get the hell outta my way. Or maybe I'm not cool enough. Whatever.

Fucking Danzig. The first two albums...

Danzig (1988; Def American Records)
94.4 mb, ripped at 320 kbps

Coheed & Cambria - The Second Stage Turbine Blade (2002)

Coheed & Cambria have been able to blend prog rock and post-hardcore music seamlessly together to create some intricately layered and dense sounds; along with Tool and The Mars Volta (the only other bands I can think of that do that, post-millennium), they have created a music that's both rhythmically complex yet totally listenable- I've always thought that Coheed is what Rush would sound like if they were born way later and were raised on Fugazi and NoMeansNo.

Anyway, here's their debut record from '02; where it lacks in technical prowess it makes up for in raw emotionality.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Arvo Pärt - Tabula Rasa (1984)

Estonian-born Arvo Pärt calls his minimalist classical compositions "sacred music", but it's really so much more than that- I'd liken it to a spiritual experience. Fellow minimalist Steve Reich has said of Arvo that "his music fulfills a deep human need that has nothing to do with fashion", I'd have to agree- he came along at a time when both the spirit and style of his music were ripe for neglect, but he filled a void that most didn't even realize existed.

Pärt, through his compositions, has been able to combine spirituality, sound and science in a way unlike anyone before or since with his creation of the compositional practice of tintinnabuli; or rather the musical conversation between two voices- one singing notes around a tonic triad (which is the root note, the third and the fifth; think of a power chord in rock music); and the other voice singing a run of notes on the diatonic scale. The track Spiegel im Spiegel is a perfect example of this; it's a conversation between the violin and piano using tintinnabuli; the piano builds the triad with arpeggios and the violin "solos" above on the white notes.

If you can listen to this and it doesn't stir up something deep inside of you, then congratulations! For you have no soul...

Gary McFarland - The In Sound (1965)

Oh, lounge music- why are you so awesome?

Vibraphonist, vocalist,
arranger, composer extraordinaire Gary McFarland's 1965 record The In Sound explores exotica, pop, jazz, space and bossa nova; sometimes incorporating up to three of these styles all in one track. Whether this is going to be used as background music or on headphones (the best way to enjoy this record) it won't disappoint.

Enjoy this "in sound" from Out Sounds...

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Geraldine Fibbers - Lost Somewhere Between the Earth and My Home (1995)

Here on 1995's Lost Somewhere Between the Earth and My Home, Carla Bozulich and company craft an honest sincerity and authentic emotionality while still being able to retain an unapologetic approach to their brand of alt-country and cowpunk; this record exists somewhere in the strata between the layers of the avant-garde and traditional folk, wedged right up against blues-based rock and noise.

This version of the band would feature Carla on vocals and guitar, Daniel Keenan on guitar, Jessy Greene on violin, William Tutton on bass and Kevin Fitzgerald on drums. Later incarnations would include Nels Cline (who's basically played with everyone and anyone in the LA avant-garde and jazz scene, and now of Wilco) and Jessica Moss (who's played with almost every "important" Canadian band of the last ten years), but this debut record would feature less of that straight-ahead guitar sound and focus more on Bozulich's stellar songwriting.

This album here is dedicated to my friend Alison, who's getting married this upcoming Saturday!

Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall (2005)

Recorded at New York City's famed Carnegie Hall from the Novermber 29th, 1957 show as part of their Thanksgiving Jazz series; these tapes sat in the Library of Congress' archives for almost 48 years until they were found and restored (by Monk's son T.S. Monk and producer Michael Cuscuna).

This version of Thelonious' quartet would feature Coltrane on tenor, Ahmed Abdul-Malik on bass and Shadow Wilson on the drums; it was right after Trane finished recording his first "solo" record Blue Train and would mark the final collaboration with Monk as John headed back for another stint with Miles' sextet.

One of the best examples of hard bop out there; this one's for my buddy Timmy Burke. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dzyan - Electric Silence (1975)

Indian-influenced Krautrock that's heavy on both the free and fusion sides of jazz as well as heavier progressive rock; incorporating ambient passages a la Tangerine Dream throughout. These guys crafted a seriously "out there" vibe, it's one of the great lost Teutonic jazz rock albums; a true landmark in the Kosmiche genre that seems to get over-looked again and again, but I feel this record can go up against Can's Tago Mago, Faust's Faust IV, Neu!'s self-titled or Amon Düül II's Yeti.

Check this out if you like getting super freaky...

Two Albums from... Roy Harper

Roy Harper is the best singer/songwriter that you aren't listening to; don't ask me how I know that you're not listening to him, but I know you're not.

Now you can. Here's two of his records from 1970 and '71 respectively; Flat Baroque and Berserk & Stormcock. One is 12 songs recorded in a more conventional format with lengths ranging between a minute-and-a-half and eight-plus minutes, with some straight-ahead Brit-folk interspersed with contemporary sounding rock and blues. The other is a sprawling, massive four-suite prog folk masterpiece.

Harper was name-checked by Led Zeppelin on the track Hats Off To (Roy Harper) on their third album and also the featured vocalist on Pink Floyd's Have a Cigar from Wish You Were Here. So he's your favorite musician's favorite musician. So you should be listening to him. A lot...