Friday, January 28, 2011

Boredoms - Vision Creation Newsun

Rateyourmusic has the genre tags of Boredoms as such: no wave, experimental, punk rock, psychedelic rock,  noise rock, electronic, trance rock, tribal. Basically, they know their shit when it comes to music. There really aren't any bands on this side of the ocean quite like them, whether its genre bending or putting out quality tunes. But I'll let the music speak for itself, here's my favourite of theirs, 1999's Vision Creation Newsun, with an insight from the legendary Julian Cope

First time I heard this album was like a deluge overload euphoria had descended from the highest heavens and whipped me screaming, whirling, teenaged and drooling into my first acid trip/first hard on/first astral projection into a region of unfathomable and untameable NEWNESS. Didn’t even know what the singer was singing. Had the record and didn’t even know what it was called. Heard all seven songs and thought they were all one piece (still don’t know the individual titles). I felt like the mystery of all music had been boiled up over one Hindu kalpa (8,640,000,000 years of human reckoning) and had then been distilled through this Boredoms album. I fell asleep listening to the album and woke up several times during it, only to fall asleep again overwhelmed and tearful and with a butterfly belly of surging gnawing passion. 
In the middle of the night, my toy doubleneck (which I used for all the TOO difficult parts of the LAMF album) fell over on its face next to my bed. I shot up in bed, looked down at this riffing orange toy playing familiar music alone and unprompted. I jumped outta bed and grabbed the thing and took it (still riffing) to the farthest corner of my bathroom and closed the door.
Lay there. Motionless.
Couldn’t sleep.
Needed to create a new sound.
Needed... to create a... new sound.
Is that what the singer was singing?
Was that the Boredoms’ lyric?
New sound?
Sound sound sound.

Shamanic 4 a.m.
I put the record on headphones loud as hell.
No way could it possibly sustain that sheerly mystical feeling of that first coupla listens. No way at all.
Single voice starts the record.
"New Sun!"
Then, we’re off into thee single greatest rush of music since the last Millennium.
This time I listened again and again without falling asleep, until the sun came up and the birds were dawning their chorus thang, and I was a reborn earthling.

So what does it sound like? I dunno - maybe like the Faust Tapes’ most euphoric uplifting moments were digitally tape-sped into some kind of Beyond Time.

You know how you occasionally read a review of some new Fall LP and they say the Fall are back on form and you just gotta hear this particular record and you get all excited and hopping cause if the Fall just got genuinely back on it (even briefly) U-Know it would be a pagan free-for-all to live for. And it has intriguing song titles like "Dame J. Burchill Art Gulag" and a supposedly great cover version of Don Covay’s "It’s Better to Have & Don’t Need (Than Need & Don’t Have)". And in that brief time between reading about the album and hearing the album, you’re a kid again with a kid’s dreams and a whole world of possibilities (not just musical) is thrown up in front of you. Then you hear that new Fall record and it’s just more embittered semi-mystical coded fraudulent ramblings about NOTHING nothing NOTHING.

BUT......... it does not matter because you’ve still enjoyed AND lived fully through those moments of possibilities.

Well this album is all those possibilities AND it achieves. Those of you who always wanna dig my Album of the Month but then get disappointed because its way too weird and not weird enough and too rock but not rock enough and too obscure but not obscure enough - well, this is the album for you! You are all gonna get down on your knees and crawl to my front door after this one. Crawl crawl crawl.

How do I know? Because I’ve listened to this album so many times and just kept coming back and coming back and it never fails me. Played this fucking record so much on the last tour that I had to consciously NOT put it on before every set, or risk appearing like some teenybopper asshole with one CD in the collection. This is truly enlightened music which encompasses the Lofty-est rock’n’roll moments of every entirely necessary group of all time without sounding like any of them.
Imagine those heights of ludicrously optimistic utopianism achieved occasionally by the Mellotron’d Hawkwind of side one of Warrior on the Edge of Time, the pre-Velvets menstrual-cycling of the Jaynettes’ "Sally Go Round the Roses", the eternally rainy-day monostare of "Hiroshima" from The Flower Travellin’ Band’s classic LP Made in Japan, the strangely Chuck Berry-based hard cissy weeping vision of Justin Hayward’s "The Story in your Eyes" by the Moody Blues, the 11-minute guitar destruction of "Love Is More than Words or Better Late Than Never" by the late-period heavy version of Love, led by Arthur ‘I’m-one-of-the-greatest-lyric-writers-of-all-time-but-right-now-I’m-gonna-shut-the-fuck-up’ Lee, the cartoon-y but nonetheless real sense of loss on The Residents’ "Ship’s a-going Down" from Not Available, the one-off death trip despair of Slapp Happy’s genius one-off 45 "Johnny’s Dead", the unlikely overloaded-Spanish-Galleon-over-arranged enlightenment of Sabbath’s "Spiral Architect", the someone-help-me-help-me-help-me-please Puppy Love-Effect at the gasping-for-air tailend of the Tubes’ "White Punks on Dope", the breathtakingly ever-upwards powersurge that is "You’re in America", the opening track from the first Granicus LP. Imagine all these things, and then imagine them compressed and digitally enhanced and sampled and used purely to empower you. Pow. Pow. Used in order to bring an emotional Pow-Wow, equivalent to applying a psychic garlic poultice to your poor fuzzbitten inner streetplan.

Who are these Boredoms? Well they been around for two decades and they’re led by a figure called Eye. Eye? Aye. And, clearly, there’s only the one Eye. And they’ve been a punk band, and they’ve been an all percussion chanting shamanic ensemble, and they’ve had 20 years to prepare us for this. And are we prepared. No No No. How do you describe true psychedelia? Do I write:
"There’s one beautiful period on track 4 when the whole group becomes Hawkwind on "Silver Machine" rising upwards in a space boogie which digitally transforms itself into that percussion and guitar freakout from the middle of Chicago’s "I’m A Man" 45 (by the way, if you haven’t heard that cover version of Spencer Davis’ finest moment, get it now now now - it is still a transcendental earth-moving moment from a group that is otherwise utterly unworthy of consideration)."

Do I write that? No. There’s a whole vibrational otherness coursing through this record which, if I’m stretched to compare, again reminds me of the Faust Tapes. But really it’s just the sound of fine fine music made by people who live at a higher level than every other fucker. Sure those other reference points I’ve thrown in are there to ground the review in whatever the real world is. But Vision Creation New Sun is a masterpiece. And I mean that in the old sense. It’s a masterpiece insofar as it creates a new genre. A new die has been cast. It’s a sustainable sonic orgasm where before there was no sustainable sonic orgasm. Other musicians can now rip this masterpiece off (I surely fucking will) and humanity will be higher because of it. Nothing less.

Album of November? Album of the Year!

Sun worship

Monday, January 24, 2011

Broadcast - HaHa Sound + Trish Keenan's Mind Bending Motorway Mix

On the 15th, I was greeted with some horrific news - Trish Keenan of Broadcast passed away at the age of 42 from pneumonia. I'd seen her live in 2009, it was an amazing, intimate show; and Broadcast's brand of outer space pop was as thrilling as ever. It almost seems like we'd taken Broadcast's music for granted, being an outsider band with a penchant for breaking genre boundaries and experimenting with sound. I can't believe we won't hear anything from them again. Here's their best album; HaHa Sound. 

HAHA Sound isn't funny. The rolling monster drums - combined with the BRRRREEEEPing primitive electronics and Trish Keenan's deadpan delivery - are reminiscent of 1920s horror movies. "Colour me in", "Man is not a bird", "Valerie", "Ominous Cloud" and "Lunch Hour Pops" are sweet, abused child-like songs (with monster drums, ok), while "Pendulum" and "Hawk" try to be a hypnogogic My Bloody Valentine on Mars. Recommended, and strangely accessible. Buy it.

Colour me in

Before her tragic, untimely passing, Ms. Keenan sent a friend an intriguing mixtape filled with wonderful music whose level of obscurity and beauty accurately reflects the wondrous vision which one could always find in Broadcast. This list is an attempt to find the pieces to the puzzle.

1) Emerald Web – “Flight of the Raven”
2) Harumi – “What a Day For Me”

3) Truck -- "Earth Song"
4) Mandy More – “If Not By Fire”
5) Tages – “You’re Too Incomprehensible”
6) Twice as Much – “The Spinning Wheel”
7) Tangerine Peel – “Trapped”
8) Twice as Much – “Playing with Fire”
9) Catharsis – “Masq”
10) Victor Jara – “El Aparecido”
11) Natty Bumpo – “Theme from the Valley of Dolls”
12) Koji Ueno – “Professor Parsec”
13) Fuat Saka – “Atladm Girdim Baa”

14) Unknown
15) The Vampires of Dartmoore – “Tanz der Vampire”
16) Rock Revival – “Venus 2038″
17) Mark Charron – “The Girls and the Boys”

Trish's Mind Bending Motorway Mix

Rest in Peace Trish. You will be sorely missed.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gza/Genius - Liquid Swords

Gary Grice, better known as GZA/The Genius; is one of the founders and members of the seminal New York hip hop outfit  - The Wu Tang Clan. In 1995, he released a solo effort 'Liquid Swords', which is widely regarded as one of the best hip hop LPs of all time. In any case, it is my favourite. 

Produced by fellow clanmate RZA, Liquid Swords sets the scene for one of the grittiest, coldest and most engaging album experiences one can have, quite frankly. Lyrically, GZA stays true to the album title by being sharper than a fuckin' sword, and his flow and delivery are pretty much unmatched by anyone in the business. This album has been responsible for converting a countless "rap sucks" folks, for good reason. It is just one of the finest products of 20th century music, regardless of genre. And unlike a lot of other stuff that falls into this category; Liquid Swords is just about as BADASS as it gets. Listen for yourself.

Flow like blood on a murder scene

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dadawah - Peace and Love

Ras Michael (Dadawah) is a reggae/nyahbinghi god. In 1974, he released 'Peace and Love', one of the greatest and most influential works in the genre. 

This is ridiculously good. One of the most intimate confessions of the reggae genre, every nook and cranny of sound is perfectly poised as Ras Michael aka Dadawah takes you on a journey that really compares to nothing else that is out there. Calling this essential is a bit of a disservice I think, because something that brings on life-affirmation this generously is a necessity for anyone with the remotest interest in the pleasures and catharsis that music has to offer.

Run come rally rally