The Jorge Arana Trio is an instrumental group from the United States. They draw from noiserock, jazz, serial music, soundtracks, punk, and world music and have, in their own words, played with their share of “weirdo bands”. Their latest album “Oso” is available on Bandcamp now.
Twink is the toy piano band of Mike Langlie, an artist and musical mad scientist living near Boston (USA). One day Mike found an old toy piano in a thrift store and fell in love with its charming, off-kilter tones. Soon more little pianos followed him home and a fun new project was born.
On September 30 Twink will release a new album: “Critter Club”. We already got our hands on a copy of the CD and it’s even more fun than the previous release, “Happy Houses“. Highly recommended if you like your toy pianos mixed with electronica, whistles, violins, tubas and English horns.
Cherry Red Records recently released “Exotica Classics”, a two CD set comprising of five original masterpieces of the exotica genre. Amongst connoisseurs (hey, that’s us!) the albums by Miriam Burton, Bob Romeo, Buddy Collette and Frank Hunter have acquired great mystique both because of their rarity and their sheer class.
The included albums are:
Miriam Burton – African Lament
Bob Romeo – Aphrodisia
The Buddy Collette Septet with Marni Nixon – Polynesia
Frank Hunter – White Goddess
Ahmad Jamal – Macanudo
Full track listing and ordering info here.
Fourteen artists from all around the world collaborated with each other to make some music. The twist is they did it without knowing who they where collaborating with. They just sent AFA their unfinished songs, and they assigned those songs to other artists to finish it. The resulting album is now available as a free download. It’s fun!
Soul Jazz Records have announced the release of a new compilation: “Studio One Dancehall – Sir Coxsone in the Dance: The Foundation Sound”.
This new collection spans Studio One’s dancehall period – singers and deejays on classic Studio One rhythms, studio and electronic wizadry from the Brentford Road headquarters, lots of rare 12” singles, all effortlessly brought together to nice up the dance.
When Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd first ruled the dancehalls of Kingston in the 1950s, fighting off the soundsystem competition of Duke Reid, King Edwards and others, few could imagine how far the reign of Studio One would last. But the emergence of ‘Dancehall’ as a distinct style of reggae at the end of the 1970s, as upstart competing producers began recording vocalists and deejays performing over replayed classic Studio One rhythms, in many ways made the influence of Clement Dodd’s vision more omnipotent than ever before (and lasting to this day).
Not surprisingly, Clement Dodd’s creativity and business acumen made him quick to respond to this musical phenomenon and he soon began voicing the new stable of Studio One singers and deejays, such as Sugar Minott and Lone Ranger, over original classic Studio One rhythms recorded in the late 1960s, to produce some of the most innovative, time-bending and creative music of his career.
Busto Power Trio is a London based noir-spy-experimental band. They have just released their first EP “The Deal”.
In their own words: “Music for a surreal, twisted, perverted spy movie that will -hopefully- never be shot. It tells a short detective story gone completely wrong by using surfish, noir, jazzy sounds. It’s music for villains. “The Deal” is a love letter to all those all those smoky, dark movies we love.”
May 20, 2014 marked the centennial of jazz legend Sun Ra‘s arrival on planet Earth (he left in 1993). To commemorate the prolific legacy of this unique artist, the Sun Ra Music Archive has embarked on an extensive and exclusive Mastered for iTunes reissue program. The albums have been released May 20, on the Enterplanetary Koncepts label (full Sun Ra catalog can be viewed at itunes.com/SunRaMusic).
Sun Ra was “filed under jazz,” but cannot be defined by one category. Like Ellington, Brian Wilson, and Frank Zappa, Sun Ra was sui generis. He explored electronica, funk, avant-garde soundscapes, musique concrète, and songcraft, while his styles spanned hard bop, exotica, R&B, piano improv, cosmic soul, swing, doo-wop, balladry, and invented forms. Sun Ra’s catalog is unfathomably large, requiring a universe of shelf space. On his self-owned El Saturn label he released hundreds of albums, many in limited pressings, spawning a worldwide collector’s market. Many of those collectibles are now available for the first time in digital format, under license from Sun Ra LLC, owned by the heirs of the legendary musician.
The Sun Ra Mastered for iTunes releases include material culled from session and rehearsal tapes, and production and album masters. The series includes a significant amount of previously unreleased material, some stereo mixes of tracks previously available only in mono, and complete versions of tracks which had been edited for the original LPs.
The Sun Ra Music Archive, maintained by executive director Michael D. Anderson, houses an extensive library of 7-1/2 and 15 ips master tapes and session reels. Using these prime sources, Anderson has compiled 24-bit digital transfers, which have been painstakingly refined. The series rollout focuses on the first half of Sun Ra’s recording career, roughly 1956 to 1974, including many rare titles. This is a year-long project, with 21 albums slated for the May 20 launch, and dozens more to follow.
Some of the titles included in the first batch of reissues are “Supersonic Jazz” (1957), “Sun Ra Visits Planet Earth” (1958). “Angels and Demons At Play” (1965), “Interstellar Low Ways” (1966) and “Jazz in Silhouette” (1959).
French composer, arranger and orchestra leader André Popp died on May 10. He was 90. Popp was born in Fontenay-le-Comte, Vendée, France. He started his career as a church organist, filling the place of his father who had been called up to serve in World War II in 1939.
Popp studied music at the Saint Joseph Institute. In the 1960s, he co-wrote two songs for the Eurovision Song Contest: “Tom Pillibi”, which won the competition for France in 1960, and “L’amour est bleu” (“Love is Blue”) which later became a number one hit in the US for Paul Mauriat. During this time he was also the arranger for many top French singers, such as Juliette Greco.
Popp is the composer of “Piccolo and Saxo”, a musical tale for children intended as a guide to the instruments of the orchestra and the rudiments of harmony. In 1957, Popp released “Delirium in Hi-Fi” (originally titled “Elsa Popping et sa Musique Sidérante”), a collaboration with Pierre Fatosme, an experiment in the recording techniques of the time.
“Popped!” also released as “Presenting Popp!,” is less experimental, but still features marvelously comic and ingenious arrangements. Popp’s ability to bring surprising new mixes of instrumentation to conventional melodies has led some to compare him to Esquivel.
Later albums are less adventurous, although even in later years Popp always combined his skills as an arranger with a knack for quirky melodies. André Popp’s music has always been a major inspiration for this website. We will miss you, monsieur Popp.
This one’s actually for your eyes too: The Haggish Moue is a two girl band based in London and Stockholm. They describe themselves as “A modern wonderland”. We can’t argue with that.
Mitchel Davidovitz writes: “I recorded 34 hours of TV, the average amount an American watches per week, and made over 6,500 photographs of actual television screens. The result is a multimedia piece including a 6-movement musical composition, a visual piece, and a research paper that is now available for free to the public”.
Check out the project here.
“Ghosts” by Florence based The Vickers is, in their own words, “a kaleidoscopic collection of songs, a twisty and colourful journey through the lights and shades of the modern life”. And who are we to disagree? “Ghosts” will be officialy released on March 28th on Black Candy Records.
Dave Brockie, founder and frontman of satirical thrash band GWAR, was found dead in his Richmond, VA home yesterday, various media report. He was 50. The news was confirmed earlier today by GWAR’s manager.
GWAR formed in Richmond in 1984, and quickly gained infamy for their live performances, which combined gross-out theatrics, costumed stunts, and crass humor. The band is well known for its elaborate science fiction/horror film inspired costumes, obscene lyrics and graphic stage performances, which feature humorous enactments of politically and morally taboo themes.
Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus, was the lead vocalist. He appeared as an intergalactic humanoid barbarian with devil horns and a meaty-looking face, and always carried around a long sword named “Unt Lick”. His only true companion was his Cuttle fish, though lost for a short period it has returned to its true resting place.
Oderus Urungus is the only character to have existed in every incarnation of Gwar, having started as a guitar player, then moving to bass, and finally the vocals.
Like all of the Gwar characters, Oderus underwent several design changes since his inception. He first started out as a relatively normal-looking character with a papier-mâché helmet with spikes that appeared to be made out of aluminum foil. This eventually progressed into a rubber wig. In the late 1980s Brockie, along with Chuck Varga, created the now-famous original design mask.
The Roaratorio label has announced a new title for late february: “Other Strange Worlds” by Sun Ra & His Astro-Infinity Arkestra.
Within Sun Ra’s vast-as-outer-space discography, the album that orbits the furthest away from the known jazz universe is “Strange Strings”. Calling it a “study in ignorance,” Ra directed his Arkestra stalwarts to pick up unusual stringed instruments and homemade percussion with which they had little familiarity, and improvise without any guidelines or direction.
Now, Roaratorio will issue a satellite around that lonely planet: “Other Strange Worlds”, recorded in Ra’s NYC apartment in May of 1965, dates from the same era and employs the same methodology as “Strange Strings”. But while the latter album featured the full Arkestra, “Other Strange Worlds” pares the players down to a core quintet of Ra, John Gilmore, Marshall Allen, Art Jenkins, and Ali Hasaan.
There’s plenty of freewheeling collective improvisation in the Ra catalog, but rarely in a small-group setting such as this. Half of the pieces are texture-over-tonality string experiments, while the rest feature exotic reeds and percussion.
“Other Strange Worlds” should be out by the end of February and is available for pre-order here.