Friday, September 22, 2017

Sun Ra's "The Magic City" and "My Brother the Wind Vol. 1" on Cosmic Myth Records

I picked up these new reissues on CD from Cosmic Myth Records, and I have to say they have done a fantastic job with these. The sound is clear and vibrant, definitely the best I've ever heard this material. The presentation is wonderful as well--both discs have excellent liner notes with detailed essays full of fresh insights and new research that do a great job of giving context and analysis. Most of the material on these discs can be streamed at Bandcamp, but I highly recommend picking up the physical objects, both for the superior fidelity and for the packaging.

My Brother the Wind Vol. 1 includes two alternate takes (and four false starts and warmups!) of "The Perfect Man." The alternate takes are revelatory in showing how the arrangement changed. John Gilmore is on drums for the first take, with Marshall Allen attempting (and not quite nailing) the loopy melody on oboe. It's wonderful to hear how the piece developed to its final state as the masterpiece it is (with one of my all-time favorite Gilmore sax solos). The whole album is, of course, amazing, displaying how quickly and deeply Ra mastered the moog and made it his own.

The Magic City presents the entire album in stereo for the first time, and the added clarity and detail in the title track are well worth it. My only quibble would be that they could have easily also included the entire mono version of the title track rather than just the unique last couple of minutes. That would have made the disc more complete. But there's always the Evidence disc, so I'm not complaining.

These reissues really set the standard high for Ra recordings, so cheers and hats off to Cosmic Myth Records for a job well done.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Reading List, Week of 2017-09-24

Reading List 2017-09-25:

*The New Oxford Shakespeare Authorship Companion (ed. Gary Taylor and Gabriel Egan) (started)
*Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway (reread/finished)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)
*Shakespeare, William. The New Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works (introductory matter only) (in progress)
*Silliman, Ron. The Alphabet (in progress)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Playlist, Week of 2017-09-17

Living By Lanterns was a unique experiment taking off from and building on audio archives of Sun Ra housed at Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago... in particular, Mike Reed and Jason Adasiewicz used a reel from 1961 with several sketches of pieces not heard anywhere else, to the best of their knowledge... they then transmuted and developed these shadow fragments into the pieces we hear here... trying to discern the original Ra melodies after the fact is like trying to filter Shakespeare and Fletcher's original words from Theobald's Double Falsehood...  at times it feels like I hear traces of unheard Ra, but it's all "transmolecularized"... probably very appropriately... at any rate, what I do hear is a top-notch band of excellent Chicago and New York musicians like Ingrid Laubrock, Tomeka Reed, Taylor Ho Bynum, and Mary Halvorson going for broke with beautiful compositions and arrangements... both the the studio album and the live concert are wonderful... I would love to hear the original "Reel 43" from the archives to see what they did with it...

Playlist 2017-09-18:

*Air: Air Raid
*AMM: The Inexhaustible Document
*Milton Babbitt: Occasional Variations
*Daniel Barbiero: Fifteen Miniatures for Prepared Double Bass (streaming)
*Daniel Barbiero/Cristiano Bocci: Non-Places
*Jason Bivins and Ian Davis: Benthic
*Anthony Braxton: Knitting Factory (Piano/Quartet) 1994, Vol. 1 (disc 1)
*Taylor Ho Bynum: Enter the Plustet
*Ornette Coleman Quartet: Live in Paris 1971
*Rodger Coleman/Sam Byrd: Who Doesn't Fade?
*Steve Coleman and Five Elements: The Opening of the Way
*Stephan Crump/Ingrid Laubrock/Cory Smythe: Planktonic Finales
*Miles Davis & Gil Evans: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings (disc 2)
*Exploding Star Orchestra: Stars Have Shapes
*Arve Henriksen: Towards Language
*Vijay Iyer Sextet: Far from Over
*Shannon Jackson & the Decoding Society: Street Priest
*Ingrid Laubrock: 2009-08-01 The Stone, NYC (CDR)
*Living By Lanterns: New Myth/Old Science
*Living By Lanterns: 2013-08-25 Sant’Anna Arresi (CDR)
*Mephista: Entomological Reflections
*Roscoe Mitchell Quartet: Celebrating Fred Anderson
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2017-08-21 "Fire Head" (wav)
*Beach Boys: The SMiLE Sessions (disc 1)
*Beatles: The Early Beatles (Capitol CD stereo)
*Beatles: Meet the Beatles! (Capitol CD stereo)
*Beatles: The Beatles' Second Album (Capitol CD stereo)
*Beatles: Beatles VI (Capitol CD stereo)
*Booker T. & the MGs: Time Is Tight (disc 2)
*D’Angelo: Brown Sugar (Deluxe Ed.) (disc 1)
*Jerry Garcia: Garcia
*Gong: Angel's Egg
*Grateful Dead: 1973-03-16 Uniondale, NY (CDR) “Dark Star”
*Grateful Dead: 1973-03-21 Utica NY (CDR) “Dark Star”
*Grateful Dead: 1973-03-28 Springfield MA (CDR) "Dark Star"
*Grateful Dead: 1973-06-10 Washington DC (CDR) "Dark Star"
*Jefferson Pilot: Soundtrack to Welcome Stranger
*Darlene Love: The Sound of Love: The Very Best of Darlene Love
*NRBQ: High Noon: A 50-Year Retrospective (discs 1, 2, 4)
*Residents: Whatever Happened To Vileness Fats?
*Frank Sinatra: In the Wee Small Hours
*Dusty Springfield: Dusty in Memphis
*Steely Dan: Gaucho Outtakes and Demos (selections)
*Various artists: Tempos, Ramblers, Uhuru: Giants of Danceband Highlife
*Various artists: Ol' Virginia Soul, Part 1: Jump Up and Down
*Various artists: Ol' Virginia Soul: Encore!
*Various artists: The Stax Story (disc 1)
*Various artists: You Thrill My Soul: Female & Girl Group Sides from the Early Stax Sessions
*Various artists: Bombay Disco: Disco Hits from Hindi Films 1979-1985
*Various artists: Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music vol. 1: First a-chronology 1921-2001 (disc 1)
*Various artists: Space, Energy & Light: Experimental Electronic And Acoustic Soundscapes 1961-88

Reading List, Week of 2017-09-17

Cover for 

Shakespeare at Work

Reading List 2017-09-18:

*Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway (reread/started)
*Jones, John. Shakespeare at Work (finished)
*Lopez, Jeremy. "The Shadow of the Canon," in Shakespeare Quarterly, 65:2 (2014) (started/finished)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)
*Shakespeare, William. The New Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works (introductory matter only) (in progress)
*Silliman, Ron. The Alphabet (in progress)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Playlist, Week of 2017-09-10

Double Dose of Daniel! Daniel Barbiero and Cristiano Bocci's new album Non-Places is brilliant, with its imaginative use of field recordings... they are used not just as background but as active participants, often looped to supply hypnotic voicings to add to the compelling sounds of the basses... easily one of Dan's best recordings... Plus he has a great new album of prepared solo bass pieces... stream it here... Early Tony Williams Lifetime stuff continues to amaze me... what the hell is Tony Williams doing on the drums??!... what taste and dexterity--in such power... and Larry Young: whew... (yes, nothing but astute criticism here on this blog, folks)... The first two Syreeta Wright albums (from 1972 and 1974)  need to be considered in full light of the five-album run of Stevie Wonder masterpieces in the '70s... in many ways they are both Stevie Wonder albums with a different lead vocalist... he produced and did most of the arrangements, wrote (or co-wrote with her) most of the songs, plays keyboards, and sings background (and, in some cases, lead)... both albums hold their own when set next to his hallmark albums... Happy to see that NPR is streaming the first disc of the new Hüsker Dü compilation of early demos, live tracks, and singles... rough, raw, 'n' ready!... Now that I finished the 1972 "Dark Star" compilation, I am exploring selected ones from 1973, and they are wild... in particular, both the 1973-03-16 and 1973-03-21 versions have significant passages where the Dead are more aggressively "out" than usual, playing pretty much flat-out aggressive free jazz, driven largely not by Garcia but by Bill Kreutzmann... his drumming in these passages is sharp, muscular, (again) aggressive, arrhythmic, and totally beautiful, and he guides the band into territories they rarely, if ever, explored with Mickey Hart... yet another reason why I think the single-drummer Kreutzmann-only years of the Dead are far superior to the later (post-1974) ones with Hart... I'm looking forward to revisiting more '73 Dark Stars...

Playlist 2017-09-11:

*Pepper Adams: Pepper Adams Plays Charlie Mingus
*Susan Alcorn/Ingrid Laubrock/Leila Bordreuil: 2017-08-18 Brooklyn NY (CDR)
*AMM III: It Had Been an Ordinary Enough Day in Pueblo, Colorado
*Art Ensemble of Chicago: People in Sorrow
*Art Ensemble of Chicago (trio): 1979-03-31 Verona, Italy (CDR)
*Daniel Barbiero: Fifteen Miniatures for Prepared Double Bass (streaming)
*Daniel Barbiero/Cristiano Bocci: Non-Places
*Anthony Braxton: The Complete Arista Recordings of Anthony Braxton (discs 7, 8)
*Anthony Braxton: Trillium J (disc 2)
*Anthony Braxton: Trillium J: 2014-04-19 Roulette, NYC, Act Two (DVD)
*Nels Cline Singers: 2015-03-19 Barcelona (CDR) (disc 1)
*Rodger Coleman: Guitar Experiments (2014) (wav)
*Rodger Coleman and Sam Byrd: 2015-05-14 Nashville (wav) (selections)
*Rodger Coleman & Andrew Dickson: 2016-11-02 Nashville (mp3)
*Chick Corea: The Musician (disc 3)
*Sylvie Courvoisier/Mary Halvorson/Ikue Mori: 2010-07-24 Whitney Museum of Modern Art (CDR)
*Marilyn Crispell/Gary Peacock/Paul Motian: Nothing Ever Was, Anyway (disc 1)
*Marilyn Crispell/Gary Peacock/Paul Motian: Amaryllis
*Decoy: Vol 1: Spirit
*Michael Formanek: Small Places
*Drew Gress: 7 Black Butterflies
*Barry Guy: The Blue Shroud
*Kip Hanrahan: Coup de Tête
*Ingrid Laubrock: 2009-08-01 The Stone, NYC (CDR)
*Roscoe Mitchell Trio: Angel City
*Louis Moholo-Moholo Octet: Spirits Rejoice!
*Ikue Mori: 2009-01-25 NYC (CDR)
*Max Roach And Cecil Taylor: Historic Concerts
*Schlippenbach Trio: Features
*Sun Ra and His Solar Arkestra: The Magic City (Evidence)
*Sun Ra and His Solar Arkestra: The Magic City (Full Stereo Version)
*Sun Ra and His Astro Infinity Arkestra: My Brother the Wind Vol. 1 (Remastered and Expanded Edition)
*Sun Ra and His Arkestra: In the Orbit of Ra
*Sun Ra: Gilles Peterson Presents Sun Ra and His Arkestra: To Those of Earth...and Other Worlds
*Tony Williams Lifetime: Emergency! (selections)
*Tony Williams Lifetime: Turn It Over (selections)
*John Zorn/Simulacrum: The Painted Bird
*John Zorn/Simulacrum: 49 Acts of Unspeakable Depravity in the Abominable Life and Times of Gilles de Rais (selections)
*Beach Boys: 1967: Sunshine Tomorrow (disc 1)
*Booker T. & the MGs: Time Is Tight (disc 2) (selections)
*Cornelius: Mellow Waves
*Betty Davis: The Columbia Years 1968-1969
*Deerhoof: Mountain Moves
*Mike Elder/Harry Forrest/Greg Jordan/Sam Byrd: New CDR Compilation (discs 1, 2, 3)
*Grateful Dead: 1973-02-22 Champaign-Urbana IL (CDR) "Dark Star"
*Grateful Dead: Dick's Picks 28 (1973) "Dark Star"
*Grateful Dead: 1973-03-16 Uniondale, NY (CDR) “Dark Star”
*Grateful Dead: 1973-03-21 Utica NY (CDR) “Dark Star”
*Grateful Dead: 1973-12-01 Boston (CDR)
*Grateful Dead: 1974-05-14 Missoula MT (CDR)
*Hüsker Dü: Savage Young Dü (disc 1) (streaming)
*Henry Kaiser: Everything Forever
*Neu!: Neu!
*Olivia Tremor Control: Music From the Unrealized Film Script, Dusk at Cubist Castle
*Prince and the Revolution: Purple Rain (Deluxe Expanded Edition) (disc 4)
*Steely Dan: Countdown to Ecstasy
*Steely Dan: Katy Lied
*Steely Dan: The Royal Scam
*Tower of Power: The East Bay Archive vol. 1 (1973-04-23 Boston) (selections)
*Various artists: More from the Other Side of the Trax
*Various artists: Bollywood Steel Guitar
*Various artists: "Life Is Dance!": Plugged-In Sounds of Wonder at the Pakistani Picture House
*Various artists: Bokoor Beats: Vintage Afro-Beat, Afro-Rock, & Electric Highlife From Ghana
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: Mighty Mike Lenaburg
*Syreeta Wright: Syreeta
*Syreeta Wright: Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta
*Yes: Relayer (Alternate Album) (2016 remaster) (disc 2)
*Frank Zappa: Sleep Dirt (Deluxe Ed.)

Reading List, Week of 2017-09-10

Image result for jamestown sharpe

Reading List 2017-09-011:

*Sharpe, Matthew. Jamestown (finished)
*Sun Ra. Collected Works Vol. 1: Immeasurable Equation (finished)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)
*Jones, John. Shakespeare at Work (in progress)
*Shakespeare, William. The New Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works (introductory matter only) (in progress)
*Silliman, Ron. The Alphabet (in progress)

Friday, September 8, 2017

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Let's Hear It for the 25%

When Porter founded 8tracks in 2006, it was the original mood playlist service. Users uploaded their self-created playlists, and the result was a platform ripe for a passive, or “lean-back,” music-discovery experience historically associated with TV or radio. In the digital music landscape, Pandora is the best known example of lean-back listening.
Elizabeth Moody, Pandora’s vice-president of global content licensing, said that the reality is most people actually want to be told what to listen to. “Regardless whether you’re a Spotify or Pandora subscriber, we’re learning that roughly 75 percent of people’s behavior is lean back,” she said. It’s only really when people are hanging out with friends or creating playlists for specific events that they’re actively seeking out specific music. (Anna Codrea-Rado, emphasis mine)
I'm happy to tell people what to listen to....

Monday, September 4, 2017

Playlist, Week of 2017-09-03

Digging the new Deerhoof, but it's not hitting me like Breakup Song or La Isla Bonita did... give it time... I'm really enjoying the disc of Steely Dan demos... they've been around forever but I'd never heard them... it's fun to imagine what the unreleased songs would have sounded like with the full Dan treatment... my favorite unreleased Steely Dan song is "The Second Arrangement," a Gaucho outtake, later than these demos... [written earlier in the week before hearing of Walter Becker's death... R.I.P.]... It's good to drench myself in the hot molten lead of Slobber Pup, the Spanish Donkey, and the Weasel Walter Quartet... thanks, Albert Ayler, for pointing the way... Like all the King Crimson 40th Anniversary Editions, Islands is packed with tons of enlightening extras... a model for deluxe editions of single albums... the Steven Wilson remix is rewarding in its clarity and vision... Pepper Adams Plays Charlie Mingus is a hidden gem of the early '60s... it's an all-Mingus compositions album, and Pepper Adams swings mightily, with the sanctioned and sanctified help of Danny Richmond on drums... great, too, to hear Paul Chambers play Mingus bass lines...

Playlist 2017-09-04:

*Pepper Adams: Pepper Adams Plays Charlie Mingus
*AMM: The Inexhaustible Document
*Anthony Braxton: Quartet (Mestre) 2008
*Nels Cline Trio: Ground
*Rodger Coleman/Sam Byrd: Who Doesn't Fade?
*Chick Corea: The Musician (disc 2)
*Stephan Crump/Ingrid Laubrock/Cory Smythe: Planktonic Finales
*Decoy: Vol 1: Spirit
*Decoy & Joe McPhee: Oto
*Eric Dolphy: Eric Dolphy at the Five Spot, Vol. 1
*Eric Dolphy: Eric Dolphy at the Five Spot, Vol. 2
*Duke Ellington: Masterpieces by Ellington
*Flute Force 4: Flutistry
*Shannon Jackson & the Decoding Society: Street Priest
*Shannon Jackson & the Decoding Society: Eye on You
*Henry Kaiser & Wadada Leo Smith: Yo Miles! (disc 2)
*Andy Kirk and His Clouds of Joy: The Lady Who Swings the Band 1936-1938
*Ingrid Laubrock: Serpentines
*Maurice McIntyre: Humility in the Light of the Creator
*Roscoe Mitchell Trio: Angel City
*Roscoe Mitchell Quartet: Celebrating Fred Anderson
*New Air: Air Show No. 1
*No Material: No Material (disc 2)
*Schlippenbach Quartet: Three Nails Left
*Slobber Pup: Pole Axe
*Spanish Donkey: Raoul
*Sun Ra: selections (Bandcamp streaming)
*Sun Ra and His Arkestra: The Sun Myth (African Chant) (streaming)
*Sun Ra and His Astro Infinity Arkestra: My Brother the Wind Vol. 1 (Remastered and Expanded Edition)
*Sun Ra & His Astro-Infinity Arkestra: Sign of the Myth
*Cecil Taylor: The Tree of Life
*Henry Threadgill's Zooid: 2017-03-26 Knoxville TN (CDR)
*Weasel Walter Quartet: Revolt Music
*Weasel Walter Large Ensemble: Igneity: After the Fall of Civilization
*World Saxophone Quartet: Requiem for Juliu
*Yo Miles!: Henry Kaiser & Wadada Leo Smith: Sky Garden
*Deerhoof: Slow Motion Detonation
*Flash: In the Pan
*Grateful Dead: Dark Star 1972 version 1 (finished, 08:27:00-10:00:00)
*Guided By Voices: selections (Magic Jukebox playlist)
*King Crimson: Islands (40th Anniversary Ed.) (disc 2) (selections)
*Neu!: Neu! 2
*Olivia Tremor Control: Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One
*Bruce Springsteen: The Ties That Bind: The River Collection (disc 2)
*Steely Dan: Sun Mountain
*Swollen Monkeys: After Birth of the Cool
*Swollen Monkeys: On Vacation!
*Various artists: She's So Fine: The Rise of the Girl Groups (disc 3)
*Various artists: Motown Unreleased 1965
*Various artists: Ol' Virginia Soul, Part 2: Funky Virginia
*Wig Drop: Wig Drop 2

Reading List, Week of 2017-09-03

Reading List 2017-09-04:

*Shakespeare, William. The New Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works (introductory matter only) (started)
*Crouch, Stanley. "Play the Right Thing," in New Republic, 1990-02-12 (started/finished)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)
*Jones, John. Shakespeare at Work (in progress)
*Sharpe, Matthew. Jamestown (in progress)
*Silliman, Ron. The Alphabet (in progress)
*Sun Ra. Collected Works Vol. 1: Immeasurable Equation (in progress)

Friday, September 1, 2017