Freitag, 24. Februar 2017

Nico - Chelsea Girl (1967)

PhotobucketAlthough "Chelsea Girl" (1967) was the first long-player from the German-born Christa Päffgen, it was not her debut solo effort. Prior to becoming involved with the Velvet Underground and while under the direction of Andrew Loog Oldham, Nico issued an obscure 7" on the mod pop Immediate label. The song selection on that 1965 single — which featured a cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "I'm Not Sayin'" and an Oldham co-composition with Jimmy Page called "Last Mile" - foreshadowed the eclectic nature of this LP.

Although the dissolution between the vocalist and core instrumental quartet was not without its share of acrimony, the non-percussive contingent of the Velvet Underground is heavily featured on "Chelsea Girl": along with then-unknown singer/songwriter Jackson Browne (guitar) — the vocalist's concurrent love interest — there is Lou Reed (guitar), Sterling Morrison (guitar/bass), and John Cale (piano/bass/viola), who contrast what they had been doing with the larger combo.
These sides are decidedly "unplugged," providing a folky and Baroque setting for Nico's dark and brooding vocal inflections. There is an introspective foresight in Browne's "Fairest of the Seasons," "These Days," and "Somewhere There's a Feather." The minimalist string section features a quaint, yet effective arrangement giving the material a distinctly European feel. These orchestrated folk leanings are similar to the sound emanating from other burgeoning groups such as the Incredible String Band, Pentangle, and the Fairport Convention spin-off Fotheringay.The same can be said of her almost unrecognizable reworking of Bob Dylan's "I'll Keep It With Mine." The noir black-widow charm ultimately saves the performance, as does Cale's remarkable classical intonations. With Reed's "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams" - a track which actually predates the Velvet Underground - there is a sense of history that Nico brings to her interpretation, as if the melody were, in fact, a traditional German folk tune.

There is a palpable distinction between those lighter cuts and the menacing Velvet Underground-conceived material. At the center of the project are the extended "It Was a Pleasure Then" and the stunning semi-autobiographical Reed/Morrison title track. The juxtaposition of such honest and at times harrowing imagery to Nico's inherently bleak delivery is nothing short of an inspired artistic statement which has since long outlasted its initial socially relevant context — similar to the more modern contributions of Laurie Anderson, Ann Magnuson, and Patti Smith. An unqualified masterpiece.

Nico - Chelsea Girl (1967)
(320 kbps, front cover included)

Dienstag, 21. Februar 2017

Henry Cow - In Praise Of Learning (1975)

Henry Cow's third album, originally released in 1975, found them expanded to an eight-piece ensemble after a guest session on another group's record. Henry Cow absorbed Slapp Happy into their lineup after appearing on Slapp Happy's "Desperate Straights" album. It was a tenuous relationship (lasting only long enough for this release, and with Slapp Happy crumbling after Dagmar Krause decided to stay on with Henry Cow), but one that produced some stunning results. Anthony Moore and Peter Blegvad's "War" has enormous proportion and power that would have been beyond the scope of a relatively quiet trio. The sheer ambition of this work is bracing. Intricately composed and arranged pieces, rife with lyrics that meld poetry with politics, give way to extended improvisations. While that had always been the Henry Cow recipe, it was never given such dramatic sweep. No one has ever, before or since, sounded like this incarnation of Henry Cow.   

Henry Cow's politics were as radical as their music, and this was never more explicit than on this album. The trademark chainmail sock was deep red, and the cover was adorned with a quote from the left wing film maker John Grierson - 'Art is not a mirror, it is a hammer'. The titles of the two instrumentals also explicitly refer to the band's left wing politics; "Beginning: The Long March" is a reference to the Chinese Revolution, while "Morning Star" is the name of the daily paper published by the Communist Party of Great Britain.

Among their contemporaries, only Matching Mole ever released an album as explicitly political as this with 'Little Red Record'. Whether you agree with their politics or not, music as passionate and committed as this is all too rare, and in the prog field it is almost unprecedented. Listen and be amazed.

Tracklist:

War2:24
Living In The Heart Of The Beast15:18
Beginning: The Long March6:20
Beautiful As The Moon- Terrible As An Army With Banners6:55
Morning Star6:02



Henry Cow - In Praise Of Learning (1975)
(ca. 192 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 19. Februar 2017

Quilapayun - 20 Grandes Exitos

Born in Chile in 1965, QUILAPAYUN is today one of the best known latin-american music groups in the world. On an artistic level, the group´s fundamental value is based on its decisive contribution to the modernization of the popular music of the continent.

Initially identified with the popular government of Salvador Allende (who would later name them cultural ambassadors of the government of Chile) and later with the democratic fight against the dictatorship, QUILAPAYUN have managed to preserve the tone and meaning that this name has meant to each one of them, in spite of their age and experiences.

Based in France since 1973, the group has continued its renovation of traditional latin-american music, expressing the creative tensions between nation and universe, identity and diversity, tradition and innovation.

Their compositions mix folk music with popular music, the academic and the experimental, invoking an original reaction to the rich cultural diversity which is latin-america today. To demonstrate this we have their recreation of indigenous music (¨Yaravi and huayno¨), their vast production of up to date popular music (´La muralla¨, ¨Plegaria a un labrador¨, “Allende”, “La batea”), their work with academic musicians which resulted in a series of “cantatas populares” (popular songs), the best known of which would be “La cantata Santa Maria de Iquique”, and last but not least their embracing of contemporary music evident in their latest compositions “Fuerzas naturals”, “El hombre de hoy”, “Temporia”.

It is not then surprising that during a QUILAPAYUN concert we find the charango, the quena (indigenous flute) the zampoñas (pan flutes) and the different latin-american guitars, including the Spanish guitar. The piano is present as are synthesizers, semi-acoustic guitars, electric bass and carribean percussion pieces among many other instruments. All of the above are accompanied by the powerful, intensely harmonized voices which are and have always been the principal characteristic of the group. The lyrics continue to narrate the fundamental aspects of life and to express sensibility to the injustices faced by Man in today´s world.

QUILAPAYUN´s music has crossed the five continents of the world and received the same warm welcome in the United States, Europe, Japan, Australia etc….. and of course in its native Latin-America. So far QUILAPAYUN have recorded 29 albums which have been reproduced throughout many European and American countries. In each album the great musical versatility and creative capacity of the group is demonstrated.

Nowadays, the shows put on by this now legendary Chilean group are a concentration of passion and vocal emotion, colours and rhythms. The spectator is not only permitted to enjoy the pleasure of listening to these professional at work but to also participate in the revival of the popular Latin-American music.

(Thanks to http://www.eyefortalent.com),


Tracklist:

01. El canto del Cuculí
02. Yaraví y Huayno de la Quebrada de Humahuaca
03. Guaren
04. Huayno 1,2,3,4
05. Las Obreras
06. En que nos parecemos
07. El borrachito
08. Gringa
09. Duerme Negrito
10. A mi palomita
11. Plegaria a un labrador
12. El Carrero
13. Dos palomitas
14. Tres bailecitos
15. El buen Borincano
16. Bailecito
17. Gira, gira, girasol
18. Tan alta que está la luna
19. Tú
20. La paloma

Quilapayun- 20 Grandes Exitos
(256 kbps, front & back cover included)

Mittwoch, 15. Februar 2017

Sun Ra - Cosmos (1976)

Sun Ra has always been an explorer, venturing out among the cycles and frequencies of the musical cosmos like a wild astronaut, bent on rejoicing and celebrating the wonders of the universe. The extended metaphor of space travel permeates the emotional climate of this masterful recording, as Sun Ras Arkestra reaches out to express the vibrations of the stars as in Interstellar the adventure of travel as in "Moonship" and "Unknown Planet." Sun Ra has always been ahead of his time, musically and spiritually, and has suffered somewhat at the hands of fashionable critics who disdained his attempts at cosmic communications.

LeRoi Jones, in his perceptive book Black Music, understood Sun Ras quest better than most contemporary observers, and made these comments in 1966. All the concepts that seemed vague and unrealized in the late 1950s have come together in the mature and profound music and compositions of this philosopher-musician. Sun Ras Arkestra is really a black family. The leader keeps fourteen or fifteen musicians playing with him, who are convinced that music is a priestly concern and vitally significant aspect of black culture. Some of the musicians like tenor man John Gilmore, might have jobs with other bread bands, but their strongest dedication is to the beautiful black sound-world of Sun Ra.

"Recorded in Paris in 1976, this album is one of Ra's more accessible efforts - and no less enjoyable for all that. The line up includes such luminaries as John Gilmore, Marshall Allen, Danny Davis, Danny Thompson, Elo Omoe and others in a full brass section, backed by some absolutely stomping rhythm section work from electric bass and drums played by a couple of unknown session musicians. In fact, this rhythm section lends the album much of its flavour - supplying a driving, urgent, up-tempo, post-bop backbone to most of the tracks. Throughout, Ra plays just one instrument - the Rocksichord - which sounds very much like a harpsichord filtered through various electronic processes. Indeed, some of the album's more reflective moments come in two unaccompanied pieces which maintain a calm and almost melancholy tone, while never straying far from Ra's cosmic vision.
The highlight of the album, however, has to be 'Moonship Journey', a rolling mid-tempo romp which features the band singing in broad Bronx accents the refrain: 'Prepare yourself for the moonship journey, Journey of the moonship,' with such verve and syncopation that you can almost imagine Sinatra adopting the tune.
A rare corker!" - Mr. Daniel Spicer


"A hard-to-find, alternately chaotic and tightly organized mid-'70s session that was issued on the Cobra, and then Inner City labels. Sun Ra provided some stunning moments on the Rocksichord, while leading The Arkestra through stomping full-band cuts of atmospheric or alternately hard bop compositions, peeling off various saxophonists for skittering, screaming, at times spacey dialogues."  - allmusic  

Tracklist:
A1The Mystery Of Two5:47
A2Interstellar Low-Ways4:45
A3Neo Project #25:15
A4Cosmos2:50
B1Moonship Journey6:30
B2Journey Among Stars5:50
B3Jazz From An Unknown Planet8:10

Sun Ra - Cosmos (1976)      
(320 kbps, cover art included)  

Montag, 6. Februar 2017

Dakar Sound Vol. 1 - Etoile 2000

.It was in the 70s that Dakar-businessman Mass Diokhane, dealer in cars and radio-cassete players, got the idea to produce young talents of his nieghbourhood on a label called "Touba Auto K7". So he hired a technician and they started to record the new sound of booming Dakar.

With these recordings and performances in the Jandeer night-club, Etoile de Dakar (with singer Youssou N´Dour) emerged as teh most popular group of Senegal. In the weekends they played all over the country. Diokhane as manager of the club asked singer Eric M´Backe N´Doye, guitarist Badou N´Daye and Etoile de Dakar´s star -singer El Hadji Faye to come up with a new band that could make the trees of Dakar swing. Diiokhane would supply all the neccesary equipment.

One night, during rehearsals in his garage, Diokhane came in with a tapedeck, plugged it into the mixing table, and the song "Boubou N´Gary" was taped. At 6 o´clock the musicians were send off to have breakfast and an apprenti took the tape to Golo Gaye, the most popular DJ of ORTS (national radio of Senegal). He baptised the new group the Etoile for the year 2000. Once played "Boubou N´Gary", he played it again, by public demand. And then again, all day long. At night Etoile 2000 played for a packed Yandeer. Diokhane wanted to record more, but due to some technical problems the only song recorded was "Niety Noon".
Next day Sama Xarit and Yaye Time were added to the master-tape which was flown to Paris right away. The following day 5000 copies of volume 1 of the Etoile 2000 were sold in Dakar. A major event in Senegal´s music industry.

Here you have a digitized "best of" selection from Etoile 2000´s first three cassettes. Listen to the psychedelic "guitare fuzz" of Badou N´Daye, the heavy tama of Yamar Thiam and above all the irresistable high voice of El Hadji Faye.

Dakar Sound Vol. 1 - Etoile 2000
(192 kbps, ca. 63 MB)

Samstag, 4. Februar 2017

Fela Kuti & Africa 70 - No Bread (1976)

Pioneering musician, activist, and bandleader Fela Kuti is the first word in Afro-beat, making such strides in the genre over the course of his career that his contributions are foundational and nothing less than legendary.

"No Bread" (also known as "Unnecessary Begging") comes at a formative time in Fela's massive discography, between two of his most championed releases, 1975's "Expensive Shit" and 1977's "Zombie". While "No Bread" was one of no less than five albums Kuti released in 1976, its use of wiry synthesizers intermingled with bright horns and energetic Afro-beat rhythms makes for a bedding of increasingly interesting sounds on top of which Fela lays down his sung-spoken political poetry lyrics.                

Tracklist:

ANo Bread13:57
BUnnecessary Begging16:00

Fela Kuti & Africa 70 - No Bread (1976)
(192 kbps, cover art included)