Recent FMA Blog Posts
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macedonia on 09/05/2009 at 02:23PM
When I was younger, my curiosity surrounding vinyl led me to do something I'd consider blasphemy now. I would take a thumb tack and run it within the grooves of the record. When the needle hit the album after that, an ungodly high-pitched squeak would emanate from the speakers, sometimes drowning out the original vocals or instrumentation underneath. I can remember doing this to an Average White Band album as well as a spoken word LP by Wanda Robinson, whose work would later end up being sampled by the likes of Public Enemy, Airborn Audio (two-thirds of Anti-Pop Consortium while they were split up), and Prefuse 73. As bad as I feel about those thumb tack treatments in retrospect, the one that I will never forgive myself for is Truth Is On Its Way, an album by Nikki Giovanni and the New York Community Choir.
I'm sure that the vinyl junkies and audiophiles out there will be glad to know that karma works the way it's supposed to work: I've inherited every last one of those slabs of wax that I desecrated so long ago. As beat up as the Wanda Robinson album is, at least I know I can replace that one on CD and will have to do the same with Nikki Giovanni's as well. Even as a young boy, I can remember hearing "Ego Tripping" and really getting into Mother Nikki's braggadocio, pre-dating the verbal swagger of hip-hop MCs by at least five years. I can't play that cut anymore without painful skips and scraps of the needle across the record, but some selections remain surprisingly intact. One such piece is "Poem For Aretha," a sister's loving dedication to a sister at the top of her game and wishing for more quiet times for the Queen of Soul away from the press and the fans. I listened to it right before I sat down to write this.
Between Giovanni's works on CD and the recent posting of her reading poetry and speaking at Clark College, it seems as if my analog atrocities are being erased in the digital realm. Major props to the good people at KBOO for making this available for all on the FMA. The attached poem, "Train Rides - In Praise Of Black Men" displays incredible wit while talking about everything from railroad porters and a fear of mice to iron lawn jockeys and a contempt for Black conservatives. It was nice to listen to this collection of poems and monologues on my MP3 player earlier this week on my way to work. I found myself laughing, smiling, nodding in agreement, and thankful that these works were in a largely intangible form...one where the thumb tacks of the world can't carve their ugliness into it.
jason on 09/04/2009 at 12:03PM
Silver Apples were one of the most ground-breaking, influential artists of the late 60s. The original duo was comprised of Dan Taylor on an "extensive" drum kit, and vocalist Simeon Coxe III on a homemade 12-oscillator synthesizer nicknamed "The Simeon". The pioneering duo's spacious, psychedelic electronic sound has audibly influenced generations of artists ranging from Suicide to Kraftwerk. In their 3-year existance, the original Silver Apples released two albums on Kapp Records. The label folded before they could release a third, causing the duo to disband as well.
Nearly three decades later, the German label TRC re-released both Silver Apples albums on double CD. Although TRC's release was pirated and issued without Simeon's consent or knowledge, it kindled a renewed interest in the Silver Apples. Inspired by the situation as much as he was upset by the unlicensed reissue, Simeon revived Silver Apples in 1996, officially reissued the group's earlier material, and set about recording new material. In 1997, he began touring with a new group, and one of the group's first stops was here at WFMU for a live performance on The Stork Club on 1/24/1997.
Joined by Michael Lerner on drums, Arrow Kleeman on bass keyboard, and Xian Hawkinds on keyboard and sampler, Simeon and the Silver Apples performed an amazing set of classics (listen to the opening set below), a new song "Fractal Flow", and a cover of Wilson Pickett's "Wait Till the Midnight Hour". The latter prompted an interesting conversation between Simeon and Stork about his own musical influences, as well as Silver Apples' influence on other artists, as demonstrated through remixes, covers and the like. Perhaps as an allusion to the TRC situation, Simeon remarked "if you wanna [cover] my stuff, i love it, i'll help you with it. But just give me some credit. I dont want money out of your pocket, but just give me credit, ya know? A six pack o' beer..."
Silver Apples continue to perform on rare occasions, one of which is coming up one week from today as part of The Oscillations Festival. Oscillations is "A festival of extraordinary audio-visual events celebrating new music, art and film." The second annual festival is currently underway in Belfast, Ireland. Film screenings include Jandek on Corwood, Pierre Henry - The Art of Sound, and an All Tomorrow's Parties documentary. Among the myriad musical performances are Damo Suzuki, Blues Control, and Tropa Macaca.
We are honored to announce that The Oscillations Festival is curating a selection of festival recordings for the Free Music Archive. More on that in the coming days!
jason on 09/03/2009 at 04:18PM
There's a great show tonight at Brooklyn's Glasslands w/ Larkin Grimm, Extra Life, Zs, and Liturgy. Most of those bands have music on the FMA, and I figured this is a nice opportunity to feature 'em
Larkin Grimm is "a musician, artist, psychic, and reiki master" according to her brand new website, which she has "infused with healing energy". She's performed twice at WFMU -- once on Irene Trudel's show in 2006, and most recently on Dan Bodah's Airborne Event in November of last year, accompanied by John Houx on gu zheng. The track below is from the latter session, which is available for download in its entirety here on the FMA. Larkin Grimm's newest album, Parplar, was released on Michael Gira's Young God imprint.
Extra Life is the project of Charlie Looker, former member of Dirty Projectors and Zs. I'd describe Extra Life as somewhere in between those two: abstract linear vocal lines (a la Dave Longstreth) mixed with experimental, meticulously composed prog a la Zs.
Zs recently played a fantastic Sax / Drums / Guitar / Electronics set on Marty McSorely's show, which you can download here. The first track's a suspenseful intro, the second an epic prog composition. Zs have a new 12'' EP out on The Social Registry called "Music of the Modern White".
Opening the show is Liturgy, a "so dark it's light"-metal group from Brooklyn. Last show I saw of theirs, a superfan was dancing along the whole time and afterwards I overheard her confront the band saying how light this black metal made her feel. At that show, they played along with a tempo-changing drum machine which I thought was pretty impressive. It started out as an awesome solo "white metal" project from Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, but more often, GDFX plays drums, and the artist formerly known as Willy Weird, currently known as Thick Business, plays bass. Check out "Ecstatic Rite", the single from their Renihilation 12'' (20 BUCK SPIN), here on the FMA.
lizb on 09/02/2009 at 03:10PM
There's nothing like flipping through the New Bin in WFMU's record library and coming across a homemade CD that kicks the pants off of the surrounding glossy, packaged stuff.
Kraus' new self-released CD, "Golden Treasury," is psych, lo-fi (shit-fi?), trashy, synthy (even flutey), and experimental, a prime example of bedroom recordings gone right. Hailing from Auckland, New Zealand, Kraus has self-released quite a few tapes and CDs of strange instrumental jams over the past few years, and posts lots of songs on his website under a Creative Commons license.
JoeMc on 09/02/2009 at 08:55AM
Now that the calendar has turned September and Labor Day is coming up, that slightly mournful feeling is kicking in for a lot of people, that feeling of the summer passing away. It's a strange kind of instant nostalgia that happens every year, even when the summer has been as unspectacular as this one has been in the Northeast. Of course, persnickety types like to remind everyone that summer doesn't actually end until late September, but instinctively, the end of summer feels like it's happening now. Whether we're just conditioned by years of schooling to feel the beginning of school as the end of summer, or if it's that the slightly cooler September nights carry a hint of the winter to come, it's hard not to feel a certain wistfulness around this time of the year.
To help you send off summer, then, with the appropriate nostalgic feeling (and a singing saw), here is an MP3 by Sam Moore and Horace Davis called "The Last Rose of Summer." Read more about this fine confection below.
doncbruital on 09/01/2009 at 12:21PM
I know autumn's advent ain't technically for a few months yet, but the start of September guarantees for me the first tricklings of that season's creeping faunal impulse, in which we, noting the earlier sunsets, decomposing leaves, and other earmarks of the shifting natural world, all feel a little more like animals. And though I'm relatively certain it's a good thing, this reminder of our true natures, I likewise can't help but note the eeriness that surrounds such a realization. Our humanity, at least as it relates to culture, cleanliness, and comfortable dignity, is a fragile and impersistent illusion, and when the house of cards is upset, man but ain't it exhilarating.
We all know this, of course, or we wouldn't have so many cool historical and cultural referents to dial up when the theme of "humans who think they're animals" comes a'calling. But lo, we sure do: Cynic philosopher/way-cool performance artist/original punk rocker Diogenes, for a start, was said to be so enamored of the simple sincerity and artlessness of the dog that he modeled his lifestyle after that of the critter; Confederate Civil War General Richard S. Ewell may have thought himself a bird, subsisting solely on seeds and chirping softly when alone in his tent; and what cultural roundup would be complete without mention of Rob Schneider's totemistic turn in 2001's The Animal? Point is, the idea's been around, and for some time, too.
pushbinlou on 09/01/2009 at 07:52AM
If you have been digging into the thousands of tracks on FMA you might have noticed that there are a quite a few chip tune artists showcasing their wares. One of my favorites is Covox (Thomas Soderlund) a chip music artist based out of Sweden who has been releasing tracks on various labels since 2003 (Rebel Pet Set, Socom).
Infiltrator was an EP released on Intikrec in 2007 and in my eyes is some of Covox's strongest work. Aggressive and somewhat noisy in places it still has a playful and romantic feel to it. Check out the track Psychic Youth below and enjoy.
jason on 08/31/2009 at 12:27PM
Tonight on WFMU, Sound and Safe with Trent touches down in THE BIG EASY at the home studio of deep-fried electrorock weirdness champs Quintron and Miss Pussycat. Tune in at 8pm ET for transmissions from what just might be another planet. If you're in the area, roll into the Spellcaster Lodge at 3052 St. Claude Avenue for a good time.
For an idea of what to expect, take a listen to "Won't You Be Our Houseguest" by Flossie & The Unicorns. This was part of Mr. Quintron & Miss Pusycat's Christmas Special on The Stork Club, recorded live at WFMU on Christmas Eve, 1995. Listen to the whole tape here.
jw on 08/31/2009 at 09:30AM
In the late 1920s, musicians from across Iraq were being recorded by a variety of companies: Baidaphon of Beirut, Polyphon of Germany, and HMV of England being the Big Three. As usual in those nascent markets, all were competing against each other for shelf space in the shops that sold gramophone records.
I chose an early piece from Iraq this week because of the appearance of a terrific Honest Jons release culled from original copies at the EMI Hayes Archive titled Give Me Love: Songs of the Brokenhearted – Baghdad, 1925-1929. Two lovely songs by Badria Anwar are included on Give Me Love, but today’s post is another of her long lost recordings, from ca. 1928-1929 or so. “Rah Wilfy” translates roughly to “My Lover Is Gone.” She is accompanied by oud, kanun, violin, and percussion. (Thanks to the Pictures Clerk for translation!)
macedonia on 08/29/2009 at 03:02PM
This year has confirmed that hip-hop is in good hands within Creative Commons circles. The '09 has been very good to blocSonic in terms of their original releases. The first half of the year displayed strong netaudio contributions with full-lengths from Just Plain Ant and Formula. The latest blocSonic original just hit the web and they hold it down for hip-hop once again due to the fruitful partnership of Luck & Ripps.
The Catastrophic Connection features Joey Ripps and 13aDLucK trading verses like they've been running buddies since the days of fat laces and Kangol hats. Sometimes rhyming to rip lesser MCs to shreds, sometimes reflecting on times past, producer Catastrophe crafts soulful tracks tailor made to fit their respective flows. At just over 30 minutes, this release is another win for the blocSonic camp. Check "Never Be Another" to find out who Luck & Ripps consider influential MCs. After that, click on the attached song below for one of their more contemplative moments...