Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wow - that's not good

Looks like the entire music collection from this site has been erased my server! How fucked up is that? I was just talking to someone about how I should be backing that up!

I'll have to take this opportunity to go back to the drawing board.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Mike Rutherford - Smallcreep's Day (1980) (mp3, 160kbps)

This is just a great all-around album. It is not a prog masterpiece, despite the 24 minute suite that takes up the first 'side' of the lp. But it is also not a pure pop exercise, like much of the Genesis and Mike & The Mechanics music that came later. I find it somewhat amusing that, for his first solo effort, Rutherford really played it safe. His only other solo effort, 1982's Acting Very Strange is a bit more out there.

Where Smallcreep's Day really excels is in the warm and comfortable feeling that pervades Duke and A Curious Feeling. The fact that Collins had not yet come into his own as a superstar is meaningful. A solo album was not an act of defiance, but merely a vacation. And that happy and comfortable feeling really comes across on this selection. The guitars and keyboards are expertly layered. They don't do much in the way of amazing acrobatics, but that's because the emphasis is on the song and the the soloing. Simon Phillips on drums and Marris Pert (from Brand X) provide enough imaginative texture to remind you of the artist's prog roots. And the presence of Anthony Phillips only enhances the pastoral feel of REALLY old Genesis.

This is a record you will like on the first listen. The more your listen, the more you will discover about the lush production. I don't think there was ever an expectation of touring, so this is true 'studio' music. It's refreshing that Rutherford doesn't hide the ball or pull lots of tricks. He gives you what he's got, in clear and convincing tones.

All tracks written by Mike Rutherford.

  1. "Smallcreep's Day" (Total Time 24:38)
I. Between the Tick & the Tock – 3:59
II. Working In Line – 3:07
III. After Hours – 1:45
IV. Cats and Rats (In This Neighbourhood) – 4:50
V. Smallcreep Alone – 1:33
VI. Out Into the Daylight – 3:49
VII. At the End of the Day – 5:35
  1. "Moonshine" – 6:23
  2. "Time and Time Again" – 4:52
  3. "Romani" – 5:25
  4. "Every Road" – 4:13
  5. "Overnight Job" – 5:43


  • Ant Phillips – keyboards
  • Noel McCalla – vocals
  • Simon Phillips – drums
  • Morris Pert – percussion
  • Mike Rutherford – guitars, basses

The link is in the comments.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Give me forty-three minutes and twenty seconds: Mixtape 01 is here

This is a project I have been thinking about ever since I started to collect the incredible mixes available over at ParisDJs.  And while those folks have mad performance skills behind the turntable, I have had to settle for a very deliberate (and slow) process of compilation and tweaking using Apple Logic 8.  I am, however quite pleased with the overall sequence, levels and imaging of the music.  I’ve only taken liberties to enliven some of the older recordings and keep overall volume constant.

The good folks at ParisDJs present their mixes as a single file, and I’ve done the same here.  In selecting these tracks, the only unifying theme was to have ‘all killer, no filler’, and hopefully to present you with things you mostly have not heard.  The selections span forty years and come from numerous styles (Jazz, Prog, Rock, Electronica, etc.) and regions (Canada, Brazil, France, India, UK, US, Poland, Sweden).  Future mixes will be more focused by genre and/or artist. There are definitely Zappa and Tangerine Dream mixes in the pipeline.

Feel free to stream over at (Hostrocket has hooked me up with LOTS of bandwith) or download and enjoy at your leisure.  Two of these titles are found on full length items posted at Blogerantz, so I’ve included the links.  Here’s what we got:

1.  Invocation/nonsense – Mpomy (2009)
2.  10538 Overture – Electric Light Orchestra (from The Electric Light Orchestra (No Answer) 1971)
3.  Get Your Snack On – Amon Tobin (from Supermodified 2000)
4.  Hummin’ – Cannonball Adderley (from The Country Preacher 1969)
5.  Willie – Cat Power (from FM broadcast of Cat Power & the Memphis Rhythm Band, Berlin June 11, 2006)
6.  Malandro Quando Vaza – The Ipanemas (from the collection Gilles Peterson Brazilika 2009)
7.  Transfert – Sylbat (from Mara 2008)
8.  Sunrise – SBB (from Iron Curtain 2009)
9.  On and On – Gungfly (from Please Be Quiet 2009)
10.  Pasanana’s Love – Trilok Gurtu (from broadcast (?) of North Sea Jazz Festival, July 2002)
11.  High Water (For Charley Patton) – Bob Dylan (from the collection Tell Tale Signs 2008, but the recording is from 2003)

As always, your feedback is appreciated. 

Here's the link:  Stick it in yer earhole!

Friday, September 18, 2009

James Booker with Jerry Garcia - Palo Alto Rehersals (1976) (mp3, 160kbps)

This is a nice, clear sounding recording of two monstrous talents jamming together.  I don't know the story of these shows, other than that in 1976 James Booker got to Palo Alto to play a few gigs with Jerry Garcia and his band.  And while Jerry obviously has a lot of respect for Booker's other-worldly boogie woogie, there are moments of disconnect - like when, after playing the song 'Classified' for about 9 minutes during these rehearsals (during which the title of the song is repeated numerous times in the refrain) Garcia says, "What do you call that?"  Huh?  You're jamming with James Booker and you don't know that song?

But it should all be forgiven for the opportunity to hear these two, not only jamming, but also sharing ideas during this unique rehearsal tape.  Booker teaches as he plays, and Garcia is tastefully restrained until the right moment.  I have a decent recording of on of the live shows which followed this rehearsal, and I will post that sometime, but the practice is even more fun as they work out the arrangements and jam in a more relaxed atmosphere.

  1. Tico Tico (piano)
  2. Tico Tico (organ)
  3. Don't Try To Be Your Brother's Keeper
  4. Don't Try To Be Your Brother's Keeper
  5. Something You've Got
  6. Something You've Got
  7. Just A Closer Walk With Thee
  8. Irene Goodnight
  9. United, Our Thing Will Stand
  10. Classified
  11. Right Back Together (intro)
  12. Right Back Together

The link is in the comments.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Steve Hackett - SHRP 09 (1983) (mp3, 160kbps)

Some live Hackett, as I'm trying to emphasize the strengths of my collection.  The SHRP (Steve Hackett Remastering Project) group does a nice job, and this is one of the best.  I'm not sure if this is an opening act, festival slot, or just an incomplete show, but a lot of the live Hackett you find from this area is short like this - under an hour.  But in that time, you have, not only exceptional sound quality, but pretty much everything you want to hear.  If nothing else, Hackett understands (and this seems to have always been the case) what his audience wants, and he gives it to them.

The high points are, well, ... they're all high points.  Narnia is nice, because that pretty much dropped out of the set a year or two later.  The Steppes, as always, hits like a ton of bricks.  This is basically my favorite Hackett song because it takes the genius of what he's doing at the end of Supper's Ready (w/ Genesis) and makes a whole song out of it.  Also, Hackett knows that the Moog Taurus bass pedals can never (and I mean NEVER) be too loud.  When this instrument is used correctly (go to a Musical Box show and you will see how that sounds) it can disintegrate the fillings in your teeth and rearrange internal organs.

Grand Casino - Montreux - July 13, 1980

Steve Hackett - Guitars
Dik Cadbury - Bass
Peter Hicks - Vocals
Nick Magnus - Keyboards
John Hacckett - Vocals / Flute / Bass pedals
John Shearer - Drums / percussion

1.  Slogans 05:24
2.  Every Day 07:49
3.  Spectral Mornings 06:33
4.  Time To Get Out 03:52
5.  The Steppes 06:35
6.  Narnia 04:48
7.  Acoustic Set 04:47
8.  Jacuzzi 05:37
9.  A Tower Struck Down 05:03
10.  Clocks 03:00

The link is in the comments.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Genesis - AV02 (1983) (mp3, 160kbps)

This one is for Phil.  Apparently, he's not going to be able to play drums anymore as a result of his long-standing back injury.  Well, I don't quite know what to say about that, but a lot of people have come back from a lot worse conditions, so don't necessarily count him out just yet.  In the meantime, I want to celebrate an incredible career behind the kit and otherwheres.

This is THE bootleg from the 'Mama' tour.  It may be 26 years ago, but it sounds like it was yesterday.  In fact, it sounds better than that.  It sounds like you are there.  It is certainly a better sounding recording than any sanctioned live record the band has ever released.

After all that praise, it should be noted that this is not a perfect selection.  The 'Mama' tour had highlights galore, and they are pretty much all here - but it also featured some of Genesis worst material ever.  'That's All' is simply a terrible song.  The 'Turn It On Again' medley is nothing short of embarrassing.  And while 'Afterglow' retains a lot of its emotion and punch, this tour is an example of Phil pushing the vocal too far for the finale - it ends up detracting from the song's beautiful simplicity.

But the good parts are SOOOOOO good.  'Home By The Sea' and 'Second Home', the whole 'In The Cage' medley and 'Los Endos' - these songs arguably never sounded better live.  And with the extraordinary A++ sound quality of this recording, those moments shine even brighter.

November 26, 1983 - The Spectrum - Philadelphia, PA (Pre-FM)

1.1 Dodo / Lurker 07:51
1.2 That's All 04:46
1.3 Abacab 09:06
1.4 Mama 07:20
1.5 Keep It Dark 05:33
1.6 Home By The Sea 05:16
1.7 Second Home By The Sea 06:47
2.1 In The Cage / Cinema Show / In That Quiet Earth / Slippermen 14:29
2.2 Afterglow 04:34
2.3 Drum Duet 03:08
2.4 Los Endos 06:26
2.5 Turn It On Again 09:03
2.6 Misunderstanding 04:02
2.7 Illegal Alien 05:30

The link is in the comments.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Albert King - Jammed Together (1969) (mp3, 320kbps)

Have I mentioned how much I love Albert King?  Have I mentioned how he's THE guy that put it all together for me?  How, when I heard his playing, it was like everything in the whole world all of the sudden made sense?  Have I mentioned that before?  I guess I kinda have, but I'm doing it again!

This is a great set because it matches big Albert with the soulful voice and vibrato guitar of Pops Staples (of the Staples Singers) and the rock solid fundamentals of ("HIT IT") Steve Cropper.  This is more than an Albert King record - this is a Stax record.  And it is all good.

  1. What'd I Say
  2. Tupelo
  3. Opus De Soul
  4. Baby What You Want Me To Do
  5. Big Bird
  6. Homer's Theme
  7. Trashy Dog
  8. Don't Turn Your Heater Down
  9. Water
  10. Knock On Wood

The link is in the comments.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Frank Zappa - Swiss Cheese At The Festhalle Basel (1974) (mp3, c. 256kbps - vbr)

Brilliant recording from a great era. The cover recalls Roxy & Elswhere, which is a great record to start with if you don't know Frank's music. Roxy runs about 68 minutes. This monster weighs in at a considerably more portly 2-1/2 hours, and it's 'all killer, no filler'. It may lose a few points, through no fault of its own, for being just after Jean-Luc Ponty left the band, but the sheer mass of material on this recording more than makes up for it. Also, with Jean-Luc out of the band, I have a theory that Frank felt more comfortable and more in charge.

Some of this material may be heard on the 'You Can't Do that On Stage Anymore' series, but, rather than a compilation of snippets from throughout the career, you get the whole concert (and then some). The filler material is also high quality, making for a nice, beefy package.

Frank Zappa - Swiss Cheese at the Festhalle Basel in 1974

This recording is a digital copy of the Frank Zappa CD bootlegrecord Swiss Cheese at the Festhalle Basel in 1974.
Label: FZ BA 01/02

Swiss Cheese at the Festivalhalle Basel in 1974 (2 CD)

* Festhalle Mustermesse, Basel, Switzerland, 01-Oct-1974 (early show)
* Harrisburg, 07-Nov-1974
* Capitol Theater, Passiac, 08-Nov-1974

Label: FZ BA 01/02
Sound quality: very good soundboard

Musicians: Frank Zappa, Ruth Underwood, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Chester Thompson, Tom Fowler and George Duke

1. Tush Tush Tush Incl. Band Introduction (02:15)
2. Stink-Foot (07:06)
3. Inca Roads (13:13)
4. Cosmik Debris (12:38)
5. Approximate Version One (01:21)
6. Approximate Version Two (01:06)
7. Approximate Version Three (00:43)
8. Approximate Whole Version (04:21)
9. Preamble Chesters Gorilla (01:39)
10. Florentine Pogen (09:49)
11. Preamble Incl. Tuning (01:27)
12. Penguin in Bondage (08:15)
13. T'Mershi Duween (03:52)
14. Dog Meat (06:36)
15. Preamble Stupid Fucking Song (01:25)

16. Camarillo Brillo (06:29)
17. Preamble Oh No, I Don't Believe It (00:50)
18. Oh No (01:33)
19. Son of Orange County (06:01)
20. Trouble Every Day (07:09)
21. Dog Breath Variations / Uncle Meat (02:36)
22. Building a Girl (01:45)
23. Preamble Love Song (00:50)
24. Florentine Pogen (08:07)
25. Montana (07:00)
26. The Hook (Dupree's Paradise) (26:23)
27. Ruthie-Ruthie (02:16) [Berry/Zappa/Brock] [same recording as on Stage #1]
28. Smell My Beard (05:08) [may or may not be as on Stage #4]

* Tracks 1-20 live at the Festhalle Mustermesse in Basel, Switzerland, 01-Oct-1974 (early show).
* Tracks 21-26 live in Harrisburg 07-Nov-1974.
* Tracks 27-28 live at the Capitol Theater, Passiac, 08-Nov-1974.

The link is in the comments.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jimi Hendrix and Larry Young - Record Plant Session (1969) (mp3, 160kbps)

I was looking through the archive and found that this recording didn't sound nearly as bad as I remembered. It's pretty rough, but well worth it to hear the meeting of these two giants. Obviously, Larry Young did not have the same impact on music as Jimi, but his feel in Lifetime and on John McLaughlin's Devotion make him a natural for a jam with Jimi. This set is from the Record Plant Studios in New York City, May 14, 1969. Mitch Mitchell is on drums and Billy Cox plays bass.

  1. Livin at the Burwood
  2. Jam in E
  3. Theme in D
  4. Theme in D Jam
  5. Jam in Gb
  6. Jam in Gb cont'd
  7. World Traveler
  8. World Traveler (reprise)
  9. My Brother's Dead
  10. Livin at the Burwood (edit)
The link is in the comments.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stanley Clarke - Tower Theater (1978) (mp3, 160kbps)

Here is an absolutely stellar recording of Stanley Clarke at the height of his powers, playing a show to a home town audience on New Year's Day. Could a fusion-head ask for anything better? I don't know who all we're hearing in the band, but I'm pretty sure it's Ray Gomez on guitar and Gerry Brown on drums. Beyond that, it's really anyone's guess. I know it's not David Sancious or Peter Robinson on keys because the piano solo is labeled as 'Mike's Solo'. Also, there are an assortment of horns and wind which make it a great set.

  1. Overture
  2. Silly Putty
  3. School Days
  4. Quiet Afternoon
  5. The Magician
  6. The Magician (cont'd)
  7. Song To John
  8. Confirmation
  9. Solo
  10. Dayride
  11. Mike Solo
  12. unknown
  13. Lopsy Lu
The link is in the comments.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Spock's Beard - Live at Whiskey and NEARFest (1999) (mp3, 160kbps)

I originally got this set because I desperately wanted to hear the Beard's version of Genesis' Squonk. So many years later, I can easily say that is the worst song in the bunch. I was not able to get into this band right away. I knew they were big fans of 'old' Genesis and I also knew there was a big Gentle Giant thing going on. Even though I wasn't well-versed in the ways of Gentle Giant, Genesis was about the best thing in the world, so I hung in there. What I discovered was the genius of Neal Morse. What a fascinating guy. He can crank out the 30 minute epics without even breaking a sweat. He split the band in 2002 after finding that his commitment to Jesus Christ would not allow him to be in 'rock bands' anymore. Yet, since that date, he has proceeded to make music that is even more amazing and inspirational. You may not agree with his evangelical message, but there is no arguing with the authority and sincerity of his songwriting gift. I truly believ that he has been called by God (whatever that means) to make progressive rock. I know it sounds crazy, but when you listen to ? and Sola Scriptura, its easy to understand that this man is not like the rest of us. In this so-called Christian period, he is making the best music of his life.

But back in 1999, he was just the front man of a prog rock outfit from LA. This is what that band sounded like at the height of their powers. When these recordings were made, Spock's Beard was moving forward and moving up and there was no limit to what they imagined was possible. This quintet attacked their compositions and set a new standard for 'difficult' music that was also highly emotional and moving. This set included the favorites 'Doorway', 'June' and 'Waste Away' as well as the early epick 'The Light' from their first album of the same name. But it is the too often forgotten pieces such as 'Skin' and 'Walking on the Wind' that make this a special collection.

Don't worry about the Genesis cover. That's not what it's all about. Instead, check out a great band that worked its ass off to become a big deal in a music scene that probably wanted nothing to do with prog. In the most improbable place and time, Spock's Beard created amazing songs.

  • "Introduction" – 1:01
  • "In the Mouth of Madness" – 5:00
  • "Gibberish" – 4:40
  • "Skin" – 4:14
  • "Go the Way You Go" – 13:27
  • "The Distance to the Sun" – 5:19
  • "Crack the Big Sky" – 9:50
  • "The Doorway" – 14:04
  • "The Light" – 20:13
  • "June" – 3:48
  • "Waste Away" – 5:04
  • "Squonk" – 3:33
  • "Walking on the Wind" – 10:01
The link is in the comments.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Yezda Urfa - Boris (1975) (mp3, 128kbps)

For those of you not familiar with this 'demo' it is outrageous. This is over-the-top prog perpetrated by some American students who could burn on their respective instruments. By the time these compositions were written and recorded, these guys had a pretty fair chance to listen to all the Yes and Gentle Giant they could get their ears on. When it came time to make their own foray into the genre, the mandate was do everything that everyone else was doing, just more so. They wanted to make the most over-the-top prog album that had ever been heard, and when you hear this, you may well think they succeeded.

There is so much ornamentation and trickery, it literally made my head spin. Concepts such as succintness, brevity, compactness, stripped down - these ideas just didn't enter the picture. I don't know what's more amazing, that they didn't get signed or that the record is so good. So many people criticize prog for its excesses, and, to a great extent, I think there is some validity to those criticisms. But for this one-off novelty piece (there is actually another album out there that I have not heard), I just cast aside all insecurity and enjoy the noise.

1. Boris And His 3 Verses, including Flow Guides Aren't My Bag (11:00)
2. Texas Armadillo (1:48)
3. 3, Almost 4, 6 Yea (8:46)
4. Tuta In The Moya & Tyreczimmage (10:50)
5. Three Tons Of Fresh Thyroid Glands (10:20)

Total Time: 42:44

Line-up / Musicians

- Brad Christoff / percussion, all sorts
- Phil Kimbrough / keyboards, synthesizers, mandolin, wind instruments
- Mark Tippins / guitars, banjo, vocals
- Marc Miller / bass
- Rick Rodenbaugh / vocals

The link is in the comments.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

PInk Floyd - Interstellar Fillmore (1970) (aac, 128kbps)

The era of wide open psychedlic improv is coming to an end. It will soon give way to more composed pieces like Atom Heart Mother, Echoes, and finally Dark Side of The Moon. But on this lovely-sounding stereo soundboard from nearly four decades ago, that old black magic is alive and well, from the 20 minute-plus version of 'Saucerful of Secrets' (from about twelve minutes for the studio version) to the 2nd encore of Barret-era favorite 'Interstellar Overdrive'. This is the real deal. Shows like this established the groundwork for tremendous popularity in the States and mammoth record sales world-wide.

But back then, with Barret recently excused, and newboy Gilmour still trying to find his place, Pink Floyd was a ball of energy, boundless, sometimes formless, and always fearless.

Fillmore West, San Fransico, CA
April 29, 1970

  1. Granchester Meadows
  2. Astronomy Domine
  3. Cymbaline
  4. Atom Heart Mother
  5. Embryo
  6. Green Is The Colour
  7. Careful With That Axe Eugene
  8. Set The Controls for the Heart of the Sun
  9. A Saucerful of Secrets
  10. Interstellar Overdrive
Gilmour, Mason, Waters, Wright

The link is in the comments.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Booker T. and The MG's - Melting Pot (1971) (aac, 128 kbps)

After spending a few years making hits with really short instrumentals, this album marked a more experimental turn for the legendary Memphis quartet. This appears to have been the twelfth lp, even though they were less than ten yeqars removed from the legendary debut 'Green Onions'. These guys were prolific!

So much of the magic on this record comes from the drums. Al Jackson, Jr. was more than just a talented player. He brought so much atmosphere and dynamics that the other members of the band can just make everything very simple and understated. Th result is nothing less than extraordinary. Listen to what he does on the ride cymbal on 'Back Home' during the break down. The mood becomes almost silent so that the slightest guitar line or piano riff will speak volumes. Also, the effort at innovation was present with the Manhattan Transfer-esque singing that appears on the second half of the record. At the first, I was put off by these strange noises, but now I appreciate how they accentuate the organ solo in an almost Zappa-like fashion.

Jackson was the house drummer for Stax and appeared on a variety of other records, including material by guitar god Albert King. He was described by MG's guitarist Steve Cropper as "the greatest drummer to ever walk the earth", and based on the playing on this record, it's not hard to see how someone would think that. Thus was the tragedy that much greater when Jackson was murdered in his home on October 1, 1975.

A few MG's records came after this one, but this finds the band at its peak. Understated and powerful. Conveying more emotion with fewer notes and innovating all the time. No band could do more with less.

  1. "Melting Pot" - 8:15
  2. "Back Home" - 4:40
  3. "Chicken Pox" - 3:26
  4. "Fuquawi" - 3:40
  5. "Kinda Easy Like" - 8:43
  6. "Hi Ride" - 2:36
  7. "L.A. Jazz Song" - 4:18
  8. "Sunny Monday" - 4:35
The link is in the comments.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Johnny "Guitar" Watson - Ain't That A Bitch (1976) (aac 256kbps)

Johnny "Guitar" Watson is one of the great unsung heroes of music. About an artist such as Watson, I like to say the following: He did all his own stunts. He could sing, write and play guitar. And from the very beginning, he had style. Not just the clothes, although he excelled in the sartorial department until the time of his death in 1996. But, even early on, he was a wildman with the guitar and vocals. he wrote humorous lyrics and did outrageous things with his voice and axe. Such techniques and innovations drew the attention of Frank Zappa, who owes much of his antics and lyric writing to the style created by Watson.

In the 70's, Watson changed from Texas blues to LA funk, and the results were just as extraordinary. This lp starts presents itself as a humorous outing, from the cover and title to the song names. But don't be fooled. This is a serious funk band with a man who runs a tight ship calling the shots.

  1. I Need It (4:46)
  2. I Want to Ta-Ta You Baby (5:49)
  3. Superman Lover (5:44) (Reynaldo Rey)
  4. Ain't That a Bitch (5:02)
  5. Since I Met You Baby (3:30)
  6. We're No Exception (4:18)
  7. Won't You Forgive Me Baby (5:17)
  • Johnny "Guitar" Watson - organ, synthesizer, bass, guitar, piano, conga, drums, keyboards and vocals
  • Paul Dunmall- saxophone
  • Bruce Fowler - trombone, horn
  • Peter Martin - trumpet
  • Tommy Robertson - trombone
  • Emry Thomas - drums, backing vocals
The link is in the comments.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Ronnie Earl - Searchin' Live (1988) (mp3, 160kbps)

Ronnie Earl is one of the great blues guitarists of any age, religion, color or creed. The fact that he's a white boy who was born Jewish, well, that certainly speaks to my experience. But none of this really matters when you get there, in front of those high-powered pre-CBS Fender Super Reverbs, and that red Strat is plugged straight in - no bullshit. And the amps are cranked and the sweat is coming down his forehead in torrents, and he grits his teeth and squeezes his eyes shut and kneels down real low and picks it so soft and so quiet that audience yells for more, but he just raises a single finger to his lips, and all the pain and the poetry just pours forth. It's an amazing performance that runs the full spectrum of energy and emotion, but the showmanship is never undertaken for its own sake. It is only done in faithful service to the almighty blues.

I don't have a lot of details about this show, but it seems to be from 1988, when he toured the Soul Searching lp. You should clearly be listening to his studio and live releases, but more importantly - GO SEE HIM PLAY. It sounds something like this:

  1. Scorchin' Intro
  2. Alabama
  3. Rigo Park Blues
  4. Dat Dere
  5. Still Soul Searchin
  6. Beautiful Child
  7. Silly By You
  8. band intros
  9. [unknown]
The link is in the comments.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cato Salsa Experience - A Good Tip For A Good Time (2002) (mp3, 192kbps)

I'm delighted by all the great music that comes from Scandinavia. I don't know if it's the climate, the excellent fish, the progressive politics or what, but I'm starting to see a pattern developing and I like it. This band was not part of my recent (within the past two years) conscious effort to experiment with international music. On the contrary, I discovered this record very much by accident. I had just gotten my first iPod and was wholesale copying music from my brother-in-law's iTunes account. Seein as I'm currently enjoying the company of his family (although he himself is detained by work), I figured now was as good a time as ever to share the rockin' little record.

How do I describe this? Wikipedia says 'indie garage rock', but I really don't have a clue what that means. Anything that is not major-label is indie, I guess. But the garage aspect makes sense. There's a delightful cheapness to the sound of the instruments and the arrangements are simple, straightforward, and in your face. The subject of the vocals (which are sung in English) are about partying and general sexyness ('Time To Freak Out', 'High Heeled Leather Boots'), so the shit is fun. The songs are short and the organ gives a nice retro vibe. I just love the high energy.

I've read comparisons between the White Stripes and The Strokes, which were all having more success at about the same time, but I never really got to know those bands. I never really got to know this one either, and the organization now seems to be a bit dormant, but this record has never failed to bring a smile to my face.

1. Listen To Me Daddy'O
2. So, The Circus Is Back In Town
3. M.F.
4. Lucky Girl
5. I Can Give You Anything
6. Deadbeat
7. Move On
8. High Heeled Leather Boots
9. Time To Freak Out!
10. Tanquaray
11. Albert Bones Electric Meal
12. Got Soul If You Want It (bonus track)

The link is in the comments.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Joe Zawinul - Concerto Retitled (1976) (mp3, 160kbps)

Don't let the date in the title fool you - this is a compilation of acoustic jazz recorded by the master between 1965 and 1970. One reviewer commented that it appears to have been hurriedly assembled to cash in on Zawinul's rising star at the height of Weather Report's popularity. Whatever the case, I found it to be a refreshing listen that shows Zawinul's strong love of Duke Ellington. He only plays the acoustic piano, which is such a difference from Weather Report and the Syndicate and everything else that was the halmark of his later carrier. Before he started to boogie woogie on that Fender Rhodes with Cannonball Adderley, he was an intense student of classical and jazz. This compilation, though perhaps lacking a bit in the coherence of a studio album, gives another feel for a remarkable talent.

1. From Vienna With Love (4:27)
2. My One And Only Love (3:50)
3. Riverbed (5:08)
4. Concerto Retitled (5:30)
5. Del Sasser (4:45)
6. Sharon's Waltz (5:03)
7. His Last Journey (4:37)
8. In A Silent Way (4:47)

Line-up / Musicians
Bass - Miroslav Vitous , Richard Davis , Walter Booker
Bass, Piano - Sam Jones
Cello - Kermit Moore
Drums - Freddie Waits , Louis Hayes , Roy McCurdy
Flute - George Davis
Melodica - Jack DeJohnette
Percussion - Billy Hart , David Lee , Joe Chambers , Warren Smith
Piano - Joe Zawinul
Piano, Electric Piano - Herbie Hancock
Saxophone [Baritono] - Pepper Adams
Saxophone [Tenor] - Joe Henderson , William Fisher
Trumpet - Blue Mitchell , Jimmy Owens
Viola - Alfred Brown , Selwart Clarke , Theodore Israel

The link is in the comments.

Genesis - Evil Jams From The Waiting Room (1975) (mp3, 256kbps)

More Genesis improv music. This time, we've got a compilation of Waiting Room jams, also sometimes referred to as Evil Jam. In the narrative sequence of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, the hero Rael is, at the beginning of the second half (lp side 3), led out of a Chamber of 32 Doors by a blind woman called Lilywhite Lilith. From that moment, the tale becomes particularly twisted. Rael has a close call with Mr. Death, enjoys sexual relations with 3 female snakes, which, in turn, causes him to be transformed into a hideous monster. The only way to change back into his old self is to have his penis removed. Now, that's fun for the whole family!

All of this insanity is ushered in by a stop in the Waiting Room. The second song on the second disc is a noise jam that, as the legend goes, was performed at Headley Grange during a storm. Just at the moment of a giant crash of thunder. All the lights went out and the band transformed from a noise jam to a triumphant melodic march. Mike Rutherford holds the rhythm on mild fuzz bass while the other four members push each other over the edge as the exercise becomes more and more feverish. The problem with this legend is that, if the lights went out, how could they still have power for the array of electronic instruments and toys?

While there may be no good answer to that quandary, the truth is that The Waiting Room is a very special piece of music. It was performed live every night on the tour to support 'The Lamb', and, unlike any Genesis music up to that time, it was different at every performance. The same enterprising fan who prepared the Headley Jams I recently posted gives us this gem and it is a gem. On the noisy parts, every item of electronic and percussive trickery is employed to bring about the most unnerving atmosphere possible. And when it's time for 'all change', we get to hear the sublime soloing of Banks and Hackett as they reach higher and higher without sacrificing the deliberate emphasis that makes every note valuable. For a band that didn't improv, they do a fine job and here are the recordings to prove it.

  1. Headley Grange 1 (7:16)
  2. Headley Grange 2 (9:14)
  3. Phoenix (3:48)
  4. Dijon (3:39)
  5. Nurenburg (4:51)
  6. Saarbrucken (4:48)
  7. Munich (5:21)
  8. Groningen (5:35)
  9. Wembley (6:20)
  10. Southampton (6:05)
  11. Liverpool (5:08)
  12. Edinburgh (4:37)
  13. Manchester (5:08)
  14. Rheims (4:29)
All songs written, performed and arranged by Banks, Collins, Gabriel, Hackett and Rutherford

The link is in the comments.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Isotope - Golden Section (1975) (mp3, 320kbps)

I've been loving this record lately. Think of what Weather Report would have sounded like if, in the normal course of their work, there was a very strong guitar presence, a presence very much along the lines of John McLaughlin in the Mahavishnu era. Now, the absence of guitar in Weather Report is a big [art of what makes it so special for that era. Everybody was playing guitar. Everybody was bringing the big solos, complete with frenetic drums and complex arrangements. Weather Report was refreshing becuase everything had a more organic feel. It's eve hard to tell, at times, when a solo ends and another begins.

So, now we go back to post-Bitches Brew England. Soft Machine has set the pace for Jazz-rock on that side of the UK, but even though Isotope features a Soft Machine alum on bass, this band is firmly in the tradition of the early American fusion. What makes Isotope so special for me is the sympatico relationship between band founder Gary Boyle on guitar and keyboardist Laurence Scott. There are no turf wars being played out on dueling solos, as we hear ad nauseum on the Mahavishnu recordings. Instead, the quick, fusion-y twists and turns are carved out of a Rhodes-enriched grooviness that clearly calls to mind Mysterious Traveler-era Weather Report. In short, there is a lot of generosity flowing between the two principal soloists. The result is a very satisfying listening experience.

This recording is a compilation of live work performed in '74 and '75. The mix of improv and arrangement is what you'd expect from a fusion band of this period, but the composition and vibe is something different. These artists may have been copying their contempoaries, but don't let that stop you from enjoying something that is, at once, very familiar, yet totally different.

  1. Illusion (4:03)
  2. Rangoon Creeper (4:43)
  3. Attila (6:03)
  4. Spanish Sun (9:48)
  5. Crunch Cake (5:22)
  6. Mr. M's Picture (6:50)
  7. Frog (5:16)
  8. Attila (6:10)
  9. Spanish Sun (6:47)
  10. Lily Kong (1:36)
  11. Edorian (3:12)
  12. Golden Section (5:38)
  13. Illusion (4:04)

Personnel: Gary Boyle: guitar; Hugh Hopper: bass; Nigel Morris: drums; Laurence Scott: keyboards; Aureo de Souza: percussion (1-6).

The link is in the comments.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Flaming Lips - Stockholm (2006) (mp3, 160kbps)

Now we go from the last post, where sound quality is somewhat sacrificed for sheer rareness and the unique content, to this absolutely pristine, broadcast quality, release quality, I-mean-sparkling quality show from the Flaming Lips. By the way, Flaming Lips - ... prog band. Sorry, there's nothing you can do about it. Prog from Oklahoma. Mmmmm... that's good flyover state prog.

The version of War Pigs at the end is fine, but the real highlights come from their own catalog. 'Do You Realize' and 'Race for the Prize' are rightfully beloved. 'Morning of the Magician', Vein of Stars' and 'The Spark That Bled' are the classic F'Lips (prog) sound. I get the impression this band could just crank this material out if there wasn't that agitated (highly caffeinated) need to keep coming up with new ideas and new sounds. And "W.A.N.D." and "Yeah Yeah Yeah" both rock mightily.

I wonder if these guys will ever get around to releasing the next record. They are coming around this summer, and I think Cousin Steven will do a good job of not letting me cheese out. In honor of that, here's this:

1. Introduction
2. Race for the Prize
3. Free Radicals
4. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt.1
5. Vein of Stars (Introduction)
6. Vein of Stars
7. Yeah Yeah Yeah Song...
8. In the Morning of the Magicians
9. The W.A.N.D.
10. The Spark That Bled
11. Do You Realize??
12. War Pigs

Band Line Up:

Wayne Coyne – lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, theremin, bass.
Michael Ivins – bass, keyboards, backing vocals.
Steven Drozd – guitar, drums, percussion, keyboards, bass, backing vocals.
Kliph Scurlock - drums, percussion

The link is in the comments.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Genesis - The Jams Played Down at Headley (1974) (mp3, 256kbps)

Between August and November 1974, Genesis worked out the musical portions for what would become their magnum opus the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. They were mostly without the input of Peter Gabriel, who was detained as a result of difficulties accompanying his young wife's pregnancy. Much of the sessions took place at Headley Grange where they lived and worked and wrote together. The final product, we all know, is an amazing work of music. But the jams from which those songs arose give an amazing glimpse of what happens when Banks, Rutherford, Collins and Hackett set about throwing things against the wall to see what would stick.

While I have known that the jams exist for some time, it was not until another fan took the time to compile much of the raw material into discreet tracks that I really had the opportunity to listen to and enjoy this amazing body of work. The quality is not perfect, by any means, but geting to hear this group of musicians noodling and jamming at this period in their career (or at any period, really) is so special and so unique, that it is more than worth the effort. Remember, these are studio recordings, so there is no crowd noise or distance marring the sound. It simply sounds old and un-produced.

The compiler has given titles to the jams, but also invited the listener to come up with his/her own titles. you can hear some of the themes that eventually ended up on the record, but the magical moments are those that are entirely unique, from right off the cutting room floor, if you will.

  1. Fly Away (11:06)
  2. Uncaged (11:42)
  3. (Don't Be) Touchy (4:32)
  4. Unjangled (10:02)
  5. Space Time (3:27)
  6. Sectioned (14:23)
  7. The Gorge (4:51)
  8. Deja Vu (9:40)
  9. Portamento (1:33)
  10. Slippertime (7:25)
The link is in the comments.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

HR Bigband Featuring Mike Clark - A Funky Tribute to Headhunters (2009) (mp3, 160kbps)

Under the category of old guys who still got it, this is Mike Clark, who, at 68 years young, is still burning it up behind the kit. Not that 68 is really that old, but I just hope I'm a fraction that funk when I'm his age.

This is a loving tribute to one of the most popular Jazz albums of all time, although the set consists of more than just music from Headhunters. The recording is positively glossy and right off the radio. It's actually almost too glossy, but listen hard. The band is banging through their charts and Clark is positively dynamite on drums. The music sounds fresh in this big band context, just as it worked well for Zawinul on the Brown Street recording.

I don't know the names of any other musicians, but the guitar and keyboards and horns are prominently featured, as they should be with this set of music. Just because people play in a bigband doesn't mean they can improvise with passion and sincerity.

  1. Loft Funk
  2. People Music
  3. Spider
  4. Sun Touch
  5. Actual Proof
  6. overdub
  7. Swamp Thing > Chameleon
  8. Butterfly
  9. Sly
  10. Hang Up Your Hangups
This is about two hours of music. The link is in the comments.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Genesis - Live at London (1976) (mp3, 128kbps)

In 1976, Peter Gabriel had left Genesis at the very moment that things started to look like they were going to break in favor of that band. He had lead them to the promised land, but, apparently, couldn't go in with them. This was cause for concern. The band did not want to miss out on the opportunity. Keyboardist Tony Banks clearly sensed that they could get to the next level, and he secretly relished the thought of becoming the boss after Gabriel departed. Various singers were auditioned, but it soon became clear that the solution to this problem would have to come from within the organization - Phil Collins.

And while Collins went on to multi-platinum success, he was terribly insecure about taking over as front man. Gabriel had a mysterious rapport with the audience. He was other-worldly with his outrageous stories and mind-blowing costumes. There was no expectation that Phil would attempt that same shtick. His workingman's roots led to an entirely different front man persona.

But Phil was a perfectionsist, and he was acutely aware of his contribution to this beast thus far. One of the most remarkable aspects of Gabriel-era Genesis is the interplay between Collins and Banks during the longer instrumental passages. Although these are described by the fanboys as keyboard 'solos', they are, in fact, very composed passages that happen to feature the keyboard. But with Collins, Banks was very generous and Collins' work during those keyboard solos is some of the most fearsome drumming this side of Art Blakey.

So, how do you protect that legacy? It's no problem in the studio, thanks to the miracle of multi-track recording. But what about the tour? Genesis had just cemented its reputation as an extraordinary live act - even in America. Now they had a great album ('Trick of the Tail') and the best way to sell that sucker was to go out on the road and make some noise. Without Gabriel's outrageous costumes, all focus would be on the music and the new singer. Collins would not be able to play drums the whole time. His parts are simply too complex to sing the whole show from behind the kit. Plus, he was expected to be out front - that was still Genesis. So they would need a touring drummer. But, how do you make sure that in the heat of a live performance, with all that adrenaline flowing, when there is no margin for error, that it's going to be all the right notes played as if 'off-the-cuff'?

Simple. You hire Bill Bruford.

June 10, 1976
Hammersmith Odeon, London, UK

GASP 014

1-01. (cut) Dance On A Volcano 6:01
1-02. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway 5:15
1-03. Fly On A Winshield 2:46
1-04. The Carpet Crawlers 5:27
1-05. The Cinema Show 12:28
1-06. Robbery Assault and Battery 7:22
1-07. White Mountain 7:22
1-08. Firth of Fifth 9:35
1-09. Entangled 7:45
1-10. Squonk 6:42

2-01. Supper's Ready 25:29
2-02. I Know What I Like 6:18
2-03. Los Endos 7:50
2-04. It/Watcher Of The Skies 6:17

The link is in the comments.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

S.B.B. - Welcome (1979) (mp3, vbr)

This is the SBB record I'm listening too most lately. It comes out near the end of their first, long period. After 1980, the band didn't really exist for quite a long time. Since the mid-90's, they've been in comeback/reunion mode. But it's hard to be cynical when they're so good. And the new record, Iron Curtain, actually finds this group of old men covering some new and interesting ground.

But this record is mostly about the shorter, composed efforts, getting away from the more purely improvised efforts of the early 70's. And when songs are the focus, some powerful sounds emerge. The composition style is really different, but also very confident - it reminds me of Steve Hackett. The production values are great, expecially considering the era. the sound is balanced and dramatic - I think that is due in part to this being a three person band with a very strong central figure; Skrzek played bass, all keys, vocals and lots of writing. He is one of the great unsung geniuses of prog.

1. Walkin' Around The Stormy Bay (6:30)
2. Loneliness (5:25)
3. Why No Peace (6:04)
4. Welcome Warm Nights And Days (3:02)
5. Rainbow Man (3:38)
6. How I Can Begin (7:00)
7. Last Man At The Station (9'29)

Bonus tracks (CD):
8. Rainbow Man (long version) (5:05)
9. Last Man At The Station (short version) (6:26)
10. Deszcz kroplisty, deszcz ulewny (4:02)
11. Tuż nad kanałem Ulgi (4:41)
12. 30 stopni w cieniu (5:26)
13. Przy okazji (6:39)
14. Mechaniczna skakanka (5:04)

Total time without bonuses: 41:08
Total time with bonuses: 78:31

Line-up / Musicians

- Jozef Skrzek / bass, piano, Moog, vocals
- Antymos Apostolis / guitar
- Jerzy Piotrowski / percussion

The link is in the comments.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Duke Ellington - In Sweden (1973) (mp3, 160kbps)

A fantastic set from the later era, this one is special because of the presence of Ms. Alice Babs as a guest on the later part of the set. Her vocal performances may not be well known in the States, but she brings an added dimension and vitality to this show.

  1. Rockin' In Rhythm
  2. Creole Love Call
  3. Caravan
  4. In Duplicate
  5. Take The A Train
  6. Satin Doll
  7. Serenade To Sweden
  8. Checkered Hat
  1. Spacemen
  2. Jeep's Blues
  3. There's Something About Me
  4. Somebody Cares
  5. I'm Beginning To See The Light
  6. Take The A Train
  7. Encore: St. Louis Blues
  8. Encore: Tiger Rag
The link is in the comments.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Bob Dylan - In The Summertime (1981) (aac, 128kbps)

As promised here a couple months ago, I am now posting a 'must-have' bootleg from Dylan's Christian period. The year is 1981. He is on tour with a large band, including multiple guitars and keyboards and the obligatory gospel choir. He was later married to one of the singers for six years, but this post and this concert are not about the vagaries of Dylan's private life. Instead, we find Dylan just hitting 40, but still fighting, still trying to do something amazing, and still searching.

By the time of this concert, I imagine some of the shock at his religious conersion had worn off. there could have been a tendency for the artist to loose his edge, but, instead, the music is better than ever. He sounds like he's settled in with a band that he can work with and a new sound for his old music that keeps him fresh and interest. As always, its audience and critics be damned!

The quality of this recording is stellar, and even with all that crazy Jesus music, it's still a great listen for any fan. This is a big set, complete with bonus material.

Drammenhalle, Drammen, Norway July 10, 1981
Bonus: Rainbow Music Hall, Denver January 22, 1980


The Times
Gotta Serve Somebody
I Believe In You
Like A Rolling Stone
Man Gave Names To All The Animals
Girl Of The North Country
Ballad Of A Thin Man
In The Summertime
Slow Train
Let's Begin Again
Lenny Bruce
Mr Tambourine Man
Just Like A Woman
Forever Young
Jesus Is The One
Heart Of Mine
When You Gonna Wake Up?
In The Garden
Blowin' In The Wind
It Ain't Me, Babe
Knockin' On Heaven's Door
*****Bonus tracks*****
When He Returns
Man Gave Names To All The Animals
Precious Angel
Slow Train
Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking
Do Right To Me, Baby
Solid Rock
Saving Grace

The link is in the comments.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Aimee Mann - Hultsfred Festival (2001) (mp3, 160kbps)

Aimee Mann is tough. She didn't like the record industry and what it wanted to do to her art. She wanted to do it her way. She had a vision of her music and nothing and no one was going to stop her from making that vision a reality. She came out with a record called 'Whatever' and it was great. She came out with another record called 'I'm With Stupid' and it was brilliant! She was an indie hit. The she came out with a record called 'Bachelor No. 2' AND she wrote additional music for the film Magnolia. The movie, and, more importantly, the music put her on top of the world. She had respect, career, loving husband, sales, fans, legacy... and that's where it all seems to have gone wrong.

Em and I saw her in 2002 when she was on tour for 'Lost In Space'. That record is not bad, but it feels like it was rushed out as a set of stuff that got left off the last two releases. And that is OK, except that the concert sucked.

I don't make that statement lightly. I want so much to like this artist, and so much of her output is SO good, but not lately. There was no fire, no passion, no sweat. Just going through the motions. That is the fastest way to make me lose interest in your performance. If you don't care, why should I? And we were right up front. We wanted so badly to like this show. Here was someone who had just hit the top of her game. We waited in line, got up front at The Theater of the Living Arts, and she put up a dud. You wouldn't know it from the 'xpn disciples who were generally pleased with the lackluster performance, but the fact remains that this was not a strong show.

AND she was hating on Phil Collins - a guy who, instead of bitching about how life was so cruel to him, got up on top of it and became the busiest man in rock and roll. How many records did that guy produce in the eighties? How many guest spots? How many records did Genesis sell? How many records did Phil sell on his own? But she figured she could get away with, because Phil Collins doesn't get played on the same radio stations that think nothing but unicorns and rainbows come out of Aimee Mann's ass. Sorry, cupcake, but compared to old, bald Phil, you ain't done nothing in your little career.

Which brings us to this particular show. Three months before 9/11, everything was abit different. Back then, Mann's shtick about showin' the man that she could be the best pop songwriter and do it on her terms was still a vital story line. Despite her youthful appearance, there was a world-weariness that carried a lot of weight. 'Look what I've been through. I'm a beaten and bruised, but you still can't stop me!' It sounds like that determination was very present in this performance, and the song selection is just great. This is from a radio show, so the quality is primo as well. Listen to this great show and tell me the hell happened to Aimee Mann. She used to be a badass. Now she's a lightweight.

Hultsfred Festival, Sweden 6-15-01

  1. One
  2. Choice in the Matter
  3. Sugarcoated
  4. How Am I Different
  5. Save Me
  6. That's Just What You Are
  7. Red Vines
  8. Susan
  9. Ghost World
  10. Long Shot
  11. Calling it Quits
  12. Wise Up
  13. Deathly
  14. Fourth of July
  15. The Other Side Of The Telescope
  16. Driving With One Hand
  17. Jimmy Hoffa
  18. You Could Make A Killing
  19. Choice in the Matter
  20. Voices Carry
The concert is only the first 13 tracks. The rest of the music is b-sides and alternate versions.

The link is in the comments.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Squarepusher - Shinjuku Liquid Room (1997) (mp3, 160kbps)

This is pretty much the moment when everything changed. The good news was that Tom Jenkinson was going to be able to pursue his chosen career and actually make some money doing it. The bad news was that he was going to be a celebrity. It seems there was always a strong level of interest in his 'sound' in Japan, but it was his extraordinary performance style that closed the deal. There were DJ's and there were knob twiddlers, but there was nothing like Squarpusher. YouTube has two videos from this performance; Beep Street and Cooper's World. they apear to have beenbroadcast on MTV, but I'm thinking that wasn't in the USA. As a result of the Hard Normal Daddy lp, Squarepusher became a major label (Sony) artist in Japan.

Things changed big time after the popularity set in, and the music of revolt came next. But before that awkward period of exploration, there was this rebirth of fusion, mated with the most cutting edge technology, and an artist who refused to be defined by any boundry. YouTube may have the two videos, but with this recording your ears get the whole show. Enjoy!

Shinjuku Liquid Room
Tokyo, Japan
July 24, 1997

  1. intro 2:14
  2. The Swifty 5:33
  3. Coopers World 5:15
  4. Beep Street 6:55
  5. EZ Boogie 8:20
  6. Journey to Reedham 6:39
  7. Full Rinse 2:41
  8. Massif (Stay Strong) 6:19
  9. Anirog Da 1:12
  10. Chin Hippy 3:24
  11. Come On My Selector 3:41
  12. The Body Builder 3:19
  13. Dimotane Co. 4:38
  14. encore 7:02

The link is in the comments

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Squarepusher - Bowery Ballroom, NYC (2003) (mp3, 128kbps)

UPDATE: We're coming down the home stretch of Squarepusher's installment of 'Artist of The Week'. Before I post the amazing '97 recording from the Shinjuko Liquid Room, I'm reposting this delicious recording made by yours truly.

When I first heard Squarepusher in 1997 it blew my mind. I was driving back from an unfortunate errand in Queens (don't ask) and I hoped to console myself with some good, under-the-radar, you're-not-going-to-hear-that-on-the-radio-outside-NYC, type music. I have no idea what station I had picked up, but the music proved to be Male Pill Pt. 13 from Hard Normal Daddy. If you don't own this record, stop reading and go buy it now. NOW!! The dj described the artist as the Squarepushers, but I was eventually fortunate enough to find a knowledgeable record store clerk somewhere in Philadelphia.

Flash forward six years to the summer of 2003. this is my recording of a show I attended alone at the Bowery Ballroom. This tape was made under constant threat of discovery, but it still came out great. This is from a tour in support of Ultravisitor, represents a rare States-side performance, and finds the artist in his typically hyper and destructive mood. I'm not sure that being at the concerts is all that fun (it is an aural assault), but in the comfort of your own home, you can now listen to the modern-day mad scientist, dialing knobs, flipping switches, stomping pedals, clicking his mouse button and, most importantly, shredding on his bass guitar with synth hook-up.

The magic act is impressive to see, but it tends to get a bit loud for those in attendance. With this set, you get more than a flavor of one night's work - very good work indeed.

I'm pleased with how this turned out. I used an active stereo mic (not sure of the model) and ran that into the portable MD recorder. There really hasn't been any retouching. I was lucky that there is little or no distortion or clipping. Despite the volume in the room (or perhaps because of it) all the sounds are clear in the mix. If you don't know anything about Squarepusher, please remember that the vast majority of the sounds you hear are being triggered, live, by means of synth bass. It is astonishing, to say the least.

1. Do You Know Squarepusher (5:26)
2. Dimotane Co. (8:14)
3. Ultravisitor (7:13)
4. Tetra-Scync (8:42)
5. I Fulcrum -> Come On My Selector (9:04)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Chaos A.D. - Buzz Caner (1998) (mp3, 160kbps)

This is being reposted for my 'Artist of the Week' exhibit about Squarepusher. This record is not on ebay or iTunes, and the cheapest one on Amazon is over $100 (for a CD)! It's probably worth it.

Not for the faint of heart. You'll notice that the label says Squarepusher, and that's who it is, performing under the alias Chaos A.D. I believe a lot of this is culled from his early recording that predate the Warp releases - all of which are phenomenal and worthy of your hard-earned discretionary income. This is less jazz-fusion and more straight-up dance/electronica. You can still hear a lot of the trademark Squarepusher tricks, but this music is a little more of an explorations, instead of an experiment. Does that make any sense?

As with most music, the best way to understand it is to simply listen. Some of this is a bit hard to digest - the obnoxious streak (that I find endearing) is present today (listen to the ep 'Numbers Lucent') and it was present back then. Proceed with caution.

  1. Thin Life (5:20)
  2. Mess Head (7:06)
  3. Bioslate (6:35)
  4. Generation Shit (3:10)
  5. Dreaded Pestilence (6+:22)
  6. Mind War Electro (9:00)
  7. Friend Track (3:54)
  8. Psultan Part 1 (5:17)
  9. Theme From Cumberland Wrestling (4:39)
  10. Male Pill Part 6 (6:51)
  11. Up The Gary (6:21)
  12. Dave's Safety Lamp (6:12)
The link is in the comments.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Squarepusher - Breezeblock Show (2004) (mp3 128kbps)

The difference between Squarepusher in 1996, when Feed Me Wierd Things was recorded, and within just a few months after Hard Normal Daddy was released - it was night and day. He was completely unknown one minute, and the next he was an insider/enfant terrible, a prohet for popular musicians. The very composition of modern music changed, to a great extent, because of the efforts of very un-cool tech heads who spent a lot of time on their own.

I don't think Squarepusher ever wanted to be 'the next big thing.' I find that his music became harder to listen to after 1998's 'Big Loda' compilation. It was a collection of the stuff that didn't make it on the two major works of the period: 'Feed Me...' and 'Hard Normal..." But after those three brilliant outings, the music becomes dark, almost oppositional. 'Music Is Rotted One Note,' 'Selection 16,' 'Maximum Priest EP', 'Budakahn Mindphone' and 'Do You Know Squarepusher' were all released between '98 and '02, and for those looking for the next 'Hard Normal Daddy', it's just not there. He is intentionally challenging his audience with something new, and the result is not always listenable.

But in 2004, 'Ultravisitor' came out, a LONG record with songs that formed a beginning, middle and end to this longer work. Compared to the exploration of the previous five years, this record sounded extremely determined, totally cohesive. He was now incorporating the noise and chaos right into the synth-driven composition. The technology allwed for a sonically more diverse live program and, indeed, portions of the album were culled from the live performaces of the year before. He succeded in bringing all the styles he had worked on and all the sounds he invented and re-invented together in one new sound. No longer was there a 'Squarepusher Theme' (from Feed Me Weird things) or 'My Fucking Sound' (from Do You Know Squarepusher?). Now it was just Squarepusher.

Another huge difference was the artist's attitude toward his audience. The album cover says it all, close up head shot of Tom Jenkinson. No more hiding behind the abstract graphic imagery and dangerous seclusion. As they say in the movies, "Now it's just you and me, sport." He even did some promotion.

Which brings us to this recording. It is a, roughy, 25 minute piece of music, presented by the BBC as one track. It was recorded live by Squarepusher in the BBC studio for the Breezblock program on BBC radio. Around the time of broadcast, the track was also made available for download. It is a beautiful, massive, and completely new work that is presented to the listener in the context of 'Ultravisitor' and that sound, but it is also its own composition, and not merely a live version of music from the record. How much pre-production goes into a work such as this is known only to the musician, but to my ear, it sounds like a lot. This is consistent with recent statements about what Squarepusher might play at upcoming festival performances this summer. He said it depended on how much he could get done before the performance.

This is not for everyone, and it's certainly not background music. It is, however, a very close approximation of what the live performance was like, presented in broadcast quality, at a time when Squarepusher came forth from transition and began to present, with all the delacacy of a chainsaw, another new sound.

The link is in the comments.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Squarepusher - Feed Me Weird Things (1996) (mp3, 128kbps)

I'm riding a strong wave of Squarepusher love right now, AND he just announced what the next project will be. So the second 'Artist of the Week' in my irregular series (started with Wayne Shorter), is Tom Jenkinson, a/k/a Squarepusher.

What better place to begin than with the very first record? Normally, I have no wish to deprive the artist of record sales, but this essential title does not really seem to be for sale. Not on iTunes and not on Amazon, other than for $80+ used. So, forget that.

This was not the first Squarepusher record I got my hands on. That was, of course, 'Hard Normal Daddy'. I always say the same thing about that record: If you don't have it, stop what you are doing and go get it. Stop reading this blog. Stop playing with your computer or phone. Go get the record. You will NOT be sorry. There are certain defining records in any genre, records that achieve the nexus of (a) unique creativity, (b) broad appeal in their time, and (c) lasting impact on other music. Hard Normal Daddy hits all three. It took the traditional idea of jazz and jazz fusion instrumentals from the 60's and 70's and connected it to rave and dance music in almost the exact same way rap and hip-hop connected to funk and r'n'b from the same era.

Feed Me Wierd Things retains fewer of the traditional elements. Yes, this is a 'long player', a full length record, as opposed to being a vinyl 12-inch stuffed into an anonymous white sleeve - DJ style. What this record firmly establishes is the painstaking and meticulous approach to rhythm and percussion that was not previously present in electronic music.

'His beats are made,' said Bono. And this record is where that begins. In earlier electronic music, the driving drum beats were loops which freed up the DJ/producer/musician/rapper to layer on his or her own, without the need of a live drum set. Also, the mechanical sound of the drum machine served as an anchor, thudding away in a constant beat - louder, really, than any other part of the music.

Squarepusher comes along and thinks, 'Those beats can be just as loud and driving, but they don't have to be the same over and over again." That fits with what a jazz drummer does with a rhythm; play around it and let it swing and it can keep the beat without repeating. The downside is getting a machine to recreate the nuance of human spontenaity would take someone who was willing to put in untold hours, secluding himself from the world in order to create process his music until it is just so; going drum stroke by drum stroke with everything programmed and perfect. Tom Jenkinson is the human/ghost in the machine.

Whether you are talking about the near chaotic blerps and schbleps of 'North Circular', or the cool, almost classical guitar feel of 'Squarepusher Theme', or the unrelenting killer melody that frames a drum frenzy on 'Theme From Ernest Borgnine' - those beats are mad. The following record may have been the one that broke through, but it is this first outing that introduces the noisy/obnoxious/avant garde streak in a man who is, technically and otherwise, a real musical genius.

  1. "Squarepusher Theme" – 6:20
  2. "Tundra" – 7:55
  3. "The Swifty" – 5:20
  4. "Dimotane Co." – 4:54
  5. "Smedley's Melody" – 2:33
  6. "Windscale 2" – 6:35
  7. "North Circular" – 6:08
  8. "Goodnight Jade" – 2:45
  9. "Theme from Ernest Borgnine" – 7:55
  10. "U.F.O.'s Over Leytonstone" – 6:39
  11. "Kodack" – 7:14
  12. "Future Gibbon" – 2:18
The link is in the comments.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Police - Gateshead Festival (1982) (160kbps)

This wasn't quite the end, not quite time to pass the baton to Bono and the boys, but on this day in 1982, U2 showed they could go toe to toe with the big boys. And the biggest boys back then were The Police. Andy Summers made a decision to go minimal. Stewart Copeland could play anything, but was lucky and smart not to get stuck in an aging prog or fusion act. And Sting? Well, I think Sting is a huge wanker and now he just sucks. But back then, he had what it took to be a sincere and agile front-man who actually played an instrument. It wasn't Sting and The Police. back then, he was just another guy working his ass off to make his band the biggest thing in the world. By the time Synchronicity came out (the year after this show), that goal had been achieved.

July 31, 1982

CD1: (46:07)
01. Message In A Bottle (4:18)
02. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic (4:13)
03. Walking On The Moon (5:04)
04. Spirits In The Material World (3:26)
05. Hungry For You (J'aurais Toujours Faim De Toi) (3:13)
06. When The World Is Running Down (3:53)
07. The Bed's Too Big Without You (4:59)
08. De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da (5:57)
09. Demolition Man (5:31)
10. Shadows In The Rain (5:28)

CD2: (42:15)
01. Driven To Tears (3:22)
02. Bring On The Night (5:42)
03. One World (Not Three) (4:16)
04. Invisible Sun (4:29)
05. Roxanne (5:56)
06. Don't Stand So Close To Me (3:28)
07. Can't Stand Losing You / Reggatta de Blanc / Be My Girl, Sally (7:44)
08. So Lonely (7:14)

The link is in the comments

Van Halen - Goldenwest Ballroom (1976) (mp3, 160kbps)

The Golden West Ballroom appears to have little significance outside of the fact that is was the scene of this concert in 1976. It was our Great Nation's two hundredth birthday; punk didn't exist yet; Prog Rock and Jazz Fusion were still riding high, but showing some signs of aging; Miles Davis was in self-imposed exile from music. And this quartet from Los Angeles was getting ready to change everything about how we understand that ephemeral phrase: ROCK AND ROLL!!

I only wish there were a bit more bass in teh recording, but it's still a killer.
  1. On Fire 2:35
  2. Show Your Love 4:37
  3. Last Child 4:27
  4. Tush 3:05
  5. The Rover 6:19
  6. Let's Get Rockin' 3:11
  7. Ice Cream Man 5:12
  8. Last Night 3:52
  9. Eruption 3:09
  10. We Die Young 3:36
  11. Somebody Get Me A Doctor 4:47
  12. Babe Don't Leave Me Alone 4:14
  13. Let Me Swim In Your Ocean 1:40
  14. She's The Woman 3:23

Total Time - 54:07

The link is in the comments.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Decemberists - KCRW (2009) (mp3, 256kbps)

They put on quite a show at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, PA last night. Em and I are still recovering. Feel free to check out my thoughts on the show at or at the brand-spankin' new It's the same post, but there's now an effort to make some collaborative music blogging happen, so I'm double posting everything.

So, as part of the promotion for their new album, The Hazards of Love, the band stopped off at KCRW and played some of the highlights from the record. This is no substitute for seeing the action go down live and in person, but it at least provide a glimpse of the tasty output presently coming forth forth from this highly ereudite indie rock outfit.

KCRW Radio FM Broadcast
Santa Monica, California.
Source: FM Broadcast

Live In Studio Session @ Time Of Broadcast

AIRED: Friday, May 15, 2009

02.The Hazards of Love 1
03.Won't Want for Love
04.The Hazards of Love 2
06.The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid
07.The Queen's Rebuke
08.The Rake's Song

Colin Meloy - Guitar, Vox
Chris Funk - Guitar, Mandolin, Vox
Jenny Conlee - Piano, Organ
Nate Query - Bass
John Moen - Drums, Vox
Becky Stark - Vox
Shara Worden - Guitar, Vox

The link is in the comments.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Fish - Tales From The Big Bus (1998) (mp3, 160kbps)

Well, we're going to see The Decemberists tomorrow night, and I really don't know anything about them, so it's been a steep education curve over the past few days. The band is fronted and master-mind-ed Collin Meloy, who in his earnestness and eccentricity reminds me of the Fish. The music is different and, of course, Fish is older and has been sloggin away at this rock singer thing for low these many years. But the showmanship and the just-ever-so-slightly-out-of-kilter charisma - Fish has really got it. We'll see what Mr. Meloy looks like tomorrow night and report over at Mpomy HQ.

But to keep things moving at the music blog, and seeing as this title is pretty much out of circulation, here is a fine example of the 1989 Sunsets on Empire Tour. This was the first tour I saw Fish, though not in Koln. But this is the same band and roughly the same set and its a real corker! Enjoy the extended medleys, broken up by Fish's amazing stories of life on the road, badgers and everything else.

CD1 (64:05)
01. Perception of Johnny Punter (11.41) [Dick/Wilson]
02. What Colour is God? (07.21) [Dick/Wilson]
03. Family Business (06.24) [Dick/Simmonds/Lindes]
04. Mr. 1470 (05.32) [Dick/Paterson/Boult]
05. Jungle Ride (08.15) [Dick/Boult]
06. Medley (20.25):
(i) Assassing [Dick/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley]
(ii) Credo [Dick/Simmonds/Boult/Usher]
(iii) Tongues [Dick/Simmonds/Boult/Usher]
(iv) Fugazi [Dick/Rothery/Kelly/Mosley/Trewavas]
(v) White Feather [Dick/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley]

CD2 (50:17)
07. Cliché (08.35) [Dick/Simmonds/Lindes]
08. Brother 52 (06.08) [Dick/Wilson]
09. Lucky (20.14) [Dick/Simmonds/Boult]
10. Internal Exile [Dick/Simmonds/Boult]
11. The Company (08.48) [Dick/Simmonds]

The link is in the comments.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

B. B. King - Toronto Forum (1978) (mp3, 128kbps)

Time for a little blues. If you know nothing else about the blues, you probably know BB King. He's been around a long time, he's extremely well-spoken and respectful - not like all those other scary blues musicians! We can debate the climate of racism during which this artist reached tremendous success till the cows come home.

Oh yeah, one other thing. He's an absolutely filthy guitar player. And that's the real reason he got to where he got. BB took the basic idea of the single note blues that T-Bone Walker really established, and he just made made it so down and dirty and nasty that you can't resist. Just listen and tell me that you disagree.

A big reason that BB has been able to keep it going so long is that he's also a hell of a showman. Even in this recording, you can hear him working the audience and using that energy to get the band into a higher plane of performance. It's so good you can taste it!

1. Caledonia 4:30
2. Night Life 6:35
3. Walking Dr. Bill 4:55
4. monlogue> 3:44
5. Instrumental 6:23
6. Why I Sing The Blues 5:32
7. Never Make Your Move Too Soon 6:16
8. The Thrill Is Gone 6:06
9. outro 1:30

The link is in the comments.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Steve Hackett - Highly Strung (1983) (mp3, vbr)

I usually try not to post something that can readily be obtained through other means. I'll probably earn myself a cease and desist letter for this one. But it was definitely time for some pure prog after all that Wayne Shorter. Not because they're so different, but because they're (also) so similar. The painstaking compositional aspect of those Wayne records from the 80's depends on every note being in the right place. That's just like lots of prog rock! How Wayne was able to do that in a predominantly improvisational format (i.e. Jazz) is beyond me and a testament to his substantial genius.

But back to Mr. Hackett. I'm not saying this particular prog rock masterpiece embodies all those strange and wonderful qualities. On the contrary, Highly Strung is a bit of a romp. Hackett flexes his substantial guitar muscles on the first three tracks, all of which feature his beautiful, harmonic soloing. He then lays it on even thicker with 'Group Therapy' and the aptly titled 'Hackett to Pieces'.

Two things come to mind with this collection of music, especially after listening to all that Wayne Shorter. The first is that Hackett is producing with a much smaller budget. The overall musical impression of the record is just a little more chintzy. I don't know how else to say it. With Wayne's solo records, I feel like there is a beautiful and shimmering quality to the production. As with the composition, everything is just right, and cost is no object.

The second difference, for me at least, is that this music does not seem to be influenced by the popular music of the day, or by any context. Talk about no compromise! It's something that's always been one of Hackett's most admirable qualities. He simply plays what he hears in his head. No one knows where it comes from. Take, for example, the bonus track 'Guitar Boogie'. Ladies and gentleman, this is not blues. I don't care how much the artist tries to tell you different. Calling that song blues is like calling Keith Richards a classical musician. It's just wrong. But that's how Hackett hears it, and, god knows, he can play the shit out of that guitar, so why not?

  1. "Camino Royale" (Hackett, Magnus) – 5:28
  2. "Cell 151" (Hackett) – 6:26
  3. "Always Somewhere Else" (Hackett) – 4:02
  4. "Walking Through Walls" (Hackett) – 3:48
  5. "Give It Away" (Hackett) – 4:08
  6. "Weightless" (Hackett) – 3:31
  7. "Group Therapy" (Hackett) – 5:47
  8. "India Rubber Man" (Hackett) – 2:31
  9. "Hackett to Pieces" (Hackett, Magnus) – 2:40

2007 Remaster Bonus Tracks
10. "Guitar Boogie" - 2:12 11. "Walking Through Walls (Single Edit)" - 5:55 12. "Time Lapse at Milton Keynes" - 3:52

  • John Acock – keyboards
  • Steve Hackett - guitars, vocals
  • Chris Lawrence – contrabass
  • Nick Magnus - keyboards, devices
  • Ian Mosley – drums
  • Nigel Warren-Green – cello
The link is in the comments.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Miles Davis - Dark Magus (1974) (mp3, 160kbps)

Tatu is for me the best recording of the Pete Cosey era. Miles has gone through all his keyboardists. Herbie Hancock, Chic Corea, Kieth Jarrett, Joe Zawinul. He tries little known Cedric Lawsin and then it's no keyboard player. From 1972 to his 1975 exile from music that lasted 6 years, the keboard player in the Miles Davis band was Miles Davis. At 48 years of age, the hard living has clearly caught up with him, but its just as clear that he is unble to stop composing, playing and performing. The keyboard gave him a physically less taxing way to be part of the jam.

But when that trumpet comes forth, oh my! Let me set this up for you on Tatu, the first song on the second disc. No keyboard player, but three guitarists and two saxophones, and drums, and percussion. Nine people on stage at Carnegie Hall, no setlist, no songs. Miles is doing a lot of conducting throughout the performance, composing even as the thing proceeds.

So, Tatu starts with a fairly safe funk riff that Miles introduces on the organ. It's picked up by the guitar and bass, and we get guitar solos trading with Miles' absolutely wicked organ work. Pete Cosey urges him on with soaring and warped effects of his own. Miles is ready to let this jam simmer until around 8:20, when he breaks it down and we get dueling sax solos. Up until this point, it's pretty standard fare for this era. Strong elements of the music on 'Pangea', 'In Concert: Philharmonic' and 'Agarta' are present here. But when the sax solos begin, the three guitars go to a totally different feel. The comping is slow and the chords have a major feel. Henderson's bass stays in a similar groove with offsets, stops and starts, all orchestrated by the bandleader in real time. Miles might be too hurtin' to play much trumpet, but he's feeling the music tonight.

At about 10:26, Henderson picks up on the minimal feel and starts to just lay down the root note, over and over again. The drone effect gives beautiful emphasis to the saxes and guitars. After more than thirteen minutes, we still haven't heard the trumpet once.

Things begin to really devolve around the end of the sax solos. Miles signals change with the keyboard, but it doesn't take. The soloist is having a hard time letting go. But at 15:09, he's rescued by the rhythm guitar of Reggie Lucas. And now it sounds like the Rolling Stones, switching out of that soft major mode and playing some blues! The bass threatens to switch back to what we started with sixteen minutes ago. But oh, what's that? Miles has his horn.

Now this band has to deliver. They have to make way and roll out the red carpet with a groove so tasty, because they probably don't know when this opportunity will come again. He comes into the ring somewhat tentative, but making his intentions clear. Then he's conducting again and getting ready to take flight. The wah-wah pedal and the echo can't hide the obvious pain and difficulty he's having - they just make it louder. This is evil live.

At 18:51 it's time to run back to the safety of the keyboard. It appears that the song is over, but, even if the trumpet solo took a lot out of him (also - you always leave them wanting more!), he's still in the music. So now its back and forth with the rel heavy stuff, led by Miles' atonal assaults on the organ. But in a moment he'll stop with a completely innocuous little riff, something you would hear Zawinul play. In the spirit of a World-Music vibe, we get a finger piano solo. It sounds almost like a toy, and yet it usher's in the big finish.

Miles is in charge all the way. There are no more stops. No more conducting. Now it's time to really see what this band can do. Set up the groove and write the song while you play it. The organ does not play any set progression, it just plays the song, like it was always that way. Starting at 21:35, you have some of the best Miles Davis music ever recorded, and probably some of the most unknown. When that horn comes back for the last time, he doesn't sound pained, he sounds like a prize fighter bouncing around the ring and pumping his fists before the fight. And his band rejoices.

This is hard music, to be sure. And there are no flashy sidemen. That six years without making music had to have been a dark time for Miles. Taking him away from music is like taking music away from music. How could either exist? But through this music, you get to experience the horror of that slide as its happening, while never leaving the relative safety of your own home.

March 30, 1974
Carnegie Hall, New York City

Moja 25:23
Wili 25:02
Tatu 25:21
Nne 25:30

  • Pete Cosey – guitar
  • Miles Davis – organ, trumpet
  • Al Foster – drums
  • Dominique Gaumont – guitar
  • Michael Henderson – bass
  • Azar Lawrence – tenor saxophone
  • Dave Liebman – flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
  • Reggie Lucas – guitar
  • Teo Macero – producer
  • James Mtume – percussion
The link is in the comments