Saturday, December 4, 2010

If I can't have a nickel of your love give me two

A lot of people instantly write off these old bluegrass ramblers assuming they have nothing to offer. "Modern" music certainly eschews any semblance of Hurley's mountain melancholy, in the same way our society erroneously marginalizes the value of nature or a simple lifestyle. I think Hurley embraces dejection because it affords him much more than what can be gained by pandering to market tastes-- I've seen him billed as a "folkie shaman" and have to believe in his lilting libations for the unappreciated, if not somewhat demented (idiosyncratic).

Michael Hurley - Weatherhole

Plus I have always nursed a soft spot for musician/visual artists, and the mouth trumpet for that matter, check out some of Hurley's paintings and wolf comics in this video for "Rue of Ruby Whores" the song that drew me to this album in the firstplace

Monday, November 1, 2010

Andean Invasion!

The International Time Machine makes another stopover in South America to sort through some great records from Peru. I hadn't thought much about Peruvian music until I got my hands on two El Polen records and realized I was making a huge mistake. These are only two of several albums I've come across recently so if you enjoy them you can look forward to at least a few more in the coming months.

Los Sideral's self titled record is lush and very diverse. Each song is a unique blend of different regional and international patterns; cumbia, go-go, balada, surf, and American instrumental rock from the 1950's

Los Sideral's (1967)

Though nearly 50 years shy of actual modernity these Incas certainly sampled a wide range of their musical contemporaries to produce this delightful synthesis of greaser rock, crooning, and surf.

Los Incas Modernos (1962)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fighting against reality

Fire fe the Vatican, blood for the poor man.
Revelations say, so the prophets say

Monday, October 25, 2010

"Spider" John Koerner and Willie Murphy - Running, Jumping, Standing Still

Released in 1967, "Running Jumping Standing Still" is one of the most unique and underrated albums of the folk boom, perhaps the only psychedelic ragtime blues album ever made. It brims over with boisterous energy and stellar playing, driven by John Koerner’s distinctive guitar work and Willie Murphy’s dynamic piano," as some guy wrote many years ago. Personally, I think the term "folk" doesn't do this album justice. "Psychedelic ragtime blues" is more adequate. Songs like "Old Brown Dog", perhaps the highlight of the album, also meander in and out of a jazzy kind of swing. This culminates in a well-crafted sound not commonly found elsewhere. This time traveler finds it unfortunate that Koerner and Murphy never made another recording together.

I Wish My Nickname Was Spider

Monday, October 11, 2010

Paul Horn - Inside (the Taj Mahal)

Fairly straightforward. Flute music recorded in 1968 inside the Taj Mahal, with vocal assistance from a man I assume to be the night-shift janitor. You might enjoy the serious amount of natural reverberation on this recording. Good for chill-out sessions or preparing for a gladiator style rumble with a nemesis. Paul Horn will steady the ape-mind.

An Extraordinary Flautist

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Raincoats

As far as rock music goes the apparent majority of musicians seem to be dudes. Svelt rockers with attitude, leather/denim jacket, bottom lip jutting into the wind, backs turned to an obfuscating, tyrannical world. But are we really in the position to kick out the best jams? I mean sure we can be disenfranchised and who isn't, but the global paradigm really works for men and our objections to the status quo are marginal since we have been, are, and will be treated preferentially by the system well into the foreseeable future. Hell, it's the ladies that get the bootheel-- staying home making dinner while Johnny is our rockin'andarollin' and then patching his torn up jeans after he crashes his hog on the way home from the bar, shiiiiiiiiiiiit. While dinner was getting cold on the table Ana da Silva got miffed, picked up Johnny's guitar and voila!

The Raincoats first album is entirely composed of incisive songs that reflect the nuance of society with sensitivity and clarity eschewing the standard song formula and instrumental line-up. There were certainly all-girl groups before them, and female singers and musicians who were both popular and talented, but the coats seem to intentionally flout gender role determinism in music and reject abject sexual discrimination outright with a "fuck you, we live in the same world as you deadbeats but it's harder for us even though we have better songs than you pricks." Their songs are beautiful and pragmatic-- tumbling melodic music and emotionally expressive lyrics. Certainly healthier for the spirit then the hypersexuallity or introverted anger of their male compatriots. The Raincoats' legacy of music and attitude informs the "femmes fatales" of modern rock who seem to have affectionately appropriated the spirit of these songs like the girls of Grass Widow who seem, at times, a reincarnation of these pentatonic pioneers.

The Raincoats

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Minutemen - The Anchor

November 15, 1984

Alton Ellis

Alton Ellis is dubbed the "godfather of Rocksteady" and by virtue of that title is also the paterfamilias of Jamaica's reggae styles. Rocksteady is a synthesis of ska, which was on it's way out of mainstream popularity by the mid 60's, Reggae and Dub which would only become distinct styles of their own a few years after Alton Ellis and Jamaican producers pioneered the techniques and rhythms that would become mainstays of the island's cultural identity. Ellis habitually adopted American pop songs to his own musical style and imported jump blues and doo-wop styles to the island along with them.

Releasing singles on 7" records was the main mode of distribution through the florescence of Rocksteady and well into the Reggae age so most of Ellis' full length records are compilations of different singles and frankly a little hit or miss so I made this compilation of my personal favorites and songs that telegraph later styles.

Alton Ellis - Sun of Jamaica

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Milton Nascimento - Minas

Hamhock swore to his mother that if he ever started an International Time Machine, he would post some Milton Nascimento. In 1972, Milton recorded Clube Da Esquina (meaning Corner Club) with some of his Brazilian familiars. This would be the first of four consecutive flawless albums released by the otherworldly musician, including Milagre dos Peixes (Miracle of the Fish) and Minas (Mines), ending with 1976's Geraes (Generations). Milton Nascimento's vocal abilities are impressive in their own right, but his avant-garde approach to making music sets him apart from other Brazilian musicians of the period. This reporter's most intoxicating musical experiences have been delivered courtesy of Nascimento's partially-free and meandering tropical jazz/bossanova explorations. Minas is attached here for your perusal, arguably the least accessible and most rewarding of Mr. Nascimento's masterpieces. Includes an ambitious re-imagining of the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood". If you want more, express yourself.

Check out "Idolatrada"

Kill for Peace

Throughout my years piloting the goodship Duggee through time and space I have noticed only one pervasive slogan foisted upon every continent, planet, galaxy and universe -- "Kill for Peace"

Barrington Levy - Shaolin Temple

1979 album from Dancehall master Barrington Levy. I am especially fond of this album cover. It appears that an enraged dragon is trying to burn down Barrington's kabuki hut, so how did Barrington respond? He put on his burlap dress and danced in the street. Incredible.

Shaolin Temple

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's a live beat man

A great album of upbeat dance music for the masses from Ghana, 1974. Beautiful, intricate call-and-response pattern betweeen organ and guitar
Sweet Talks - The Kusum Beat

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Congos - Heart of the Congos

Made in 1977 at Lee Perry's Black Ark studio, "Heart of the Congos" offers a dense reggae morsel for your mastication. Singers Cedric Myton and Roydel Johnson work quite well together, either harmonizing or overlapping melodies. Sonically, the record is pretty spacey with static interjections and the occasional filter pass among solid grooves. Hamhock doesn't think it gets much better than this. If you don't trust me:

Heart of the Congos

Mac Rybell - The Lantern

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Souleymane Faye, Zabadak

Holy Spirits - Thapelo Ea Holy Spirits

This little pot of archived treasure was birthed in South Africa in 1987. The cover art features the group's Yamaha Guru flanked by his mostly-underaged choral minions.  Beyond the humble photograph lies an album rich with vocal layers and Yamaha mojo. "Holy Spirits" would be an appropriate name here, but not in the stodgy, Catholic sense. Nay, this music would be ideal at a posthumous soiree with one's dead friends and family members, grooving together for the first time in a long time.

HAMHOCK recommends the title track

Mulatu Astatke - Tezeta

Mulatu Astake is an Ethiopian jazz composer and sublime vibraphone player who studied in the States and came up around the same time as Bobby Hutcherson- the smooth American on the vibes. Mulatu was the first African student of music at Berklee and worked under Duke Ellington for some time, jealously guarding his ethiocentric sensibilities for his return home to soothe his politically unstable nation with lilting beauties like this

This song's name translates to mean "Nostalgia" and thus aims to evoke, remind. Softening time; some memories seemingly forgotten find themselves looked upon with fond sweetness, for the callous determinism of time/past simply doesn't apply to time travelers. Memories malleable and non-temporal are a place for subtlety and nuance, the subdued ecstasy of possibility presides over ephemeral reality -- Time and Space are much richer than even the mystical or ecstatic could have imagined.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mustafa Özkent Orchestra - Gençlik Ile Elele

Hamhock's International Time Machine liked Mr. Koray so much it dug up another Turkish solo-guitar gem from neighboring 1973.

If Erkin Koray was the first Turk to rock Mustafa Özkent was among the first wave of guitar explorers to say "amına koyim" and let American sensibilities inflect his traditional tutelage. Özkent had a custom guitar with extra frets to blend distinctly anatolian melodies with psychedelic song structures, backed up by a driving and exceptionally dynamic rhythm section.

Traditional Turkish Boogaloo

Erkin Koray - Elektronik Turkuler

Hamhock's International Time Machine says: "What up? Let us strut on over to Turkey, circa 1974."

Erkin Koray is considered the first man to play "rock and roll music" in Turkey. On several occasions, he was assaulted for doing so. He was also stabbed for having long hair, like a sissy Turkette. Mr. Koray persisted and released an exceptional album of psychedelic, yet distinctly un-American, rock jams, Elektronik Turkuler. I don't know what a turkuler is, but clearly, Koray electrified one and paved the way for other rebellious long-haired Anatolians to express themselves without getting sliced in an alley.

 Cheers to Erk the Turk