Music Department News
-Mohammed "Jimmy" Mohammed - Hulgizey (TERP)
-V/A - Lipa Kodi Ya City Council (MISSISSIPPI)
-V/A - Black Mirror: Reflections in Global Musics (1918-1955) (DUST-TO-DIGITAL)
-V/A - Melodii Tuva (DUST-TO-DIGITAL)
-Prasant Radhakrishnan - East Facing (LOTUS MUSIC)
Quite a diverse roundup of exciting new/reissued world music releases we've got here. First up is a live recording from blind Ethiopian singer Mohammed "Jimmy" Mohammed, who sadly passed away almost one year ago on December 17, 2006 from a bad case of pneumonia. Jimmy's performance is still outstanding despite his poor health at the time, his voice dancing over longtime musical partners Mesele Asmamaw's 5-string harp-like instrument (called a krar) and Asnake Gebreyes' traditional percussion instrument, the kebero. Powerful stuff. Mississippi Records is a fantastic little label based in Portland, and their latest limited, hand-silkscreened LP is a compilation of incredible music from all over Africa, recorded between 1967-1972, and featuring a variety of styles and other-worldly sounds. How they found this stuff, I'd like to know. Reissue professionals Dust-To-Digital recently sent us an early Christmas package with two new compilations, both of which are expectedly spectacular. Black Mirror plays like a killer world music mixtape, compiled by Ian Nagoski (owner of True Vine records in Baltimore) from his massive collection of vinyl 78s, most tracks of which have never been issued on CD until now. It's an incredibly broad showcase of world music, so please take your time and explore - you really can't pick a bad track. Melodii Tuva is a collection of Tuvan throat singing that was originally released in the Soviet Union in 1969, just a few decades after the folk tradition began appearing in public performances. A variety of throat-singing styles are featured, ranging from acapella pieces to accompaniment by a variety of folk instrumentation. Prasant Radhakrishnan is a San Francisco saxophonist who has studied Carnatic music of South India since his teenage years, particularly exploring the oft scrutinized role of the saxophone in the genre, which he masterfully incorporates into this set of ragas with violinist B.U. Ganeshprasad. Plenty of choices here, and it'll be tough to make a bad one.
-Theo Angell and the Tabernacle Hillside Singers - Auraplinth (Digitalis)
-Samara Lubelski - Parallel Suns (Social Registry)
-Climax Golden Twins - 5 Cents A Piece (Abduction)
-Red Krayola - Sighs Trapped By Liars (Drag City)
-Damon and Naomi - Within These Walls (20/20/20)
A wide range of psychedelic acoustics with pop sensibilities here, everything from sleepy melodies to Sun City Girls-style jams. Brooklyn artist Theo Angell returns to WXYC rotation after his enchanting debut full-length last year, and his new record finds a more stripped down sound, relying mainly on his guitar, nasally croon and sparse choral accompaniment. Samara has just released her third solo full-length of frolicking whispers, though she's been actively involved in psych-folk scene since the early 90s with acts like Hall of Fame and Tower Recordings. Very nice and quite cozy. Climax Golden Twins make their Abduction debut after over a decade of music-making - a fitting home for their shambled field recordings and electric folk jams, served up on a lovely piece of 180 gram vinyl. Mayo Thompson has been crafting a variety of psych-rock and acoustic tunes under the Red Krayola name since he started it back in 1966, and the new record finds a return to collaboration with conceptual art collective Arts & Language, first explored on Kangaroo? in 1981. Ex-Galaxie 500 peeps Damon and Naomi return with their seventh overall full-length, inviting Ghost guitarist Michio Kurihara to add guitar lines to Naomi's sweet vocals and a new host of horn accompaniment. A very sophisticated group of records on this one - everyone's nicely dressed in a fly thrift store find ... but the collar is a bit crooked, jacket a tad too tight, and the tie is flashing neon ...
-Disrupt - Foundation Bit (Werk)
-Burial - Untrue (Hyperdub)
-Rockford Kabine - Italian Music: 31 Invalid Movie Themes (Combination)
-Prefuse 73 - Preparations (Warp)]
-Blockhead - Uncle Tony's Coloring Book (Ninja Tune)
Here we've got an RPM card that started with dubbed-out intentions, but developed a bit differently. Disrupt is the moniker for Jan Gleichmar, who makes electronic dub textures played at a slow rollick, with digital flashes, evolving bass and saturated delay skulking throughout. Very well done, slow and steady. You probably remember Burial from his masterful debut LP that was recently in rotation, and Untrue is his much-anticipated follow-up, kicking up the tempo just a tad and incorporating a more discernible level of R&B; vocal samples. Not quite as captivating as the debut, but still nice for late-night loners. Scott Herren and his Prefuse 73 project might be familiar as well, and Perparations is his fourth full-length, continuing down his well-worn path of twirling beat soundscapes. Blockhead (aka Anthony Simon) is a producer from Manhattan, who's received the most recognition for his work with Aesop Rock, providing the beats for his latest record, None Shall Pass. Uncle Tony's Coloring Book is another solo joint from Simon, featuring instrumental beat breaks with a bevy of colliding funk samples. Rockford Kabine is a German duo/media production team consisting of Antony Sharas and Marlon Marlon, and they've created a bizarre little concept record that plays as the soundtrack to a fictional Italian horror film, with 31 rather minimal, brief instrumental beats - a combination of "snippet-pop" and "acid smurf" (the latter of which they claim to have invented). Check out the trailer via their Myspace page: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendi...
-High on Fire - Death Is This Communion (Relapse)
-Mammal - Lonesome Drifter (Animal Disguise)
-Pig Destroyer - Phantom Limb (Relapse)
-Om - Pilgrimage (Southern Lord)
Metal returns to rotation for the first time in a while - aren't you excited? Ex-Sleep guitarist Matt Pike and his power trio High on Fire release their fourth full-length, employing Jack Endino on production and stepping up to an even glossier finish than their last Albini-produced album - removing pretty much all traces of stoner sludge and focusing on instrumental pyrotechnics. The former Sleep membership continues with Om: the band's two members, Al Cisneros (bass, vocals) and Chris Hakius were also members of the group along with Pike. Their last full-length, Conference of the Birds, crept into WXYC's Best of '06 list, and Pilgrimage is another outing of meditation metal, droning in a monotonous vocal tone and dark psychedelia. Mammal is the project for Detroit-based Gary Beauvais, wading in a stagnant stench of biting guitar distortion and sparse drum machine accompaniment, treading in lurid circles. Pig Destroyer have been active in the DC harDCore scene since '99, and Phantom Limb is their fifth full-length, showcasing an impressive display of searing guitar leads, brutal vocal roars and blast beat abuse. Just because they have a silly name doesn't mean they can't kick your ass.
-V/A - Carolina Funk (Jazzman)
-V/A - Jamaican Funk (Soul Jazz)
-Dorothy Ashby - The Rubiayat of Dorothy Ashby (Cadet/Dusty Groove America)
-The Ikettes - Can't Sit Down ... Cos It Feels So Good! (Ace)
-V/A - The Roots of Chicha (Barbes)
Our beloved freely-associated funk card, linking everything from hometown soul goodness to Peruvian working class jams. WXYC's own former station manager Jason Perlmutter is the star of this one, curating the much-anticipated compilation of 60s and 70s funk music from North and South Carolina. And boy, it's good - featuring a variety of styles and very well-researched/written liner notes that are obviously required reading. The other comp with funk in the name hails mainly from Kingston, and showcases Jamaican artists who incorporated a heavy funk/soul influence into their distinct reggae-rooted sounds. The Rubiayat of Dorothy Ashby is a reissue from 1970, featuring arrangements by Chicago soul-man Richard Evans, melting into a funky stew of delay and bubbling breeze, dedicated to the writings of Omar Khayyam. Robbie Montgomery, Jessie Smith, and Venetta Fields make up the Ikettes, who sang backup for Ike Turner in the 60s while recording several singles for Modern records. UK reissue label Ace has remastered their only full-length, the Modern singles, and some unreleased cuts for this collection. The Roots of Chicha has been burning up my stereo quite a bit lately, and features six different Peruvian bands that existed in the late 60s/early 70s who blended Columbian cumbias and tropical percussion with the electric guitar and organ flare of the American/British psychedelic explosion. Take a deep breath and explore accordingly.
-Phosphorescent - Pride (Dead Oceans)
-MV & EE with the Bummer Road - Gettin ' Gone (Ecstatic Peace)
-Akron/Family - Love Is Simple (Young God)
-Michael Hurley - Ancestral Swamp (Gnomonsong)
A nice variety of folk-based takes from several interesting artists. MV&EE; are back again after their Green Blues release on Ecstatic Peace earlier in the year, finding the group steering their stoned folk wanderings into a more straightforward Crazyhorse direction. Brooklyn hippie-folk Akron/Family deliver a lyrically sappy but musically great record - their second full-length - coming off a tour with Raleigh-based Megafaun as their backing band. Michael Hurley is an old favorite, and his new record is charming as ever, his first for freak-folk dude Devendra's Gnomonsong label, and a welcoming blend of acoustic beauty. Phosphorescent's Matthew Houck gets the card pick here from me though with his third full-length, crafting a warm, heartfelt release of downtrodden gospel and empty whiskey bottles. Oldham comparisons are still legit, though don't be so quick dismiss Houck's songwriting skill and well-executed recording haze.
-V/A - Everything is a Theory (CEPHIA'S TREAT)
-WZT Hearts - Threads Rope Spell Making Your Bones (CARPARK)
-Eric Copeland - Hermaphrodite (PAW TRACKS)
-Sunroof! - Panzer Division Lou Reed (VHF)
This one's a doozy. Weird digital warmth and confrontational catastrophes, with some familiar faces to WXYC rotation. David bought the Cephia's Treat comp from some Tampa-based peeps at the final Farrior road basement show in Raleigh, and it features 26 unreleased cuts from a slew of like-minded havoc-wreakers who have played in the Florida/Tampa area together, including: Pengo, 16 Bitch Pile-Up, Sword Heaven, Dead/Birds, etc. etc. WZT Hearts' first album was in rotation about a year ago, and their new one is slathered with more electronic prickles and digital static manipulations, bathed in laptop constructions and a thunderous drum foundation. You might be familiar with Eric Copeland and his membership in Brooklyn-based Black Dice (who's new record has also just been added to rotation as well), and Hermaphrodite is his first solo album, compiled from recordings he did over the past couple years. UK underground god Matthew Bower and his Sunroof! project is back and at its most crushing yet, featuring abrasive distortion walls and contributions from John Moloney (drums) and Mick Flower (guitar) for the opening jam. Be careful and be safe.
-Little Brother - Get Back (ABB/Hall of Justus)
-MF Grimm - The Hunt For the Gingerbread Man (Class A/Day By Day)
-Percee P - Perseverance (Stone's Throw)
-Rob Sonic - Sabotage Gigante (Def Jux)
For this round of fresh hip hop we've got local Durham boys Little Brother dropping their third full-length, returning to ABB after dropping both Atlantic records and founding member/producer 9th Wonder from their roster, who produces only one track on the new album. Percee P is a seasoned veteran in the underground game, an extremely talented "fast-rapper" finally seeing his solo "debut" full-length with Mr. Madlib on production, after two decades of releasing a variety of singles and collaborations. Rob Sonic hails from Brooklyn and harps heavily on lightning-quick apocalypse, with amped-up adrenaline rhymes about weapons of mass destruction. MF Grimm is the winner on this one - a delightfully deranged tour through Candyland, following the exploits of Grimm's alter ego, the Gingerbread Man ( Gingy). Full of clever candy metaphors and sinister beats, The Hunt ... is a sophisticated gangster masterpiece reduced to child's play, engaging from start to finish.
-Ju Suk Reet Meate - Solo 78/79 or Do Unseen Hands Keep You Dumb? (De Stijl)
-V/A - From the Kitchen Archives 4: Composers Inside Electronics (Orange Mountain)
-David Watson - Fingering an Idea (XI)
-Area C - Haunt (Last Visible Dog)
-Brian Harnetty - American Winter (Atavistic)
Odd experimental crackles and droning jubilee surround this group. Ju Suk Reet Meate is a founding member of weirdo collective Smegma, and this lost classic compiles four compositions that he recorded all by his lonesome in 1978-79, reissued by the good folks at De Stijl. It's a truly bizarre trip throughout, featuring decomposing blues, tape trickery and early plunderphonics interwoven into an odd mash of manipulated radio broadcasts and wandering guitars tossed in a cement mixer with a trumpet, some Robitussin and a bag of broccoli. I hope you're not tired of New Zealand native David Watson and his amazing approach to the bagpipe, because Fingering an Idea is an incredible two-disc package: disc 1 containing intoxicating pipe drones and disc 2 showcasing contemplated bursts of cold guitar mechanics. Area C hail from Providence, formed by Erik Carlson and expanded here to include fellow Farfisa enthusiast Jeff Knoch. Together, they cultivate humming guitar/organ dissonance that clamors and coalesces interchangeably. Brian Harnetty was one of the first Appalachian Music Fellow at Berea College in Kentucky, and has since relocated to Columbus, Ohio, where he's been crafting a crackling blend of reel-to-reel meanderings, radio plays, toy piano, and prepared piano tinkerings, culminating in this full-length for Atavistic. The fourth installment in the Kitchen Archives series finds live compositions from the likes of David Tudor, Martin Kalve, John Driscoll, Bill Viola, and Phil Edenstein, all performed with a variety of homemade electronics at the Chelsea in NYC. Have a seat, and please administer your medication if you haven't already.
-Ear Pwr - We Less Than 3 (frequeNC)
-Sunburned Hand of the Man - Fire Escape (Smalltown Supersound )
-Black Dice - Load Blown (Paw Tracks)
-Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - (Hall of Records)
-Oh Astro - Champions of Wonder (Illegal Art)
The focus here emphasizes electronic-infused zaniness, from silly roller-rink beats to twisted electronic loops. Asheville duo Ear Pwr drop an exciting 12" EP for local frequeNC imprint, showcasing erotic synth thumps and booty-moving anthems. Mind the FCC-dirty tracks though, please. The latest from Massachusetts psych/ stoner-improv collective Sunburned Hand finds the group getting a studio treatment from the likes of Mr. Four Tet himself (Kieran Hebden), who arranged, edited and produced a four-hour recording session of the group at his London studio. Ac confusing concept for the group, yes, but a little direction doesn't hurt every now and then. Black Dice keep delving further into weird technoise, and their fourth full-length is a disorienting spin of dismantled beats and grumbling electronics. Mr. Pink releases another collection of pre-recorded material with his Haunted Graffiti moniker, with jams all laid to tape in 2000-01. They still sound very nice - if you don't get distracted by the melted cassette passages, maybe you can sing along. Oh Astro is the moniker for plunderphonic husband/wife duo Jane Dowe and Hank Hofler, who mangle a variety of lifted samples through cut and paste digital processing, ending up with twisted digi-pop. An eclectic mix of damaged goods and florescent hayrides from this group ... TAKE THE TICKET.