I don’t do activism but…

This

(which I’m doing because I don’t and won’t do twitter, but those of you who do who might agree that this is boneheadedness in an unusual capacity might want to tell the person who proposed it – assuming he’s even remotely willing to listen to a contrary opinion).

My actual views on copyright, even the very notion of intellectual property, would be very unfashionable in a materialistic paradigm such as the one I seem to be currently living in. Suffice it to say that I think it not only a legal nonsense but also completely redundant in the actual way the actual universe actually works, which will become immediately apparent to anyone who wants to spend a bit of actual time actually looking.

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The Bug vs Earth – Concrete Desert

bugearthI have long loved both The Bug and Earth, obviously for very different reasons. The Bug’s London Zoo in particular was righteous in its wrath and groovy in its execution, whilst Earth’s catalogue (particularly since the comeback) is one often inducive to deep relaxation and meditation. You might not think they would make obvious collaborators, in other words.

Of course, if my finger ever came out of its shell-like and went and tried to find the pulse, then I might have been aware that this has been brewing a while since they did a single a little way back.

On this release, Kevin Martin seems to work to Dylan Carlsons’ strengths, letting the guitarist dictate the pace whilst he complements the tones with a sound that I find myself calling glacial paranoia. The grooves are there, but they’re dialled back. It’s about the atmosphere, which is dark and resonant. Ambient industrial grime, if you want a label.

Despite the fact that the times we live in are frankly a riot of chaos, I could imagine this as a surreal soundtrack to them.

 

 

Anna von Hausswolff – The Miraculous

avhSo, at the beginning of the year I did a compilation post of my favourite stuff of the year preceding. The two final entries on it hadn’t been featured on Soundbergs, although Pridjevi subsequently got one, and now Anna von Hausswolff too… actually because these two albums have been the most heavily played of this year.

There’s a write-up about the album here which goes into some of the philosophy behind it, but doesn’t mention anything about a story running across the album, which I most certainly hear. Wonder whether that is me projecting? Serious resonance, anyway.

Musically, it’s heavy. Not in the Metal sense, though guitars get crunchy and beats get poundy in a couple of songs, Swans have been invoked when that happens. But its heavy because the organ sound is so intense, because Anna tells such a story that fits it perfectly, because of the images it conjures, because it actually has the ability to completely possess the soul when you give yourself up to this album. The word awesome is often used wrongly (i.e. people say ‘awesome’ when they mean ‘quite good,’ when the word is actually meant to refer to marvellous things that are also a little bit overwhelming, scary – its a biblical word, dammit!) but can and should be used right(eous)ly when describing The Miraculous. Not to mention the vocals, which aren’t afraid of pyrotechnics, but are always tasteful and appropriate.

You know how you wake up, and there’s a song in your head? Well, the other morning I somehow managed to wake up and have this entire album in my head. Impossible to describe something like that, although it’s also true that it is impossible to describe music anyway. The only description that matters is this: IFL this album.

 

Fela Kuti – Zombie

 

You know, I’d forgotten why I started this blog, which was actually to say nice stuff about fabulous music regardless of how long I’ve known about it. The pursuit of novelty is not one of the modern age’s better drugs.

So, Zombie, then. In truth I could post any Fela Kuti album, I just happen to be really digging on this one at the moment. Six tracks, all between 10 and 15 minutes long, with such a righteous groove. This is ‘Afrobeat’ at its best, funky and hypnotic. All players get to express themselves in the rhythm, the singers get to do the call and response thing which is a brilliant way of putting words to music. And the brass – the brass is brilliant.

Because I haven’t noticed an obvious way to embed the album, here’s some youtubes of some songs on it. First, the title track:

Mister Follow Follow:

Observation is No Crime:

My favourite on the album -Mistake:

Everything Scatter:

Monkey Banana:

Turns out I found the whole album on Youtube! If you’ve got an hour to spare, sit back and enjoy this fantastic music.

As I said earlier, any album by this man will bring you joy, should you happen to be a fan of long, funky, snaking grooves as I am.

Lobi Traore

a4065602372_16Having mentioned that I’m fond of the desert blues (which to my mind is a lazy way of saying ‘music made by people who live in the desert regions of North Africa using guitars’ but I am NOT going to call this ‘world music’), I figured its about time I posted some of this stuff. SO here’s one I bought as one of my recent payday treats.

Lobi Traore was from Mali and made several albums in the 90s and 00s before an untimely death. There is a description of his life here which is much better than I can do.

What I really love about the music from this area is that you can hear the space so vividly. This naturally leads me to make many musings on the idea of what the other music that I listen to says about the environment of the people making that music. Of course, this may only be true of ‘honest‘ music.

Some time back – many years, in fact, because this is a story about TV and I don’t watch that by choice since many years ago – I watched a program about the blues. The point was made by one of the African people interviewed that the main difference between African music and the blues was that the blues had a sadness and a bitterness due to the maltreatment of the slaves which tumbled down into the music of subsequent generations. Although admittedly not an authority, my dad reckoned that was bollocks because he thought there was a lot of joy in the blues, on account of how much of it is basically songs about fucking, and things don’t get all that much more joyful than that. I don’t think this is an either/or question though; music has room for both, and more besides.

This music here sounds more on the joyful end, to me. The sheer pleasure of playing is evident in the recorded performance, which must have meant it was even more evident in the flesh, hence why the guy had such a reputation in his backyard.

 

Evil Blizzard – Everybody come to church

Blizzard-Church-album-cover-300x300I mentioned that I was going to buy this album, and buy this album I did, on CD. And unlike the twerp who writes the weekly email updates from Norman Records, I rather like it.

Evil Blizzard are not a band you come to in order to radically rewrite your conception of self and/or music, unless your conception of self and/or music is so limited that it cannot include fun and theatre. I would say they are much more about the live experience, but there still has to be decent material, and this material is very decent indeed, especially ‘Sacrifice‘ (that link takes you to the version from their split with Mamuthones earlier this year, which is a different recording but not a fundamentally different version).

Their last.fm page (boy has that site gone downhill with its latest upgrade – I may very well desert it) mentions ‘more sonic madness than Hawkwind,’ which is a fairly accurate general ballpark description, although I’m not sure about ‘more.’ A couple of songs have a guitar on, though, despite their line up being only bass players and a drummer – unless my ears have been very cleverly deceived.

It’s fair to say that the world needs Evil Blizzard.