The Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band – Planet Lam

planetlamThis is quite unlike anything I’ve heard before. Caveat: This is only the second example of  Thai music I’ve knowingly listened to, the first was an album of traditional music by Pong Lang.

This is apparently a reinvigoration of a traditional style known as Molam. Also, there is quite clearly at least one westerner in this line-up. Look at the dude on the right, who may have at least some reponsibility for the obvious western influence in some of the tunes, The Adventures of Sinsai especially combining a fairly standard rock beat and bassline with a wonderful Thai style melody played on an instrument I cannot guess at to marvellous effect. They also incorporate dub stylings very well indeed at times. My favourite tune, the indescribably wonderful Namtok (Waterfall) is impossible to put into words, really laid back with a sparse backdrop and meandering guitar over the top. Indeed, there’s a passage of tunes in the middle of the album that really, really, float my boat. The narrative of the album seems to get more and more traditional as it continues.

It doesn’t sound a million miles from folk music at times, which might be a silly thing to say because Molam is probably a folk music by definition. In fact, there might be a clue there. I wonder how much similarity there is across the various folk musics across the world? Then perhaps, supposing you’ve already clocked the strange similarities in mythologies across the world, and for the sake of argument may have noticed similarities in certain rituals from different parts too… well, makes y’think. If thinking is your thang, anyway.

 

3rd Ear Experience – Peacock Black

3rdearWe interrupt this day at work to write a hasty blog post in my tea break about this group who have just been brought to my attention courtesy of  Isiah Mitchell’s Trippy Jam blog, which may go long periods without updates but is guaranteed to drop some gems your way if you keep it on your radar.

3rd Ear Experience do that improvisational space rock cosmic groove thing that you need in your life. I’m reminded of Our Solar System, whom I obvioulsy love in a way mere words cannot capture,  and also (a mellower) Ozric Tentacles. These are not short tunes. They are recorded on the outskirts of a desert, and a desert has no time for pop music as any fule kno.

The particular album I’ve embedded is a couple of years old, and doesn’t have the tune that was on the Trippy Jam post, so I’ll be trying to track that down in order to wistfully stare at it too.

Also, 3rd Ear Experience number Doug Pinnick from Kings X among their ranks. Now, I used to listen to Gretchen Goes to Nebraska quite a lot back in the early 90s, round about the same era that I listened to Tribe a lot. Around the time I did the Tribe post I did also wonder about Kings X. Obviously it’s a complete coincidence that this should land, then. Obviously. A. Complete. Coincidence.

Really like this, though, and will be checking out what other stuff I can find by them.

Goat – Requiem

requiemstill don’t quite know how to handle Goat, which may be a sign of genius on their part and/or stupidity on mine. I even wrote a 4-part opinion inspired by them not long after I started this blog. And continuing that relationship, I had this album in my Bandcamp wishlist prior to its birth and once it was out, I went to listen to it. After 6 songs, I removed it from my wishlist, but kept it playing anyway. By the end of the album I’d done a 180 and bought it.

What you may gather from that is that the best stuff is on the second half of the album, although my subsequent repeated listening has opened up many of the treasures to be found in the first few songs too. Not surprisingly, it’s the longer tunes that are my favourite; Goatband in particular emphasising a kind of Fleetwood Mac-having-a-jam feel, and is currently up there amongst my favourite tunes of the year.

The styles range from psych-tinged afro-pop to the aforementioned 70s behemoth approach, with occasionally hypnagogic moments to the melodies and regular snake-like rhythms. Indeed, one such rhythm it was that inspired my dive back into the Fela Kuti catalogue a few months back when it was the b-side on a recent single.

The back story might be a load of old bollocks, but the music is often great, as well as fun and thought provoking. I also think it would make a great soundtrack for dancing around campfires, something I need to do more often.

 

Black Bombain and Peter Brötzmann

black-bombaim-and-peter-brotzmannBlack Bombain seem to me to be born collaborators. Their live jam from late last year was a seriously good piece of music, and if you haven’t heard their collaboration with Gnod, then you should know that Black Gnod’s Innerspace recording comes with the highest possible recommendation from Soundbergs Towers.

This time they’ve teamed up with free jazz maestro Peter Brötzmann, himself no stranger to the collaborative arts, resulting in a superlative work of one of my favourite sub-mashup-genres, saxophone psych. There should be more horns and brass atop these swirling guitar maelstroms generally, and I speak as a guitarist who never used to like brass at all. Brass is the one class of instrument I absolutely cannot play at all, which may be related; however, it adds a tonal element to the ‘psych-rock’ mix which complements it superbly. A whole field with relatively few visitors.

It fascinates me how music that quite obviously came together on the spot can nevertheless sound so coherent and, you know, purposive. Having done some improv over the years (all the best Itto tunes came into being that way) I have an idea; it’s like tuning into some music and being the vehicle of its expression rather than ‘separate’ beings somehow all being creative in the same way at the same time. Maybe we receive before we can transmit? On a very basic level, that is exactly true – you have to listen to your collaborators (receive) if you want to complement the overall sound (transmit). However, there were times when all of us suddenly changed direction at the same time without prompt – you can’t put those experiences into words, and neither can you take the idea of a flat universe seriously anymore.

The music comes with the guarantee that it is good, not that it will make you think mystical things, although that may happen if you are so inclined. You can score it from shhpuma or Lovers and Lollipops

Fantasy collaboration time: imagine Valerio Cosi collaborating with Oneida? (drools like Homer Simpson…)

Nudity is God’s creation

isgodscreationRoughly some time ago, I and my friend Gareth swapped music via the then quite new method of the USB memory stick. He glanced through the list of folders on my 4 gig kingston and said, ‘blimey, I’ve only heard of about 5 of these and I thought I liked obscure music…’ Also, he could not get over the name of Kiss the Anus of a Black Cat. Also, he discovered Appliance, who were wonderful and really deserve a long devotional post from someone.

Bantering a couple of years later, he said to me ‘the thing about you is you like albums so obscure that even the band who made them forgot they did it!’

Which made me immediately show him Nudity’s Last.Fm page:

lastfm

(sidebar: go on, do an internet search for ‘nudity.’ I dares ya).

Now, since the above exchange, I think munikate has actually edited the comment, because it worked even better in context originally than it does now, although it still works a bit. Can you enlighten, munikate?

Still makes a good story though. Also, when I wrote my comment, Sons of Itto were in the similar artists. That may have been because Nudity’s listener count was barely higher than ours, and I was caning both at one time.

I was caning the ‘Winter in Red’ album in particular (which munikate seems to have called the nightfeeder’s album), and this thing makes up the latter part of Nudity is God’s Creation, released lately on Cardinal Fuzz. The first part is made up of Nudity’s self titled debut, and there’s a couple of unreleased tracks separating them. The albums were initially released only on limited CD-R runs, and my exposure came via another swap with someone of various files. Remember, kids: home taping is killing music.

Both releases were and are fantastic. The first is more roughly recorded and produced but has a wonderful energy about it. The second section of This Man may have predicted the emergence of the rather good Narcosatanicos, whilst Moon Druids is just batshit crazy in the best possible sense – imagine pastoral psych done in a NWOBHM style.

The latter part of the album, which I shall insist on calling ‘Winter in Red’ until someone from the band tells me not to, has a mere three tracks but will take a lot more of your listening time than the self titled. Naturally, I love it! Most deffo is this music my brother would not like. Take a groove and/or a riff and just keep playing the fuck out of it. If finale Le Premier Voyage du Captaine has you drifting off, I can promise you that the way they end it will wake you up. Also, it’s more than a bit like Parson Sound, which I usually consider to be a good thing.

The overall mashup is probably best described as a psychedelic mashup between AC/DC and Thin Lizzy, with hints on some tunes from Julian Cope, particularly in his Jehovahkill era.

If you like this, they are still around and putting stuff out – check out Astronomicon from 2015.

Verma – Mul.apin

mulapinI’m really not quite sure of the correct formatting for the word that is this album’s title, although if the the Wikipedia entry telling me what its interesting meaning is is correct, then it should be in all caps, only I don’t like shouting.

Neither do Verma, obviously. This album is instrumental, which I think is quite unusual for them; most of their albums that I play often have quite a good vocals-instrumental ratio (which is now an official measurement thing). Maybe Whitney said most of what she’s got for us at the moment on her latest as Matchess.

Or maybe not. It seems to be the result of a session in 2013, which may or may not have been improvised – I remain cautious about that, because if it was improvised, why is there the sentence ‘written and performed by?’ On the other hand, why is there the tag of ‘improvised’ in the tags?  Not saying it has to be either/or – it can be both/and – but I do like clarity in the use of language.

So, the album came out last year but I could only find it on vinyl, so I forgot about it until I stumbled across it via some commercial digital provider or other. It’s worth the wait, because it’s Verma, and I like Verma. If you don’t yet know Verma, then have these verbal reductionisms, copied form the bandcamp page: experimental atmospheric experimental rock improvisedinstrumental krautrock progressive psychedelic rock soundtrackspace rock Chicago . complete with tag links. damn, I dislike when that happens.

I haven’t embedded because the aforementioned page doesn’t give you the full album, and acts primarily as a pathway to the vinyl. So have a video instead:

Fire! Orchestra – Ritual

2182-fire-orchestra-ritual-2lp-cd_19_2016-02-23-15-42-57 Honestly, what is it about Sweden?

You know when music is special when you listen to something whilst in the midst of a fairly drawn out grumpy period, and that music makes you feel alive, positive, and like all the petty crap really just does not matter, which it doesn’t.

People, I give you Fire! Orchestra.

I’ve been more and more of a jazz head, I must admit. This is where the genre really does it for me. It isn’t about technique, it’s about consciousness exploration. That’s why it’s a ritual. That’s why I consider music like this to be psychedelic, and a million revivalists who call themselves that to be not, although everyone has to start somewhere.

The opener, which you will find embedded in this post somewhere, is 10 of the fastest moving minutes in history, it feels like less than half that duration. To me, at least. This is music to get completely lost in. Throw maps in the bin.

There is a strong emphasis on the groove, the many horns don’t get in each others way, and the two vocalists are absolutely incredible.  The album is both propulsive and meditative, noisy and musical.

There simply aren’t enough superlatives to describe how I feel about this album. A true ritual, and a triumphant one at that. A perfect illustration of why humans picked up objects and started hitting, plucking and blowing them. Its purity makes it impossible to pigeon-hole.

This also makes for two posts in a row where the album cover seems somewhat random, although I think art purists will probably prefer the term collage.

Those who are inspired enough to want a physical copy will find one here.