September 19, 2009

Playlist 9-19-09

* Corelli: Violin Sonatas, Op.5 (Manze/Egarr) (Harmonia Mundi 2CD)
* Geminiani: Concerti Grossi (after Corelli, Op.5) (AAM/Manze) (Harmonia Mundi 2CD)
* Rebel: Violin Sonatas (Manze/ter Linden/Egarr) (Harmonia Mundi CD)
* J.S. Bach: Violin Sonatas (Manze/ter Linden/Egarr) (Harmonia Mundi 2CD)
* AMM: London 2-3-70 (AUD CDR)
* Miles Davis: Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel (d.4) (Columbia 8CD)
* Andrew Hill: Time Lines (Blue Note CD)
* Ornette Coleman Quartet: The Love Revolution: Complete 1968 Italian Tour (boot 2CDR)
* Albert Ayler: Holy Ghost (d.1-3) (Revenant 10CD)
* Sun Ra: Solar Myth Approach Vols.1&2 (BYG Actuel/Charly 2CD)
* Sun Ra: Janus (1201 Music CD)
* Tortoise: Kulturkirche, Köln 8-24-09 (SBD/AUD matrix 2CDR)
* The Beatles: Rubber Soul (original 1965 stereo mix) (Apple/EMI CD)
* Emmylou Harris: All I Intended to Be (Nonesuch CD)
* Grateful Dead: Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA 7-14-84 (SBD 3CD)
* King Crimson: The Power to Believe (Sanctuary CD)
* Tom Waits: Mule Variations (Anti/Epitaph 2LP)
* Robert Pollard: Normal Happiness (Merge CD)
* Robert Pollard: Coast to Coast Carpet of Love (Merge CD)
* Robert Pollard: Standard Gargoyle Decisions (Merge CD)
* Pavement: Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition (Matador 2CD)
* Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks: Real Emotional Trash (Matador CD)
* Yo La Tengo: I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass (Matador CD)
* Yo La Tengo: Popular Songs (Matador CD)
* Wilco: Wilco (the album) (Nonesuch CD)
* Jim O’Rourke: Insignificance (Drag City LP)


Albert Ayler: Holy Ghost (pictured) is another elaborate box set full of such overwhelmingly intense music that it tends to sit on the shelf rather than pulled out and experienced, even though I’ve owned it since its original release in 2005. At most, I have listened to it all the way through just once or twice prior to this week. Physically, it is a thing of rare beauty, with a 208 page hardbound book, bits of lovingly reproduced ephemera, a pressed flower, and 9 CDs (actually 10), all encased in an African-American Spirit Box cast from the hand-carved original. Revenant did an exemplary job, as usual, producing a genuine objet d’art. Consisting of mostly unheard live recordings from throughout Ayler’s all-too-brief career (he was fished out of the East River on November 25, 1970, dead under mysterious circumstances at the tragically young age of 34), this set fills in many of the blanks in his scant discography (mostly on ESP-Disk’). Early recordings indicate Ayler was a capable bluesman, but the 1962 outing with Cecil Taylor presented here shows he had already fully worked out his radical reimagining of the saxophone, full of overblowing, cascading overtones and sanctified glossolalia. By 1964 he had perfected his folk/free/jazz aesthetic through ultra-simplified, gospel-ized melodies utilized as a springboard for deeply expressionistic, vocalized, free improvisations. Frankly, this music is so emotionally raw that I find it hard to listen to – unless I’m in just the right mood. Interestingly, Lizzy loves this stuff even more than I do and only hears that “peaceful center” within Ayler’s “silent scream.” That just goes to show she is way cooler than I will ever be. I sure am a lucky guy!

She is also a big fan of Tom Waits, another artist whose naked emotionality can sometimes cause me difficulty. That said, his 1999 album, Mule Variations, is a f@cking great record and sounds frighteningly good on LP, even on my modest system. The gorgeous gatefold cover proudly boasts the recording is “all analog” and I believe it. Exquisite.

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