November 28, 2009

Playlist 11-28-09

* Geminiani: Cello Sonatas, Op.5 (ter Linden/Mortensen) (Brilliant Classics CD)
* Vivaldi: Concerti e Sinfonie per Archi (VBO/Marcon) (Arkiv Produktion CD)
* Vivaldi: Concertos for Two Violins (VBO/Mullova/Carmignola) (Arkiv Produktion CD)
* Vivaldi: Cello Sonatas (ter Linden/Mortensen) (Brilliant Classics 2CD)
* C.P.E. Bach: Symphonies 1-4, etc. (English Concert/Manze) (Harmonia Mundi SACD)
* Sun Ra: Nuits de la Fondation Maeght, Vol.2 (Universe CD)
* Sun Ra: Nuits de la Fondation Maeght, Vol.1 (Universe CD)
* Herbie Hancock & Headhunters: Music Hall, Omaha, NE 11-17-75 (FM CDR)
* Weather Report: Shinjuku Kouseinenkin Hall, Tokyo 6-28-78 (FM 2CDR)
* John McLaughlin & The 4th Dimension: Schloss Johannisberg, Cuvéehof 7-4-08 (FM CDR)
* Henry Threadgill’s Very Very Circus: Royal Festival Hall, London 1-30-92 (FM CDR)
* Henry Threadgill’s Very Very Circus: Paris 5-17-95 (FM CDR)
* William Parker & Hamid Drake: Volume 1: Piercing the Veil (AUM Fidelity CD)
* William Parker & Hamid Drake: Volume 2: Summer Snow (AUM Fidelity CD)
* Matthew Shipp: Harmony and Abyss (Thirsty Ear CD)
* Antipop Consortium: Antipop vs. Matthew Shipp (Thirsty ear CD)
* El-P: High Water Featuring the Blue Series Continuum (Thirsty Ear CD)
* DJ Spooky (w/Matthew Shipp, et al.): Optometry (Thirsty Ear CD)
* DJ Spooky (feat. Mad Professor & Lee “Scratch” Perry): Dubtometry (Thirsty Ear CD)
* DJ Spooky: Celestial Mechanix: The Blue Series MasterMix (Thirsty Ear 2CD)
* Quincy Jones: Sounds…and Stuff Like That (A&M CD)
* John Lennon: Anthology (d.1-2) (Capitol 4CD)
* King Crimson: Islands (DGM/Virgin CD)
* King Crimson: Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (DGM/Virgin CD)
* King Crimson: Starless and Bible Black (DGM/Virgin CD)
* Genesis: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (Atco/Classic 2LP)
* Grateful Dead: Road Trips: Vol.1, No.1: Fall ’79 (GD/Rhino 2+1CD)
* Grateful Dead: Road Trips: Vol.3, No.1: Oakland 12-28-79 (GD/Rhino 2+1CD)
* Jerry Garcia Band: Let It Rock: Keystone, Berkeley November 17 & 18, 1975 (Rhino 2CD)
* Mickey Hart/Airto/Flora Purim: Däfos (RykoDisc Au20 CD)
* Japan: Oil on Canvas (Virgin – UK 2LP)
* David Sylvian (w/Robert Fripp): Gone to Earth (Virgin/Atlantic 2LP)
* Guided By Voices: Bee Thousand: The Director’s Cut (Scat 3LP)
* Guided By Voices: Suitcase 3 (d.1-3) (GBV, Inc. 4CD)
* Yo La Tengo: Crystal Ballroom, Portland 10-20-09 (SBD/AUD matrix 2CDR)
* The Flaming Lips: The Soft Bulletin 5.1 (Warner Bros. DVD-A)
* Palace Music: Viva Last Blues (Drag City LP)
* Jim O’Rourke: Eureka (Drag City LP)
* Jim O’Rourke: The Visitor (Drag City LP)
* Stereolab: Dots and Loops (Drag City 2LP)
* Radiohead: In Rainbows (TBD CD)


Nothing like a long holiday weekend to provide lots of extra listening time! Hooray!


There was a time around the turn of the century when it appeared that a free-jazz/hip-hop crossover was ascendant, spearheaded by Matthew Shipp and the adventurous folks at Thirsty Ear. Sure, producer/bassist Bill Laswell had been mining this sort of territory for years, but his meticulously clinical constructions can sometimes sound bloodless and sterile. Shipp’s forays into electronica were more spontaneous and loose, harnessing hip-hop’s pumping drive to avant-jazz musicianship to exciting effect. Shipp has since backed away from this kind of “fusion” music, instead focusing on an almost-traditionalist solo and trio approach on his latest records. Perhaps “fusion” really is just a dead end; nevertheless, I like it.


Speaking of musical dead ends, I will also unapologetically admit to a predilection for progressive rock from the Nineteen-Seventies. I especially love Peter Gabriel’s final album with Genesis, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974), which sounds utterly stupendous on my 200g Classic pressing. This sprawling double-album epitomizes all that is magnificent and horrible about the prog-rock genre: the fantastical, incomprehensible lyrics; the pretentiously tricky and overly-complicated music; the overbearing melodrama and theatricality…it’s all there to be savored and abhorred. Great fun. And then there’s King Crimson, a band whose music can be both sublimely beautiful and menacingly ugly and disturbing. Each of their albums is a carefully-wrought opus that rewards repeated listening. But when Bill Bruford and John Wetton joined the band for 1973’s Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, they constituted a muscular yet flexible rhythm section that rooted Robert Fripp’s brainy constructions in some earthy oomph. This is powerfully strong stuff that still gives me great listening pleasure even after all these years. 40th Anniversary CD/DVD-A reissues of King Crimson’s catalog are currently ongoing — gosh, has it been a decade already? My 30th Anniversary CDs sound darn good to me and I love the mini-gatefold-LP packaging. Do I have to buy these albums again?! Of course, I am a sucker for high-res digital…maybe Santa Clause will drop them down the chimney on December 25th.


Stereolab’s Dots and Loops (1997) is one of my favorite albums of all time. Listening to this pure pop masterpiece, I feel like I am touring the Alps in a small Italian convertible sports car, wind in my hair, not a care in the world. Not that I’ve ever visited the Alps, or driven a small Italian convertible sports car. But this album makes me imagine how pleasant such an experience might be. While I enjoyed their subsequent albums, they did not move me in the same way that Dots and Loops still does. I stopped paying attention after 2001’s Sound Dust and was shocked to learn of the tragic death of Mary Hansen in 2002. The band continues to soldier on, but I haven’t heard any of the music. Doesn’t matter — they made one perfect album and that’s more than enough for anyone.

1 comment:

Sam said...

I think I told you, didn't I, that one of the greatest concerts I ever saw was Genesis at the Mosque in 1974? "Lamb" had just come out, and they performed the whole thing, with the multimedia show and all the wild costumes. They pulled it off beautifully, and then followed it up with "Supper's Ready" from "Foxtrot"! A truly amazing show--Phil Collins' drumming was just incredible.

I don't think fusion is a dead end as long as you consider what's being "fused"---Return to Forever was a dead end because they chose to fuse cheesy classical motifs with pyrotechniques and meaningless time signature changes. What Shipp did still has relevance.

Here's my playlist data for last week. I didn't have much spare time over the holiday for listening, what with family visiting, home projects, and yardwork!

Playlist 2009-11-30

*Muhal Richard Abrams Quintet: 1978, Laren, Holland (CDR)
*Anthony Braxton: Quintet (London) 2004
*Anthony Braxton: Trio (Victoriaville) 2007
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: Unheard Voices
*Roscoe Mitchell: This Dance Is For Steve McCall
*Nine Strings: Open Circuits/Communicating Fields (self-released)
*Nino Rota: 8 1/2 (soundtrack)
*Wadada Leo Smith & Anthony Braxton: Saturn, Conjunct the Grand Canyon in a Sweet Embrace
*Beatles: Beatles For Sale (2009 mono remaster)
*Beatles: Revolver (2009 mono remaster)
*Beatles: Mono Masters disc 1 & 2 (2009 mono remaster)
*Elvis Costello: Imperial Bedroom (2002 reissue, disc 1)
*R. Crumb's Heroes of Blues, Jazz & Country (companion CD to book)
*Grateful Dead: 1969-05-07 Golden Gate Park, S.F. (CDR)
*Grateful Dead: 1969-05-10 Rose Palace, Pasadena, CA (CDR)
*Mickey Hart & the Hartbeats: 1968-12-16 Matrix, S.F. (CDR)
*Husker Du: Candy Apple Grey
*Husker Du: Warehouse: Songs and Stories
*The Mothers of Invention: We're Only In It For the Money
*Hank Williams: The Original Singles Collection . . . Plus, disc 3
*Frank Zappa: Lumpy Gravy

Reading log 2009-11-30

*Gibson, William. All Tomorrow's Parties (started)
*Gibson, William. Virtual Light (finished)
*Gibson, William. Idoru (finished)
*Irwin, Robert. Arabian Nights: A Companion (in progress)