Two OM playlists for december 2011

I'm a couple of weeks behind on Other music playlists, so it's catch-up time. Many essays and reviews are still pending--the holiday season is demanding a lot of my attention this month...

On 12-11-11,

Malcom Played:
Post-Trendies – Driveshaft – s/t
Evangelista – Tremble Dragonfly – Prince of Truth
Evangelista – Crack Teeth – Prince of Truth
Wadada Leo Smith – Celestial Sky and All the Magic: A Memorial for Lester Bowie – Golden Quartet
The Nels Cline Singers – Divining – Initiate
Mark Wingfield – Kevin Kastning – Secret Density – I Walked Into the Silver Darkness
Scott played:
Little Trip To Heaven - Mugison - Little Trip
Peaceful Paths - Make A Rising - Infinite Ellipse and Head with Open Fontanel 
My Hands - The Magic I.D. - I'm So Awake / Sleepless I Feel
Paper Hats - Pram - Dark Island 
My Darling's Love Arrow - Princess Nicotine - Folk & Pop of Myanmar
Smelly Tongues - Ptôse - Face De Crabe
De Nuit - Lucien Dubuis Trio - Tovorak
Rorschach - Submerged - Before Fire I Was Against Other People 
Chattering Ladies - Moniek Toebosch - I Can Dance

Then on December 19,
Malcom Played:
Antony & the Johnsons – Kiss My Name – The Crying Light
Scout Niblett – Do You Want To Be Buried With My People – This Fool Can Die Now
Joanna Newsom – Baby Birch – Have One On Me
Feist – When I Was a Young Girl – Let It Die ...

Feist – How Come You Never Go There – Metals
Bjork – Virus – Biophilia
Bjork – Hunter Vessel – Drawing Restraint 9
Atlas Sound – Quick Canal – Logos
Sun Ra – Them of the Stargazers – Live at the Village Vangaurd
The War on Drugs – Come For It – Slave Ambient
Wipers – Is This Real? – Wipers Box Set

Scott played:
Women on the Move - Forever Einstein - Artificial Horizon
Two More Dreams - Rocket Surgery - Rocket Surgery
Size 10? Sneaks -- Bill Frisell and Vernon Reid - Smash & Scatteration
Yellow Jacket - Korekyojinn - Tundra
Screaming Idiots - Trunks - On The Roof
One For Asmodeus - Satanized - Technical Virginity
Pent-Up House - Jimmy Rosenberg & Stian Carstensen - Rose Room
Sorcery - Helmut "Joe" Sachse - Solo  
Buluc Chabtan 2 - Corima - Corima
Republic Of Revenge - Ruins (RonRuins) - Big Shoes 
L'Anima Sulle Sue Mani - The Tango Saloon - Transylvania
Steve's Pipe - Michel Waisvisz - Crackle


Ydestroyde - Synzosizer

Sometimes I really miss the glory days of the Kansai scene in the 90s, especially the early to midperiod Boredoms records that had a great "Sesame Street on PCP" vibe that sat perfectly with my youthful need for music that could simultaneously amuse and terrorize. Those days are mostly gone, with cut & paste montage/collage approaches abandoned in favor of psych/tribal long-form work. The newer stuff is enjoyable in different ways, but I still crave the less-controlled energy release potential in the short disjointed freakouts on albums like Pop Tatari or the Ruins/Omoide Hatoba collab album from '94.

Enter Ydestroyde, whose work has been floating around Japan for the last decade but rarely heard in the US. With the release of Synzosizer on Public Eyesore, we now have a stateside taste of this fascinating stylistic bridge between the scattered/deconstructive japanoise approch of yore and newer slow-build psychedelic impulses.

This iteration of Ydestroyde is mostly a solo effort by founding member Synzou, who sings and programs, though most tracks also feature guitar contributions from Shintaro Kinoshita. The music isn't as cut-up as some of the earlier Osaka noiserock referenced above, but the vocals often take me back to that vibe with screams perfectly placed in rhythmically exciting moments on tracks like "Hissatsu," or the simple repetitions of words or short phrases found throughout the record. Musically there is a punk influence, and the riffs are allowed to extend over full compositions, creating grooves rather than obliterating them. I hear a Misfits vibe at times, or something along the lines of the best riffage on old Mad Capsule Markets albums. And the drum programming and synth sounds frequently point to breakcore influences.

But ultimately I hear this as a sort of amped up electropsychedelic release, though it attains this atmosphere without resorting to the standard psych tropes of reverbs and delays. When Killed in Cars head honcho Paul was guesting on the Other Music program a couple of months ago, we talked about the nature of contemporary psych bands, and he pointed out how a generous application of reverb can have a transformative effect on a typical blues riff, practically transubtantiating a blues/rock track into an outer space psych experience. Generally I agree--there are lots of bands creating an "outer space" vibe that way.

Ydestroyde is different. This music makes it to orbit with relatively dry ambient spaces. But we start our journey in space, asserting "THIS IS SPACE" repeatedly in the first few minutes, and Ydestroyde sustains the excitement of a rocket ride throughout the album. The exquisite programming, sample editing, and synth playing create a compelling, expansive atmosphere, leaving room for guitar riffs to lumber across alien landscapes while the dry, spoken/yelled vocals hit listeners head-on. Interestingly, the first s/t Ydestroyde effort did rely partly on a reverb + lo-fi production to drive its point home, and I don't care for it nearly as much. The general musical approach here is similar, but it sounds like this album was produced with a lot more studio time and clearer goals.

It succeeds. The riffs are relentless, the percussion alternates between energetic drive and jarring interruption in all of the perfect places, and the vocals take me back to my first memories of hearing Japanese rock approaches in the early 90s, the beginning of a long strange love affair with music that can follow its muse on its own terms. THIS IS SPACE!

--first published at Killed in Cars


Show review: Tatsuya Nakatani, Mighty Vitamins, Neil Jung w/the Archetypist

I caught a great triple-bill last Saturday just up the street from my house at the Toothblack House: local weirdo acts The Mighty Vitamins and Neil Jung w/the Archetypist warmed up the joint for percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani, who has graced Lincoln with his presence four or five times in as many years on his seemingly never-ending touring schedule.

The Mighty Vitamins opened as a duo minus Brad on trumpet, but the proceedings sounded great as always. This time we heard squeaky toys (and the dogs who love them) and radio/sound effect samples from Jerry, and of course the latest iterations of Jay's tabletop plucked/bowed inventions, now spilling into satisfying long insectiod/floral poles with various configurations of strings ready for bowing and quick pitch adjustment. I especially loved the fantastic set ending via spontaneous radio sample to the effect of "if you can't make it in 5 years as a writer, you can't make it." You can't plan those things, but they often work out wonderfully if you have your head(s) in the right place.

This was my first time seeing Neil Jung w/the Archetypist, and I love the concept. Essentially Jim plays guitar with a bit of loop building thrown in, while Robert Stewart creates spontaneous poetry, typing it into an electric Smith Corona typewriter that's also being amplified as a sound production device.  Mostly the typewriter produces the expected typing sounds, with occasional glitchy electronic sounds that indicate potential spelling errors. Stewart must be an excellent typist and speller, as these peek through only rarely. The guitar and the typing are live mixed/recorded onto a multitrack cassette recorder. When the poem is complete, the tape is stopped, flipped, and played in reverse while Schroeder mixes the tape and some more guitar. And Stewart reads the poem. And it was a good poem in addition to a good-sounding performance.

I've seen Tatsuya Nakatani do three solo shows on tour through Nebraska now, and it's always a beautiful, spiritual experience for me. One thing that came into my mind this time, though, was the degree to which his solo performances seem to use a similar set of ideas each time, presented in a relatively consistent order. And just as soon as the thought occurred to me, I wondered why that should even matter. And it doesn't. It's an interesting nuance of so-called "experimental" music shows: artists are maybe expected to change their performances more frequently and more completely than rock/pop acts. No one would be weirded out that a particular rock band shows up with their same tired instruments to play through the same set of songs one might have heard last time. Nakatani has developed his own vocabulary and approach over many years and many performances, has become intimate with the hidden sonic potential of his instruments, and can make his cymbals, gong, and bowls sound like anything from amplifier feedback to string sections to horns. This is his world, his language, and I am glad that he continues to speak it.

This highlights the problem with using "experimental" as a descriptive term for this kind of music: Nakatani isn't really experimenting. Though the music is improvised, he's intensely, intimately aware of what sounds he's producing and how to produce them as well as their collective sonic effect. We aren't seeing an experimentation phase--he is communicating and emoting.

The same holds true for most of the often-called "experimental" acts I've seen and heard on recordings. Experimentation is a part of the musical process, but that's largely true for musicians working in any style. Improvising is itself a discipline with components of study and practice, skill sets, etc, and improvisation and experimentation aren't necessarily, or even normally, interchangeable concepts.

For those new to Nakatani's solo work, I would highly recommend his Green Report 12, which documents a lot of the approaches he embraces for solo live sets. And for a great ensemble album, I'm especially smitten with the 3-sided LP "Fever Dream" by MAP, the trio of Nakatani, Mary Halvorson on guitar, and Reuben Radding on bass. It's a beautifully recorded album, and the improvisations show a deep mutual respect. Taiga Records productions feature beautiful artwork and packaging, too, whose pleasurable physicality is a valuable supplement to the listening experience.

Other Music for 12-4-11

Here's the lists for the Other Music show from 12-4-11. Tune in tonight for some interesting stuff--I'm pulling out both great 2011 stuff and some old rarities...

Malcom Played:
Real Estate – Snow Days – Real Estate 
Trip Shakespeare – Snow Days – Across the Universe
Cocteau Twins – How to Bring a Blush to the Snow – Victorialand
Jandek – Come Through with a Smile – Somebody in the Snow
Simon Joyner – Happy Woman – Lost with the Lights On
Laurie Anderson – Thinking of You - Homeland
Laurie Anderson – Another Day in America – Homeland
Sonic Youth – Edges – Goodbye 20th Century

Scott played:

The Time of Going Away - MAP - Fever Dream
Kleinman - Normal Love - Peel/Kleinman 7''
Obthecklomtz- Ruins Alone - Ruins Alone  
What a Way to Go - Mighty Vitamins - Take-Out
Hide Behind My Glasses - Fishbone - Bonin' In The Boneyard 
Gagon - Lucien Dubuis Trio - Le Retour  
Horseback Riding In A Bicycle - EAST OF THE WALL  - The Apologist
Soul In The Sound - Ken Vandermark - Mark In The Watter  
Cruising for Burgers - Frank Zappa - Carnegie Hall 
Bad Timing - Lakookala - Songs For ZeMean
Pauline Oliveros-the_beauty_of_sorrow_(excerpt) - Various Artists -  Harmonic Series
Proboscide - Tom Moto - Junk


Other Music for 11-27-11

...a week behind on getting this round posted, but here's last Sunday's Other Music playlist. Tune in tonight from 10-midnight to hear more creative music, including a few tracks related to shows that have just come through NE this week, or scheduled for the coming week. That's 89.3 in Lincoln, or streaming anywhere at kzum.org.

Malcom Played:
Extra Life – This Time – Secular Works
Extra Life – Bled White – Secular Works
Arnett Cobb – Go, Red Go – Arnett Blows for 1300
Tom Waits – Red Shoes by the Drugstore – Blue Valentine
St. Vincent – Your Lips Are Red – Marry Me
Boards of Canada – The Beach at Redpoint – Geogaddi
No Age – Katerpillar – Everything in Between
Kronos Quartet with David Barron – “North Platte, Nebras-katte” (Harry Partch) – U.S. Highball
Angelo Badalamenti – Twin Peaks Theme – Soundtrack from Twin Peaks

Scott played:
Broken Heart Collector - Get The Dog - Broken Heart Collector
Dureforsog - Nobody's Nose - Knee
Icy Demons - Buffalo Bill - Miami Ice
Material - O.A.O. - Red Tracks
Dull Schicksal - Cruelty Asks for Delivery - They Saved Hitler's Brain
Christian Vander - Mr Vent - Szoloh
Shizuo - Sweat - Shizuo vs Shizor
Cats' Orchestra - A Thin Thief - Coffee Killer
Aram Bajakian's Kef - Raki - Aram Bajakian's Kef
Phillip Glass - I Enjoyed the Laughter - Book of Longing