Monday, 19 June 2017

Terry Riley Don Cherry Duo


Calling all Planetary Dream Collectors, it is time to whirl dervish-like to the sound of Terry Riley and Don Cherry - and as the world spins around the axis we form, for once the terrible, chaotic blur of events (should you live in London especially) will dissolve, be dissolved by sound that is both moving (literally) and centred in a harmonious cyclical dance, enough to entrance and calm the most troubled minds. Riley's cosmic fugues defy/deny time, seemingly expanding it even as it is precisely measured, the opposite of waiting or watching, in his music every module measures what feels like instantaneous moments in an eternal flow. 

As I say that, I'm in danger of sounding as if I have indulged in mind-expanding drugs just as Riley did in the 60s. No matter, whatever it took to open and walk through the doors of perception it may or may not have created this sound as much as made it possible. Who knows? Did Charlie Parker need a fix to attain his sense of higher improvisational capabilities? Surely he was capable anyway, but can an artist and his life be severed so easily?

Here, on the first track, The Descending Moonshine Dervishes, fellow traveller of celestial roads, Don Cherry, proves himself a worthy partner, a man who was, as his track record proves, a free-ranging artist. So it is no surprise that his voice, although in some ways contrary to the rhythmic precision of Riley's, beautifully contrasts the cyclical pace. I'm reminded of the way Miles Davis would add restrained yet potent dimensions to sometimes frenzied collective noise. Here he may hold a note or mimic the bubbling keyboards. Whatever he blows it is in tune with Riley; you sense him listening and reacting.

Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector is Riley alone. I'm struck by the 'sacred' opening, as if a service is about to begin - or has ended? I shy away from religious analogies in music, usually, for fear of lending too much weight to something. Having said that, I confess to having 'preached' the virtues of John Coltrane (and countless others) in the past. I may even have said that whilst I worship no recognised (in the religious sense) god, I kneel (metaphorically) before the speakers when playing Ornette Coleman's The Shape Of Jazz To Come which, as I'm sure you know, also happens to feature Don Cherry.

Meanwhile, these two 'sermons' are worthy additions to your collection. It is sometimes hard to focus on sanity and this music, whilst taking you 'away', also has a unique kind of healing force of its own. You can buy it at Soundohm

Friday, 16 June 2017

Various Artists - Monika Werkstatt


Ah, the power of collective creativity! Artists usually work alone except in group improvisational scenarios but here are the results of time spent eating, walking and making music in one environment, as individuals for the good of the whole project. Perhaps each artist was inspired simply by the existence of others in close proximity, spurring each other on, psychically - who knows. With no overt political objective, Monika Werkstatt emerges as defiantly political against notions of lonely artistic struggle in a commercial world and, of course, the dominant image of women in music, that of sexual objectification and self-exploitation. The highlights are too numerous to mention and it would be unfair to choose any in this context, not that the sum is greater than it's parts for there are many worthwhile individual components. Easily one of the Albums of the Year, as if that accolade matters since Monika Werkstatt denies egotistical competitiveness in the name of communal expression. Outstanding. 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Lisbon trio ÄLFORJS


Oh yes, juj-ju music, to steal an Archie Shepp title - just discovered Älforjs, a trio from Lisbon whose debut, Jengi, was released a year ago, followed up by Demons 1 in February this year. Both are outstanding examples of...er...let me see...Freejazzjungle....um....jammin' - erk - so percussion to the fore and fierce alto sax from Mestre André, on Natura Ruidosa 1 (Jengi) in particular, whereas Homem Lobo from the same album features Bernardo Álvares not supplying a bassline by sawing at his strings for the whole 12mins to rumbling drums and fuzzy electronics. Demons 1 a little more accessible but in no way a compromise - reminds me of some Griot Galaxy material at times. Either way, it's intergalactic-cosmospiritual class.




Monday, 12 June 2017

Schizophrenic Politics & Democratic Jazz


Untitled, RTomens, 2017



Symptoms of schizophrenia include:
- hallucinations – hearing or seeing things that don't exist
- delusions – unusual beliefs not based on reality
- muddled thoughts based on hallucinations or delusions
- changes in behaviour (NHS website)

Are we all schizophrenic now? After the general election, considering Politics and how we see things, perhaps. "We are all middle class now," said John Prescott before the 1997 general election, managing to twist (to the point of perversion) some 'big tent' New Labour ideological vote-catching spin designed to catch all voters (it worked!).

We're all nuts now, possibly...we're seeing things...such as a post-Socialist utopia (one more push, comrades!), a brave new post-Brexit Britain of boundless opportunity or entrenched Toryism because, despite appearances, they still won more votes.

Fake news? We're hearing and 'seeing things' - seeing the kind of Britain we want even if it's not possible whilst the media, according to which way they hang (does swinging to the Left or Right suit you, sir?), I mean lean, shore up belief systems. The news, like Jesus, isn't fake if you believe anyway, is it? You just choose which one's the truth according to what you already think. Easy.

Are we all deluded? You have to be to believe. Nothing got done by allowing ugly realities to tarnish your beautiful vision, least of all voting. Yes, that democratic right which you would deny should you hit the reality button in your brain and realise the terrible truth of Politics. It's always 'the better option' after all; rarely the absolutely, ideologically perfect option. Unless you're a party member.

Muddled thoughts - those bastards! We shouldn't admit to them...best delude ourselves we're clear-headed about who we vote for, which side is right etc. After all, a muddled head could mark the wrong box - "Oh, bollocks! I voted UKIP!" "I voted Green!" "What's their economic policy?" "I dunno, they like animals and stuff, don't they?"

We're hallucinating, seeing Reality and it's driving us even more nuts. Hard Brexit (don't weaken!), Soft Brexit (but we want a good deal so we can't upset our European friends), austerity (it's wise to be cautious with money, isn't it?), higher spending (tax the rich! Borrow money! Sod the maths!). Reality isn't clear, though, since it depends on who's reality you believe because your own is muddled, mixed up, mashed up from all the conflicting opinions of experts (who we're told not to trust, so just do what that ranting taxi driver says, or better still, the rappers and Grime stars who support Corbyn - coo-o-ol! But I wonder what Sun Ra would have done...had he been alive...and British...).

Changes in behaviour? Vote Leave, then vote Labour? Vote Labour all your life because you're working class then vote Tory because we're still the fifth largest economy in the world so they must be doing something right. Vote UKIP, then Labour? Cha-cha-cha-changes...turn and face a world gone mad, then decide. Live in posh Kensington and vote Labour - they did!

Never trust a Hippy...or a politician? I had a thought yesterday (my yearly one), about Trump. I thought people voted for him because he's an honest liar. Yes, contradictory, I know, but possibly true. I mean, they're always saying 'You know what you're getting with Trump' and it's true. You're getting an upfront mad man who Tweets what he likes and generally does what he likes. A maverick. A showman (snake oil politics!). People voted for what he isn't; a slick, professional capable of mesmerising you with apparent truths spun from the finest career politician coaching school of Politics. Boris Johnson has the same appeal here. Buffoons, businessmen boldly blabbering like idiots who are smarter than they act when it comes to getting what they want.


Bandcamp ran a feature on FMP Records and the Destination Out! blog the other day. A good thing. I needed a good thing...and still do in the form of music which, as we know, is some kind of saviour in this world, even though it doesn't solve the housing crisis. You can guess by the above album what sparked my political thoughts here. Go to the feature (no, not yet) and have a listen because there's some great music there. Schizophrenic Blues by Noah Howard, recorded 'live' in Berlin (1977) is one of the featured albums. Howard's alto-playing is a real treat but as is the democratic way with Jazz everyone contributes superbly. If only society was that democratic, eh? We all get to have our say, do our thing and gain recognition. We all 'solo' for the sake of 'the band'. I'll stop before my metaphor gets too muddled. This album takes a leaf from the Art Ensemble of Chicago, being all kinds of everything from full-on Out There to marches, blues and waltz-time. Brilliant.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Ekoplekz - Bioprodukt


Without being overtly 'anything' as in Dark, Avant-garde, Industrial etc Nick Edwards' Bioprodukt for Planet Mu succeeds in being everything, which is no mean feat. In fusing so many of his personal influences Nick has, whilst retaining the nature of himself as an artist (albeit a multi-faceted one as his many previous releases have proved) created an ultimate version of Himself. Bioprodukt is clean yet dirty, light yet heavy, Pop yet 'underground'. As with all prolific artists it's absurd to talk of 'best' and 'better', the canon itself being the thing of importance as a total entity. Calypzoid is one example of the way he brilliantly blends aspects of electronic culture, the Acid line topped with a light Pop refrain through which dance strands of the Radiophonic era. His understanding of space comes to the fore in Expedition, where 'trademark' Ekoplekz sounds ride an ebb'n'flow low end amid 'alien' song and a hint of dub. Without regard for electronic music's trends, Bioprodukt has an air of classicism about it that ensures it will stand the test of time.

Released June 16th on...Planet Mu.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Jason Williamson / Life, art, survival...

Sun Ra Arkestra, 1981
The general election's over.
Who won?
Labour lost well. Jeremy Corbyn's taking Samuel Beckett's old dictum seriously by failing better!

On the subject of society and politics, here's Jason Williamson of Sleaford Mods chatting with the famous (in the UK anyway) ranting taxi driver about life and stuff. It's a good conversation so watch all three. In this one they discuss being creative whilst still having to do a mundane job...



...as they say, you get 'smashed to bits', as everyone struggling with daily life in drudgery or the doledrums does although whether it's worse if you're 'creative' I don't know. What that does mean is that you think you should be doing something better, ie earning a living from your art, as opposed to simply thinking there's a better life out there. I know all about that, being a 'failure' at school at suffering in Work ever since, except for the few years I spent on the dole, which was a kind of freedom, albeit without much money, of course. It's interesting that Jason admits to feeling some guilt about his success and he raises an interesting point about the notion that he 'doesn't deserve it'. That's what's drummed into the working class, the idea that we don't deserve better because we didn't study hard enough, weren't ambitious enough etc. Where I disagree with him is his idea that if you 'keep going' you'll make it. That's obviously not true. But you must keep going with your art for the sake of claiming something special for yourself in an otherwise mundane daily existence.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Merry Prankster Don Ellis & Not Dying Before You Get Old


Charity shop find this morning - why not? I had a thing about Don Ellis years ago but never bought this 1968 album and haven't played him for some time. It's in VG condition, as is the band, especially on the 'live' version of Indian Lady, all 17mins of inspired freeform soloing lunacy as befits the era of merry pranksterism, even in Jazz such as this. Don was something of a hippy's choice when it comes to Jazz (along with that bloke who made Bitch's Brew) and did all right with the longhair crowd. Here are the original 'sleevenotes' by Columbia. Note the idea that 'With records it's easy to pick out the songs you want to play' (!) Not compared to an MP3 it isn't, is it? So the notion of an easy, convenient listening experience becomes outmoded. 



A few doors down I walk into Age UK chariddy shop to find their station playing Cream's White Room - no-one else found that ironic I'll bet, not that the super group's classic was a protest anthem but once again it struck me how passing decades deaden the impact of alt culture music. Will they be playing The Damned in ten years? Probably, because the Punk generation will be well and truly 'aged' by then and therefore the concern of charities like this. (gulp). No doubt The Who are already on their playlist, although even Age UK's radio programmers might consider My Generation too ironic. An ex-Mod hears it, rifling through the clothes, barely able to contain the tears she wants to shed for her lost youth since she didn't die before she got old. Well, as Groucho Marx said, getting old isn't so bad when you consider the alternative. TTFN

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Charlie Yardbird Parker's Blues & Best Available Technology


Charlie Parker's Blues No.1 cloaked in crackle, unclean audio emphasising time past of the old new Bop revolution shock delivered yesterday via my digital (portable) MP3 player - Cool now mainlined into mainstream culture and even 'hipster' (mis)appropriated to mean something else - so I sort of thought - like the revolutionary chic of a Che t-shirt or Punk pruned for meaning for popular taste - so it goes. The Complete Charlie Parker On Dial comp from which Blues No.1 comes is actually a version of Yardbird Suite, correctly titled on the box set pictured, so why re-title it? It crackles so because there was only one microphone in the home of Charles Copley, the 'venue' for a get-together to celebrate Bird's release from Camarillo State Hospital early in 1947. I would have posted the track, of course, but it hasn't been YouTubed.


Session7780 from Best Available Technology's Exposure album knowingly (ironically?) plays with notions of time and technological advances, muddying the stream as if to try and reclaim a time of old-skool cassette mix tapes, perhaps - whatever, the album's a treat for those who savour the sound of someone scratching their sonic signature on the digital 'wall' with a blunt blade as Kevin Palmer does. It's all very down, dirty and akin to being inside the mind of someone who's quite possibly as 'high' (low) as Charlie Parker before being put in hospital; a purple haze of crippled beats and subdued fx.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Vinyl Experience: Opening My Ears With Sun Ra and Piero Umiliani



Bought any vinyl lately? I hadn't, but with a gift token in my pocket I entered Sister Ray in Soho with the intention of doing so, knowing that I wouldn't get much for my money (£39.99) but what the hell, this was about indulgence. 

Unfortunately (for my pocket) the only albums that really interest me in the shop's basement are the soundtracks (and separate Italian composer sections) along with what Sun Ra they have, which is largely limited edition imports. I told you it would be pricey. I told myself that too in preparation. I told myself "It's OK, you have a token!" 

I flicked through the Piero Umiliani albums a couple of times before choosing Suspense, unsure of whether or not I had it on MP3. Then to Sun Ra, settling for Blue York but, again, not knowing if I actually had it in file form. Ultimately, I didn't care, the point being my commitment to vinyl this morning.

Here's the thing, the thing you may be aware of yourself; vinyl concentrates the ears. A lot has been written about the glories of vinyl, from it's physical nature to sleeve art and sound, along with it's nostalgic value for those of us old enough to remember when it was the main medium for music. What I noticed when playing Blue York, though, was how much attention I paid. This was before I found it on my hard drive as part two of the double CD release from 2013. So did I care about that? No! I was high from hearing Side One coming though my Wharfedale speakers. Yes, I could have transferred the file to a blank disc and possibly got the same sound but there was the album, a thing in itself, if not an original 'original', an actual album.

Forgive me for sounding like one of those vinyl junkies; not that I object to them, but as I joked with a friend on FB this morning as she mourned the passing of the original vinyl era, in its place we now have file sharing and my musical world expanded considerably since it's advent. As did yours, I bet.

There's the problem, though, the surfeit of sound today. I couldn't even remember having the Sun Ra recordings. I don't think I'm alone in not knowing what the hell I have on the hard drive, not totally. How can we focus properly when confronted with so many sounds? I'm sure some of you do, but I find it hard, using shuffle mode more often than not. Given the opportunity, as with surfing the Net, we find it hard to stay still, to resist clicking onward, ever onward until mentally exhausted. So too with music; I'm always cutting tracks short, let alone listening to whole albums. Perhaps it's more about me than a general trend?

I am not restless by nature. The internet makes me so. Yes, the old attention span disorder syndrome. Vinyl focuses the ears, makes me pay more attention and have greater regard for both the object and the sounds it transmits. So it was today with Sun Ra's Blue York, to the point where it was like hearing it for the first time. Perhaps I was hearing things for the first time. That echoing percussion certainly stood out. It's a fantastic session, recorded at the Choreographer's Workshop, NYC, 1963 and I highly recommend it.



Suspense is a 1972 Umiliani album recorded under the pseudonym of Zalla. I happened to include more photos of it just because...well, for no special reason. The fact that I did may suggest that I'm going to talk about it, but I'm not. I can't, not having played it yet. This album includes a bonus in CD form and I don't have a file of it so I'm maintaining the suspense I feel in delaying the experience. Don't you love library record track descriptions? Especially in Italian...


If you search, you'll probably find someone sharing it online but today, for me, it's all about the record(s) and how both of them open my ears.




Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Albums: Carlos Casas - Pyramid of Skulls / Yuri Morozov - Strange Angels


After Skullscapes, coincidentally (or subconsciously not) comes this, a Pyramid of Skulls by Carlos Casa. It may be inspired by the the people of Pamir in Tajikistan but the second track, Triune God , feels very much like a trip through the Interzone with Bryon Gysin and William Burroughs as your guides. This blurs boundaries between time and place in a similar way to Burroughs' use of cut-ups as portals to both the past, present and future. Here, 'ancient' music becomes lost in/transformed by modern interference. Elsewhere, the traditional is pretty much left to stand on it's own merits with minimal alteration, or at least, alteration that is so subtle as to be barely discernible. More here.



Sounding as if he's out of his skull on something, a selection of Yuri Morozov's 70s output is represented on this Buried Treasure compilation, Strange Angels. Trapped behind the Iron Curtain as he was, like many others in the same situation confinement must have fostered freedom of imagination to compensate and it's here in abundance in the form of electronics, tape manipulation, samples and song. It's a phantasmagorical trip. He recorded over 46 albums in various styles, cassettes passed around in sonic samizdat fashion to prove that communism could not crush the creative spirit. Inexplicable (pt4) sounds like a take from Miles Davis' Jack Johnson sessions but Morozov was not one for genre limitations and the following Violet Vibrations unleashes dancing electrons which are both joyous and insane. He sounds positively possessed on some vocal cuts whilst elsewhere, such as on Sadly All, almost settles into 'normal' Jazz Fusion style. This kaleidoscope of crazed invention is hugely entertaining.



Thursday, 18 May 2017

Gutters - Skullscapes


Dan b.c (vocals) is a friend of mine but don't worry, he's not so close that I feel obliged to say good things about Skullscapes nor is his so far away that I can't be bothered, which is another way of saying YES I'm talking about it because I know him and NO, him being a friend isn't influencing what I'm about to say - 

Being unused to 'reviewing' Rock albums I'm in strange territory (strange but oh-so-familiar) - those lands of long ago - you know? Back when something in Rock (the Big '77 Intervention) made it interesting again although from that we have to fast forward just a year or two to find something of what's going on here, like PiL - I say 'like PiL because they're what I hear stalking a lot of Skullscapes - in the bass and guitar - but you'll be pleased (I was) to know that Dan isn't attempting any Lydonesque vocals (who would dare?). Dan's what makes this a Gutters album rather than a PiL tribute, which is not to say, I stress, that it's totally derivative and besides, what's wrong with wearing influences on your sleeve, especially when they're choice ones? Dan's a poet first but channelling his words through the noise of drums, bass and guitar wasn't a bad move at all. Having to edit, cut, shape poetry to suit segments of sound should be compulsory for all poets - it'd teach them to cut out the waffle, the listen-to-me-because-I'm-a-poet self-reverential crap so many poets indulge in. 

In the tradition of song which demands a chorus or 'hook' Dan repeats lines - 'Electrostatic repetition' - 'Whitechapel!' etc but that's OK, what he says in the verse is worth listening to, whether the subject be London (ah, the city life) or Facebook or the art scene audience - Dan's that kind of lyricist, you know, the sometimes ambiguous kind that might make you wonder exactly what he's talking about without lapsing into stream-of-consciousness verbals and isn't mystery good? Car Psyche is a good example - it struck me when I saw them play it 'live' last year and I must say that you should see them 'live' when they next play - 'Get out of the car, get back in the car' - the car as metaphor for all forms of social confinement/entrapment? Or simply an ecological point about our seeming obsession with cars? 

What did Wire once say in their musical manifesto about 'no solos' 'no blues'? None of that here either - so if the starting point is somewhere in '79, Skullscapes doesn't come on as 'aged' for your nostalgic delight; it's fresher than that thanks to the kind of 'raw power' only those with a devil-may-care attitude can muster. Gutters care, but not in the same way as wannabe careerist Rockers do. If Skullscapes isn't anything like a 'perfect' debut, see that as an essential aspect of being free from such notions as sterile, precise (lifeless) music. 




Saturday, 13 May 2017

Eric Dolphy / Status Seeking (oh yes, it's a material world)


Self-portrait


Album Of The Day: The Quest by Mal Waldron - with Eric Dolphy (alto sax, clarinet); Booker Ervin (tenor sax); Ron Carter (cello); Joe Benjamin (bass); Charles Persip (drums) I need hardly tell you it's sheer quality and in fact, should you know your Jazz, needn't say a thing. Just that: has it ever struck you how insane/insanely brilliant Eric Dolphy was? The way he flies into Status Seeking like Charlie 'Bird' Parker busting out of Camarillo State Hospital having set fire to the beds before burning everyone's brains by blowing unbelievably...on speed/x10 or, as Miles Davis said of Dolphy, like someone was standing on his foot (ouch).


Recorded two years after the 1959 publication of Vance Packard's book...from which he probably got the title idea...


...the track suggests not only the pace of urban American life but the psycho-frantic state of mind in pursuit of social status - 'post-business school material man seeks nuclear family with whom to share the American Dream'. Yet Eric Dolphy and his sound was both the antithesis of stable normality (default success setting) and the epitome of CIA-backed/sanctioned 'freedom' in opposition to Commie social confinement. The Cold War there, whilst in the streets things were hotting up for black America (Don't even march quietly, niggah! Just stay at the back of the bus and in your own damned dining area!).  

Or as Skull Snaps put it on their classic Funk tune from '73:
'Don’t make a fuss. (what you gonna do)
Just step, To the back of the bus.'




Best we all know our place in society - well, what are you going to do? Let's see: look around at the things people have and want what's missing from your life (bigger house, car etc), envy the successful artist and want it for yourself, envy the intellect of others (read more and try). And on. All around people with more than you - the bastards! Or be proud of what you are and have (assuming you're not down and out). You need wings just to keep above all the shit, to paraphrase Allen Ginsberg. The shit, that is, that threatens to render you a low-status social failure! 

TTFN

Friday, 12 May 2017

Timglaset Magazine / Source Direct




A reminder that the magazine Timglaset no.5, Disappearances, is available from the publisher's site. My art book is there too, of course. Directly sourcing such publications from the publisher is the only way you're likely to get copies in the UK. Despite London being my home, getting anyone to stock small press isn't easy. Only the bookartbookshop regularly, enthusiastically offers shelf space to small, indie publishers, which makes it a very special shop. Meanwhile, here are Source Direct with a 'killer' from '96...


Thursday, 11 May 2017

William Burroughs' Music List and Premier League Star Thelonious Monk



Reading Oliver Harris' notes to William Burroughs' The Ticket That Exploded (The Restored Text) this morning I came across the above list from the New York Public Library collection of Burroughs papers; song titles and lyrics he thought worthy of writing down for possible use. Seeing a a couple of Thelonious Monk tunes in there (Bemsha Swing and Blue Monk) made me want to hear some Monk. Before I did my thoughts turned to Jazz players and not for the first time the place of players in a league table, but not actual place, just leagues. Stupid, I know.

I pictured the Premier League and if you know your Jazz you can guess who's in there. Unlike football leagues, these ones don't have roughly the same amount of members. The Championship (next league down) for instance, would be big, but not as big as the Premier League. It doesn't seem possible, at first, that anyone could get promoted or relegated, but then, my taste changes over the years. Regarding jazz, that's less a matter of 'taste', but increased appreciation in most cases. Is that the same thing? John Coltrane's later material, for instance, has been 'relegated' over the years. To where? The Championship, of course. These days I much prefer his Atlantic and early Impulse stuff. It's criminal to even consider relegating any Coltrane to some people, never mind his totally Out There recordings, but excuse me for having a personal preference. There were many very good players in Jazz and they fill The Championship. These days I'm much more fussy about what I listen to and even Very Good stuff doesn't get much of a look-in when it's competing with Ornette Coleman, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington et al.

Thelonious Monk is a Premier League star, despite/because of his relatively short golden age and erratic nature, which made him Monk. Everything else that warrants his inclusion is evident in Bemsha Swing from Thelonious Monk Trio (1954). I won't try to convince you of its merits. It would be akin to explaining why a mountain is amazing. Listening again today though I was struck by Max Roach's drumming. As befits the Be-Bop master, he not only drives the tune but near the two-minute mark starts to shower it with percussive salvos rather than simply solo. All without overpowering the tune or Monk's playing.



Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Various Artists - Electroacoustic Music in Latin America / Coming Self-destruction of the U.S.A. by Alan Seymour



Electroacoustic music in Latin America is not something I've ever considered but such is the wonder of the inter-connectednetwerk headspace we find ourselves imprisoned in that I discovered a compilation of it this morning and through the medium of digitul trickery hereby pass it on because from what I've heard there are some very good examples of electroacoustic music being made in Latin America. Why shouldn't there be? Why should the French, Germans and, OK, the Americans and British etc etc dominate such things. They do not, of course, for as sure as Chelsea will win the league, someone will soon compile a collection of electroacoustic music from a country you only think you've heard of whilst skipping the outer reaches of the TV channels, passing through a documentary about the extraordinary wildlife of -----------------. The track below is as fine an example of locked-groovedustacoustica as I've ever heard. Elsewhere there is great diversity in approach to what is a vast genre in itself, the boundaries of which are blurred but this compilation is very worthwhile and demonstrates that fact admirably.





The best time to post this book would have been when Trump was elected, of course, but I didn't own it then. Besides, there are enough people prophesying 'the coming self-destruction of the U.S.A.' without me doing so and I'm not American, which doesn't prevent me from predicting doom, I know. When it was published (1969) the combination of the Vietnam war, student shootings, civil unrest and Ray Stevens' novelty hit Gitarzan were enough to make people feel the country was on the eve of (self) destruction, I imagine. No surprise then that Alan Seymour should fictionalise it. I looked for a photo of this edition on the internet but couldn't find it so here's my copy. 



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