On The Turntable

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    Horse Lords

    Horse Lords :: The Common Task

    Horse Lords have a way of infusing radical ideas with rational approaches. Over four studio albums, the Baltimore quartet has developed a sharp line of inquiry around systems that organize not only music-making but also society, philosophy, and belief. The ensemble gives the folksy appearance of a rock band–bass, drums, guitar, and saxophone–yet they regularly employ dense weaves of polyrhythms and explore mathematically derived tuning systems with modified instruments and electronic processing.

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    The Story of Zamrock

    The Story of Zamrock :: 8 Reissued Records

    Discovers the wonders of Zamrock as Now Again Records teams up with Vinyl Me Please over the span of 8 rare African garage rock albums.

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    Bennie Maupin

    Bennie Maupin :: The Jewel in the Lotus

    Immaculately produced by ECM label head Manfred Eicher, Lotus found Maupin and his band exploring a restrained middle ground between the avant-garde and spiritual jazz. Opener “Ensenada” slowly unfolds over a bubbling acoustic bass line; “Song For Tracie Dixon Summers” stretches out emotively; “Past + Present = Future” simmers with interlocking piano pulses. It’s a record built for contemplative listening, an evocative counterpoint to the work of Maupin’s peers Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, and Joe Henderson.

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    Sam Gendel

    Sam Gendel :: Satin Doll

    Gendel uses Satin Doll as a means of exploring, deconstructing, and reassembling a selection of renowned jazz standards—including Mingus’ “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” and the titular swing by Duke Ellington—as a practice in improvisation and DIY recording.

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    Makaya McCraven

    Makaya McCraven :: We’re New Again

    McCraven is a musician, composer and bandleader, but he is also highly regarded for his “chopping” or remixing and re-imagining production skills. We’re New Again, his reconfiguration of the late-career classic Gil Scott Heron album I’m New Here, will be one of 2020’s top recordings, putting a fresh spin on moving meditations on family, personal history and black identity. We talked to him about that project, the process of remixing and the way he and Heron find links between many different kinds of music.

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    African Head Charge

    African Head Charge :: Drumming Is A Language 1990-2011

    As a sequel to their early album collection Environmental Holes & Drastic Tracks 1981 – 1986, African Head Charge have compiled the later years of their On-U Sound recordings in this 5CD, 9LP set. Alongside expanding their classic ’90s albums Songs of Praise and In Pursuit of Shashamane Land with bonus tracks, they have pressed 2005’s Vision of a Psychedelic Africa and 2011’s Voodoo of the Godsent on vinyl for the first time.

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    lyas Ahmed

    lyas Ahmed :: Behold Killers

    A masterful new offering from Ilyas Ahmed, who has been a reliable source for strange/wonderful sounds for quite some time now. Behold Killers has a few moments of disembodied vocals, but it’s primarily instrumental, with Ahmed letting his imagination run wild over the course of four absorbing tracks. There’s some moody fingerpicking, homespun Frippertronics-y situations and rumbly drones, all cut-n-pasted together collage-like into an extremely satisfying whole.

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    Shabaka & The Ancestors

    Shabaka & The Ancestors :: We Are Sent Here by History

    We Are Sent Here By History is a spiritual awakening and an homage to African and Caribbean traditions. Recorded exclusively in Johannesburg and Cape Town, with a collective of South African musicians, Shabaka says this of the album, “We Are Sent Here by History is a meditation on the fact of our coming extinction as a species. It is a reflection from the ruins, from the burning. A questioning of the steps to be taken in preparation for our transition individually and societally if the end is to be seen as anything but a tragic defeat.”

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Hailu Mergia Blazes New Terrain on Yene Mircha, His Triumphant Return to Full Band Recording

On the self-produced Yene Mircha, Ethiopian jazz legend Hailu Mergia is joined by two other stalwarts of the post-revolution ‘70s music scene: traditional vocalist Tsehay Kassa and saxophonist Moges Habte, a cornerstone of the Walias band horn section. “The idea is to bring back the influence of the ‘70s sound and mix that with the new sound,” says Mergia. “I think that’s what I’m working with.”

The Aquarium Drunkard Picture Show

Ether access basement broadcasts. Transmitting from the hills of Glassell Park, Calif., welcome to episode one of the Aquarium Drunkard picture show.

Feat: Dungen / Cave / Mwandishi Band / Devendra Banhart / L’Eclair / Can / John Martyn / Serge Gainsbourg / Pink Floyd & more …

Markus Floats :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

On his new lp Third Album, Montreal’s Markus Floats rewards deep listens with emotive electronic melodies, granular textures, and mesmerizing arpeggios. It’s the culmination of Markus’s work so far, but like the hyper-prolific artists he cites as influences—Prince and Fennesz—also just one drop in his deep pool.

Arthur Russell :: Roulette, Brooklyn, New York, March 2, 1985

As last year’s astonishing Iowa Dream showed, the posthumous Arthur Russell well is far from dry. The man lived and breathed music for his short time on the planet, and we’re extremely fortunate to be able to explore his beautiful/beguiling imagination. Compared to his studio work, there are relatively few documents of Russell as a live performer — which is why this 35-year-old tape is so precious.

Piano, Bass, Drums, and Something in the Ether: A Guide to the Music of The Necks

For over thirty years, the Australian trio has amassed a body of work that is amorphous, always in flux, and changing with each new studio recording or live performance. To listen to the Necks is to embrace the ephemeral and reject the absolute. Assembled together, all those moments—stored as physical music or kept in the memories of spectators—make up something monumental. What the hell: something definitive.

The Lagniappe Sessions :: Julien Gasc

For this week’s installment of the Lagniappe Sessions, Gasc chose a fitting selection of tunes that feels something like a stripped-down companion piece to his debut lp, ‘L’Appel de la Forêt’. Now at Aquarium Drunkard, the Toulouse, France based troubadour covering Marie Laforêt, The Who and Michel Delpech.

Transmissions :: A Conversation With Patterson Hood

And we’re back with a check in with songwriter, bandleader, and longtime Aquarium Drunkard supporter Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers. Earlier this year, the Truckers released their 12th lp, The Unraveling, a righteously pissed off record about gun violence, white supremacy, and the possibility of reincarnation. We rang up Hood to talk about quarantining in Portland, Oregon, the ins and outs of modern America, the new Bob Dylan song, and his early, formative experience seeing the great John Martyn.