First & Last: Japanese Private Press, Vol. 14

Step into spring with the latest edition of First & Last, a series of mixes providing a glimpse into the world of Japanese private press, or 自主盤, pronounced “jishuban”, which loosely translates to “independent board.”

Included are tracks from two of our favorite records: Book End, whose band leader was also the leader of Primary Mini-Band, and Naotune Saga. The mix also features Buraiha, a band steeped in the avant-garde Angura movement, along with a group called Sharons Forever which (with no liner notes to guide) offers a poignant tribute, leaving us to ponder the mystery behind this memorial record dedicated to ‘Sharons for everybody.’

Sufferer’s Time :: Michael Crow At The Controls

Sun is shining. The latest installment in Michael Crow Taylor’s dank reggae mix series, Sufferer’s Time, winds a path through deep devotionals, primo dub and loping, cosmic love jams. Mixed at Dad’s Bar and Grill, Durham, NC. You can find Taylor onstage with Hiss Golden Messenger, and in the studio with Hiss, Revelators Sound System and many other friends …

Light Pollution: The Roots of Ambient Jazz

As Aquarium Drunkard recently reported, ambient appears to be the shape of jazz to come. The newest new thing is cross-pollinating with electronics and minimalism, new age and drone. But even these currents have a history. We dove deep into our favorite space jazz of yesteryear, and put together a mixtape for your astral travelling pleasure.

Pulp Jazz: Twenty-First Century Groove Music (A Mixtape)

Pulp Jazz draws on long-traduced, sometimes crassly commercial, musical forms—jazz-funk, exotica, new age, sci-fi schlock, lounge music and library—and channels it all into deeply funky, low-key psychedelic groove music. More than that, like the best pulp, it somehow comes out sexy as hell, slinky and dangerous. Aquarium Drunkard has been here for it. The world could stand to be a shade groovier. And when we were asked for a mixtape of the primo stuff, we were more than happy to oblige. It’s what we do.

Let’s hope this fresh wave of fusion doesn’t reignite the jazz wars of old. But we’re down to fight if it comes to that.

Astral Loitering: Excursions In New Age, 1970-1989

New age was, in many ways, a confluence of developments across genres: prog and krautrock, electronic and space music, ambient and fourth world, modern classical, spacious ECM-style Euro-jazz. All of them were cultivating their own approaches to paradise music. What tips any of these experiments into new age may have been, more than anything else, a vibe—an earnestness about the spiritual potential of the music being made.

The Secret Hemisphere: New Age, Fusion and Fourth World, 1970-2002

Fourth world music belongs to an occult geography. This is by design. When the late trumpeter and composer Jon Hassell coined the term, he conceived of it as “an attempt to create a kind of musical scenery which is not entirely ‘primitive,’ not entirely ‘future’ but someplace impossible to locate either chronologically or geographically.” 

There is no atlas to the fourth world. The best that we can offer is something like a star chart. You may have to draw the constellations yourselves, out of lines connecting ECM jazz to phase music, woolly hippie cult rock to a thousand forgotten new age cassettes. Navigate by those for now. You’ll get somewhere eventually. Here’s a compass.

First & Last: Japanese Private Press, Vol. 12

Welcome to the twelfth installment of First & Last, a series of mixes providing a glimpse into the world of Japanese private press, or 自主盤, pronounced “jishuban”, which loosely translates to “independent board.”

As autumn fades into the quiet embrace of winter, immerse yourself in the hushed tones of acoustic introspection, where each note invokes the stillness of the changing seasons.

Anatolian Psych Out: Volume One

As Western rock music dominated the global airwaves of the 1960s, perhaps no region adapted this music into such a rich and swirling stew as did Turkey. Mixing the heavy riffs of Zeppelin and the Stones with traditional Anatolian folk melodies and instrumentation, the Turkish psych rock of the golden era (1960s-80s) surely represents some of the most gloriously untethered interpretations of the classic rock canon.

Aquarium Drunkard Presents: Tele Music Mix Volume 1

Back in the deep, bleak, pandemic dog days, Be With Records struck a deal with the legendary Parisian library music catalog, Tele Music to reissue the very best, most sought-after LPs in the catalog. With much of this music now commercially available for the first time, the series of albums recently reissued presents an expansive grip of heavy funk, drama-jazz, deep disco, synth-wave, psych-rock, cosmic soul and beyond.

Abstract Truths: An Evolving Jazz Compendium – Volume 9

Sparked by a recent re-obsession with Miles Davis’ On The Corner sessions, Abstract Truths returns with a grip of records that have been hovering around the LA hq these past few months. Electric fusion, Turiyasangitananda jams, hard bop, jazz funk, spiritual. Myriad modalities abound…all rooted by an earthy funkiness. File under: soul music.