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Our weekly two hour show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35, can be heard twice every Friday – Noon EST with an encore broadcast at Midnight EST.

SIRIUS 503: Jean Michel Bernard – Générique Stephane ++ Circuit des Yeux – A Story Of This World Part II ++  Maston – Strange Rituals ++ I Marc 4 – Beat Generation ++ Charles De Goal – Dans Le Labyrinthe ++ Bob Chance – Jungle Talk ++ Gorillaz – Double Bass ++ El Guincho – Marimba (With Adrian De Alfonso) ++ Brian Eno & David Byrne – Regiment  ++ Zazou Bikaye – Lamuka ++ Lena Platonos – Aimatines skies apo apostasi ++ Brian Eno – No One Receiving ++ Domenique Dumont – Le Château de Corail ++ Gryningen – Frun Andra Till Strnnderna ++ Vanessa Paradis – Paradis ++ Charlotte Gainsbourg – Le Chat Du Café Des Artistes ++ Cate Le Bon – Duke ++ Eddie the Wheel – Leave Behind  ++ Blur – Ambulance ++ The Mabon Dawud Quintet – Abeba ++ Shintaro Sakamoto – Sticks And Stones  ++ Flaminggods – Majestic Fruit ++ Iggy Pop & James Williamson – Sell Your Love ++ Circuit des Yeux – Paper Bag ++ Juana Molina – Cosoco ++ Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM ++ The Jackettes – Places ++ The Brunettes – The Record Store ++ Jonathan Rado – All The Jung Girls ++ Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Let It Go ++ Kevin Morby – 1234 ++ White Fence – Growing Faith ++ Parquet Courts – Careers In Combat

*You can listen, for free, online with the SIRIUS three day trial — just submit an email address and they will send you a password.
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It’s 1983. A chance encounter between Congolese musician Bony Bikaye, Algerian-born French composer / producer Hector Zazou & electronic duo Cy 1, resulted in this visionary (and until recently, rare) future-seeking treasure, Noir Et Blanc. An expression of defiance in art, this guttural & prismatic wonder had not seen a reissue proper until this past October, revived by its original purveyor, the Belgian-based Crammed Discs.

Like another of our favorite reissues from this year, for the uninitiated Noir Et Blanc feels like peering through a scrim into another world – some different species altogether. The absolute wonderment of a cut like “Munipe Wa Kati” glows in its playful and imaginative warmth, finding folk-hued strings and big metallic beats cooling out with soulful spoken word, singing & laughter, all of it floating atop the percussive cushion of mbira mist.

Elsewhere, the menacingly grooving album opener “M’Pasi Ya M’Pamba” and the chiming new music of “Eh! Yaye” fuse tribal vocal chants and spaced-out alien rhythms with tropical post-punk grooves. Creating something so eclectically cohesive, the album feels like the true meaning of the oft-used descriptor world music. An exercise in pure experimentation, Zazou, Bikaye & CY1 emerged from the playground with something holistically radical. words / c depasquale

Zazou / Bikaye / Cy1 :: Mama Lenvo

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There is an ever-slight hint of a Southern accent in Pauline Anna Strom’s voice, a remnant of the place she left behind forty or so years ago when she moved to the Bay Area with her serviceman husband, who was stationed nearby. This faint trace of history, barely evident, feels like the fraying threads holding her to something like a recognizable time and place. If her music is to be believed, “Strom’s world is circular, at once purely physical and purely spiritual. The largely ambient work she created and released in the early 1980s under the Trans-Millenia Consort label resemble known sound only in the way that the sparkles of light that appear when you jam your fingers into your closed eyes resemble vision. To call her music spectral or wandering is to do it the disservice of naming it; as suggested by Trans-Millennia Music, a recent issue of selections from throughout her early 80s run, there is little that connects her work to the world around us, musical or otherwise. And yet it still feels warm and humane, the byproduct of an inner generosity. It’s welcoming, even if it’s unfamiliar.

Strom still lives in the familiar: the Bay Area, where she works as a healer and spiritual counselor. In the years since her initial run, she’s quietly influenced a number of electronic artists, including MGMT, who put “Morning Splendour” on their Late Night Tales tape in 2011. Some of the sonic territory she pioneered appears among the benevolent worlds of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s music, and she shares a certain settled joy with Laraaji, but these are all distant planets in the same solar system. So we called Strom up around the release of Trans-Millenia Music and asked her to give us a tour.

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Once described by Elton John as “the Jackson Pollock of song”, Tom Waits is an inherently American artist. Over the past four decades, Waits’ eccentric boho brew of junkyard scat, jazz, gutter blues, tin-pan alley excursions and avant-garde cabaret have howled into the ether and reverberated back again…transfigured into something wholly his own.

One day we will interview the man, dipping into all of the above – but until then, this; the BBC’s 2017 documentary on Waits by filmmaker James Maycock: Tales From A Cracked Jukebox. Streaming in its entirety, below . . .

TULIPS

Frank Maston’s Tulips is a ‘70s film score on a hit of acid, Elmer Bernstein sweating through a bad trip only to arrive at an ecstatic come up. Maston’s brilliance lies in his ability to create a cinematic universe through music alone—the nostalgic guitar twang blending with Morricone whistles and dusty drums to create something familiar yet decisively unheard.

The album spans varied terrain, touching on Tropicalia (“New Danger”), French pop straight from Gainsbourg’s songbook (“Infinite Bliss”), and contemplative krautrock (“Rain Dance”). Maston’s ability to blend these disparate themes into a coherent album—or, if you’re really into it, soundtrack—is a testament to his production background; no detail passes through without intense clarity and craft. His tones are precise yet varied, cued to the particular style of the pastiche he’s drawing from. Take “Chase Theme No. 1,” for instance. The light accents of the glockenspiel layer atop a Bond-style guitar tone, giving the track enough oomph to create tension, yet still reveling in its laid back disposition.

Tulips sounds like a long time film composer taking a crack at the album format, yet it’s nothing more than Frank Maston’s vision of a more cinematic song-cycle experience. It’s Van Dyke Parks, if he collaborated with Andy Warhol instead of the Velvet Underground. The album spans twelve tracks, with all of the songs clocking in at under three minutes. It’s a breezy listen, packed with enough ideas to accompany the four hour long screenplay that you’re almost done with—and have been for five years. With Tulips, the perfect score to your magnum opus has already arrived. words / w schube

Maston :: Swans

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While digging into Open Sea, Hans Chew’s latest/greatest LP, your imagination may conjure up some dream rock combos. Leon Russell hiring Television to be his backing band in ’77? Joe Boyd producing the Allmans? JJ Cale jamming with Crazy Horse? Wherever your mind takes you, you’ll agree that Chew and his band (featuring the righteous Rhyton rhythm of Rob Smith and Jimy SeiTang and Dave Cavallo’s killer lead guitar) have made an album packed with winners. His songwriting is fixated on “the old familiar sounds” (as he sings in album opener “Give Up The Ghost”), but Chew — whose name may be familiar from credits with Endless Boogie, Jack Rose, Steve Gunn and many others — never lets nostalgia get the best of him. The six lengthy tunes here twist and turn, boogie and burn, staying focused and sharp no matter what paths they travel down, whether it’s the fiery instrumental interplay that powers “Cruikshanks” or the rollicking disco groove that unexpectedly emerges in the midst of the title track. A total blast, Open Sea delivers the goods from start to finish. words / t wilcox

Hans Chew :: Give Up The Ghost

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In the process of building her third album under the name Torres, Mackenzie Scott found herself drawn to hypnotic music — music that physically affected the body. Tellingly, traces of kosmische musik run throughout the largely electronic framework of Three Futures, recently released by 4AD, but the album’s connection to physical form runs deeper than just its motorik heartbeat rhythms. It’s an album informed by all senses, art rock as body music, and beyond being Scott’s finest record yet, it’s one of the most physically-minded albums of 2017, a document of pleasure, self-knowledge, and spiritual release via a carnal vehicle. “To be given a body/Is the greatest gift,” she sings on the album’s closing track, “Though the jar lifts and the jar descends/Though the morning glory withers/Before it begins/Though all creation groans.”

We caught up with Scott to dive into the qualities of the record, discuss the writing of Ta-Nehisi Coates, and unpack the sexual bravado of cock rock.

Aquarium Drunkard: In the notes that accompanied Three Futures, you discuss being interested in approaching music from extrasensory angles. What led you to approach things that way?

Mackenzie Scott: As a whole, I’ve been thinking about life as being “celebratory.” I wanted to find a way to not only impart that thematically into the lyrics, but I also to infuse the sonic world I was creating too. To me, each of the senses — when used to their maximum potential— are acts of celebration.

For example, in one of the songs, I thought of colors: forest green and off-white. I thought of taste — instead of just using a guitar, I’d use a guitar pushed through a polyphonic octave generator so as to eventually, you sort of follow the trail in your head, it makes you feel like you’re eating peach cobbler. [Laughs] I don’t know how much of that actually comes through when people are listening to it. Those elements aren’t really registered on the conscious level, but I think that the intention behind it lends itself, hopefully, to having those elements imparted perhaps on some subconscious level.