Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Dion - Born to Be with You (1975)


A work of strange beauty and accidental (or, at least, incidental) genius from a usually pretty mediocre folk rock singer. The product of a contentious collaboration with Phil Spector, Born to Be with You is both loved and hated for its murky yet widescreen production, which provides a funereal backdrop for Dion's turn towards hipness. It's honestly difficult to tell whether or not they were trying to make a hit album -- if they were, they failed -- but as a piece of outsider pop art, from the jarringly plainspoken heroin references of "Your Own Backyard" to the baffling cover of "(He's Got) The Whole World in His Hands)", it's a 10/10.

Track listing:
1. Born to Be with You
2. Make the Woman Love Me
3. Your Own Back Yard
4. (He's Got) The Whole World in His Hands
5. Only You Know
6. New York City Song
7. In and Out of the Shadows
8. Good Lovin' Man

I can do anything that I wanna do
I do it straight, I do it better, too


You might also enjoy:
Colin Blunstone - One Year (1971)
Ennismore (1972) Journey (1974)
+ Planes (1976)
Graeme Edge Band
featuring Adrian Gurvitz -
Paradise Ballroom (1977)

Sunday, March 8, 2020

DJ Spooky - Optometry (2002)


Optometry is a full-length collaboration between trip-hop great DJ Spooky and a whole bunch of very talented jazz musicians, and it's a remarkably even split between the two sonic worlds. Probably my favorite DJ Spooky record, and definitely one of my favorite trip-hop records, if it counts as one.

Track listing:
1. Ibid, Desmarches, Ibid
2. Reactive Switching Strategies for the Control of Uninhabited Air
3. Variation Cybernetique: Rhythmic Pataphysic
4. Asphalt (Tome II)
5. Optometry
6. Sequentia Absentia (Dialectical Triangulation I)
7. Rosemary
8. Dementia Absentia (Dialectical Triangulation II)
9. Parachutes
10. Absentia Absentia (Dialectical Triangulation III)
11. Variation Cybernetique: Rhythmic Pataphysic (Part II)
12. Periphique
13. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World

Across the morphic fields

Also listen to:
Richard Thomas -
Shoes and Radios Attract Paint (1998)
Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit -
Secret Rhythms (2002)

Friday, March 6, 2020

Vampillia - Alchemic Heart (2011)


Related:
Skin - Shame, Humility, Revenge (1988)
Boredoms - Super Roots 7 (1998)
Mono & World's End Girlfriend - Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain (2005)
Vampillia - Rule the World / Deathtiny Land (2011)

Transcendent debut album from this self-described "brutal orchestra." Two expansive compositions encompassing beautiful, shimmering drone; vocals that range from death metal growls to haunting operatic singing; massive walls of tremolo-picked guitars and strings; devastating poetry courtesy of Jarboe; and Merzbow doing that thing that he does. Absolutely brilliant stuff.

Track listing:
1. Sea
2. Land

I breathe in the darkness
To breathe out light
To breathe out fire


Also listen to:
Asva -
What You Don't Know Is Frontier
(2008)
Locrian & Mammifer -
Bless Them That Curse You
(2011)

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Bobby Callender - Rainbow (1968)


A low-key masterpiece of mystical psychedelia and baroque pop from the relatively unsung Bobby Callender. Weightless clouds of sitar, tabla, harpsichord, strings, and more gather and hover like angels over Callender's hazy vocals.

Track listing:
1. Rainbow
2. Nature
3. Sade Masoch
4. Purple
5. Mother Superior
6. Autumn
7. A Man
8. I'm Just High on Life
9. Symphonic Pictures
10. Raga Man [bonus]
11. The Story of Rahsa & D'ahra [bonus]

The two of us have just
Climbed the highest mountain


You might also like:
Annette Peacock & Paul Bley -
Dual Unity (1972)
Clivage -
Mixtus Orbis (1979)

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Ben Monder - Oceana (2005)


Related:
Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra - Evanescence (1992)

A wide-ranging album of contemporary jazz/fusion from American guitarist Ben Monder. Solo pieces for acoustic guitar; abstract vocal fragments; woozy, low-key epics; and more. I found Monder through his affiliation with the brilliant Maria Schneider (see above) and was thrilled to discover that he's a gifted composer in his own right.

P.S. I found out like five minutes after initially posting this that he also played on motherfucking Blackstar, my favorite album of the past 10 years or so.

Track listing:
1. Still Motion
2. Light
3. Oceana
4. Echolalia
5. Double Sun
6. Rooms of Light
7. Spectre

Dinosaur skies

If you like this, listen to:
Terje Rypdal -
Terje Rypdal (1971)
Henry Threadgill & Make a Move -
Where's Your Cup? (1997)

Monday, February 24, 2020

Oliver Lake - NTU: Point from Which Creation Begins (1976)


Fiery, Afrocentric, avant-garde soul-jazz led by saxophonist Oliver Lake. Clattering, insistent rhythms, angular melodies, bits of full-tilt chaos, and an overall heavily spiritual, almost ritualistic impact.

On an entirely unrelated note: I've been meaning to mention that if you've left a comment anytime in the past like six months or so that hasn't been published, it's because it's regarding a specific request or recommendation, and if I publish it I'll I forget it, so it's just stuck in limbo. Hopefully I'll be able to burn through them all at some point soon if I ever have a life again.

Track listing:
1. Africa
2. Tse'lane
3. Electric Freedom Colors
4. Eriee
5. Zip

Life dance of is

You should also listen to:
Elvin Jones -
Genesis (1971)
Horace Tapscott & the Pan-Afrikan
Peoples Arkestra - Flight 17 (1978)

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Kenichiro Isoda (磯田健一郎) - クラムボンの瞑想 (1990)


Absolutely breathtaking new age from Japanese composer Kenichiro Isoda. I'm still buried way too deep in schoolwork hell to feel anything but mildly anxious at best, but this is at least reminding me that tranquility still exists, and I'll probably get there again at some point.

Track listing:
1. クラムボンの暝想 (with Stream)
2. 青い幻燈 (with Stream)
3. 水車小屋について (with Stream & Birds)
4. ゴーシュの夜 (with Raindrops)

Good morning

If you like this, listen to:
Emerald Web -
Dragon Wings and Wizard Tales (1983)
Rudy Adrian -
The Healing Lake (2000)

Monday, February 17, 2020

Goatfire - Sacrophobic Initiation (2001)


Oh hey. I'm super busy with dumb school bullshit, but how 'bout some Italian raw black metal? It's fucking good.

Track listing:
1. Monumental Transfixion
2. Enlightenment in Primeval Chaos
3. Infernal Ascension
4. Unveiling Prometheus
5. Dormant Vortex
6. Petrified in Darkness [bonus]
7. The Fifth Fulmination [bonus]

Gutted hell

More like this:
Baptism -
The Beherial Midnight (2002)
Near - The Dark Art of the Death
Hidden in the Castle
(2003)

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Bible - Walking the Ghost Back Home (1986)


British indie/pop rock that's somewhere in the same sophisticated new wave realm as Prefab Sprout. Jangly guitars, fretless bass, bittersweet vocals, and a lonely saxophone echoing from around the corner.

Track listing:
1. Graceland
2. Mahalia
3. Walking the Ghost Back Home
4. Kid Galahad and the Chrome Kinema
5. King Chicago
6. Sweetness
7. Spend, Spend, Spend
8. (Talk to Me Like) Jackie Kennedy
9. She's My Bible
10. High Wide and Handsome
3. Walking the Ghost Back Home

Your twisting days are over

Also listen to:
Anna Domino -
East and West (1984)
Telefilme -
Fade In, Fade Out (1995)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Kältetod - Leere (2005)


Melodic German depressive black metal. Drawn-out riffs; distorted, mid-range shrieks; narcotized drumming; and some barely-there synths. One of those bands who ultimately don't do anything new with a style, but the feeling is just so goddamn genuine, it doesn't matter. I can't find a quality rip of the original release, so here's the reissue, which replaces the original last track with two "appendixes." I honestly think this version's better.

Track listing:
1. Untitled
2. Wiederhall der Leere
3. Kältetod
4. Von Vertrauter Vergänglichkeit
5. Appendix: Talwärts [bonus]
6. Appendix: ...Treibend [bonus]

Eine wirre flut von erinnerungen

You'd also like:
Klage -
Dystopias Wiege (2006)
Korium -
Strážcovia Hradu (2015)

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Memory Garden - Tides (1996)


Way-too-obscure Swedish traditional doom. Mid-paced headbangers with killer guitar work and vocals that would sound right at home on a power metal record.

Track listing:
1. Genesis
2. Dream Horizons
3. The Rhyme of the Elder
4. Trapped at the Pharoes
5. Judgement Day
6. The Innocent Sleep
7. A New Dawn
8. Blissfull

I close my eyes
No need to see
As nature is delivering me


Also listen to:
Count Raven -
High on Infinity (1993)
Dantesco -
De la Mano de la Muerte (2005)

Friday, January 31, 2020

Year of the Rabbit - Year of the Rabbit (2003)


Related:
Castor - Castor (1995)

Year of the Rabbit proved that it's possible to do something great and artistically viable with virtually any style of music, even early-aughts radio rock. It doesn't hurt that, at the end of the day, they're essentially a reboot of the great Failure, but I know a lot of you still aren't gonna be up for it, so thanks to the rest of y'all for coming with me on this journey.

Track listing:
1. Rabbit Hole
2. Lie Down
3. Last Defense
4. Strange Eyes
5. Absent Stars
6. Vaporize
7. Let It Go
8. Hunted
9. River
10. Hold Me Up
11. Say Goodbye

I fell asleep about a year ago

You might also like:
Chavez -
Rider the Fader (1996)
Aereogramme -
Sleep and Release (2003)

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Fukpig - Spewings from a Selfish Nation (2009)


Heavy-as-fucking-fuck d-beat with buzzsaw guitars and an impenetrably dense sound that, along with some melodic tendencies, dramatic choral keyboards, and general studio weirdness, suggests industrial black metal.

Track listing:
1. The Horror Is Here
2. Necropunk
3. Switchblade Romance
4. As the Bombs Fall
5. As Millions Suffer
6. Bombs of War
7. Cunt Hive
8. Mother Nature's Fears
9. Millions Dying
10. Thrash Armageddon
11. Their Cries
12. Negative Mental Attitude
13. Caught Out
14. Inertia

Delight in the dying of the light

Similar sonics:
Morgue - The Process to
Define the Shape of Self-Loathing
(2002)
N.K.V.D. -
Hakmarrja (2014)

Monday, January 27, 2020

Danielle Dax - Inky Bloaters (1987)


My favorite of Danielle Dax's solo records. Driving, forceful, psychedelic, and all-in-all weird, but relatively accessible art rock by an artist that never quite picked up the same kind of fan base as some of her like-minded peers -- Kate Bush and Siouxsie come to mind. Possibly because she's also the kind of artist who writes songs about American slavery called "Evil-Honky Stomp" that prominently feature the 'N' word. Whoopsy-daisy.

Track listing:
1. Flashback
2. Funtime
3. Inky Bloaters
4. Sleep Has No Property
5. Bad Miss 'M'
6. Big Hollow Man
7. Brimstone in a Barren Land
8. Where the Flies Are
9. Born to Be Bad
10. Fizzing Human-Bomb
11. Yummer-Yummer Man

All you gotta do is pray
And furnish his house with silver


You should also listen to:
Lene Lovich -
Flex (1979)
The Creatures -
Feast (1983)

Friday, January 24, 2020

Tokyo Bloodworm - Tokyo Bloodworm (2007)


Beautiful ambient sounds made up of glitchy, downtempo beats, glistening guitars, synths, dialogue samples, and murmuring vocals. Makes me wish the indie kids were still interested in making sad, pretty music.

Track listing:
1. Fluid After Thought
2. Tick
3. Hayan
4. Speicherverlust
5. Found Memories of Nature
6. Still Passage
7. Essential Construct
8. Saturn Shrine
9. Discord Hymn
10. Scorpion vs. Mantis
11. We Don't Have to Whisper

How did we get it so wrong?

Similar vibes:
Saule -
Saule (2002)
Alog -
Miniatures (2005)