:Episode One Hundred Seventy-Six: 2.21.2020
|Helicon||Glasgow Uni Accent||This Can Only Lead To Chaos|
|Elephant Stone||Fox on the Run||Hollow|
|Six Organs of Admittance||The 101||Companion Rises|
|Karkhana||Rock Farock||Bitter Balls|
|Terry Riley & Gyan Riley||Dark Queen||Way Out Yonder|
|Terry Riley & Don Cherry||Improvisation||Live In Köln 1975|
|Terry Riley||Return of the Ancestors||The Harp of New Albion|
|Jan St. Werner & Mark E. Smith||Molocular Meditation||Molocular Meditation|
|Masumi Hara||4 X A Dream||4 X A Dream|
|Aki Onda||Flickering Lights||Ancient & Modern (Cassette Memories, Vol. 1)|
|Jonas Munk||Eastern Horizon||Minimum Resistance|
Open playlist in Spotify
* Not on Spotify:
Terry Riley - Return of the Ancestors
Leading off the show this week is the slow-burning, instrumental, spaced-out rock (that's not exactly space rock, however) of Sweden's Domboshawa (aka Anders Broström), from the album "Five," one of two albums he released last year, each titled after the number of songs it comprises (the other being "Fyra," Swedish for four). After this is the heavy shoegaze of Scotland's Helicon, the psychedelic folk-rock of Turkey's Ayyuka, the Madchester-y (Madcunian?) pop-psych of Canadians Elephant Stone, and the folksy experimentalism of Six Organs of Admittance. Closing out the set is the freaked-out sound of Middle Eastern supergroup Karkhana (which includes members of Space Program-approved groups Dwarfs of East Agouza, Konstrukt, and Land of Kush) whose recent release, Bitter Balls, is one of the more inventive, genuinely challenging avant-garde rock albums I've heard in some time.
The middle set is given over entirely to the music of Terry Riley, a true titan of 20th Century avant-garde music (in a more just world, he'd be as well known as Philip Glass or Brian Eno, both of whom he influenced), in honor of his playing in Portland the date this episode aired. I was in attendance - it was the first time I've ever seen him perform, despite being a fan most of my adult life - and was suitably awed. Unbelievably spry for a man of 85 (my own grandfather, by contrast, had lost the ability to perform even the most menial tasks by that age), he deftly alternated between a synthesizer and a custom-tuned piano, improvising upon classic compositions (I recognized motifs from Les Yeux Fermés and Songs For The Ten Voices of The Two Prophets) while accompanied on guitar by his son Gyan. Given the inventiveness he's retained at his advanced age, it's easy to see how in years past he was able to stage marathon, ad-libbed solo performances, such as that documented on Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band All Night Flight.
The final set, as usual given over to electronic music, begins with the unexpected but welcome collaboration between Jan St. Werner, of Mouse on Mars as well as his own extensive solo career, and the late Mark E. Smith, of The Fall. Smith, godfather of the "stream-of-sarcastic-consciousness" style of vocal performance that's only ever seemed to take hold in the UK (The Sleaford Mods are probably the most prominent modern exemplars of it), delivers rants as bizarre as ever, while Werner provides synthesized backing. The set and show then conclude with the avant-garde 80s-era synth-pop of Japan's Masumi Hara, recently reissued by Numero Group, the remixed found sounds of Aki Onda, from an album of archival recordings, and the blissed-out ambience of Causa Sui member and El Paraiso Records impresario Jonas Munk.