:Episode One Hundred Eighty-Seven: 5.15.2020
|Alien Mustangs||Shadows||Shadows (Single)|
|Sei Still||El Camino||Sei Still|
|Peaking Lights||Traffic||E S C A P E|
|Cavern of Anti-Matter||Terminal Metric||In Fabric OST|
|Mamiffer||River of Light||The Brilliant Tabernacle|
|HHY & The Macumbas||Danbala Propaganda||Beheaded Totem|
|Angel Bat Dawid||Transition East||Transition East (Single)|
|Edikanfo||Daa Daa Edikanfo||The Pace Setters|
|Mamman Sani||Zaybanakoy||Unreleased Tapes 1981-1984|
|Som Imaginário||A Matança Do Porco||Matança Do Porco|
|Morton Subotnick||Part II||Silver Apples of the Moon|
|Echium||Yellow-Flowered||Disruptions of Form|
|Tilman Robinson||We Came for Your Riches||Culturecide|
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* Not on Spotify:
Morton Subotnick - Silver Apples of The Moon (Part Two)
Among the highlights of this week's show:
I've said before on the show that if I'm torn about what song to play off of a given album, and one of them has a motorik beat, that'll be the one I pick, more often than not. This decision-making process is undone, however, by the self-titled debut of Mexican band Sei Still, on which EVERY track has a motorik backing. I actually had a difficult time selecting a favorite, as their decision to use the same rhythm (more or less) for every composition, rather than rendering their sound one-note (or one-beat, as it were), appears to have sparked their creativity. When you can't rely on tempo as a way of distinguishing your songs (and I can't tell you how many mediocre bands I've played in where this would happen: "hey, that song sounds just like one of our other songs... maybe if we just sped it up a bit...") it forces you to diversify other elements of your sound: melody, texture, mood, etc. They aren't exactly NEU!, but they are among the better pretenders to Dinger and Rother's syncopated Teutonic throne.
A few weeks ago, I watched for the first time the documentary Junun, by Paul Thomas Anderson, about the Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur and Radioheaded guitar dude Jonny Greenwood traveling to India to record an album with a bunch of traditional Rajasthani musicians. I'd definitely recommend it, as - like any good music doc should be - it's light on talk, heavy on rock (or, Indian and Middle-Eastern influenced, rock-adjacent world music, as it were) and shows off the rather impressive chops of everyone involved (as a Radiohead-disliker (hate is maybe too strong a word) I also chuckled at the eye-rolling from the Indian band members at Greenwood's contributions, which largely consisted of farty, distorted beats produced on his laptop). Why do I bring this up? Because Portuguese band HHY & The Macumbas have an oddly similar - if a bit more minimalist - sound, involving multiple percussionists, a horn section, and a clear affinity for the sounds of the Near East. They're almost a non-NPR-friendly version of the ensemble assembled for Junun, in fact.
Speaking of music documentaries, if you've ever seen I Dream of Wires, about the history of modular synthesizers, you're likely aware of the rivalry between Moog and Buchla, which came to something of a head in the late sixties, with the release of Switched-On Bach, performed on the Moog by Wendy Carlos (credited to Walter Carlos) and Silver Apples of The Moon, performed on the Buchla by Morton Subotnick. As the pro-Buchla talking heads of the film note, the former album consists solely of classical compositions reproduced electronically, while the latter is a wildly creative, avant-garde freakout. But, despite - or quite likely owing to - its near-complete lack of originality, Switched-On Bach was exponentially more successful (to this day I see copies of it and its numerous sequels in thrift stores) and was chief among the reasons Moog wound up crushing Buchla commercially. Anyhow, Subotnick's early-electronic masterpiece was given the deluxe vinyl reissue treatment a couple of years ago for its 50th anniversary, and now it's been re-reissued, for all the bleep-bloop-heads out there.
Plus, the sunglasses rock of the unfortunately named Alien Mustangs, the percussion-heavy psychedelic folk of Mamiffer, the recently reissued, Brian Eno-produced, psych-funk-tinged highlife of Edikanfo (an album I found in a thrift store - in Wisconsin of all places - on a cross-country road trip ages ago) and the abstract electronics of Echium, a self-described "archipelago of interlinked microcosmos", whatever that's supposed to mean.