Writing this blog is leading me into interesting terrain, as this recent batch of additions to my library shows:
- The second half of Mordant Music's The Tower has been banging its way into my head far enough to make me take a leap of faith and buy the rest of their diverse and aggressively eccentric catalog.
- I realized that I was entitled to download a bunch of Severed Heads' Op series outtakes due to having bought Op 2 a while ago, so I grabbed those.
- Talking about Surgeon's awesome DJ sets reminded me to check his site to see if he had a more recent set than the ones I have, and indeed he did.
- Finally, I've been accumulating a pile of crud from Mutant Sounds, so I added all that to my iPod so I could get to know it better. There is some amazing music that's been dug out of obscurity by that blog:
- Tappi Tíkarrass, Björk's first foray into the post-punk sound that she refined in Kukl and the Sugarcubes, before she decided to become the most avant garde pop star ever;
- a bunch of long out of print Hirsche Nacht aufs Sofas (HNAS) records from a parallel universe where Nurse With Wound were actually German, instead of merely being obsessive fans of Krautrock;
- a whole pile of European art-damaged gothic post punk (Claustrofobia, Dark White, Epitaphe, Tango Luger);
- some early records by the fucking tremendous Wall of Voodoo, whose Call of the West combines the miserably American, empathy-drenched humanity of Raymond Carver or Robert Stone with Ennio Morricone's expansive sound and Kraftwerk's electronic pulse – anyone who thinks the Wall of Voodoo story starts and ends with "Mexican Radio" is very much missing out;
- a couple completely sui generis Japanese electronic / prog / jazz / avant garde records from the 70s, one of which was a collaboration between most of Yellow Magic Orchestra and the one Japanese Pop artist whose work I know well (Tadonori Yokoo – there was a semi-exhaustive survey of his work up at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo when I was there);
- and a pile of random singles from the Mutant Sounds archives, including an awesomely out of character John Duncan track and a deeply weird couple of tracks by Duppi, a Japanese band I'd never heard of and will probably never hear from again. Mutant Sounds is so awesome that there's no way it's going to last.
Here's the full list. I've appended links to sources for most everything. Downloading the albums posted by Mutant Sounds requires you to deal with quasi-filesharing services like Rapidshare, Zshare, Bodongo and Megaupload; these services' wack-assed stabs at business models make getting at the archives a pain, but I assure you that if you like boundary-pushing music, it's worth jumping through the requisite hoops. A lot of this stuff is begging to be put back into print, if only by somebody like Hyped2Death.
- Claustrofobia: Arrebato (Fobia) [ms]
- Dark White: The Grey Area (private) [ms]
- Epitaphe: Syndrome (private) [ms]
- HNAS: Melchior (United Dairies / DOM) [ms]
- HNAS: Music für Schuhgeschafte (Dragnet) [ms]
- HNAS: Willkür Nach Noten (Dragnet) [ms]
- Haruomi Hosono & Tadanori Yokoo: Cochin Moon (King) [se]
- Mordant Music: Baud With You / Shot Away (Mordant Music) [bk]
- Mordant Music: Carrion Squared (Mordant Music) [bk]
- Mordant Music: Dead Air (Mordant Music) [bk]
- Mordant Music: Fallen Faces / Dead Air (Mordant Music) [bk]
- Mordant Music: Filthy Danceheng (Mordant Music) [bk]
- Mordant Music: Petri-Dish (Mordant Music) [bk]
- Mordant Music: The Tower: Parts I-XVII (Mordant Music) [bk]
- Mordant Music: Travelogues: A Beautiful Vesta (Mordant Music) [bk]
- Severed Heads: Op 1 (sevcom)
- Severed Heads: Op 2.3 (sevcom)
- Severed Heads: Op 2.9 (sevcom)
- Surgeon: Neck Face (www.dj-surgeon.com)
- Tango Luger: s/t (Invisible) [ms]
- Tappi Tíkarrass: Bítið Fast í Vítið (Spor) [ms]
- Tappi Tíkarrass: Miranda (Gramm) [ms]
- Wall of Voodoo: Ring of Fire / The Morricone Themes (Index) [ms]
- Wall of Voodoo: Two Songs by Wall of Voodoo (Index) [ms]
- Wall of Voodoo: Wall of Voodoo (Index) [ms]
- Tsutsui Yasutaka & Yamashita Yosuke: IE (Fiasco) [ms]
- whacked-out singles from the Mutant Sounds archives:
- Drinking Electricity: Shaking All Over / China (pop:aural)
- Duppi: Velvet Night / はつねつのみやこ (Night Gallery)
- Électric Max Band: Mick and Max / Knives, Feathers and Fire (Reprise)
- Electro Static Cat: Lethologica (Freedom in a Vacuum)
- Eskaton: Musique Post-Atomique (Eskaton)
- John Duncan / Andrew Chalk & Christoph Heemann: The Elgaland-Vargaland National Anthem / Old Hive (Die Stadt)
- Kevin Dunn: Nadine / Oktyabriana (dB Records)
- v/a: Earcom 3 (Fast Product)
I am no longer even pretending to be in a band, but this makes me want to start a new one:
Like most Metasonix gear (they have a long history of this sort of thing), this is a totally uncompromising, experimental piece of gear that might destroy anything you plug into it and probably requires great ingenuity to make not sound like butt. Also it’s a custom build and will “probably” cost around $5,000, which is insane for something using tubes repurposed from television tuners and old microwaves. It also has a very rude, yet awesome, name.
I bet it’s a ton of fun to play.
(H/T Joel Johnson)
While I was trying to find a decent link for A Sunny Day In Glasgow, I spied on their MySpace page the news that they put out a new EP, TOUT NEW AGE, sometime last summer, and that it was mostly available online, at a bunch of places.
iTunes is getting much better about making indie artists’ music available DRM-free, and AAC is technically a higher-quality codec, but the vast majority of my music is encoded with LAME, and I’ve come to trust LAME-encoded MP3s more than any other lossy format. Insound wants $10.49 for a downloaded EP. Ha. eMusic does have a download store, I think, but they really want you to subscribe to their service, and their interface confuses me. Other Music Digital it is! $5.99 and no hassle!
Other Music is a boutique record store in New York. I’ve always thought of them as being an east coast counterpart to my beloved Aquarius Records, but they’re clearly trying to differentiate themselves through their eminently competent digital download store. They even have their own download manager, a cute and unobtrusive application (for both Windows and OS X) that takes a lot of the sting out of downloading multiple purchased tracks from a web site (Beatport, by contrast, has an elaborate Flash interface that cossets and constrains you right up to the point where you need to download your purchases, where it forces you to download every track one at a time, and since it’s in Flash you can’t even use an in-browser download accelerator like FlashGot).
Total time from discovering TOUT NEW AGE’s existence to having it on my computer: 20 minutes. Nice.