Monday, May 14, 2007

Frank Zappa - Waka/Jawaka (1972) Jazz-Rock/Avant-Garde (320 kbps)

Великолепный альбом, считается частью преимущественно инструментальной джаз-роковой трилогии вместе с альбомами Hot Rats и The Grand Wazoo.

Что пишут

Not too long after the concerts captured on Swiss Cheese / Fire and Just Another Band From L.A., the Flo and Eddie band played a show in London that would turn out to be their last. An idiot "fan" came out of the audience and pushed Zappa into the orchestra pit because he thought Frank was coming on to his girlfriend. FZ spent several months in a wheelchair, and the Mothers were disbanded as the members sought employment elsewhere.

The setback didn't stop Zappa from writing music though. During this time he created two fantastic big-band jazz albums that are favorites amongst many fans. The first was Waka / Jawaka, which features the usual rock band instrumental line-up enhanced by trumpet, piccolo, flute, clarinet, sax and other instruments. There weren't many players on this album (compared to the next one), but Frank still managed to get a "big band" sound from them.

This disc was sort of a sequel to Hot Rats, and to make sure no one missed that point, the cover art features a sink with "Hot" written on one faucet handle and "Rats" on the other. In fact, some fans even refer to this album as "Hot Rats 2". The music doesn't really sound too much like the HR album though. This disc is closer to straight jazz, with a more open, relaxed, blowing atmosphere to it. The next album, The Grand Wazoo would also be more similar to this than to HR.

Waka begins with the massive instrumental Big Swifty, a beautiful, flowing track full of solos. Next comes Your Mouth, a sort of offbeat blues tune, with lyrics about a guy who wants to shoot his old lady down for cheating and lying. Some people find these lyrics very offensive, but they just seem like typical blues lyrics (maybe just a bit more extreme) to me.

It Just Might Be a One Shot Deal is another vocal track with lyrics that voice the philosophy that you should have fun while you can, because you never know when your time is going to run out. The music is more bluegrass than jazz, with a great little slide-guitar solo in the middle. (I got a fairly brisk email from someone named Reid Whitton, who informed me that my comparison of One Shot to bluegrass was "a very poor analogy", and that it's a pedal-steel guitar solo, not a slide guitar solo. Admittedly, my knowledge of country music in general, and bluegrass specifically, is fairly weak, so I apologize to any bluegrass fans I've offended with my description). Zappa is credited with playing "electric springs" on this track (they're the weird little "boing" noise you can hear at two spots during the song).

The disc ends with the title track, another beautiful, jazzy instrumental full of tasty solos from all involved. It deserves more analysis than I can provide, so I'll leave that to more knowledgable jazz reviewers.

My only complaint about this album is that it's so short - they should have put this one and The Grand Wazoo on one CD like they did with the Money/Lumpy and Apostrophe/Overnight two-fer CDs. Then again, considering how crappy those CDs sounded, maybe it's a good thing these discs remained separate. Anyway, if you're a fan of big band jazz with rock elements, you should definitely get both albums.

review by Bob Eichler — 5-6-05

О диске

Track listing:

1. Big Swifty (17:23)
2. Your Mouth (3:12)
3. It Just Might Be a One-Shot Deal (4:16)
4. Waka/Jawaka (11:18)

Total Time: 36:08


- Frank Zappa / guitar (acoustic), guitar, percussion, keyboards, sound effects, vocals
- George Duke / keyboards, piano (electric), vocals, tack piano, ring modulated keyboard
- Don Preston / synthesizer, piano, moog synthesizer, mini moog
- Sal Marquez / trumpet, chimes, flugelhorn, vocals
- Jeff Simmons / bass, guitar, vocals, Hawaiian guitar
- Aynsley Dunbar / guitar, drums, tambourine, Washboard
- Sneaky Pete Kleinow / pedal steel
- Mike Altschul / bass, flute, clarinet (bass), flute (bass), piccolo, sax (Baritone), sax (Tenor)
- Billy Byers / trombone, horn (Baritone)
- Alex Dmochowski / bass
- Tony Duran / vocals, slide guitar
- Erroneous / bass (electric), vocals, fuzz bass
- Janet Ferguson / vocals
- Joel Peskin / sax (Tenor)
- Chris Peterson / vocals
- Kenny Shroyer / trombone, horn (Baritone)
- Ian Underwood / guitar, keyboards, wind

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Lonely Bears - Injustice (1992) Jazz-Rock/Progressive Fusion (320 kbps)

Группа The Lonely Bears стала результатом сотрудничества гениальнейшего и уникальнейшего барабанщика Терри Боззио и клавишника Тони Хаймаса, больше всего известного работой в группе Джеффа Бека. Помогать себе они пригласили гитариста Хью Бернса (Gerry Rafferty, Steelers Wheel) и саксофониста Тони Коу (Spencer Davis, Henry Mancini, Caravan).
А получился в результате энергичный, невероятно исполненный, красивый и уникальный - но и достаточно сложный и закрученный джаз-рок с влиянием прогрессив-рока. Второй из трех альбомов группы, и, возможно, - лучший.

Что пишут

The album Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop did more than re-introduce a guitar legend to a new generation of fans. It started a musical partnership between former Frank Zappa drummer Terry Bozzio and Beck's keyboardist Tony Hymas that became one of progressive rock's most influential -- and surprisingly unheralded -- groups, The Lonely Bears. With guitarist Hugh Burns and saxophonist Tony Coe, the group produced three albums that have taken the lessons artists like Miles Davis wrote and taken them to the next step. As a result, many groups in the instrumental prog-rock genre -- perhaps unconsciously -- have somewhat based their sound on this group.

Yet their second album, Injustice, suggests that veering off the highway onto your own road can occasionally cause some jolts to the musical vehicle. And while the project is overall quite enjoyable, it has its moments where you can't help but wonder just what this quartet is doing -- and, in a way, maybe that's the sign that they've got a good jazz vibe going.

At times, taking the road less traveled proves to be dangerous, as tracks like "Quannah Parker" (despite subtle respecful bows paid to the late Charlie Parker) leave the listener confused, wondering just what is going on for six minutes. When things do finally tie together, I fear it sometimes might be too late to reel the listener back into the fold.

Yet there are even Zappa references in the musical phrasing, as evidenced in the opening of "Kill King Rat," a song that no doubt pleased Bozzio's musical mentor, even if the drum work occasionally slipped into standard 4/4 pounding. Anyone familiar with Bozzio's work should find a good comfort level in material like this.

But Injustice is not all about exploring unfamiliar musical avenues. Tracks such as "Jennifer" and "Entre Le Tigre Et L'Euphrate..." all create a mood that fits the musical scene quite well, and allows the listener a chance to get intimately acquainted with The Lonely Bears on their own terms. While it may have been more beneficial to have put at least one of these pieces earlier in the album to help ease the listener into the uncharted waters, it still comes as a welcomed oasis.

What Injustice serves to do is show the listener just what kind of strides were being made in progressive jazz in the early '90s -- and how these roads may still be unfamiliar to many people. At times a fascinating listen, at other times an uncomfortable one, The Lonely Bears proved they were well worth paying attention to back then -- and still are today.

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

Terry Bozzio official site

О диске

Track listing:

1. March Past 29 145 749 B (8:12)
2. Quanah Parker (6:27)
3. Kill King Rat (5:42)
4. Jennifer (4:59)
5. Entre Le Tigre Et L'Euphrate... (8:11)
6. Dancing For The Elders (5:30)
7. Moonwatcher (5:08)

Total Time: 44:09


Tony Coe - saxophone
Tony Hymas - keyboards
Hugh Burns - guitar
Terry Bozzio - drums

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Sunday, May 6, 2007

Art Zoyd - Metropolis (2002) Avant-Prog / Dark Ambient (320 kbps)

Еще одна замечательная работа группы - саундтрек к немому фильму 1927 года режиссёра Фрица Ланга "Метрополис". Фильм считается вершиной развития немецкого киноэкспрессионизма и безусловной классикой. Музыкально эта работа близка к дарк-эмбиенту образца "u.B.I.Q.U.e", но еще более холодная и отстраненная.
Альбом из трех частей: саундтрека к фильму "Метрополис" авторства Патрисии Даллио, Жерара Урбетта и Каспера Т. Тёплица общей продолжительностью 1 час 48 минут, "Le Chat de Schrödinger", написанной Жераром Урбеттом для одноименного балета и "Appars" Каспера Т. Тёплица.

Что пишут

Late Art Zoyd are far from their early chamber rock albums, far from ordinary electronic music and would be pretty unique even if compared to some contemporary classical music. This album is a different beast to the previous experiments like u.B.I.Q.U.e or soundtracks like Nosferatu.

The album is divided into 3 parts, the first and main being the soundtrack to the silent movie Metropolis. As explained in the booklet, the main ideas are artificial intelligence, logic and the lack of it, and similarly to movies the music is presented from different angles. The music isn't an interpretation of the actions or some background music, it is a composed score, and it even has a certain time lag between it and the movie. Therefore, the soundtrack could be for bamby at the same manner, the main idea here is the music. The piece begins with a few fade-ins, some sei-melodic arpeggios, highly rhythmic drums and a bit of keyboards, but you should be warned that it wouldn't always be like that. Other pieces can feature dark ambient-like volume swells and droning wind echoes, more rhythmic tracks, a few dance-beats, idm-like glitches and clicks and in few places even harsh noise. But the main point of the album is the competition between all those pieces in every place. Over the time you begin to recognize patterns, melodies or samples which reoccur in a different setting, together with pieces from a different time-place and that's what making the album both rewarding, and annoying for the listener. The negative side of it is that a 1''48' musical piece is physically difficult to listen to, and the framework isn't very similar to prog-rock or oher avant-prog - if you look at the line up, you may notice the lack of many live instruments, such as strings which were very common to early Art Zoyd. So all you've got is a bit of sax and tubes, very rare keyboards, and lots of programmed and live percussion, sound effects and samples. Overall the listening isn't usual at all, but at the 3rd time or so it may become even more rewarding, or stay only lots of clicks, beats, beeps, noise, two- note base lines and unfortunately nothing more.

Next goes the 24 minute Le Chat de Schrödinger(The Schrodinger Cat), whic in fact is a piece for ballet, based on a book of quantum physics(that's so modern composition.) The piece deals with energy and movement, and despite it being written together with Metropolis and they both have connection between them, this one is closer to regular avant-prog. It has not much similar with Le mariage du Ciel et de L'enfer which was the previous ballet Art Zoyd have written, but it's a much more rhythmic, energetic, harsh and dynamic piece. At one place it seems that they went back into chamber-prog territory, but the sound pallete remains the same as in Metropolis.

The last 18 minutes Appars, composed by Kasper T. Toeplitz for the Ensembles Musiques Novelles as part of the Experiments de vol is closer to the electro-acoustic dark ambient music, which may sound as one synth playing unclear dark notes and a bit of percussion, though it is a bit more structured than it seems. Overall it's easier to listen and a welcome change from the album's more frantic pace.

Overal it's a difficult album, unusual and unique. A difficult listen, 3 hours is quite a lot afterall. It's nothing like symphonic prog, other avant-prog or other Art Zoyd albums, but if you are interested in new and innovative music, it is a very good addition to any collection.


О диске

Track listing:

Disc 1: (74:52)
1. Générique (4:17)
2. La Ville d'En Bas (2:31)
3. Les Jardins Éternels (5:45)
4. La Salle des Machines (5:12)
5. La Ville (1:53)
6. La Nouvelle Tour de Babel (7:01)
7. Le Complot (4:37)
8. Freder et Josaphat (1:10)
9. L'Homme Mince - Le Travailleur 11811 (4:27)
10. Rotwang L'Inventeur (2:40)
11. Apparation du Robot (2:04)
12. Le Descente vers les Catacombes (6:37)
13. La Légende de la Tour de Babel (3:08)
14. Dans l'Attente du Médiateur (2:23)
15. Maria et Feder (4:52)
16. Scène de Maria dans les Catacombes (3:55)
17. La Mort et les Statues (2:10)
18. Maria Prisonnière (1:07)
19. Métamorphose du Robot (2:42)
20. Maria - Robot (1:47)
21. Aparition et Danse Charnelle de la Femme-Robot (3:15)
22. Le Triomphe de la Mort (1:17)

Disc 2: (75:35)
Metropolis (Fortsetzung):
1. Les Nuits de Yoshiwara (3:44)
2. Le Prêche contre les Machines (2:41)
3. Maria est libre (0:27)
4. La Révolte des Profondeurs (1:50)
5. L'Ouvertures des Portes (0:58)
6. L'Inondation (3:11)
7. L'Ascension des Enfants (4:05)
8. Danse des Ouvriers sur les Ruines (0:47)
9. Maria - Robot au Bûcher (5:57)
10. La Poursuite (4:29)
11. Le Cour Médiateur (5:17)
Le Chat de Schrödinger (24:08)
Appars (18:01)

Total Time: 150:27


- Serge Bertochi / sax, tubes
- Didier Casamitjana / acoustic & electronic percussion
- Laurence Chave / acoustic & electronic percussion
- Patricia Dallio / samples, keyboards
- Yukari Hamada-Bertochi / samples, keyboards
- Gérard Hourbette / samples, electronics
- Kasper T. Toeplitz / electronics, bass

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Wednesday, May 2, 2007

KTU - 8 Armed Monkey (2005) Avant-Rock/Fusion/Experimental (320 kbps)

KTU - это легендарный финский аккордеонист Киммо Похьонен вместе со своим товарищем по проекту Kluster Самули Косминеном, барабанщиком Пэтом Мастелотто и гитаристом Треем Ганном. Великолепная музыка построенная на импровизации, сумасшедшем аккордеоне Киммо, музыка с несравненной энергетикой, но в то же время удивительно отточенная. Наилучшие рекомендации.

Что пишут

Finnish accordion player Kimmo Pohjonen's compositions tend to lead him into ecstacy and a wild, orgiastic release. Pohjonen usually starts playing sitting, as calm as if he was tranquilized by shamanic medicine, but soon he surrenders to flushes of musical energy that hit him and push him into a twisted dance that challenges his huge accordion, until the inevitable climax. The same scenario repeats with each of Pohjonen's projects—solo, the Kluster duo with percussionist and sampling genius Samuli Kosminen, his Kamluk project with the Tapiola Sinfonietta, his duo with French drummer Eric Echampard, and on his new disc, 8 Armed Monkey, with the double duo named KTU, comprised of Kluster plus TU (Pat Mastelotto and Trey Gunn from King Crimson).

KTU offers Pohjonen, the undisputed leader of this outfit, a much denser and more multilayered rhythmic palette than he has encountered on previous projects. Kosminen includes some imaginative and innovative samples, especially the vocals on “Optikus” and “Absinthe” that contend with Pohjonen's guttural growls. Gunn's Warr guitar functions as an intricate choir of basses that solidify the textures, and Mastelotto's drums stress the grooves.

With such an enveloping rhythm section, Pohjonen's demonic onslaughts get closer to the musical universe of another sound sorcerer, King Crimson's Robert Fripp, and bring him full circle to where this project began. Six years ago the seeds for KTU took root while Pohjonen played with Fripp in Texas, when he shared a bill with Mastelotto/Gunn/Fripp's Project Three, but it took KTU another five years to release its first disc.

The five tracks on 8 Armed Monkey present KTU in different moods and sonic excursions. The opening track, “Sumu,” suggests the dark atmosphere of this release. ”Optikus,” with Gunn's distorted, funky churning and Pohjonen's ecstatic solo, is the best track. Kosminen's samples outline the minimalist and mysterious “Sineen,” and the collectively improvised “Absinthe” sounds like it's part of King Crimson's late-'90s repertoire. The concluding track, “Keho,” is a slow and dark piece. 8 Armed Monkey offers an intense ride that simultaneously resembles a simple, ancient, shamanistic ritual and a futuristic soundscape, overloaded with disturbing and tempting information.

By Eyal Hareuveni

Visit Kimmo Pohjonen (and check the video of “Optikus”), Trey Gunn, and Pat Mastelotto on the web.

О диске

Track listing:

1. Sumu (Pohjonen) 8:43
2. Optikus (Pohjonen) 8:36
3. Sineen (Kosminen, Pohjonen) 7:22
4. Absinthe (Gunn, Mastelotto) 8:21
5. Keho (Gunn, Kosminen, Mastelotto, Pohjonen) 10:01


Kimmo Pohjonen - accordion, voice
Samuli Kosminen - accordion samples, voice samples
Trey Gunn - Warr guitar
Pat Mastelotto - rhythmic devices

Recorded live at Eggman, Tokyo at Eggman and Nosturi, Helsinki, April 2004.
Produced by Pat Mastelotto with Kimmo Pohjonen and Phillip Page
Mixed, engineered, edited and assembled by Pat Mastelotto.

Design: Ilmari Hakala and Phillip Page

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