The Endless Tour featuring Magma @ Slim’s 4/8/15

Magma Slim's SF

Magma Slim’s SF

Fans of the 70’s period of music referred to as Zeuhl, Progressive Rock and Rock in Opposition had a rare opportunity to see Magma in San Francisco, Ca last Wednesday. Fans hold the band at a ranking atop of their field and many might proclaim them the best rock band in the world if not the longest lasting one. At the moment the tour was announced posts started appearing on the internet and the band certainly lived up to, if not exceeded their reputation as the founders of Zeuhl.
Magma emerged as one of the strongest bands during what Chris Cutler refers to as Rock in Opposition in his book “File Under Popular” on November and Autonomedia books. Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to see some of the remaining contemporaries of this field including individual and session performances by Chris Cutler (Henry Cow, Art Bears, Cassiber), Fred Frith (Henry Cow, Art Bears, Skeleton Crew, Cosa Brava), Zeena Parkins (Skeleton Crew, News from Babel, Elliot Sharp’s Carbon, No Safety, Cosa Brava) and Dagmar Krause (Henry Cow, News from Babel Art Bears), Univers Zero, Plastic People of the Universe, Albert Marcoeur, Guigou Chenevier (Etron Fou Leloublan), Lars Holmer (Samlas Mammas Manna), Richard Teitelbaum (Musica Elettronica Viva) Pere Ubu, Bratko Bibič (Begnagrad/Nimal), Tom Cora (Nimal/Skeleton Crew) Heiner Goebbels (Cassiber) and other remarkable bands from this era.

Magma at Slim's 4/8/15

Magma at Slim’s 4/8/15

According to Cutler, Magma are highly influenced by Classical Composers such as Stravinsky and Orf. Other bands such as Cutler’s Henry Cow as well as Art Zoyd and Univers Zero were also heavily influenced 20th Century Classical composers. Perhaps in a much greater perspective, Magma are positioned alongside other progressive rock enigmas such as Can, Faust, Soft Machine, Captain Beefheart, Present, Heldon, Gong, Stormy Six, Keith Rowe/AMM, Henry Cow and  Quiet Sun/This Heat.

The Endless Tour featuring Magma performing at Slim's on 4/8/15

The Endless Tour featuring Magma performing at Slim’s on 4/8/15

Imagine my surprise to find they were to do a rare US tour that included the bay area! I bought tickets immediately because although I wasn’t sure if it would/could sell out or not, I knew I didn’t want to risk missing a show with this much promise and anticipation. During my formative years it wasn’t easy to find Magma recordings but Attahk will always remain atop my list of favorite recordings from my formative years. They always had such a deep catalog and every song title and description seemed to take us to an alternate universe filled with spacey and celestial themes. The term Zeuhl is from Vander’s visionary language he invented to express musical ideas. This language is called Kobaian.

Magma performed songs from Slag Tanz and songs from their catalog

Magma performed songs from Slag Tanz and songs from their catalog

Magma were formed in 1969 in Paris, France. Over the decades they’ve released over 30 recordings both studio and live and are touring to support their latest recording Šlaǧ Tanƶ (on 7th Records). Šlaǧ Tanƶ was released in January of 2015 and is an EP.

Magma aux Etats-Unis!

Magma aux Etats-Unis!

Christian Vander is a classically trained drummer who founded the band in 1969. There were many musicians who’ve been members of Magma over the years one of the higher profile profile alumni of the band is composer Yannik Top who started with the band in 1973 and played bass on a number of their recordings during the early to mid seventies. They’re recordings are influenced by Classical vocals featuring several several vocalists during their performances including Vander and his wife Stella Vander who first appeared with the band on the 1973 recording Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh.

Magma performent leur disque nouvelle Slag-Tanz

Magma performent la disque nouvelle Slag-Tanz

 

 

On Wednesday April 8th, 2015, when the Endless Tour featuring Magma earthed at Slim’s in San Francisco, Ca., the band was introduced by local Punk icon Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys. Jello recounted being on the east coast one day and learning they were going to be performing in Pennsylvania. He said ‘he took every back road he knew and broke every traffic violation in the book to get there. On the way when he noticed he was still running late he had told himself if he were able to arrive and see 1 minute of music by Magma it would be a success. He finished by saying when he finally did arrive an hour late he rushed in and witnessed what was the best hour and a half of music he’s ever seen… And now (he went on to add) they’re in our town!’

Magma performed a  rare US tour in the Spring of 2015

Magma performed a rare US tour in the Spring of 2015

the residents perform shadowland at the rio theater 3-12-15

I’ve long been what you might call a peripheral fan of the Residents. They’ve always fascinated me and I’ve certainly owned their recordings but I’ve yet to become as eager to see what their going to do next as now.

the residents @ the rio theater 3-12-2015

the residents @ the rio theater 3-12-2015

I guess instead ending up finally getting them, one feels as if they get you. They get our imagination at least.

the randy, chuck and bob trilogy

the randy, chuck and bob trilogy

The Residents have long been pioneers in the abstract music and theatrical realms taking us to some strange other world where we’re probably at least somewhat confused and not sure if were witnessing an alternate reality.

The Residents have called the SF bay home for 4 decades

The Residents have called the SF bay home for 4 decades

The Rio Theater is ideal for the Residents' performances

The Rio Theater is ideal for the Residents’ performances

A large ballon served as a screen for film clips to be viewd

A large ballon served as a screen for film clips to be viewd

The Residents embark on a European tour in May.

The Residents embark on a European tour in May.

The Residents @ The Rio Theater

The Residents @ The Rio Theater

 

Shadowland at the Rio Theater

Shadowland at the Rio Theater

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3rRnmrztZE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HR6u3TPTQbM

 

Top 10 recordings from 2014

Georgia Anne Muldrow- Ms. One

1. Georgia Anne MuldrowMs. One (Some Otha Ship Connect)
2. Flying LotusYou’re Dead (Warp Records)
3. Seun Kuti and Egypt 80A Long Way To The Beginning (Knitting Factory)
4. Cold SpecksNeuroplasticity (Mute-Arts and Crafts)
5. Mary J. BligeThe London Sessions (Capitol)
6. Louis Maholo Quartet4 Blokes (Ogun)
7. Wadada Leo SmithThe Great Lakes Suites (Tum)
8. Ambrose AkinsmusireThe Imagined Savior Is Far Easier To Paint (Blue Note)
9. Benjamin BookerS/T (ATO)
10.Paolo Angeli Hamid DrakeĐëğhė (RER Megacorp)

Burger Boogaloo 2014 Mosswood Park. Oakland

Off! Performing at The Burger Boogaloo, Mosswood Park, Oakland, Ca. 7/5/2014

Off! Performing at The Burger Boogaloo, Mosswood Park, Oakland, Ca. 7/5/2014

Keith Morris’ new band Off! Played a high energy set before SF locals Thee Oh Sees hit a reset button to what may more typify the Burger garage band profile. Off! played a set of music that featured some songs from the new ‘The Wasted Years’ release on Vice records. The supergroup played “Void you out”, “Legion of Evil”, and “Red, White and Black” from the newest release. The group is a collaboration of Morrris (Black Flag & Circle Jerks) as well as Steven Shane McDonald (Redd Kross), Dimitri Coates (Burning Brides, Chris Cornell & Mark Lanegan) and Mario Rubalcaba (Rocket from the Crypt, Hot Snakes & the Black Heart Procession). Morris joked that ‘Burger has a good little shindig’ and added ‘the world needs new heros’ in reference to Thee Oh Sees frontman John Dwyer.

At first glance, Thee Oh Sees sound like a prolific counterpart to bay cohorts Ty Segall, The Lumerians and Wax Idols. Yet, they manage to incorporate influences of Can and perhaps some other Kraut rock vibes into their sound.

No Bunny performing at The Burger Boogaloo 7/5/2014
Other bands performing on Saturday included The Bananas, the Phantom Surfers, No Bunny, Reigning Sound and others.

The Phantom Surfers @ Mosswood Park performing at the Burger Boogaloo

The Phantom Surfers @ Mosswood Park performing at the Burger Boogaloo

The gathering is held every year coinciding with July 4th and boasts a tent where you can get your own t-shirt pressed with a Burger logo for just $5.

Map of Boogaloo

A Map of The Boogaloo

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 hold remedy to Mercury Retrograde

 

Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 at the Catalyst

Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 at the Catalyst

Seun Kuti, son of the late legendary Afrobeat founder Fela Anikulapo Kuti retuned to Santa Cruz last night with his father’s legendary Egypt 80 band. Seun’s star definitely continues to rise as his tour to support the newly released ‘A long way to a new beginning’ just released on Knitting Factory records

Seun Kuti playing saxophone at the Catalyst 6/2014

Seun Kuti playing saxophone at the Catalyst 6/2014


The tour stop supports the aforementioned 3rd full length release from the youngest son of Fela. His latest release follow the 2011 release ‘From Africa with fury:Rise also on Knitty Factory Works. To those unfamiliar with Seun’s afrobeat grooves, they prove as political and dancable as those of his father, the founder of Afrobeat music

Robert Glasper co-produced 'A long way to the beginning'

Robert Glasper co-produced ‘A long way to the beginning’


Noteworthy songs on the new recording include “Black woman”, “IMF”, the traditional ‘Ohun Aiye”, and ‘Kalakuta boy”, a reference to the the communal home his father established in Nigeria to practice and perform. The latest release was co-produced by grammy award winner Robert Glasper. Guests appearing on the imprssive new offering include M-1 of Dead Prez, Blitz the Ambassador and Nneka.
Seun Kuti with Egypt 80 at the Catalyst Santa Cruz, Ca. 6/2014

Seun Kuti with Egypt 80 at the Catalyst Santa Cruz, Ca. 6/2014


Members of Egypt 80 at the Catalyst

Members of Egypt 80 at the Catalyst


 

Atomic Bomb band plays the music of William Onyeabor

The Lijadu Sisters and David Byrne performing the music of William Onyeabor with The Atomic Bomb Band.

The Lijadu Sisters and David Byrne performing the music of William Onyeabor with The Atomic Bomb Band.


After releasing anew the music of 70’s Nigerian icon William Onyeabor through the 3 record set Who is William Onyeabor? (Luaka Bop records) a band was arranged to perform this music for 4 nights in New York and California in May and it was quite special to get the chance to see them.
The band featured appearances from the Lijadu Sisters who have 4 recordings re-issued from Knitting Factory Records in 2012. Fans were given the chance to hear 2 songs from their 1976 recording Danger. The Lijadu Sisters songs included the title track as well as Life’s gone down low.
Other members of the band include David Byrne, Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip),Kele Okereke (Bloc Party), Pat Mahoney (LCD Soundsystem), Devonte Hynes (Blood Orange), Money Mark, Sikane, Joshua Redman, amd others. The show took place on Tuesdsy, May 6th at the Warfield in San Frncisco. The concert included modern interpretations of many of Onyeabor’s best known songs including Body and Soul, Fantastic man, Atomic bomb, Love me now, and others. A modern nostaligic phenom is gaining a new audience and gaining respect as a clever electronic funk pioneer from Enugu, Nigeria.

A few recent aquisitions

 

Cecil Teylor - Dark to themselves- Inner City Records

Cecil Taylor – Dark to themselves- Inner City Records 1977

Cecil Taylor- Segments II/Orchestra of two continents- Soul Note Records-1985

Cecil Taylor- Segments II/Orchestra of two continents- Soul Note Records-1985

Cecil Taylor-Air above mountains (buildings within) Inner City Records 1978

Cecil Taylor-Air above mountains (buildings within) Inner City Records 1978

Revolutionary Ensemble - Enja Records 1977

Revolutionary Ensemble – Enja Records 1977

Z'ev-Bust this- Dossier records- 1988

Z’ev-Bust this- Dossier Records- 1988

Billie Joe Becoat-Reflections from a cracked mirror- Fantasy records 1969

Billie Joe Becoat-Reflections from a cracked mirror- Fantasy Records 1969

Groove with perfection

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I wouldn’t consider myself much of a record advocate if I didn’t voice listening with a  new stylus as frequently as possible. This is just something I pick up at a local store. Certainly not trying to appear like a commercial or something as much as just to note products like this keep my collection in the best possible condition.

What’s in a name

I’ve had my share of aliases over the years; Guido and Sweetbottom to name a couple. The name Strangeblood was actually given to me by the drummer in Venus Flytrap circa 1991. We were at band practice and were messing around and the late Chris Whitson (guitarist and songwriter) would say “That Curtis just isn’t normal, he doesn’t do normal things and doesn’t listen to normal music”. One time Tom (our drummer) said, “I think I’m going to start calling you Curtis Srange”, and then he asked “have you heard of that golf player Curtis Strange?”  The name Curtis Strange followed me around for a few days and then it somehow turned into Curtis Strangeblood. Back then Tom used to always accent the A’s a bit and so it always came out as Curtis Straaangeblood. That used to follow me around quite a lot back then. Chris would always be saying “Curtis just isn’t normal” and Tom would follow that with “Curtis Straaangeblood”.

The rest is history I suppose. I only ever DJ’d three or four times, so leaving out the Curtis and inserting DJ is just a sort of novelty to give everyone the impression that you’d be lucky to have me blast a set at you’re latest gathering, but as some of those reputations precede me, you might be unlucky depending on how obscure the mix is. Just a warning for those of you thinking of hiring me