A few years ago I needed to clear out some of my cd collection and I started selling cds at the usual spots to sell music online. Some of the cds had been in my collection for 20 years and I thought it best to looking into replacing them on vinyl anyway. I sold a lot of great recordings by Fela Kuti, Ornette Coleman, and Last Poets to name a few. One day I looked in the account and noticed an order from Penn Jillette. It was for the Sun Ra title ‘Blue Delight‘.
I remember thinking how that made selling records online fun for a while. Thanks Penn and as I remember writing in a note with the sale- you have good taste in music.
Rainford Hugh Perry goes by many names such as The Upsetter, Pipecock Jackson, and Lee “King” Perry but most of those in the world of Dub know him as Lee “Scratch” Perry. Scratch, the living legend, has an illustrious history as both the creator of Dub as well as having been the famous producer who helped Bob Marley and the Wailers craft their authentic sound when Reggae emerged from the roots of Ska and Rocksteady from the 50’s and 60’s in Jamaica.
£ee $cratch Perry performing Super Ape at Moe’s Alley 9/4/14
Perry’s studio was the infamous Black Ark where some of the greatest names in Reggae and Dub performed such as Max Romeo, Junior Murvin, the Heptones and the Wailers. Scratch’s studio band was referred to as “The Upsetters” and were the session musicians for many of these legendary recordings. It was in the Black Ark where Perry recorded what many consider the first Dub recording in 1976 on Perry’s own Upsetter record label, Super Ape. Super Ape was released internationally on Island records later in the same year. The use of reverb on percussion was key in creating the impression of a different plane in which the rhythm bounced and shook as if in some sort of vacuum.
£ee $cratch Perry performing at Moe’s Alley
Perry also implemented a variety of sounds that were samples of recordings simulating exhaust, bubbling laboratory experiments and other mind expanding sound effects to give his music an otherworldly element.
Blessed also with an eccentric flair for the strange, Scratch has a wardrobe that gives him the aura of a mystic. On Friday, September 4th, the founder of Dub proved he had more energy than anyone in Santa Cruz including his collaborators, Subatomic Sound System, a band from Brooklyn who help pull of the performance of Super Ape in it’s entirety. The 79 year old icon performed for well over 2 hours endlessly streaming together his quirky rhyming lyrics that are characteristic of his signature sound.
Pipecock Jackson with Subatomic at Moe’ Alley in Santa Cruz
Perry’s legacy doesn’t stop as the creator of Dub. In the 80’s Scratch continued to develop his futuristic and Dub sound for the space age while working with On-U Soundproducer Adrian Sherwood. The team worked together originally with The Dub Syndicate. In 1990 Perry teamed with The Dub Syndicate to record From the Secret Laboratory. The collaborations between Perry and Sherwood have continued (though infrequent) and are another important component of The Upsetter’s amazing career. Perry and Co. performed the song Inspector Gadgetfrom the aforementioned Secret Laboratory release in Friday’s performance.
Helios Creed and members of Chrome @ Catalyst Club
Helios Creed is one of the true pioneers of sound in the bay area. Along with Damon Edge who founded the band Chrome in 1975 Creed has propelled the group to a band that transcends generations. They released more than 30 recordings in various incarnations of the band. Creed also released a series of solo recordings during the late 80’s and mid 90’s through Subterranean, Amphetamine Reptile and Cleopatra Record labels. Chrome initially gained critical acclaim on their 1977 releaseAlien Soundtracks. The follow up Half Machine Lip Moves is highly regarded as the band’s strongest recording as their combination of Psychedelic and Punk influences were blended to what would be viewed as their signature sound. It contains the classic song ‘TV as Eyes‘. The classic band’s spin on these two genres take listeners to a rather dark realm of the other worlds where aliens send their rock through a distorted filter and the exhaust is the combustion of a fuel from some abstract unknown planet.
Helios Creed and Keith Thompson of Chrome 7/14/15
Helios Creed of Chrome
Their recordings have long been regarded among the best of the undiscovered bands as their recordings have reissued a number of times over the decades. The most recent incarnation of the band and label interested in documenting their genius is King of Spades records who in 2013 releases a series of out takes from 79-80 on a Double LP/CD release entitled Half Machine from the Sun. Chrome also released a Double LP/CD in 2014 on King of Spades records featuring all newly recorded material entitled Feel it like a Scientist.
Creed currently resides in Santa Cruz and their concert on Wednesday consisted of two local openers making it a show of locals. They performed songs from Half Machine Lip Moves as well as their acclaimed Third from the Sun. The 1982 release contains 3 songs performed on Wednesday, the song of the same title as well as ‘Armageddon‘ and ‘Firebomb‘. Many fans regard this among the most essential of all of the Chrome releases.
Chrome performing the into to Third from the Sun at Catalyst Club on 7/14/15
Dusted Angel performing at Catalyst Club in Santa Cruz 7/14/2015
Dusted Angel ripped through their set as openers for Creed and Co. The quintet first emerged in 2008 as a side project for BL’AST front man Clifford Dinsmore. Their style ranks them along bands like St. Vitus, High on Fire and Corrosion of Conformity. To date the group has released a 3 song ep on Corruption Records as well as a full length recording entitled Earth Sick Mind on Mankind Records.
Dusted Angel will perform on Wednesday, July 22nd at the Ritz in San Jose opening for Fu Manchu
Mountain Tamer from Santa Cruz open for Dusted Angel and Chrome
Mountain Tamer are a trio from Santa Cruz who formed in 2010. The band has a 70 Stoner/Psych rock groove and worth a visit on over at Reverb Nation to see who’s who in town from this sound. Their song ‘Levitating Lady‘ was released in 2013 and is one example of what the group has to offer.
Mountain Tamer will be performing next in Santa Cruz at the Crepe Place on July 31st with Dark Seas as openers. Admission is $6.
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 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!
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 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
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
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 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 Rio Theater is ideal for the Residents’ performances
A large ballon served as a screen for film clips to be viewd
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.
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 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.
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
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’
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
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.
Leonard Bernstein conducts Music Of Our Time Columbia ML6133 Stereo 360 sound 1965
Do any of you do these Listography books? I picked up the music one at Nepenthe’s last year. Some lists are pretty easy to fill out while others, like records I’d take with me on a spaceship seem more random and circumspect to the time they’re completed in. I really want to believe Bernstein’s classic Music of our time is a good choice for no. 20 but keep thinking on a different day I would’ve chosen Soliloquy by Paul Dunmall or something else different than this present list.
György Ligeti: Atmosphères • Morton Feldman: Out of “Last Pieces”• Four Improvisations by the Orchestra• Larry Austin: Improvisations for Orchestra and Jazz Solosists
Now perhaps another way to look at it is there’s an infinite amount of recordings that have been released throughout the years and more possibilities would mean better eventualities but just like anyone I sort of wish my list to be the best one out there and it would prove difficult to put a list in people’s field of view with the sidenote “List subject to change based upon the author’s current mood”.
But, that’s about what one can expect here. In this case, this just means when I pulled out Leonard Bernstein conducts Music of our Time last week and it was penned in as number 20, it just so happened it was the week that flipping through the B section was less obstructed by other files and such so it was it’s time to again be recognized and played.
But, what’s not to like about this record? From the trippy album art (‘Current’ by Bridget Riley) to the amazing composer and featured artist lineup including bassist Barre Phillips and trumpet player Don Ellis. To mention the caliber of musicians its all to apparent that the objective was to demonstrate the work as ahead of its time. What’s timeless here seems to be the combo of Bernstein, the NY Philharmonic, Morton Feldman, Larry Austin and György Ligeti. There’s also an extended piece that captures an improvisation by the orchestra.