Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lambertland

Perhaps it was of one the most innovative year in Rock... or, I was just a hungrier brain in '72.
That summer I spent most of my money n' time on Saturdays with friends searching the bins of Moby Disc, the closest import record store from Thousand Oaks, CA.
The imported releases were more expensive than their domestic late counterparts (there was also the chance they wouldn't even get on a US label), but along with a better vinyl pressing and thick protective sleeve for their jacket, they were well worth the equal price of a good oz.
After our vinyl purchases were made, our next stop was an Italian eatery the size of a walk-in closet called, 'Santoro's'. There we'd sit eating these massive sausage n' pepper sandwiches over our well protected sleeved imports and anticipate who discovered the most advanced, progressive, NEW band out of our 'Prog Rock' finds.
Gentle Giant's latest was always a thrill, but to be the first to uncover a new group... that was an honor.

 It was our friend Rick's turn at the turntable, it was my turn to roll. The thick outer sleeve dropped off the record jacket, an inner plastic sleeve dropped from the shiny record and finally the needle dropped.
'Lambertland' was the New World we were looking for.
A band called, 'Tasavallan Presidentti' from Finland of all places. Prog rock, jazz, folk fusion with vocals in english that were nearly incomprehensible, which I always liked.
The guitarist, Jukka Tolonen ripped. A Wa-wa user I could tell influenced by Frank Zappa, had a presto plectrum style that still sounds fresh to me.

At Aaron's Records in L.A. thirty years later, I saw Dana (who used to work at Moby Disc)
stocking the 'Progressive' bins and leaning on his cane.
"Anything new?'' I asked, weeding through their import section.
'New', usually meant, 'Did ya order any ol' prog shit that I don't have the vinyl to anymore 'cause of a past apartment flooding?'
Dana pointed with his cane to the T's.
Tasavallan's 'Milky Way Moses' parted the sea of CD's.



 On re-listening, I'm reunited with friends, good memories and wonderin' if Santoro's still there.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Come fry with me...


I knew nothing of the Japanese music scene 'til I heard ' The Sadistic Mika Band' on Guy Guden's 'Space Pirate Radio' show. His Sunday into Monday morning shows (midnight to 6) during the Seventies introduced me to contemporary music from around the globe... a welcoming venture from America's 70's rock-pop stalemate.
Learning of new music for me was like a sports fanatic knowing a player's stats and team trades,  I'd retain their foreign names and future collaborations.
Kazuhiko Kato and wife (Sadistic) Mika introduced me to drummer Yukihiro Takahashi, who later formed 'Yellow Magic Orchestra' with Haruomi Hosono and Ryuichi Sakamoto, a techno band with a sense of style and humor beyond.
Ryuichi Sakamoto, whose film scores and collaborations (from Iggy Pop to David Sylvian) were well worth following.



Moving from 'Dawn, Day, Sunset to Night', Sakamoto's piano and electronics of
'Comica' is a new ambient favorite of mine.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

'76 LIVE!


It was 1976, the bicentennial year for America, my phone # at the time was 976-7676 by coincidence.
I couldn't hear the phone ring or the neighbor kids' firecrackers that 4th, I was listening to '801 Live' as live as it could be.

Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera (Ol' Roxy Music mates), along with an incredible crew of friends in '76 put out this gem.
Manzanera's 'Lagrima' guitar echoes and feeds into a cover of The Beatles, 'TNK' (Tomorrow Never Knows)...
it still rings in my ears as one of the best live recordings and versions ever... sorry I missed the call.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dancing with Spoons


Kek Lang (blue flame) are a Hungarian gypsy family that play Romany songs that can get me dancin' like a toothless two year old on fermented goat milk. Maybe it's the spoons, but with guitar, violin n' jaw harp these folks can party... even chant a Dylan tune.
Thanks Steve Craft n' family for this ol' birthday greeting.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Da' Kine Music, Bra'


I was a lucky kid to spend three years living in Hawaii. There I learned to surf, play ukulele and acquire a taste for Li Hing Mui; dried, salt sugar-cured plums that looked like baby mummy scrotums.
I listened to the AM radio hits like most kids in the 60's, but living there I was gratefully introduced to Polynesian music.
Hawaiian guitars, ukes n' tiki beats drifted from backyard BBQ's, the locals' beach parties and of course the tourist spots, giving me a good spectrum of 'Island Music'.

Thirty-some years later (on the Mainland), I heard a song that I recognized from my island days.
I remember riding my bike past an open window when I first heard it and diggin' this sound that lit my ears.
"Bimbo!... Yea, that's his name", said Barry after I asked him the third time.
'Mahalo... Aloha!'

Bimbo & Les Royal Tahitians and Charlie Mauu & Les Royal Polynesians are featured on 'Polynesia!'
A 'Manuitti' CD release, Production 'Sunset France'

'Wearing Dad's Head', a book of short stories by Barry Yourgrau

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Future Days


If I were to have to choose a limited selection of songs for my 'Deserted Island Listening', a 20 minute piece called, 'Bel Air' by the German group CAN would be high on my list.
In my Art School days I enjoyed listening to music while I painted, preferably instrumental. Music with lyrics tended to distract me, but this piece with vocals didn't. Foreign languages, inaudible lyrics were fine, not pulling me into a story while I worked.
The singer, Damo Suzuki (a Japanese artist the band discovered), sang with the sound of words rather than coherently.
'Bel-Air' took me wherever I wanted to go.
'73
I found a shallow, grassy burrow on the rocky cliffside at Shoreline Park in Santa Barbara, there I'd sit and draw. I'd pack food, drink, cassettes, cigarettes and pencils and hang out up there drawing and listening to my music undisturbed.
I had the cassette of Can's 'Future Days' looping in my player, one side, click, the other side, click... I fell asleep.
I awoke to a big, bright moon and down below the tide had rose too high to get back.
I slept up there for the night, letting the cassette continue 'til the batteries ran dry.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Shuffle 'on'





I decided to gather my thoughts on the music that's meant anything to me... of the ears of the beholden beholder.
So far, a hunter and gatherer of vinyl 45's, LP's, EP's,tapes, CD's, MP3's... next, perhaps embedded storage chips you can turn on with a thought.
Hopefully they won't have too many used chip stores.

A piece of music can bring a memory to mind, a 'record' of time, a sense of being... and finding new music for me is one of life's simple pleasures.