Thursday, October 21, 2010

October 21st in Venice... just off Lincoln

 It's Fall in So Cal... the rain against the pane is accompanying the piano.

'Ode to The Sistrum' by Richard Dunlap

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Turkish Delights on the Isle of Man

I was transported to a small (unknown to me) island in the middle of the Irish Sea called the Isle of Man. There, along with a shabby group of Yanks, Brits and Manx (the isle folk) animators, we harbored in its port town of Douglas through bitter storms, pub crawls n' bad karaoke nights... my song was 'Sunny Afternoon' by the Kinks, mainly 'cause there rarely ever was a sunny afternoon on this isle and I'd get a good group of backup 'birds' to join me.

Amongst our crew, a late arrival, was Douglas Netter, grandson of the TV Sci Fi  exec whose name was passed on to. Doug was an interesting New Yorker who quickly discovered that Absinthe was legal there on the isle, he could sleep standing upright in most closets and that the mushrooms that grew wild in the lush, green glens were legal to enjoy as long as you didn't bring them back to port.
Doug would usually arrive to the studio (promptly by lunch break) sit at his desk, unfurl his long scarf about his neck and stare at his 'Collection'; music CD's that stacked his desktop's perimeter as if they were his 'Douglas Castle' wall.

I wasn't familiar with the Turkish 60's music scene, let alone Turkey's traditional folk music, when Doug passed on these Istanbul (not Constantinople) treasures.

Mogollar (Mongols in Turkish), this collection of their music from '67 into the 70's combines traditional Turkish instruments ethno/folk with the electric sounds of  pyschedelic/progrock.
The group still exist and has progressed their music with the times, offering incredible new releases.

Erkin Koray is a Turkish folk/rock guitarist whose music also captured the spirit the times.
This collection from the 60's-70's takes me from the early Prog Rock sound to today's 'Bollywood' backdrops.
Erkin too combined his Turkish background to the zeitgeist and is also still creating music today.

                                                                                                                                           Thanks Doug E.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Psychedelicatessen Owner

I discovered Terry Riley much after his musical experimental/explorations of 1961,
'Two Pianos and Five Tape Recorders'. This was my introduction to 'Minimalist Music' and I unknowingly discovered Riley's music had had a profound effect on some of the Contemporary Rock I had been listening to; primarily The Soft Machine.

The Soft Machine (the title taken from a William S. Burrough's novel) original members included Robert Wyatt, Daevid Allen, Mike Rattledge and Kevin Ayers, they were produced along with the Jimi Hendrix Experience by Chas Chandler of the Animals in Britain's Psychedelic peak of '67.
As the Soft Machine continued with Rattledge and new coming members, their style leaned more into experimental jazz, whereas the original other members continued experimenting as before in their solo efforts and collaborations with tape looping and minimal notation inspired by Riley.
Sorry, I digress,
At Santa Barbara Art Institute I was introduced to the music of Terry Riley by one of my mentors from the Santa Barbara 'Mountain Drive Tribe', Frank Goad.

Frank was both an inspirational Visual Artist as well as a 'Sound Sculptor' who mixed tracks of his field recordings and dialogue into a musical cadence and rhythm.

Riley's '69 release, 'A Rainbow in Curved Air' cycled in my head
as I peddled to my studio from Frank's flat.

written on the Album cover 'Rainbow in Curved Air'

'Psychedelicatessen Owner'  by Bruce Conner
'Mountain Drive' Santa Barbara's Pioneer Bohemian Community by Elias Chiacos

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Texas Freak Out n' the Familiar Ugly

My older cousins George n' Phil had the record collection I envied as a kid of no income in '66. My Sunday visits with the relatives were mostly spent spinning new records that leaned stacked, lining the baseboards of their room. 'The 13th Floor Elevators' wobbling organ sound lifted me off the carpet... 'Yea, they're from Texas', George said, as his brother danced, cupping his mouth to create the elevating keyboard sound.
Later, a familiar feral harmonica wormed into my ear out of my friend Wally's family stereo console. He played me The Red Crayola's 'Parable of Arable Land'.

 Another psychedelic band from Texas who's 'Free Form Freak Out' tracks were joined by 'The Familiar Ugly';  friends and followers including Roky Erickson, singer, harmonica, guitar of The 13th Floor.
These 'free form' tracks were with layers of instrument and vocals atop electronic tape loops inspired I'm sure by the American minimalist composer, Terry Riley (who I much later discovered). It seemed many were inspired and experimenting with looping, from The Beatles and The Soft Machine in the UK to Zappa in L.A.

I was happy to see that Mayo Thompson, the leader of The Red Crayola (now Red Krayola) was still active and continuing his 'Familiar Ugly' collaborations with the likes of Jim O'Rourke to John McEntire of Chicago's 'Tortoise'. The Newer releases of RK can be found on the Drag City label in the good company of The Sun City Girls, another 'non conforming' favorite of mine.

There have been many bands covering the early work of The Red Krayola.
From their first '66 release, 'Parable of Arable'...
                              so nice to hear 'Transparent Radiation' done densely by Spaceman3.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The '69 Gumbo Variation

I was taken off guard when I first heard the Mothers of Invention.
L.A.'s  '66 soundscape was expanding far from the Beach Boys' pleasant harmonies and scenery.
Bands like Love and the Doors were surfacing and painting with a much different palette as the psychedelic era rolled in.
The sixties' album cover art was getting more adventurous as well; Cream's 'Disraeli Gears', The Jimi Hendrix Experience's 'Axis Bold as Love'... but 'Freak Out' by the Mothers of Invention was one that stared at me from the record store wall saying, 'Hey kid, we're some real crazy Mothers'.
And upon listening they were.
Lead by Frank Zappa, the music covered a spectrum from fifties' Do-wop to do-acid. Sometimes with a tongue firmly planted in cheek, these guys showed talent and had something to say 'bout the present situation. Zappa became a new found hero for me.
The Mothers soon disbanded (for the time being) and Zappa released his first solo album, 'Hot Rats'. This was a record that spent a good amount of time spinning in my room during my high school years and became my inspirational drawing/painting soundtrack. This was the record where I recognized Zappa as truly a new American composer and guitarist to follow... and it 'Jams like a Mother'.

A remix of 1969 Hot Rat's 'Gumbo Variation' can be found on FZ's 'The Lost Episodes', a release of basement tapes and remixes with artwork by Gabor Csupo.