March 29, 2013
Photo: Anthony Barboza
Here’s some amazing video of Miles Davis live in Oslo on November 9, 1971. This is a band that was never documented in the recording studio—Gary Bartz on soprano and alto sax; Keith Jarrett on keyboards; Michael Henderson on bass; Don Alias and Mtume on congas and percussion; and Ndugu Leon Chancler on drums. But their European tour (nearly two dozen concerts between October and November) has been well documented on bootlegs, which gives me hope that some of the best shows will wind up in the third volume of Sony’s The Bootleg Series, which has brought brilliant live performances to light on two 3CD/1DVD sets to date.
“What I Say”:
March 25, 2013
Reto Mäder is a Swiss electronic/electro-acoustic musician who records under several names and in several groups, including Ural Umbo (sometimes Vral Vmbo), Sum of R, and RM74. A lot of his work has come out on the Utech label, and the music’s ominous beauty is matched by its dark, enigmatic artwork and deluxe packaging. His latest release, RM74’s Two Angles of a Triangle, is a two-CD set containing 73 minutes of music, so clearly it’s divided into two sections for aesthetic reasons, not because it would have overshot a single disc’s running time.
The music is difficult to categorize. It contains conventional instruments (piano, bass) played, recorded and mixed in unconventional ways: ultra-close miking and various methods of computer-based processing after the fact are used to warp and layer the sounds until they become abstract and atmospheric. The finished pieces sometimes recall Robert Hampson’s work with Main, other times feel kin to 20th and 21st Century avant-garde composition, and at still other times lean in the direction of the dark ambient music that has soundtracked many modern horror films and horror-themed video games.
Mäder was interviewed by email in February/March 2013. A longer version of this interview will appear in Burning Ambulance #6, which will be available soon.
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March 13, 2013
Here’s something obscure and awesome: an hour-long TV special by The Blasters, recorded live in Chicago back in 1982, with guest appearances by Carl Perkins and Willie Dixon.
The Blasters were one of the best bands of the ’80s. They came out of the same scene as X, Los Lobos, and even Dwight Yoakam, but never quite broke big. They got tagged as rockabilly revivalists, which brothers Phil (vocals) and Dave Alvin (guitars) certainly had the slick haircuts to be, but their music had so much more going on than that. On their self-titled album (not their debut, though few have heard their actual first release, American Music), they blazed through ’50s rock ‘n’ roll, country, R&B, the blues, and stomping tunes that blended all those styles and more. Their rhythm section—pianist Gene Taylor, bassist John Bazz, and drummer Bill Bateman—swung as hard as they rocked, and saxophonists Steve Berlin (who also worked with Los Lobos and the Plugz) and Lee Allen (the man behind the R&B hit “Walkin’ With Mr. Lee,” which the band covered live) gave the arrangements punch. Over the course of three studio albums and a blazing live EP, the band made a serious attempt at keeping the heart of American music—what Dave Alvin summed up as “the Louisiana boogie and the Delta blues/We got country swing and rockabilly, too/We got jazz, country western, and Chicago blues/It’s the greatest music that you ever knew” in the song of the same name—alive in the mid ’80s. This broadcast shows just how great they were; if you haven’t heard them before now, the two-CD set Testament: The Complete Slash Recordings will be a revelation.
Video after the jump.
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