Thursday, June 17, 2010

Jean-Claude Vannier - L'enfant Assassin Des Mouches (1972)

I have a sneaking suspicion that there are other reviewers here better suited to review this album, but I've been listening to it for the last few days and figured I'd give it a shot.  This is the 1972 debut album by Jean-Claude Vannier, a musician and composer responsible for the orchestration on Serge Gainsbourg's Histoire de Melody Nelson, which had been released the previous year.  On L'enfant Assassin Des Mouches, Vannier crafted a grandiose and sprawling epic, one that begins with engaging and catchy instrumental rock compositions, yet frequently (particularly in the second half) moves in unusual, avante-garde directions.  This lack of cohesion, (I'm assuming) reflective of a desire to showcase his range as a composer, reminds me of Goblin's soundtrack work, albeit with real instruments rather than synthesized ones.  And like Goblin, Jean-Claude Vannier's music walks the line between playfully light, and epically pompous.  For me, the album feels directionless after the first few songs, but that may be simply because the first songs are very gripping, and I hadn't anticipated the somewhat more sombre and experimental tone the rest of the album would take.  I don't really see it as a problem- the less melodic stretches are interesting as well- but it does give the album an odd and disjointed flow, overall.

Els (of breadxbread) brought this excellent Jean-Claude Vannier and Yves Saint-Laurent video to my attention:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Actress - Splazsh (2010) / T++ - Wireless (2010)

Sorry it's been a while, had college graduation and a bunch of crap to deal with. Anyway, two electronic releases that caught my attention recently are being released on the same label, Honest Jon's (Damon Albarn's), this month in the US on vinyl. They are Actress's Splazsh album and T++ 's Wireless EP.

Actress - Hubble (2010) by m.r.t
Actress - Wrong Potion (2010) by m.r.t

Darren Cunningham runs the Werk disc label which for years has offered space for the more adventurous of dub-step/dub techno artists including Lukid, Disrupt, Zomby, Lone, Starkey, and Cloaks. Many of these artists have specialized in crafting singularly unique sounds and styles branching off from dub-step, while retaining the groove and dance aesthetic often left out of more academic experimental electronic music; basically it's a label full of really interesting, forward thinking dance/electronic musicians. Despite not releasing Splazsh on Werk, Actress has not left these aesthetics out of his own work. Under his Actress alias, Cunningham creates a mix of dub techno, wonky filtered through lo-fi effects, cut up samples, four on the floor pulses, warped funk, and minimal techno that refreshingly betrays the usual funk/side-chained hip-hop beat sounds present in so many Dub-Step/Wonky/LA Beat scene releases by using these elements in a creatively imaginative fashion.

T++ - Anyi (2010) by m.r.t

T++ is Torsten Pröfrock who runs the label DIN and has many pseudonyms, many of which have gathered attention for having been on the Chain Reaction label. Under the name Various Artists he released a 12" and a CD on Chain Reaction, and under the names Resilent and Erosion he released only one 12" for both aliases also on Chain Reaction. Pröfrock also joined Robert Henke on Monolake's Cinemascope and Polygon Cities albums as well as the Axis Carbon EP. T++ is one of his latest project names of the last couple of years, and the name implies his more dub-step leaning tastes. Although, calling the double vinyl, four track Wireless release dub-step is misleading. The four tracks were crafted mainly out of samples from 70 year old recordings of Ssekinomu, a famous East African singer and Ndingidi player. The results are a high energy, poly-rhythmic amalgamation of dub-step, jungle, 2-step, 80s dancehall, dub, and minimal house. The tracks start off running and never really stop. The whole effect gives the impression of what I would imagine speeding through a bustling African City in a car would feel like, while only being able to comprehend and make sense of the blurred trail left behind. If you are interested in challenging dance music that is one step removed from the cliches of the current underground dance culture then these two releases are up your alley.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Geza X and the Mommymen - You Goddam Kids! (1982)

02 Rio Grande Hotel by destroy the scene
04 We Need More Power by destroy the scene
05 Isotope Soap by destroy the scene

This is what it sounds like when you are surrounded by every bit of musical influence around you, every major player in the west coast scene, recording these major players, having the ability to make records, your best friend is brendan mullen(owner of the first la punk club le masque) and have friends in equally high and low places. this is the sum of someone knowing black flag, wall of voodoo, the germs, the go-gos,oingo boingo and countless others in the la punk and rock scenes and having a hand in helping them write their music.

take all that and then add a music obsessed personality coupled with a bit of insanity(he dabbled in culty music ideas and ESP) and basically remove the filter. taking influences from zappa, the residents, devo, quirky novelty music from the turn of the century, circus music, then add what i wrote about above and then manage to predict the careers of basically ween, the dead milkmen, and they might be giants and you have Geza X.

this guy was on a mission and his mission was to basically fuck up the punk scene he helped build, if he didnt succeed with fucking it up entirely he definately fucked with it, with the help from some of the best musicians from the era including, don bolles(drummer of the germs), dj bonebrake(X), and Joe Nanini(wall of voodoo).

this album is kind of a hard pill to swallow, it has a very awkward feel to it, it sounds pretty 80s but it also does sound like a 70s punk album, but this is also much more and the ideas are all over the place and gems are to be found throughout