Wednesday, March 28, 2012

John Cage - Four Walls

Here we have an excerpt from a piano composition by John Cage, written for a Merce Cunningham dance play that was performed once in August of 1944. No recording, script or program survived from the performance- just the score. Cage wrote the music to be played by another performer and the recording here is by Richard Bungler in 1979. For me, the piece hangs heavy with the burden of world war, in full swing at the time. But Cunningham’s play was apparently about a dysfunctional family. The piece runs over an hour and is mostly solo piano played in the diatonic scale (white keys only) with a short vocal phrase in the middle. I find it to be excellent music to play loud in the dark on a rainy night. I have combined the final six scenes that comprise Act 2 to make one 25 minute long file that quietly builds in intensity before the final devastating minute. Enjoy, this is a master at work.
Click to download or stream below.
Four Walls Act II Scene IX - XIV

Cunningham and Cage in the 60's.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

John Frusciante - Enter a Uh

I’ve been meaning to post something by Frusciante since I started this site, as he is one of the few songwriters I can fully get behind. His lyrics are always intriguingly tripped out and his body of work is second to none. His 2001 LP To Record Only Water For Ten Days is one of my favorite records of all time. But here I am posting the first song from his 1997 experimental masterpiece, Smile From the Streets You Hold. Famously pulled from the shelves when Frusciante sobered up from his heroin and cocaine addiction, this album is essentially a series of prayers to the gods of intoxication. Indeed, videos of him in this phase are pretty heavy. The LP is full of incredibly powerful songs straight from the mind of a creative madman- this is quite possibly the greatest musical document of addiction ever recorded. He screams, yelps, sings and smokes his way through one of the most diverse and musically satisfying albums I’ve ever heard. The raw intensity of his voice will make your spine tingle. Within the dementia are some very beautiful songs performed with such intense emotion it’s astounding (John Frusciante - More). It belongs in the canon of crazy psychedelic solo albums like those of Syd Barrett and Daniel Johnston… Highly recommended if you can find it (this CD may have recently been bootlegged as I am seeing copies pop up here and there. For the last 15 years it was extremely rare…)
Click the link to download or stream below.

John Frusciante - Enter a Uh

Friday, March 16, 2012

DJ Mix

There hasn’t been a DJ mix on this site for some time so I thought I’d share this recent one I made. It’s mostly UK garage, techno and house.

Selected and blended by James in December 2011 direct to an R-09 digital recorder with two 1200's, a Rane Empath mixer and vinyl. You can stream it or download here:

Dance Mix Volume 1

Joy O – BB
Breach – Man Up
Blawan – Vibe Decorum
Ramadanman & Midland – More Than You Know
Midland – Through Motion
Joy Orbison – The Shrew Would Have Cushioned The Blow
George Fitzgerald – Fernweh
Factory Floor – Second Way
Joe Goddard – Garbriel (Seiji Remix)
Mosca – Bax
Big Bird – Trackin Out (Mix One)
B-15 Project – Girls Like Us

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - The New Stone Age

The first time I heard this song I thought my record was warped or my stereo was broken. The upfront pounding kick drum and the wavering sound of the guitars totally threw me off. I made sure everything was working correctly and listened to it a few more times and finally realized it was supposed to sound that way and that OMD were just completely radical. The rest of the LP doesn’t sound this abrasive; it must have been a surprise for fans back in the day to hear this opening track, especially after the mellower vibe of their previous record, Organization. If you’re not familiar with this band, they made some amazing electronic music in the 80’s. Check out these tunes on Youtube:
Julia's Song
The Misunderstanding
Sacred Heart
This track is taken from their classic LP Architecture & Morality; Strangely enough this album isn’t available on iTunes so buy the vinyl.
Click to download:
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - The New Stone Age

Monday, March 5, 2012

Come and See

Originally titled Kill Hitler, Come and See is a Soviet film from 1985 by Elem Klimov. It takes place during the German invasion of Russia and focuses on the brutality of the Einsatzgrppen, the evil psychotic offshoot of the Nazi SS in charge of mass killings and the burnings of villages that ended the lives of over ¼ million people in Belarus alone. The story concerns a Beylorussian boy left behind to fend for himself after his entire village is murdered and the psychological terror he experiences while witnessing the mind-boggling horrors bestowed upon his people. This is seriously dark material. Klimov focuses on inner moments of crisis in the boys mind- like a drawn out close up of his face as he finally comes to grips with the fact that his family is dead. Klimov does not shy away from anything- he shows things how they went down. He based the film on actual testimony from survivors. And although some of the more heinous atrocities against children (eaten alive by dogs) are understandably shied away from there is still enough here to make you completely lose faith in humanity. Cinematically this movie is a trip and very experimental (as implied in one of the most amazing film posters ever, above), making excellent use of POV Steadicam and weird sound effects. Klimov never made another film after this. The story had been told, and indeed, I had no idea how bad it got in that part of the world until I saw this movie and read up on it. This is not a film for the light-hearted but those interested in the unfettered dark side of history or in the cinematic arts in general, this is a deep and disturbing masterwork of the highest order.