April 28, 2004  




Devendra Banhart
Erlend Øye (DJ Kicks)
DJ Signify
Ya Ho Wha 13 (reissue)


Nurse With Wound


Keith Rowe & Christian Fennez
Glenn Branca (reissue)
Momus & Anne Laplantine
Keith Hudson (reissue)
Terry Reid (live recording from 1970)

MAY Sun 2 Mon 3 Tues 4 Wed 5 Thurs 6 Fri 7 Sat 8


PLUS a signed CD of Bang on a Can Plays Louis Andriessen's "Gigantic Dancing Human Machine"

Saturday, May 8

Alice Tully Hall @ the Lincoln Center
Broadway & 65th Street
New York, NY

For the past 14 years, Bang on a Can All-Stars have performed and produced the works of Andriessen around the world. During this special evening, the cutting-edge ensemble performs works by Andriessen and the famous minimalist score "In C" by Terry Riley. Pre-concert interview with Terry Riley, David Lang, and Fred Sherry in the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse at 6:45.

To enter, go to: www.bangonacan.org/contest
Winners will be contacted by May 5
Purchase Advance Tickets







Rejoicing in the Hands
(Young God)

"A Sight to Behold"
"Autumn's Child"

Devendra Banhart's new album is as majestic as his first. Better even. Simply put, it is one of the best records you could hope to hear all year. The remarkable thing is that trumping an acclaimed debut is not such an easy thing to do in this day and age, with new release Tuesdays continually feeling like a big letdown and highly anticipated record after record failing to live up to the hype. Rejoicing in the Hands does, it is surely an album of great depth. Many of the rough edges he'd previously exhibited have been smoothed out; not one song here is presented simply as a sketch.

A proper studio serves his voice and arrangements well -- I'd previously worried that the multi-tracked vocals on Oh Me Oh My… could possibly be a crutch that masked a set of weak pipes. On the contrary, he's as stunningly expressive as Tim Buckley in his prime. Banhart's voice is a subtly shifting quaver that probes the implications of each and every finely crafted phrase he rolls out. It's a voice that bears witness to the fact that the worlds he sings of are the ones he's lived in. To flesh out the tunes this time he's added exquisitely recorded rollicking congas, creaky pianos, and softly melodramatic strings. His acoustic fingerpicking is bar none. Vashti Bunyan turns in a guest appearance. What more could you ask for?

If you'd picked up Oh Me Oh My… and found much of it to be too idiosyncratic, I'd beg you to reconsider Banhart's artistry here. There are certain truths to be found in these songs, and I'm convinced that they're a veritable balm for those psyches too brighted out by our age's informational interferences. [MK]







DJ Kicks

"2D2F" Avenue D

Erlend Øye, of Norwegian indie pop band Kings of Convenience gets his kicks from singing along with the tracks he spins. But don't let this make you think you're about to buy some crazy karaoke CD. This latest installment of K7's enormously popular DJ Kicks series has all the eclecticism of past compilations -- everything from pop to techno -- blended well. Cornelius' "Drop" segues into Phoenix's Lost In Translation hit "If I Ever Feel Better," and the acid house-y Jackmate track chugs into Röyksopp. It isn't until "Rubicon" that the singing DJ makes himself obviously known, introducing the song in a fitting (to this song) cheesy game show announcer's voice. Other songs flow quite subtly with his smooth, tuneful extra vocals, especially when it's lyrics from another song. Röyksopp isn't just "Poor Leno," it's the "Silikon Soul Rmx" with Erlend singing The Smiths' "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" with it. My favorite is Morgan Geist's "Lullaby" with an acapella of Orange Juice's "A Place in My Heart." Hard and pretty at the same time. And, like past DJ Kicks artists, an original tune is mixed in. "Black Keys Work" nestles nicely in between two Berlin techno joints. I've listened to this already so many times that I can't count, and I still keep finding things I missed the first time. Erlend isn't a master re-mixer, but the selection and inventiveness puts it up there with the uber-seller Kruder & Dorfmeister DJ Kicks. [LG]







CD Box Set

Morals & Dogma
(Rune Grammofon)

"Orgone Donor"

4 CD Box
(Rune Grammofon)

Helge Sten has left his impressive mark all over the extensive catalog of Norway's celebrated Rune Grammofon record label. He is a founding member of Supersilent and has handled production duties for that group as well as for Food, Susanna And The Magical Orchestra, and others. On his own, he has released a trio of records under his Deathprod moniker as well as a split album of Arne Nordheim remixes with like-minded Norwegian artist Biosphere. He's also made a name for himself as a member of the experimental rock group Motorpsycho, with whom he was nominated for a Norwegian Grammy in the late-'90s. The new Deathprod album Morals And Dogma finds him delving further and further into foreboding ambience and apocalyptic minimalism. The music is as monolithic and oppressive as the album's jet-black sleeve, but with a complexity and ingenuity that makes it more and more rewarding with each successive listen. It's an album of noise that falls somewhere in between the extremes of Masami Akita's buzz-saw explosions and Christian Fennesz's disintegrating beach vistas. Sten is joined on the record by fellow Motorpsycho member Hans Magnus Ryan and noted Norwegian improviser Ole Henrik Moe, whose performances on violin, harmonium, and musical saw were layered and stretched endlessly to create Deathprod's dark and epic soundscapes. Morals And Dogma is also available as part of a box set that includes both of Deathprod's long out-of-print prior albums and an entire CD of previously unreleased material. [RH]







Sleep No More

"Five Leaves Left (For Lauren)"
"Kiddie Litter"

Up until now probably best known for his contribution to Anticon's Music for the Advancement of Hip Hop, this New York City producer's debut album on Lex plays like the soundtrack to some hip hop psychological thriller. DJ Signify's production is amazingly restrained and steeped in a dark and at times even macabre mood. Every sound, from a nightmarish voice that narrates the opening track to a few upbeat moments of turntablism and breaks, is carefully placed giving Sleep No More a conceptual feel in its overall brooding, cinematic lull. Assisted by Sage Francis and Buck 65, the wordsmiths both spin bleak stories that often take place in locations like a dingy hotel or a junkie's bathroom, and depict humans in their darkest moments. Many of the instrumental tracks crawl at a narcotic, trip hop pace; even when Signify steers "Peek'a boo-Part 2" with a hyper breakbeat, low drones and spooky "oooooo's" ground the song in an ominous state. Abstract and heady, there's a lot to grasp. I recommend listening to this with your lights out and your headphones on. [GH]







  YA HO WHA 13
I'm Gonna Take You Home
(Ya Ho Wha)

Track 2
Track 4

"I could write a book on the cover. It is an absolute masterpiece of design, and probably the greatest cover in music history. Suffice it to say if you were to fully grasp the meaning and symbology of it, you would have the keys to magically transform your person and environment into your heart's desire and ride the chariot of God into the future of your own will, one with God" - Djin (guitar player for Ya Ho Wha 13)

The story of Jim Baker (Father Yod, Ya Ho Wha 13, Godman, etc.) is surely one of the strangest in all of rock and roll. (For a detailed biographical account of his life and work I'd seriously recommend checking out Perfect Sound Forever online for an in-depth interview with former members of his band, the source of the above quote, or www.yahowha.org for information on his life philosophy.)

Decorated Marine. Millionaire several times over. Owner of the first vegetarian restaurant in California. Jim Baker founded a spiritual movement called the Source and presided over a commune comprised of 140 members, who first lived in a mansion near Griffith Park, then a three bedroom home that was nestled in the hills around Los Angeles, and finally a dome house in Hawaii. He had 13 wives and once allegedly blew life into a stillborn baby. In the span of two years in the early-'70s he and his musicians (a core group consisting of Octavius, Djin, Pythias, and Sunflower) recorded 65 records, though only about 15 or so have survived, 13 of which have only been recently available as a ridiculously expensive Japanese CD box set.

I'm Gonna Take You Home is a more than adequate introduction to Father Yod's recorded output. I believe it was his fifth or sixth record, and the thundering psychedelic musicianship his band is renowned for is on ample display. The songs, as they were, are sort of a free form freak-out continually anchored by the near trance-like precision of his rhythm section. There are natural affinities to many other psychedelic stalwarts, with Can and the Grateful Dead both immediately coming to mind.

Somewhat bizarrely, Baker himself may be the weak link in these recordings as his ponderous assertations and leaden delivery may be an acquired taste for some. But thankfully, he seems to know how good his band is and so he usually lets them be the vessels for his divine vibrations. Sadly, Baker died in a hang gliding accident in Hawaii in the mid-'70s, but followers continue to spread the word of his vision through reprints of his writings and recordings even today. [MK]







Live at the Lu

"Lu Live 2"

Two generations of extended guitar practitioners come together for this live document recorded in Nantes, France in May 2002. While Christian Fennesz has quickly made a name for himself with several albums of beautifully fragmented digital guitar compositions, he has always worked within the world of improvised music as well. Keith Rowe has been perfecting his unique style of improvised tabletop guitar (using miscellaneous objects, radios and electronics) for over 30 years working in various ad hoc configurations as well as with the seminal improv trio AMM. This recording sees the esteemed duo working within the framework of electro-acoustic improv that the Erstwhile label has been tirelessly championing for the last few years. The familiar bubble and scrape of Rowe's guitar dominates most of the tracks while Fennesz' contributions are somewhat more ambiguous. An interesting recording of restrained intimacy that pairs jagged pulsating texture with amplified hiss. Live at the LU is worth checking out simply as a document of two of contemporary experimental music's most prolific and individual voices. [KH]






Lesson No. 1

"Lesson No. 1"
"Bad Smells"

The third installment in Acute's comprehensive Glenn Branca series is this reissue of his groundbreaking 1980 debut "Lesson No. 1." Along with Rhys Chatham, Branca helped to give birth to rock minimalism by marrying a compositional style similar to La Monte Young's with the popular new wave sound of the early-'80s. This disc includes the phenomenal title track, which was one of the highlights of last year's New York Noise compilation, along with the original b-side "Dissonance" and a recording of a longer piece called "Bad Smells," which features Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore dueling with three other electric guitar players. If that isn't enough to get the drool flowing, the CD also features a video of a spectacular performance of Branca's "Symphony No. 5" from 1984. This is powerful, overwhelming music in which you can completely lose yourself. Both as a "serious" composer and as a popular musician, Branca was light years ahead of his time and his musical legacy remains unparalleled to this day. Essential. [RH]







(Analog Baroque)

"The Tailor of Dunblane"
"Spin Thread Annie"

Always a restless spirit, jetsetting musician/cultural observer Momus recently landed in Berlin, where he's been making music with Anne Laplantine, a producer, knob-twiddler, and soundscapey musician with a handful of releases under her own name and various aliases. On Summerisle, Laplantine's quiet compositions take center stage. Mixing electronic and acoustic instruments, she weaves delicate tapestries of sound that approximate the gorgeous, melody-dotted wallpaper of Aphex Twin, but with more emphasis on Momus's self-coined "analog baroque" style (harpsichord-like sounds and acoustic guitar pepper the sometimes cut-up synthetic sounds). Uncharacteristically for Momus, his contributions take a backseat on this 35-minute album. His singing is so low in the mix, it virtually melts into the music, which is kind of a neat twist for a songwriter who's known for flaunting his wit. Summerisle is an unexpected next chapter in the voluminous Momus songbook, and an intriguing earful of from Laplantine, a composer we'll surely be hearing more from. [LV]







Flesh of My Skin, Blood of My Blood
(Basic Replay)

"No Friend of Mine"
"My Nocturne"

Dub-mavens Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus, a/k/a the mighty Basic Channel (Rhythm & Sound, Maurizio, Main Street, Chain Reaction, etc.), created the Basic Replay label as a source to unearth the "lost classics" of reggae and dub music. One should expect nothing less than the best, and here they don't disappoint one iota. Flesh of My Skin, Blood of My Blood is easily the best reggae reissue so far this year, and the best I've heard in a long while. Keith Hudson (R.I.P.), was an extremely talented musician and producer, a sometime dentist (no kidding!), and created Flesh... in 1974. This is the record that earned him the "Dark Prince" moniker. Absorb the music within, and it's easy to see why the name was bestowed upon him. At first glance, Flesh... as a whole isn't as immediately strong as Hudson's stunning Playing It Cool & Playing It Right (my favorite reissue of last year), yet it still takes hold of your psyche and never lets up, even more so after repeated listens. Often, the "slow burners" blossom into something way more than what they seem to be at first, don't they?

As expected, some of reggae's mightiest legends are here to help bring Hudson's vision to fruition: Augustus Pablo, Santa Davis, Chinna Smith, Leroy Sibbles, as well as many others. There are non-stop, fantastic musical moments here. Alongside the proverbial "chik-a chik-a's" are some seriously inspired guitar playing, all reverb'd-out and ghostly. Candi McKenzie's backup vocals have that heartwarming classic soul feel, the perfect balance for Hudson's moody vocal stylings. That unmistakable, primordial Nyabinghi drumming is in full effect on the opening instrumental "Hunting," courtesy of Count Ossie & The Mystic Revelation. For the uninitiated, Nyabinghi is a form of African music and dance that the hill-dwelling Rastafarians adopted and use during grounations (ceremonies), utilizing various types of wooden drums. So, so darn amazing, and immediate seduction for yours truly. Perhaps inspired by dem drums, Hudson chooses to let Emeka Edozie's congas act as the rhythmic anchor instead of the drum kit for a few of the songs.

Pablo gives his beloved melodica a rest, wields a harmonica, and blows the thing to dizzying heights/ites. While it being a nice surprise, it's also a good move, since the melodica wouldn't have worked on this record as well as the hypnotic, metallic sonorities of the harmonica. And the vocals… oh my, the vocals! While the music is totally top notch and by no means even close to "secondary" or "background", Hudson's singing is what it's all about here. He coos, seethes, and wails like a man yearning to keep his faith while bloodletting his inner demons -- catharsis all over the place. With lyrics like "I can't hold back these anxieties", "Why can't I be just like any other man?", "My dreams will always be inside", and "Any day now I shall be released", one can sympathize with his pain, his searching, his struggle, and the unstoppable need to express. Flesh of My Skin, Blood of My Blood is a dark, soulful, visceral, haunting, sinister, atmospheric, and unbelievably DEEP journey. Have I mentioned that it's essential listening? [DD]







Silver White Light - Live at the Isle of Wight 1970

"Silver White Light"
"Without Expression"

Heretofore previously unheard live Terry Reid performance from the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. Recorded in between the release of his self-titled second record (my personal favorite of his) and his much-lauded River (OK, maybe it's a tie for favorite), this show was the debut of a new band that featured David Lindley (Kaleidoscope) and Michael Giles (King Crimson). To be frank, the sound is a little rough and it takes the band a couple of songs to fully gel. But soon enough Reid has gotten 'em all together into his trademark lackadaisically tight groove, and the soulful brilliance of the songs is impossible to be denied. Listen here to see where all the beard rockers copped their best moves. [MK]









Angry Eelectric Finger
(United Dairies)

The first installment of a three part series, Nurse With Wound's Angry Eelectric Finger (Spitch' Cock 1) features Jim O'Rourke, Cyclobe and Kraut Rock legends legends Xhol Caravan. Limited pressing of 2000 copies.



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[DD] Daniel DeRogatis
[LG] Lisa Garrett
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[KH] Koen Holtkamp
[MK] Michael Klausman
[LV] Lydia Vanderloo

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