Wednesday, March 31, 2004

glisten globally: week three

Today's selections are the first in a trio of global mixes. The following tracks hail from Indonesia, Peru and Brazil; they vary in style from drone to folk dance to dancehall; each has its own attendant language, tradition and sensibility.

Mix it up.


Male Indonesian Chorus - "Zoka"

Somewhere between lightly creepy, somnambulent and transcendent.

Nice sleepytime music, leastways _I_ think so.

The aggressively aspirant Smithsonian Folkways Indonesian Music Collection is comprised of TWENTY CDs.
Gotta catch 'em all!
Purchase the CD "Music of Indonesia, Disc Nine" from Amazon.
Then again, twenty CD's might not be enough.
Some commentary and reviews of CDs in the series.

Peru Negro - "Son de Los Diablos"

Just a bit more Afro-Peru love.

Booty grindin', peppery and uproarious.

The Peru Negro Homepage
This looks suspiciously like a live show that could change your life. Maybe you'd go off and start raising ostriches or become a racecar driver.
Buy the CD "Jolgario" from Amazon and then send me a copy, cuz I want one.
(My version of this song comes from the previously mentioned Luaka Bop AfroPeruvian compilation.)
Rock Paper Scissors maintains a great band site for Peru Negro with lots of info, pics and audio.


Boquinha Da Garrafa - "Ou Da Ou Desce"

Here's an odd duck. I got a copy of this CD from a Brazilian waiter I used to work with. The cover and liners on this were UNBELIEVABLY homoerotic; two men and one woman (presumably the band) in various degrees of undress and genderfuck. With jazz hands.

As my roommate succinctly put it "Yo, that's some gayass shit, dog."

But the music was INSANE! Like bouncing off the wall, RUNNING up the wall dancing on the ceiling insane!

This is by far my favorite track on here, but you can buy the album from Amazon, if you're absolutely enthralled or feeling adventurous.
Lyrics and tabs and the sorta garbled English translation version.
"Ou Da Ou Desce" apparently means "it gives or it goes down", an argument that seems to be missing an "it puts the lotion in the basket", if you ask me.
I had a devil of a time finding info in English on Boquinha da Garrafa. Why don't you take a peek at this GIS for BdG and tell me what YOU think it is. My best guess is "lips on the bottle".
Brazilian readers? Somebody? Can anybody tell me about these guys? I'm VERY curious.



Continuing the Musicblog collection:

I wish I had found copy, right? earlier, as there's a number of tracks that have come and gone that I wouldn't have minded glomming on to. Obscure and often silly covers for days; don't miss The Softies on "Together Forever".
Electronic, remix, mashup schtuff over by Diffusion Online. Nice take on the unpleasant UK I Love Horses meme.
Lionel Vinyl is my new friend and we're gonna beat ALL yall's asses.
Some great remixes over theah.
What more DJs? Yep. DeepDiscoForce.
And yet more. Not all of mcsleazy's links are live, so click around.
So now that George Michael's seems to have joined the ranks it only seemed fair to plug HIS site, but URK is it gaudy.
Stumble around and get the live dl for "Grave" which is gorgeous.
Meanwhile, Soulwax has GREAT design, but I can't seem to find a way to listen to any of the music. Is it good?
Victor Stone's Fourstones
A slew of rarities and little knowns from Indie Mp3.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

glisten globally: Week Three

Today's music comes from "The Elder", saxophone colossus Manu Dibango.


Manu Dibango with Salif Keita - "Emma"

Funky, blazin', smooth and astonishing. Manu's seventy these days, but don't let that fool you.

Purchase "Wakafrica" from Amazon
This is a perennial bargain bin haunter and I'll be damned if I know why. A great album of duets with Keita, Ladysmith, King Sunny Ade (who's a helluva live performer, let me tell ya), Youssou N'Dour, Peter Gabriel, and Sinead O'Connor. If you see it for a song, go get it.
Manu's Bio
Salif Keita Bio

Manu Dibango - "Soul Makossa"

This has had the hell sampled out of it. I wouldn't even include it here, but would you believe it's difficult to find this classic version? The "best of" CD has a somewhat less smoky and heavier produced version.

Top Twenty Singles material, f'rshure.

Purchase "Soul Makossa" the album (unfortunately at import prices) from Amazon or you could find the watered down version on "The Very Best of Manu Dibango: Afrosouljazz" which is STILL worth it, if only for "Abele Dance".
Damn, that's hot.
The story of "Soul Makossa", along with Manu's court time with MJ.
"Soul Makossa": Thirty(One) Years Ago

>Manu Dibango - "Senga Abelle"

All this and he raps! Sounds a bit like KRS-1, methinks.

A tetch overdone for my taste, but pretty dirrrty all the same.

Purchase "Polysonik" from Amazon
Don't know much about this one.
The official (and flashed out) site
Pretty, but can you find a way in? I can't.
Manu's AMP profile


Manu Dibango - "Wouri"

Great dancehall jazz.

The moan he lets out at 1:43 cracks me up.

Purchase "Africadelic: The Best of Manu Dibango" (again, import prices) from Amazon
Probably the superior of the two best of's. But no "Abele"? Wha'?
A selected discography
A modest French Manu fansite



Yet MORE Musicblog Revolutionaries:

FakeID has a whole buncha remixes and original tracks and a funky robot.
What more do you want?
Sniff around NintendoExtreme until you get to the Music page and you'll find a slew of great game soundtracks for yer perusal.
My god, there's DOZENS of Spinal Tap clips and tracks on this site.
Who NEEDS this stuff?
Broadcasts from Planet Blarg LOOKS great, but for some reason I can't download the tracks. Is it just me or is this something to do with livejournal?
Help? Okay, it seems to be working for me. How about NOW?
The Box.
Oh my. Yes, please.
Hip hop heads rejoice.
"Why pay for shitty quality live bootleg recordings when you can download them for free !!" Hard to argue with that logic, especially when Bootleg offers such a comprehensive index of concert sets. Sniff about; there's plenty that leads to cold dinner but there's a number of hot live links.
Elliot Smith and Jawbox at Unfinished. Plenty of interesting 'ritin, too.
Dinbot's (abandoned looking) site has got a buncha, er, offbeat mashups.
The 50cent/Devo "Whipsta" alone is worth the price of admission.


Mo' Dap, mo' dap, mo' dap from:

Corante, bringin' ya tech news you can use; Incoming Signals (soon to be sidebarred) and growabrain who both bring rough and ready and wondrous clicky f'allyall'sasses; The Red Toque, offering some nice abstract photography (I particularly like this Mondrian style window); somedisco, who also pointed me to the worst album review ever ("The neuroses, the psychoses, the self-harrowing, the black holes for eyes, the endless tiredness, the Hadean promenades, the unashamed puncturing of one’s darkest innards, the perverted abreaction it looses are, themselves, courteous dignities and gracile arts that can be neither imitated nor cloned."); strangefruit; Planing Lakes; Perspective and Jezblog.
I haven't had time to comment on the March 23rd entry from Popshots until now and on rereading it I have to say I don't really HAVE much of a response. I _kinda_ agree that you might be "funk faking" by posting music without commentary or explanation; I still think that there are ways to make that sort of posting work. Oh, Manchester does a very good job of that by making the music a quite literal soundtrack to the blogging. That seems a reasonable way to "comment", eh?

David sez: "If there is a MUSICBLOG REVOLUTION going on - one that I want to participate in, anyway - it'd be one involving less data-drive malfeasance and more 'seductive writing'," which I clearly agree with and I think is rather nicely put.

The argument against the devil of overaccessibility is one that I think about every day, but my current perspective is that blaming the technology for your lack of self-control (while I _have_ subscribed to this idea) is more than a little disingenuous. Sign o' the times, ya know? You're as hip as you wanna be.

The upshot of Popshot's entry is that he's outta the music sharing genepool. Fair enough, but it's got me to thinking about who SHOULD be in the pool?
Over the next few posts, I'm gonna try to start giving a quickie "My POV" FAQ of Musicbloggin': the essentials of starting a page, who should REALLY consider getting online, how best to maintain your music and how to cultivate an audience.

I'm hardly the guy to do this but I never let that stop me before.
On a different note, I try to NEVER gush over people linking to me, but I REALLY dig Peabs shit a lot and it was gratifying to find some traffic dribbling in from over there.

Those of you with dangerous senses of humah and a healthy taste for hoisting the celeb petard are hereby ordered to go explore Peabsville. Brother is the new hotness, the old hotness and a side of assgravy.


Monday, March 29, 2004

glisten globally: week three

Today's offering is the music of the Babenzele Pygmies.


The Babenzele Pygmies - "Mondume with Percussion"

"Bayaka", the CD these tracks are taken from is available for purchase from Amazon
An interview with Louis Sarno, the creator of "Bayaka"
Just an amazing story. Sarno MARRIED into the tribe.
Highly recommended reading.


The Babenzele Pygmies - "Wedding Song"

Nick’s Take On..Taking Pictures of Native Cultures
A review of the CD, with Realaudio clips


The Babenzele Pygmies - "Funeral Song"

The Niche Hypothesis: Why Creatures Vocalize and the Relationships Between Natural Sound and Music
A short article by the author of the postscript to the liners of "Bayaka"
A Japanese discography of Pygmy music


New Musicblog action, soon to be sidebarred:

Opacodex has gone whole hog into the music thang and is unearthing a lovely mix of pop, world and exotica.
The Big Ticket has my template and my hyper-verbosity down pat. Plus tracks, including the new "Eternal Sunshine" Beck song.
Mind the vomit, tho.
I love Nitpick's musical taste: Basement Jaxx, Nellie McKay and Ella Fitzgerald.
Ready Rock Moe Rex is also a great talker with eclectic interests.
Certainly not MY cuppa, but if you dig disco, you should check out Disco Gigs of the 70's & 80's. This is a straight download site, which I have mixed feelings about. Am I just kidding myself that the commentary makes this method of finding new music more ethically acceptable? Probably.
Dolby Surrender joins the list of Spanish musicblogs: Metric, N.E.R.D. and Cee-Lo, for starters.
I'm late to the party, but Chromewaves has a LARGEHEARTED BOY style musicblog to peek in on.
An obscene amount of White Stripes boots and rarities


Keith and Andrew, your CDs are in the mail today. I look forward to your response.
Owing to tremendous personal upheaval, the format at the Hut is somewhat obliged to become likely drastically less structured and verbose for a little while and may be marked by moments of silence (with warning).

This change in style might well be a blessing, no? I could do with a bit more concision.

Anyway, your patience with my erratic nature while I ride out this particular tsunami/shitstorm is appreciated.

Friday, March 26, 2004

recipe for missing a blog deadline

1): Go see a late night showing of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". Heck, see ANY showing.
2): No, really; go see it. What you need reasons? Okay, it's probably the best film I'll see this year. It's tremendously hopeful and has the best, least didactic ending since "Eyes Wide Shut". Also you should see it soon because (like "Malkovich") the less you know about the movie when you walk in, the better. All I knew was the central conceit and I would've preferred not to know that. Plus Kate Winslet is amazing and will remind you of the torch you've been carrying all your life. Because Kaufman establishes hard and fast rules and then plays STRICTLY by them. Because both director and writer think you are very smart and will be able to keep up with them. Because you'll be able to. Because I wanted to hug the movie when it was over. Because there are only a VERY few scenes with Jim Carrey doing schtick and they're easy to disregard and otherwise he's just the same sort of cipher that Nick Cage was in "Adaptation". Because even tho' the film orbits a central conceit, it's bright enough to not make the film ABOUT that conceit, but instead plays in the world that conceit creates. Because there's any number of visual flourishes that are as inspired as anything you've ever seen. Because you WILL associate with one of the lead characters. Because absolutely ANYTHING David Cross says is funny (his riffs on birdhouses and weed, while utterly pointless are very funny). Because this is Kaufman's most fully realized work yet. Because there's a moment or two in the film where you will notice the audience absolutely hold it's breath. Because I said so.
3): Corner a pair of college students afterwards and demand that, even though you're strangers) you should all go out for coffee and talk about the movie.
4): Meet at a Perkins and bullshit for too long.
5): Get home and realize you have to be up early.
6): Write a lame list in lieu of doing real work.
7): Wash, rinse, repeat.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

glisten globally: week two

Scant blather from me this time around as I'm still winded by yesterday's marathon post. Probably a blessing, right?

The links should answer any questions you may have.

All of these tracks are taken from the difficult to find and out-of-print CD "Hamba Notsokolo".

Those of you who are self-styled pop geeks are gonna love this stuff: African diva bubblegum on the classic tip, each one catchier than the next.

Enjoy Dorothy Masuka, Zimbabwe songstress supreme circa 1954.


Dorothy Masuka - "Mama Ngi Niki"

Masuka's Bio courtesy of Afropop Worldwide.

Afropop is a great resource and is absolutely chockfulla audio; look it over.


Dorothy Masuka - "Hamba Notsokolo"

A laudatory Beeb review of Masuka's "The Definitive Collection: The Grand Dame of African Music".

Though this compilation doesn't have everything on "Hamba Notsokolo" it does have a number of more recent songs that "Notsokolo" does not.


Dorothy Masuka - "Mhlaba"

Dorothy's considerable political involvement is touched upon in this 1999 interview:
"(Nelson Mandela) became like a brother and a father to me. But more than that, he has been my guardian angel."


Dorothy Masuka - "Nolishwa"

The African Music Profile for Masuka


Dorothy Masuka - "Norah"

Though long out of print in the states, you can find a copy of "Hamba Notsokolo" (as well as Masuka VINYL) via this Seattle, WA music store.


The MUSICBLOG REVOLUTION sidebar has been updated and I have since found over THIRTY new sites to add on top of what's already there.

Musicblogging is the train to ride these days apparently.

Stay tuned for a wicked big musicblog update; I've been spending most of the night compiling and arranging the new mix CD, which is looking hella fun.

Now don't you wish you had reserved one?

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

glisten globally: week two

A trip to Miami put me in a state of mind for Latin music and big booty bass. Today's selection at the Hut is neither fish nor fowl on that list, but comes somewhat close to both.

Susana Baca is at the forefront of the fairly recent Afro-Peruvian revival; music that has its roots both in Andes folk blues and African percussion.

Baca was introduced to the international market by David Byrne on his Luaka Bop imprint with a performance on an Afro-Peru compilation. That disc was filled with quality music but Baca's contribution stuck out as particularly stellar and fueled public interest in a solo album.

She's since released three records for the "world" market, all very much in the same vein.

The worst anyone seems to be able to say about Baca's music is that it's repetitive and monotonous; I say it's hypnotizing and evocative, buttery beautiful and spicy hot.

You decide. Here's a heaping spoonful of Susana Baca.


Susana Baca - "Zamba Malato"

This is as good a demonstration of Baca's vocal stylings as any.

The various chaotic warring lines of percussion and strings are unified by Baca's voice and woven into a mystery.

Purchase the eponymous CD from Amazon.
This is one of my favorite albums, period. Well worth it.
Baca's home at Luaka Bop has lots of realaudio music and this live video of Baca, John Medeski, Marc Ribot and David Byrne performing at Joe's Pub, NYC.

If you're not familiar with Luaka Bop records, you should be.
David Byrne's vanity imprint has put out a considerable amount of worthwhile work, most notably that of Byrne, Baca, Shuggie Otis, Cornershop and Jim White.
They specialize in styles for all tastes so why not stop by, pick up some music and peep the discography?


Susana Baca - "Cardo O Ceniza"

Love the laughing opening.

Overall, this is understated, smooth and cool like blue ice cream. Good slow sex music.

Purchase the CD "Gifted: Women of the World" from Amazon.
A very nice RealWorld compilation, but only one Baca track.
Extensive interview with Susana courtesy of Bomb Magazine.
Learn a bit more about the Afro Peruvian musical tradition.


Susana Baca - "Canto A Eleggua"

Totally drum driven and relentless.

Don't know why I hear such disdain in Baca's voice on this track. Any of my bilingual listeners care to give me a lyric breakdown?

Purchase "Vestida de Vida" from Amazon.
Another brief interview
If you'd like to learn more about the new wave of afro-peruvian music, you could do worse than the Rough Guide CD available via Amazon.
(Really, Rough Guides are an EXCELLENT way to explore just about any musical genre. I want on their comp list something awful.)


Susana Baca - "De Los Amores"

A scary night alone out on the highway. Seems a natural for David Lynch, no?

Purchase the CD "Eco de Sombras" from Amazon.
A Roots World article about Susana with a link to a review of "Eco De Sombras".

Roots World offers great writing and sound clips of artists who would be right at home here on the glisten globally front. Go check 'em out.
Commenting on the potential "Westernization" of her work, Baca has this to say: "'My musicians--the Peruvian ones, and the ones who work on ("Eco De Sombras"), have open attitudes towards every kind of music,' Baca assured. 'It made me very happy that this album demonstrated it’s not necessary to have been born in one place to play music with the same emotions and good taste. These albums are proof that music has that universality.'


Susana Baca - "Maria Lando"

This was Baca's first big label recording and the first I heard of her, back in college.

This track mesmorized me the first time I heard it (on a mixtape) and I remember rewinding and playing it over and over again, unsure of who the singer was.

Five years later, I heard Susana Baca playing in an NYC Virgin Megastore and crashed the front desk demanding to know the artist.

Sadly out of print and being hawked for EXORBITANT prices on Amazon ($149.99?), the excellent "Afro-Peruvian Classics: The Soul of Black Peru" is worth tracking down secondhand at your local record store's bins.

If you simply MUST have a copy of this on CD, I can recommend "Luaka Bop 10th Anniversary: Zero Accidents on the Job", a very reasonably priced double disc compilation that looks more than worth your time.
A brief bio
Baca talks about the making of her most recent release, 2002's "Espiritu Vivo":

"Recorded before a small studio audience in an intimate studio in New York City during the surreal week of Sept. 11, Espiritu Vivo showcases Baca at her shiver-inducing best, and captures the fruits of a once-in-a-lifetime recording experience. 'In the days after Sept. 11, there was so much fear and uncertainty in the air that going into the studio was like going into a sanctuary, and the music was like a balm,' Baca recalls. 'When we recorded we had a small audience, and I could see their eyes through the glass. I could see John Medeski's wonderful facial expressions while he played, and I could see all of the musicians were connecting, and it was magical, this mise en scene of beauty that we'd created. The music seemed more important than ever.'"


Tomorrow it's back to Africa again. Tune in for Dorothy Masuka's special brand of bobbysox pop.

a little <big> bonus

The ride TO Miami was all about new music culled from the REVOLUTIONARIES over to your right: Leslie Feist, Wiley, Magnetic Fields, Reena Bhardwaj, Ludacris remixes and such; but the ride home belonged to Biggie.

Four hours or so of nonstop six year memorial NOTORIOUS tracks reminded me of why "the late great Francis" deserves to be remembered eternal, wackass Puffy and all.

Here's some early (pre-"Ready to Die") badass Freestyle on Funkmaster Flex.
This is unlikely to convert those of you who aren't hip hop fans. If you're genuinely curious to get a better sense of the appeal, may I recommend: "I Got a Story to Tell", "Gimme the Loot", "Playa Hater", "Dead Wrong"(with Em) and "Notorious Thugs"(with Bone).

In late breaking news, it looks like the FBI is FINALLY picking up the Suge trail, so we may still live to see that particular herring either verified or red. Here's hoping SOMEBODY finally gets charged; if it had been one of the cats in Oasis who'd got shot, this shit woulda been solved PRIOR to the new millenium.



Time for the part of the show where the audience runs the blog.

Here's how we do it: I offer a mix CD of my own making and then send it out for review by a Hut reader and then print said review uncut and uncensored but littered with my own italicized wit, sarcasm and bullshit.

Today's maestro/guest/victim is Scott from Seattle who writes:

"Thanks so much for the CD. I am loving it so far and here are some thoughts. I think a lot of these impressions will change over time, but the deadline calls."

I'm a stickler for quick responses to these things; as I noted in an email to Scott, "(t)he reason I'm such a pain in the ass about rushing reviews in is that i love to see what people's first reactions to music are. They're often so different than long term and fresh impressions (while often embarrassing later on) are really interesting."

Bearing all that in mind, let's look at the review of today's Mix Du Jour:


Have at it, Scott!


1. Blind Willie Johnson - "By and By, I'm Going to See the King"

I like the general feel of this track, but it's a little plain. Everything sounds a little too clean. Overall this song just fails to make much of an impression on me. I don't feel the singing very much--it seems rote. The guitar breakdown at the end totally redeems what for me was a mostly forgettable song. Each time I have listened to this track, I forget that it ends with that great little breakdown, and I am always pleasantly surprised.

Wow. Pretty harsh on one of the alltime greats there, but no accountin' for taste.
Hut listeners will get opportunity to draw their own opinion on the legendary Blind Willie Johnson in a few weeks when we do a multiweek blues selection.

2. BK "Black Ace" Turner - "Beer Drinkin' Woman"

I love the singing in this track--it's understated without being boring. This doesn't actually sound that old--is this even from a particularly old record? It sounds like a re-creation more than an old time recording, given how clean the separation is between the guitar and the singing, and the general clarity of the recording.

This track is at least 40+. Here's the dope, straight from Arhoolie Records:

"In the late '30s, a Texan by the name of Babe Karo Lemon Turner released a single called `Black Ace Blues.' A Fort Worth radio station started to use the cut as a theme song and soon Turner assumed the moniker. Long before Jeff Healy piqued the music world's curiosity by playing guitar on his lap, Black Ace was playing a National steel guitar on his lap with a slide. He was one of only a few bluesmen who used this technique, the others being Kokomo Arnold and Black Ace's mentor, Oscar `Buddy' Woods. After only a few recordings in the '30s he remained dormant until Arhoolie Records' Chris Strachwitz ventured to his Fort Worth home in 1960 and brought the obscure bluesman back to the public's ear. Those recordings were originally issued the following year on Black Ace's only LP. With the fortunate advent of compact discs, we now have the pleasure of hearing the slide guitarist again some 30 years later."

It IS an awfully crisp recording. Whole album is recommended.

However, I find the lyrics totally objectionable. Don't tell me that a woman that drinks gin is no good, much less a woman who drinks beer. This is just unforgivably bad advice.

Ah, ah, ah. Listen closely to the lyrics there; it's not that "she's no good", it's that "she don't mean YOU no good," which any man of experience can attest to.

3. Butterbeans and Susie - "T'aint None of Your Business"

I love the way this track opens--the ragtimey piano seems pretty standard before Butterbeans comes in at a completely different cadence than you would expect from the intro. He does a sort of slight speed up slow down routine with his opening verse, which serves in nice counterbalance to how straight ahead Susie sings on the track. Interestingly, it sounds like he sings his second verse in a more traditional way. Maybe Susie is straightening him out a little bit. This is also a remarkable track for how many spots the piano stops playing entirely, to great effect.

4. Beans Hambone - "Beans"

If I told you about two friends, one named Hambone, and one named Flippy, and told you that one of them loved dolphins...aww nevermind.

I'm sorry, what? I'm missing a reference here, clearly. Somebody hep me.

This is a great example of why it's sometimes better to not listen to the lyrics the first few times you listen to the song. I became totally hooked on this song as background music while I was working, just because the singing is so soulful and the rhythm of the thing is so perfect. I knew the song was called Beans, but in my head as it played and I half-listened, I assumed the song was really about something more. Maybe not sublime, just something more. Wrong. It's a song about beans. This is a song by a dude named Beans about Beans. But I already love it, love the soul of it, so I can really feel it, even though I personally don't want to sing about beans, or really hear a song about beans.

You got off lucky; I was considering making this a whole "bean" CD. Beans are, indeed, quite a musical fruit; you can find any number of songs about 'em.

This particular track is wildly off key and helter skelter and, yes, totally addictive.

You can hear Taj Mahal listening to this track and thinking "I am going to copy the shit out of that sound"

5. Brak - "I Love Beans"

Again, I do not want to hear a song about Beans. I don't really like beans.


Just not a big fan. Look, it's not about the farting.

Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.
Pass the blackeyepeas, the hotsauce and the Gas-X, Rufus; ahmina have me a time.

Yeah, high in fiber, low in fat, i DID know that, Brak. I don't care. I realize this is the second song I have objected to b/c I reject the central premise (the other being: women who drink cannot be trusted), and that that probably makes me some kind of over-literal fun crushing drone.

I just think you don't like BEANS, which is worse.

I still love the song, because I love Brak. I wonder if I would feel the same way if I wasn't already a fan of the Brak show, If I didn't know who the hell this was, and I just thought this was sung by a developmentally disabled parrot, would I still enjoy it? It's hard to say.

Eppy argues otherwise.

6. Badger Theater Movie Phone - "Weekend at Bernie's II"

This is great; it's not quite hilarious enough for me to think it's fake, and then once you realize it's not fake, it becomes more hilarious than any fake recording could be. Favorite line: "The sequel seems as hilarious of the first one...of these comedic shenanigans." Also, if laughter is therapeutic, as the recording suggests, I would recommend listening to this recording a few more times in lieu of seeing Weekend at Bernie's II.

I've forgotten where I found this; I want to say 365 Days. It IS special, but the "Secret Garden" promo is pure classic. Sadly, no B in "Secret Garden" so you must make do with the Badger Theater's moviephone info for "Weekend at Bernie's II" and a nasal and somewhat confused theater manager saying things like "enjoy as you munch on the best popcorn in the world... made with REAL... vicksburg butter."

7. The Sesame Street Beatles - "Letter B"

This is what I wanted to hear when I asked for the CD, and you delivered the goods. I was recently having dinner with friends and brought this up, and no one had ever heard of it. I had started to wonder if I had made it up, so I am glad you confirmed its existence. Classic.

8. Theme From Benson

Oh sweet lord did I love Benson when I was a kid. Whatever happened to Benson? He was on Sports Night for a while.

You did know he was The Phantom of the Opera for awhile, right?

We all know Spin City was a shitty Benson rip off. Why isn't this in syndication anywhere? It's probably an absolutely atrocious show, but that's not how I remember it from the good old days when the credits of shows featured the actors looking directly into the camera when their names came on screen. What's wrong with that? Why can't we bring that back?

I don't know why it's important to you, but you argue with such passion that I will go to war to allow this to happen. Ten hut.

9. Don Vido - "Boo Bah Bah" (Edited)

Fun...is this part of some obscenely longer or awful track? Why is it just an excerpt?

You were right the first time, on both counts. Trust me, four minutes of this is three too many.

Anyway, it sounds like Louie Prima, and is a nice little link back to the ba ba ba part of the Sesame Street song.

10. Branford Marsalis - "The Mo' Better Blues"

OK, I love Branford Marsalis, and think he is terribly under-rated, but this sounds just a step above the Benson theme song. The Rhythm section has an amazing groove going, but the main theme is just tiresome. Is this Alphonso Blackwell? No. Who is playing trumpet on this track?

Terence Blanchard, with Denzel fronting.

They have a couple of nice flourishes near the end. I think my biggest beef with the playing on this track is that the TONE just sounds so off--so cheesy and unambitious. But again, I do like the rhythm hook on this one.

11. Baaba Maal and Mansour Seck - "Bibbe Leydy"

Scott got this CD before I posted Baaba up in the Hut.

Mmmmm...West Africa. I think this is the first track on the CD from a record that I have owned (don't know where it is now). I know it's corny to refer to layers, but I just love the layers in this song. You really need to listen to this with headphones. The sound feels like it stretches back from you about 20 feet, with plenty of space, but instruments still calling you from the back of the room. Great stuff.

12. Britney Spears - "Breathe On Me"

I admit to being close-minded about Britney. Don't like her. Wasn't prepared to like this track. No, I am not a rockist; some of my best friends are pop stars. I just can't stand Britney, and I admit it has a lot more to do with the public image than with the music (and the fact that the traffic from her concert at the Key Arena last night caused me to be late for a movie). Sigh. But. This track is great.

I feel like I say this three times a day, but prior to the current album I woulda happily seen Britney fall into the ocean. Now? Can't get enough.

Love that watery bass; can't deny the voice sounds good. Sounds like the best of the 80s, just a little cleaner. Almost sounds like it could be a Tears for Fears song. The "Put your lips together and blow" line almost derails the song, but it recovers.

13. Basement Jaxx - "Breakaway"

Soundwise, a great transition from the Britney song. Sounds like its going to be pounding watery bass, and then, quickly, the horns come in. After listening to Kish Kash for awhile, it seems like these earlier records are just warm ups. I keep expecting the song to pick up like six more elements, but it never does. but the spacing of the different elements of the song is great--every time I start to feel like it drags a little, they tease me with the horns again. Good work.

I haven't heard "Kish Kash" yet, but I'm just about ready to buy it. If it's so much better than "Rooty", which I loved, I imagine it'll blow my gourd.

14. Count Bass D - "Beno"

Holy shit there are a lot of tracks on this CD. Am I really just over halfway?

We are nothing if not obsessive. Don't you hate when somebody gives you a CD with thirty minutes worth of space left empty? For chrissakes man, put SOMETHING on there.

This song is actually a good break for listening and reviewing, it's a nice little jazzy/soul/hip hop number, its good enough to hear, but I don't got nothin else to say about it.

Well, _I_ do. Check out this Count Bass D track over here. This track is off the excellent "Art for Sale" EP. Recommended highly.

15. BDP - "The Bridge Is Over"

Is KRS-One the most under-rated rapper of all time? I see his name come up in a lot of official books and lists, but I never hear anybody talking about him.

Sublime seems to like him.

When I was in High School, listening to his records was the first time I had that experience of wishing I was black.

Sorry son, I gotta call you on that one.

I wanted to be down with the Boogie Down crew so bad. And after I heard PE, I told my mom I wanted to be part of the nation of islam. She didn't think that was such a hot idea. Anyway, this track is so simple, so easy, how can I enjoy it so much? How can I love a song that steals the hook from a Billy Joel song? I do, so leave me alone. KRS-One has a voice that is just definitive. When he says something, it just sounds so right.

KRS is certainly one of the greats, but it's awfully hard to forgive "Radio Song".

16. Beenie Man - "Bossman"

Here is an example of my narrow-minded Americanism--I enjoy the derivative reggae elements of the BDP song much more than I enjoy the ACTUAL jamaican (I assume he is not lying) stylings of Beenie Man. I want to hear KRS mimicking this sound, I don't actually want to hear this sound. It's a good track, and the piano loop is great, but I am not getting into it. I do really enjoy the last verse, however, when the lyrics get so worked up they almost overtake the track.

17. Bilal - "Bring 2"

This sounded amazing when I was driving to work this morning with my windows down on one of the only sunny days so far this year. I love the backup singers calling " Bring Two! Bring Two!" after he asks his lady to bring a friend. Classic. How can this not bring a smile to your face?

Bilal is certainly hot. Old hotness, but hot. New album? Please?
What's up with all these Soulquarian cats takin' forever between albums?

18. James Brown - "Bewildered"

I am a huge fan of songs that start with the singer belting out the opening notes before the band steps in, and this is no exception. An absolutely GREAT James Brown opening--why have I never heard it before? I can just imagine a crowd going wild when they hear him call out "Bewildered!" to start the song. This early James, the more straight ahead soul, often gets forgotten, but its easily as good as his more funky later stuff.

19. Chuck Berry - "Brown Eyed Handsome Man"

I love how many of Chuck's songs talk about flying. There is something so fresh and fun about "Flyin cross the desert in a TWA," just the act alone seems like freedom the way he sings it. One of the best things about listening to these early rock songs is you can just hear the exuberance. This is the kind of feel that so many indie bands try to re-create now, but it's so hard to get that genuine feel, which is why so many of them fail. But it just flows out of Chuck Berry. Hey! I have brown eyes! Maybe this can be my new theme song...

20. Bo Diddley - "You Can't Judge A Book By the Cover"

The exuberance continues to flow. The walking bass, so tiresome these days, just sounds fresh. This can't be recreated. If someone recorded this today it would just sound awful and stupid (and unfortunately there are those who continue to try). Another great track I haven't heard by a classic artist. Thanks.

21. Ben E. King - "Young Boy Blues"

Now here is a song for driving slow on a summer night. And the simple lyrics are actually very evocative--just how slowly time passes when you are young, and how much of youth is spent looking forward to the next thing. The next day, the next grade, the next game, whatever. I don't own a single Ben E. King CD, but this, which sounds like the best elements of Sam Cooke, makes me want some.

22. Billie Holiday - "Big Stuff"

It's hard to type when you are listening to Billy Holiday. The jaw slackens, the muscles refuse to work, you just have to close your eyes and soak it up.

23. The Bjork Trio - "Brestir Og Brak"

There are two things I love about this song. One is the Brak reference. I have no evidence that this song is NOT about Brak, so I am just going to assume that it is. Second, it helps me figure out exactly what it is I don't like about Bjork. Her overstated emotional range is reminiscent of the worst kind of lounge singer. I think they should use this song to overdub the Icelandic version of Lost in Translation when that awful woman is singing in the bar upstairs. This is probably the only track on the CD I will skip from now on. Hold on, I have to answer the door, the indie police are here to revoke my card.

24. Naftule Brandwein - "Bulger Ala Naftule"

I don't know what this song is and I don't want to find out. It brings a smile to my face when I hear it on this CD, but I do not think I want the whole CD. But this track is Klezmer-iffic.

Shout outs and STATUS! to Chris Pagan for turning me on to Naftule.

25. Beatles - "Because" (Vocal Track)

It's a great way to end the CD, which is weird, because I have a rule of NEVER putting any of the second half of Abbey Road on mix CDs. But without the accompaniment, its this great fade out to the CD--even more psychedelic than the original in some way. Ahh, I wish I was lying on the couch in the middle of the summer, with a gin and tonic melting beside me, drifting off into sleep. But instead, I am going back to work.


Great stuff, Scott; thanks again!

The other review of today's disc comes courtesy of a fellow musicblogger and will air next week, along with a few select tracks from the CD in question.

If there's something you see on here you DESPERATELY want to hear, put in your vote now to increase the chance that I'll post it.

Also, seeing as I'm down to my last review in the wings, it must be time for a new mix release. First two to leave email and a note saying they want a taste are gonna get a go at reviewing "THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT", a mix of music from the young and the young at heart.

Let me know.


There's a whole lot of bloggin' action goin' on that bears some discussion (including this), plus I'd like to respond to my comments (which this attention whore GREATLY appreciates) as well as get caught back up at MOFI and vent some clicky, but I've been writing for hours and I'm exhausted with work in the morning.

As such, shout outs and some conversation will follow tomorrow.


One special superduper shout MUST go out to mixup in the fine state of New York who dropped a LOT of music on me recently (talkin' gigs, not megs).

Mix is starting to dabble in short pseudo-fiction plus you'll definitely find a buncha Manhattan life-venting and politics going on there daily.

Drop by and tell em the Hut sentcha.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

A fantastic South Beach weekend + Monday means your boy has just got home and unpacked by 1:00 in the morning.

Sorry nothing sooner, but you can take heart in the fact that I'm smiley and tan.

I'm gonna clean up a bit and then type a tad, but a midday Tuesday update with Susana Baca is most likely.

Urk. Duty calls in multiple directions. Looks like it's gonna be an early morning WEDNESDAY post with assurances that this sort of thing falls into the "rarely occurring" category.

It'll be a bigass post. Promise.

See you soon.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Kondor-Ol Ondar
glisten globally: week one

I'm not even gonna pretend this is for everyone, but if you've never heard a Tuvan song before?

Boy do I have something new for you.

Tuva is a tiny Asian country whose indigenous people engage in an utterly unique method of music making: throat singing. This style of vocalism allows for multiple overtones, sounds that "vibrate" in a manner similar to the Bulgarian music that we heard yesterday. Tuvan singers are able to manipulate their vocal cords in such a manner that they are able to sing in two voices simultaneously, a'la Roland Kirk.

How is this done? Here's a quote from the liner notes of a Tuvan recording via this source:

"(T)he vocal cords of the Tuvinian people are anatomically the same as those of other people. But a previously unknown mechanism of vocal cords and larynx was discovered: when air is pressed out, two strictures form in the larynx. Then one voice is produced normally by the vocal cords; the other voice originates when the gristle of larynx and epiglottis approach each other, cover the vocal cords and leave an opening in the middle of just 1 to 1.5 mm diameter. By moving the tip of the tongue to and fro on the palate [of the mouth], the different harmonics originate.

Generally one of these voices forms a deep bass tone, while the other wheedles above the bass in a tinny "glassy" chorus. This creates a transcendental and almost electronic sound.

Tuvan throat singing, or khoomei as it's called in Tuva, is no longer quite as esoteric a musical interest as it was even five years ago, thanks greatly to the Oscar nomination of the documentary "Ghengis Blues", the amazing story of a blind Western blues musician who taught himself throat singing (and the tuvan language) and travelled to Tuva to compete in a khoomei competition. Even though "Ghengis Blues" did not win the Oscar (that was "Thoth"'s year to win and we'll run into him in the Hut sooner or later) the film's exposure via NPR and other similar outlets raised the music public's IQ on the subject considerably.

Today's selections all hail from the sadly out of print album "Deep in the Heart of Tuva." Released by the wonderful Ellipsis Arts... (who do not seem to have either kept many of their albums available or to maintain a current online home), "Deep in the Heart" follows Ellipsis' regular publishing method: a book length essay packed along with a CD of tunes. If you can find a copy, this is a GREAT introduction to indigenous Tuvan music, both for the tracks and the copious documentation included.

If you CAN'T find a copy, that's what I'm here for.

Happy Friday. Enjoy the sounds of Tuva. Drive your cubiclemates nuts.


Bilchi Maa Daava - "Hoomi Lullaby"

According to this aforementioned online paper, Bilchi was "one of the last women to learn to throat-sing before the performance of khoomei by women became taboo."

Here she demonstrates some of the versatility of the style; eschewing the traditionally rough glottalgrind of the male performance for sonic slipandslide.

I'd love to hear a whole album of lullabyes from different countries; it's so strange that the things that we consider calming vary so greatly from culture to culture. Actually, I used to fall asleep to this album, so maybe we're not so very different after all.

"Deep In the Heart of Tuva" is indeed out of print but a few used copies are available from Amazon. Get 'em while they're hot.
This is the closest thing I could find to an Ellipsis Arts discography online. They really were one hell of a publishing company. I wonder where they went?
The Music of Tuva section at Friends of Tuva is extensive and informative.
Huun Huur Tu's official site
You might remember these guys from yesterday's Bulgarianstravaganza.
They're probably the best known Tuvan folk group.


Kongar-Ol Ondar - "Medley of Throat Singing Styles"

Kongar is one of the premier performers of khoomei and is one of the featured artists on the "Ghengis Blues" soundtrack.

Kongar gives you a little taste of the amazing things the human voice can do.

He's recorded with Zappa. Musta been a helluva weird session, ya figure?

An interview with Kongar-Ol Ondar from the great Giantrobot.com emagazine.
Kongar-Ol Ondar's official site
Jeez, EVERYBODY'S online these days, huh?
Interesting essay on Tuvan song technique and tradition


Paul 'Earthquake' Pena - Kargyraa Moan

Paul Pena is the subject of the aforementioned "Ghengis Blues", the blind singer who taught himself khoomei. Paul has played professionally with Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. His synthesis of traditional American blues with traditional Tuvan khoomei is a thing of beauty.

Kargyraa is a specific style of khoomei, grounded in a gravediggerdeep growly bass that bears some comparison to traditional Buddhist circular breath chants.

This is a live recording from a throat singing competition.

Paul Pena's official website
Paul's lost A LOT of weight, presumably owing to his battle with pancreatitis. The last update on the page was in 2002 and I don't knows how Pena's doing now (Google is inconclusive), but why not drop a few bucks on the poor cat here?
The current rate is 99cents for a single,yes?
Do th' right thing.
The official "Ghengis Blues" website comes complete with plenty of downloadable music.
Why not learn to speak Tuvan yourself?


Yat Kha - Yenisei Punk

Yat Kha is a real jaw dropper: a group of Tuvan singers who perform a fusion of Tuvan traditional and modern rock. While this SOUNDS like a horrible idea, in practice it's chocolate and peanut butter.

Quite a few Yat Kha albums are available at Amazon; stop by and sample some more.

Their most recent album has yet to see a US release. Anybody wanna try and get these guys on MTV?

Yat Kha's official site
The Tuva Trader has all manner of Tuvan music and memorabilia for sale.
The always interesting Ubuweb offers a selection of audio clips and notes on Tuvan music.


I'm off to Miami for the weekend, so you'll see no posting out of me until Monday, when we should PROBABLY return (maybe Tuesday is more realistic) with a new mix CD review and a whole 'nother week of glisten globally; featuring the sax of Manu Dibango, the sounds of the Babenzele Pygmies, the beautiful Susana Baca, African pop from the 50's by Dorothy Masuka and a mixed bag of worldwide sounds.
The outpouring of niceness in yesterday's comment box was received with a warm and greedy heart. You make me want to shame you into responding everyday. So respond! Respond! Even yesterday's lovefest represented only 1 in every 45 of you who stopped by! I love to hear from you, even if it's just a brief "i liked it"; plus I enjoy rummaging through your homepages. You guys are into neat stuff. Share.

not so spiffy

On the completely serious tip, I was saddened to hear the news that Tammy Faye Messner has been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.

Tammy was pilloried in the press due to her, shall we say, eccentric manner; but really, it's a Southern thang. Though I certainly don't agree with EVERYTHING she spouts, I DO believe that she means well and that she's done quite a bit of good in the greater scheme of things. For a walking talking Precious Moments doll with a wicked sense of humour, she comes off pretty goddamn well.

You can read more about Tammy Faye here, here and here.

I also recommend the excellent documentary The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

And, why not? Here's a bouncyass song from one of Tammy's many sockpuppetchristdrama children's albums, "Oops, There Comes a Smile!"

"I don't label people," chirps Tammy Faye. "God didn't make any junk."

Bless her heart. I wish her well.

beluga caveat

I'll be posting a variation of this comment in the sidebar afore too long, but I feel sort of naked without the following warning:

Although every effort has been made to verify the authenticity of the information contained in this blog, google journalism has its limits. As such, it is completely possible that you may find errors, statistical slips or outright garbage lies mixed in a few of these articles.

The author shouts mea culpa but implores you to contact him if you discover a mistake so that he can rectify the situation.

Similarly, please be aware that although I have visited all the sites cited, I cannot vouch for the veracity of the material (much less the politics) of my linkage.

Click at your own peril and surf with a grain of salt. As always, your milage may vary.

Aaaaah. Much better.

iPod gym playlist vol. 2

This is the third new playlist since the last one I posted, but it's all new to you, right? Not yet battle tested; I just put it together tonight.

1. Just Blaze - "Street Vol.2 BleeknFreeMix"
2. Kanye West with Talib Kweli and Common - "Get 'Em High"
3. Underworld - "Mamanuxxjam Live"
4. Ce'Cile - "Rude Bwoy Thug Life"
5. Basement Jaxx with Dizzee Rascal - "Lucky Star"
6. Von Bondies - "C'mon C'mon"
7. Kanye West - "Thru the Wire"
8. Ty - "Ha Ha"
9. Allister - "Fraggle Rock Theme"
10. Jeru the Damaja - "Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers"
11. Ghostface Killah - Run (Pistol Pete Remix)
12. !!! - "Intensify"
13. Method Man - "Ain't A Damn Thing Changed"
14. Modest Mouse - "Bukowski"
15. Brandy with Twista - "Full Moon Remix"
16. Generacion - "Toma Que Toma"
17. Journey - "Don't Stop Believing"
18. R. Kelly with Cassidy (I agree witchoo SUPERVILLAIN) - "Hotel"
19. TATU - "Ne Ver Ne Bojsia"
20. Electric 6 - "Gay Bar" (yes, STILL and STILL)
21. Doctor Who Theme (80's Version)
22. Matthew Dear - "Dog Days"
23. Strictly Kev - "Raiding the 20th Century"
24. TATU - "Klouny"
25. Four Tet - "She Moves She"
26. Dr. Zeus - "Kangna"
27. Dr. Zeus - "Ah Ni Kuria"
28. Telefon Tel Aviv - "My Week Beats Your Year"
29. Mr. Cheeks - "Lights, Camera, Action"
30. Evanescence - "Bring Me to Life (Frozen Remix)"
31. Dust Brothers - "This Is Your Life (Fightclub)"
32. Jay Z - "Dust Your Shoulders Off"
33. Anny - "Purple God (Ralphi Rosario Vocal Mix)
34. Sean Paul - "Dem a Fraud"
35. Queens of the Stone Age - "No One Knows"
36. ABG - "Resident Evil 2 (Ada's Groove OverClocked Remix)
37. Scissor Sisters - "Laura"
38. Sean Paul - "Like Glue"
39. Scissor Sisters - "Get It Get It"
40. Ratatat - "Untitled 1"

I burnout on this stuff like nobody's business and ALWAYS need more music that moves me.


Press Your Luck: The Michael Larsen Incident
Absolutely amazing.
If you're burning these tracks onto CD, here's the perfect way to store them.
Opacodex will make the jump to sidebar if he keeps musicblogging, but you really MUST drop by now and pick up Caetano Veloso's track "Cucurrucucú Paloma" from him. This is a featured track from the spectacular Almodovar film "Talk to Her" and not something it would've occurred to me to hunt down but now that I have it I don't know how I lived without.
Double headed wonders from BLORT:

Good reason to watch British TV: "motherfuckingcuntpussylickytitfuckbitchface?"

These Tony Millionaire produced Maakies cartoons were intended to run on SNL. But didn't. Because SNL sucks. But these cartoons don't.
Phone in Sick day is coming.

In a statement sent to the Arabic language daily al-Hayat, the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades (a group claiming to have links with al Qaeda)... said it supported President Bush in his reelection campaign, and would prefer him to win in November rather than the Democratic candidate John Kerry, as it was not possible to find a leader "more foolish than you (Bush), who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom."
In comments addressed to Bush, the group said:
"Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilization."
"Because of this we desire you (Bush) to be elected."

I'll be checking snopes on this one, but that's a helluva endorsement, eh?

Thursday, March 18, 2004

glisten globally: week one

Musical tastes shifted somewhat in the mid 1980's (there's an argument to be made that the spinout of jazz, the then-as-yet inaccessability of hip hop and the general vapidity of modern American rock contributed to this, but I'm not the one who's gonna make it). Owing somewhat to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rapid demise of Communism, the genre of "world" music hit mainstream US/Brit/French audiences in a big way. One of the more ubiquitous riders of this wave (and one of the few that didn't rely heavily on percussion) were the Bulgarian Women's Radio Choir; a group of traditional folk singers whose works, under the Nonesuch imprint, became big post-Cold War sellers. Popular among both music intelligentsia and New Age-y types, the Choir's eerie, resonating harmonies propelled them on a series of successful tours and produced three well-received major label albums. Their sound was alien enough to intrigue first time listeners and musical enough not to turn them away. Nonesuch took advantage of their incongruity and marketed them as Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares; roughly, the Mysterious Bulgarian Voices.

Their music certainly was different; evocative, soothing and dreamlike. I spent three years in high school falling asleep to a tape of the Bulgarian Women's Choir.

Scores of folk music recordings hit the shelves to capitalize on the band's success and the market was quickly flooded with Bulgarian music. Burnt consumers walked away with raw folksongs when what they wanted was the refined angelic sounds of the professional choirs. In a few years, Mystere's US mainstream popularity had crested and fallen.

The band splintered into several smaller touring factions (Angelite and Trio Bulgarka are two of these) but occasionally reforms for performances.

Here's four tracks of Bulgarian voices.


Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares - "Sekoi Fali"

This is as good a representation as any of the strange blend of discordance and beauty that is Mystere's stock in trade.

Laced with fairy tale premonitions of dread, danger and hope.

Purchase "3" from Amazon.
Next time you're in Bulgaria, stop by to get private lessons from Mystere soloist Kremena Stancheva. Lonely Planet's guide to Bulgaria will get you there, learning shope is between you and Kremena.
An interview with Bulgarian ethnomusicologist Timothy Rice.
With an instructive discography and .wav sound samples.
An NPR piece on the choir in realmedia format.


Anonymous Bulgarian Women - "Zlata Zlata Pcenica"

This is a bit of what the original folk music source material sounds like.

Passing by the Hut, me grandmamama commented, "Are you listening to people screaming in there?"


Purchase the CD "Two Girls Started to Sing" direct from the publisher.
Please note that not all the tracks are quite as grating as the one sampled here. By and large the music is really quite pretty, but don't take my word for it; the Rounder site listed above offers sound samples for every track on the album.
(Rounder's site has been going up and down lately. Check back if it don't load.)
An extensive collection of Bulgarian folklore and culture links
Bulgaria.com is where all the cool kids hang out online, if by "cool" you mean "bulgarian".


Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares - "Hobava Milka"

I got to see them live more than a decade ago. They sounded BETTER than this.

It was awesome.

Purchase "Ritual" from Amazon.
Those who like what they've heard and want more are encouraged to go look into this reasonably priced three disc set.
Mystere's official site (such as it is)
Plenty of sound samples.
The last major project the choir worked on was a soundtrack piece for Brother Bear (ick!) in a duet with Phil Collins (ick! ick! ick!).

Dig THIS wrongheaded press release:
Most intriguing is the Bulgarian Women's Choir's "Transformation." Collins' lyrics were translated into the Inuit Eskimo language for the performance, which was arranged by score co-composers Collins and Mark Mancina and vocal arranger Eddie Jobson. "The idea of them singing in a language that is completely foreign to them gave the song a texture and sound that was unique," Mancina says. "The sound is cross-cultural."

Yeah, because a Bulgarian choir singing in an American cartoon about a Canadian bear just isn't "cross-cultural" enough in and of itself.

Maybe they could throw in a little Japanese rap and end it by chanting "Peace out, yo!"

Ick, Ick, Ick, Ick. I may need a shower.

Look, if you REALLY want a multicultistravaganza with a backbone you should check out:


Huun Huur Tu and Angelite - "Fly, Fly My Sadness"

Huun Huur Tu is a Tuvan musical group that collaborated with Mystere offshoot Angelite in the mid 90's. The juxtaposition of Angelite's (you should forgive the pun) heavenly sound with Huun Huur Tu's guttural growling presents a wild contrast.

This has many of the same qualities as "Lam Tooro", the Baaba Maal track I posted a few days ago. Both are transcendental pieces that speak beyond language.

Purchase the stunning album "Fly, Fly My Sadness" from Amazon
An explanation (in somewhat broken English) of how the project that yielded this track came to fruition.
Review of a 1995 Tour by Angelite
This bio-blurb on the Trio Bulgarka (one of several side projects for the Mystere members) makes this good point:

"(I)n many cases such groups, which regularly go under names such as the Philip Koutev National Folk Ensemble, do not specify personnel; thus some of the greatest Bulgarian singers are often detected only by their faces in cover photographs or if they take a solo."


Hope that little taste of Tuva wet your whistle for more, cuz we're gonna explore the wild and wooly world of Tuvan Kargyraa singing tomorrow. Bring cough drops.


The MUSICBLOG REVOLUTION continues apace. Here's the latest perpetrators, soon to be immortalized in the ever-expanding sidebar:

Blackyellowblack is a site for a member of Communique, featuring copious audio from the band. He's also posting an "mp3 of the week" selection, currently Modest Mouse.
Cocaine Blunts just got the coveted nod from Flux, so more traffic he don't need; but when you're spinnin' Kanye and Rammellzee and Aceyalone whattayouexpect? There's a surprising dearth of hip hop (underground or otherwise) musicblogs; glad to see our man on the scene.
Intellectual Hip Hop Commentary makes it a point to occasionally post tracksl. Check out (possibly) rising Ruff Ryder star Jin's new track "I Got A Love".
Lucas Gonze is the creator of the aforementioned Webjay and is one of the few so far to really exploit its potential.

The blogger in me is frustrated that I spend all this time writing just so that some webjay cat can swipe my music without having to look at my fancy words, but my interior musicgeek is happy with anything that furthers the ripples in the water. Ego loses: the more the merrier is our motto.
Webjay IS how I'm listening to Mystical Beast these days, so I can hardly complain.
The Vamps are a "soul/jazz" band with a pile of their own music onsite for dl. What I've heard, I like. Go check it.
As the last guy to make the party, I'm almost embarrassed to mention Epitonic. Next week, our man discovers Pitchfork. Shocking!
Not to shine too bright a light into the shady corners of the internet, but the Get Your Bootleg On message board is a great place to find brand new remixes and mashups, hot off the harddrive. Check out the challenge section for downloadable material.

The first entry on the Prince competition (by Jsomethin) has been a favorite round here.

You'll find more of the same over at Never Heard It.
I deserve a swift kick in the ass for not delivering well-deserved shoutouts to Boom Selection earlier. If Flux is the daddy, Boom is the granddaddy. Legal issues and bandwidth hassles make Boom an on-again/off-again proposition, but it's on now and how. Stop by for mixes, mashes, superchunks and the occasional hot UK track.
Fetter Konig is German, I think. That is all.
Disquiet is another "ear-on-the-track" site that hunts down free DLs for you; the emphasis here is electronic.
I must say I really rather like Sleeve Notes. Great design, good poppy remix song selection and a healthy side order of ham. If you set your mind free baby, maybe you'd understand...
Troubled Diva offers a whole new way to listen to music: he lists five one minute snippets by various artists and then asks you to rate them in order of preference. Competitive musicbloggin'. Interesting.
Popshots offers a selection of music for download. Diggin' the TATU, but I'm ALWAYS diggin' the TATU. Any other TATU fans out there?


Also, a few new additions to the regular linkage: punch it, chewie is a haiku blog, Things Magazine might be joining BIRIV, WAXY and PIXSURG as my one stop clicky-mart and Kami Land (found via PORNBLOGRAPHY) is the livejournal of "a little no body porn chick who enjoys everything she does!"


I'm in the process of revamping all my image links so that I'm hosting them and so they're laid out in a more advantageous manner for me. Be patient if some of the pictures won't load.
We get props! Latest batch of love comes courtesy of Global Pop Conspiracy, offering a pirate radio station and a crib list of the new freemusichotness in their left sidebar; The San Benito All Stars, who have reimagined Roland Kirk as a Zatoichi-style killing machine (sounds good to me); Simo Club (apparently, an Italian modeling agency?); Throbbing Skunk Ape (bonus points for use of the word "schwack") and Daniel's Journey, who's bandying about the rumour that I'm "cul". De sac, even?
And just to give you some idea of the depths of my egomania, I love the fact that when you look up the most talked about people in March on BlogPulse, the listing for Blake Edwards has me calling Jim Carrey a shithead.
I would LOVE to find a jpg/gif/etc file with the Matt Groening "Life in Hell" cartoon with "Akbar and Jeff's Tofu Hut". Anybody with a scanner and one of the books? Can somebody PLEASE help me out? I'll be your friend?
Let's hear some comments, folks! I know you're downloading but I don't know what you're liking (or hating). Tell me!
Somewhat related: this daily posting stuff is taking a lot out of me. Are any of you daily habitues of the Hut or am I just running myself ragged for no good reason?

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

glisten globally: week one
Of the 170+ films I saw in 2003, the top nine all-around winners were (in no particular order) George Washington, Metropolis, Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast, Aguirre, Wrath of God, Storytelling, The Happiness of the Katakuris, The Fast Runner, Samurai Fiction and Lagaan.

Lagaan might've been the best of the bunch and was certainly the most unlikely.

Here's a brief synopsis:

Bhuvan hails from a village called Champaner, somewhere in the interiors of India. Set in 1893 during the British rule, the village is facing a drought. It hasn't rained in three years. Their king who shares a working relationship with the Britishers, who is led by Capt Russell in their cantonment. One day, playing a political game with the traditionally Hindu, vegetarian king, Russell demands he eat meat or have his kingdom cough up twice the lagaan or tax. The king refuses and the prospect of paying twice the tax seems daunting to the poor villagers. The villagers of Champaner approach their king, who in turn explains to them that the lagaan cannot be waived this year. But Russell in an inexplicable move concedes, demanding that the villagers beat him and his team at cricket, to settle an old score with Bhuvan. Bhuvan accepts and is left with looking for team-mates to play against the Brits and beat them at their own game, so to speak.

Not too appealing looking, eh? Nothing says "I'll pass, thanks" like a long, subtitled film about land tax and cricket - and it's a MUSICAL, even.

And yet...

Lagaan is utterly compelling; equal parts costume epic, overwrought bodice ripping melodrama, Seven Samurai style "disparate elements come together to save the town" adventure and raucous Bollywood spectacle.
At close to four hours, I watched Lagaan FIVE times last year and wouldn't hesitate to give it another go.

It's a wonderfully broad film that you could see with your grandmother, your girlfriend, your snooty movie buddy or your popcorn flick friends.

Part of what keeps the movie so buoyant is the amazing music by composer A.R. Rahman.

Today I'm offering up a sampler of three of my favorite songs from Lagaan. I'll try to explain their context in the film and give you some links so that you can learn more about the story.


A.R. Rahman and Srinivas (and chorus) - "Chale Chalo"

"Chale Chalo" is a 'getting ready for war' track that accompanies the training of the villagers as they prepare for the fateful cricket match. There's a race over mountains, lifting of heavy weights, a female chorus where they tend to the boys wounds... yoga? Well, it IS an Indian film after all.

Here's a translated snippet:

"Say it again and again, speak, friend, yes!
May victory be ours, may defeat be theirs, yes!
May no one triumph over us!
Come, let's go, get a move on!
May those who oppose us be obliterated! Come on, let's go!"

Works for me. "Chale Chalo" apparently translates to "come on, let's go", which sounds just right.

This is great running music: excellent build and crescendo; overwhelmingly blood boiling with just the right dose of queso.

Complete Lyrics with English Translation; scroll down to the third entry.
The phrase "Bollywood" refers to the MASSIVE Indian movie industry based in Bombay. Bollywood produces more films and sells more tickets than Hollywood does and has for years.

If you'd like to learn more, the best place for an English speaking neophyte to get started would be Bollywhat?, a fairly comprehensive primer on the business. From there, you'll want to look in on Planet Bollywood. "PB" offers realaudio feeds of the top ten Bollywood songs of the week.

Note that this week's number one is another LOVELY Rahman song, "Yeh Rishta" available over here, presuming they haven't gone and exceeded their bandwidth or quit paying for hosting.
Generally speaking, most Bollywood musicals have two sets of stars: the onscreen actors and their overdubbed singing voices. For many Bollywood films, the soundtrack is equally important as the film itself.

Here's a press clipping on the Lagaan soundtrack release party.
A.R. Rahman interview
On the Lagaan set with Rahman
The overwhelmingly positive Rotten Tomatoes Score for Lagaan: 94%.


Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik (among many others)- "Ghanan Ghanan"

This is the first song in the film. As noted before, Champaner is in the throes of a drought and "Ghanan Ghanan" begins when a lookout sights thunderclouds on the horizon. The whole village comes out to dance in celebration.

It's a joyous, onomatopoeic song that really does evoke rainfall and release.

The sudden hush at the end signals that the clouds have passed over and there will be no rain.

Complete Lyrics with English Translation
Udit Narayan Fanpage
Alka Yagnik Fanpage
Lagaan Oscar page
Lagaan was nominated for Best Foreign Film in 2002, losing to No Man's Land.
Purchase the Lagaan DVD from Amazon
One of the few movies I'd actually recommend owning.


Asha Bhosle and Udit Narayan (and others) - "Radha Kaise Na Jale"

Man, this song is incredible.

It would take a great deal of writing for me to explain all the subtext taking place here, but suffice it to say "Radha Kaise Na Jale" represents a theme for the deeper issues at play in Lagaan: jealousy, impossible love and funky dancin'!

The footwork that accompanies this is reason enough to see the film.

Just about perfect.

Lyrics with English Translation
Asha Bhosle Fanpage
Aamir Khan fanpage
Khan is the star and producer of Lagaan.
Interview with Aamir Khan
This French fanpage (that I discovered after I had already done a considerable amount of research for this post) offers icons, wallpaper and a surprise or two for those who care to dig a little deeper.
Purchase the Lagaan soundtrack from Amazon
Most everything else on here is classic.
Also available in a two-disc edition that includes several Rahman hits from other movies.


Tomorrow, we're off to Bulgaria. Pack a sweater.

Just a few today.

Thought you might enjoy this little toy.
Runswithscissors is a blogger from Spain with English response to the Madrid tragedy and commentary on the changing political climate.
Dadadodo: Cutting Up the Web
Another B-Boy link, courtesy MONKEYFILTER: Electric Boogaloo: 1890

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

glisten globally: week one
I'm still smarting over the lack of unearthable info on Nakano, but here's WAY more linkage and info than you ever needed about one of my alltimefavorite artists, "The West African Nightengale," Baaba Maal.

Baaba is a rarity in that he has chosen not to conform to his birthland's caste divisions. Traditionally, only those born into the "griot" caste become musicians; Baaba was destined for a life of fishing but his tremendous success has brought with it acceptance and respect from his native Senegalese people.

Maal is making genuine world music here; his influences are varied: American soul, Cuban percussion and rhythm, Jamaican ska, Senegal traditional. The result is something new that sounds very old and very right. While he continues to diversify (some would argue "water down") his sound to appeal to an evergrowing international audience, he never loses track of his roots; Baaba has been extremely outspoken about AIDS awareness and the necessity of global acknowledgement of both the culture and hardships of West Africa.

With the highest possible recommendation: Baaba Maal.


Baaba Maal - "Lam Tooro"

My favorite track from one of my favorite albums by one of my favorite artists. SQUEEEEEEE!

No, seriously; this is fucking amazing: otherworldly and insistent strings and Baaba's beautiful voice floating atop each plucked note. Sounds like a long mountain journey.

This whole album is a joy; entirely acoustic and free of the aforementioned "watering down", this is the least complicated and most beautiful of Baaba's mainstream releases.

Purchase "Djam Leelii" direct from Amazon.
That wasn't a suggestion; it was an imperative.

Please bear in mind that this is a REISSUE of the now out of print original, that contains a few new songs to sweeten the pot. Don't get confused if you see different versions floating around.
Learn more about the guitarist on this piece: Mansour Seck.
Baaba's official homepage
An extensive discography, dipping back to 1981 or you could try a more manageable listing comprised only of Baaba's post 1990 work.


Baaba Maal - "Mbolo"

I think it was Spiderman who said "With great production comes lack of clarity", but Baaba handles the tightrope walking pretty well here. Definitely slicker, but still heartfelt.

Bass heavy and awfully contemporary.

Purchase the album this track hails from, "Nomad Soul", from Amazon.
Great album; it's only a tetch too NewAge-y/BabyBoomerFriendly on some of the tracks for my taste.
Purchase the circa-"Nomad Soul" concert video "Baaba Maal: Live at Royal Festival Hall" for sixteen bucks.
1995 Interview
This quote from Michael Stipe cracks me up: "Baaba Maal opened his mouth and beautiful pearls and lilies and songbirds came flying out. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen."

I know what he's getting at, but still. Aw, heck; who'm I kiddin'? I've probably written dumber stuff on this blog. This week.
An interesting site about Senegal and the Gambia, featuring a selection of songs by a considerable array of Senegalese artists. I suppose I am now obliged to go find a realplayer knockoff. PENNYARCADE has recommended this (scroll down to "realalternative").
I'll test drive the next time I'm feelin' especially frisky and report back.


Baaba Maal - "Gidelam"

Geeknote: the opening here puts me in mind of a Monkey Island game, but once it gets goin', "Gidelam" proves itself pretty funky.

This flirts with Paul Simon/David Byrne style production but manages to hold its own.

One of the better tracks off the album.

Purchase "Lam Tooro" from Amazon.
This was Baaba's first release to the international market and is, I think, better than his breakthrough to the global scene, "Firin' In Fouta".
Rockpaperscissors offers (among other things) this handydandy US tour info.

All my New York peeps should TOTALLY check Baaba out at SOB's on the 21st and 22nd of this month; I know _I_ would. If anybody DOES go, please contact me; I'd love to hear how it was. And hey: if you write a review, I'd be happy to host.
A recent interview
Lonely Planet offers a fairly good outsider's-view-in of Baaba's homeland or if you're feeling spunky, you could learn more than you ever needed to know about Senegal.


Baaba Maal - "Senegale Ngumee"

Baaba's most recent album, "Missing You", finds him working with mainstream producer John Leckie (prior of Radiohead's "The Bends") and settling into a style more akin to "Djam Leelii" than "Nomad Soul". "Missing You" was recorded in the Senegal village of Nbunk and there's a lot of site specific noise that creeps into the tracks; in this case, you can hear children playing and a rooster crowing in the background. There's a patina of what's obviously intended as "authenticity" on the album, but it's not overstated enough to be annoying.

Epitonic offers another "Missing You" track for download, if you can get around that goddamn Diesel ad.
Site hosted popups are becoming steadily more sneaky and shitty by the hour.
Or is it just me?
Stream the entire "Missing You" album. Try before you buy.

Incidentally, Amazon also offers this import-only limited edition version of "Missing You" packed with a three track EP of dance remixes. The market savvy Baaba allows a great deal of his work to be remade a'la club, but the results are mixed; I thought the Thievery Corporation remixes were great, the Karsh Kale jungl-ishous somewhat less so (Baaba seemed more of an afterthought than a centerpiece).

I haven't heard these versions; you pays your money, you takes your chances.
Vitamin C is hosting over an albums worth of Maal BUT in realmedia format, AGAIN. Ick.
A brief overview of the musical traditions of Senegal, Baaba Maal included.