Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. – In C

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.In C (2001)

Acid Mothers Temple’s In C is not what I’d call a cover or version per se of Terry Riley’s infamous original. Rather it is more of a tribute. Here, AMT has captured the essence of Riley’s work in one of their most tumultuous and raucous noise assaults yet. In homage to Riley, each of the compositions on In C open with repetitive and dense pulsations and melodies before a wall of hypnotic, whirling psychedelia hits and takes helm of the track. Be advised, this is not for the faint hearted but is rather for those looking to endure three invigorating injections of noisy euphoric mindfucking jams of great Japanese rock music.
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Angelite & Huun-Huur-Tu – Fly, Fly My Sadness

Angelite & Huun-Huur-TuFly, Fly My Sadness (1996)

Tuvan Throat Singing is the most obscure genre I’ve ever came across. From some forgotten Balkan state come choir Huun-Huur-Tu and Bulgarian folkers Angelite whose culture-clash between the former’s melancholic drones and the latter’s experimental folk art intertwine and provide an interesting and at first challenging listening experience but soon becomes quite beautiful after repeated listens. The ideal behind this rare find is to capture emotion through complex vocal drones yet simultaneously layer this with overtones of ringing choral harmonies to evoke solemnity and ethereality as you lose yourself in these magical meandering vocal compositions. This album is highly recommended for the adventurous listener or someone wanting to hear something that they’ve most probably never heard the likes of before.

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Natalie Rose LaBrecht – Warraw

Natalie Rose LaBrechtWarraw (2003)

“Psychomancy. My limbs are numb. Bits of knowledge
appear before me as iridescent creatures glowing
in a translucency – a translucent sea. Psychomancy. Air that
we breathe. Bubbles float down. Surreal sounds.” ~ Natalie LeBrecht’s Warraw: Track 1

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Hash Jar Tempo – Well Oiled

Hash Jar TempoWell Oiled (1997)

Hash Jar Tempo is an experimental collaborative effort between psycho-delic quintet Bardo Pond and strings expert Roy Montgomery who produce hallucinogenic post-rock music and Well Oiled is their somewhat acclaimed drug-fueled improvisation sessions. These jams are driven by the extroverted and expansive sonic capabilities of a finely-tuned guitar (as curated by Roy Montgomery in his solo works) and glaze and weave in circles until the listener is lost and baffled in this revolution of strummed sounds, so much so that the music almost acts as a drug itself in terms of sitting perplexed and rapt in this labyrinth of foreign notes and noises. Well Oiled is collection of entrancing recordings that will leave you inspired and bemused.

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Manfred Schoof – European Echoes (1969)

Manfred SchoofEuropean Echoes (1969)

I personally find the title of this record a little deceiving. I correlate the term ‘echoes’ with quiescent nature or a halcyon rural area where there are huge expanses of land to verbally bounce off a ‘hello’ where it will reverberate and echo. I think this misguided vision of serene jazz added the edge to the record because in all blatant honesty, this is not a tranquil record. This was not constructed for a walk in the park. In fact, rather this is as ‘free’ as free jazz gets where thunderous, apocalyptic percussion fuses with frantic horns and staccatos of nois contracting to and fro, in a combative relationship that traverse the heights and depths of the musical scale. I was stimulated by this, a totally unexpected venture into the inharmonious corners of avant-garde improvisation, where asperous cacophony and percussive calamity stretch the boundaries of free jazz. Indeed, European Echoes proves to be a consistently enthrilling music encounter that is essential for even the most reluctant jazz fan.
 
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Emeralds – Allegory of Allergies


Emeralds are an Ohio drone trio who blend elements of Kosmiche music, luscious electronic progressions and synthesized textures and this, 2007’s Allegory of Allergies, is in my opinion their finest work. Drone music originated from experimental rock music in the 1960s with artists like The Velvet Underground as well as improvisation and minimalist artists such as La Monte Young and Taj Mahal Travellers. Modern drone music is almost habitually dark and dismal, designed to depress in these protracted yet intense drones that unite the serenity and peacefulness of ambient soundscapes with the gloomy buzzing of noise metal. But Allegory of Allergies is a little different as I find it induces an enlighteningly sanguine state in my mind; the sonic whirs and occassional piano chords relax and unravel ones’ mind.

There is much to love about Allegory of Allergies – the arragement of drones in itself is not elaborate yet ostensibly taps into the conscience of the listener in a cleansing and purifying slipstream of ambience and sound. The instrumentation, on the other hand, is detailed and embracing, so much so that every time you insert Allegory of Allergies into your cassette deck, you perceive and acquire something new and hollowingly beautiful, from the placid guitar chimes to electronic pulsations and undertones that throb and palpitate uncontrollably.

But with this instrumentation comes an obstacle. It should be understood before listening that Allegory of Allergies is not an easy journey. Firstly, in total, it is almost two hours in length and although this may stretch longer than your typical Van Morrison record, I can’t say it is any less of a rewarding experience. Secondly, Emerald’s drones don’t deviate widely throughout their usually quite long compositions, with one monotonous drone bridging between twelve to nineteen minutes in several occassions throughout the record. But otherwise, we have a drone masterpiece which hacks into the emotions of the listener and presents itself like a series of dreams and revelations. Everything here is perfectly placed. A grand venture into vast soundscapes await.

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Eric Dolphy – Out to Lunch!

Out to Lunch’s sleeve features a clock pressed behind a pane of glass, with seven arms that direct all in opposing bearings. Each of the arms are of different lenghts too. This surreal and enigmatic image confuses me to this day as to what it represents in the music. But I then realised that confusion and inexplicity plays a large part of this record. What I’m talking about can be heard in ‘Something Sweet, Something Tender’, which emerges with Dolphy’s erratic an deep reedwork with the clarinet which furtively meanders whimsically around Richard Davis’ fickle bass. Then Davis interludes before Dolphy capriciously directs the piece into a collaborative moody ballad of tender drumming and sweet horn structures, as the title entails.

In contrast to this, the succesive track ‘Gazzelloni’ delves into the traditional characteristics and conventions of a bop composition with Dolphy on flute which, although a great elusion to the later alto sax arrangements, does not operate smoothly to the avant-garde theme thus far. This is an example of the numerous instances of surprise or immediate change in Out to Lunch that makes it such a cherished and diverse work. The astonishing percussion is another strongpoint on Out to Lunch, particularly in ‘Hat and Beard’ and the title track. ‘Hat and Beard’, a track named after the greatly influential Thelonious Monk, breaks midway to reveal Tony William’s and Bobby Hutcherson’s brave percussive approach with multiple drum tempos and experimentations which continue to speed up and overthrow the listener before gradually returning to the original clarinet-driven piece.

Throughout the whole of the title track, ‘Out to Lunch’, the percussion is constantly adapting to Dolphy’s everchanging rhythmics which is remarkable and retains originality and a stimulated beat until approximately halfway where Dolphy recedes as the piece progresses primarily on bass movements, evasive piano jingles and the occassional slam from the snare drum. It’s at about the ten minute mark where Dolphy unexpected intercepts the bass ballad with saxophone improvisation. After the cymbal settles to mark the end of the title track, we move on to the final composition ‘Straight Up and Down’ which consists of drunkenly shifting and weaving saxophones, tense percussion which ricochets off Davis’ incessant and tireless bassline to provide a comforting conclusion to one of my most favourite jazz records.

In fact, jazz aside, Out to Lunch is one of my most favourite records in general. From the opening slice of snare to the dying chime of piano, Dolphy and the guys showcase their improvisational talent that has resulted in what is internationally acclaimed to be one of the most essential free jazz records out there, if not the most essential. The qualities that I’ve tried explaining above make Out to Lunch a compelling listen that would whet the apetite of a listener of any taste.

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