Saturday, October 30, 2010

Babatunde Olatunji - Drums Of Passion (1959)

ARTIST`````Babatunde Olatunji
ALBUM`````Drums Of Passion
GENRE`````African, Worldbeat, Traditional

Some info
Babatunde Olatunji was a virtuoso drummer who became a sensation in the '60s with his albums of traditional Nigerian drumming and chanting. If Olatunji debuted in today's environment, he would be subjected to much tougher scrutiny and evaluation regarding "authenticity" than he received in the '60s. His heralded albums, particularly Drums of Passion, weren't quite the innovative event some claimed. They were fine LPs, but also contained a heavy dose of show business and sanitized playing that would be duly noted today, particuarly in the specialist press. Still, his albums reportedly were very influential on John Coltrane. They were among the few international releases to not just make the charts, but remain on them for years.
The popularity of Drums Of Passion and More Drums Of Passion predated the '60s black nationalist movement and Afrocentricity of the '80s and '90s. They also had some impact in jazz circles, though they weren't as significant as the Afro-Latin revolution initiated by Mario Bauza, Machito and Chano Pozo.

Album Review from allmusic
Having come to the U.S. from his native Nigeria to study medicine, percussionist Babatunde Olatunji eventually became one of the first African music stars in the States. He also soon counted jazz heavyweights like John Coltrane ("Tunji") and Dizzy Gillespie among his admirers (Gillespie had, a decade earlier, also courted many Cuban music stars via his trailblazing Latin jazz recordings). And, in spite of it being viewed by some as a symbol of African chic, Drums of Passion is still a substantial record thanks to Olatunji's complex and raw drumming. Along with a cadre of backup singers and two other percussionists, Olatunji works through eight traditional drum and chorus cuts originally used to celebrate a variety of things in Nigeria: "Akiwowo" and "Shango" are chants to a train conductor and the God of Thunder, respectively, while "Baba Jinde" is a celebration of the dance of flirtation and "Odun De! Odun De!" serves as a New Year's greeting. The choruses do sound a bit overwrought and even too slick at times (partly due to the fact that most of the singers are not African), but thankfully the drumming is never less than engaging. The many curious world music fans who are likely to check this album out should also be sure to look into even better African drumming by native groups like the Drummers of Burundi and the percussion outfits featured on various field recordings.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Alain Goraguer - La Planete Sauvage Original Soundtrack (1973)

ARTIST`````Alain Goraguer
ALBUM`````La Planete Sauvage Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack, French Funk, Jazz, Psych


Some info
In 2000, the European label DC Recordings reissued on CD the soundtrack from the cult sci-fi animated film La Planète Sauvage (released in English as The Fantastic Planet). The René Laloux film, which won a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973, was supported by a soundtrack by Alain Goraguer, mostly known for his work as Serge Gainsbourg's arranger. Goraguer's music consists of 25 short vignettes. Each is a contextualized adaptation of one of three main musical themes. The main theme is very reminiscent of Pink Floyd's "Atom Heart Mother Suite" (same half-time tempo, mellotron, harpsichord, and wah-wah guitar), and the other two are a ballad and a circus-like waltz. The music is very '70s-clichéd and will appeal to fans of French and Italian '70s soundtrack stylings. Although repetitive, the album itself creates an interesting marijuana-induced sci-fi floating mood, blending psychedelia, jazz, and funk (the album has been sampled by a few hip-hop artists). The 16-page booklet includes stills from the film, a description of the plot, and biographical notes on the composer, the director, and the illustrator, all in English -- but, alas, no musicians' credits. DC Recordings reissued the album on both CD and LP, the latter version also including a poster.


Obray Ramsey - Blue Ridge Banjo (1957)

ARTIST`````Obray Ramsey
ALBUM`````Blue Ridge Banjo


Obray Ramsey is the banjo-picking cousin of old-time music instrumentalist Byard Ray, and the two worked regularly as a duo until they were "discovered" playing at an Asheville folk festival during the folk music revival of the '60s. From that point on, the two men's musical career took a strangely twisted path. Late-night television mongers who may have made it all the way through the strange psychedelic rock western Zachariah, may wonder who the two old-time musicians are that show up in one of this epic's many strange musical wonders, and the answer would be Ray and Ramsey.
Read the rest of the biography...

More info on this LP
From the back cover of Obray Ramsey’s 1957 LP Blue Ridge Banjo, notes by Kenneth S. Goldstein:

In recent years, we have heard all to often about the ‘dying’ of folkculture in the Southern mountains. Many of the collectors who ventured into this area to record the songlore of the region in the 1930s and ’40s, shed sorry tears for the passing of a beautiful and rich tradition, each proclaiming his own collection to be the “last leaves” of this once-proud heritage. So, fewer and fewer adventuresome souls have involved themselves in recording the still-living tradition of the area. Those who have, however, have been amply rewarded by finding that, even though mountain lifehas been completely revolutionized in the past few decades, tradition dies hard, and numerous singers may still be heard and recorded. To be sure, there are new sounds and new songs, but this material is, in many ways, as vibrant and vital as it was in the days of Cecil Sharp’s pioneering collecting forays.Obray Ramsey, whose sprightly banjo songs and instrumentals make up this LP, is living proof that this tradition still exists. And there are many more young, middle-aged and old folksingers like him, who have retained the best songs of their hardy mountain ancestors, perhaps changing some of them to suit their own artistic and performing abilities, but still retaining the best elements of old-style singing and playing.Ramsey was born on the banks of the three Laurels at the edge of the Smokey Mountains in western North Carolina. His father’s people came from the highlands of Scotland, and his mother’s ancestors were Cherokee Indians.Most of his songs were learned from his mother and grandmother, both fine singers with extensive repertoires. For most of his life he has sung his songs unaccompanied, though he had learned to play the guitar when still a young boy. After he married and settled down as a successful farmer near Marshall, North Carolina, he met Bascom Lamar Lunsford, folksinger, collector, and organizer of the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival held annually in Asheville, North Carolina. Lunsford recognized his fine singing talents and encouraged him to take up the 5-string banjo, which he believed would be perfectly suited to Obray’s style of singing. To show his faith in this belief, Lunsford gave Ramsey his first banjo in 1953. Now, Obray Ramsey is one of the finest banjo-pickers in the Southern Mountains. His style is a perfect compromise between old picking styles and currently popular modern styles.


Pete Molinari - Today Tomorrow and Forever (2009)

ARTIST`````Pete Molinari
ALBUM`````Today Tomorrow and Forever
Blues, Folk


Info from damagedgoods
Hooking up once again with Adam Landry (who also produced this EP) and a number of local musicians including steel player Chris Scruggs (grandson of Earl Scruggs) the recordings surpassed all expectations but were then taken up a gear when a chance introduction to The Jordanaires - who were completely bowled over by Pete’s voice and treatment of these songs - led to these legendary singers agreeing to provide backing vocals to the tracks. Even to be in the same town as these rock ’n’ roll heroes was a dream come true for this boy from Chatham in Kent but to then actually record with the very same men who backed up the likes of Elvis and Patsy Cline turned the sessions into a surreal experience.


Paroplapi - La Finestra Dell'Ultimo Piano (2005)

ALBUM`````La Finestra Dell'Ultimo Piano


Some badly translated info
This group, with an unusual name, suggests the beginning of the XXI century the meeting "music-language" coming from the shores of the Mediterranean. Paroplapi draws its inspiration particularly in France and Italy, which represent areas of origin of members of the group. Voices and meanings. The practice and study of this repertoire, highlights the strong ties between the people and values in common, so are no longer the only musical traditions of a region thatartists exploit, but rather a cultural, evolving in the name of unity in diversity. Individual carriers of these directories for many years, members of the trio Paroplapi met in order to offer a broad spectrum of the Latin folk songs, the anthology of what collective memory has gathered on the edge of time.

Paroplapi is the name of an Italo-French folk trio that is like a ray of sunshine, and one of the most popular Italian world-roots music groups. The name comes from "little Cecilia, whose words often collide with her lips," daughter of one of the band members, and performer on this CD.In Italian, French and Provençal-Occitan, Paroplapi's sound is a joy.On La Finestra dell'Ultimo Piano, their second CD, the vocals of Samuela Gallinari and Gael Princivalle blend nicely. Giorgio Albiani's guitar adds another dimension. The CD also features standout hurdy gurdy, bagpipes, accordion (Paolo Simonazzi), mandolin (Silvio Trotta), pipe (Stefano Tartaglia) and a host of guests too numerous to mention."A Come Armatura" ("A for Armour") the first song featured, is a nursery rhyme song featuring the children of the band members --- well coached as it turns out -- interwoven with Gallinari's fine, clear Italian soprano. This is the true gem of the record, though not the only first-class track. It's a catchy, lively alphabet song right out of traditional Tuscan lore.Princivalle, whose voice has the timbre of an Occitan Gordon Lightfoot, sings on several tracks including "Maremma," a dialogue between a shepherd and his beloved, from Emilia-Romagna; his voice blends well with that of Gallinari, in complex harmonies.Songs such as "I Disertori" (Italian) and "La Palombe" (Franco-Provençal, originally from an Arabic source) are timely calls for peace, against war. The former is particularly well-done, with Gallinari on vocals, accompanied by the accordeon: "We don't talk about this war / as long as eternity / to conquer a leaf-sized land / how many brothers have died already."Matteo Belli is featured in the role of Dante in "Dante e Arnaut," the concluding track and one of the more interesting, with spoken word over instrumental.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Rustie - Sunburst EP (2010)

Aquacrunk, Dubstep, Electronic


A prime protagonist within Glasgow’s Lucky Me clubland community, and rising solo force in his own right, Rustie reveals more of himself than ever before on this five-track EP, his debut release for Warp Records outside of compilation appearances. But while Sunburst presents a clearer picture of this young talent, its brevity is both blessing and curse. As a rounded primer it’s brilliant; but it leaves the listener immediately hungry for more.Having helped to establish something of a sub-genre, whatever it’s coolest to call it this week – aquacrunk was mooted but recently ridiculed through Twitter by a stateside fraternity led by Flying Lotus; wonky has stuck to an extent but feels a little too sell-short for music of far greater complexity than such a catchall conveys – Rustie’s modus operandi is a fairly unique one. Fellow Lucky Me player Hudson Mohawke has enjoyed a modicum of success with his take on the style, effectively a mutation of dubstep with emphasis on fractured party beats over those painting a dark picture of late-night paranoia, but his long-player of last year, Butter, was perhaps a little too scattershot for its own good. By focusing exclusively on traits that have benefitted him thus far, and exclusively to instrumentals, Rustie has here delivered a defining work.
Read the rest of this article.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Charanjit Singh - Ten Ragas to A Disco Beat (2010)

ARTIST`````Charanjit Singh
ALBUM`````Ten Ragas to A Disco Beat
Acid House, Electronic

YEAR````````2010 (All tracks are from 1982)

Biography and some info from Guardian

Charanjit Singh doubtless stood out as unusual in the Hindi film industry of the 1960s and 70s. Veteran of countless Bollywood soundtrack orchestras, Singh was the sort to turn up at session with the latest new synthesiser, acquired at great expense from London or Singapore. He was not, however, widely regarded among his country folk as someone "pushing things forward". His band, the Charanjit Singh Orchestra, made their rupees touring weddings, performing the hits of the day, and while he played on many popular Bollywood recordings, Charanjit Singh was never a household name.

Read the rest of this article.

From Resident Advisor
Behold, my children, the legend of acid house: Imagine in your mind Chicago 1987, where a small group of club kids, led by Nathan "DJ Pierre" Jones, give Ron Hardy a record to play at the Music Box. Labelled "Acid Tracks" by Phuture, its uncompromising sound quickly clears the dance floor, but Hardy hammers the tune again and again, until the masses are converted and a new genre is born.

You've heard this story a thousand times. And everything in it is true. Except, it seems, maybe the part about it being the birth of acid. Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat challenges us to rewind acid's origin story to India 1982, and to move from a sweaty Chicago nightclub to the home studio of a veteran Bollywood musician. In the '60s and '70s Charanjit Singh did time on the Bollywood soundtrack scene, and earned extra cash with his own orchestra playing popular favorites at weddings. In 1982, armed with a now-iconic trio of Roland gear, the Jupiter 8, TB-303 and TR-808, Singh set out to update the entrancing drone and whirling scales of classical Indian music. It's enough of a mind-fuck that rumors circulated on the web claiming the record was a prank spawned by Richard D. James.

Read the rest of the article.

Charanjit Singh 2010 Interview

In 1982, veteran Bollywood composer Charanjit Singh visits Singapore and gets his hands on the now holy trinity of a Roland 303, 808, and Jupiter 8 - the core of acid house and arguably the precursor to electronica as we know it today.Later that year, EMI India releases an album limited to a few thousand copies: "Synthesizing: Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat". It presents Charanjit's effort at using what was then entirely new technology to bridge the gap between programmed beats, synth lines, and classical Indian music motifs.It essentially sinks without a trace.In 2010, Dutch label Bollywood Connection re-releases this LP to an unsuspecting and wholly ignorant public, convinced that these beats were established in the clubs of Chicago, Detroit, and Manchester in the mid to late eighties.They weren't.Charanjit Singh still lives in Bombay. We met him.

Big thanks go to ranaghose


You may be interested in one of the records that was considered to be the first acid sound until Charanjit was discovered. It's the legendary
Phuture - Acid Trax (1988).
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