Monday, May 26, 2008


The Australian radio program The Night Air hepped me to

"The Other Worlds of Sun Ra,"

their documentary about Sun Ra, the jazzman from outer space, and truly one of the most innovative, and bizarre, figures in 20th century music. The show is in celebration of his birthday, or, as Ra would call it, his "arrival day," the day he arrived on planet Earth from Saturn, a planet noted for it's progressive jazz scene. We first wrote about Sonny here but if you're new to the unique universe of Sun Ra, the radio doc, on-line for a month, is a highly recommended overview. And if you find yourself craving more:

"Message To The Earth-Man" "...from the Sun-Man," from "The Singles" collection; this crazed vocal number was someone's idea of a possible hit single? Sun Ra really did believe in the commercial potential of his music, hence:

"There Are Other Worlds (They Have Not Told You Of)"
- from the 1978 album "Lanquidity," Sun Ra's idea of an accessible funky groove album; this low-key funk song sounds like schizophrenic voices whispering in your head.

God's Private Eye - Moog solo - utterly berzerk synth/keyboard freakout.

"Outer Spaceways, Inc." - catchy tune featuring vocalist June Tyson.

On a peer-to-peer, I found a remarkable unreleased recording from the early 1970s of Sun Ra & His Arkestra performing live at Widney High in Los Angeles.

"Calling Planet Earth" - June Tyson leads the introductory call.
"Theme of the Stargazers" - another Moog massacre; recording starts off crappy, but clears up.
"Dr. Reggie Scott monologue" - someone describing the unhappy end to this show.

Yes, this Widney High is the same school for mentally & physically disabled youth that, years later, would produce "The Kids of Widney High" albums of "special music from special kids."

The Kids of Widney High - "Insects"

Can you imagine if the two groups had joined forces?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Since we haven't had much in the way of good news out of Asia lately, let's check out the East during some of it's better days. The crucial Sublime Frequencies label's latest edition of it's "Folk & Pop Music of Myanmar (Burma)" is called "Music of Nat Pwe." It's all fairly bat-shit crazy (to use the ethnomusicological terminology.)

Nats are spirits who met tragic or violent deaths, so I would imagine there's a lot of them around Myanmar lately. Which means they'll need more Pwes, the ceremony held to appease a Nat. It's crazed trance ritual music, full of clangorous percussion, exited vocals and psychedelic production. Supposedly it drives the faithful into ecstatic fits. I'd believe it.

Sein Moota "Pay Kyaw Chit Tae Doe (Father Kyaw Loves His Son)"

U Kyaw Nyunt & Yee Yee Thant "Father Kyaw the Drunk Nat"

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Following this post from a couple of months ago about Caninus, the metal band with two actual dogs for lead "singers," I received some comments suggesting that I check out Hatebeak, a similar band in that they feature a bird on lead vocals. Y'all were right: Hatebeak ROCK. Waldo (the "singer") has the perfect death-metal growl. It's, well, positively inhuman.

The band has a sense of humor, too - many of the titles are puns that metal fans will pick up on e.g.: "Hell Bent For Feathers." Or this one, a play on Carcass' "Reeks of Putrefaction":

Hatebeak "Beak of Putrefaction"

Elsewhere in the metal world
, I've been diggin' this new album by Finnish all-cello (!) headbangers, Apocalyptica. Yep, no guitars were used for this instrumental shredder:

Apocalyptica "Burn"

Their latest is entitled "World's Collide," an
appropriate name considering their classical vs. metal approach. Which reminds me of the metal-goes-classical of Estonia's Rondellus. Back in 2002 they released an album's worth of Black Sabbath covers ("Sabbatum") performed in medieval and Renaissance music styles, complete with lyrics translated to Latin. It's all quite lovely, played on things like lutes and harps, and makes Sabbath sound positively civilized. Holy, even.

Rondellus "Verres Militares (War Pigs)"

Sunday, May 04, 2008


To note the recent passing of Dr. Albert Hoffman, the Father of LSD, here's a few amusing curios mainly from (when else?) the 1960s.

Circle Of Tyrants: Acid - The Story Of L.S.D. - Dialogue and garage rock from an educational filmstrip

Wendell Austin: LSD - thanks to a reader (Martin, I think?) who sent me this country toe-tapper a while ago

Peter Cook & Dudley Moore: L.S. Bumblebee - from two giants of British comedy

Fe-Fi-Four Plus 2: I Wanna Come Back (from the World of LSD) - another garage rocker

Vic Caesar: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds - Lounge swinger from a cat who worked the West Coast casino scene, including (but of course) Caesar's Palace; he also wrote a groovy campaign song for Nixon that was released on Capital Records.

Pineapples from the Dawn of Time: Too Much Acid - '80s punky piss-take, from a 7"