Tuesday, March 24, 2015

We'll Be Right Back After These Brief Messages...

Let's get commercial...

Back in 2008 we posted a hilarious radio spot from the conservative religious group Focus on the Family responding to a law passed in Colorado that allowed trans-gendered people to use public bathrooms. Recently we received this fairly genius bit of animation that illustrates the ad, making it even funnier. It comes to us courtesy of Mutant Lab, who are clearly doing the Lord's work. Work it, girl!

A clever, amusing new music video by Los Angeles rocker Taylor Locke finds the artist tooling around town in a motorized easy chair, the comfy kind one might find in a living room. The video makes it look like a cheesy tv commercial for what I thought couldn't possibly be a real product, but upon further investigation, the website appears to be real. Ok...What could one possible do with one of these things? I doubt that they're street-legal. It certainly does make music videos more interesting (along with the nekkid lady!) The catchy power-pop music is quite good, too.

Sound collagist I Cut People have a mordantly funny new on-line album that slices and dices innumerable American media sound bites, revealing the existential angst, neuroses, and anxieties contained in bland public service announcements, cheerful commercials for medications, news broadcasts, and chat shows. The tracks are brief and the whole thing flies by fairly quickly, but it's not background music. Attention must be paid to catch the rapid-fire edits in such wickedly surreal cut-ups as "Ebola Vacation" and the lewd, rude "Watch Me, Innocence." Listen for free, buy for cheap:

I Cut People: "Miserable Day"
Bandcamp page

We now return you to our usual programming...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Music For People Who Really, Really Really Like to Limbo Dance

Does anybody still dance the limbo? You know, you bend over backwards to shimmy under an ever-lowering pole, to the catchy strains of calypso music.  Don't know if any actual Caribbean peoples did the limbo, but plenty of post-war suburbanites who'd sipped a bit too much rum sure did. And this has to be one of the strangest artifacts of the limbo craze - a instrumental version of the hit Chubby Checker song "Limbo Rock" stretched out for the length of an entire album. Hollywood session vet Billy Strange (that's his guitar on Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang," among a million other credits) and his crew keep things interesting throughout, with funky percussion breaks, and exotica-like atmospheric interludes featuring grown men a-whoopin' and a-hollerin'. There's plenty of soloing, ranging from cool jazzy to almost rock 'n' roll. 

Exotica music is fine and dandy for polite cocktail sipping, but when the drinks kick in, what are you gonna dance to, eh, eh?  I'll tell you what: "Limbo Rock pt 1" and "Limbo Rock, pt 2".  For those moments when you want to, quite literally, drink someone under the table.

Billy Strange and Telstars - Limbo Rock

Now if only a band called Billy Strange and the Limbo Rock did an album-length version of "Telstar"...

Sunday, March 08, 2015

The Psample-delic Psounds of Carl Stone's "Four Pieces"

If you think sampling in music means MC Hammer looping "Super Freak," you gotta another think coming: Los Angeles legend Carl Stone has been using custom software to spin complex, beautiful webs out of found sounds since before most people even owned a computer. The closest comparison to another composer one might make would be to John Oswald and his Plunderphonics, but Oswald often hits with an ADD-addled aggressiveness. Stone takes a more trance-inducing path that sometimes approaches Minimalism, but the results are still too thorny to ever function as yoga music.

Track #1 "Wall Me Do" is not, as the title suggests, a Pink Floyd/Beatles mash-up. The title, like most of Stones' titles, comes from an LA area Asian restaurant. It's glitchy electronica, not unlike Aphex Twin, but years before the fact. #2 is pretty funny, slicing and dicing that classical classic "Pictures at an Exhibition" into an increasingly unrecognizable delirium.  #3 ("Shing Kee") from 1986 hypnotically loops unidentified sounds (inc female vocals) into dreamy gorgeousness; tho reminiscent of Frippertronics and Steve Reich's early tape-loop works, the gradually unfolding patterns bear the stamp of Stone's original style. Play this with the lights out, glass of red wine in hand. Aaahhh... And #4 is Stone sampling himself, in this case remixing #1. I actually prefer it to #1 - it's all Minimalistic grooviness, but with no predictable looping and phasing.

Carl Stone - Four Pieces (1986-1989)

I was happy to see that Stone is performing live this March 22 with LA Free Music Society vets Tom Recchion and Joseph Hammer. Those two have been using extreme turntablism and tape-loop tomfoolery to great effect for as long as Stones' been tweaking his Macs. Don't think Stone was ever actually a member of the LAFMS, but note that Recchion designed the insert to this album.  And the two used to rule the KPFK airwaves in the 1980s with back-to-back (Tuesday night?) shows, Stone with "Imaginary Landscapes" and Recchion's "Soundings II, aka the Tom and Tony Show." Between Stone's alt classical-to-Yma Sumac approach and Tom 'n' Tony's avant-tarde mix of free noise, kitschy thrift-store records, and live antics (e.g. playing the entirety of "Sgt Pepper" on fast-forward when the CD was first released), Young Master Fab's mind was suitably re-aligned. Tom Waits said he wept when he first heard Gavin Bryars' "Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet" (which Waits would later sing) on LA radio in the '80s. 'Twas on "Imaginary Landscapes" - I was listening that night, too.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

March Forth, 2015

By request, Phantascist is back on-line.

As today is March 4th, let's march forth once again with the Now Sounds of alternative marching/brass bands with a sampler of releases from recent years from bands that you won't see parading onto a sporting events field, or serenading politicians. A sterling example of 'antique-garde' music - new, experimental sounds using pre-rock, antique instruments and methods.

I don't know how mobile they all are. I did see Mucca Pazza live a year or two ago, so I can vouch for them- they went marching all over the place before they finally hit the stage.

March Forth 2015

1. 9th Ward Marching Band - Halloween Beat [covering John Carpenter, and a bit of Mike Oldfield]

2. 9th Ward Marching Band - Slowride [a couple of classic rock covers, from this krewe that features the king and queen of New Orleans high weirdness, Quintron and Miss Pussycat]
3. 9th Ward Marching Band - The Letter
4. Duk - Bilbo [from the excellent Bandcamp release "Early Worm Gets The Bird"]
5. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - Moments [cover of Art of Noise's "Moments in Love"]
6. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble & Tony Allen - Marcus Garvey [w/Fela Kuti's master drummer Allen]
7. Mucca Pazza - Chick Habit [two songs from their super album "A Little Marching Band"; this wild take on the France Gall/April March classic features a rarity in this field: vocals]
8. Mucca Pazza - Dirge [doesn't get any less traditional than this: a creepy circus waltz for accordion and musical saw]
9. No BS! Brass Band - Take on Me [A Ha cover; always amazing to hear a great take on a song I'd never given the slightest thought to before]
10. Youngblood Brass Band - Human Nature, Pt. 2 [quite an improvement on Michael Jackson's original]
11. Youngblood Brass Band - Nate Mccarish Handbills For No Man [can't quite determine what strange sounds are featured here]