Thursday, November 12, 2015

Behold, the Daxophone! The FUNNIEST Instrument Ever?!?

The late, great Hans Reichel gets a lot of props in the modern jazz world for his guitar playing, which is all well and good, but Maniacs should proceed directly to the few recordings he made highlighting his invention, the hand-crafted wooden objects known as Daxophones. Imagine a school kid bending his ruler over his desk making a boing! sound, only played with a violin or cello bow. In the hands of Reichel, a master musician as well as inventor, the Dax is amazingly versatile, capable of all manner of sounds, often with cartoonish undercurrents.

Reichel calls this album an 'operetta' even tho there are no singers. Indeed, there are no other instruments on this album besides the Daxophone. Yet the instrument has the uncanny ability to mimic human speech sound. Not only that, but the song "Bubu And His Friends" sounds like a whole barnyard of animals singing in harmony. Not only do these instruments sing, they swing, dad. These are not just weird noises for a chin-stroking avant-garde academic. "Street Song" is filled with hand-clapping joy. The percussion-heavy "You Can Dance With Me" reaches an almost Afro-Cuban level of danceable groove. And the catchy bubblegum rock of "Oway Oway" could convert the most brainwashed of mainstream music followers (well, in my fantasy world...)

Some songs suggest actual musical genres, like salsa, jazz or country, but played as if by Martians who, after picking up some terrestrial radio transmissions, attempt to interpret  the music of Earthlings on their alien instruments, tuned to no known scale. A wonderful work of weird genius. The fact that the name 'Hans Reichel' is not as well known as 'Kardashian' does not speak well for the human species, but we can start changing that right now:

Hans Reichel - "Yuxo, A New Daxophone Operetta"   [2002]

You can also listen to/buy another great Daxophone album (along with a slew of his guitar releases) here:

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Thelonious Moog - "American Standard"

Thelonious Moog's debut album was, as you might expect, jazz cats playing Mr. Monk on vintage synths. Their 2007 follow-up, "American Standard," ditched the music of their namesake for an unpredictable, irreverent romp ranging from heavy cats like Gershwin, Brubeck, & Zappa, to the EZ kitsch of those thrift-store inevitables "Alley Cat" and Al Hirt's "Java," all getting the same zany Space-Age treatment and some ingenious arrangements. Raymond Scotts' "Powerhouse" is dunked in wacky cartoon sound-effects, Duke Ellington's exotica standard "Caravan" goes surf-rock (+ odd noises) and one of my fave kooky '70s glam classics, "Hocus Pocus" by Focus, gets tackled here twice. All quite silly, but played by pros, and plenty fun - one of the best novelty albums of the '00s.

Thelonious Moog - American Standard

  • 1.Powerhouse
  • 2.T 4 2
  • 3.Hocus Pocus (Swingin' 60's)
  • 4.Caravan
  • 5.Take 5, 6,& 7
  • 6.Got Rhythm?
  • 7.Alley Cat
  • 8.Duodenum
  • 9.Hocus Pocus (Bossa Nova)
  • 10.Have U Seen It Yet?
  • 11.Java
  • 12.Harlem Nocturne

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

The Complete EVERYDAY FILM... available for free, supposedly for today only. Dig the horrific electronics:
UPDATE: Oops, well, so much for that.

By request, "Music For Weirdos Vol 5" is back up.

Right, back to my sick bed. Zzzz.....