Wednesday, May 25, 2016

THE WORLD'S TALLEST MUSIC: Joseph Bertolozzi's "Tower Music"

An entire album made solely from the sounds of someone banging on the Eiffel Tower?! Now that is the kind of thing to warm the cockles of a Maniac's heart, and to thoroughly confuse, if not annoy, mainstream music consumers: "Wha..? Why doesn't he use real musical instruments?" Because, my poor, brainwashed Normals, there is a universe of unused sounds out there that cannot be conjured up with pianos, guitars, even synthesizers. Music is all around us, as John Cage would say, and sampling those sounds and using them as the raw stuff of compositions is an excellent way to make us aware of that. 

The album actually sounds like you think it would, dominated by metallic plinky pongy tones. But even tho these songs are indeed produced only by Bertolozzi's molesting of a great Parisian structure, they are not just random banging. They are structured, highly rhythmic, even weirdly melodic, with each track having it's own peculiar flavor. In other words: musical. Here's one particularly toe-tappin' sample:

Joseph Bertolozzi "Continuum" from "Tower Music"

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Whilst perusing the roughly 5,372 albums R. Stevie Moore has put up on his Bandcamp page, I was delighted to see that the Bingo Gazingo album is now available for your free listening/low-cost purchasing pleasure. Mr. Gazingo was a real character, a senior citizen who started appearing at poetry readings in the 1990s, hilariously declaiming in a New Yawk voice his short, rhymed phrases, often only vaguely related to what his poems where supposed to be about. This, his one and only album, features a back-up band featuring Moore, Chris Butler (of The Waitresses, and Tin Huey), and various djs from WFMU, the station that would release this album. The music is a real variety show, from punk, to soulful r'n'b, to abstract improvs. But of course the late Bingo is the star of the show, proclaiming such profound utterances as:

They're playing classic rock/in Jurassic Park

- I want to make my home in/your ovum

- Rick the wanker/from Casablanca/I sing like Paul Anka

- My projectile/is erectile

- I cannot accept/your indecent proposal/maybe a horse'll

I'm glad no-one told him that Tupac's last name isn't pronounced "shaker" - it would have messed up his rhymes.


Speaking of R. Stevie Moore, out of his near-infinite discography, I've heard maybe...3 albums? I def. like "Phonography," esp. the wonderful "Goodbye Piano," where he bumps his head into the mic, and keeps on singing. And I have a couple greatest "hits" collections. But NOW where do I go?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


We've been following Frenchman Cartone Sonore's curious career for some time now, most of it concerned with obscure and toy instruments. But his new album is created solely with his voice. Yep, no other sound sources used other than his own singing, clicking, droning, and any other sounds he can coax out of his larynx. It's one of those projects that could just be a gimmick, or art-fart self-indulgence, but the results are quite fresh and original. The on-line album's 11 tracks vaguely resemble everything from Gregorian chants to beatboxing to The Beach Boys (sometimes simultaneously), but really, it feels like a whole new musical vocabulary opening up. The wonders of multi-tracking!

Listen and/or buy via Bandcamp:

Carton Sonore: "Animago"

One of the catchiest tunes on the album, "Dans La Foret" is available for free. My fave track might be the haunting "Un Gout Familier," which sounds like an instant standard. (I don't even know how to label this post. Guess I'll have to make a new label for "Vocal/Acapella.")

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Lowbrow Vol.7: Devil Dance

Reposts! By request: Pierre Bastien's marvelous mechanical musics and Snoopy's Beatles Classics on Toys. I won't be re-upping any Twink The Toy Piano Band, as he has put all of his stuff on Bandcamp, so go there.

Due to a crashed hard drive, this volume was delayed and Vol. 8 was posted first, but now our series exploring mid-20th-century kool kulture is sequentially correct. In this volume, former nightclub accordionist-turned-killjoy preacher Jack van Impe warns us of the dangers of that devils' music, thusly illustrated by riotous, ridiculous, rhythm-and-blues, rock'n'roll rekkids (ever notice that Satan is often depicted as smiling and laughing? He's apparently having much more fun than The Other Guy). Lots of ludicrous novelties this time out, by artists gleefully unconcerned with making Profound Artistic Statements. You'll have fun fun fun even after - and I want to make this perfectly clear - even after Daddy takes the T-bird away. 

But this time, let's add "style" to our usual mix of "sin," "sex" and "sleaze". Publisher V. Vale of the legendary RE/Search books has been bemoaning the state of his home city lately, e.g: "We think it’s necessary to read as much humor as possible these days to keep our morale up, as San Francisco daily becomes more inundated with a tsunami of “techies” proud of their acultural normcore barbarism (trendy new martinis, trendy new restaurants—is that all there is?!) 

 I wasn't familiar with the term "normcore," but it's apparently a fashion statement popular among urban youth that attempts to create as bland and inconspicuous a look as possible (while still prominently wearing designer labels, of course). Baseball caps, pullovers, etc. Artist-types shunning original style to look like their dad. My God-zilla! and you thought modern culture couldn't get any more boring? Perhaps that's why in recent months I've been hittin' the thrift stores looking for real flash suits and bright-colored Hawaiian-style shirts, creating outfits like the one Don Draper is sporting here. (Shirt collars OVER the jacket, doncha know.) And paisley shirts! They might go well with my Peter Fonda "Easy Rider" sunglasses. Gotta buy a new pair of Beatle boots tho, as the ones I had when I was 20 are sadly long gone. And where can I get a medallion to adorn my chest as I wear my v-neck, wide-collar David Cassidy-type paisley shirt? It's kinda like this one, only blue. There must be someplace where one can get those loud shirts Nelson Mandela used to wear. If any shirts are worth $95, these may be them. Fashion tips in comments, please. And photo links, esp. from ladies sporting leopard skin prints.

Loud clothes - clothes that go up to 11 - need loud music. So once again, we're pouring in your earholes lots of stuff taken from my mostly 45 rpm vinyl discoveries that have not only not appeared on other like-minded compilations (so far as I know), but have never been digitally available...until now! Can find no info on some of these mysterious sides. 

Dig the AbnormCore sounds here:

Lowbrow Vol.7: Devil Dance - almost 69 minutes; (69: the dirtiest number in the world!)

1 Jack van Impe - rock music is more dangerous ("From Night Clubs to Christ") 

2 Mad Man Taylor - Rumble Tumble
 3 Bruce Johnston - Soupy Shuffle Stomp [future "replacement" for Brian Wilson with a 
retarded tribute to TV funnyman Soupy Sales]
4 Bobby Peterson Quintet - Mama Get Your Hammer [sick humor + screamin' r'n'b = what all

 music should be like]
5 Jack van Impe - rock and roll music
6 Thee Midnighters - Everybody Needs Somebody To Love
7 Spike Jones - Pimples And Braces [yes, The Master novelty bandleader did live long 

enough to parody teenagers and rock'n'roll]
8 Grace Chang - I Want You To Be My Baby [famous singing actress of Chinese cinema 

swings bilingual]
9 Jack van Impe - commie plans
10 The Lancasters - Satan's Holiday
11 Georgia Gibbs - Kiss of Fire (rock version) [this was originally an early '50s tango-type

 hit for Gibbs, but this 45 is apparently a '60s remake, judging by the swiping of Roy Orbison's
"Oh Pretty Woman" riff]
12 Jack van Impe - commie rock beat
13 Morty Jay and the Coney Island Brass - Beef-Eater [one of my absolute fave (fairly) recent instro 45 rpm discoveries]
14 Vince Edwards - Squealin Parrot (Twist) [was very surprised to come across a 45 with such a 

wacky title by teen dream actor Edwards, as most of his records are mushy ballads; was even 
more surprised to find how wacked-out hilarious it was]
15 ''Handsome'' Jim Balcom - Corrido Rock (Part 1)
16 Jack van Impe - vile filthy dirty
17 Mike Minor - Satan's Waiting [from an alternate universe where Satanists favor 

finger-snappin' lounge over heavy metal]
18 Scott Engel - Devil Surfer [future avant-crooner Scott Walker once recorded a satanic 

surf instro, under his original name?!]
19 Jack van Impe - gogo pogo
20 The Allisons - Ling Ting Tong [black girl group singing Asian stereotypes, and a way-out (slide?) guitar solo]
21 Bill Lewis - Swim Beat
22 Jack van Impe - naked!
23 The Motions - Long-Hair
24 Rod McKuen - I Dig Her Wig [one would never guess that the man behind this kooky

 rocker would go on to become a hugely successful author of sappy poetry]
25 Bobby Gregg And His Friends - The Jam Part 1
26 Jack van Impe - 4 letter word
27 Lou Monte - Elvis Presley For President [Monte was the court jester of the Rat Pack

 /Italian-Amercan scene]
28 The Sparkletones - I Dig You,Baby [I'd rather not describe here what makes the 

end part of this song, and the entirety of the next song, so, er, 'unique'; you'll hear]
29 Gene Dozier & The Brotherhood - Mustang Sally
30 Bill Haley & His Comets - Straight Jacket (Live)
31 Jack van Impe - baser animal emotions

32 David Houston - One And Only [from the film 'Carnival Rock' (thanks Youtube!);
 featuring blistering guitar work by Elvis' string-slinger James Burton]
33 Steve Allen - Memphis [tv comic plays a straight-ahead ahead Chuck Berry

 instro...but I thought he hated rock n roll?]
34 Steven Garrick and his Party Twisters - Sister's a Twister 
35 The Applejacks - Rocka-Conga
36 Jack van Impe - twisted vile perverted
37 Royaltones - Wail
38 Jack Gale & The Medicine Men - The Sloppy Madison [radio dj's parody of  

incomprehensible dance instruction records]
39 Milt Rogers & His Orchestra - Lonely Road To Damascus

Album title and artwork courtesy of burlesque queen Gene Gemay