Sunday, February 28, 2010

Boris - Vein (2006)

Vein is the sixteenth (or seventeenth) studio album by Japanese experimental doom band Boris, released as an edition of 1500 copies in October 2006. Two versions of this release exist, 1100 copies sold in the US contain one set of audio while 400 copies sold in Europe contain a completely different recording. One of their most controversial and delayed releases, it was sold for $32 USD as a single clear record with an inch-wide image screen printed along the outer edge.

Alternate recordings were confirmed shortly after its release, when various people[who?] proclaimed their Vein record had no vocals at all. While the number of tracks differ between both versions, aesthetically, the packaging is identical and the records can only be differentiated by inspecting the vinyl surface itself. One version, dubbed the "Hardcore version", has somewhat of a crust punk sound with elements of hardcore and drone. Atsuo contributed the lead vocals on this record for the first time in many[weasel words] years, with Takeshi contributing vocals in some of the songs as well. The vocals on this record are notably different from most Boris albums, as they are screamed rather than sung. The other version, dubbed the "Noise version", has one side of pure noise drone and a long punk jam drenched with feedback on the other. There are no vocals on this version.

At the very beginning of track 3 on the hardcore version the listener can hear a man say "И пусть посмеются над своими страстями" (Russian for "Let them laugh at their own passions"). This is a quote from Stalker, a 1979 film by Andrei Tarkovsky.

In the beginning of the final track on the hardcore version the listener can hear a man say "I hela mitt liv har jag väntat på det här. Hela mitt liv har varit en enda väntan på det här." in Swedish, which in English means "For my whole life I've been waiting for this. My whole life has been a waiting for this."

Side One

1. untitled - 4:01
2. untitled - 2:15
3. untitled - 1:37
4. untitled - 1:14
5. untitled - 1:18
6. untitled - 1:49
7. untitled - 2:21

Side Two

8. untitled - 1:14
9. untitled - 0:46
10. untitled - 1:01
11. untitled - 2:01
12. untitled - 10:31

Friday, February 26, 2010

Jon Rose & Eugene Chadbourne - Kultural Terrorism (1987)

Jon Rose & Eugene Chadbourne
Chadbourne/Rosenberg "Kultural Terrorism"
[LP: Dossier, Germany, 1987; #ST 7551]

"Not quite sure why I went with the 'K' on the front of kultural. It somehow seemed German, or at least at the time I had made up my mind that I was heading to Berlin, centre of kultural otherness, an island refuge for musicians and artists who couldn't stomach being in the Ronald Reagan western.

A number of people have been asking me about the album Kultural Terrorism, this is the story.

The project lasted from 1985 till 1988, and in that period every tour that Eugene Chadbourne and I set out on seemed to be on a new continent. It was primarily a duo, and although a few guest musicians tried their hand at joining us on stage, none (with the exception of Chris Cutler) went the full distance as I remember. We would play two simultaneous solos which, although containing our own personal languages of improvising, also contained as many quotations from popular music as we could cram into a two-set concert. At the end of one concert in a seedy little bar in a forgettable midwest town, a guy came up to us after the concert and handed us a couple of sheets of paper upon which were listed all the songs he had heard us quote that evening, a total of seventy songs (and there was a bunch missing too). He said he felt somewhat elated and confused--elated that he knew so many tunes, confused because we had eradicated almost all support mechanisms. If a tune had the right notes, it would often have another song's harmony. Occasionally two songs from the same source might collide at the same time, the music of Dylan and the Beatles often received this kind of treatment. For many of the concerts we asked for a television on stage to add further ingredients to the already over-spiced cooking pot. If it all became too much, we or the audience could just settle in to the evening news or chat show.

But to be fair to the tele, it never let us down coming up with the most bent, juxtaposed commentaries night after night. Eugene actually realised a dream by playing with (if not actually on) a repeat of an old Johnny Carson show. I had my big moment when we hooked up to a particularly dry doco on 'instruments of the orchestra'. On one night in the depths of Southern Germany after the tele show, we were asked if we could do the sound track to a splatter movie or two--kein Problem. Once someone asked us if we could play a song from beginning to end, and eh, properly. We never tried, but I suspect that it might have been beyond us. I can't speak for Eugene, but for myself, I had suspended belief in any and all popular culture. It had been like that for years. This was the time of Michael Jackson and Madonna; just the thought of those two would bring on extreme nausea. On the other hand, bringing out great tunes from the periods of music when there were great tunes seemed to give them a new context; they proved in effect that they were indestructible. Having worked in commercial clubs and everything from restaurants to weddings to C & W bands, I did know a bunch of tunes. Eugene was and still is the ultimate bent cover songster.

And then there was the album.

In a dusty pile of old LPs, I found a copy of Herbert Von Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in Brahms' Fourth Symphony. It was on Deutsche Grammafon, and my reason for selecting it had been inspired by an article in a Sunday newspaper. The article reported that the French horn section of this orchestra had been accused of playing wrong notes on purpose as a demonstration against Karajan's increasingly dictatorial actions against the musicians. A number of issues were presented.

1.It is hard enough to play correct notes of such a recalcitrant instrument; things must be really bad if you want to play wrong notes on purpose. The journalist let his imagination run away with him as to how the orchestra might continue their industrial action. Supposing Herbie gets up and starts conducting Beethoven's Fifth Symphony; the orchestra, however, plays the Fourth instead, or even a combination of the Third, the Seventh and the Ninth at the same time. At this stage, I realised it was beginning to sound a bit like the aesthetics and technique of the Kultural Terrorism project.

2.The notes on the back of the Brahms LP were some of the most sycophantic nonsense I had ever read. They spoke about the orchestra being at one with the maestro, about how the orchestra would do anything necessary to realise the maestro's grand plan. It looked like a good opportunity to put the record straight and paste the newspaper article on the back of the LP cover.

The cult of dictator/genius/conductor reached its zenith with people like Karajan and Bernstein--although an award for over-acting should be given to the orchestra's present conductor Simon Rattle. Significantly, Karajan was an ex-member of the Nazi party and his out-stretched arm, photographed on the front cover of the LP, had that authentic pose.

Anyway, this Karajan album seemed perfect cover and THE cover for our homemade kultural terror action. I got to work with felt tip pen, white out, paper, photocopies, scissors, and glue. In half and hour I had the cover ready. I sent it off to my little Berlin record company, Dossier. They were delighted. By chance an old friend and lawyer of the company's part-time manager dropped in for a chat and happened to see the art work. He suggested that Dossier have nothing to do with this; DG were a touchy lot but if they insisted on releasing it, then a list things had to come out.

The DG name had to be changed, Karajan's face had to be removed ("but you can leave the arms maybe"), the catalogue number removed, the name Karajan removed from all the text, etc. I was busy with the white out and felt tip pen for another session. Days later, the phone went again. Even more had to come out in the text and a disclaimer added. By this stage, it was hard to find any reference to the original DG LP left in the whole messy confused piece of an album cover. I was disappointed, compliance was demanded or no release, and the whole enterprise had become pointless. I felt I had been compromised too much.

A thousand copies of the album were released. Within one week, Deutsche Grammafon had issued a writ against Dossier and were taking them to court. All copies of the album had to be withdrawn. It begs belief that DG would be bothered with such a small-scale enterprise as Dossier, or that they would even know or care about small releases of postmodern music. One imagined some bureaucrat sitting in an office in Munich whose job it was to sort through all record releases of all music worldwide, looking out for anything that may cause offence to Herbie von K or DG itself. Extraordinary. Meanwhile, Dossier was in deep shit. BUT as it happened, DG's lawyer was a personal friend of our Dossier man's lawyer in Berlin. Lawyers drink and eat from the same trough, so an out of court settlement was hastily fixed up. All copies of the offending album known as Kultural Terrorism would be destroyed, and in its place would come a fully legal copy with absolutely nothing on the front cover. It seemed that a headless Herbie was the principle cause of insult and DG's main complaint, so the conductor's arm giving the Hitler salute had to go as well.

The Kultural Terrorism project was an exhausting form of performance counterpoint. After three years and dozens of concerts, we had had enough of it. The appropriation of everyone else's music had become the modus operandi for the new music composer, but from my perspective, when global capitalism took over the whole planet in 1989, dj reality began to outstrip the powers of satire."

(article by Jon Rose, 2003 and original intended cover above from his homepage)

Prof. Eugene Chadbourne: acoustic guitar, lap steel guitar, fender plunger, harmonica, classical guitar, electric guitar, voice

Dr. Johannes Rosenberg (Jon Rose): acoustic violin, 19-string cello, 10-string double violin, recently restored megaphone violin, pianoforte, voice

Side A
1. 1st chair (2'03)
2. 2nd chair (5'21)
3. 3rd chair (13'20)

Side B
1. 4th chair (2'13)
2. 5th chair (5'15)
3. 6th chair (1'16)
4. 7th chair (1'44)
5. 8th chair (1'33)
6. 9th chair (6'01)
7. 10th chair (0'55)
8. 1st bed (1'53)

Recorded by Jörg Völker at Tonstudio Bamberg, West Germany on March 17, 1987.
Live extracts from a concert in Munich on March 15, 1987-
8 is a location recording made in Amsterdam.
Produced by Jon Rose & Eugene Chadbourne.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pell Mell

* Live Cassette (Indoor Records, 1982)
01 Spanner
02 Some Things We Do For Fun
03 Dad's Top Drawer
04 Shirts and Skins
05 Estacada
06 Food, Clothing and Shelter
07 Almost Happy
08 All This and More

* For Years We Stood Clearly as One Thing (K Records, 1985)
01 Week of Fire
02 All This & More
03 Dad's Top Drawer
04 Estacada
05 6, 9, or 20
06 Cinecitta
07 Work, Health & Love
08 Barn Dance

01 Fuck the Boss
02 Pet Dub
03 Chrome-A-Key Beach
04 Business 80
05 Love Trek
06 Bubble Prawn
07 Beat Cut
08 Par Avion

* The Bumper Crop (SST, 1987)
01 Week of Fire
02 Dad's Top Drawer
03 All This and More
04 6 9 or 20
05 Love Trek
06 Alligator Stomp
07 My Three Sons
08 Estacada
09 Cinecitta
10 FTB
11 Pet Dub
12 Chroma-Key Beach
13 Work, Health, and Love

* Flow (SST, 1991)
01 American Eagle
02 Breach of Promise
03 Bring on the China
04 The Devil Bush
05 Smoke
06 Aero
07 Flood
08 Little Blue Dance
09 Signal
10 Blaming the Messenger
11 Mopping Up

* Interstate (DGC, 1995)
01 Nothing Lies Still Long
02 Revival
03 Anna Karina
04 Saucer
05 Pound Cake
06 Constellation
07 Blacktop
08 Butterfly Effect
09 Drift
10 Vegetable Kingdom
11 Ether
12 Floating Gate

* Star City (Matador Records, 1997)
01 Sky Lobby
02 Salvo
03 Orange Roughy
04 Interloper
05 Smoke House
06 On Approach
07 Upstairs
08 In Polka Dots
09 Everything Must Go
10 Low Light
11 Headset
12 Field of Poppies
13 Gelatin
14 Coral

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pell Mell - Rhyming Guitars

Pell Mell was a tremendous rarity: an instrumental combo who landed a major-label deal in the wake of the alternative rock explosion touched off by Nirvana. Its most prominent members were better known as producers, and with their highly sporadic recording schedule, it took them nearly a decade of existence to issue a widely distributed album. Their music could be seen on some levels as a forerunner of post-rock, sharing its eclecticism and fusion of acoustics and electronics, but shying away from its more self-conscious avant-gardisms and free-form qualities. Instead, contrary to their name, Pell Mell was melodic and usually tightly structured, much like the instrumentals of the early rock & roll era. In fact, those instrumentals -- especially surf guitar and its formative influences, like Link Wray and Duane Eddy -- were a palpable influence on the group. However, not wanting to be pigeonholed as mere revivalists, they switched up their attack with touches of funk, punk, Krautrock, dub, and vintage ambient, among other sources, which resulted in an atmospheric, effects-laden sound that was certainly aided by its creators' production prowess.

Pell Mell was originally formed in 1980 in Portland, OR, and spent the next four years playing around the Northwest. During that time, several members came and went, with founding drummer Bob Beerman anchoring the band. In 1982, they issued their debut EP, Rhyming Guitars, on the small Indoor label, as well as a self-released, cassette-only live album, It Was a Live Cassette, which they recorded as a trio. Keyboardist/effects man Steve Fisk -- who would eventually become the most successful outside producer in the band -- joined in 1983, and the following year, the band decided to relocate to San Francisco. Their lineup solidified to include Beerman, Fisk, bassist/guitarist Greg Freeman (who left his main gig with the Call in 1984), and guitarist Bill Owen. Owen was, in turn, later replaced by guitarist David Spalding, the onetime guitar tech for the Call. Another cassette-only release, For Years We Stood Clearly as One Thing, appeared on the then-fledgling K Records in 1985. In between, Fisk issued the first of several solo cassettes, a stream of which would continue into the '90s.

Pell Mell came to somewhat wider national attention via their association with the groundbreaking SST label, which issued the first widely available Pell Mell album, The Bumper Crop, in 1988. It consisted of recordings from the first half of the '80s, and while the song selection overlapped with For Years, the versions on Bumper Crop were generally shorter and more concise. By this time, Fisk was working as a producer for groups like Screaming Trees (also on SST), Beat Happening, and Soundgarden; he soon went on to helm several tracks on Nirvana's Blew EP. Freeman was also beginning to branch out as a producer and engineer, initially with Bay Area eccentrics Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 and singer/songwriter Barbara Manning, and later with Royal Trux.

With its members having split to live in different cities, Pell Mell didn't reconvene until the early '90s; by that time, SST had reissued Rhyming Guitars. 1992's Flow was actually the first album on which David Spalding was a fully integrated member of the group, and it was also their tightest effort to date. Microsoft licensed one of its tracks for use in a television commercial, which helped bring the band to the attention of Geffen Records. Signing to the label's DGC imprint, Pell Mell completed its hugely unlikely major-label debut, Interstate, in 1995. In the meantime, Fisk had begun playing with two actively recording side projects, Pigeonhed and the Northwest indie all-star band the Halo Benders (which also featured Beat Happening's Calvin Johnson and Built to Spill's Doug Martsch). He was also producing new artists like Unwound, Some Velvet Sidewalk, the Geraldine Fibbers, and Boss Hog, among others. Writing some of the songs together by mail, Pell Mell completed a follow-up to Interstate in 1997, but DGC -- somewhat predictably -- dropped them not long before its scheduled release date. Matador stepped in to issue the album, called Star City, which was produced and engineered by cult favorite Tchad Blake.

Pell Mell subsequently went their separate ways. Fisk and Freeman both continued their blooming careers behind the boards, while Spalding went on to play with the reunited Love Tractor. Fisk and Beerman later reunited in the more electronic-oriented Cut-Out, which issued its first album in 2003.

Pell Mell - Rhyming Guitars

1. New Saigon
2. Spy Vs. Spy
3. Par Avion
4. Red Rhythm
5. Week of Corn

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Belgium 1971-10-15

Maison de la culture
Dizon, Belgium

Time: 46:44

1. Stoah/"Iss" Lansei Doia (08:39)
2. Ki Iahl O Liahk (09:59)
3. Soi Soi (06:35)
4. band intro (03:47)
5: Mekanik Kommandöh (17:42)

Line up:
Vander, Blasquiz, Moze, Lasry, Cahen, Seffer, Toesca (Engel?)