By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
High Llamas Buzzle Bee (Drag City) A legacy of loveliness extending back to Brian Wilson, “Let’s Go Away for a While” . . . Llamas celebrate the what-we-would-really-like-to-hear-if-we-were-being-honest (well, some of us) type of thing, toke it up into MOR-concrète that explodes mellowness of the sort declared out of bounds by rockcrits past. But times have changed. We now know the value of music to dawdle with, and that music must be good-vibes-soaked music, girls going “la-la-la” and the whole thing feeling orange-sunshiney and smelling peppery. TV & film music of the ’60s and ’70s, frappéed under afternoon-nap dreams, in a side-door maybe next to Air and their Mike Post fantasies — it’s fun to like “bad music” made good. The Niceness Wave is squeezable, also pleated and double-layered for added protection.
Etienne Charry 36 Erreurs (Kindercore) Eclectic montage is the ordure of the day, but this Gallic goofus has enormous technical skills and an active-culture cheese mind with which to ringmaster his variety show of hugely entertaining pop irritations. It’s when French people wildly misinterpret rock-pop or force it to stink of chanson or musette that it gets fun again, that’s for sure. But Charry’s just a kid, and appreciates bleeps, belches, whirrs and splats, trumpeting xyloid tones, then bolts on brass & winds & strings, superbrief, stained with colors of Westerns, circus musik, TV themes, blaxploitation, cartoon music, applause on cue. Stylish, happy themes for young people to make them optimistic and nostalgic for a short attention span.
Ego Plum Anthology of Infection, Vol. 2 (Ebola Music) It’s a well-known fact that in three out of four Los Angeles bedrooms, people are huddled over computers making music. This local combo, if it is one, offers a Residents/ Devo/Beefheart instrumental weirdness of, yeah, more psycho-cirkus sounds (pump organ, marimbas, sinister waltz times) but spills into medieval noir, samurai pizzicato, Turkish sambas and a Roman holiday on ice. Got your themes for theoretical, unreleased or otherwise obscure films, such as “La Besta De Cargo,” which is, of course, from The Jolly Man. It’s very focused and disciplined, and the liner notes are also printed in Braille (heh-heh): that odd thrill you get from art that’s got humor mingled with solidity. It can take you someplace unclean and enlightening.
Caspar Brötzmann Mute Massaker (Thirsty Ear) Unclean, unclean. Caveman Brötzmann make art, you listen. The overdrive-seepage guitarist’s blasting-gelatin rock strafing tone comes in long modal workouts of . . . an expression of . . . something core. His Hendrix/univibe heat bombs are not indigestible, your dark-adaptation takes over, you accept the relentless loud interior probe, a burning conical brown-gray arrowing into black-green wilderness. Brötzmann’s aggressive excavations are recorded live, and every note is intuitive but, he says, composed, not improvised. Be prepared for a bottle-brush up the, well, the ear, then a glow like after a sauna.
Nobody Soulmates (Ubiquity) A calmness prevails in Nobody, it often whispers, it has a beautiful feminized virility. He does it with burnished sample heaps (acoustic guitars and pianos played off soothing beats, mutated mallets, fluffing flutes), and consistently hits just a perfect tone — galactic but earthy, gossamer and cheesecloth, texturized but clean and so tasty. He does short bits of audio bliss-interspersal like little roundlets or phonograms of feeling, then the kool jazz reconciles the space-lounge and, dang, the off-time bass riff & drums of “Tone Therapy” are simply funky. With sexy Medusa, Abstract Rude and a farcical Freestyle Fellowship. Full of surprises, is that so much to ask?
Mstislav Rostropovich Kancheli: Magnum Ignotum (ECM) For the space between the notes, and for reconciling the old and new (dissonance v. consonance), and how these prolonged stretchings of tones invite you to participate. Like Caspar Brötzmann, it grasps at something deeper, and you learn patience by adapting to its very personal language. Great blasts of orchestral sun, or nearly inaudible cello moan, or close, dark harmonies weaving from taped Georgian voices, all slot in for strange lyrical effect. Kancheli emphasizes hope over happiness, and feels a moral and intellectual sympathy for the work of the old masters.
Win friends and influence people with:
Add N to (X) Add Insult to Injury (Mute)
The Aluminum Group Pelo (Hefty)
Fontella Bass Free (Fuel)
Jim Black Alasnoaxis (Winter & Winter)
John Cage The Seasons (ECM)
Kevin Coyne Room Full of Fools (Ruf)
Oscar D’León ¡En Vivo! (RMM)
Ekkehard EhlersBetrieb (Mille Plateaux)
Electric Company Exitos (Tigerbeat6)
Robert Farnon and His Orchestra Melody Fair/Canadian Impressions(Vocalion)
Rubén González Chanchullo (Nonesuch)
Skip Heller Couch, Los Angeles (Mouthpiece)
Bouquet (Knitting Factory)
Ib Pop Artificielle (Shadow)
Isotope 217Who Stole the I Walkman? (Thrill Jockey)
The J.B.’s Pass the Peas: The Best of the J.B.’s (Universal)
Kreidler Kreidler (Mute)
Like a Tim Red and Blue Boxing (Rephlex)
Metamatics SpookTinselShoal (Hydrogen Dukebox)
Microstoria Model 3, Step 2 (Thrill Jockey)
Mountain Consolidated The MC Stands for Revolution (Acid Blues)
Annette Peacock An Acrobat’s Heart (ECM)
Pizzicato Five The Fifth Release (Matador)
Pluramon Bit Sand Riders (Mille Plateaux)
Scenic Spheres (Independent Project)
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