Byron Coley and Thurston Moore’s “Bull Tongue” column from Arthur No. 30 (July 08)

BULL TONGUE
by Byron Coley and Thurston Moore

from Arthur No. 30 (Oct 2008) [available from Arthur Store]

This new Little Claw 7” on the Physical Sewer label which they had on their last roadtrip doesn’t even sound like them. But what do they sound like anyway? They sounded like the greatest goddamned fucking band on the planet the time we saw ‘em. Two minimalist drummers, a guitar dude with a nice underhook rhythm rip and a girl with a badass no wave slather tongue tearing hell out of her slide guitar given half the chance. And not all hellbent rage either—some nice licorice melt drizzle crud groove too. Fuckin’ awesome. This 7” sounds amazing but like some other weirdness was at play in the living room or wherever this beautiful session went down. You’re fucking nuts not to locate this—try their myspace roost.

Although the material is clearly posed, the new Richard Kern book, Looker (Abrams), is as voyeuristic as Gerard Malanga’s classic Scopophilia and Autobiography of a Sex Thief. Kern’s volume combines a feel of chasing a subject and photographing her without her knowledge, with some purely 21st Century tropes (dig the upskirt end papers), but the feel seems to also be a tribute to the ’70s Penthouse mag vibe. The nudes and font and the introductory essay by Geoff Nicholson all combine to create a volume with a much more gentle charge than Kern’s last book, Action. On the virtual opposite end of the photographic spectrum is David B. McKay’s Yuba Seasons (Mountain Images Press), which has some of the best nature photography we’ve seen in a long time. McKay has spent 40 years photographing this Northern California river and the area around it, and he has captured something really mind-blowing about the interaction of water and light and stone. The landscapes are great, but the river shots are beautiful, mysterious, fast and deep. You can feel them as much as you see them. Really fine.

There’s been a whole ark-full of gospel comps the last few decades and Lord yes they are always welcome but just when you think the well is dryin’ up along comes this motherfucker of a manic backwoods backstreet romper Life Is A Problem (Mississippi Records, 4007 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland, OR 97227 tel.: 503-282-2990). It’s been out a while and is even in a second pressing (without the first pressing’s bonus 7”) and is compiled by Eric and Warren from the Mississippi record store and label in Portland, OR and Mike McGonigal, who also annotated. It’s a 14-song set with some really raw guitar blowouts, handclap n’ chant fever stomps and sweet as ‘Bama honey singing. Some names on here we know like the lap-steel slasher Reverend Lonnie Farris but there are some straight up surprises. Particularly “Rock & Roll Sermon” by Elder Charles Beck, where he rails against the devil’s music, all the while kicking rock n roll ass. More sanctified sounds promised from this label in the future. Before this LP they issued a comp called I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore 1927-1948 which is also sheer beauty digging into tracks released by immigrants to America delivering early Zydeco, Salsa, Hawaiian slack key, etc.

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June 22-24, Baltimore-Philly-NYC: SUBLIME FREQUENCIES roadshow screens new films

From Sublime Frequencies:

Baltimore: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 8pm
at Floristree- 405 W Franklin St 6th fl

Philly: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 8 pm
at Space 1026- 1026 Arch St.
Hisham Mayet will dj after the screening
at Kung Fu Necktie 1248 North Front St.

NYC: Thursday, June 24, 2010 8:00pm – 10:00pm
at Anthology Film Archives
32 2nd Avenue New York, NY
Plus Frank Sumatra djs the after party
at Zebulon, 258 Wythe Avenue, 11 pm- ?

There will be two films, with filmmakers in attendance and Q&A after films, plus Sublime Frequencies CD/DVDs/LPs for sale after screening. The films are:

Staring into the Sun
A film by Olivia Wyatt
60 minutes
Staring into the Sun is the latest ethno-folk cinema classic from Sublime Frequencies. Ethiopia is known to be one of the oldest areas inhabited by humans and presently has over 80 diverse ethnic groups. Photographer/filmmaker Olivia Wyatt explores 13 different tribes throughout Ethiopia in this visually stunning film. Traveling from the northern highlands to the lower Omo Valley, Wyatt brings together the worlds of Zar spirit possession; Hamer tribal wedding ceremonies; Borena water well polyphonic singing; wild hyena feedings; and bizarre Ethiopian TV segments; presenting an enchanting look at these ethereal images, landscapes and sounds from the horn of Africa. The tribes featured in this film are captured with an unflinching sense of realism and poetic admiration resulting in a visual and aural feast of the senses.

Land of the Songhai
A film By Hisham Mayet
30 minutes
Hisham Mayet’s latest film explores the music and landscape of the Songhai, around the Niger River in Western Niger. Zarma mock possession hoedowns, Wodaabe trance vocal performances, Spirit possession ceremonies, Godje one sting laments, contigi string masters, comsaa griots and Sahel night markets create a bizarre and fascinating glimpse into the arid and culturally vibrant bend in the Niger river.

Rob Millis/Sublime Frequencies Film Screenings with Climax Golden Twins this month at the Suoni Festival (Montreal) and Issue Project Room (Brooklyn)

phitakhon
Still, Phi Ta Khon: Ghosts of Isan, Robert Millis.

SUBLIME FREQUENCIES Film Screenings
Rare and unseen Sublime Frequencies films, director in attendance (so you can blame him)

INDIA AT 78rpm
Folk and classical music in India through the lens of the largest private collection of 78rpm records and dusty ephemera on the sub-continent.

MY FRIEND RAIN
Decay and rebirth and death through the endless Asian monsoon cycle. A collage of musical segments and tropical ambiance from Robert Millis and Alan Bishop.

PHI TA KHON: GHOSTS OF ISAN
A traditional Buddhist ghost festival from Thailand’s Isan province that features beautiful handmade masks, outrageous wooden phalluses, ceremony, ritual, dancing, and endless music.

performances by Climax Golden Twins

at the Suoni Festival in Montreal on June 13th and 14th

also at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn on June 16th

BULL TONGUE "TOP TEN #3" by Byron Coley & Thurston Moore

TONGUE TOP TEN #3 – April 27, 2009

lightfront

1. Easily the best-looking LP we’ve had the pleasure of grappling lately is Light by Reiko and Tori Kudo, issued by Siwa. Reiko and Tori are best known for their work with Maher Shalal Hash Baz, but this stuff is even more casual, diffuse and haunting. Mostly just piano and female voice, the sound has an elegance and mystery that makes our veins wiggle. It’s like some sort of otherworldly cabaret, beamed in from Planet X. And while the music is available now as a CD, the LP version is just incredible—a wooden box, with nine separate compartments, each containing a printed booklet with lyrics. Quite unbelievable, even for Siwa, which has long set a tough-to-match standard for packaging. Hats off to the label’s Alan Sherry and all who sail with him.

bree

Bree


2. Just got a couple of fine new books by the great Cleveland poet, Bree. The bigger of the two (although printed in a wee small format) is was chicken trax amidst sparrows tread (The Temple Inc). This one collects a bunch of Bree’s fantastic prole poesy and uses it to sorta set the scene for a long prose piece about asshole blood. Amazing stuff. There’s also if i cld a body slam on her own imprint, Green Panda Press. This one’s a slim, folded sheet with six “peace poems” (one of which is purely visual). What makes them “peace poems,” we can only guess, but they’re boss and loud, which seems like a good thing. It should be noted that Bree is also hosting the Tres Versing the Pandapoetry festival in Cleveland on May 8-10, this year, which should be an excellent place to be.

willielane

Willie Lane


3. Great new guitar record out by William “Willie” Lane, called Known Quantity (Cord Art). Willie lived up here in Western Mass. for a good long while and was involved in lots of weird musical shit. Not much of it got proper documentation, however, although Child of Microtones did issue a fine CDR, Recliner Ragas , a few years back. Anyway, Willie moved down to Philadelphia a couple of years ago, and we get a chance to hear him now and then when we’re down there, or he chooses to hit the road with one of the MV & EE traveling carnivals. But his solo work has always been amazing and rare. Well, not so rare this week. There’s this new LP, and it was recorded throughout 2006-2008, and is a total blast. Willie’s mostly solo (save for some licks by Samara Lubelski) and his playing ranges from Wizz Jones power-pluck at its cleanest to Michael Chapman electro-smear at its phasingest. But Willie knows his stuff cold and this instrumental slide through the gates of Neverland is one of this year’s great rides.

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Duplex Planet editor David Greenberger and poet Ernest Noyes Brookings at Dunkin Donuts, Jamaica Plain, MA. Summer 1985 photo by Stephen Elston


4. First new issue in a long time of David Greenberger’s vastly entertaining magazine, Duplex Planet. Issue 184 doesn’t revolve around a central theme, but details various conversations David had with the residents at senior centers in East L.A. My favorite is the one with a woman who claims to be the 23rd of 24 children in her family, and also to be a great-great-grandmother. There’s no earthly way to know if she’s full of shit or not, but it’s nice to read her thoughts. Greenberger has a gentle way of probing the memories of these folks that is funny, sad and surprising—sometimes simultaneously. His work is always cool. The same is true of his sometimes collaborator, longtime pal, Terry Adams . Adams, a founding member of NRBQ as well as a legendary Sun Ra collector, has a new CD called Holy Tweet (Clang!).

holy_tweet

Primarily recorded as a trio date with Tom Ardolino and Scott Ligon, the vibe is like a stripped down version of the Q Mothership—rolling bones of uniquely shaped, instantly recognizable goodtime roots pop whatsis that transcend boundaries of “mereness” by a mysterious propulsive force. The stuff is always just off-base enough to keep our interest thoroughly poked (especially as the first zephyrs of spring beckon us to the hill towns beyond). Sometimes it’s enough to just enjoy.

Mats Gustafsson


5. Mats Gustafsson has ten of the busiest fingers in all of Sweden. And yes, his primary focus is record collecting. But he does a few other things and he does them well. Three recent albums attest to this (lord knows how many record he has released since we last met) and they also map a width of style-ass as impressive as it is bounteous. First is The Vilnius Implosion (No Business), which is a solo work for baritone saxophone, slide saxophone and alto fluteophone. What the latter of these two instruments look like is best left unmentioned, but the sounds are swimming! The music (recorded in concert in Lithuania) is explosively sculptural—three-dimensional blocks of sound bursting through sheets of reality as though it was all a crepe paper curtain. That’s the first side, the flip has longer, grouchier masses of tongue flex, approaching jazzic concepts at times. Lovely! Then we have Mats G Plays Duke E (QBICO), a one-sided LP with Mats playing nearly-straight versions of several Ellington tunes on tenor, enlivened by primitive vocls and raw, live electronics. Parts are sweet enough to play for yr grandma, others will just make her ass bleed. The final piece is a split LP with Dutch pianist Cor Fulher on Narrominded. Fulher uses some extended techniques to take his piano sounds into vast regions of new, and Gustafsson is equally adept at squeezing sounds from his sax that are beyond the ken of most of his peers. Using rolling sequences of tongue-clacks, overblowing, breath-splatter, he ends up doing things, making sounds, that seem impossible. But Mats is more than up to the task. Amazing shit.

6. Hisham Mayet is one of the geniuses behind the Sublime Frequencies project, which is attempting to document many strands of ecstatic global culture before they are bulldozed into oblivion by Western hegemony. His efforts have been prolific and inspired, and his latest DVD, Palace of the Winds, is no exception. It combines snippets of performance footage with long shots of Saharan landscape in motion, and various other shots of the sun-smacked towns and people of the region.

Less tripped out than some of his other films, this one is carried along by the amazing guitar music of Group Doueh, Group Marwani and others. As beautiful as any foot.

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Iraqi Maqam

Iraqi Jawza player Salih Shemayyil at the First Cairo Congress of Arab Music (1932)

When London-based Honest Jon’s Records compilation Give Me Love: Songs of the Brokenhearted – Baghdad, 1925-29 appeared last year, it was a ear-opening and mind-expanding glimpse into a world few of us in the U.S. had even imagined – the glorious music of Iraq as it was recorded generations ago by musicians long since gone. For many, it and the Choubi Choubi comp on Sublime Frequencies may have provided a first look at Iraqi musical culture, since so little else (Munir Bashir and Rahim AlHaj excluded) has ever been available in the West.

But just in the past few week and seemingly out of the clear, blue sky comes the staggering Iraqi Maqam blog and its accompanying YouTube channel which focus exclusively on the uniquely Iraqi take on maqam, the umbrella of elevated Arab classical musics. Drawing mainly from exceedingly scarce recordings of the 1920s-30s, already Iraqi Maqam has provided a dizzying wealth of musicological, biographical and anecdotal information in both Arabic and English to hours and hours worth of virtuosic and deeply moving recordings (including truly precious translations of the poems sung), profusely illustrated with period photographs. That such a monumental, thoroughly-researched and thoughtfully-presented body of work even exists, not to mention that it is appearantly a free gift to mankind, is fortifying and exciting stuff in a hard, old world.

Ian Nagoski on American labels and blogs who are finding and sharing good music from all over the world (Arthur, 2008)

PEARL DIVING
Notes on a Few Americans Finding Musical Jewels in International Waters

by Ian Nagoski

from Arthur Magazine No. 32 (Dec 2008)

Record players are altars. The listener first goes through a repertoire of ritual gestures, removing the black spiral-inscribed disc from the sleeve, holding it by the edge and label and placing its center through the spindle before lifting the tone arm and placing it at the edge of the spinning disc. The air in the room begins to move, and the memory held by the disc of a performance by some living, breathing person is reiterated, separated from its image and corporeality in an angelically invisible space. Some part of the listener enters into that space and goes into communion with the unseen force of the sound.

It is magical and mysterious stuff, this impulse for sound-play that is universal among human beings through all times and places on earth.

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ARTHUR BEST OF 2007 LISTS No. 1: Alan Bishop of SUBLIME FREQUENCIES

Alan Bishop – Best of 2007:

1. The Ascension of the great Charles Gocher Jr. to the outer zones (February 19, 2007)

2. ‘Holy Mountain’ Soundtrack Debut Release–Alejandro Jodorowsky Box set (ABKCO)

3. Hayvanlar Alemi (Turkey) ‘Super’ (two-song self-released download single)

4. Porest ‘Live at Worm in Rotterdam’ (November 2007)

5. Los Siquicos Litoralenos (You Tube videos)

6. Queen Shmooquan ‘Live at Rendezvous Lounge Seattle’ (October 2007)

7. ‘Waking Up Scheherazade: Arabian Garage Psych Nuggets’ LP (Ali Baba)

8. Climax Golden Twins ‘5 Cents A Piece’ LP (Abduction)

9. Sir Richard Bishop ‘While My Guitar Violently Bleeds’ LP (Locust)

10. ‘Roots of Chicha’ CD (Barbe’s Records)

11. Vintage Pulchritude website

12. Master Musicians of Bukkake ‘Live in Portland at the Someday Lounge’ (July 2007)

13. Ennio Morricone ‘Agent 505 Todesfalle Beirut/IL Successo’ CD (GDM)

14. Michael Flower/Chris Corsano ‘The Radiant Mirror’ LP (Textile Records)

15. Factums LP (Silt Breeze)

ALAN BISHOP is a founding member of the late Sun City Girls and a partner in the sensationally great world-trotting Sublime Frequencies label, which was profiled at length by Brandon Stosuy in the still-available Arthur No. 18 (Sept 2005).