Charlemagne Palestine’s Favorite Films

Source: The Quietus.

Not many people know that before Charlemagne Palestine established himself as a composer and performer of intense, marathon pieces for piano he considered himself primarily a video artist, (before video was even a thing): developing a style of first person shooting which he called “subjective camera”. In the 80s and 90s, while on semi-hiatus from performing, visual art and particularly film was his primary output. So, it was perhaps unsurprising that when we asked Palestine for a list of his favourite albums and he instead sent back a list of his favourite films.

That said, Palestine is also something of a contrarian. Famously when asked if he fit in with the inventors of minimalists like Riley, Glass and Reich, his contemporaries on the New York scene, he replied “if anything, I invented maximalism”. Yet this contrarian attitude is not borne out of pure mischief, something he certainly exudes, but because he doesn’t much like labels and rules. Incidentally, he also doesn’t much like lists.

Arthur Blythe Profile: Part 3

Source: burning ambulance.

Beginning in the late 1970s, alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe recorded a string of highly creative, pathbreaking albums, the majority of which have been reissued in recent years. We’re digging into them this week. Part 1 of this series discussed his live albums The Grip and Metamorphosis, his first studio album Bush Baby, and his Columbia Records debut, Lenox Avenue Breakdown. Part 2 looked at his next four Columbia albums: In the Tradition, Illusions, Blythe Spirit, and Elaborations. Today, the series concludes with an examination of the end of Blythe’s Columbia tenure, which includes the albums Light Blue: Arthur Blythe Plays Thelonious Monk, Put Sunshine In It, Da-Da, and Basic Blythe.

Kraftwerk: Celebrating 50 Years of Innovation 

Source: Festicket Magazine.

The Guardian called them “the world’s most influential band”. NME said that The Beatles and Kraftwerk are “the two most important bands in music history”. BBC called them “one of the most influential bands ever”. I could go on.

Since their formation very nearly half a century ago – as the 1960s made way for the 1970s – the number of artists, composers, bands, and performers that have seen their art shaped by the enigmatic German four-piece is immeasurable.

While lineups have changed and media limelight has been shunned, the last 50 years has seen Kraftwerk continue to evolve, innovate and excite. Here are just a handful of the milestones and moments from the lifespan of these iconic robots.

Arthur Blythe Profile: Part 2

Source: burning ambulance.

Beginning in the late 1970s, alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe recorded a string of highly creative, pathbreaking albums, the majority of which have been reissued in recent years. We’re digging into them this week. Part 1 of this series discussed his live albums The Grip and Metamorphosis, his first studio album Bush Baby, and his Columbia Records debut, Lenox Avenue Breakdown. In this installment, we’ll look at his next four Columbia albums: In the Tradition, Illusions, Blythe Spirit, and Elaborations.

Arthur Blythe Profiled

Source: burning ambulance.

Blythe was born in Los Angeles in July 1940, and grew up in San Diego. He made his recorded debut on Horace Tapscott‘s 1969 album The Giant is Awakened, and worked extensively with Tapscott’s Underground Musicians and Artists Association (UGMAA) before moving to New York in the mid-’70s. He gigged around, working with Lester Bowie, Julius Hemphill, Woody Shaw and others before recording a concert that was split into two albums for the India Navigation label.

The first volume, The Grip, featured six tracks ranging from the three-minute solo sax piece “My Son Ra” to the nearly 13-minute “As of Yet.” Blythe’s band on this date was truly unique, including Ahmed Abdullah on trumpet, Bob Stewart on tuba, Abdul Wadud on cello, Steve Reid on drums and Muhammad Abdullah on percussion. The music had a rich, full sound which the dynamic range of the ensemble, particularly the horns, emphasized in a thrilling manner.

Laurie Spiegel Interviewed

Source: Crack Magazine.

Spiegel is an innovator of electronic music. She worked with early sythesisers at Bell Laboratories, created a popular music programming software called Music Mouse (which became a commercial product for Macintosh, Amiga and Atari personal computers), and had her haunting interpretation of Kepler’s Harmony of the Worlds sent into space, as part of the Voyager 1 and 2’s Golden Record project in 1977. But the artist has, until recently, operated in relative obscurity. It was around 2012, when Spiegel’s 1972 song Sediment was included on the Hunger Games soundtrack, that she re-emerged in the public eye.

Oren Ambarchi’s Favorite Jazz Recordings

Source: The Quietus.

Australian musician Oren Ambarchi is a self-described obsessive. More than once, he described putting together his Baker’s Dozen as “like pulling teeth”. The first version was a cryptic list of over 25 records assembled into 13 positions, which had a hidden logic to the connections. A second version required narrowing the focus to a small but extremely influential set of records pertaining mostly to his teenage years. He still struggled not to include more than one album per listing – formative influences like Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman and the entire ECM catalogue wouldn’t be pulled apart. What all this points to is that Ambarchi has always been into bodies of work – the way he talks about music is about understanding catalogues and artist’s work, rather than isolating and identifying an individual album as the be all and end all of someone’s output.