Improvijazzation Nation, issue # 47
Issue # 47 REVIEWS:
Chichi Peralta – DE VUELTA AL BARRIO: This CD has some latino adventures for your earz. You must (without doubt) enjoy this kind of music, & it wouldn’t hurt to know the language. Rhythmically & stylistically S-T-R-O-N-G, blending the musics of Cuba with Brazilian rhythms that are upbeat & persuasive. There is actually a little more vocal work in the mix than I enjoy for this kind of music – but that’s probably because I DON’T speak the langauge. It’s clear that understanding the words would make this have an even stronger emotional impact that it does (& it DOES have impact). There is some beautiful guitar work & well-crafted bass underpinnings… all ’round I rate this a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for lovers of latin music(s). Contact at Musik International, 154 Botasso Rd., Boulder, CO 80302 (e-mail is email@example.com ) Rotcod Zzaj
Riley Lee – POSTCARDS FROM BUNDANON: Quiet, introspective and full of wonder… that’s the immediate thought as I listen (first exposure) to Riley’s shakuhachi playing on this beautiful CD. Those looking for “heavy” instrumentation and backing tracks will have to move on to the next CD, as this features solo compositions, with some oriental stringed instruments. That should not be a drawback for anyone interested in exploring new mental landscapes, however. Mr. Lee is from Australia, but has done much to attract listeners the world over to the shakuhachi. This is a highly impressive listening experience that will draw you in quickly and you’ll find new and wonderful sonic adventures here. Highly charged emotional experiences, with a hint of the sadness often found in the human condition. For the listener who is attracted to inspiration, this gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at Musik International, 154 Botasso Rd., Boulder, CO 80302 (e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org ) Rotcod Zzaj
Mark Kissinger/Bret Hart – DUETS (Volume 1): This is the closest I’ve heard Bret come to the music he was playing when I first met him (back in ’88 or so, over in Korea). The teaming with Kissinger (who, as many of you know, I’ve collaborated with on quite a few occasions) is pure genius. Mark has been pretty active this last year, having done a couple with me, some (I believe) with Ernesto Diaz-Infante & now hooks up in phantasmagoric guitar madness (if the foo shits, yer’ know…) with Hart. Fresh directions through & through… nice “bell” sounding areas, totally non-linear & MEANT to enchant the listener… DO note that I say LISTENER. If you think you can “slide by”, trying to put this on as background at yer’ next prom party – put the thought DOWN… you will go to JAIL for infecting young minds! I’ve been really impressed with Mark’s prepared guitar compositions ever since I heard them (in all grand glory) last year. It’s a totally different side to his playing & (from an improv standpoint) brings out the truth of his artistic stylings. Bret (as any guee-tar freekz will know) is a MASTER in the improvised music arena… he displays it clearly & forcefully in many different ways, using hairbushes, Taiwanese kweng & tons of other paraphernalia to enhance yer’ trance. If you love improvised music, you MUST add this to your collection…. it gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED & the PICK of this issue for “best guitar improv” I’ve heard yet this year. Contact at InstrumenTales Records, 609 Morehead St., Eden, NC 27288, via email to email@example.com or through the distributor, Open Circuit, POB 11453 1001 GL Amsterdam, The Netherlands… their email is firstname.lastname@example.org Rotcod Zzaj
Aaron Bennett – LIVE AT LUGGAGE: I can almost visualize my friend Ernesto Diaz-Infante sitting there in the “Luggage Gallery” (apparently a “H-O-T spot” for improvised musics over the last few months… Ernesto plays there quite often, too), absorbed in this penetrating and inspired performance of improvised saxophone. I know how enchanting it can be, having watched master improvisors like Wally Shoup & Jeffrey Morgan (along with scores of other players over the years) for hours on end. Aaron is clearly in love with the solo mode, & has a depth in his playing (even at the most frenetic moments) that few but the masters CAN achieve or (even) hope for. It’s one of the highest quality recordings I’ve ever heard for a live/gallery performance (with only a few “street noises” peeking through). Bennett’s soprano is penetrating but not “screeching”, with high spirit! The CD features an interesting vocal segment (Katt Sammon), as well as the audience playing toy instruments. A very well-rounded album, this gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all who enjoy improvised reeds. Contact at ABDSound Records, 476 59th Street, Oakland, CA 94609, or via email to email@example.com Rotcod Zzaj
Bret Hart/Ernesto Diaz-Infante – DUETS (Volume 1): There really IS a “label” for it… “guim-prov”… minimalist prepared & improvised guitar with the ability to haunt you. It’s (in my mind) much like the “hook” that Carole King & all the writers in the early ’60’s were lookin’ for when they were writing songs… as you listen to DUETS, you may think that it’s sort of inconsequential… that it will melt in the creases in your cranium & dissolve into nothingness. What you don’t realize (& this is NOT hype) is that it will come BACK (when you least expect it to) & creep UP on you… while you’re riding the bus to work or flying out to L.A. in yer’ Lear jet! I don’t care if the major reviewers hear this or not… I’m predicting that the enchantment that intricate and focused music like Bret & Ernesto are playing will BE (if it isn’t already) the top-40 of tomorrow. PLUS which, it’s definitely a home-production… Bret learned that kind of packaging way BACK when & he’s got it down to a SCIENCE by now. There needs to be a bit more attention to levels/fidelity, but I’ve no doubt that will happen on the “DUETS 2”, eh.. first mixes (especially with the prepared guitar stuff) are always a bit difficult, I think. I had to turn the speakers up LOUD to hear all the intricate rhythms going on. Apart from that, however, this is one HIGHLY RECOMMENDED listen that will excite even the most JADED of listeners. Contact at InstrumenTales Records, 609 Morehead St., Eden, NC 27288, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or through the distributor, Open Circuit, POB 11453 1001 GL Amsterdam, The Netherlands… their email is email@example.com Rotcod Zzaj
Sound – DRUNK ON CONFUSION: The aliens escaped from (wherever) their planet (was) & have landed in your speakers (or headphones, if you dare). This is another FANTASTIC release from Tekito. I sometimes think (when listening to the music on this CD) that they have had a few (?too many?) seances with Zappa (in his afterlife) & are our mediums for what he’s seeing/hearing on the other side. Some conventional guitar elements are woven through & throughout, but aside from that, this is music that will THRILL the sonic adventurer, th’ sorta’ stuph (I imagine) the SILVER SURFER listens to at the outer edges of the universes he travels in & out of. This IS best listened to with headphones, but only the brave need try it! There is NO genre it can be attached to, or defined by & any reviewer who tried would be ORF hiz’/her RAWK-er. They keep the energy FLYING, though, so yer’ not bored to deaf with DRONE nonsense. I’m amazed, & you will be too. For those who DEMAND different, this gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as well as the “PICK” of this issue for “best totally new sound” (thus farly) in 2001! This IS the stuph that Hal was listening to when he took over thee ship! Contact at Tekito Communications, PMB # 432, 828 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70116, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or on the site at http://www.crosswinds.net/~tekito/main.html Rotcod Zzaj
Karen Ashbrook & Paul Oorts – CELTIC CAFE: As the promo pack notes – “Just in time for St. Patrick’s & March 2001 Celtic Promotions”. If you love music full of raw energy & cultural diversity (Irish, French & Flemish), you won’t be able to eject this CD. Bright and full of a range of emotions not often stirred by the “pop” music you’ll hear these days, “Celtic Cafe” will expand your mental boundaries. The pipes (Mark Hillman) & woodwinds (Bobby Read) add an element of enchantment that will stay in your mind for days (even years, I’d imagine). Rappers may not find it terribly enjoyable, but people who do love life & the living will cherish this unique album for many listens to come. Joy is clearly expressed in Bonnie Rideout’s scottish fiddle playing. It’s the kind of music that you can get up & dance to without having to “put on airs”. I fell in love with it right away… it’s a “keeper”! I rate it MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for ears thirsting for true musical adventure. Contact at Musik International, 154 Botasso Rd., Boulder, CO 80302 (e-mail is email@example.com ) Rotcod Zzaj
The Joel Futterman/Ike Levin Trio, with Randall Hunt – INTERVIEW: While it’s not scratchy or raw, or terribly new in format, this CD provides some VERY solid moments for those who love improvised music that can inspire the listener to new creative heights. Joel’s keyboards are strong, but don’t (in any way) overshadow the other players. A PERFECT mesh of exploratory (sonic) oratory with it’s highlight being the spontaneity that can only come from players whose ears (& hearts, I rather imagine) are open to each other. Levin’s tenor doesn’t ramble, but it can (at times) SCORCH your ears! Randall’s contrabass provides a foundation, in a sense, for the other players, only rising to the fore when truly necessary. The music on this production is based on crystal clarity & a vision of the spontaneous that few players achieve… it gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating! Contact at Drimala Records, POB 69044, Hampton, VA 23669-9344, online at www.drimala.com or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org Rotcod Zzaj
John Polito – CROSSING THE LINE: A strange combo… a piano player (& studio engineer) who finds inspiration in musics as mundane as (the evil) “smooth jazz” (jk, volkz) & the wacked-out compstylez of dearly departed Unka Frank (Zappa, that is). What attracted me to him (in the liner notes) is his enjoyment of Zappa “because his creative process was constantly experimental and boundless”… talk about understatement! Polito displays a great amount of creativity in many of his selections… I particularly enjoyed track 7, “In Motion”, probably because it’s founded in the polyrhythmic wonderment that stirs the heart & soul! As you might deduce from the title, the intent is to display a broad range of styles… & cut 4, “Aurora Alegre” provides some wonderful guitar moments (Andy Abad) in a spirited Latin tradition. In a certain sense, there’s almost too much variety, but Polito’s strong skills in arrangement/composition and boundless ENERGY pull the album out of the doldrums of dime-store drudgery. All in all, for those who enjoy music with broad appeal, this rates a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (in my ears). Contact through Creative Service Company, 4360 Emerald Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80918… also via e-mail to email@example.com Rotcod Zzaj
Eckhart Seeber – ECKLECTICA: Heavy-electronic world music orientations on this unpredictable CD release from Seeber, whose credits are about 14 miles long in the accompanying bio sheets. He has a strong control of the rhythmic elements (as one would expect for a worldbeat artist, I’d think). I particularly enjoy the South American sections. His attempts at Shakuhachi weren’t quite as enjoyable… but the other flutes were fantastick! An even dozen tracks with strong emphasis on percussives… lots of pieces that sound like a movie’s background music – which really makes sense, because Eckhart has done a GREAT deal of work with soundtracks! The reason I say he’s unpredictable is because his compositions don’t stay in any one “genre”… &, to my ears, that’s a strong recommendation. In fact, he gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us, especially for listeners who want to focus on the driving beats & high energy he generates with his musical visions. Contact at Musik International, 154 Botasso Rd., Boulder, CO 80302 (e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org ) Rotcod Zzaj
Ed Littman (featuring Mark Egan & Danny Gottlieb) – MY WINDOW: Down & slinky git-ar bloozy/boozy kind o’ stuph on this great CD in from “YeahMan Records”. This ain’t no formula krap, Ed’s GOT th’ feel fer’ real! He’ll BLOW yer’ sockzoff from th’ opening bar to th’ last twisted & bent note! ’nuff form to keep th’ attention of listeners who can’t keep up with the “out” stretches, but with enuff zest & high-energy originality to keep it (almost) in the league of high experimental! This IS kewl music & I enjoyed it thoroughly, especially from the standpoint of the communication Littman keeps going with the listener. It’s a constant dialogue, no double-speak, just “from-the-gut” jazzy blues that will amaze & please your ears. Over 72 minutes of highly entertaining music for listeners who enjoy challenge & comfortable listening (at the same time). Gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (with a note to collectors everywhere… this one is BOUND to become an ITEM)!!! Contact at 250 W. 10th St., # GF1, New York, NY 10014, via email to email@example.com or on the site at www.edlittman.com Rotcod Zzaj
Nikkos – ANGELS DREAMING: Nikkos’ flute is the stuff that angels’ dreams are made of. Light & airy, clearly enunciated & skillfully played. Many who are in to more adventurous music(s) will shy away from this music, but if you enjoy the quiet moments that musical introspection can bring, this will BE your ticket to angelic bliss. In addition to beautiful solo works, there are some very nice interactions with piano, acoustic bass & percussion as well… I particularly enjoyed cut 9, “West east”… the piano was highly expressive, with nice counterpoint to Nikkos flute lead. If you’re looking (only) for high-energy “out there” kinda’ music, this won’t be your cup of tea, but listeners with an ear for sonic beauty will agree with me when I declare this HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Contact at Musik International, 154 Botasso Rd., Boulder, CO 80302 (e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org ) Rotcod Zzaj
Greg Ribot & Cumbia Del Norte – THE INTERNATIONAL CONSPIRACY: This CD contains music in the Latin tradition of pure JOY! The DIFFERENCE is that Ribot’s compositions/arrangements are his & HIS alone… though the more recognizable elements of South American music are there (especially the rhythms), his colorings & expressions will lift you HIGHER than you’ve ever been before. The music falls in that “timeless” category – it’s a KEEPER, folks! Greg’s flute plays a prominent part in the energy, but doesn’t “steal the show”… well integrated (& recorded) through & through! I didn’t feel any “dark” elements of conspiracy here… only a conspiracy to get you up offa’ yer’ tail & out there onna’ FLOOR! This is clearly a plot without poison… a plot to make SURE you have PHUN! The percussives (as you might expect) are also a high point on the album, extremely upbeat & joyous. This one gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, especially for those who want to hear something (ever so slightly) NEW in their latin-based music! Contact at Musik International, 154 Botasso Rd., Boulder, CO 80302 (e-mail is email@example.com ) Rotcod Zzaj
East October – ONE: “East” is a member of the “Automatic Music” team (who have been reviewed in this publication quite a bit over the last couple of years). This is his first “solo” release… tho’ it’s not truly solo, as he’s joined by “Gentlemaniac” (another long-time contributor to our ‘zine) on several of the pieces. This is NOT music for the faint of heart… tho’ it starts off with a beautiful lil’ piece called “wheatfield” (which is cute & cuddly), it rapidly moves in to the experimental zone… different instruments, different sounds & different IDEAS than you’ve ever heard. Almost like the (mental) leap/transition from Neanderthal to Cro-Magnon (if you can relate to that). One of my favorite pieces (as he might have expected) is “NEWS”, which uses snatches o’ this & that to innundate you with more than you can (possibly) absorb (much like “the” news, yah?). You certainly can’t classify this as a “rawk” album.. it’s definitely not “new age”… in fact, I believe you’ll find it IMPOSSIBLE to classify… music for FUN, & that’s ’nuff said! Gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from this reviewer! Contact at Sheperd, 504 Liberty Pl., Archdale, NC 27263, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org Rotcod Zzaj
Automatic Music – CARNIVAL OF LIGHT: This collective ensemble effort makes music that is (like totally, man) UNpredictable (to say the least). They seem (with each album) to be getting better & better at going in directions that even THEY didn’t anticipate. Now, that COULD be a real D-R-A-G, if they were musicians who were aimless… letting the group format become an excuse for going NOwhere…. but it isn’t that way at all. I have a sneaking suspicion (from having played a lot with him before) that Bret Hart’s membership in the group has a lot to do with why the directions they take always impress me… but he’s not (like) the “group leader”. It’s clearly a contribution from each member of the collective that makes the total experience come across. What (you ask) is the MUSIC like? Like what the muffler on your car would sound like if you could (somehow) suspend yourself under the car as it moved through town… like what you’d hear if you could BE Jonah, ridin’ inside that whale’s stomach… in OTHER WORDS, it’s like nothing you’ve EVER heard! & that’s a COMPLIMENT, I can tell you… it is DIFFERENT music that will give the adventurous listener hours of pleasure. Is it something YOU will enjoy? Doubtful… only the (mentally) STRONG will “get it”. In that light, it gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating. (…but boyz’ – yer’ GOTta’ get that gourd-am H-U-M outta’ that guitar when yer’ recording it). Contact at Sheperd, 504 Liberty Pl., Archdale, NC 27263, or via email to email@example.com Rotcod Zzaj
Llewellyn/Lillian Verner-Bonds – COLOUR HEALING: This album is part of a “Mind, Body, Soul” collection, used as therapeutic music. If you spied it in a stack on the rack(s) at your local store, you might find yourself overlooking it… in which case, you’d be denying yourself some wonderful listening experiences! We have listened to and reviewed much of Mr. Llewellyn’s music over the last couple of years… & this is one of the best we’ve heard yet. Titles are what you might expect them to be… all related to color, so they don’t (necessarily) give you much hint of what to expect. “Brilliance” may be obvious, but how do you anticipate what “Red” will be, unless (like myself) you’ve been exposed (through therapy) to color as a magnificent means to relate to the states your body/mind may be in at a particular time. This is glorious music, with the power of healing evident from the first bar! You don’t even have to be in a meditative state (though it may help) to appreciate the vibrant energy of the spectrum(s) being painted (sonically) for your ears. A great CD, it gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all types of listeners! Contact at Musik International, 154 Botasso Rd., Boulder, CO 80302 (e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org ) Rotcod Zzaj
Julie Kelly – INTO THE LIGHT: Those who dig high voltage vocal jazz will find that “the thrill is back” when they listen to Julie’s totally spontaneous renditions on this fine CD! Far too many players backing her up to note each one – BUT, Bill Cunliffe’s keyboards & arrangements are the works of a wizard! Kelly’s vocals are “on” all the time, spontaneous to thee MAX, volkz! So put yer’ bachelor pad ragz on, curl up with a pipe ‘na conc & groove on th’ lilting romantic tales she crafts for you! You can almost FEEL the energy she’s radiating as she sings… magikal qualities that few artists are able to project, especially on a recording. She’s originally an Oakland native & had plenty of opportunity (in that area) to soak up the richness of jazz & blues around here there. Whether it’s a straight-ahead jazz standard, or the upbeat latino “Flor de Lis” (track 4), she’s GOT style down to a “t”! She gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from my ears, & you’ll agree (wholeheartedly) when you hear “INTO THE LIGHT”. Contact through Braithwaite & Katz Communications, 2400 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140, email to them at email@example.com or to CMG, POB 11178, Glendale, CA 91226. Rotcod Zzaj
Mental Anguish & noMuZic – FLAMINGO ROAD: Those who follow underground artists will recognize the “Mental Anguish” (Chris Phinney) moniker right away… that “noMuzic” has been on the scene for a L-O-N-G time as well. All NEW music on this synth-based CD. Very interesting, lots of rhythmic changes for you to explore. It’s an intricate sound, tons of “little” things going on in the background(s), always good for a re-listen… you’ll ALWAYS find something you hadn’t realized was there before. Chris has been a mainstay in the D.I.Y. scene for many years… this album is still hard-core D.I.Y., but it comes a lot closer (I’d say) towards “marketable/accessible”, if you will. Now, that’s NOT a “slam”… I’m just saying that the recording quality is exceptionally high, artwork is VERY nice & all around, it’s something you’d GIVE an adventurous musical friend as a gift. I doubt you’d give it to yer’ MOM, but then what IS there you listen to that you’d give to momma’? I was particularly impressed with the last cut, “crying & praying”, for it’s robotic rhythms & haunting overlays. GET this… if you enjoy dangerous listening/living, you’ll agree en toto with me… this is MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at Harsh Reality Music, POB 38124-1667, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org Rotcod Zzaj
Duf Davis & The Book Club – MURDERTAINMENT: Our friends at Orange Entropy Records have assembled another interesting group of D.I.Y. recordings for yer’ aural pleasure(s). Despite the title of this CD, it’s not (in the least) dark! Some very energetic guitar chord movements with strings very noticeable (arranged by Tim). I’m assuming that the vox (on several of the trax) were done by Duf Davis, but unfortunately, the liners on the CD jacket didn’t make that totally clear. The players (far too many to list here) are definitely IN to what they’re doing, & are able to communicate that clearly… OTOH, there were a few cuts where the vocals made it come across without all the strength they could have had. One of my favorite tracks is “When Hollywood Came and Burned It All Down”, nice convoluted rhythm with a truly jazzy feel. High production values on the recording, all in all a pleasant listen. Gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us! Contact at Orange Entropy Records, POB 1314, Burbank, CA 91507, or on their site at www.orangeentropy.com Rotcod Zzaj
Medwyn Goodall – ESSENCE OF MAGIC: There are few artists (these days) who can evoke the magic through their music as artfully as Mr. Goodall. We have reviewed several of his CD’s in the last 2 or 3 years, & each experience gets better. You will visualize wide-open vistas, spells cast & woven through his sensitive compositional skills. The most notable part of the sonic paintings he renders for you is the sense of having BEEN there… musical memories that are buried deep in the human psyche (from the cave days, actually) are re-etched on your ears. It matters not a whit how jaded your tastes are – you will enJOY this music! I think of him as a sort of sonic sorcerer, orchestral vistas of the deepest sensitivity rendered for your enjoyment and cultural enhancement… this gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at Musik International, 154 Botasso Rd., Boulder, CO 80302 (e-mail is email@example.com ) Rotcod Zzaj
We WANT your announcements/links about great places for D.I.Y.’er’s… SEND us your links… e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org Another thing that’s REALLY important for (all of ) you to remember is – WE review ALL your works! Snail for submissions is: Zzaj Productions, c/o Dick Metcalf, 642 Dorchester Road., # RR, Rochester Hills, MI 48307 So TELL every artist you know – SEND that Zzaj yo’ STUPH!!!!!!!
Just dropping you a line to let you know that my new web site, Sound and
Chaos, is up and running at:
Drop by and give it a look and a listen. It’s an excerise in minimalism,
but there are links to sound and info on all the racket that I make. You
can order CDs from the site, too. In the future, I’ll be updating with
more detailed info on the projects and the music. But for now, it’s just
the bare necessities.
My latest CD Ye Shall Be Cut Into Many Pieces (a musical journal of a
year’s worth of 10 second daily recordings) will be released on March 16,
and I should have online ordering for it up (courtesy of ZeroTec) soon
Thanks. I’m hope you enjoy the site. Please feel free to email me with any
comments or feedback.
Visit Sound and Chaos
Hi. First and foremost, thanks for continuing to support my debut release
“Chemistry” through airplay and NAV reporting. The CD has enjoyed favoroble
rankings on the NAV Top 100 Chart since its release 5 months ago. Since this
was achieved without the help of a promoter, I feel it is quite an
accomplishment. Afterall, its the music that matters.
On another note, I was interviewed on live radio by Margerie Herman of
WDVR-FM on February 21st. WDVR has agreed to allow me to distribute copies
of the interview to other radio professionals for non-broadcast purposes.
The interview discussion focuses on various topics and issues including: how
I got involved in music, my songwriting methodology and process, the
internet and its effects on music and musicians, my stance on the MP3
issue/controversy, and other interesting topics and issues. In addition, the
first cuts of 2 new songs from my next CD entitled “Progressive Elements”
are included during the interview. You may also listen to cuts from
“Progressive Elements” on the www.kookiejar.com website. A follow up
“Chemistry” CD is slated for release later this year.
If you are a music industry professional and interested in receiving a free
promotional copy of the 60 minute interview on CD, please send me your
current mailing address. We’ll mail you a copy free of charge.
Additionally, you may listen to the interview over the internet by linking
to the following websites.
Thanks again for your support. Each of you make it possible for independent
artists to be heard.
Chemistry ranked #13 on Januarry 2001 NAV Top 100 Airwaves Chart
Listen to song samples online at http://www.kookiejar.com
Hitman Records invites all to see our new face to the world!
HitmanRecords.com is bursting with content! New Artists releases, audio
downloads, industry resources, video, free email, new Latin Division,
and lets not forget the Hitman Models!
Please give us a visit! http://www.hitmanrecords.com Its Much More Than
Hitman Records / Hitman Entertainment Group
Just an FYI here.
Some of you might like to know that I added a new track to my Mp3.com site,
http://www.mp3.com/mattborghi. The track, Landscape Test 1 was inspired by
Steve Roach’s Quiet Music and Robert Rich’s Sunyata, as well as some of
Carty’s work. Some of you that are familiar with my gritty Detroit ambiences
might be glad to know that this experiment is an attempt to clean up my
sound, and spend a little more time doing post-production. While I’m no
Roach or Rich, the music is coming along.
Also, for those of you familiar with the fantastic companion CD to Jim
Brenholts upcoming book, Tracks Across the Universe, Landscape Test 1 is
along the same lines as Lucentia my contribution to that collection.
I hope this email finds you well.
m a t t b o r g h i
brewster-douglass is coming!!!
Here are a couple of places which are by no means complete, but good places to
I just stumbled across site this today.
and Toshi Makihara runs a fantastic resource at:
These are mostly domestic venues, I think, not too much international.
*** NEWS & INFORMATION FROM oodiscs ***
GO BLUE, a new CD by composer/pianist ‘Blue’ Gene Tyrannyfeatures his
Driver’s Son and De-certified Highway as performed by the Digital Music
Ensemble conducted by Stephen Rush. A sound excerpt can be heard at:
Tyranny has composed for various electronic and acoustic instruments and
during the 60’s and 70’s, he toured with jazz and rock groups (Carla Bley
Band, Iggy Pop, Bill Dixon, The Prime Movers, etc.) He has produced,
recorded and performed on many albums of other composers’ music including
Laurie Anderson’s “Strange Angels”, John Cage’s “Cheap Imitation” and
Robert Ashley’s opera-for-television “Perfect Lives”.
Sound samples and information about this release and seventy additional new
music discs can be found at:
Please feel free to forward to other folks who may be interested in this
We apologize if the enclosed information is an intrusion. We will
immediately drop you from our occasional announcements if you e-mail:
My name is Fredrik and I make music under the name Frock. Some people gave me some feedback on my songs here a while ago – Thanks! and I’m glad you liked my stuff!
I would really like to hear what everyone else here think of my music as well – two of my songs (RealAudio and MP3) are available at http://www.peoplesound.com/artist/frock
I got reviewed in Melody Maker in February last year, and they described my song “The Refugee” as: “Exquisite Simon & Garfunkel ‘Sounds Of Silence’-style harmonies abound over crescendos worthy of David Crosby at his most blissfully intoxicated.”
I hope you will like my songs! Fell free to write a comment on my homepage – I’d really appreciate that!
Best regards always!
Chris Burnett (BMI)
(for Charlie Parker)
Bird, you flew through the window
of my eyes
and into my brain, blinding
me with light.
Your song pierced my ears
in my darkness. Now
I see nothing — and all
I can hear
is the beating of broken wings
and the hiss of shattered glass.
“Bird” copyright © 1997 by JeanPaul Jenack, originally appeared in print in
the poetry journal Malevolence (Willoughby, Ohio), #6, Autumn, 1997.
woke up to blazing silence
digital clock brandishing
against the driving afternoon rain
snatched from the crosshairs
of morning by another blackout
pity the drunk who hit the electric
pole couldn’t join me
for a bloody mary, but
what the hell, every cloud
has a silver lining, am i right?
— JeanPaul Jenack —
“88:88” copyright © 1997 by JeanPaul Jenack originally appeared in print in
the poetry journal blood & feathers, #2, October, 1997.
statement for the record
little is known at this time
facts are still coming in
seize the day
where in god’s name he
got the plutonium
is anyone’s guess, & why
& how he connected it
to the old record player
is still a mystery
what is known
right now is this: when fbi
agents traced the long
the house & into his maze-
they found him stone-
cold with a half-smile
upon his vinyl face –
blood dripping from
his headphones –
as if listening to
a minotaur’s song
of his own creation.
— JeanPaul Jenack —
“statement for the record” copyright © 2000 by JeanPaul Jenack, originally
appeared in print in the science fiction/horror magazine The Ultimate
Unknown (Streamwood, Illinois), Issue #20, Summer, 2000. [ISSN: 1083-4923)
Rochelle Hope Mehr
Most people fear
the unadorned page
because they see
a vacuum swooping
But I love the whiteness
the purity of potential
the unrestricted range
and gravitate down
from my aerie
Rochelle Hope Mehr
THE POINT OF BALANCE
I don’t know the point of balance —
the weight of ballast —
required to settle
I greet the tiger each day —
my frippery display
in frenetic disarray
and he swipes it away
with the sweep
of his tail.
Rochelle Hope Mehr
To create something freshly
toasted with the cinnamon
I do not strive for disclosure
but when the champagne is uncorked
I could just float away
choked with chic
constricted at the jaw
Joseph K.’s Grievance
(Por Benito Martinez, quien, en el Septiembre de 1999, fué echado, bruscamente, entre las páginas fantasticas de Lo Prueba, un novela por el escritor aleman Franz Kafka.)
I never broke the law. What are my rights?
I should not have asked them, just like a fool:
“I only wish to know why I was stopped….”
Por Dios! They came at me like a pit bull!
I should not have asked them just like a fool….
My heart beat fast the closer they got near.
Por Dios! They came at me, those damned pit bulls!
Badges and guns make Anglos gods out here.
Oh man! My heart beat fast when they got near.
Sucio! But not to a judge and jury.
Es Verdad! A badge and they’re gods out here.
You ever feel like someone’s out to get you?
Sucio! Just can’t tell a judge and jury:
“I work in radio, not in las drogas!”
You ever feel like someone’s out to get you?
What if I had been black for kin to bury,
And my life had been radio, not drogas?
It could have been that way. Think I don’t know?
Thank God I wasn’t black for kin to bury.
Just Christ to see, and no real “proof” to show.
It could have been much worse. Think we don’t know?
And all because I asked why I was stopped….
Did Christ see? Is there just my word to show?
I never broke the law. What are my rights?
variation on a theme by e. e. cummings
(After: since feelings are first)
since two blinding feelings are first
who must pay any attention
to the semantics of things
will never wholly kiss one:
wholly willed a wise one
while Spring drips red for him or her in the world
my tears approve,
and lashes are a truer fate
lady i swear by all worms. Don’t laugh
–the worst gesture of my brain is greater than
your eye’s narrow vision which says
we are neither lovers nor siblings for each other; then
cry, fleeing away from my world mourning arms
for life’s not a meaning
and death i think is no worthwhile glossary search
LE JEU SADIQUE, DES DIEUX QUI RÉGNENT LE MONDE
Here the parent aged, lonely, forgotten,
bedridden, dying, dead.
Here the slighted friend fatally fallen.
Here the gunshot victim, mugged, precious red ebbing,
knowing the blistering blow to wife and daughter,
feeling the death creep.
Here the wife meditating the marriage moribund,
dead in the car mangled in the intersection.
Here the faithful, ever ignored employee,
crushed as the plane crashed.
Here the unemployed desperado,
gun in hand at a bank.
Here the patronized, unknown writer, persistence a felled, worn tree,
persevering hope splinters and shattered crystal,
ending the final chapter with a barbiturates and alcohol period.
The child remembering, regretting, reflecting, picking up the phone.
The friend regretting, writing the letter of reconciliation.
The police with paramedics, surrounding the body with their efficient thoughts.
The husband at the door with a gift and a three words rehearsal.
The boss planning the promotion, the raise, the award.
Personnel calling the applicant, wondering why there’s no answer.
The last editor in his office, reading the novel, screaming, “Genius!”
THE WICKED LIVE HAPPILY BY VIRTUE OF EVIL
Needs more and Heaven less from thee.
(from Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “Religion”)
millions ask God for nothing
and get billions
i asked God for a desperate nickel
and he mercifully
gave me a penny
millions flip the bird at Him
and get blessed
Him flipped the bird at me
and i got cursed
God the compassionate says
don’t undergo judgment
I want you to repent…
…God never lifted a finger
to help this repentant
of course the fault
was is will always be mine
with a compassionate god like God
who the hell
needs a sadistic bastard like Satan?
Today when I caught you two together
you were feeding each other baklava
at that new outdoor café downtown
(the one you said was “too showy”)
and you were laughing.
I could barely watch
as he stared deep into you,
devouring triangle after
of your offering.
I could barely watch
as you licked the nutty sweetness from
his thumb and forefinger when just yesterday
you told me you hated the stuff,
And even from the noisy distance
of the awkward street corner,
I could swear I heard the delicate
crunch of baked phyllo dough as
your perfect smiling teeth bit down.
Like the sound of the fragile skeleton
of some tiny animal being crushed
by a hungry predator, a brittle twig
being stepped on by something
heavy and careless.
The Minotaur Explains
And how would you feel?
Naked and hungry in the cold maze,
hooves and horns cracking
from malnutrition, lonely
in this big place
(for I was just a little thing when first exiled).
How would you feel?
And before they even cut that last corner,
their eyes already screaming open
to take in the certain monster town gossip
had warned about.
The very first one I approached differently though,
a frail upstart of a lad, strangely similar
to myself, forced into my space.
It was with him I learned it’s impossible
to befriend one who already knows you
as enemy somehow.
And so many winters later, the horror is still vivid:
his club slapping away my outstretched hand,
his disgust cooling my smile.
It was with him it was decided:
live like a legend,
Even then I could see danger through the mist condensing
on their hopeful skins, the vapor escaping easily
from the trusting surface of young warm flesh.
Like recently-hatched nestlings, their needy chirping,
their pleading for sustenance and protection
before the light gave out.
These were my brothers back then.
Before they became numbers.
Before the untenable chill set in.
Years ago I would prepare baths for them.
Daily, they would gather toys, abandon their ragged
socks and underwear, readying themselves for a renewal.
I would look at them often: their bright faces glistening
like wet caramel, their hardy smiles somehow still intact,
surviving only through naiveté, the dirt to be washed
from their still soft bodies, choking their pores.
Even immersed, I swear
I could already see them drying out.
James R. Whitley
650 Huntington Avenue #3H
Boston, MA 02115
INTERVIEW with Ingvar Loco Nordin, Sonoloco Record Reviews
Zzaj: I was enchanted (& excited) by your interest(s) in music, of course, particularly since you “grokked” some of my more experimental & out there material. Do YOU have a “favorite” genre of music? If so, what is/was it, or does it (just) kind of evolve?
Loco: Genre? No, not really; I find favorite genres all the time… I’m always on the lookout! I mean to say that a piece within almost – no, delete the “almost” – any genre, which is done with artistic integrity, talent and a good measure of originality, will appeal to me. In fact, I’ve always (not in my teens, maybe…) been trying to get rid of the genre thinking (what the hell genre do you consider yourself part of anyway? Your own genrelessness is a striking fact that really made me happy!), and anyone who visits my humble quarters, and who isn’t a down home, secured aficionado of the audios, will feel bewildered, to say the least, on skimming the music collections! Everyone always finds something that will make them tick – even 90-year old ladies (my mother turns 90 this year!) – but everyone always wants to play the stuff they’re used to, and no one – no one! – will want to learn something new. That is a sad fact. I don’t even try anymore to introduce anybody around me to new – or old – exciting music; it’s a waste of time. All these fellows find it perfectly okay to go on and on about their fucking cars or broads or whatever – and especially sports, which I find tremendously stupid, almost fascistoid – but they could never accept one minute of my talking about, for example, Zzaj Productions or the Tibetan Book of the Dead or the meaning of life… I have two living friends (Sune Karlsson and Guido Zeccola in Stockholm) and one dead friend (Lars-Erik Kjellström) who share my curiosity – but that is it!
However, on genres, I recall vividly when I really – really – got my mind opened to electro acoustic music, through a couple of acousmatic concerts and broadcasts of longer works by Bernard Parmegiani and François Bayle. After that I spent years with electronic music and especially the poetic French kind of electro-acoustics, also involving people like Francis Dhomont, Jean Schwarz, Jacques Lejeune, Pierre Henry, Michel Chion, Denis Dufour etcetera.
The Swedish composer and radio producer Folke Rabe also gave me a push in a new (at that time) direction when he aired a series of programs on Swedish national radio called “From Hopefulness To What?”, in which he played incredible stuff by improvisers like Malcolm Goldstein and Terry Riley, and experimentalists like Pauline Oliveros, Ramon Sender, Robert Erickson and so on – all personal friends of Folke Rabe. I suppose this could be branded some kind of American avant-garde at that time.
Folke also took me in and opened up possibilities for me to produce my own music programs on national Swedish radio.
I have to mention Nonsequitur Foundation and their series “The Aerial” too, as well s a CD called “The Cassette Mythos Audio Alchemy”, all of which opened up my mind to a certain freedom of musical thought. I hade been recording the laundry machine in the basement and short-wave sounds off the radio long before that, and Sune Karlsson and Hans Åke Runell and I got together in our derelict building in Shitville to record all kinds of concrete stuff with mortars and spoons and stitching needles, mixed with birdsong from the front porch, but I hadn’t realized the artistic significance before. I hadn’t heard Stockhausen’s “Kurzwellen” at that stage, nor his “Spiral” or “Pole”. Someone had tried to sell me a Deutsche Grammophon copy of “Gesang der Jünglinge” in 1967, but I didn’t grasp it at all then. I was into Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony”, Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” and “Catulli Carmina” at that time, studying poets like Heinrich von Kleist and Gottfried Keller, and philosophers like Giacomo Leopardi and Johann Gottlieb Fichte.
Other genres that I have to pay homage to would be classical Arabian music, filtered through the amazing singer Om Kalsoum (1904 – 1975). A friend brought a vinyl home from a kibbutz stay in Palestine – it was “Hajartak” – and before long he sported 48 vinyls of the lady, and our derelict building – which we hade made nice and decent – turned into the Arab block of the rural town of Nyköping! We sat out in the arbor in the corner of our backyard, zipping something cold in a warm August, taking in “We Marret El Ayam” from the speakers strategically placed on the front porch.
Dylan is a genre to himself in my mind, and I still listen to him. Anyone searching my site will find that I even went to great lengths to track down his uncle Paul in Hibbing and his old girlfriend Echo Helstrom. Anyway, I grew up with Dylan, and through his early years I was introduced to the folk bag, the Civil Rights songs and so on, back to Guthrie, Leadbelly, Houston etcetera, and everything opened up in all directions, which was the way it was in the 1960s! Somewhat later, Dylan wrote stuff that fitted my studies of Rimbaud perfectly, and at that stage I went into the classical field, where I stayed for many years without coming out, venturing through all the classical composers, and I still go back to Bach, Beethoven, Schubert and so forth pretty often. It’s like breathing. Just today I had an hour of Ingrid Haebler playing Joseph Haydn’s “Andante con variazioni in F minor” and Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 18”. These last weeks I’ve been hearing a lot of Rosalyn Tureck, too; her Bach interpretations, like “das Wohltemperierte Klavier” and a couple of her versions of “The Goldberg Variations”. But, to hell with genre thinking, as long as it limits people. Look into Karlheinz Stockhausen and his compositions. There is not one of them, which resembles another one fully. He always makes something new. It takes studying of his works to realize this, but his music belongs in no genre, absolutely no genre, as a whole. This is a wonderful achievement, and if “no-genre” is a genre, then Stockhausen is the guru and master of this genre! He is probably the greatest and most important composer since Beethoven, and the most important universal artist (writer, philosopher, pathfinder) since Goethe, and I consider him a modern day synthesis of those two, of Beethoven and Goethe. Very few people realize this, because they tire too soon, have no energy to really get inside things, just skimming the surface wherever they go, however they live. I believe Stockhausen’s anti-genre is the one most important event in the evolution of music in the 20th century, no doubt! Read Björk’s interview with Stockhausen. It’s on the friggin net! And it took a Björk to make a sensible interview with the legend! This is one of the most original interviews with Stockhausen that I have seen, and Björk did it! What does that tell you! I can tell you that I wouldn’t miss any one of Björk’s CDs, for sure. They’re pure adventure, and she can’t help being iconized and elevated to superstardom! She is original, fresh, genial – anyway! And she’s Icelandic! Have you read the Icelandic tales? Do! I read “Njal’s saga” (“The Tale of Njal”) while hiking the northern mountains last summer. You know about Björk’s art after that, I tell you – about the original force of the Icelandic tales that propels her onward and inward!
Zzaj: Your pages (I’ve only really looked at the poetry & CD reviews sections) seem to reflect a great deal of interest in “language”, as well as music. I’m wondering if you believe (as I do) that the two are not “exclusive” of each other. That spoken-word/music can (& should) “feed” off of each other (from an artistic standpoint, anyway).
Loco: I saved (from the former question) the genres “Sound Poetry”, “Textsound Compositions”, “Cinéma pour l’oreille”, “Spoken Word” etcetera for this question!
Music and Spoken Word (however you want to define that) are interacting, of course. If we talk about genres again, Sound Poetry and Textsound Compositions are probably the disciplines that have affected me in the most violent way throughout late 20th century. It was a revelation to meet Jaap Blonk and see him perform (I’ve even bootlegged him once, at Fylkingen in Stockholm). Blonk’s version of Kurt Schwitters’ “Ursonate” is maybe the most brilliant peace of mouthing this side of creation! It should be mandatory in all schools, at all military bases, in all oval offices and at all cemeteries!
You may know that Sweden has been in the forefront of Spoken Word in its guises as Sound Poetry and Textsound, since the beginning of the 1960s. We’ve had sound poetry festivals, and recorded quite a bit of these disciplines over the years. In this context I must take the opportunity to recommend a book by Teddy Hultberg, Swedish enfant terrible of subcultures, called “Literally Speaking” (ISBN 91 88316 04 1), with texts by and about people like Henri Chopin, Carlfriedrich Claus, François Dufrene, Öyvind Fahlström, Bernard Heidsieck, Åke Hodell, Ilmar Laaban, Jerome Rothenburg, Gerhard Rühm, Arrigo Lora-Totino etcetera – all very important to the business!
I have to insert here that I appreciate immensely the way Zzaj productions in some of its releases incorporate speech in the sound web. That kicks the impression of the stuff sky-high!
Another guy that really impresses me these days is Erik Belgum over in Minnesota, who really works with language, sometimes in surprising ways even to me… If you listen to his “Bad Marriage Mantra” or “Retirement Fund”, you’re bound to raise those eyebrows pretty high! I’ve reviewed them on my site, where you can read them at “Composers & Artists” on the reviewing part of the site. Amazing stuff, and it makes you believe that tit’s still possible to do new things in art, that hasn’t been done to its full potential – if Erik isn’t doing that right now in his spoken word workshop!
When talking about language, never forget Lenny Bruce. There are a few very good CDs out.
Others using language in innovative ways are of course Alvin Lucier and Robert Ashley, Brion Gysin, Ernst Jandl, Raoul Hausmann and many others, dead or alive. I believe that much of the subterranean stuff that came out of the San Francisco Renaissance and the Beat Generation belongs here too. I mean, c’mon, listen to Ginsberg performing “HOWL”, for example, or hear the beautiful “Assassination Raga” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti! There are tapes out with Gary Snyder! Tough stuff!
Of modern sound poets, using words as well as just sounds out of the oral cavities, I hold Swedish vocal artist and painter, poet etcetera Hebriana Alainentalo in the highest esteem. This is stuff that you would normally only hear – in a fragmentized way – in an insane asylum (I’ve worked at one!), but in the hands (mouth) of Hebriana Alainentalo the genre (ooops! the word!) gets structure, progression, direction; insanity in a controlled, artistic manner! I have material on digital media for about 25 CDs of Hebriana, and can arrange to make copies for interested parties!
Better-known names in the area would be Sancho Namchylak, Michiko Hirayama, Meredith Monk and Diamanda Galás, but they cannot replace or outshine Hebriana Alainentalo!
While we’re talking about vocal music I cannot refrain from mentioning the xöömej or khoomei singing of Tuva and Mongolia, the overtone singing, made popular in the West by Stockhausen’s “Stimmung” and the recordings of Michael Vetter. I have a recording from a khoomei symposium in Kyzyl, Tuva, which was held in the early 1990s, with astonishing vocal artistry! Wonderful!
Zzaj: Do you have/maintain a regular “day job”? If so, does it get in the way of your life (like mine often does)? What IS the day job?
Loco: Yeah, I have to go to work like most others… and boy does it get in the way! I work at the Police Authority of Södermanland – a district in Sweden south of Stockholm. Right now I conduct simpler criminal investigations. I am a civilian, not a cop, and civilians are allotted cases that aren’t exactly high priority, but it might be thefts from the residents at an old age home or credit card frauds. I am also responsible for the sexual crimes report – monthly – for our criminal intelligence, so I have to engage myself in all kinds of illicit sexual acts… I also maintain the archives, which can prove to be a nice and cozy retreat from time to time… I’ve been a radio operator at the police communications central for a number of years too, taking emergency calls, sending the cop cars, maintaining the communications with the cars and so on, “ten four”, you know, that stuff. I never intended to work at the police station (shit, I’m an old hippie and a poet!) but when I came back from the States in 1980 I had to find a job, since I had gotten married in America. I had gone to the U.S.A. to bike on my racing bike across from New York City to San Francisco, but in Dallas, Texas I married a woman instead, in a basement not far from the place where they shot Kennedy, and got a job at the Texas Highway Department, as an engineer’s aide, or a highway inspector. When Judy and I moved to Sweden in 1980 I needed a job, applied for many, and got one at the police station… However, I’ve worked before that at a steel mill, and at a psychiatric clinic and even with X-ray documentation of welds in giant beer tanks! Nowadays I try to work as a freelancer at the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation too, and I’ve produced and hosted a series on Egyptian singer Om Kalsoum, another series on electronic music that ran a whole summer, individual programs on Terry Riley, Gilius van Bergeijk and so forth, and the next show is (was) aired on 21st March on national Swedish Radio; a program on Petr Kotik’s “Many Many Women”, with texts by Gertrude Stein – an amazing work just out last year on Dog W/A Bone. I’ve also engaged in odd jobs to get some extra money. I’m a single father with a sixteen-year-old boy, and it takes some funds to keep things running. However, most of my free time goes into reviewing CDs, and the Stockhausen project (reviewing all of his CDs) takes the most time. I just finished today the review on “Mantra”, no. 16 in the Complete Edition. Of course, all this mental, intellectual and emotional work takes its toll, and I have to balance my life with hard exercise, which I do by biking. I make my rounds most days, even in winter. I’ve put some of my rounds on my site, with pictures, if you’re interested in getting an idea of the landscape here, in the summer.
The sad fact is, though, that each morning I have to get up as the alarm clock rings, and bike off to work at the station… It takes too much energy, too much time…
Zzaj: The use of drugs is often a topic for musicians (& here, I assume you’ve had at least some exposure to such). Since (I’m assuming, from the picture of you playing guitar (on the commode) at the Nyköping police station) you’re a musician yourself – what’s your take on that? Do/can drugs “enhance” a playing experience, or do they just make the musician BELIEVE it’s enhanced?
Loco: First of all, I am not a musician. The picture you mention – found at the Sonoloco Records site on my reviewing site – was taken for a newspaper one morning at the police station. The subject of the article was the lost-and-found, and that bass guitar had been found by someone the preceding night, under a summerhouse on a tiny island in the Shitville river, winding through he town of Shitville. I do play a little recorder and a little piano (the recorder isn’t smaller than usual, nor is the piano – I mean that I do not play them much…) and I like to compose sounds via computer software (electronic music, text-sound compositions). About the drugs: I don’t know much about it. I tried cannabis once in 1966 at a cemetery in Malmö, Sweden, and got so sick that I never took it up again… I have an interview with Terry Riley that a friend of mine did back in 1965 in San Francisco, and at that point Riley openly advocated marijuana as a means to open up experiences of new sound worlds. In this unofficial interview (never released anywhere – but I have it on CD!) Riley even calls marijuana his teacher! Of course, this has to be seen in context; San Francisco 1965! I met Riley later, in 1994, and he seemed more of a serious craftsman than a spaced-out hippie, so, there you are! I don’t know. D4rugs have always been around, and it’s just sad that alcohol (alocohol, as I call it, he-he!) is the dominant drug of the Western world, since it is no more than a convenient tranquilizer. It’s no mind-opener. The Indians of America used drugs, like mescaline, for example, and maybe they got the communications to the Spirit in the sky working, I do not know. Drugs have often been used in religious, spiritual rites, and probably (obviously) they have their place in human societies – and you might consider the dancing dervishes of Turkey or the healing music of North Africa. Drugs might be good in certain aspects, but completely disastrous in others. My drugs are exercise, meditation, pondering the Tibetan Book of the Dead and intense listening to certain musics or the silence of the starry sky…
Zzaj: Will ALL the pages on your website eventually contain English language versions?
Loco: Well, my ambition is that all of it should be in English. This doesn’t mean that there will be two-language versions of everything. Instead I mean to have all of it in English. The Swedish parts are leftovers from when I started the site, at which time I had a lot of Swedish texts on hand. Then I translated some of them into English. I will not translate the ones written in English into Swedish. I wish I could get the time to translate my account of the 1960s in the little rural Swedish town of Nyköping (Skitköping = Shitville) into English, because it is a good text (Veri Similia), but it is very long (like a book) and written in a language that will be very hard to translate, the same way you cannot translate poetry, but interpret it. I will – I think – translate the interviews I did with my parents. I have those interviews on five CDs, and the texts are on my site in Swedish. My father was born in 1904 (died in 1992), and my mother, who still lives, was born in 1911. They have many tales of life in the Swedish countryside that would be interesting to anybody, really.
Zzaj: I’ve only visited Sweden twice (in the mid-’60’s). At that time, it was (sort of) a place where sexual freedom was viewed as strong. If that was a true impression, how did (or has) it influenc(ed) your music (or tastes therein)?
There is no truth in that myth at all. I think that impression was spread by a couple of movies in the 1960s, but there’s nothing to it. Besides, if there had been anything like it, it would have changed drastically by now, with HIV and AIDS.
Zzaj: Who (poetically, musically, or both) are your strongest “influences”? Is it yourself, another or another’s mother?
Loco: You could check out some of the answers to the questions about “genres” and “spoken word” above. I think you get most of the relevant answers there. However, if I start from the beginning, my mother always sang to me when I was a little boy, and surely when I was an infant too. That had a big influence on me. Then I had an older cousin – Ivan Björnberg – who played boogie-woogie for me when I was around three, four years old. I still remember that, how the floor felt under my naked feet, how the apartment smelled and how the rhythm went!
Then I recall the awfully beautiful “In a Cloister Garden” with imitated birdsong and all that, which made me cry when I was four. Kacka Israelsson came around when I was five, singing about a pony that had died, and Margareta Kjellberg sang old ballads about guys falling off mountains trying to pick flowers for their demanding girls. There were some comedians around too, in the Swedish fifties, called Martin Ljung and Arne Källerud, and their gigs on the radio and in the Swedish folk parks (open air summer stages) had a strong influence, the way they played around with words, and how they delivered the punch line. A real genius with the Swedish language was – and is – Povel Ramel, who began his fantastic career back in the forties, but had his heyday in the fifties, sixties and seventies. There is no way he could be translated, but he is so cleverly insane in his language that he is a revelation to one and all. He also is a blessed musician, and his texts always appear in songs and shows. Of course, when I was young – and today too – Evert Taube with his hundreds of songs about characters in the Swedish archipelago, in southern France and in Argentina – often in an epic style – has been a substantial influence. All Swedes knows many of his songs – quite long and complicated – by heart, and he is sort a national identity thing for many, and I’m one of them. Taube began recording in the early 1920s!
On an international scale Danny Kaye meant a lot. Have you listened to some of his crazed stuff? Magnificent. There is no way to leave out Spike Jones and His City Slickers either!
Okay, then revolution hit; Elvis Presley. When I was eight I got “Tutti Frutti” from my fifteen years older brother Rolf, and I was set in motion – a motion which progresses without halting till this day! I learned the words of “Trying To Get To You” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin” without understanding anything of the meaning. This was out on the farm in the Swedish countryside. It was late 1950s. I was hooked on the Beatles as soon as they came, then Dylan was the next really big revolution in the head, merging folk music, rock ‘n roll and poetry, and from then on everything was possible. I had no breaks on my intellectual and cultural ambitions – my cultural HUNGER! – and I went into classical music at around the age of 17, when Dylan released “Blonde on Blonde”. Nothing has stopped since then. I’ve ventured into every last part of the musical world, I think. Oriental music has meant a lot to me, from Asia, South-east Asia, the Far East – and Arabian music as well, just as much as forgotten traditions from Brittany and the Faeroe Islands or the countries on the eastern seashore of the Baltic Sea. I’ve collected contemporary music through the decades, and people like Arvo Pärt have given me points of introspection, places of rest. Johann Sebastian Bach has been with me all the time, and still is. I have tens of versions of his Well-Tempered Clavier, his Two- and Three-part Inventions, his Goldberg Variations and so on, with geniuses like Glenn Gould, Tatiana Nikolayeva, Samuel Feinberg, Wanda Landowska etcetera. I collect historical issues as well, now being reissued on CD, like the complete recordings of Caruso, or early Pablo Casals! I think the height of Western music – which will NEVER be matched – is the Suites for Solo Cello by J. S. Bach. My favorite interpretations are the ones by Pierre Fournier, Maurice Gendron and Pablo Casals.
A couple of guys who’s always been around too are John Cage and Morton Feldman. Cage’s ideas have meant quite a bit for freedom of thought, and Feldman’s way of just placing one note after the other can be liberating.
Of course, through the reviewing at my site I have come to know and love much that would otherwise never reach my ears, like the wonders of Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Jeff Kaiser, Erik Belgum, Chris Forsyth, you yourself; Rotcod Zzaj, Stanislav Kreitchi, Matthew Ostrowski and innumerable others, to whom I am eternally indebted for providing such beauty, such excitement, such enlightenment!
Poetically I am much indebted to at least three Swedish poets; Vilhelm Ekelund (1880 – 1949), Gunnar Ekelöf (1907 – 1968) and Tomas Tranströmer (b1931). Then there are anonymous works that have meant much, like the Finnish Kalevala epic and some of the Icelandic tales. The San Francisco Renaissance was important to me, as were the Greek classics. There is no end to it, really! No end! No use to exemplify anymore! It’s all so rich!
Zzaj: Music distribution/production seems to be evermore evolving into a “digital” medium. I (personally) view this as having great potential for indie artists. What are your impressions/thoughts on this? Can/will there (ever) be “too much” music?
Loco: No, never too much! Who listens anyway? A few souls! You, me, Ernesto and some crazed existences dispersed across the sphere. The main thing is to express yourself artistically. That is an act of religiousness, or an act of spiritual respect, for life, for spirit, for God, if you will. The more complex, the more varied the artistic output, the richer the web of life, of spirit in these vast expanses of space. Music is a shamanistic rite! It’s a categorical imperative! Internet has made it possible to make marginal stuff known all over the globe, and sell it too, so that has made all the difference. You want it, you find it! You name it, we like it!
Zzaj: As you’ve realized (perhaps) from our conversations, the “underground” (in music, anyway) is alive & well. Does Sweden have such a community? Home-tapers/producers & folks who “do it for the art”, rather than the money? If SO, where can we “rebel upstarts” over here in Amurrika FIND them?
Loco: I’m sure they’re around, but I don’t know where… I am 52 now, and maybe – hopefully – I’m loosing control, loosing my bearings, drifting off into some kind of exciting oblivion…
Zzaj: What words of wisdom do you have for home producers the world over? Any OTHER “parting shots” you wish to lay upon my readers?
Loco: Just one, but if you adhere to this exclamation, all will turn out for the best: Keep-on-keeping-on!
And remember: Only the worst is bad enough! (And it is never out of place, now and then, to glance a little in the Tibetan Book of the Dead!)
All places are here! All times are now!
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My wife & I watch the “shrub” comedy unfolding with our normal degree(s) of cynicism. Looking at it any other way will cause pain, discomfort or total insanity.
California power companies going into bankruptcy… yes, after all those years of fat-catting on subsidies (your tax dollars & mine pumped in to the corporations to keep their squandering ways hidden from the public) from Billary. & now Bush & his cronies come in with the reverse philosophy – NO tax dollars for public corporations… so if yer’ in San Francisco or Los Angeles (may wind up being ANYwhere on the West Coast), & you DIDN’T salt away part of those millions of dollars in yer’ Swiss bank account – your power WILL go off! My wife asks me – “isn’t the government supposed to TAKE CARE of the people”?” &, of course, you know my answer to her already… “the government is made up (no matter whether they’re Democrat or Republican) of people who came out of Yale, Harvard, Stanford with political stars in their eyes. Educated in the tradition of statistical analysis, sound-byte shots & the use of technology to CONVINCE folks that you have their interests at heart. Those same guys who were on the football team & in the frat houses getting rip-roaring drunk/stoned & plotting their way into the inner cirkle of the corporate rich. The only people they are interested in is THEMSELVES.”
My wife doesn’t much care for that kind of a reply, but I don’t believe there IS any other answer. If you stop and think about some of their hype regarding welfare programs (for instance)… how folks at the lowest (economic) levels of our society must DO something (in other words, GET A JOB that PRODUCES something for the rest of humanity) in return for the money they’ve taken from the public coffers… then apply that same logic to the money THEY have taken from the public & poured in to recsuing corporations like Chrysler (Reagan years, I believe), America’s banks (Clinton/Gore) & now PG&E (“shrubbie”) – how long/hard would THEY have to dig ditches to make up for what they’ve taken. It’s also doubtful (to me, anyway) that you could find anything they COULD do… how many politicians could flip burgers, for instance? I don’t mean the “photo op” version of flippin’ burgers or ladling out soup in the local shelter… I mean an 8-10 hour GRIND in a hot kitchen, STANDING!
A part of EVERY “fair-haired boy’s” education should involve 2 (or more) solid years of being forced to LIVE at $6-8/hr wage scale… in a REAL job… washing dishes, digging ditches, loading freight… that is the ONLY way they could ever understand the pain and suffering their statistically formulated and corporate-serving decisions affect OUR lives! I think it’s also quite possible that if they DID (some kind of) service like this for that long a period of time (without daddy stepping in & freeing them from their obligations, or getting them bumped in to a position where they didn’t actually have to DO the work required) – they would understand how idiotic (and unnecessary) the politician is perceived to be by a majority of Americans in these times.
THEIR stock answer to this kind of thinking/expression is (usually) along the lines of “you have to get INVOLVED in the political process to understand it….” “there is so MUCH that goes on behind the scenes”… or, “be committed to your cause”. What kind of an answer is THAT? The whole POINT is to SAY what we have to SAY… to let them know (through our actions) that THEIR way of doing things is OVER. To take BACK our true power by letting them KNOW that the JIG IS UP for them… that people don’t BELIEVE their lies any longer & will NOT pay their “high end welfare” any longer.
The most INSANE part of all this (in my opinion) is the prevalence of religous NUTCASES being invited on Larry King & other media spin shows… Pat Robertson sitting in to discuss the biblical implications of the current China situation… next, we’ll have Larry Falwell (or some equally obnoxious idjit) telling us that if we don’t JOIN them – they will BEAT us (literally, with hoses & chains). George W. Shrub fully intends to infiltrate the American landscape with intolerant zealots who join in his call to arms & march to Armegeddon… in only a couple of months he has already managed to turn ALL the environmental laws on end… permitting ever higher levels of pollution in gas production… preparing to burden the highest court in the land with college cronies who will help him to ERADICATE the laws that get in the way of the oil industry… forcing the stock market to plummet so only his RICH friends can profit from it.
Let’s get a petition going to force the prez (& congressman/senators, for that matter) to work for MINIMUM WAGE… to ENSURE that he has to PAY HIS TAXES at our levels… & make it a given that unless a political officer can PROVE that his/her actions are FOR THE PEOPLE – they will be (immediately) removed from office & written up in the history books as the disgraceful piece of poop they are… in other words, an annual (electronic, via the Internet?) PERFORMANCE EVALUATION by everyone in the land. How long do YOU think they would stay in office THEN? Do you think anyone would EVER “desire” to go in to politics? Think it over….
Till next time….