Friday, October 9, 2009

Voices of Matsulu

Intrigued by Chris Cutler's description of it in the catalog, as a startling, electronic document, or something to that effect, I obtained Voices of Matsulu from Recommended, along with Adio Kattalina by Oskorri, Feliu i Joan Albert and perhaps one or two other albums. Produced by Estonian Radio for the nature preserve, Voices of Matsulu was recorded by biologist Fred Jüssi between 1976-1979 and released on the Soviet Label, Melodiya in 1982.

This makes for an interesting contrast with the recording of birds in Venezuela, which was posted here by reservatory awhile back, but has its own beauty with moments of surprising drama. As I don't yet have scans, I've copied the English portion of the liner notes below. For more information see

Matsulu Bay is situated on the west coast of the Estonian SSR and it is one of the places richest in birdlife in the Baltic area. Observations of birds began to be made here already in 1870. The rich bird population is due to the existence of unique habitats. The more characteristic of these are reed-beds (3.000 ha), the water-meadows of the Kasari River (4.000 ha), coastal meadows and pastures, and islands in the sea.

For the protection of the peculiar nature of the area a state nature reserve was set up here in 1957. The Matsulu State Nature Reserve was included in Group A of ornitological reserves of all-European importance in 1962, and in 1975 it was accorded the status of a wetland of international significance (48,643 ha). 126 species of birds nest in the reserve and a total of 259 species had been observed here by the autumn of 1979. Matsulu as a whole is a veritable pearl of Estonian nature.

This record includes a selection of sound pictures typical of the reed-beds, water-meadows, seaside pastures, and islets of Matsulu. While making the recordings the author spent unforgettable days and nights under the skies of the nature reserve. Hence the wish to convey to the listener not only the sounds of Matsulu, but also something of its beauty.

1. Whooper Swans 1:36

2. Reed-beds 17:12
a. Midnight in the reed-beds (Spotted Crake, Bittern) 1:35
b. Great Reed Warbler (Tufted Duck, Redshank) 0:49
c. Reed Warbler 1:03
d. Sedge Warbler (Curlew) 1:17
e. Savi's Warbler 1:31
f. Reed Bunting 2:09
g. Black-headed Gull 2:13
h. Black Tern 1:06
i. Moorhen 1:22
j. Water Rail 2:08
k. Starling 1:41

3. Water-Meadows and Coastal Pastures 9:39
a. Midnight of Water-Meadows (Reed Warbler, Corncrake) 1:35
b. Corncrake 1:23
c. Marsh Warbler (Cuckoo, Garden Warbler) 2:13
d. River Warbler 0:47
e. Grasshopper Warbler 0:48
f. Barred Warbler (Blackbird, Thrush Nightingale, Corncrake) 1:51
g. Blacktailed Godwit 1:03

4. See Isles 6:38
a. Spring morning on See islet (Oystercatcher) 3:40
b. Caspian tern 1:04
c. Common Gull, herring gull 0:55
d. Greenfinch, Oystercatcher, Barnacle Goose, Redshank 0:57

5. Crane 2:32

download |Vinyl rip | .Flac | 162.3 MB

Friday, October 2, 2009

bembeya jazz sous la direction de diaoune hamidou

Bembeya's debut album somehow escaped reincarnation as a cheesy Syllart CD. Since all Syliphone master tapes seem now to be extinct (Sterns Africa's CD anthologies rely on borrowed vinyl), maybe Syllart had the same problem a decade before, skipping SLP4 because they were unable to come up with a clean copy to rip.

bembeya jazz national
sous la direction de diaoune hamidou
syliphone slp4 (1967)

01 Djanfamagni 4.17
02 Almamy Mamaren 3.40
03 Dembaty Galant 3.28
04 Guinée Hety Horémoun 4.31
05 Minuit 3.08
06 Bembeyako 3.04
07 Air-Guinée 3.22
08 Djamana Bara Sabati 3.32
09 Trafiquant 3.11
10 Loi-Cadre 3.55

vinyl @320

unwound - live in london ep

The flip side of Jimmy Webb, a swoon of dissonance as lush and dense and precise as Webb's sonority. Frontman Justin Trosper doesn't really wring chords or solos out of his guitar, concentrating on tone clusters and smeared chiming instead. From Tumwater, Washington, a few miles south of Olympia (exit I-5 @ ancestral Trosper Rd.), Unwound inspired cult worship throughout the nineties and beyond. A Portland friend dragged me outside to see them on their farewell tour, for which I am eternally grateful. This 12" finds our heroes playing for John Peel on May 20 1998. Call right now and you will receive bonus material including a perfect Unwound single from '96 as well as a compilation track by the Waydowns (a local teenage guitar-drum machine duo) released on Unwound bassist Vern Rumsey's Punk In My Vitamins label. Finally, a taste of Lifelikeweeds, a guitar duo featuring Eric Chenaux of Toronto's Rat Drifting collective, who appears to be in around sixty bands at any given time. Rat Drift for yourself @ eclectic grooves, then check out shiny grey monotone to see where I stole the shot of Unwound in flight.

live in london ep
loveletter lvlt 004 (1999)

01 Hexenszene 5.09
02 Side Effects Of Being Tired 6.28
03 Kantina / Were, are and was or is 9.46
04 Corpse Pose 3.05
05 Everything Is Weird 2.52
06 (Untitled) 2.31
07 The house is in between the porch and the barbeque on mouth speed 6.49

vinyl, cd and download @320

jimmy webb - cloudman demos 1972

Up Up And Away, By The Time I Get To Phoenix and MacArthur Park made Jimmy Webb a very wealthy young man. So he did what any happening 21 year old songwriter would do in 1968. He moved into the former Philippine Embassy in Hollywood and filled it with fifty of his closest friends, a green baby grand piano and (one imagines) drugs. Back then, I avoided The 5th Dimension and their flower power pep rally shtick like the plague, but MacArthur Park was harder to hate. Irish stage veteran Richard Harris, a singing King Arthur in the movie adaptation of Camelot, seemed an unlikely candidate for Top 40 appeal, and the overwrought seven minute epic he tackled after The Association turned it down was, well, slightly insane. But I always listened to the whole thing when it appeared on the car radio, unsure whether it was a psychedelic delusion or a brilliant hoax. In the early seventies, during a brief stint as a gofer (mole) in the LA music biz, I heard Joe Cocker's version of The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress and puzzlement turned to admiration overnight. Maybe it was sappy next to the Fun House and Faust Tapes I needed after ten hours in Studio A with Lon And Derek Van Eaton, but stately and heartfelt and flat-out beautiful as well. Webb knew his way around chord structure and melody like no one I'd ever been exposed to and filled a need I never knew I had. I kept the whole thing a secret for decades. These demos are straight to the point, just composer (in unusually good voice) and piano and some really good songs. Songs that, underneath all the pretty, are as fevered and deranged as Gary Wilson's 6.4 = Make Out, with Webb as Cloudman becoming vapor to haunt a beloved creature his obsession has driven away. I've also included When Can Brown Begin, from the Letters album for which these demos were intended. The title comes from a comment Sammy Davis Jr. made as he and Webb commiserated over cocktails one night in Vegas. Weary of the 'all-in-fun' racism his show biz pals routinely shoved in his face (clown of vengeance Jerry Lewis dragged him onto his live ABC TV variety fiasco in 1963 to ask about his recent triumph at the legendary Carnigger Hall), Sammy decreed it was time the world moved beyond black and white, to... brown?? Scatological implications aside, explaining how salt and pepper 'cook' together and fire and water make steam still seems like a dubious path to racial harmony. But there it is in all its glory, to musical accompaniment worthy of God's own choir. The coda features a smoky horn winding a path through one of Webb's immaculate chord progressions, which steps steadily skyward as violins saw away on a Möbius strip of ascending spirals that runs out of fretboard as it curls back for another run up the ladder. Avant MOR. He's here, he's air, get used to it.

jimmy webb
cloudman demos 1972
rhino handmade rhm2 7820 (2004)

01 Saturday Suit 3.01
02 Cloudman 3.44
03 Fingerpaint Me 3.53
04 Mr. Shuck And Jive 3.30
05 Simile 3.31
06 Piano 4.08
07 When Can Brown Begin 4.16

How much do I love you?
Just as far as I can reach you now
But the floor feels cold this morning
Yes, I feel there's nothing left to teach you now
Soon, sweet lady, you will walk away from me
Into your own reality
But just remember air
Air is everywhere
The cloudman always sees it there
And waits to paint you pictures on the wind around you
Please recall the days when love found you
When the tide breeze rustling curtains in the summer evening
Bears the imprint of some distant twinkling chimes
Think about the cloudman sometimes
Think about me sometime.

cd @320