Thursday, May 21, 2009

When The Morning Sun Has Stopped Shining (A Mix)

Part two of two for my girlfriend's road trip. I guess the title is sort of foreboding, but it's not. Line from the Huckleberry Flint song included (Humboldt represent). This one isn't "mixed" like the other, just a collection of folk, country, bluegrass, americana songs that I like and thought would go together pretty decently on this mix. There is a chance that the Leon Redbone song is untagged in the artist field, so tag it as such. Also the Laura Cantrell song might be tagged as track 8, but should be 15. Otherwise there isn't much to say...just enjoy if you want it.

1. kate wolf - riding in the country
2. phil ochs - bullets of mexico
3. the seldom scene - hello mary lou
4. leon redbone - desert blues (big chief buffalo nickel)
5. willie nelson - three days
6. bill anderson - sittin' in an all-night cafe
7. doc watson - interstate rag
8. huckleberry flint - good night darling
9. uncle earl - sleepy desert
10. wilco - forget the flowers
11. calexico - dub latina
12. carrie rodriguez - never gonna be your bride
13. the wailin' jennys - devil's paintbrush road
14. wanda jackson - fujiyama mama
15. laura cantrell - yonder comes a freight train
16. hamilton camp - a satisfied mind
17. brenda lee - speak to me pretty
18. ricky nelson - i'm walkin
19. the brothers four - where have all the flowers gone
20. louise massey & the westerners - my adobe hacienda
21. norman blake - salt river
22. heron - sally goodin'

Link Removed by DMCA - let me know if you want it.

And I'm Stripped To My Sheets (A Mix)

Making two mixes for my girlfriend and her roommate for their mini roadtrip to Santa Fe this weekend. Fun stuff. This is a more pop themed mix, songs to sing along to, songs to have fun with, blah blah. A decent celebration of the summer to be. No real theme other than that. Just songs I like from different time periods, whatever. I think that it turned out really well. I used Mixmeister to edit a handful of tracks as well as blend/mix the tracks. So if you download you basically have to listen in order or else you'll hear fades that don't make sense. Just makes sense with this type of mix. Title comes from the first line in the Animal Collective song, pretty silly. Anyway, tracklist follows. Enjoy.

1. juana molina - un dia
2. freestyle fellowship - inner city boundaries
3. kleerup - until we bleed (ft. lykke li)
4. kelis - millionaire (ft. andre 3000)
5. the-dream - walkin on the moon (ft. kanye west)
6. common - new wave
7. abstract rude - thynk eye can (ft. haiku d'etat)
8. animal collective - summertime clothes
9. phoenix - 1901
10. robin thicke - lazy bones
11. private - my secret lover
12. michael jackson - p.y.t.
13. solange - i decided (part 1)
14. mayer hawthorne & the county - maybe so, maybe no
15. erykah badu - honey
16. pete rock - it's a love thing (ft. cl smooth & denosha)
17. zapp & roger - be alright

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Nonce - World Ultimate (1995)

Recently watched the 2008 documentary film "This is the Life" that looks at the hip hop scene known as The Good Life. Named after a restaurant in Los Angeles in the early 90s, the scene birthed such underground legends as Freestyle Fellowship (Mikah 9, Aceyalone, P.E.A.C.E and Self-Jupiter), Abstract Rude, Chali 2na, Cut Chemist, Busdriver, Pigeon John and loads of others that time has forgotten.

While The Good Life was centered around stage performances and freestyles, urging creativity and style above actual substance, there are a handful of outstanding albums to come from Good Life alumni. One of these album is "World Ultimate" by The Nonce.

I won't try to encapsulate the short-lived career of The Nonce, you can find it online or by downloading the video I have included in this post taken from the Documentary previously mentioned. The Nonce consist of Nouka Base and Yusef Afloat (RIP). The music contained within is often called the West Coast A Tribe Called Quest. Super smooth, jazzy beats that have a decent bottom, excellent rapping that just rides the beats. Hip Hop music you can get lost in. Beautiful record and definitely a forgotten classic. Posting their classic single "Mixtapes" right below this, and then the album included. Enjoy the summer, play this over and over.

Video link removed. Visit the website here!
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Monday, May 11, 2009

Dru Down - Can You Feel Me (1996)

So let's look at what I've posted recently: 70's jazz, two modern classical compositions by a Russian, another 70s experimental jazz album, awesome P-Funk related guitar album, some minimalism with Steve Reich, and then 4 Mamas & Papas easy vocal music.

Seriously lacking some hip hop.

You know I could go through the hip hop I have and post classic shit from NY or albums that were overlooked that I feel are classic (you can go back to my Scientifik post). But I'm not going to. It's slowly turning into summer, I'm graduating and moving to the Bay Area and the past 2 weekends I have heavily listened to some West Coast gangsta shit that I remember from when I was younger. This past weekend I suddenly remembered Dru Down and his classic (yes, classic) 1996 LP "Can You Feel Me"

Lots of people know Dru Down from Po Pimpin and all that shit, but this is his masterpiece. True funky west coast rap. Charismatic rapping almost solely about pimping and ho's and the bass/g-funk sound so heavy it'll rattle every speaker. I probably hadn't heard the music on this album since 6th grade...probably like 10-11 years. Yet listening to it again after all this time I'm amazed by how well I remember these songs. I can recite "Baby Bubba" and "Can You Feel Me" almost word for word, and at least know the chorus to about every other song on the album.

Listen guys and gals. Sometimes we need music like this. While I grow up and realize that I can't really listen to people like Eminem like I once obsessed over, I'm remembering my love for Bay Area and LA hip hop from the 90s, before all that hyphy bullshit. Of course I still prefer golden age NY stuff, but this music is essential weekend listening.


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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Linc Chamberland - A Place Within (1977)

I'm on a roll right now, watch out.

So I definitely can't take credit for this album or anything about this musician because I just downloaded this from one of my favorite music blogs on the web: My Jazz World. That site is awesome. Super rare funky jazz and shit primarily from the 70s. Lot of different styles thrown into the mix, some are pretty bad, but guy running it, Smooth usually comes correct. This is definitely one of those occasions.

Obviously I downloaded it because of the album cover. Look at this Rasputin ass dude who looks like he should be playing british folk or something. This is actually just excellent late 70s jazz. Linc is the guitarist, but the album is full of badass sax, bass and drum solos as well. Got a scan from the blog of the record sleeve, so I'll type up the liners because that's what I do:

It's been some time since the jazz guitar was freed from the rhythm section and allowed to become the creative, improvising instrument its potential warranted. What Jimmy Blanton did for the bass, Charlie Christian did for the guitar and his efforts helped to create a whole nation of plectrum devotees. We are now faced with a generation that can embrace folk heroes, men as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, Larry Coryell and Jim Hall. The guitar has become a symbol of protest and liberation. Its six strings hold the key to fame and fortune, a chance to see the world on three chords a day. The least skilled practitioners are frequently the most successful. Today's garage rock band can be tomorrow's mascaraed superstars. The flash and the wah-wah pedal can overshadow a brilliant technique.

There have been plenty of spectacular near misses. George Benson's brief fling with Miles Davis was fascinating and hinted at greater things that never materialized. Wes Montgomery was asked to join John Coltrane but the connection was never made. One can only imagine the fireworks had Charlie Christian survived.

The release of this LP helps to insure that a great talent does not get overlooked. Linc Chamberland has been playing the guitar for over twenty years and this is his first record as a leader. If justice is to be had, his name will soon be listed among the greats of the instrument.

I first stumbled upon Linc at one of his Tuesday night Rapson's gigs in Stamford, Conneticut. I had long heard of him from admiring friends who couched there descriptions in adjectives fit for "the one that got away." Rapson's is a tiny club but it was packed like Reveren Ike's sermons the night I finally made it down. There was a devoted hush in the room that is all too rare in nightclubs. Linc entered, a black bearded intense looking fellow in his mid 30's, and soon proved the rumors correct. Notes and ideas flew so fast that it was hard to believe they were issuing from the man on the stool in the corner. I recall a version of Chick Corea's "500 Miles High" that continued for 30 minutes and threatened to levitate the room with its intensity. All this achieved without attachment, pedals, or gimmicks of any kind and only a small amplifier to project that incandescent sound.

Much time has passed since that night and now Muse Records is as excited as I am about Linc Chamberland. This record is his own story, told in his own term. The music is not unlike what transpires still at Rapson's. It is pure, honest, and refreshingly alive.

Linc, of course, did not emerge fully formed. He is a native of Norwalk, Conneticut and still lives there. The guitarist admits to first picking up the instrument because he "wanted to be a singing cowboy." He joined his first group, "The Rhythm Chords," when he was 15. This led to a lengthy stint with an R&B big band known as "The Orchids" that yielded one album and a chance for Linc to hone his writing and arranging skills. This band toured almost constantly, a fact that explains Linc's current reluctance to travel. At one point, this band was reduced to eating mustard sandwiches in Hawaii no less! Other groups followed with some fairly unique names: "Gasmask," "Gotham," and "Sawbuck." Linc began to put in a lot of studio time and worked with the jazzy version of Felix Caviliere's "Rascals" (Alice Coltrane, Joe Farrell, and Richard Davis were also along.) Lic started playing at Rapson's soon after and says the long running gig has "helped me find out a lot about myself."

Linc now makes his living from teaching. His reputation is deservedly strong: Charmberland alumni perform with Alphnse Mouzon, Judy Collins, Wishbone Ash and (believe it or not) Alice Cooper. He has over 40 students and finds the work "a constant creative challenge."

The musicians on this album are veteran associates of the guitarist. Lookout Farm leader Dave Liebman has been a regular Rapson's jammer. Australian Dr. Lyn Christie (a medical doctor in addition to his bass talents) only recently left the Chamberland fold and the young Bobby Leonard is Linc's current drummer.

An attempt to get Linc to talk about his music drew a dismissive wave. "It speaks for itself," he said, and indeed it does. I can only call attention to some highlights: Liebman's possessed soprano on Lyn Christie's "Place Within," Christie's tense, brooding arco bass on Chamberland's "1957" and Leonard's sensitive accompaniment on the trio feature "What's New." Chamberland's guitar holds it all together with rhythm playing that offers firm footing and solos that just don't stop. The music offers no compromise and holds back nothing.

Dave Liebman tracked down in Wethersfield, Conneticut, offered the following assessment of Linc: "He's a great musician and a fine human being." Further elaboration is unnecessary. Listen to the record.
-Jim Motavalli

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Alfred Schnittke - Violin Concertos No. 3 & 4 (1991)

The second set of Violin Concertos from 20th century composer Alfred Schnittke! Look, two posts in two days and about 12 hours! Got the liners on this, so I might as well...

Concerto No. 3 for Violin and Chamber Orchestra (1978)
This work was originally intended to form part of a programme in which Hindemith's
Piano Concerto and the Chamber Concerto of Alban Berg were to be played. This determined the orchestral forces of my piece, which sum up those of the other two pieces but which also influenced the sound concept of my concerto: thirteen wind instruments and only four strings produce an inequality of weight. I found a solution to this problem in saving the strings for the third movement, where they enter for the first time and replace the wind sound towards the end of the composition.

The title original planned,
Canticum canticorcum, which I eventually renounced since I am against programmatic explicitness, found a certain reflection in the concerto's musical language (for example, in the soloist's initial cadenza). But there are also quite different influences at work - those of Russion Orthodox church music (in the final chorale of the first and third movements) and German Romanticism (the forest music at the beginning of the third movement which, despite the horn fifths and fluctuations between major and minor, is not a quotation from Schubert or Mahler). And the atonal idiom also leads naturally on occasion to twelve-note themes, but never to twelve-tone rows. the combination of these tonal spheres is not subject to any constructional principle: I merely followed my ear's commands.

I have long been preoccupied by the opposition of the tonal and the atonal. In this work I tried to construct a unified system of intonations linking the two soundworlds organically - that is, not only through the contrasting effects of night and day but also by means of the morning and evening transitions and the ever-present play of shadows and colour modulation. Atonality can be reached from any point in tonality (and vice versa).

Violin Concerto's three movements follow the scheme of double contrasts (slow-fast-slow) and are played without a break. The solo part makes no virtuoso demands on the soloist and is predominantly melodically conceived. The first performance took place January 1979 in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.
-Alfred Schnittke

The meeting and co-existence of a variety of forms of musical material, a variety of worlds of style and imagery - these probelms are central in Alfred Schnittke's
Third Violin Concerto. The orchestral forces are similar to those used in Alban Berg's Chamber Concerto for violin, piano and thirteen wind players (1925). Additionally there are four string players, whose entry marks the beginning of the finale, of the illumination and alleviation of the general atmosphere.

The three movements of Schnittke's concerto are there different stages or aspects of one idea. The first movement, emerging from the soloist's tense trills, presents the 'prehistory', as it were. Here one may discern the most important spheres of imagery in the concerto: firstly the intensively expressive, tauntingly enraged, dissonant structure of intervals which serves as the point of departure for the rebelliously unbalanced second movement; secondly the light and conciliatory major/minor flickering of triad runs, which finally becomes decisive in the finale; and finally the strict chorale, the most important of the elements, which concludes the flow of events like an epitaph.

The second and third movements merely develop the 'theses' of the first; they unfold a temporally calculated concept. The strongest contrast arises before the beginning of the finale: a storm-wave of contradictions and passions crashes down in an aleatory culmination; the musical material shatters into the tiniest fragments. And here, amidst the catastrophe, like an illusion of ghostly harmony, horn fifths suddenly appear - in the music of past centuries the frequently-occurring symbol of problems happily resolved. The sound here is devoid of the unambiguity acquired through the centuries; doubt shines through the major/minor play of light and shadow...The tide of music finds no rest; it hurries on into the depths of centuries, eventually finding its hold in a universal, eternal symbol: the chorale.
-Alexander Ivashkin

Concerto No. 4 for Violin and Orchestra (1984)
My Fourth Violin Concerto, a commission from the Berlin Festival, is dedicated to my dear friend Gidon Kremer, as a sign of my great admiration and most heartfelt thanks. Gidon has contributed decisively to the spread of my works, both through countless performances and also by inspiring and stimulating other musicians. For this reason the musical material on this four-movement concerto is taken from monograms of Gidon Gremer and of myself - and in the last movement also of three other kindred souls, Edison Denisov, Sofia Gubaidulina and Arvo Part. It is not, however, a constructed Babel (except for the perpetuum mobile passacaglia in the second movement); rather it is an attempt to create a melodic tension both between one note and another and also between notes and rests, with free application of techniques both 'new' and 'old'. Two beautiful plush melodies (the first running through the entire piece as a fatum banale, the second appearing as a false relief in the third movement) are merely two 'corpses decorated with make-up'. On a few occasions (for example the 'cadenza visuale', second movement) a peep is ventured behind the curtain into the soundless, hypnotic music Hereafter - into the world of silent sound (otherwise called 'rest'). But these are only moments, brief attempts to fly; the foundering descent back into the world of sound is inevitable. Or is it?
-Alfred Schnittke

Fourth Violin Concerto dates from 1984. The concerto is unquestionably one of Schnittke's preferred musical forms. The previous violin concertos had demonstrated quite different compositional methods on Schnittke's part. This piece confirms his path towards greater simplicity, towards love for tonal, extremely straightforward musical figures. A large romantic orchestra is required, reinforced by instruments of striking sonic character such as the saxophone, the felaxatone (usually confined to lighter music) and most especially by an unconventional battery of chord instruments: xylophone, glockenspiel, marimba, vibraphone, bells, celesta, harpsichord and piano. Schnittke employs these last-named instruments principally for the support and coloration of static textures. The idea of a colossal Basso continuo, the chordal accompaniment of baroque music, must have been determining significance in this respect.

Fourth Concerto has four movements. The sequence Andante-Vivo-Adagio-Lento makes it plain that a measured and well audible tone takes precedence over virtuoso passages. Right at the beginning of the first movement, important structural elements are presented. After a reverberating bell motif we hear a peculiarly plain, warm theme in A flat major, its instrumentation rather gentle and peaceful (woodwind and horn). With its tonic/dominant exchange it is intentionally trivial, like an exponent of another, lost musical language. The solo violin tries to attune itself to this, but upon its entry the veil of comfort is torn aside. A dissonant chord, including all twelve notes of the tonal system, is rudely inserted; the violin continues the melodic development with a harsh friction of semitones and broken chords. The mood only brightens when the violin takes up the opening bell motif. The plain theme then occurs once more, this time in C sharp minor, and - richer, as it were, in experience - shot through with distracting notes. The first movement concludes with the return of the bell motif, this time over a dissonant, static string structure.

This movement has not only seen the exposition of the musical material but also the erection of the compositional principle: the zones of insecurity lurk behind apparently tranquil beauty. The entire concerto is to be understood in this light. The lively second movement is basically one large cadenza over intricate broken chords from the soloist. At the movement's climax, with ever more rugged breakings, the tone of the soloist becomes more and more 'faded out' - Schnittke calls this a 'cadenza visuale', with the utmost passion but almost devoid of the means to express it. Only after a grandiose entry by the previously silent strings on the note G (the lowest note on the violin) does the soloist regain his tone - but at this point the movement breaks off. The remaining two movements advance other attitudes, stated at their respective outsets, onto a higher plane. In the third, the destabilization of an emphatically beautifully conceived melody is driven forwards; the fourth returns to the serene peace of the bell motif from the beginning of the work.
-Dr. Reinhard Schulz

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Alfred Schnittke - Violin Concertos No. 1 & 2 (1990)

As with lots of my classical posts, I will type up a portion of the liner notes, because they describe the music better than I can. I like this a lot. That's about as good as I get.

Concerto No. 1 for Violin and Orchestra
Schnittke' s Concerto No. 1 for Violin and Orchestra (1957, revised 1963) is rich in ideas and explores a wide range of emotions. Great inventiveness is shown in the treatment of the solo instrument, but the composer's attention is centered not on the virtuoso aspect but on violin cantilena. The wealth and unique beauty of its melodies are among the most attractive qualities of the concerto.

The principal subject of the first movement (in sonata form) begins with a flowing melody from the solo violin. The unusually complicated melodic outlines of the principal theme in combination with the complex rhythmic pattern suggest concentrated searchings, painful deliberation. The initial motives from this theme become interwoven with almost all the themes in the other movements, playing røle of leading motives. The subsidiary subject of the first movement, with a characteristic augmented second, also acquires an important place in the dramatic development.

The second movement is a rushing scherzo based on the alternation and development of three themes, all of which are related to one other. They are unified by a poignant nervous rhythm, angular melodic contours and "sharp" bowing. The concerto's leading motive is easily distinguished in the melody of the first theme.

The third movement opens with a tranquil and songful themes, also containing the leading motive. The middle section, wholly based on thematic material from the first movement, comes as a startling contrast to the calm and lucid song. After the statement of an agitated - yet flowing - theme by the solo instrument (this theme is close to the subsidiary theme for the first movement), contrapuntal development begins in the orchestra. This episode, where the evenly-paced counter-subject recalls the outlines of the leading motive, leads to a tensely dramatic climax.

The leading motive undergoes transformation in the resolute and resilient principal subject on the fourth movement (in sonata form); its melodic outlines become simpler and more definite, its rhythm clear-cut and precise. The Finale's playful and whimsical second theme resembles the subsidiary theme of the first movement. The closeness of the two themes becomes still more apparent when, after the statement of this second theme, the subsidiary subject from the first movement itself makes and appearance. A brief development section is followed by a recapitulation and an extended concluding section which presents, one after another, the two themes from the first movement and the themes of the Finale in reverse order.

The concerto was first performed over the air on 26th November 1963 by Mark Lubotsky and the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Gennady Rozhdestvensky.
-M. Yakubov

In autumn 1956, while still a student at the Moscow Conservatory, I began this violin concerto. I called it my Opus 1 - the last opus number I have hitherto assigned. The concerto was not reworked until 1963, and then to an apparent continuation with the quite different Violin Sonata No. 1 - but everything written until then was wrong, and has remained so.

Above all, I see a desperate striving to find myself in the work of this concerto. This quest as very rarely successful, indeed only on occasions - the unison theme at the beginning, the climax in the third movement, the final coda. It was a sound world of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, overshadowed by Shostakovich and adorned with the orchestral conventions of the day. But there was also a tiny breath of everything that was to come later, and for this reason it should remain, with all the faults of a first violin concerto...
-Alfred Schnittke

Concerto No. 2 for Violin and Chamber Orchestra
The solo violin begins with a broad rhythmically expressive cadenza in which a central function, akin to that of a pedal point, is assigned to the note G.

At the sound of a bell a string cluster joins in, and immediately afterwards brief sound structures from the wind, piano or percussion interrupt the separate solo violin episodes. The solo violin starts a new espressivo, and like shadows the accompanying violins follow (with different bowing techniques); gradually they resolve themselves towards ever stronger independence. The thickening string sonority is ordered and driven on y impulses from the percussion (bongos and tom-tom). Then, however, the strings, which had been splayed out into total dodecaphony, unite with the soloist for a unison passage overlaid by the percussion. A double bass solo (against piano glissandi and comments from the percussion) leads to a long improvisation from all the accompanying instruments. This is followed by a very delicate sequence of non vibrato chords from the strings, with which the virtuosic soloist joins in. A further improvisatorial section from the orchestra is followed by a surprising change of scene: a brief solo cadenza introduces an episode rather like a slow foxtrot, played by the soloist accompanies by piano and percussion.

Once more the solo violin reaches the fundamental note G; as if in a reprise we hear the wind entries from the opening. A bell marks the soloist's last interlude, followed by a percussion intermezzo; then string clusters lead to the final phase of the piece. In steady rhythm, the solo instrument reaches out from his "note of departure" to fixed intervals. From individual glissando and pizzicato comments from the strings there gradually proceeds an orchestral climax of which the timpani take over the soloist's hammering motif. After this outburts, the soloist continues this motivic work - which is inexorable with its motoric drive - until, above gentle clusters from the strings and wind, the ostinato note G slips away into its opposite pole, F sharp, which had been expected throughout the piece.
-Jurgen Kochel

The Concerto No. 2 for Violin and Chamber Orchestra was written in 1966 at the behest of Mark Lubotsky, who also gave the first performanec on the occasion of the Jyvaskyla Festival in Finaland that year, conducted by Friedrich Cerha.

The concept which lies behind the work comes from a certain drama of tone colours: the soloist and the strings are treated in a linear, thematic manner whilst the wind and percussion are aggressively punctual and aleatoric. The double bass has the special role of a caricatured "anti-soloist". The sequence of several contrasting episodes shows clear signs of traditional formal structures: solo cadenza at the outset, exposition of the two sound spheres, Adagio episode, development climax, recapitulation, coda-finale.

A chromatic twelve-tone row serves as the thematic foundation, but there is nevertheless a center of melodic gravity, the constantly returning note G, which sometimes leads to an illusion of tonality, especially at the beginning and the end of the work.
-Alfred Schnittke.


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