What’s actually amazing about Brainbombs – apart from how abrasive a rock band can actually be – is the fact that no member of the band has killed themselves. Yet. With such a tremendous amount of hate spewing forth from each and every song, it almost doesn’t make sense as to how or why these guys haven’t been involved in some sort of atrocious killings or general violence.
What distinguishes Subotnick from his peer group is that his Silver Apples of the Moon for Electronic Music Synthesizer was the first electronic composition commissioned by a major record label. Even if that wasn’t the case, though, Subotnick’s work here still seems to have functioned as the basis for which the Silver Apples, an electronic rock duo, worked up its truncated career
Trained as a cantor – the dude who sings in temple – Palestine’s name is event intended to conjure up a batch of dissent. Kinda funny, though, huh? Either way, using ecstatic and ritualistic means as scaffolding for his compositions, the keyboardist and pianist was a contemporary of the West Coast avant-gardists from the Bay Area as well as LaMonte Young and his cohort. Wrapping himself in the spectacle of performace differentiated Palestine a bit from his peers in that costuming, while a part of the rock community, hadn’t transitioned to composers as of yet. Sure, Young’s Eternal gatherings most likely found players draped in black, all serious and austere. But Palestine looked like an acid casualty, all alone on stage working a few notes back and forth.
Best known for his Strumming Music, first released in 1974 and reissued a few times since, the composition actually has nothing to do with strumming and focuses on an acoustic piano. Granted, the title could reference anything from Cage’s work to prepared pianos. It’s just a bit nonspecific, but still confounding to listeners not privy to the secret history of America’s 20th century composed musics. The piece itself is the alternating of two notes back and forth after an intial introduction outlining the chords. Pacing picks up as the fifty-two minutes progress. But what makes Palestine something of an underrated genius is that he’d apparently rigged his instrument to slowly de-tune itself as the pace increased, creating dissonance where there should otherwise have been nothing but consonance. At first a bit grading to listen to, but progressively soothing, somehow, the work can eventually become background noise to pretty much any endeavor.
Look at that. What do you expect? Whatever it is, that's probably what's here: ridiculous vocals, awesome metal grooves and enough references to Satan to choke a sacrificial hooker.
Kobaïan? Good question. It’s a language created by Magma drummer Christian Vander and assigned to the fictitious story he constructed over his band’s first few albums. There’s a bit about escaping from Earth only to return and be chased off again. But that’s all nonsensical framing. And since we can’t understand the lyrics without a sheet of proper translation, it’s utterly moot.
We can hear music, though.
Off the band's indispensable Phallus Dei album. Here, Amon Düül II, replete with femme-tambo player, goes in on what seems to be a partially improvised section before the footage cuts out. Worth a quick viewing.
The force with which John Cage informed the second half of the twentieth century and its art makers is staggering. Granted, it’d be just as easy to dismiss the guy and his compositions as self-aggrandizing, academic work best suited to folks living on either coast. Just the same, though, Cage was able to conceive of some pretty heavy theories which wound up bearing on just about everything after 1955. Forget Pollack, this dude’s heavy.
When was that heyday, you might wonder. Well, back during the tail end of the sixties when everyone realized all you needed to do to get hippie chicks was to affect some political nonsense and play rock music, a group of hicks in the wilds of Ohio went and worked up a pretty diverse range of music. Releasing it as The Only Truth, but releasing it to something like five people, didn’t do much for the band’s career. That being said, a second disc followed a few years later, but only served as a reminder as to why no one picked up on Morly Grey in the first place.
Starting out as some weird amalgam of hippie jammers and improvised madness, Faust is the only first wave Krautrock band to persist to the present day. Granted, all involved have taken time to get into any manner of other endeavors. It just seems that the amassed legacy of what is Faust trumps everything else.
This sounds like it's just as likely a full band as a dude with a computer. Turns out, it's both. Somewhere between auld tyme cumbia and electro dance parties. Boss sounds.
Beginning in 1980, the Hartford based act combined gruff vocals and basic punk tunes with a bit of over the top guitar work, included for self aggrandizement as much as anything else. The troupe disbanded within two years, leaving no recordings behind. It wasn’t until the following year that the band reconvened, but only included the original bassist who picked up some singer named Brian Ripthroat (whoa.) The group’s first single included these folks. But the follow-up counted a new guitarist. There, apparently, wasn’t enough shredding. More personnel shifts ensued and by the end of ’84, White Pigs sported none of its original members even as this latter line-up found the most space on wax and even a few well distributed compilations. Of course, being the mid ‘80s and the band not favoring the spandex version of metal there wasn’t a tremendous future for ‘em. By 1990, everything was history and the band’s collected works – recordings spanning its career and endless line up changes – had been issued.
One of my favorite musicians rarely tours, records out of backyard shed and makes videos using family members. I’m not saying that he should have mega-tours and glitzy, packaged recordings—he wouldn’t; he’s anti-capitalist in the best sense—just that it’s surprising that he hasn’t been “discovered” by more people. Still, the Jacksonville, FL-based Ben Cooper, whose solo material is recorded under Radical Face, and duo material with Alex Kane called Electric President, has a devoted following who appreciate his dream-like and literary music.