Good Music We Can Know

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Relaxing with Cugat, Jazz Toccata & Fugue, Stormy Weather

Tonight in the Explorers Room, we come off that four-part series and take a little coolout episode.  Some back-to-basics fun stuff: Xavier Cugat, some records I've picked up recently, some jazz toccatas and fugues, and some storm-themed exotica.  Also, one particular unheralded marvel of obscure exotica that I just discovered and am very happy to put a spotlight on.  Tune in, jump in the comments with your other explorers, relax with Cugat and me.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: In Search of New Languages – Women in Electronic Music (Commercial & Mystic – All Dreams Are Not For Sale)

First off: Holger Czukay, one of the great musical heroes of our time, is gone and will be profoundly missed.  There are a lot of musical tributes floating around this week but I humbly recommend giving my own Czukay-centric Explorers Room a listen, part of a three-part Can series I did in 2015.  The pool just got less cool, the dancing spot a little less hot.  Goodbye Holger Czukay, thanks for everything.

Tonight in the Explorers Room we will hear the fourth and (for now) final installment in our series on the great women of electronic music. This evening will encompass a wide variety of approaches, from commercial to mystic to Oramic, with all the meditation, provocation, and pure exploratory research such a spread implies.  Heavily (but not exclusively) featuring: the great and only lady of Oramics, Daphne Oram; another BBC Radiophonic legend, Delia Derbyshire; and the liquid sublimity of Suzanne Ciani.  Tune in, join in the comments, hang out.

The study of sound and its relationship to life

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room – In Search of New Languages: Women in Electronic Music (Switching On & Classical Astronomy)

Tonight in the Explorers Room we will hear the third installment in our series on the great women of electronic music. This evening will find us focusing on the legendary Wendy Carlos – Moog vanguardist and pioneering practitioner of the switched-on classic – as well as a few others in the switched-on field, further studies in the occult, and some particularly conceptual planetarium music.

Tune in tonight and join in in the comments! 7-10, followed by The Cool Blue Flame with Little Danny.  And tune in next week for the final installment in the series (for now, anyway).

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room – In Search of New Languages: Women in Electronic Music (Astral Traveling, Forces of Nature, Dance & Performance)

Tonight in the Explorers Room we continue our look into some of the great women of electronic music, including the mysterious Pauline Anna Strom, both Laurie Anderson and Laurie Spiegel, and several other artists included on the groundbreaking 1977 compilation, New Music for Electronic and Recorded Media.  Expansive cosmic synths, linguistic play, and experimental performance works.  Same time (7-10), same place, same open invitation to join in the comments and add to the fabric of some pretty fascinating conversations.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: In Search of New Languages – Women in Electronic Music (Extended Vocal Techniques & Dream Revelations)

The Explorers Room is back, comrades!

Tonight in the Explorers Room, we embark on the first in a series of episodes exploring the wide-ranging world of women pioneers in electronic & synthesizer music.  Tonight we'll hear unusual vocal techniques and collaborations; themes of magic, mysticism, dreams, and eroticism; and some massively psychedelic, ego-death inducing legends of the field. Special attention paid to Annette Peacock, with appearances by Delia Derbyshire, Anaïs Nin, Joan La Barbara, and many more.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: A Full Dose of Dub

It's sweltering, the humidity is like hot fog, the sun a radioactive strobe.  The only cure for a heatwave like this is to get your chalice ablaze and have a full dose of dub.  Tonight will be wall-to-wall dub stuff, some of my very favorites. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Jazz Spirits and Arkestral Mind-Expansion

Tonight in the Explorers Room: an extremely heady selection of exotic, spiritual, and psychedelic jazz. From Phil Cohran and Eddie Gale to Tino Contreras and Gabor Szabo, tonight will be a vortex of consciousness-expansion, righteous fire, and inner peace.  Tune in, listen, jump in the comments, hang out with like-minded heads.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Fourth World Dream Theory (The Possible Musics of Jon Hassell)

Tonight in the Explorers Room we'll be excavating the invented ruins of the Fourth World, which is to say, it will be a program dedicated to exoticist, Eno collaborator, and originator of the musical term/concept of "Fourth World." Is Fourth World just a postmodern renaming of exotica? Or has Hassell opened the portal to another dimension of reconstructed otherness?  The only way to find out is to go there.

"The ability to bring the actual sound of musics of various epochs and geographical origins all together in the same compositional frame marks a unique point in history"

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Auvidis Library Sounds

Tonight in the Explorers Room, we will again investigate a bunch of library music from a single label. This time that label will be Auvidis, drawing mainly from a discrete grouping of synthi and funky LPs released in series between 1978 and 1984. There will be multiple appearances from our beloved J.P. Decerf, including a pretty wild collaboration with the Mauritian singer-songwriter Clarel Betsy. We'll also hear an extended foray into Auvidis' bizarre series of 7" field recording/music releases.  Click the Auvidis logo below to visit the playlist page, listen to the show, and join in the comments.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Exotica Concrète: The Dead Mauriacs – Beauté Des Mirages

I meant to post about this the second it came out, because I was so excited, but as usual I'm slightly late to the unveiling.  Better late than never, I write now to announce that the new Dead Mauriacs LP is out on Discrepant, and it's spectacular. 

I'll get this out of the way now: I did the cover art, and I think it looks really great, and goes well with the music on the record, and I'm very proud of it.  It's a collage I did last year, called Desert Song: The Sheik Manifests in the Garden (As the Green Man of Lore), really with no intention of using it for anything design-wise, but when I heard this record, which is itself all about illusions and disruptive intrusions in the paradisal exotic fantasia, it obviously resonated.  But I want to talk about the music for a minute. Anyone familiar with my own collage work and ideas regarding the complex subtextual landscape of exotica (and its relationship to Surrealism) will understand my enthusiasm and admiration for this record, which is in many ways specifically in line with those ideas.

The Dead Mauriacs are a mysterious French entity specializing in exotica concrète (mixing samples of exotica records with musique concrète strategies); all their releases are absolutely essential listening, especially with regards to anything that might be called contemporary exotica.  This new release, entitled La Beauté Des Mirages, is a tremendous panorama, a wide-screen sound collage from pieces of original exotica.  It lulls you into dream-state phantasmagoria and then tears at the fabric of fantasy with disturbing juxtapositions, discontinuities, and abrupt shifts.  In these moments of rupture, it's as though you're being asked to wake from the dream, but you're being pulled deeper into it, into feverish places where the utopian surface cracks and falls apart, revealing subtextual demons and chimeras of contradiction – the otherwise unaddressed colonial nightmare and industrial alienation that serves as the unacknowledged foundation for tiki and exotica's escapist pleasures.  I like to think Georges Bataille would have liked this record, that it aligns with his notions of ethnographic surrealism.  And I think someone like Martin Denny – who once described exotica as "a modern sound that evokes some very primitive feelings" and "pure fantasy," and always understood the total absurdity of it all – would love it too.  Maybe I say that because I love them both, and I love this, but they're as good a pair of reference points as any in describing the Dead Mauriac's sound.

This is not the first Dead Mauriacs release to treat exotica to exhilarating reconstructions and radical interventions – the last release, also on Discrepant, is excellent, as are Nouvelles Fonctions Exotiques, and the wonderful The Golden Age Of Artificial Inflatable Islands Or Ecstatic Free Love In A Ballardian Dystopia (and everything else I've heard). 

So check it out, explorers: Beauté Des Mirages

While you're at it, let me plug once again the other two Discrepant LPs I've done art for: Visions Congo, Mulago Sound Studio & Mike Cooper, Reluctant Swimmer / Virtual Surfer, because they're both absolutely brilliant, revelatory records that I personally love putting on the turntable and letting myself get sucked into their scenic soundstage and dreamy otherworldliness.  I've been lucky to do art for music this good, this adventurous.  Future projects are in the works, stay tuned.  (And if you have good music, get in touch with me, I'll make art for you too.)