Thursday, March 31, 2011

...E.C. Ball (with Orna Ball and the Friendly Gospel Singers)...

Here are a couple of songs that E.C Ball (with his wife along for the ride) recorded in 1973. The Virginia singer lays down some beautiful folk spirituals. His voice is much warmer and more relaxed than other singers in this genre, and it makes for a quite enjoyable listen.

"E.C. Ball with Orna Ball & the Friendly Gospel Singers: Trials, Troubles, Tribulations"

"E.C. Ball with Orna Ball & the Friendly Gospel Singers: House of Gold"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

...{vintage coverage}...

here's something new

dig these old school covers

dear landlord (bob dylan) - fairpoint convention

jealous guy (john lennon) - donny hathaway

wear your love like heaven (donovan) - eartha kitt

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

...Destroyer of Brains...

I know, I know....Destroyer of Brains is not exactly the kind of band name that makes me think, "Ooh, this is going to be good", but put the name aside for a second. What grabbed my attention about this band was that Chris Schlarb is involved in the project. I'm a fan of I Heart Lung and Schlarb's solo work, and since Doug has been posting all these great jazz tunes, I've been thrown onto a little bit of a jazz kick, so I figured I'd give it a chance. It didn't hurt that Destroyer of Brains put the two tracks I found, up for free over at Sounds Are Active. Boy, was I pleased. Not only is Schlarb involved, but members of Breakestra are all up into this. Come to find out it is a 6 piece free jazz project. You can get more band info, contributors listing, and the two tracks over at the band"s SAA page. Also, check out Chris' website for more specifics on the project. If you're mildly interested in jazz, or even if you're not, give this one a whirl.

"Destroyer Of Brains: Song For Charles Rocket"

"Destroyer Of Brains: Love Is The New Black"

Song For Charles Rocket (Take 2) from Chris Schlarb on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

{(-)}For Japan{(-)}Part Two{(-)}

Be Still My Soul - Kosuke Mine Quartet

Drizzling Rain - Masabumi Kikuchi
Sun In The East - Masayuki Takayanagi & New Direction For The Arts

In the same spirit as Part One, my focus on the rich artistic contributions of Japan are intended to draw our attention toward their present needs and to cause us to ask the question, "What can I/we do?" In answer to this question, any comments or suggestions are very encouraged. Beyond this, I hope that you enjoy the content.

I first latched on to Gary Snyder when I started getting serious about poetry - about a decade ago I guess. He's a very interesting man & much more than just a poet. He's accomplished a great deal in his 80+ years. If his work inspires you I would recommend reading up on him a bit. He lived in Japan from 1956 to 1964 I believe, studying Zen Buddhism & poetry. My original intention was to use his poetry exclusively, but after reading thru some of his translations of Kenji Miyazawa, a Japanese poet, science teacher & social activist (1896-1933), I felt compelled to use several of his poems. I'm gonna start out with one from Gary & follow up with three from Kenji:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

{Andrew Hill}-{One For One}

Man oh man! Please know that on this fine afternoon, I am here to serve up the goods! Once you hit play & begin to take in Andrew Hill's "Illusion" I'm hoping you'll agree with me. No credit here - like most things, i just stumbled onto it, and it doesn't take an insider's ear to recognize just how good this is. Let me expand a bit:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

{(-)}FOR JAPAN{(-)}PART ONE{(-)}

a few haiku from the master as well as two ode's to Japan via some fine jazz compositions (one original & one reworked). for part two i intend to flip this scenario with a poem that is an ode to Japan from a non-native followed by some excellent Japanese jazz - please look for it. lastly, if you're a person who prays, as you enjoy the contents of this post, please pray for Japan. let's encourage one another to support them in this and any other way. doug

Sunday, March 13, 2011

...Clutchy Hopkins, Saddleback, Aktuala...

For those of you who don't know, I work 12 hour shifts. During those long stretches of time, I think quite a bit about future artistic projects and I get to listen to a ton of music. So, that's a big part of the reason why music is such an inspiration to me, as well as, a large factor in my creative process. That being said, here is some stuff that I've been enjoying this past week.

...Clutchy Hopkins...

A few months ago I heard some music by this guy, Clutchy Hopkins. After listening to a few songs, I was really impressed with his mellow jazziness and organic beats. It didn't take me too much digging around to find out that this "guy" is surrounded by a fog of mystery. There are a couple of different stories out there as to who Clutchy Hopkins is. Some people feel that he is a guy from back in the day, who was interested in world rhythms and created these recordings with some help from his friends. To get a couple examples of these stories check out here and here. Others believe that "Clutchy Hopkins" is actually a pseudonym used by an already well known artist. In fact, some people believe that DJ Shadow may be involved in this project, or maybe even Madlib. Regardless, this is some chill jazzy music with some great beats, and it's fun to put on and let my mind wander. As prepostorous as some of the stories may seem, I love the mystery surrounding the music, and I would love to believe that some crazy old guru dude, from the 70s, was putting this sort of stuff out and that somebody just happened to stumble upon it at a rummage sale. Maybe it just gives me hope that there is still great stuff out there that nobody has heard.
These two tracks are off The Life of Clutchy Hopkins album.


I had come across this name several times before, but for some reason or another, I had never checked this "band" out until this past week. I say "band", because it's actually just one guy- Tony Dupe', who hails form South Wales. These tracks are from his 2007 album Night Maps, which is a must hear, if you're into this sort of thing. On it, he combines post rock with textures of jazz and even some classical. I especially like the bass lines that he uses, along with the jazzy drumming. Check it out.

"Saddleback: Pushing Upstream"

"Saddleback: Singing Scribbles"


Finally, while checking out some music blogs this past week, I discovered Aktuala. If you would like a little more info about them you can take a peak at their wikipedia page. Basically, they're a 70s era group of musicians from Italy, who made world influenced jazz, which, at times, was infused with a hint of psychedelia. I know that those genres can be a little off-putting to some, but, in my opinion, this is a good example of how, when done correctly,those categories can produce some really beautiful, hip, music. You can find these songs on their album Tappeto Volante.

Friday, March 11, 2011

...Clanging Bells of the Morning Star...

If you would like to attempt to transport your mind/thoughts into a similar place as I was, when these ideas popped into my head, then feel free to follow the instructions below. It's best if this is done in a quiet, solitary place.






...Clanging Bells of the Morning Star...
Bell curved mind,
Ringing with lucidity-
Hanging on the crimson thread...
...of sacrificial blood.

On the outskirts...
...of priestly garments
"A holy place is entered!".

Spirit singing bowl,
...with peripheral caress.
Stroking fingertips,
Gliding around the edges...
...of skull bone.
.............................Murmurs of resonating clarity.............

...And then...

Waves transform-
Wavelengths warp.
Crests summit jaggedly...
Troughs ravine careeningly.

Translates as a strike...
...of staccato sharpness.

Gonging, pot-and-pan, clatter.
An anti-climactic,
Crashing-brass, crescendo.
Piercing dissonance.

(even the tinkling of celestial vibration)
...sounds different,
In the vacuum
Of love's absence.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Flannery O'Conner

"Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it."

I read this on John Mark McMillan's blog.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

El Salvador.

A few of many shots taken in El Salvador. Went down a few weeks ago to aid in building seven homes, was the single best experience of my life overall and in terms of photography opportunities. Completely indescribable experience. It's like I was in a twisted paradise. My view of poverty and happiness is distorted. Happiness seems more abundant in poverty, which seems so strange by our American standards. These childrens' faces are burned into my mind. I keep fixating on them, and wanting to be back there and live the way they do. Let me know what you all think or if you want to know more, etc.

PS: Shot with manual focus, aperature, everything the entire time. Aperture set on lenses from the seventies (Nikon 35mm f/2.8, 50mm f/2) May not mean much, but doing so for the entire trip made me realize how incredibly well I can control every aspect of a photo shooting fully manual. Prime learning experience. Came home with a whole new knowledge of photography.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

...Ryan Trott...

You may not be familiar with name Ryan Trott, but he's a member of Brooklyn's Family Trees. Ryan just recently released a solo EP full of lo-fi, mid-tempo, garage folk songs under the title Spirit Home. These 8 bedroom recordings are full of dreamy psych mixed with a tiny bit of a Velvet Underground feel. Give a listen to the tracks below and then make sure to get the other five---> Ryan has posted the tracks for free download here.

"Ryan Trott: Paradise Eyes"

"Ryan Trott: Gentle Girl"

"Ryan Trott: Wild And Free"

Friday, March 4, 2011

...Mayer Hawthorne...

Mayer Hawthorne is another Stones Throw Records artist who is reviving the sound of vintage soul. Although he's more well-known than The Stepkids, I still don't hear a ton about him.

Mayer Hawthorne, whose real name is Andrew Mayer Cohen, also performs and records hiphop under the name Haircut. You can read a little more about him here.

Although many of the songs are slightly tongue-in-cheek, his album, A Strange Agreement, overall is a great blend of mellow and mildly poppy soul tunes. Even in its pastiche, this record has really grown on me, and I think that there is a lot to appreciate here.
The first track, Maybe So, Maybe No, is a good example of the album's feel good poppy side, while I Wish It Would Rain is a mellow slow jam. Come on, feel the groove and mellow out.

"Mayer Hawthorne: Maybe So, Maybe No"

"Mayer Hawthorne: I Wish It Would Rain"

Thursday, March 3, 2011

{cold horizons}-{nine}



all the noises in the world
have found there way in
become the noises in your head
and you seem all smothered
you’re surrounded you say
hemmed in by all the things
of the groping void
so that everything
just dulls into an all pervasive nothing
and there you lie
lost & stuck
in a hundred different ways
retreating inward
reaching out
for the slow-motion floating refuge
of the dark womb
of God’s love
to be unalone & silenced
dreaming the nothing dream
growing into the warm bliss
of the soft tissue embrace
entranced by nothing more
than the gentle hum
of the Holy Spirit
& the muffled world to come

...Bobby Wright...

I found these tracks over at Soul Persuasion, while searching for info on the Numero Group's reissue of the Willie Wright album. Like their post states, there's not anything out there about this 45 or Bobby himself- or at least, I can't find anything. It's a shame, because these tracks are so good. I would love to find an artist who consistently puts out songs like these. I guess I'll keep listening to these two beauts, along side some of Bill Withers' mellow-er stuff, and hope that one day the mystery of Bobby Wright will be solved.

"Bobby Wright: Blood Of An American"

"Bobby Wright: Everyone Should Have His Day"

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

...Holy Sons...

Here are a couple of songs from Holy Sons aka Emil Amos. Emil may be better known as the drummer for Om and for his role in the band Grails. Not all of his solo material sounds like the songs below, but these two tracks sure are a treat. Check out his myspace to hear what other sounds he's got up his sleeve. This record, Survivalist Tales, is out now on Partisan Records.

"Holy Sons: Reckless Liberation"

"Holy Sons: A Chapter Must Be Closed"