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    As I prepare to travel through five cities, fireworking my way to financial (if not physical) security, I reflect on the last week’s listening:

    Nico & the Faction: Camera Obscura – as its title implies, this is a dark chamber where the unexpected looms up then, before it touches you (or you can touch it), recedes into the gloom. John Cale produces the most doom-struck version of ‘My Funny Valentine’ I’ve ever heard, where Ian Carr’s trumpet sounds like a phantom accusation from a hanged man’s lips….

    Roy Harper: Flashes from the Archives of Oblivion – when he resists the temptation to play the fool, this aging boy is the most heart-breaking of artists; his guitar stands comparison with that of Nick Drake or John Martyn, while his voice is more expressive than either of these iconic folk jokers….

    Magazine: The Correct Use of Soap – because Howard Devoto screeching, whimpering, and cajoling over John McGeoch’s anxious guitar is unforgettable. I listened to this album on my twenty-first birthday; now condemned to the mid-forties I’m still admiring it.

    Billy Harper: Somalia – this man is my favourite saxophonist. He follows Coltrane but never imitates, bringing the spiritual intensity of his predecessor to ‘Thy Will Be Done’. Francesca Tanksley (piano) and Eddie Henderson (trumpet) support Billy’s drive to go to that core everyone feels pulsing like an earthquake under the daily cynicism we live with and by.

    – That’s it until the 7th of November, when I return home having blown away even more of my hearing. Until then be virtuous; if you can’t be virtuous then at least be good at being bad….

    Max Gate



    fred frith/keep the dog-that house we lived in
    fred frith/keep the dog-that house we lived in
    fred frith/keep the dog-that house we lived in
    fred frith/keep the dog-that house we lived in

    an absolutely stunning two cd set of fred’s finest avant rock band since henry cow. this is the sort of thing that zappa should have been doing. if anyone out there has been wondering if they should get this, stop whatever you’re doing and grab it. highest possible recommendations.


    Bel Air

    Bodysong – Jonny Greenwood

    This is the soundtrack to a film about being human, told through images pulled from the last 100 years of cinema, with no dialogue or plot. It has not yet been released worldwide yet, and I have not yet seen it.

    This soundtrack, however, is utterly beautiful. Jonny Greenwood’s first foray into solo music making bears forth much fruit.

    There is so much on this record; free jazz, introspective chamber music, experimental electronica, clusters, sounds and rhythms, all composed in a way that is, to me, completely logical.

    Definately worth a listen for anyone interested in modern avant-garde music in any genre, or instrumental music.

    Jonny Greenwood is without doubt one of the UKs finest composers, and one of our best-kept secrets. I’m in love.



    My 2%:

    Johnny Cash – God -> track 3 “It Was Jesus” makes me want to go to church!
    Karen Mantler’s Pet Project -> bought it right after Cuckooland, she’s unique
    V/A – Vampyros Lesbos Sexadelic Danceparty -> sitars and out-of-tune guitars, my favourite seventies soundtrack
    Gong – OK Friends -> do I need to explain this?
    Ween – quebec -> godweensatan
    David Sylvian – Brilliant Trees/Gone to Earth/Secrets of the Beehive -> re-issue fever




    StreetCore the new posthomous release from Joe Strummer (& the Mescaleros).



    The German writer Christa Wolf observed that ‘One star doesn’t make a heaven’; still, listening to the Nic Jones reissue ‘Ballads and Songs’ (Leader LERCD2014) I wonder: Nic’s lone star shines brightly on ‘Sir Patrick Spens’ and ‘The Outlandish Knight’.

    A more forced listening is of the new ‘Flies Inside the Sun’ CD (Metonymic 016); ‘forced’ because my partner Kim Pieters plays bass in this free-form outfit and I have no option but to surrender the stereo. Take Fripp/Eno collaborations, add Terry Riley, along with Sonic Youth (whose leader, Thurston Moore, is a fan), and you get the feel: an edgy drone which occasionally plateaus into a cobalt calm.

    On October 16 my delightful father died suddenly; much to my surprise I didn’t mark his passing with the meditative ecstasy of Arvo Part, John Taverner, or Giya Kancheli, but by reverting to loud and repeated playings of the elementary Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers anthology ‘Through the Years’ (MCA); the track ‘Straight into Darkness’ summed up that repetitive emptiness which is the absence of a loved one announcing itself at four in the morning.

    And now, as I type, Bach provides the setting for my memories. But that will change because, just as Hulloder suffered reissue fever with the elegant David Sylvian, on my travels I bought three 180 gram vinyl masterpieces by Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band: ‘Shiny Beast’, ‘Lick My Decals Off, Baby’, and ‘Mirror Man’. They’re waiting for me.

    Max Gate



    last days i liked to listen to:
    takeo toyama – hello 88
    this heat – deceit
    the books – the lemon of pink
    f.s.blumm – ankern
    the phenomenological boys – melody, melody, melody



    Often, after loss, we retreat to the traditional. November has become a month of retrospectives as I try to make meaning from memories of my late father. So, on the stereo, I’ve been spinning work which is heavily indebted to genre rather than experimental:

    ‘Stanley Road’ : Paul Weller – This is the music Steve Winwood should have made after crashing Traffic; it is soulful without being silky – indeed, it has the grit of finishing sandpaper.

    ‘Jericho’ : The Band – The track which the album is titled after, ‘The Caves of Jericho’, is amongst their best; it sounds pared back yet it’s layered; it inhabits the room like an impeccably made macrocarpa table.

    ‘The Invisible Man’ : Mark Eitzel – This really is pared back, with only the occasional cello wrapping its warmth around Eitzel’s cool growl. He may be down but listening to this is uplifting; you feel like you’ve just towelled off after a dip in a mountain lake.

    ‘Smiling & Waving’ : Anja Garbarek – Yes, she must be the glittering ice in that mountain lake Eitzel reminded me of.

    Max Gate



    cold winter weather has reared its ugly head here, time to hibernate. what better way than to read, watch movies, and, of course, listen to music.
    chunky, novi and ernie – an odd and charming pop trio from the states, produced by john cale. an american version of slapp happy?
    family – fearless
    family – music in a dolls house – two of my favorites by one of britains best.
    thelonious monk – town hall concert
    thelonious monk – at the blackhawk – no home is complete without some monk.
    captain beefheart – i’m going to do what i wanna do (live at my father’s place 1978)
    yo la tengo – and then nothing turned itself inside out
    larry young – lawrence of newark
    kevin norton ensemble w/ anthony braxton – for guy debord
    carla bley – dinner music
    and others. stay warm.



    The Zombies – This Will Be Our Year (stereo version ;))

    Took a long time to come…



    As long ago as November, hulloder commented of Johnny Cash’s ‘It Was Jesus’: “makes me want to go to church!”

    – For most of January I’ve had Cash’s ‘American Recordings III: Solitary Man’ on high rotation. I’ve yet to hear a better cover version of ‘One’; it strips back Bono’s I-know-you’re-looking-at-me delivery to the sun-bleached bone.

    The other discovery of the month has been Klaus Tennstedt conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra through Brahms ‘Symphony No 1 in C Minor’. The grandeur of this music matches the view from my living room: a hawk tracing the eye.

    From the sublime to the ridiculous: Hawkwind’s ‘Space Ritual’, which I like as a pensioner likes an ice-cream – because it reminds him of a youth beautifully mispent.

    As for our man, ‘Shleep’ has been getting the most air-play, although ‘Rock Bottom’ still crowns the mountain.

    So, what have you fine fellows filled January with?

    Max Gate



    it is, to quote holden caufield, still “colder than a witches teat” here in wintry canada. christmas brought many new cd’s into the house, and have been keeping me out of trouble and out of the cold.
    andrew hill – passing ships
    larry young – mothership
    hank mobley – roll call
    soft works – abracadabra
    freddie hubbard – open sesame
    freddie hubbard – breaking point
    eddie “lockjaw” davis & johnny griffin – battle stations
    robert wyatt – cuckooland



    today i listened to captain beefeart and the magic band.
    their doc at the radar station




    – F.Frith/Keep the Dog’s 2cd is truly magnificent and fun.
    – Ensemble Modern’s Greggery Peccary and other
    persuasions is a must for all zappaphiles.
    – Kraftwerk gig in Helsinki, start of the tour 2004. Show
    was pretty swifty and very showmanslike. Kraftwerk I & II are still very enjoyable in a krautrockish way.
    – first Rocket From the Tombs studioalbum out! It took nearly 30 years, go lads! (and cheers Peter Laughner, where-ever you are)

    Highly recommendable internetradio for all
    canterbury/prog -people (some ads though if not
    a VIP member.)


    check it out




    some of the aural delights that have kept my brain spinning:
    judy henske/jerry yester- farewell aldebaran

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