Thursday, April 30, 2009

Celebrate, Groove 1 Mono Wall

Hello, Into The Groove had a wide ranging scope within the rhotation format, it pretends to be fridaynight music, and you know there's bars and bars, today we start at the singles again bar, with a compilation aptly called Back To Mono, admittedly the music here is 40 years old so, well after a few glasses too many everything becomes stereo again and thoose grooves in the face disappear into the wall of sound. Next stop, a tea house or coffeeshop as they are known in the Netherlands, chill funk by nine true rastafarians, Cymande..There's always somewhere an eighties/disco party going on, and what would it be without some spirit lifting Earth Wind & Fire..finally as a bonus , the music that inspired the Ill of the Beastie Boys , Ll Cool J, had no stumach to vinylrip the album, but then i had an EP for 18 months in my preps directory, so finally it gets a posting after all.

Last word, i hope you liked the Celebration week (those that found it that is, i noticed just a third of my visitors coming in at the front page, the others will hopefully be surprised later), anyway i enjoyed compiling it. That said i'm amazed that i kept this tempo up for more then a year on end..but no more, there's other things to do, watch and listen. I will continue at Transgloballs.

Best of luck to you all


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VA - Phil Spector , Back To Mono 3 ( ^125mb)

Spector was born on December 26, 1939 to a lower middle class Jewish family in the Bronx in New York City. His grandfather emigrated from Russia. Spector changed his last name from 'Spektor' to 'Spector'. As the originator of the "Wall of Sound" production technique, Spector was a pioneer of the 1960s girl group sound and clocked in over twenty-five Top 40 hits between 1960 and 1965, Primarily with the Crystals and the Ronettes.

Spector's trademark during that era was the so-called Wall of Sound, a production technique yielding a dense, layered effect that reproduced well on AM radio and jukeboxes. To attain this signature sound, Spector gathered large groups of musicians (playing some instruments not generally used for ensemble playing, such as electric and acoustic guitars) playing orchestrated parts — often doubling and tripling many instruments playing in unison — for a fuller sound. Spector himself called his technique "a Wagnerian approach to rock & roll: little symphonies for the kids". Often called a mad genius because of his eccentric and temperamental behavior, Spector's idiosyncrasies were almost always validated by the artistic and commercial results of his sessions, which combined dozens of instruments and innovative production techniques into end products which only he could combine into works of art. His influence was immense, not only in the dozens of imitation Wall of Sound productions (some very accurate and worthy, it must be added) that flooded the market between 1962 and 1965, but as an inspiration to Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham, and others.

By the mid sixties Spector's teen operas were becoming out of fashion, although he enjoyed a lot of success with blue-eyed soul duo the Righteous Brothers specially with You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", ( listed by BMI as the song with the most U.S. air play in the 20th century). After the failure of Ike & Tina Turner's 1966 single "River Deep, Mountain High" -- which he always considered among his greatest achievements, (although it was a big hit in Britain) -- he retired to his L.A. mansion, marrying Ronnie Bennett, lead singer of the Ronettes. In later years he worked with such artists as John Lennon, George Harrison and the Ramones with similar success, including production work on the Academy Award winning Let It Be and Grammy Award winning Concert for Bangladesh soundtracks. In 1989, Spector was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer.

The 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson in his Alhambra, California home led to his being charged with murder in the second degree. His first trial ended in a mistrial; his second trial resulted in a conviction of second degree murder on April 13, 2009. In addition he was found guilty of using a firearm in the commission of a crime.Spector was immediately taken into custody and will be formally sentenced on May 29, 2009.

At the time Back to Mono was released in 1991, Phil Spector's reputation as one of pop's great visionaries was intact, but there was no way to hear his genius. It wasn't just that there were no collections spotlighting his productions, there weren't collections of artists he produced. It wasn't until Back to Mono that there was a thorough overview of Spector's greatest work, and while it's not without flaws, it still stands as one of the great box sets. Later it was released as 4 seperate albums.

01 - Righteous Brothers - You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
02 - Ronettes - Born To Be Together
03 - Righteous Brothers - Just Once In My Life
04 - Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody
05 - Ronettes - Is This What I Get For Loving You?
06 - Darlene Love - Long Way To Be Happy
07 - Righteous Brothers - (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons
08 - Righteous Brothers - Ebb Tide
09 - Modern Folk Quartet - This Could Be The Night
10 - Ronettes - Paradise
11 - Ike & Tina Turner - River Deep, Mountain High
12 - Ike & Tina Turner - I'll Never Need More Than This
13 - Ike & Tina Turner - A Love Like Yours (Don't Come Knockin' Everyday)
14 - Ike & Tina Turner - Save The Last Dance For Me
15 - Ronettes - I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine
16 - Ronettes - You Came, You Saw, You Conquered
17 - Sonny Charles And Checkmates Ltd - Black Pearl
18 - Checkmates Ltd - Love Is All I Have To Give

Celebrate, Groove 2 Cymande

Cymande - Best of (73/74 ^ 148mb)

Cymande (pronounced Sah-mahn-day) were an eclectic band who released several albums throughout the early 1970s. The group was formed in 1971 in London, England by musicians from Guyana and Jamaica. The name Cymande is derived from a Calypso word for Dove, which symbolizes peace and love. Although underappreciated and woefully overlooked during their original tenure together, the fine early-'70s outfit Cymande was one of the first to merge African rhythms with rock, funk, reggae, and soul. Comprised of members who hailed from such exotic locales as Guyana, Jamaica, and St. Vincent, the nine-man lineup (who were all entirely self-taught) contained Steve Scipio (bass), Ray King (vocals, percussion), Derek Gibbs (alto/soprano), Pablo Gonsales (congas), Joey Dee (vocals, percussion), Peter Serreo (tenor), Sam Kelly (drums), Mike Rose (alto, flute, bongos), and Patrick Patterson (guitar). The band issued a total of three releases: 1972's self-titled debut (which spawned one of their best-known songs, "The Message," peaking at number 22 on the domestic R&B charts in 1974), 1973's Second Time Round, and 1974's Promised Heights -- before splitting up.

However, by the '90s, Cymande became the recipient of a strong cult following as another track from their debut, "Bra," was included on the soundtrack to Spike Lee's motion picture Crooklyn, and several of their songs were sampled by rap artists (including Raze, Master Ace, MC Solaar, De La Soul, DJ Kool, and the Fugees). Due to sudden interest in Cymande, a pair of compilations were issued --Cymande can now be seen as one of the most sophisticated of the funk acts that evolved in the early 1970s. Members of the band reunited for a performance in Brighton (UK) on May 19, 2006 during the UK Funk All-Stars night at the Corn Exchange. It formed part of the Brighton Festival 2006.

01 - The Message
02 - Brothers On The Slide
03 - Dove
04 - Bra
05 - Fug
06 - For Baby Woh
07 - Rickshaw
08 - Equitorial Forest
09 - Listen
10 - Getting It Back
11 - Anthracite
12 - Willy's Headache
13 - Genevieve
14 - Pon De Dungle
15 - Rastafarian Folk Song
16 - One More
17 - Zion I

Celebrate, Groove 3 Earth Wind

Earth, Wind & Fire - The Very Best Of vol 1 (^147mb)

Earth, Wind & Fire were one of the most musically accomplished, critically acclaimed, and commercially popular funk bands of the '70s. Conceived by drummer, bandleader, songwriter, kalimba player, and occasional vocalist Maurice White, EWF's all-encompassing musical vision used funk as its foundation, but also incorporated jazz, smooth soul, gospel, pop, rock & roll, psychedelia, blues, folk, African music, and, later on, disco. The band could harmonize like a smooth Motown group, work a simmering groove like the J.B.'s, or improvise like a jazz fusion outfit. Plus, their stage shows were often just as elaborate and dynamic as George Clinton's P-Funk empire.

After numerous line up changes their career took of in 75, when they scored a movie that flopped but they had the good sense to release the soundtrack beforehand, That's the Way of the World contained their first no 1 hit -Shining Star album sales went platinum and EW& F was in business. 1977's All n' All was another strong effort that charted at number three and spawned the R&B smashes "Fantasy" and the chart-topping "Serpentine Fire"; meanwhile, the Emotions topped the pop charts with the White-helmed smash "Best of My Love." The following year, White founded his own label, ARC, and EWF appeared in the mostly disastrous film version of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, turning in a fine cover of the Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life" that became a Top Ten pop hit .

1979's I Am contained EWF's most explicit nod to disco, a smash collaboration with the Emotions called "Boogie Wonderland" that climbed into the Top Ten. The ballad "After the Love Has Gone" did even better, falling one spot short of the top. Although I Am became EWF's sixth straight multi-platinum album, there were signs that the group's explosion of creativity over the past few years was beginning to wane. The eighties, again saw numerousline up changes and limited chart success, as a consequence they were dropped by their label Columbia in 1990. EW &F returned on Reprise with the more traditional-sounding Millennium in 1993, but were dropped when the record failed to recapture their commercial standing despite a Grammy nomination for "Sunday Morning". Tragedy struck that year when onetime horn leader Don Myrick was murdered in Los Angeles. Bailey and the White brothers returned once again in 1997 on the small Pyramid label with In the Name of Love. After 2003's The Promise, the group realigned itself with several top-shelf adult contemporary artists and released 2005's Illumination.

01 - Let's Groove
02 - Getaway
03 - Shining Star
04 - Spread Your Love
05 - Reasons
06 - Can't Let Go
07 - Serpentine Fire
08 - Boogie Wonderland (Voc.The Emotions)
09 - Star
10 - Jupiter
11 - Electric Nation
12 - Fall In Love With Me
13 - And Love Goes On
14 - Keep Your Head To The Sky

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LL Cool J - I Can't Live Without My Radio EP (85 ^39mb)

Born James Todd Smith on January 14, 1968, Ladies Love Cool James (LL Cool J) began his career in Queens, N.Y. when he was 16 years old, though he had been rapping since the age of nine. His grandfather bought him a mixing table and LL began to record tapes in his home. Inevitably, he sent his tapes to various record labels and finally interested Def Jam Productions. In 1984 they signed him and released his first single, "I Need A Beat." The single sold more than 100,000 copies and established LL Cool J in the rap industry. His debut album, I Can't Live Without My Radio, (which went platinum) was recorded in 1985 after LL left high school to pursue a career in music. Al 4 tracks from Radio

01- I Can't Live Without My Radio (5:27)
02 - You'll Rock (Remix) (4:32)
03 - Rock The Bells (4:00)
04 - El Shabazz (3:24)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Celebrate, AZ Soup 2 Rush

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Must be a new record, certainly for Rho-Xs, the Genesis page was taken down within 2 days, seems EMI is not having anyone comprimise their exorbitandly priced Genesis Box or fully priced remaster. They likely have someone scouring blog world for any infringement of their percieved cashcows. ..They still don't get it, if anything, hearing one of the boxsets remasters would stimulate interest...

Here's the original Alphabet Soup intro

Hello, Alphabet Soup delivers some seventies favourites of mine, first up Foxtrot, the remastered one, the album was a big part of my first holiday with friends, singing along with Suppers Ready halfdrunk, oh well Rome and Florance were inspiring aswell and the sambuca very cheap. Rush was another band i bought all albums from until the early eighties. Caress of Steel was the album where they found their path to enduring collaboratiuon and stardom, ironically that album didnt sell as much but it prepared the way for their 2112 breakthrough...Finally a last minute switch , i had prepared World Record by Van Der Graaff Generator ..its still availble btw..but i decided to switch to Peter Hammill's solo album Over. It's hard to say what grabbed me at the time because thematically it wasnt something i connected with-at the time, however 10 years later when i was his age when he recorded it i understood, anyway i have his first 11 albums so posting one makes sense

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Rush - Caress Of Steel (75 ^ 100mb)

Never the critics favourite and rare recipients of mainstream pop radio airplay, Rush nonetheless won an impressive and devoted fan following while their virtuoso performance skills solidified their standing as musicians' musicians. Rush formed in Toronto, Ontario, in the autumn of 1968, and initially comprised guitarist Alex Lifeson (born Alexander Zivojinovich), vocalist/bassist Geddy Lee (born Gary Lee Weinrib), and drummer John Rutsey. In their primary incarnation, the trio drew a heavy influence from Cream, and honed their skills on the Toronto club circuit before issuing their debut single, a rendition of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away," in 1973. A self-titled LP followed in 1974, at which time Rutsey exited; he was replaced by drummer Neil Peart, who also assumed the role of the band's primary songwriter, composing the cerebral lyrics (influenced by works of science fiction and fantasy) that gradually became a hallmark of the group's aesthetic.

With Peart firmly ensconced, Rush returned in 1975 with a pair of LPs, Fly by Night and Caress of Steel. Their next effort, 1976's 2112, proved their breakthrough release: a futuristic concept album based on the writings of Ayn Rand, it fused the elements of the trio's sound -- Lee's high-pitched vocals, Peart's epic-length compositions, and Lifeson's complex guitar work -- into a unified whole. Fans loved it -- 2112 was the first in a long line of gold and platinum releases -- while critics dismissed it as overblown and pretentious: either way, it established a formula from which the band rarely deviated throughout the duration of their career.

When Rush finished their third album, Caress of Steel, the trio was assured that they had created their breakthrough masterpiece. But when the album dropped off the charts soon after its release, it proved otherwise. While it was Rush's first release that fully explored their prog rock side, it did not contain the catchy and more traditional elements of their future popular work -- it's quite often too indulgent and pretentious for a mainstream rock audience to latch onto. And while Rush would eventually excel in composing lengthy songs, the album's two extended tracks -- the 12½-minute "The Necromancer" and the nearly 20-minute "The Fountain of Lamneth" -- show that the band was still far from mastering the format. The first side contains two strong and more succinct tracks, the raging opener, "Bastille Day," and the more laid-back "Lakeside Park," both of which would become standards for their live show in the '70s. But the ill-advised "I Think I'm Going Bald" (which lyrically deals with growing old) borders on the ridiculous, which confirms that Caress of Steel is one of Rush's more unfocused albums.

A Farewell to Kings followed in 1977 and reached the Top 40 in both the U.S. and Britain. After 1978's Hemispheres, Rush achieved even greater popularity with 1980's Permanent Waves, a record marked by Peart's dramatic shift into shorter, less sprawling compositions. As the 1980s continued, Rush grew into a phenomenally popular live draw as albums like 1982's Signals, 1984's Grace Under Pressure, and 1985's Power Windows continued to sell millions of copies. As the decade drew to a close, the trio cut back on its touring schedule.

At the dawn of the 1990s, however, Rush returned to the heavier sound of their early records and placed a renewed emphasis on Lifeson's guitar heroics; consequently, both 1991's Roll the Bones and 1993's Counterparts reached the Top Three on the U.S. album charts. In 1996, the band issued Test for Echo and headed out on the road the following summer. Shortly thereafter, Peart lost his daughter in an automobile accident. Tragedy struck again in 1998 when Peart's wife succumbed to cancer. Dire times in the Rush camp did not cause the band to quit. Lee took time out for a solo stint with 2000's "My Favorite Headache". It would be five years until anything surfaced from the band. Fans were reassured in early 2002 by news that Rush were recording new songs in Toronto. The fruit of those sessions led to the release of Rush's 17th studio album, Vapor Trails, later that spring. In 2004 the band embarked on their 30th anniversary tour, and in 2006 they returned to the studio to begin work on a new album. The resulting Snakes & Arrows was released in May 2007, followed by Snakes & Arrows Live in early 2008.

01 - Bastille Day (4:37)
02 - I Think I'm Going Bald (3:38)
03 - Lakeside Park (4:07)
04 - The Necromancer (12:29)
p1 - Into The Darkness (4:12)
p2 - Under The Shadow (4:25)
p3 - Return Of The Prince (3:51)
05 - The Fountain Of Lamneth (19:58)
p1 - In The Valley (4:13)
p2 - Didacts And Narpets (1:02)
p3 - No One At The Bridge (4:18)
p4 - Panacea (3:14)
p5 - Bacchus Plateau (3:14)
p6 - The Fountain (3:50)

Celebrate, AZ Soup 3 Hammill

Peter Hammill - Over (77 ^ 113mb)

Born Peter Joseph Andrew Hammill, November 5, 1948, in Ealing, London, to parents of fairly good means, Peter Hammill grew up in the embrace of Jesuit teachings, an element that has continued to affect and influence his songwriting throughout his career as much as his studies of philosophy and art. The drive of his particular muse, fueled additionally by the '60s groundswell of new approaches to science fiction led to collaboration with Chris Judge-Smith at Manchester University, with Van Der Graaf Generator forming around them -- albeit briefly. The band broke up after a number of gigs, with Hammill going solo. The arrival of a Mercury Records contract led Hammill into the studio, accompanied by various friends, for a brief but intense recording session. The first three VDGG albums for Charisma moved through a variety of shattered and darkened landscapes, with some genuinely chilling moments.

Hammill's first solo outing, Fool's Mate (both a chess and Tarot reference), came alongside the Van Der Graaf Generator album H to He Who Am the Only One. It consisted, in the main, of an assortment of songs deemed too small for the band. In contrast, following the dissolution of VDGG following Pawn Hearts, Hammill's sophomore release, The Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night, was a bleak affair indeed. Hammill seemed to need to strip things down to the bare essentials, recording at home (the first appearance of Sofa Sound) for the most part, his lyrics telling more personal tales.

With The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage, Hammill began to find a voice away from VDGG, though his writing had yet to completely mature . In Camera saw him handling most of the instrumental work himself and experimenting with ambient soundscapes. In 1975, he once again dug into the back catalog of his songs, assuming the leather-jacketed persona of Rikki Nadir for Nadir's Big Chance, a noisy, chaotic album of garage band-styled rock & roll. The album seems to have had its effect in the British music community, being cited by more than a few in the following punk uproar as an influence -- even John Lydon went public with a degree of admiration for Hammill's work.

1975 saw the rebirth of Van Der Graaf Generator in a somewhat calmer format, while the songs still extended to epic length, the tendency towards proto-jazz explosions with rock underpinnings had been shorn away, the drumming was more laid back, and the lyrics tended towards examinations of people. The first two releases, Godbluff and Still Life, were fine albums, with one of Hammill's finest songs, "My Room (Waiting for Wonderland)" appearing on the latter, but by the third album, Van Der Graaf Generator - World Record The band fractured yet again early 76. The support tour thru the US and UK made it clear that making music together and touring abroad isn't for everyone.

Meanwhile Hammill got his own troubles back home and in july 76 he recorded Over, one of the best albums ever made about the end of a relationship and the trauma that results, Over is the harrowing document of the failure of a long-term relationship Peter Hammill had been in. With a brief side-step to examine the loss felt by parents when their children move out ("Autumn"), Hammill exposes feelings of guilt, rage, betrayal, attempts at understanding, and attempts at healing. From the self-recrimination of the furious "Crying Wolf," to the angry lashing out of "Time Heals," through the heart-wrenching sadness of "This Side Of The Looking Glass" (with Hammill turning in a beautiful vocal performance against an orchestral setting), to the extremely tentative healing steps of "Lost And Found" (which includes a middle eighth that concludes "La Rossa" from Van Der Graaf Generator's Still Life, but in a cynical way), the songs avoid compromise and simplicity, making this a sometimes difficult listening experience; the lyrics are often bitterly clever and cutting. Beautifully produced, Over is Peter Hammill at his musical and lyrical best.

The album was recorded during a period of line-up change for Hammill's band Van der Graaf Generator. It features VdGG drummer Guy Evans, VdGG's new recruit Graham Smith (formerly of String Driven Thing) on violin, and the return of VdGG's bass player from 1969 to 1970, Nic Potter. It was issued for the first time on CD on Virgin Records in the early 1990s, Hammill had refused earlier cd release such was the intensity of his emotions about the album, he likely didnt want to confront his later marriage with it, bad luck for me as my vinyl had suffered chronic damage. It was reissued again in a remastered version in 2006 with bonus tracks.

1 - Crying Wolf (5:14)
2 - Autumn (4:19)
3 - Time Heals (8:43)
4 - Alice (Letting Go) (5:40)
5 - This Side Of The Looking Glass (7:04)
6 - Betrayed (4:49)
7 - (On Tuesdays She Used To Do) Yoga (3:58)
8 - Lost And Found (7:33)

El Mundo Alucinante: Notes on Cuba, Part 3

I was all set to post yesterday's new poem with commentary and my Obamatude post today, but after two meetings this afternoon my eyes started to give out (so much stuff to read these last few days), then a headache entered the mix, and I ended up by the early evening lying down and listening to "Brother President," as Professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell described him recently, work his magic with the press corps. So perhaps some Obamatude tomorrow. Overall, as I said on Monday, concerning Mr. President Obama, todo chévere (and don't think I've ever uttered this word even once in a Spanish-speaking country. Excelente or chido always come to mind first...).

El Mundo Alucinante: Notes on Cuba, Part 3

Another post on the still energizing and unforgettable Cuba trip.


Let me mention one point that I forgot in the initial post, which concerns connectivity. I consider myself a reasonably hyperconnected person. I don't talk on the phone all that much, but I do use my cell phone, an iPhone, to text, check and send email, listen to music, and use numerous applications/apps. I almost always carry my laptop with me and often check my various email accounts several times a day, except when I'm teaching or writing; I visit a number of news and blog sites, forums, social networking sites, and so on every day, and as is clear here, I blog when I can; I often read magazines online; and I frequently either listen to or download podcasts and radio programs from the Web. While I imagined that things would be different in Cuba, and that I would not be able to access the net as readily as I can in the US, I was a bit surprised and chastened by how limited the options were. In 2 of the 3 hotels we stayed at, the only net access was via very slow PCs, at the rate of $7-8 CuCs per hour (about $10). [If you are in Havana, I recommend going to the business center at the Havana Libre Hotel, 2nd floor, where the computers are a lot cheaper and a little faster. I was able to upload some university work using a flash drive without any problem.] I had this fantasy that I was going to upload pictures every day with microblogposts, but the reality was that in the first hotel, and sometimes use emailing and Skype as ways to chat with C, but there was barely even an adequate outlet to keep my computer charged, let alone my phone (+camera); in the second hotel, in Pinar del Río, I was able to charge my computer and phone, and the hotel not only didn't have net access. In the third hotel, there were several outlets, but only a two net-ready computers, and they moved at a glacial pace. In the various schools we visited, we learned that internet access was mostly nonexistent, though various Cuban intranets did access. Our guide Tati explained that one of the problems was a lack of broadband wiring and an updated grid, which cost lots of money, financed here in the US both by governmental and private funds. Let me also add that Bernardo suggested I go to the International Press Center, which he was pretty sure had computers, phone access and cards, and so on. So I dropped by there on a particularly muggy day, and was shooed away by an officious official who promptly went back to chatting on the phone with who knows. I stood my ground and said I was a visitor, blah blah blah, and he kindly sent me on a wild goose chase for net access and a phone card (see below) that I described that evening to C as "Kafkaesque." Oh well--at least I did get to walk through the sweltering streets of Havana. One of the things I imagine that will happen over the next 10 years in Cuba will be the development of its data and communications networks, especially if any sources of private funding are allowed in.

One of the letters thanking Fidel for the literacy campaign, Museum of Literacy

Then there was the issue of telephony. I am not a telephone person, let me state that at the beginning. I have always found using telephones in foreign countries baffling, and Cuba was no different. We were told that we could rent cell phones, but I was unable to find any spot that would rent them. From my experiences in other countries (cf. DR, France, Brazil, etc.), I knew I could use phone cards. Hah! The first problem was getting a phone card. Bernardo, knowing such things, urged me to go to an outlet of ECTESA, which is the state phone company. He specifically told me to ask for a phone card priced using the national currency, and not CuCs. So I went to do so, and lo, she requested far more CuCs, not the national currency, than Bernardo had said. Then she and the other people in the little kiosk-sized office proceeded to have a good laugh at my expense in Spanish, until she realized that I was staring at her and listening intently, and then asked, "Me entiendes?" and I said yes, which immediately provoked more professional behavior, and a nice(r) send-off. Truthfully there were speaking so fast I had no idea what they were saying, but I've learned that it's best to appear as though you have half a clue if you want to preserve any dignity. I got the phone card, which was 15 CuCs ($17), and tried several times to call C and several Cubans for whom I'd brought books from a friend, finally getting through briefly before it canceled out. The next day we headed to Pinar del Río, so I couldn't go back to ECTESA for another card, but Bernardo sold me his. I tried repeatedly to use it at the hotel we were staying out, but it wouldn't work, so I tried to use the hotel's main phone to call the US. They told me they couldn't do it, so that led to a late evening attempt to find a phone in the town at which I could use the card. I ended up taking one of the bike taxis, pedaled by a man who might have been 100 years old but huffingly did manage to get us into Pinar del Río's downtown, but I couldn't find a single public phone, including the one used by the "foreign students," that would go through to the US. So finally I walked another 10 blocks and found a charming, small hotel to make even a short call to C. When we returned to Havana, I experienced the encounter at the International Press office that I mentioned above, which included my trolling every hotel and store in the area for a "tarjeta telefónica" before I returned to the ECTESA office (which sits right across the street from the famous ice cream stand Coppélia), and they were completely out of phone cards. The woman whom I'd encountered a few days before was taking cash for people to call at the phones in the office, and I thought I was encountering a scam, so when I protested, I received a nice "mi amol" and was told that, no, they didn't have any cards. And was promptly sent off to one of the many hotels that of course did not have them. I never got to inquire at the Hotel Nacional, which is the largest and grandest hotel in Havana, but I'm told they had everything, including the best cuba libres in the city, so I'll have to try them out next time. At any rate, my expectations for connectivity dropped radically, and I felt that this was excellent preparation for any potential future trips into the rain forest, the desert, or some other spot where the webs of communication I've become so used to, to dependent upon, do not exist.

Entering Casa Fuster (Alex Fuster at bottom left)


The main reason for the trip, of course, was educational research. Both groups visited a range of educational institutions, from elementary schools (in Havana and the rural district of Pinar del Río, quite comparable in many ways to public elementary schools in the US) to college and university-level institutions (such as the Institute of Higher Arts [Institute de Artes Superiores] built on what was once the largest private golf course of one of the most exclusive country clubs in the Americas, in Havana). Given that, as I said before, the tour was listed as a "research" trip, the terms of our license--the visa which all Americans are required to acquire to visit Cuba legally--mandated that we spend a sizable portion (somewhere around 60-70% of every weekday) visiting institutions or organizations for research purposes, and we did. We even went to meet with a retired teacher who volunteered at the Cuban Pedagogy Association, which seeks to disseminate best teaching practices (primarily via DVD and TV) to teachers throughout the country. I was put in mind of MIT's open-courseware efforts, which include online classes and materials, and other online-based pedagogy projects aimed at elementary and secondary school teachers in the US, and thought about how useful such efforts are, at all levels, to teachers anywhere.

Performance by children at school in Pinar del Río

As part of the tour, we also met with education-related organizations and groups, such as the Cuban Student Union (FEU), a union structured as a quasi-parliament, with members participating in and linked to the government, for university students; and we heard from Cuban social work students and officials. The tour took us to governmental spaces, like Revolutionary Square, constructed originally during the Batista dictatorship in Fascist style, but since the Revolution reformulated as the site of major governmental institutions; the government-focused institutions, like the Museum of the Revolution, which was housed in the former presidential building; the Museum of Literacy, which celebrated the Revolution's striking early and swift success at overcoming the problem of illiteracy, and which featured one of the most moving artifacts I saw all trip, a book of letters written to Fidel by former illiterate people, many of them from the countryside, many women, many mixed-race or black (we learned that the oldest person who learned to read [alfabetizado] during the literacy campaign was 106 years old, and the youngest reading teacher [alfabetizador] was 8); cultural institutions like the national Museum of Fine Arts, whose "Cuban" exhibit sections we saw, including a room dedicated to the marvelous Cuban painter Wilfredo Lam, and a privately established social service organization in Pinar del Río, run by artist Jesús Carrete that provides structure and arts opportunities for people with Down Syndrome.

The focus on the arts encompassed several other community-focused projects, such as the Callejón de Hamel project in Havana's Centro district, in which artist Salvador González Escalona, whose sculptures, paintings, installations, and multiplatform works were the first murals in Cuba to celebrate and synthesize Cuba's four-major Afro-Cuban religions (Abakuá; Arará; Reglas de Palomonte; and the best known, Santería--and all the orixás were present in various forms throughout the space), created an expanding, open-air workshop along an important side street in Havana's cultural history; we were unable to attend the all-day Sunday rhumba parties that are acclaimed across the city, but we did get a brief taste of the opportunities that the space provided for people in the neighborhood and city. A different analogous site we visited was Casa Fuster, a fantastical estate developed the internationally renowned artist José Fuster, who we learned created workshops and projects for the people in the surrounding neighborhood, Jaimanitas. But then, as one of the deans at the Institute of Higher Arts put it quite succinctly, in Cuba "every artist is a teacher," and it became clear to us that this was more than a mere statement--if artists were not teaching in schools (at any level), the societal expectation was and is that they somehow will and must interact with their surrounding communities, a very different approach from the generally cloistered, market-based focus and perspective in the US.

Tati showing us a blackboard damaged by machine gun fire during the Bay of Pigs (Playa Girón) Invasion in 1962, Museum of Literacy

I could write quite a bit about the primary schools we visited, basing most of it on my notes, but I'll only say that I was quite impressed both by the teachers we encountered and by the students, who were incredibly adorable and sharp. We witnessed 5th grade students not only describing with great sophistication why José Martí was a favorite historical figure, but also very diplomatically breaking down for us one of the few Americans who'd supported Cuba's early attempt at liberal, in the late 19th century. A fifth grader. As I said in an earlier post, I did and still do wonder whether we were taken only to model schools and what other schools are really like, but seeing how these institutions operated, particularly given the economic constraints we witnessed, I was impressed. To give one example, since the state cannot afford laboratory equipment, students learn chemistry via videotapes and the intranet. To give another, primary through secondary level teachers earn only about 300-500 Cuban pesos, not CuCs, per month. (Remember, 1 CuC = $1.08/$1.20 with taxes, and there are about 25 Cuban pesos = $1/CuC.) I and others were quite curious about Cuba's secondary schools; education is compulsory through the 9th grade, after which Cubans have several choices. For 10-12th grades, they can either try go find jobs, or select from several educational options. There are technical schools focused on the sciences; there are military schools; there are vocational schools; and then there are schools in the countryside, where students devote a portion of each day to agricultural work. As there are no private schools and as the admittances to the other schools listed above are limited, the majority of 10-12 level students, including all who live in and around cities, either attend these country boarding schools or attend schools in the city where they have to dedicate a portion of their time working in city gardens and the like. As one Cuban told me, the education is very good, but the farmwork immersion and related chores are far less appealing, to put it in nice terms. Naturally, I really wanted to see one of these schools, but we didn't have the opportunity to do so. We did, however, see students in Pinar del Río who appeared to be heading back from vacation (it was around the time of Easter) to their schools, but we (I) didn't get an opportunity to chat with them.

As many (most?) decent jobs require a secondary school diploma, a sizable portion of students pursue this three-year option. I picked up that there was a problem, however, in terms of some students not continuing in school after 9th grade, and so the government and educational authorities were trying to improve the rates of continued school and graduation. At a certain age, all men must serve a period (depending) in the military, 2 years if not attending college or 1 year before college, while all women must participate in a 2-year public service project. To attend college, educational officials look at students' grades and test scores, and depending upon where they fall, they are given an option to attend certain universities or colleges. All education at all levels is free. (The state has also opened an array of what we might consider community colleges that provide people with the option of studying towards a high-school degree, vocational training, what would amount to associate and bachelors degrees, and even professional study.) Studying certain fields, such as the arts, was more difficult than others because of the limited amount of spaces. We also heard that one pending issue was the large number of students studying the journalism, humanities and social sciences (especially psychology) versus the hard sciences (and agronomy, I would add), and how the government was trying to nudge students towards the latter. In the US, of course, parents, the marketplace, colleges' and universities' course offerings and faculties, and our culture in general have a determinative effect, whereas in Cuba, personal choice (to a degree) combined with the government's (and society's) needs control what people study. As someone working in the arts and humanities, I thought about this quite a bit, particularly in relation to the constant and growing discourse about the "uselesness" or lack of utility of not only the arts, which has manifested itself in the stripping away of arts programs in many K-12 systems and the concern of some students with parental approval for taking arts and writing classes, etc., but also of the humanities. Even some very famous humanities scholars have advanced such arguments, to our national and international detriment, I would argue. Ignorance is not bliss, and scholarship is important both on its own terms but also because it often has profound effects in the world, in ways scholars might or might not imagine.

But back to the arts. One of the highlights for me was visiting Havana's Institute of Higher Arts (ISA), which would be equivalent to a state version of most of the US's top art schools combined. Admission is selective, and follows prior study in artistic fields at other institutions. It is the only higher arts school in Cuba, and students from across the country attend to receive a more humanistic training, that is, to receive grounding in aesthetics, philosophy (including Cuban Marxist-Leninism), art history, psychology, and cultural studies and appreciation, and to "experiment." The institute representative told us that students at the Institute could study music; visual and plastic arts; theater (including playwriting) and dance (as is the case at many US arts schools, i.e., NYU's Tisch School of the Arts); and audiovisual communication arts (which I imagine would include photography, film and video production). When we walked up to the spot where we were going to meet our rep from the school, we saw students strolling about the grounds playing instruments, memorizing their parts in plays, and just enjoying themselves by thinking. When we reached the little patio area, we received an impromptu jazz performance by several student musicians. At this point we were able to ask questions, and I had to inquire about creative writing, or the formal study of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction, including journalism. (Playwriting and screenwriting, as well as cross-genre writing, should be part of this mix, but in most institutions are not.). The representative told me that there was no such thing as a creative writing program. Quoth she: "People write who are called to write." No MFA (and now PhD) as the stepping stone for literary projects or production. Nada. She went on to say that people who wanted to become writers usually but not always studied "artes y letras" (arts and letters) at the University of Havana, which was only steps from our first hotel, and then practiced and refined their art. Of course this is how writing training and as a career unfolds in most countries outside the US and Anglophone world; although some countries in other parts of Europe (like Norway and the Netherlands, I think) have writing programs, it is really only the USA, Canada, the UK, and Australia for the most part that people can and do study and get degrees in writing. And of all these countries, the USA far away has the most writing programs, in no small part because of the large market for them.

José, an artist at the Callejón de Hamel

There were several writers on the trip, and we discussed this a little; it also brought to mind a discussion Harvard scholar Marjorie Garber led a few years ago concerning her study of the role of arts at Harvard, which became a fascinating little book. One question she posed was whether the arts ought to be together in one school devoted primarily to the arts--as at Pratt Institute or RISD--or one division of a major institution--as is the case at Columbia, for example--or distributed throughout a university, as is the case at Stanford, say--or linked to certain schools and departments, as is the case at the university (where undergraduate creative writing study in poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction is part of the English department of the College of Arts and Sciences; graduate creative writing in those fields is housed in the School of Continuing Studies and formerly in the Graduate School; undergraduate and graduate journalism is in the Medill School of Journalism; and playwriting is in the Theater department, and screenwriting is in Radio/TV/Film (RTVF)); or present only in a limited sense (with a department of Visual and Environment Studies, i.e., studio art, and a few creative writers on the English faculty or teaching writing and composition more broadly), as at Harvard. Personally, I believe that all the arts, including computer and online arts, gaming, architecture, graphic design, fashion, and performance arts, should be together, but also part of a larger institution in which the humanities, social sciences, natural and applied sciences, and professional-level studies are present. The divisions strike me as artificial and problematic, but that's for another discussion.

One of the International Arts Biennal outdoor installations (giant roaches crawling up the side of the building!) at the Museum of Fine Arts

I will say that the experience also got me thinking personally about the formal study of creative writing and its usefulness, whether and to what extent writing can be taught, what my and others' real aims are in the classroom, and so on. My experiences at the university and other institutions has proved year and year out that students can and do learn to write better than they did before they began, in no small part because of the focused emphasis on practice, on the technical aspects of writing, on learning to edit their own and others' work, on offering critiques and thinking about how critical reading opens up how works of art function, on modeling based on reading--on reading itself, and its role in changing and enriching one's writing. I see the results in undergraduate and graduate students' work, so I know the programs justify themselves, and yet I worry about the increasing notion that you must have an MFA or even PhD to write and teach writing, or that they're even necessary to be a writer at all. The question to the Institute rep about creative writing led to a lovely moment, however. The dean of the Institute, Jorge Braulio Rodríguez, presented two of us writers with copies of his book of translations of Richard Wright's haikus! It was an extraordinarily thoughtful gift, and for me took on great importance because it was Wright's work, I'd only read a few of his haikus, and I wasn't able, as per my usual fashion, to buy any other books during the trip (the main and famous bookstore in Havana had been closed, and I didn't pick up any books at the outdoor book market or used bookstores as I'd wanted to.)

Ana Laura's visual diary

We later had the opportunity to view some student art exhibits, which were very promising, and chat with some of the students. I also peeked in at a print studio and some classrooms, and snapped a few pictures. In preparation for the trip, I'd made up Spanish versions of my Emotional Outreach cards, and I handed them out to students and faculty. This led to one student who was there to view the art exhibit to assume, based on the Spanish on the card, that I was fluent, and a conversation with another, first-year student Wilber Aguilera, whose powerful ceramic wall sculpture, based on Edvard Munch's "The Scream" I featured several posts ago. I and another person in the first group chatted with student artist Ana Laura Tamburini, who had created a visual diary, comprising months' (a year's) worth of drawings, paintings and mixed-media works, which covered several walls, as well as a diary book that she was displaying. Along with Callejón de Hamel and the Museum of Fine Arts, is one of the places that I really would have loved to spend more time at, and I also would love to return and spend a quarter or term, or some length of time, teaching and learning there myself. One final thing I'll say about the Institute of Higher Arts is that its architecture is worth seeing. The visual art exhibit was in one of the main buildings that had been designed, we were told, by avant-garde and Revolutionary supporters Cuban architect Ricardo Porro and Italian architects Vittorio Garatti and Roberto Gottardi in the 1970s, after Fidel Castro created the institution in 1976 by consolidating and expanding several higher arts schools, including the original post-Revolutionary National Arts School of 1962. The buildings are quite futuristic, in an almost Star Trek-ish style, though using distinctive local red bricks and tiles. Among the more interesting architectural effects they created was an open plaza designed to appear if viewed from the air as a clitoris. (I kid you not.) I heard that while many of the structures were completed, there were a few that had not been built, though this wasn't apparent from a walkthrough. The overall effect was of striking, futuristic buildings that probably do have a beneficial effect on the creation of works of art.

ISA buildings, from a distance

I've written a lot, so I'll stop here. I still have not said anything about discussions with Cubans about politics vis-à-vis the US, gender issues and homo/sexuality, and a few other topics, including those that remained a mystery, like the prison system, so I'll aim for those in my next posts.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Celebrate, Eight-X 1 Eno/Byrne

Hello, well i can''y deny my music hey day lay in the eighties, and with hindsight it turned out to a very fruitfull time, so much great music produced, often with minimal financial means. It's testament to the cynical ways of the industry that now 25 years later they rerelease remastered versions that likely cost more then the original..After numerous label takeovers, the backcatalogue of most eighties artists ended up in the claws of a handfull of majors. Two of the Eight-X albums here have been rereleased that way some years ago. As consumer it seems to me, policies like that hurt current artist sales, but then we have to remember that the musicindustry has become first and formost a marketing industry, and costs for rereleases are soo much lower. An artist today should get a decent management and exploit the internet to the max. Perhaps the banks in need of cashflow/customers again, will finally provide a decent/cheap commercial transaction system, so artists can sell their own work for whatever they want. When i look at the outragous I-Apple-tunes prices there's way to much grease for the suits in it. The time for bloodletting is over and you need to squeeze the leech to get rid of it.

Enough of my ranting here's some music, lost plenty of sweat from that exorcism and home tourism with all the tv channels these days does nothing real for you. New Order kept in their name choice the flirt with pseudo fascism going, they got accused of with the name Joy Division. They managed to really pick themselves up after their singer declared saint lost control for the last time, ( could it be he felt he was in control for the first time ?). Anyway i always liked Movement and it turned out to show them a new path, which resulted in many more memorable musics, though financially ...

Brian Eno & David Byrne - My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts ( 81 ^ 149mb)

Brian Peter George St. Jean le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, sometimes simply Eno, (born May 15, 1948), is an electronic musician who started his musical career with Roxy Music. He then went on to produce a number of highly eclectic and increasingly ambient electronic and acoustic albums. He is widely cited as coining the term "ambient music"

Eno had collaborated with Byrne's group Talking Heads on Fear of Music in 1979, and My Life was recorded mostly in a break between touring for that album, and the recording of Talking Heads' Remain in Light from 1980. Rather than featuring conventional pop or rock singing, most of the vocals are sampled from other sources, such as commercial recordings of Arabic singers, radio disc jockeys, evangelist Paul Morton and an anonymous exorcist. Musicians had previously used similarly sampling techniques, but never before had it been used "to such cataclysmic effect" as on My Life. It was recorded entirely with analogue technology, before the advent of digital sequencing and MIDI. As such it became the first landmark sampling album. Drawing on funk and world music (particularly the multi-layered percussion of African music), My Life is similar to Talking Heads' music of the same era. The "found objects" credited to Eno and Byrne were common objects used mostly as percussion. In the second edition (1982), the track "Qu'ran", which features samples of Qur'anic recital, was removed at the request of The Islamic Council of Great Britain. In its place "Very, Very Hungry" The album title is taken from a novel by Nigerian author Amos Tutuola.

01 - America Is Waiting (3:36)
02 - Mea Culpa (3:35)
03 - Regiment (3:56)
04 - Help Me Somebody (4:18)
05 - The Jezebel Spirit (4:55)
06 - Qu'ran (3:45)
07 - Moonlight In Glory (4:19)
08 - The Carrier (3:30)
09 - A Secret Life (2:30)
10 - Come With Us (2:38)
11 - Mountain Of Needles (2:35)

Celebrate, Eight-X 2 Gang of 4

Gang Of Four - A Brief History Of The Twentieth Century ( 90 ^ 149mb)

Formed in 1977 by Leeds University students Jon King (vocals), Andy Gill (guitar), Dave Allen (bass), and Hugo Burnham (drums), Gang of Four produced some of the most exhilarating and lasting music of the early English post-punk era of 1978-1983. Gill and King, the creative forces in the band, brought together an eclectic array of influences, ranging from the neo-Marxist Frankfurt School of social criticism to the increasingly clear trans-Atlantic punk consensus. In fact the term "Gang of Four" refers to the "big four" Structuralist theorists: Claude Lévi-Strauss, Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, and Jacques Lacan, not to be confused with the Maoist Gang of Four in China. Despite the fact that this sounds rife with the potential for being long on rhetoric and short on groove, such was not the case. What made Gang of Four's polemical clang'n'roll so compelling was that it worked as harsh, bracing, and ultimately liberating rock & roll.

The Gang's debut single, Damaged Goods b/w Love Like Anthrax & Armalite Rifle became a No.1 indie chart hit
This led to two outstanding Peel radio sessions, which, with their incendiary live performances, propelled the band to International attention and sold out shows across Europe and North America. They were then signed by EMI records. The group's début single with this label, "At Home He's a Tourist", charted in the British Top 40 in 1979. Invited to appear on top rated BBC music program Top of the Pops, the band walked off the show when the BBC told them that they must sing "packets" instead of "rubbers" as per the lyrics of the song, as the original was too subversive for this TV slot. The single was then banned by BBC Radio & TV, which lost the band support at record label EMI, who began to push another band instead - Duran Duran. A later single, "I Love a Man in a Uniform", was banned by the BBC during the Falklands war in 1982..
The music on their debut album "Entertainment 1 ' shows clearly the influence of punk, yet also incorporates funk and less-obvious influences of reggae and dub, similar to other bands at the time such as Public Image Ltd., Pere Ubu, and Au Pairs. As with these other influential post-punk bands, the bass is mixed much more prominently than it typically is in rock or punk.
The second album Solid Gold was released in 1981, a troubled American tour saw the departure of Allen (who later co-founded Shriekback) , he was replaced on bass by Sara Lee. Songs Of The Free followed in 1982, Hugo Burnham left (got sacked ?) after this album, while Gill, King and Sara Lee recorded the misguided "radical soul/R&B" album " Hard", it signalled that the end was nigh, the now "Gang of Two" released a so-so live album (At the Palace) and called it quits in 1984. But legends die hard, and Gang of Four experienced a mini-renaissance in the early '90s with the release of two excellent collections (A Brief History of the Twentieth Century and The Peel Sessions Album). King and Gill put together a new Gang of Four and released the tepid but not disgraceful Mall in 1991. Another reunion, from 1995, yielded Shrinkwrapped. Three years later, a double-disc compilation -- 100 Flowers Bloom -- surfaced on Rhino, and the original lineup reconvened in 2004 to tour extensively and release 2005's Return the Gift, featuring re-recordings of their early material.

01 - At Home He's A Tourist (3:32)
02 - Damaged Goods (3:29)
03 - Naturals Not In It (3:07)
04 - Not Great Men (3:07)
05 - Anthrax (4:23)
06 - Return The Gift (3:07)
07 - It's Her Factory (3:10)
08 - What We All Want (Live) (5:12)
09 - Paralysed (3:23)
10 - A Hole In The Wallet (3:24)
11 - Cheeseburger (4:07)
12 - To Hell With Poverty (4:37)
13 - Capital (It Fails Us Now) (4:04)
14 - Call Me Up (3:36)
15 - I Will Be A Good Boy (3:11)
16 - The History Of The World (4:40)
17 - I Love A Man In A Uniform (4:08)
18 - Is It Love (4:34)
19 - Womantown (4:31)
20 - We Live As We Dream, Alone (3:38)

Celebrate, Eight-X 3 New Order

New Order - Movement (81 ^ 131mb)

Rising from the ashes of the legendary British post-punk unit Joy Division, the enigmatic New Order triumphed over tragedy to emerge as one of the most influential and acclaimed bands of the 1980s; embracing the electronic textures and disco rhythms of the underground club culture many years in advance of its contemporaries, the group's pioneering fusion of new wave aesthetics and dance music successfully bridged the gap between the two worlds, creating a distinctively thoughtful and oblique brand of synth pop appealing equally to the mind, body, and soul.

Movement is New Order's debut album, released in November 1981 on Factory Records. At the time of its release, the album wasn't particularly well received by critics or consumers, only peaking at #30 on the UK album charts. Closer, an album the band had released just over a year before as Joy Division, reached #6. Over the years the album has built a strong fanbase for its emotional and musical link to Joy Division, as well as its natural evolution on the other hand. The album was once again produced by Martin Hannett, who had worked with them as Joy Division; however, Hannett was in a legal dispute with Factory Records and suffering from substance and alcohol abuse, it would be the last time he'd work with New Order.

Musically, Movement is a transitional album between the group's previous work as Joy Division and their "mature" sound, witnessed from "Blue Monday" and "Power, Corruption and Lies" onwards. References to Ian Curtis are almost inevitable, appearing on "I.C.B." (`Ian Curtis Buried') and "The Him." However, "Dreams Never End" is a surprisingly upbeat track and "Senses" flirts with guitar motifs funkier than anything before it, while the expansion of the sonic palette with synths on all but the opening track, electronic percussion and Hook's bass taking on a melodic role while Gilbert's drums provides the low end.The staple of many later New Order works, the sequencer, is not present however, the first track to incorporate them--"Everything's Gone Green"--was written at the same time but released separately as a single.

01 - Dreams Never End (3:13)
02 - Truth (4:37)
03 - Senses (4:45)
04 - Chosen Time (4:07)
05 - ICB (4:33)
06 - The Him (5:29)
07 - Doubts Even Here (4:16)
08 - Denial (4:20)
09 - Ceremony (4:23)
10 - Everything's Gone Green (5:30)
11 - Temptation (7:00)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Celebrate, World 1 Prince Buster

Hello, Around The World is celebrated not by 1 or 2 but by 3 posts, this nicely mirrors the kinda of musics that were posted on the Rhotations. First up the Godfather of Ska, Rude boy no 1 Prince Buster, i had him on in the Sunshine series, a direct link to that post is available here. Considering the second world, King Sunny Ade..two weeks ago i got a request for this album, which i had once but no more, a few days later i was at a sec. hand cd shop browsing..there it was..amazing synchronicity, Synchro System contest then what to post from Africa. Thirdly, Mediæval Bæbes, they neatly combine the folk and mediæval music i posted...

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Prince Buster - Fabulous Greatest Hits (67 ^ 80mb)

Cecil Bustamente Campbell as a youth became interested in boxing and spent many hours sparring in local gyms. He had much promise as a boxer and won a good number of his fights. He also became interested in music which lead to him playing in a band. In 1961 he became a security man for Clement "Coxsone" Dodd who owned the Downbeat sound system, working with him on the open-air concerts. The "Trojan" Duke Reid and Sir Coxsone were battling it out in the sound system competitions. Buster did some DJ work with Coxone and took part in many fights that competition between sound systems and their devoted fans "rude boys" would bring. This fighting on numerous occasions earned him the title' Prince'.

By 1962 after recording himself on the Starlite label, Prince Buster released a production of the Folkes Brothers "Oh Carolina" , shortly followed a hit by Eric Morris with "Humpty Dumpty". These records were released on Emil Shalit's Melodisc record company which he formed in the 1940's. Due to the growth of Jamaican music and the new R & B sound, Shalit saw the need for a new label to concentrate on the new sound, the Blue Beat record label was born in 1960. The new sound that developed into Ska was sometimes referred to as Blue Beat because it mostly appeared on that label. Prince Buster either produced or recorded hundreds of records over the coming years.

Buster was an instant success and his records sold well, his early material was distinct from other music of that period, having an up tempo style with highly charged horny ska riffs dominated by cymbals. Prince Buster toured Europe & Britain regularly between 1962 and 1967 and appeared on the popular TV show Ready Steady Go in 1964, having just broken all records with a sell-out concert at Brixton Town Hall. He also toured the USA in 1967 with great success. Al Capone was the first Jamaican recorded song to enter the U.K top 20. By 67 he had released Fabulous Greatest Hits, testament to his large output, just 12 tracks hardly does him justice but the sixties vinyl could hardly accomodate more then 20 min per side....

By the 1970s Buster had slowed down his career as a musician to focus on his business ventures. The ska sound was not as popular as it once was, but its influence was clearly felt in its descendants: rocksteady, which was slower than ska and more influenced by gospel and soul, and by rocksteady's better-known successor, reggae. In contrast, in 73 Prince Buster - Big Five was released which must rank among the sauciest albums ever released by an established artist.By the late 1970s, Buster was in serious financial trouble. His business ventures were all posting losses or low profits, and the loans he had taken out to start them were catching up. Fortunately for him, ska was experiencing a revival in the United Kingdom. In 1979, the band Madness released its first record, a tribute to Buster called "The Prince", which urged ska fans to remember "the man who set the beat", stating "So I'll leave it up to you out there / To get him back on his feet." Interest in Buster soared during this time; he received royalties when his songs were covered by bands like The Specials, The (English) Beat, and Madness, and his old records were reissued and sold well. Between these boons, The Prince was indeed able to "get back on his feet."In the late seventies and early eighties he became an inspiration to the Two Tone bands. Prince Buster is today living in Miami, Florida, USA, concentrating on his business interests.He still occasionaly performs.

01 - Earthquake (3:22)
02 - Texas Hold-Up (2:54)
03 - Freezing Up Orange Street (2:47)
04 - Free Love (3:30)
05 - Julie (2:59)
06 - Take It Easy (3:32)
07 - Judge Dread (3:38)
08 - Too Hot (2:59)
09 - Ghost Dance (2:20)
10 - Ten Commandments (3:29)
11 - Al Capone (2:57)
12 - Barrister Pardon (3:32)

Celebrate, World 2 Sunny Ade

Around The World

King Sunny Ade & His African Beats - Juju Music (82 ^ 135mb)

King Sunny Ade is the undisputed king of juju music.Born to a Nigerian royal family in Ondo, Ade left grammar school to pursue his career, which began with Moses Olaiya's Federal Rhythm Dandies, a highlife band. He left to form The Green Spots in 1967. He formed a record label in 1974, fed up with being exploited by a major label. Beginning with Juju Music, Ade began gaining a wide following as Mango Records, a subsidiary of Island Records, released his albums. Juju Music represented the first worldwide release for Adé, who was already established in his native Nigeria as its "biggest musical draw and juju music's reigning monarch". The album was a critical and commercial success,peaking at #111 on Billboard's "Pop Albums" chart. The New York Times, which described the album in 1982 as "the year's freshest dance-music album", credited it in 1990 with having launched the "World Beat movement in the United States". He was soon billed as the African Bob Marley, and headlined concerts in the US. Soon after, Nigerian imports (mostly pirated copies) of his massive back catalog began flooding the Western market. Island, concerned about sales and Adé's refusal to include more English in his repertoire, cut him loose after his third LP for them featuring Stevie Wonder, 1984's Aura didnt live up to the overbloated expectations they had. (As ever with these crooks its all about money not music).

By the end of the 1980s, Ade's star began to dim, and his albums sold less, though he continued to garner critical acclaim and widespread popularity in Africa. 1998's Odu, a collection of traditional Yoruba songs, was nominated for a Grammy Award. Ade has remained a powerful force in Nigeria. Money received from his early albums has been used to launch an oil firm, a mining company, a nightclub, film and video production company, a PR firm and a record label specializing in recordings by African artists. It's been estimated than more than seven hundred people are employed by Ade's companies..

With a phalanx of electric guitars that functions like a percussion section, and talking drums that sound like a gossipy Greek chorus, King Sunny Ade and His African Beats, all 20 of them, proved that African music could be as complex, dramatic, and symphonic as any European ensemble. Some thanks must go to French producer Martin Meissonier, who took the basic elements of Ade's sound--unison guitars, Yoruban drumming, seamless song medleys, and self-reflexive lyrics--and added a diverse assortment of Jamaican production techniques to heighten, deepen, and psychedelicize a sound that, with Ade's deliciously sweet vocals and the haunting strains of Demala Adepoju's Hawaiian 'space' steel guitar, was plenty wild to begin with. Sunny Adé's latest creative output, Grace of God was December 2007.

I've added my introduction to his work, Ja Funmi, back then i bought the 12 " aswell because of the B side Ja Funmi Waka... space is the place (its all in the head and rising)

01 - Ja Funmi (7:07)
02 - Eje Nlo Gba Ara Mi (7:17)
03 - Mo Beru Agba (3:27)
04 - Sunny Ti De Ariya (3:45)
05 - Ma Jaiye Oni (5:06)
06 - 365 Is My Number / The Message (8:17)
07 - Samba / E Falabe Lewe (8:06)
Xs - 12"
08 - Ja Funmi (Paul "Groucho" Smykle Remix) (7:05)
09 - Ja Funmi (Waka Version) (6:55)

Celebrate, World 3 Mediæval Bæ

Around The World

Mediæval Bæbes - Mirabilis (05 ^ 132mb)

The Mediaeval Baebes exquisite storybook beauty came to life in 1996 when ex-Miranda Sex Garden chanteuse Katharine Blake aimed to set her fascination with the Middle Ages to music and theater. She and 11 additional musicians and singers, Miranda Sex Garden's Teresa Casella, Audrey Evans, comic writer Marie Findley, Nicole Frobusch, Ruth Galloway, Karen Lupton, Claire Ravel, Australian native Cylindra Sapphire, Carmen Schneider, Nichole Sleet, and New Zealander Rachel Van Asch -- defined a contemporary musical approach while incorporating Middle Ages Paganism and spiritual moods and sentiments. Their 1997 debut, Salva Nos, shot straight to No 2 in the classical charts, and became one of the most fantastic classical recordings of the year.

Two years later, Worldes Blysse was released and that reached no1 on the British charts. Third album Undrentide, produced by John Cale, was issued in fall 2000. Frobusch, Lupton, and Sleet had also left the Baebes family, and Blake's vision had scaled down to nine women. The newly downsized group kept on, scoring the music for the 2000 black comedy American Psycho. A fourth album, The Rose, followed in spring 2002. Aside from singing in Italian, Latin, German, Middle English, and Medieval French, the Baebes added Medieval Welsh and Russian to their musical palate. In fall 2003, the John Cale-produced Mistletoe and Wine was released, their fifth for Nettwerk. By the time of 2005's Mirabilis, the Baebes' lineup included Blake, Casella, Evans, Van Asch, Sapphire, Findley, and newcomers Maple Bee and Emily Ovenden.

The Baebes are a study in contrasts, their work running fluidly between past and present. On Mirabilis they are collecting folk ballads, pagan dance music, ancient love songs, and parcels of pure mystery. Where some earlier albums emphasized synths and worldbeat textures too much, Mirabilis is happy with its zithers and recorders, finger cymbals and glockenspiels, and above all features voice. The Baebes really shine with something like "San'c Fuy Bellha Ni Prezada," with its unadorned vocal and twining autoharp, or "Musa Venit Carmine," sung in Latin, in the round, and stippled with dynamic percussion. The selections are exuberant, even catchy, but the mystery that lies in the heart of the Mediaeval Baebes' sound is never sacrificed. "Märk Hur Vår Skugga" is even better. The Mediaeval Baebes combine elements of Western European myth and folkloric tradition with their mystical blend of ancient linguistics, overdone sensualism, and lush soundscapes.

01 - Star Of The Sea (3:32)
02 - Trovommi Amor (4:38)
03 - Temptasyon (3:19)
04 - San'c Fuy Belha Ni Prezada (1:35)
05 - All For Love Of One (3:38)
06 - The Lament (3:27)
07 - Musa Venit Carmine (3:26)
08 - Kilmeny (3:59)
09 - Lhiannan Shee (2:56)
10 - Umlahi (2:14)
11 - Cittern Segue (0:52)
12 - Return Of The Birds (3:45)
13 - Tam Lin (4:24)
14 - Scarborough Fayre (3:23)
15 - Come My Sweet (3:20)
16 - Märk Hur Vår Skugga (3:42)
17 - The World Fareth As A Fantasye (4:07)
18 - Away (2:20)

Iowa's Big Day + Barackatude + Cards On Roll + Davis on Swine Flu Blues

Congratulations to Iowa and all the Iowans set to join in long-term union on this history day! Next up, Vermont!


Barack Obama and Hugo ChávezWe're approaching the 100th day of President Barack Obama's tenure, which sometimes feels to me like 10 days and others like 1,000. On such latter days, I have to remind myself how fanciful his election seemed two years ago this time, and how tense things were at times throughout much of 2008, when the W Gang were still in office and the GOP really brought the crazy with the McCain-Palin ticket. (I also realize on such days that having had him as one of my almost-Senators for 4 years, I got very used to thinking of him in office, though serving in the US Senate is of a different order than being President of the United States.) I intend to write a brief titled "One Hundreds Days of Obamatude" soon, once I'm out of the new thicket of university tasks, he's been as good a leader as I imagined, in some cases far better (signing the Ledbetter law and the stem cell ban right away, appointing some true progressives like Hilda Solís, Harold Koh, and Dawn Johnsen, the Cuba overtures), and in a few far worse (that horrid financial team of his, the continuing drone attacks in Pakistan, the coddling of the Bush Crime Syndicate's state secret claims and treatment of prisoners). But on balance, he's been quite good. I was expecting a more liberal Clinton 2.0 or Eisenhower, but we're much closer to FDR+, which what we desperately need right now.


I didn't believe it was possible, but the St. Louis Cardinals are in first place in the National League Central and are tied for the best record in the NL with a 14-6 showing so far. Although they always have a trump card in future Hall of Fame first baseman Albert Pujols (at right, AP), they did little over the winter to boost the team compared to a number of other squads in both the AL and NL. Yet so far, despite the loss of their best pitcher, Chris Carpenter, to an oblique strain/tear, they have cobbled together decent performances from their starters, especially Joel Pineiro (now 5-0 as of tonight), and decreased bullpen meltdowns, while the heavily farm-team stocked lineup has provided enough runs to put them ahead. They even ran the board with 9 straight at home just recently, including 3 straight over the New York Mets. One pressing weakness is the high number of errors so far: they have 20 errors in 20 games, a rate they'll have to lower if they want to stay in the lead. Pujols, sterling in every other regard, with 7 home runs, 20 runs (for 1000 in his career), and 25 runs batted in thus far, has made 4 all by himself. In the rest of the league, only the Los Angeles Dodgers are having a breakout year so far. The project NL leaders, including last year's World Series winner Philadelphia, the Mets, the Cubs, and the hot-for-a-minute Florida Marlins, have played middling ball at best. Can the Cardinals sustain their success? I for one hope so.
Albert Pujols
Pujols after hitting his grand slam against the Chicago Cubs, Sunday, April 25, 2009


Pigs in penHere's another take on the swine flu epidemic, by Mike Davis in the Guardian Online. He lays the blame for what we're facing at several different doorsteps, including that of the industrial food complex--the industrial pig farming industry in particular--Big Pharma, and wealthy nations that seek to erect a pharmacological and public health moat around themselves. As the last few weeks have shown, pathogens can travel as easily as human beings, across every possible border. (Why am I sneezing as I type this?) But neoliberal ideology is also under indictment here. After you read the following quote (and the article, I hope), ask yourself, have you heard any of the people on TV or in our papers of record here advancing any of the discussion that Davis is broaching here?
But what caused this acceleration of swine flu evolution? Virologists have long believed that the intensive agricultural system of southern China is the principal engine of influenza mutation: both seasonal "drift" and episodic genomic "shift". But the corporate industrialisation of livestock production has broken China's natural monopoly on influenza evolution. Animal husbandry in recent decades has been transformed into something that more closely resembles the petrochemical industry than the happy family farm depicted in school readers.

In 1965, for instance, there were 53m US hogs on more than 1m farms; today, 65m hogs are concentrated in 65,000 facilities. This has been a transition from old-fashioned pig pens to vast excremental hells, containing tens of thousands of animals with weakened immune systems suffocating in heat and manure while exchanging pathogens at blinding velocity with their fellow inmates.

Last year a commission convened by the Pew Research Center issued a report on "industrial farm animal production" that underscored the acute danger that "the continual cycling of viruses … in large herds or flocks [will] increase opportunities for the generation of novel virus through mutation or recombinant events that could result in more efficient human to human transmission." The commission also warned that promiscuous antibiotic use in hog factories (cheaper than humane environments) was sponsoring the rise of resistant staph infections, while sewage spills were producing outbreaks of E coli and pfiesteria (the protozoan that has killed 1bn fish in Carolina estuaries and made ill dozens of fishermen). [H/t to my cousin, Lowell Denny]

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Poem: Alice Notley

Alice NotleyI was late in hipping to Alice Notley (1945-), whose name I used to hear bandied about for years in Boston and New York; it wasn't until I wandered into the St. Marks' Bookshop (still there, thank the gods) and purchased a copy of the Exact Change Yearbook, No. 1, 1995 (one of my favorite book purchases ever), that I finally came into contact with her work. In addition to the text, the book included the then-newly fashionable CD (I know, how 1990s!), which featured audioclips of poets ranging from Kamau Brathwaite (soon to be one of my teachers) to John Ashbery and Robert Creeley (each reading one of my favorites of their respective poems), to Mei-Mei Berssenbruegge and Bernadette Mayer, to Alice Notley. (Thanks to PennSound, you can hear all of these clips here.) That really was my first exposure to her writing. You know how it is; you finally hear poet read or see one of her poems somewhere, and then you start finding them in a variety of lit journals and checking out her books. (It wasn't until even later, when Chris S. schooled me that her late husband was poet Ted Berrigan, meaning that poets Anselm and Edmund Berrigan are her sons.) She's authored, coauthored or edited around three dozen chapbooks, books and readers since 1971, at one point producing almost a book a year in the 1980s. Oh the prodigious ones! One of her most recent books is the collection In the Pines (Penguin, 2007). If her early work was very much identifiably of the second-generation New York School variety and reflected her exciting youth and longtime life on the Lower East Side, I'd say the newer work is freer, still full of sharp images and incident, sometimes incantatory rhythms and sometimes very abrupt ones, but falling into no set school or style, though in conversation with many. Here's a poem from the end of this newer collection that I like reading aloud. It's called "To the Poem," and it reminds me of Xavier Villaurrutia's poem, "Poesía," so very different in many ways but whose spirit speaks directly to Notley's lines here. Enjoy.


I need some light in my right shoulder.
My hand remembers you, writing.
I ask, what's been going on? I
have to write it down. Next to a tamed
Cerberus is where we are.

This is my body, they say: but no man
knows my name; the powerful
homicide lieutenant, or any character type
will continue to gun down someone's
potent trees. I've lost fact of who to notify.
Is this that?

Even in the fallow, there's no one to implore,
'See for me.' It's my eye--and with back to wall
it's still mine. I don't even hear the voices
in which I could fall down, just to be rescued by man.

Copyright © Alice Notley, from In the Pines, New York: Penguin, 2007. All rights reserved.

Celebrate, Epic of Gilgamesh

Hello, on the third day of celebrations, it's time for the audiobook, obviously i can't present a series here, but that's not a problem, because what i have on offer today is one of the greatest stories ever told, the original hero, which all later hero tales shadowed, be them Hercules, Samson, Arthur, down to all our current day fictional heroes like Batman, Superman or Wolverine. The Epic of Gilgamesh

What is remarkable is that this epic playes almost 5,000 years ago and that it survived thanks to it being written down on Cuneiform tablets that withstand the sands of time, though not the willfull destruction by human hand. As such Bush's US army is just one in a long line of army's that rampaged, looted and destroyed what they could get their hands on in Mesopatamia area. Luckily cuneiform tablets call for willfull destruction and thats why a more then decent amount has survived, that and the sands that covered all. As mentioned, this epic plays out (and written down undoubtely, as use of cuneiform script started 6,500 yrs ago) many centuries before the birth of Abraham, who as a young boy would have eagerly listened to or read this hero tale. ( note; when 550 bc the Jews wrote the old testament in Babylon, they paid plenty of hommage to their captors as the Biblical account of the creation of man as well as Noah's flood resemble the Sumerian tales very closely).

Many original and distinct sources exist over a 2,000 year timeframe, but only the oldest and those from a late period have yielded significant enough finds to enable a coherent intro-translation. Therefore, the old Sumerian version, and a later Akkadian version, which is now referred to as the standard edition, are the most frequently referenced. The earliest Sumerian versions of the epic date from as early as the Third Dynasty of Ur (2150-2000 BCE). The earliest Akkadian versions are dated to the early second millennium. The "standard" Akkadian version, consisting of twelve tablets, was edited by Sin-liqe-unninni sometime between 1300 and 1000 BC and was found in the library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh.

Despite the lack of direct evidence, most scholars do not object to consideration of Gilgamesh as a historical figure, particularly after inscriptions were found confirming the historical existence of other figures associated with him: kings Enmebaragesi and Aga of Kish. If Gilgamesh was a historical king, he probably reigned in about the 27th century BC.

Gilgamesh Epic ( 90mb)

Gilgamesh Epic file contains 

a 30 min introduction commentairy
a 90 min bbc audioplay
the translated cuneiform text, and an abridged summery

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Celebrate, Sundaze 1 Glass

Sundaze, hello this format, be it partly, has continued at Transgloballs, i just posted todays blog, with plenty of McKenna, nearing the end of a three month hommage to this brilliant man, spiced with Piano Works by Craig Armstrong in case our first guest of the day Philip Glass gets you in the piano mood.. Craig Armstrong is present in the supertrio called The Dolls who's eponymous album got rave reviews but at the same time was a bit hard to classify ..well it's a Sundaze album for sure and finally a bit off perhaps Unkle go off on their Movie themed megamixes, afterparty here i come...

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Philip Glass - Solo Piano (89/03 ^113mb)

Philip Morris Glass (born January 31, 1937) is considered one of the most influential American composers of the late-20th century and is widely acknowledged as a composer who has brought art music to the public where his big breaktrough came with the movie score Koyaansquatsi (dvd rip here) . Thus he followed illustrous precursors such as Richard Strauss, Kurt Weill and Leonard Bernstein. Although his music is often, though controversially, described as minimalist, he distances himself from this label, describing himself instead as a composer of "music with repetitive structures". Although his early, mature music is minimalist, he has evolved stylistically. Currently, he describes himself as a "Classicist", pointing out that he trained in harmony and counterpoint and studied Franz Schubert, Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Mozart with Nadia Boulanger.

Glass is a prolific composer: He has written works for his own musical group which he founded, the Philip Glass Ensemble (for which he still performs on keyboards), as well as operas, musical theatre works, eight symphonies, eight concertos, solo works, string quartets, and film scores. Three of his film scores have been nominated for Academy Awards.

Since the late 1980s, Glass has also written works for solo piano, starting with occasional piano pieces which are associated with his friends, such as Witchita Sutra Vortex (1988, written for the poet Allen Ginsberg). This piece was followed by two piano cycles: Metamorphosis (five pieces for a theatrical adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis [1988] and later used in part by Ronald D. Moore for the Sci-Fi/Universal production of the Reimagined Battlestar Galactica), Solo Piano (1989) is an album of piano music composed and performed by Philip Glass. It was produced by Kurt Munkacsi.
Its first track, Metamorphosis One, was featured in the Battlestar Galactica television episode "Valley of Darkness".Its second track, Metamorphosis Two, formed the basis of one of the main musical themes in the film The Hours.

1 - Metamorphosis One (5:39)
2 - Metamorphosis Two (7:19)
3 - Metamorphosis Three (5:30)
4 - Metamorphosis Four (7:00)
5 - Metamorphosis Five (5:03)
6 - Mad Rush (13:47)
7 - Wichita Sutra Vortex (6:05)