Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Axolotl and Jacob Danziger.
Listed: Axolotl + Jacob Danziger
Axolotl are a 2 piece living in San Francisco who have recorded for Psych-o-path and Collective Jyrk. They tour the West Coast collaborating with the Skaters and supporting Mouthus and Double Leopards in March
Live at Free 103.9, Friday the 18th of February 2005 What can I say but Holy Shit! Mouthus have recently taken it to the next level!
2. Free Jazz in the 70’s
This might not be news to anybody but for a long time my explorations of the world of Jazz halted around 1971 or 1972. Not that I had no jazz records from the 70’s but I have only a limited tolerance for fusion and I haven’t been in the mood for On the Corner in a few years now. I was under the mistaken impression that many of my 60’s heroes went the way of Miles. Attica Blues only confirmed my mistaken impression. Marion Brown’s Afternoon of a Georgia Fawn was one of the first solidly 70’s jazz records that really throttled me, as well as Geechee Recollection and Sweet Earth Flying, Andrew Cyrille and Maono’s Celebration or just about any record with Jeanne Lee, there is more to 70's jazz than fusion.
3. Arthur Russell – World of Echo
Thank you Audika for FINALLY reissuing one of the greatest records of all time. Mark Morgan of Sightings first got me stoned and played me this record in '98 or '99 and it has stayed with me ever since, enough ink has been spilled on him lately that I will refrain from saying much other than I have absolutely no idea why this was one of the last things to from his catalogue to get re-issued and if you don’t like the disco it does not mean this record will not melt you. This is one of the most haunting and beautiful records of all time.
4. Japanese psychedelic music of the 70’s and 80’s
If I had to pick one it would probably be August 1974 by Taj Mahal Travelers but that would neglect Magical Power Mako and and Brast Burn and Karuna Khyal and Tolerance and Les Ralizes Des Nudes and Yximaloo, you cannot neglect Yximaloo! From drones to full blown psycedelic rock outs to anachronistic head scratchers, weird Japan from the 70’s and 80’s house many a gem!
5. Animal Collective
From the first time I saw them perform opening for Black Dice (1999?), I knew Avey Tare and Panda Bear were exceptional beings. It did not take long for them to achieve transcendence. No other band so effectively fuses emotional and corporal urgency and covers so much ground effectively. One of the most sincere bands on earth! Their performance at The Hook in Brooklyn after Noah's father passed away remains the best live performance I have ever seen. EVER!
6. Sonny Sharrock - Black Woman
This glorious document remains one of the most intense musical outbursts ever captured on record.
7. Charlemagne Palestine - Blood on the Bösendorfer
The best practioner of the gorgeous drone. If I had to pick one record it would be Strumming Music.
8. The Skaters
I know Glen Donaldson mentioned them here recently but it must be said again, the Skaters are for real! Not since Animal Collective have I seen humans possesing such joyous and feral intensity. We collaborated once recently and now we're taking them on tour with us. The Skaters are the FUTURE.
9. The Bay Area is looking up!
When I first moved here from New York about 2.5 years ago I was quite disappointed in the substanceless costume party rock shennanigans that seemed to define the Bay Area music scene. Things have changed resoundingly thanks both to recent transplants and veterans who I had not been aware of. From the Yellow Swans to No Doctors to Jewled Antler to Tarantism to Joanna Newsom to the Skaters, the bay area music scene is indeed waxing!
10. New Finland
There is a psychedelic wind that has been sweeping the globe lately and it is clearly swirling in Finland! Kemialliset Ystavat, Avarus, Es, Lau Nau it's all good!
Jacob is from Michigan, where he is best known for playing violin in flashpapr, who just released their 4th album, titled “flashpapr”, on Ypsilanti Records, as well as for being a relatively frequent contributor to the studio recordings of flashpapr band-mate Fred Thomas' Saturday Looks Good To Me, and Warn Defever’s His Name Is Alive. He currently lives in New York where he runs an extremely small cd-r label called Naming Distances, and performs solo with violin and electronics. Two solo albums are available: “Naming Distances,” which was recorded with nothing but a boomerang guitar pedal and a minidisc walkman, and “August First,” which was recorded entirely in one day with all instruments, objects, and computers that were at hand in his apartment. Other ongoing projects include City Cricket, Tornado Family, and Pale Male.
Top Ten Moments In Music:
Since I didn’t hear all that many new cd’s in 2004, I don’t consider myself qualified to weigh in on the true BESTs. Instead, I thought I’d give individual awards in categories that I happened to be personally familiar with.
Best Trumpet Solo: Saturday Looks Good To Me, “Until The World Stops Spinning” from Every Night
Since I don’t play on this SLGTM record, I can say with unbiased certainty that it is their best to date. It might not out-peak the absolute highs of the previous two full-length releases, but in terms of recording quality, consistency, and everything else that makes a cd feel like a true “album,” this is a serious step forward. And the overdubbed harmonies in Justin Walter’s trumpet solo just prove that SLGTM can be as well-orchestrated as any bullshit Belle and Sebastian rip-off band, or B&S themselves, for that matter. I mean, how many trumpet solos do you want to sing along with every time, every night?
Best Song In A Film: The Life Aquatic, “Life on Mars”
Conventional wisdom is that Wes Anderson is adept at cherry-picking semi-obscure ‘60’s and ‘70’s rock songs to perfectly amplify the emotional content of his scenes. He’s starting to get knocked for doing this in predictable and manipulative ways, as if the scenes depend entirely on the soundtrack to prop up the otherwise lifeless acting. Or so the story goes. For me, it’s entirely backwards. Wes Anderson creates scenes that give these songs a majestic power that they have never had on their own. Hearing Nico’s “These Days” on Chelsea Girl is just nothing like seeing it in The Royal Tenenbaums. Similarly, each time I see The Life Aquatic, when Bill Murray walks to the front of the ship and David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” fades in, I truly believe I am listening to something entirely different than the copy of the same song that I downloaded from the movie’s soundtrack. I don’t know how Wes Anderson does it, but it’s heavenly. Of course, Seu Jorge is remarkable throughout the movie, but it’s the Bowie version that gets me.
Best Flip-Flop: Joanna Newsom, “The Milk-Eyed Mender”
I think everyone I know had the same reaction: I hated this record for the first 1 1/2 listens. After that, it’s the biggest no-brainer of the year. “Sadie” seems to be the hook that convinces people that her voice is, indeed, bearable, and not the product of actual mental disturbance. “Inflammatory Writ,” then, seems to remind people that even if she’s not crazy, she could still be annoying. But she’s pretty good at avoiding that, at least for now, and I love this record.
Best Form Of Precipitation Mistaken For Electronic Music: Rain on the roof at Tonic at the end of Keith Rowe / Fennesz
After Keith Rowe played a truly mind-blowing set which seemed to set straight every thoughtless complaint about the lack of human sentiment in electro-acoustic music, and Fennesz followed by making a far less musical statement out of far more musical materials, they joined on stage for an improvised performance that fell somewhere between the previous two. But at the exact moment that their set meandered to an end, a brief and sudden rainstorm made itself audible on the glass skylights in the roof. The timing was such that Rowe thought that Fennesz was still performing, and he listened attentively with his eyes closed. Fennesz was clearly looking for some applause to clarify to Rowe that no one was still performing, but the audience remained respectful of Rowe’s “the performance has not yet ended” visage. I think Fennesz had to start playing again and then stop a moment later just to get everyone to snap out of it. It was a truly musical sequence of events, totally lacking the safety of the assumed rules of conduct that seem to dictate a few too many “completely improvised” concerts.
Best Concert: Morton Feldman’s “Patterns in a Chromatic Field”
Performed by Charles Curtis (cello) and Aleck Karis (piano) at Cooper Union. After this concert I was grinning for a few hours, shouting, “Morton Feldman is the only composer!” Such exquisite and rich music from such pure, elemental materials. I have no possible insight into the question: Why Doesn’t All Music Sound Like This? Runner-up: Niko (Hitoko Sakai) at Brown Rice. Niko played a short set of guitar drones made by placing rocks onto a guitar lying flat on the floor, forming an open feedback loop with her amp. The rocks would subtly change the beating patterns of the feedback. Then she threw the rocks onto the floor, creating such shocking and brutal yet free-flowing and gentle modulations of sound. Pretty much a lot like “Patterns in a Chromatic Field,” actually. Runner-Runner-up: Greg Davis (Band)
Best Radio: Sometime shortly after I stopped hosting the all-night experimental music show on WKCR 89.9 FM NYC I was parking my girlfriend’s car around 1am and decided to check out who was on the air in my old time-slot. It turned out to be Nate Davis, who has a solo electronic band called Knifestorm, and was playing a recording of Burning Star Core’s live set at the No Fun Fest, which I hadn’t been able to see. I still have never heard a Burning Star Core record or anything, but what I heard in the car was some of the most advanced violin music I’ve ever heard. Definitely the most punk violin sound since Polly Bradfield’s Solo LP on Parachute (also praised by Kevin Drumm in this column).
Best Tupac (aka Best Posthumous New Release): Elliot Smith, “From a Basement on The Hill”
Not my favorite Elliot Smith album, but a few hugely welcome last songs for the all-Elliot Smith mixtape that I’ll be listening to for the rest of my life. The runner-up in this category is last year’s CASH UNEARTHED box set, which I hadn’t heard until this year when I downloaded his cover of “Pocahontas,” one of the most fucked-up songs Neil Young ever wrote. Only the man in black could take it to an even more fucked-up level. Sublime.
Best CD I Lost: Angola ‘60’s (1956-1970) Compilation
I first heard this at Tim Daisy’s house three years ago and finally managed to find a copy this year, which I listened to about three times before I lost it. It really compares favorably to any of the million other great re-issues, compilations, and semi-field recordings from all points “other” that are suddenly in great demand. The Sublime Frequencies phenomenon is hard for me to feel 100% okay about, but I’m not complaining about how good some of their cd’s are. In any case, if you want to buy me a birthday present in 2005, the Angola Compilation is a great idea.
Best Use Of My High School Orchestra: His Name Is Alive, CLOUD BOX
Some time ago I bartered the free use of a recording of my high school orchestra to Warn Defever in return for some recording time. Warn was only interested in the sounds of the orchestra tuning, which sound great on “Brown Rice,” the first of 10 cd’s in this already-out-of-print box set. (Some discs can be ordered individually). Other highlights include field recordings of Warn assaulting endangered animals in the Everglades, the “original” string quartet versions of early HNIA songs, and a beautiful recording of a near-riot outside of Warn’s studio after the Detroit Pistons won the NBA championship. Once Warn starts playing the piano, the cacophonous car horns suddenly become somehow like a giant monochord organ, completely tonal and serene.
Best Reason To Play Air Drums On The Subway: Deerhoof, “Milk Man” from Milk Man
No song more reliably induced idiotic flailing in public places. I don’t know. It should suck. It should be calculated prog. BUT IT IS THE JAM.
By Dusted Magazine