Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Canadian composer Sandro Perri and Hall of Famer Theo Angell.
Listed: Sandro Perri + Theo Angell
As Polmo Polpo, Toronto composer Sandro Perri has drifted from murky ambient techno, through deep organic drone, to more bare instrumental arrangements. His personal masterpiece, 2003's Like Hearts Swelling, submerged dance beats, jazz guitar and cello under layers of radio static and drone, resulting in dense slabs of melody and texture that ebb and shift over the span of the each long piece. 2005’s Kiss Me Again and Again, a 21-minute single-track EP, conjured the ghost of Arthur Russell circa Dinosuar L and channeled the influence into the best argument for ‘disco drone’ heretofore put forth. In early 2007, Perri released another EP (this time under his own name), which featured reworked drone material with live musicians. It was a loose and enjoyable effort that helped prepare fans for his most recent offering: Tiny Mirrors. The full-length record scraps the abstraction and processing that so skillfully imbued earlier material and sees Perri build loose pop and folk songs around guitar and voice. Though his output is eclectic, there is an idiosyncratic sense of composition and melody that remains consistently pleasurable and adventurous. Sandro took place in this week’s Listed.
1. Jorge Ben - "Brasileira"
I love mostly everything about Jorge Ben; his voice, phrasing, his guitar playing, the songs ... pure soul, pure joy. The vamp near the end of "Brasileira" is unbelievable to me. He often sings like his throat is gonna rip open, but this is another level entirely. He sounds like he's getting goosed by the band at one point. And he delivers everything with this rich, illustrious playfulness - as if being so utterly down-to-earth is the heaviest thing a person can do.
2. Frank Zappa - "One Shot Deal" (pedal steel solo)
A very un-Frank-like moment, it's one of the few songs I can still listen to after years of absorbing his music. Over a vamp that sounds kinda like a Juicy Fruit commercial, the pedal steel player (Sneaky Pete) just uncorks this long, continuous stream of music - basically one giant super-hot lick - demonstrating everything awesome about the pedal steel without it being an instructional video. If there is more of this trucker-music-from-heaven somewhere, please share.
3. The Beach Boys - "Back of My Mind" (ending)
A completely surprising and perfect ending to this song, the last 15 seconds or so is a nice example of Brian Wilson's unique harmonic ideas.
4. Caetano Veloso - Joia (all of it)
I've listened to so much Joia this year. Although I've never been big on the sugar-rush element of Tropicalia, a little technology is OK with me. But some of this record sounds like the electricity wasn't even turned on, or that I'm not even listening to a record. Just pure sound up close to an ear. Some of the songs are really skeletal; very simple with strange voice layering, super-close mic'd percussion, little stabs of Hammond organ or flute. A masterpiece of restraint and texture, not to mention songs and voice.
5. Zongamin - "Tunnel Music" (middle section)
This and "Take Your Time (Do It Right)" by the S.O.S Band are a few of my favorite dance tracks. The breakdown in this one is a lot of fun; just shakers, a little guitar and a very mean-sounding cello riff that builds beautifully and then erupts into heavy metal on the dance floor. It always reminds me of Santana doing "Soul Sacrifice" at Woodstock.
6. Gilberto Gil and Jorge Ben - "Meu Glorioso Sao Cristovao" (opening)
From Gil e Jorge, one of a few records that I would say has changed my life. The first few minutes are still like a sunrise to me. My perception of the human voice and the idea of what play can mean between two people was transformed by hearing this, like hearing improvisation for the first time all over again.
7. Stevie Wonder - "Castles In The Sand"
My favorite Stevie Wonder song, favorite of all of Jack Nitzsche's string arrangements and favorite Motown song of all time. I wish they would have made this into a side-long epic.
8. Hall and Oates - "Grounds For Separation" (the coda)
I realized how wicked these two are when I heard Nina Simone's version of "Rich Girl." Very good lyrics, huh? Nobody talks about trust fund kids, especially in connection to music and art. I'm loving their early records now after years of ignoring them. The silver one where they look like dolls on the cover is my favorite. The coda on "Grounds For Separation" could go on forever as far as I'm concerned, they never should have ended that song. That they ended it the way they did is the only other disappointment on the album.
9. Thin Lizzy - "Little Girl In Bloom" (chorus)
"When your daddy comes home, don't tell him till alone." I like the way Phil Lynott stacks his voice there. I'm hopelessly addicted to most of his music. A friend of mine, Jeremy Finkelstein, put it nicely when he said: "When Phil sings, it's like he's looking at himself in the mirror, his fist raised in the air and tears streaming down his face."
10. Sonny Sharrock - "Once Upon A Time" (Elvin Jones' drum intro)
It might be teenage nostalgia for me, but the drum intro still makes me quiver in anticipation of what I think is the most beautiful composition he ever wrote.
Theo Angell is an artist, a musician, a filmmaker, and a shaman. He lives and works in New York City, but plies his trade all over the country. Angell is perhaps best known for his work in Hall of Fame (with Samara Lubelski) and Jackie-O Motherfucker. His newest album is Auraplinth, his best solo effort yet, released on the Digitalis label. He'll be playing shows in the Northeast in support of the album through the winter, so be on the lookout.
1. Tha Tribe - Mad Hops and Crazy Stops (Canyon)
I bought this cassette on a cross-country trip during a Native American Reservation stop. I put it in the deck and it stayed there, killing the miles with stunning displays of vocals and rhythms, elemental rush and congregations. This music blows doors and concedes nothing and hides from no one. I've just been scratching the surface of the current North American Tribal universe the last few years, but I know it goes on and on.
2. Catherine Ribeiro and Alpes - Ame Debout (Philips/Mantra)
Unbelievable must-have dense lucid mystery she-rock. More aggressive than Brigitte et Areski. Deeply addictive and regenerative. I see here Joan of Arc in sunglasses and smoke while Popul Vuh rolls by in the distance on a cart pulled by wild stallions. It features snarling guitar and flying rhythms. It came out in '71/'72 but it's fresh as les dickens in its sheer frugality and courage.
3. Alfred Deller - The Wraggle Taggle Gipsies and Flow, My Tears (Vanguard Classics)
The Wraggle Taggle Gipsies was a scratched-to-hellish record I picked up for a dollar somewhere on the street many years ago. A wonderful collection of "Folk Songs and Ballades of Elizabethan England" sung by Deller, who sings in a counter-tenor voice "with aires as sweet as rain.” The Flow, My Tears record comes with those heavy faint lyrics and tunes of John Dowland, of whom P.K. Dick was such a huge fan. I'm positive John Jacob Niles, another favorite of mine, knew of Alfred's voice.
4. Comus - First Utterance (Breathless)
Chaos and unholy nocturnal dalliances, wailing arty Brits opening for very early Genesis, driving them mad and scaring them straight. Comus took their name from a debauched Pan-like figure from ancient lore and fans might not know that their music is most likely inspired by John Milton's musical of the same name first presented in 1634. Maybe John Dowland was there sharing a Maypole Kool with Dick. So, taking this into consideration, the second, so-called terrible but day-breaking record, might make a hell of a lot more sense, i.e. The Lady is released.
5. Dino Valente - Dino Valente (RPM)
This slice is the ultimate ladies-man-of-the-spirit-realm record. It was recorded in Los Angeles in 1968 by producer Bob Johnston (Blonde On Blonde, Songs From A Room). The lyrics are Manson-esque sometimes, the vocals are tortured and beautiful, and most of the songs are huge. He's up there with Skip Spence and Tim Buckley. (Gene, I would have put you here but someone beat me to it. “So You Say You Lost Your Baby?”)
6. Book of AM - Book of AM (Wah Wah)
One of those very rare records I hear tell. It's the deep-myth of the underworld and astral clutter variety of twilight tomes from the past. Apparently they formed and recorded in Mallorca in the mid-’70s. so the album is heavy with island magic, sung with a choral of voices from a boat made of Eastern parchment, hippie folk and "old world" influences.
7. Kuupuu - Sateen Suutelemat and Yokehra(Nidnod / Dekorder)
Just a few years ago Sateen Suutelemat came out on the Nidnod cassette label. Yokehra is a vinyl release by Dekorder that soon followed and includes some of these cassette songs. Kuupuu, a.k.a. Jonna Karanka, conjures up mysteries deep and true, sometimes revealing chlorophyll glaciers spreading out under icy waters, sometimes bringing to life wicker dolls through whispered incantations and narrations of animal death. Her voice is the haunting, her instrumentation is the house, and out the window flowers are surprisingly bright around the bird nests and chorus keepers.
8. Lights - At Garnet Lake (self released)
I first encountered them at Cakeshop during the Chouette CMJ showcase down in the basement laying some sweet psych rock out to a lot of mesmerized fellas. It's not the free rock kind, it's the well-mannered and sometimes even clunky pop rock, but it's transcendent, bad ass and lovely. She, the lead singer/axe handler and ass-kicker was busting electric leads you'd expect from an older Endless Boogie dude. She had a suitcase full of pedals and hooks a many. Then there's the drummer. She beats sunspots and provides the ace-in-the-hole of harmony vocals. There was a dude on bass who brought muscle and drive. I understand there is another member who plays on their recordings (which really capture the magic) who wasn't there but they were stellar still. (Lights have also appeared on Language of Stone and Twisted Nerve comps.)
9. John White - Mogwash (Last Visible Dog)
The ultimate sea-shanty, tea-cozy, gentle soul seduction, sea-shell collectin', stokin' the fire, New Zealand production. John has an exquisite voice and a deep pocket of inventive heartfelt melodies. Perfect acoustic arrangements abound, each song a little jewel. This new record also contains his first songs, as a bonus. Note: He is not part of the Elfsplotation movement, thank goodness.
10. Blues Control - Blues Control (Holy Mountain)
Been reading a lot about the Holy Mountain lately. It's a pervasive myth from all early cultures where the good guys dwell and, verily, even God Thineself do dwell there. This is a new offering from NYC locals, as if the Mountain had subways and echo tracks running through it. I first thought to myself "It's a mix of mindless gut-full merry-go-downs vibrating in a twitching muscular ether.” Furthermore it brings to mind elements of No Neck Bluesers or a more urban MV+EE (minus the vocals, earth and wood), like they're playing in a drifting arcade. They take their time, and yours, and screw it up nice. Stupid guitar leads open up and Eno/Clustery keyboards drift in and drums take turns driving the bank home.
By Dusted Magazine