Thursday, September 24, 2015
Tune in tonight, for the first Explorers Room of the newly-turned Autumn, and join in a collective denial of seasonal reality. Summer never has to end when you're on the inside of an Explorers Room. That's the whole point, really. Brazilian grooves and steamy jazz are on the menu tonight. Have a seat at this table and consume the sounds of endless summer.
YES, I WOULD LIKE THAT – Ok then, see you there, my friend.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Tonight on Explorers Room: touching base with the show's eternal roots with a classic evening of strange and lurid, really truly exquisite exotica music. An initial emphasis on Tak Shindo will gave way to drawing from the broader bounty of strange music that is Basic Hip Digital Oddio. Some old favorites in newly upgraded sound quality (including a STEREO Mganga! provided by brother Krokodyl) as well as some stuff I've never head before that makes me lose my miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiind it's so good. So far so good, but don't screw up now: this is a show that demands to be heard with the aid of a good tiki drink or cocktail. In the interest of scurvy avoidance, I may be simply squeezing limes into icy glasses of dark rum, but you should consider trying the baroque majesty that is the Pi-Yi:
Pi-Yi (The Islands restaurant, Phoenix AZ, c. 1960)
1 1/2 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1/2 oz honey
1/2 oz peach brandy
1/2 oz passion fruit nectar/juice (not syrup)
1 oz gold puerto rican rum
1 oz martinique rum
dash angostura bitters
LISTEN, OH SO SOON
Saturday, September 12, 2015
For years, as far as I know, there has only been a pretty weak rip of Tak Shindo's outrageous and awesome Mganga! floating about, at 160kbps with tons of junky digital artifacts. Just the other day, a really glorious sounding 320 vinyl rip popped up over at Basic Hip Digital Oddio. Run like the wind and get it now! All the links over there live for only one week, so time is of the essence! That is, unless you make a donation and gain access to the full archives, which I actually did, and found it pretty damn well worth it, because there's tons of great stuff there including lots of exotica. There's a new album every day, so stay on top of that spot and don't miss a trick.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Tonight's Explorers Room: Columnated Ruins Domino – Beach Boys in the Wasteland of Manhood (post-Pet Sounds to Surf's Up)
Tonight on Explorers Room: a return to the bewildering ouvre of the one and only Beach Boys. The last Boys-themed show brought us right up to the cusp of Pet Sounds, and tonight we'll pick up right where Pet Sounds ends, in the mystic temples of Smile (lying there in ruins, or in a half-finished state, depending on your perspective). From there we'll soldier on through the late 60's albums, ending with 1971's Surf's Up (an album which marks the end of an era, in my opinion), paying special attention to:
a) the ways in which Smile, having been abandoned (thus to never be the flabbergasting, singular masterpiece it of course should have been), manages to bubble up all throughout, stretched out across some five or so inconsistent and often-wonderful lo-fi experimental records, and
b) the ways in which the disillusionment/withdrawal of Brian Wilson led to a more democratic, desperate Beach Boys, torn between a desire to compete commercially and of course artistically with other 60's musical acts; and to compete, or at least reasonably rise to the level of, the level of ambitious fine-art excellence established by Brian Wilson's auteurist work on Pet Sounds and Smile (and the hyperbolic expectations/bitter disappointment emanating from the latter). Particularly the top-notch, often tremendous, efforts of Dennis and Carl.
The tragedy of Smile's demise has led to decades of what-could-have-beens when it comes to the Beach Boys. This has overshadowed all the work they've done since. But I like, love a lot of that work, and now, with the benefit of not only time but also the pretty superb Smile Sessions reconstruction of Smile (I have little love for 2004's Brian Wilson Presents Smile, but that exists too), we can ease up on alternate-universe wishful thinking and spend a little time appreciating what actually is there: a hearty stretch of weird experimentation, tossed-off moments of little genius, pop pandering which must have been disappointing at the time but is gorgeous nonetheless, decent offerings from Love-Johnston-Jardine made great by a great group, and grand statements of maturity and sophistication from the younger Wilsons.
Friday, September 4, 2015
A bit of sad news: Maio's Library (font of library treasures) has shuttered its facade and shut down (it was a little while ago, actually, but I just noticed). In a refreshing twist on the old tale, Maio actually chose to close it down, and did so of his own volition, for personal reasons–which beats yet another reiteration of the old coerced-to-self-destroy blog obituary narrative. The loss still stings. So long and thanks for everything, Maio's Library.
Some of my favorite discoveries over there came from the Musax label, which I'd not really heard of until it popped up at Maio's spot. I'd love to share one of those with you today, those of you who've not heard it: Animaux 2, by Arnaud Rozenblat and Dominique Verdan.
It's one of those classic records that takes a simple concept–themes for various animals, a sort of non-existent documentary soundtrack–and runs with it, taking it to supremely weird places. Sort of murky and foreboding, the sound is reminiscent of Umiliani's Continente Nero-esque work (particularly with the ambling, echoey hand drums, low mellotron drones, and wide open folk flutes), but with more culty guitars, cheapie drum machines, and long lines of rough reverb. One absolute highlight is "Etranges Autruches"("Strange Ostriches," which you may have heard on Bibliothèque Exotique Volume 2), an utterly bizarre series of weirdo instrumental interjections, boinging and stabbing, rattling and clanging, in vaguely disorganized fashion, over a doofy keyboard beat while a synth noodles away in the distance. Somewhere between Popol Vuh and Ennio Morricone at in one of his more anarchic moods. The whole record is befuddling delight.
Musax: A N I M A U X 2 (Varying bitrates, mostly pretty low. Wish it were better, but at least it is at all)
ON ANOTHER NOTE: Check the sidebar here to see an archive of all previous Explorers Room episodes (Explorers Room Radio Library), with their original post image and description. I've started removing the original posts after a few weeks so as to unclutter the main page. Of course, you can also just check it all out right here on the WFMU site.
AND, stay tuned for news about the book, my book: EXPEDITION. It is really, truly coming this time, and will be available for preorder (likely via a kickstarter, alas) within the month.
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Tonight, the Explorers Room will take a pause in its Beach Boys exploration in order to spend some time in the epic and sublime sounds of fin-de-siècle and early 20th century classical and art music, with particular attention paid to themes of exoticism, ritual, and primordiality. All but one selection will be drawn from my own vinyl collection, for what it's worth, and all have spectacular, weird album art, in many ways much like some of your better Exotica covers. Come along on this plunge into the orchestral primeval, the ooze from which exotica is born.
Tomorrow: New post. Next Week: Beach Boys Part Deux - Grownmen in a Sea of Troubles.