Good Music We Can Know

Friday, January 27, 2017

Cover Art: Mike Cooper, Reluctant Swimmer / Virtual Surfer (Discrepant)


Hello all! Very pleased, very proud to say that there's a new Mike Cooper release coming out this February, with sleeve art by yours truly. 

Time and again, Cooper heroically expands the horizons of exoticism (and everything else) with experimentalism and improvisation. An absolutely brilliant artist, a gentle titan, a true and revolutionary exot. The album, Reluctant Swimmer / Virtual Surfer, is being released on vinyl by the Discrepant label, which has put out tons of field recordings, exotic, experimental, and globally-minded music.  From the Discrepant site:

The 'icon of post-everything,' Mike Cooper, returns to Discrepant with a recording of a live set recorded at the Controindicazioni Festival of Improvised Music in Rome in 2003.  The music moves very slowly through four movements: Reluctant Swimmer,” Movies is Magic,” Virtual Surfer,” and Dolphins. 'Floating in out of the exotic ether and disappearing like smoke, engulfed in the alien hugeness of nature... a very elegant set by a visionary artist.'

Mike Cooper says 'the first half is played on my old 1920s National tri-plate lapsteel guitar and the second half on my Vietnamese electric lap steel. I also sing two songs along the way. Movies is Magic by Van Dyke Parks and “Dolphins” by Fred Neil. It was the first time I had ever sung the last song.' 

Seriously, the rendition of "Movies is Magic" (originally on Van Dyke Parks' & Brian Wilson's strange, wonderful, frustrating album Orange Crate Art), is totally transformative, just deeply moving, especially in the context of the performance, where it truly emerges from abstraction and atmosphere, then disappears again.  Listen to the two versions together sometime.


 Check it out here.


I have a couple more covers for Discrepant coming out this year, stay tuned.  Very exciting music.  I love making cover art for good music; let me know if you have one and perhaps I can provide the other. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Funk, Jazz & Calypso (With and Without Social Significance)


Tonight in the Room we will hear South African liberation jazz; political calypsos on themes of corruption, poverty, and immigration (most from a big box of calypso LPs I only just bought, and am still exploring); and a scorching downpour of dance funk from each installment in Hamilton Bohannon's insane run on the Dakar label (six LPs from '73-'77), and one from his Phase II on Mercury.  Most everything will be from my collection tonight, which pleases me.  Tune in, be with me, get funky, get mad.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: If the Drum is a Woman – March


Tomorrow, Trump will be inaugurated, ushering in a heightened normalization of discriminatory discourse and an escalation of persecutions and aggressions based on that discourse (among many other nightmares, undoubtedly).

The next day, there will be a Women's March in D.C., and many smaller regional marches and protests around the world.  I have my doubts that the big march will be as revolutionarily intersectional and class-conscious as it should be, or support a significant anticapitalist or anti-imperialist aspect (to my mind, crucial components of globally-minded feminism).  But I think this march will prove to be more than just a bourgeois exercise.  It will be an inevitably historic moment, and its message is ultimately not reliant on the aims and stated policies of the march's founders, or the media – in truth, the message of this protest is yet to be written, and when it is, it will be done collectively, by those in attendance.  

So tonight's show is an expression of solidarity to all the sisters and brothers and comrades who will be attending the march, and all its satellites – committing their presence and their voices to this demonstration of resistance, this continuation of the struggle.  


Saturday, January 14, 2017

New Flash Strap Mix – "Vega-Tables: Eating Human Meat Under Friendly Observation" – For Food& Magazine


Very pleased to announce that a new mix of mine has just been put out by Food& magazine, entitled "Vega-Tables: Eating Human Meat Under Friendly Observation."  For their second issue, AliensFood& is an appealingly bizarre enterprise, focusing on "unusual encounters with food," an absurd idea for an ongoing publication.  There's an undeniable surrealism to the whole notion of smashing two unlike concepts together just to see what the resulting juice will taste like.  I like this.  I like juxtaposition, for its own sake or any other. Here's a little more in the way of description, if you care to learn.

Anyway, I did what I think is a pretty good mix/podcast that you can listen to on the site, and an attendant interview outlining some of my feelings relating to food, aliens, music, etc.  Check it out.  I also have a piece of art in the print magazine, so if you buy a copy, rest assured you'll see it there, looking back out at you.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: The Rebels are Coming to Town


Tune in tonight for a sprawling program of diaspora music, rapso, calypso-disco, funk, jazz, and political soul from Trinidad&Tobago, Ghana, Zambia, Angola, and pockets of the USA, among others.

That's a short, basic write-up, I know, but just know that the tunes tonight will be out of control.  See you there.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Through a Veil of Moon Mist – Adventures in Time & Space


Tonight in the Explorers Room, join me as we journey through time and space, to the future, to the moon, to planets and galaxies exotic and mysterious.  Space-age exotica, library themes, and early experimental electronics attempting to connote the unknown as we know it with bleeps, bloops, bubble sounds, echo effects, theremins (and ersatz theremins), tape effects, wordless vocals, and so on and so forth, into the future of sound as imagined by the stereowizards of the past....

Join me, tonight, 7-10. First show of the new year.