FM Broadcasts: December 30, 2010

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Another live set from Jukebox Heart aired on WZBC – Newton, 90.3 FM in Boston. You can hear it live anywhere in the world via the WZBC link above or using your smart device and the Tune In Radio app, searching for WZBC while the program is live. Otherwise, you can come to Jukebox Heart and listen here.

Featured Labels:


The Tapeworm

With an aggressive schedule and highly selective criteria, The Tapeworm has managed to establish itself as the premiere cassette-only label. With over 25 releases to choose from, Jukebox Hearts presents several picked from the full range of the label’s releases.


Electricity and Lust

An new label based in Olympia, Washington, each release is a thing of hand-wrought beauty and unique in its own right. Even the shipping box these records came to me in is a work of art, which I keep to store them in. Don’t miss this label…

Featured Artist:


Rothko

Few artists wrangle such a personal connection as Rothko has the potential to do, once you’ve begun listening. For 13 years, the work of Mark Beazley and collaborators has sent chills down our spines. But Mark has announced that his work as Rothko has ceased. Rather than mourn that loss, we celebrate the music of Rothko here. And don’t miss your chance to pick up his work at cut-out bin prices – he’s holding a clearance sale of his back catalogue on his Trace recordings imprint at prices you will regret missing… Check them out at the link above.

The Playlist
Locust “Jukebox Heart” from Morning Light (CD, 197) on Apollo (UK)

Harry Bertoia “Unfolding” from Unfolding (CD, 1993) on PSF (Japan)

Derek Jarman “In Conversation with Richard Torrey” from In Conversation with Richard Torrey (Cassette) on The Tapeworm

BJ Nillsen & Hilda Gudnadottir “Composition for Wolftone No. 1” from Echoes From The Foreshore (CD) on Optical Sound (France)

Raglani “For A.O” from Untitled (CD) on Pegasus Farms

Otouto “Tennis Players” from Pip (CD)

Kaada “Mainframe” from Thank You for Giving Me Your Valuable Time (CD) on Ipecac

The Passage “The Shadows” from For All And None (CD) on LTM — Reissue of 1981 LP

E-Man “The Difference” from E-Man (Cassette) on The Tapeworm

Rothko “Storm Cycle” from Storm Cycle (10 Inch) on K-raa-k

Rothko “Winter in The Oceans” from Pressurization Unit No. 2 (7 Inch) on Narwhal

Rothko “Red Cells” from Red Cells (7 Inch) on Too Pure

BLK w/Bear “Turn_In” from Farenheit drafts (12 Inch) on Trace Recordings

Rothko & BLK w/BEAR “Wish For A World Without Hurt” from Wish for a World Without Hurt (CD) on Trace Recordings

Rothko & Susumu Yokota “Lit By Moonlight” from Water’s Edge (12 Inch) on Lo Recordings

Brian DeGraw “Extract from Sonic The Warhol” from Soundtrack to Sonic the Warhol (LP) on Brown Sounds

Margo “Tiny Conspiracies” from Songs from the woods (CD)

Christopher Francis “Ashes from Burning Wood” from Sings Orion Rigel Dommisse, Volume 3 (Lathe-Cut 7 Inch) on Electricity and Lust

Firs of Prey “November” from Keep the Lions Asleep (LP) on Electricity and Lust

The Ocean Floor “Pop Quiz” from Pop Quiz (LP) on Electricity and Lust

Polka Dot Dot Dot “Nejewel” from Syzygy (LP) on Electricity and Lust

Souls On Board “The Waiting Room” from Souls On Board (Cassette) on The Tapeworm

Pita “Mesmer” from Mesmer (Cassette) on The Tapeworm

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FM Broadcasts: December 23, 2010

Jukebox Heart live set on WZBC 90.3 FM Newton MA

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The December 23 edition of Jukebox Heart on WZBC was rih with featured releases and labels:

Featured Labels:

Spleen Coffin
Journal of Popular Noise

Featured Releases:

Mark Mothersbagh Music for Insomniacs cassette
Various Artists – Recover Box set of 7″ singles
Trax Notterossa Reissue

The Playlist:

Hour 1 – Featured Release
.Mark Mothersbaugh selections from Musik for Insomniacs (Cassette, 1985) on TRA Product (Japan)

.Bee Queen “A While Away” from Sandancing Demos (10 Inch) on Important (US)
.Bee Queen “Breathe (demo/Rough)” from San Dancing Demos (10 Inch) on Important (US)
.Jakob “Lonesome” from Solace (LP) on Midium (US)
.8 Frozen Modules “Sand Bubbles” from Daydream Nightmare EP (12 Inch EP, 1997) on Trance Syndicate (US)
.Mark Mothersbaugh – selections from Musik for Insomniacs (Cassette, 1985) on TRA Product (Japan)
.Letters Letters “Everyone’s Afraid Of Fear” from Letters Letters (LP2007) on Type (UK/US)

Hour 1 – Featured Label: Journal of Popular Noise
Tracks played:

.Climax Golden Twins – tracks from issue 1.10 of Journal of Popular Noise
.Pontius Pilots “cHAPTERS” from Journal of Popular Noise
.Past Lives “Morning Comes” from Journal of Popular Noise
.Felt Letters “Let’s All Dream” from Journal of Popular Noise
.Ones “Azimuth” from Journal of Popular Noise 1.3
.Foscil “Cheating at Pick A Number” from Journal of Popular Noise

.The Lost Jockey “Professor Slack” (10 Inch, Single, 1982) on Operation Twilight (Belgium)
.My Cat Is an Alien “Last Calls from the Earth” from The Rest Is Silence (LP) on Eclipse (US) — Collaged with:
.Bala Krishna – selections from Pranayam Yoga Breathing and Relaxation Exercises (LP)
.DDAA – selections from Lernen 5: Submusic (Cassette, 1985) on Illusion Production (http://hip.hip.ip.free.fr/, France)

Hour 2 – Featured Release
.Various “Notterossa” from Notterossa/Rednight (CD, 2006, Kinetix)

Hour 2 – Featured Label: Spleen Coffin
Tracks played from the following releases:

.Kreace Peeps – various tracks from “Pacman Ghost Suicide By Shotgun Blast” (Cassette, 2007)
.Rosemary Krust – various tracks from Rosemary Krust (7-Inch Single)
.Decapitated Hed various tracks from Isolation Pulse (Cassette, 2007)
.Marlo Eggplant “Fleischmann Ballad” from Marlo Eggplant (CD)
.Nat Roe – various tracks from Nat Roe (Cassette)

Hour 2 – Featured Release
.Various “Red Night” from Notterossa/Rednight (CD, 2006, Kinetix)

Hour 3 – Featured Release
.Various Artists “Recovery”
Selections played in the following order:

.Carter/Tutti “Lucifer Sam”
.Richard Chartier & COH “Bleak is My favorite Cliche”
.Christian Fennesz “Hunting High and Low”
.BJ Nilsen “Heart & Soul”
.Barbara Morgenstern “Temptatipon”
.Johann Johannson “Souvenir”
.Ryoji Ikeda “Back in Black”
.Alva Noto “Planet Rock”
.Susan Stenger “My Sharona”

Closing Track:

.Automatics Group “Tracks 1-12” from Automatics Group (LP, Album, Private, 2010) on OR (http://wwww.itsaor.net, UK)

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Juicebox Heart: The Glups

In time for Chistmas, at least insofar as Christmas can be aligned with Jukebox Heart, is another installment of Juicebox Heart. Here, Jukebox Heart celebrates the most innovative, strangest, wackiest and sometimes scariest of the children’s records we have come across in our travels.

The records featured here are just a few of the magnificent works of the audio – visual design team Jim Copp and Ed Brown. The audio segment featured here is an excerpt of the trials of a fictitious family, The Glups as they travel their way across the lower 48 in an attempt to collect an inheritance. Photos of the albums reveal the ingenious visual design as the record sleeves unfold to form classrooms, magical theaters and, in the case of The Glups, trans-continental and trans-oceanic board games, complete with cutout characters and magic window inserts.

Sometime in the 80s as I was traveling through San Francisco, I had the privilege of meeting Jim Copp while hanging out in the Subterranean Records store, then on Valencia in the Mission. He was bringing a bunch of these beautiful unplayed records, hoping to sell them as remainders. I managed to get copies of the last four records in the series. These records are legendary in their execution and design as well as their ability to stimulate the imagination.

Copp and Brown recorded and released nine albums of stories and songs for children between 1958 and 1971. Jim Copp (1913–1999) wrote all of the stories and songs, and played and recorded all of the music. Ed Brown (died 1978) designed and illustrated all of the duo’s album covers. Both men performed the various characters’ voices, often with the help of tape manipulation and were among the first to devise and use multi-track recording for children’s records. Copp and Brown’s work has been compared to that of Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Dr. Seuss, and Pee Wee Herman.

Photos and audio tracks are below. And of course, Record Geek history is below the cut.

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Selections from
“A Journey to San Francisco with The Glups”

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As promised, Geek history below the cut!
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FM Broadcasts: WZBC, December 16, 2010


Still Life with Kazoo and WZBC.
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Jukebox Heart is guest hosting on WZBC during the winter break at Boston College, filling in for vacationing DJs. It has been five long years since I last operated the soundboard at WZBC, and it took a little while to reacquaint. But I had the privilege of following Susanna Bolle of Rare Frequency, whom I followed regularly as a permanent DJ on WZBC until 2005.

PLAYLIST

Locust – Jukebox Heart (Morning Light, Apollo, 1997)
Zoe Irvine & Helen Douglas – Illiers-Combray Disc 1(Illiers-Combray, Weprodutions, 2004)
Hurray – Selections from I Am My Own Worst Enemy (LP, Modern Claire, 2008)
Brady Cranefield – Backwards (Correlated Rotations, Artspeak, 2005)
Lucky Dragons – Selections from F uxux 010 (7″ single, English Muffin Records, 2000)
IRM – Four Studies for Crucifixion (10″ EP, Cold Meat Industry, 2000)
A-Frames & Climax Golden Twins – New Punk 4(self-titled EP, Dirty Knobby, 2005)
Human Flesh – Meditation and Fears: Th Fourth Day (Songs For The Victims (Of A Decaying Country), EE Tapes, 2006)
Andy Nice – Somebody Take Me Home (The Secrets of Me, Front & Follow, 2010)
A. P. E. – I Haven’t Had The Chance (7″ Single, Electric Tones, 1999)
Moloko – Dominoid (All Back to the Mine, Echo, 2001)
Pitchtuner – Hands Up (Wanton Fever, Doxa Records, 2003)
Pastacas – Ing (Dehemardik Datis, Kohvirecords, 2002)
AM/PM – 1 (The End, Dreck, 2003)
Elite Barbarian – Tropic(It’s Only When You Get To The End That It All Makes Sense, Front & Follow, 2009)
The Slow Life – Levity (Be Not Afraid, 2008)
Lake – Sudden Whim (Mike & Beth Forever, Lathe cut Box Set, PIAPTK, 2010)
Wand – Oh, Susanna & Dive (Haunting The Stagecoach, PIAPTK, 2009)
Southerly – Selections from Best Dressed and Expressionless (Lathe Cut 2×10″, PIAPTK, 2007)
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone – Selections from STSNC Soundtrack(7″ Single, PIAPTK, 2008)
Gary War – Reality Protest (7″ Single, Sacred Bones, 2009)
Children’s Hospital – Selections from Alone Together (CD, Sacred Bones, 2008)
Zola Jesus – Devil Take You (The Spoils, Sacred Bones 2009)
Rothko – Origlio Night time 2000 (1997 And Other Things, download only, 2009)
Rothko – Be Invisible (Eleven Stages of Intervention, Bip Hop, 2007)
Zoe Irvine & Helen Douglas – Illiers-Combray Disc 2(Illiers-Combray, Weprodutions, 2004)

FEATURED RELEASE

Illiers Combray & Helen Douglas, Zoe Irvine
Yarrow, Scotland: Aeolus and Weproductions, 2004

Sound artist Zoë Irvine and visual artist Helen Douglas collaborate to create a richly textured, multi layered soundscape composition (2 CDs: Irvine) and ornately interwoven visual narrative (2 sided concertina book: Douglas), exploring a sense of memory and place. Inspired in the month of May by a week long visit to Illiers Combray, the small town immortalized by Marcel Proust in his epic novel In Search of Lost Time, Irvine and Douglas weave together their own distinct mythologies and reveries; their subjective responses elliptically united by their shared sense of place. It was released as a double mini CD and artist book in 2004 and reworked as a sound walk for the Berwick Film Festival in 2006. This edition of Jukebox Heart is flanked by both recordings played in full at the beginning and end of the show. Below are some page spreads from the book.



FEATURED LABELS

Front and Follow – Recently featured as Part 1 of a label spotlight on Jukebox Heart, tonight’s show featured three tracks from the label’s catalog. We are very excited about the music coming out of this label and look forward to future relases.

Sacred Bones Records – Based in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, this label has an aggressive release schedule with some very choice artists on the roster such as Zola Jesus, Gary War and other less known but astonishing artists. They also have a great reissue series happening as well, and almost all of their records begin their lives as specially packaged editions, so you have to act fast…

People In A Position TO know – Just as the label name says, you sorta have to be in that coveted spot to obtain his releases. Run by a guy whose budget should only be as big as his heart, Mike Dixon. His label specializes in super-limited run (we’re talking sometimes as low as ten copies…) handmade releases in lathe cut format on the most unexpected media imaginable. You really have to see it to undertand it. We featured a recent release of his a few months ago, and a follow-up article focusing on the rest of his label will follow soon as well.

FEATURED ARTIST

Rothko‘s Mark Beazley announced earlier this year that Rothko will cease its activities. For 13 years Rothko has produced some of the most divine and graceful music, so it would be all too selfish to lament this announcement rather than to express appreciation for all the gorgeous music left behind. Throughout the show tonight we listened to tracks from Rothko and from the current projects of other Rothko members. Next time Trace Recordings, a label established in 2003 by Mark Beazley, will be among our featured labels.

Jukebox Saturday Night: Teenage Party

Jukebox Saturday Night is not an anomaly in Jukebox Heart so much as it is a moment to take a trip back to our roots. In a previous article on Jukebox Saturday Night, we established a link between the street music of the Urban US in the 1950s to modern hip hop and R&B focusing on several labels and key individuals. It’s important to look back on and appreciate this music; it is arguably the product of the first wave of independent labels, fueled by many of the same frustrations that launched punk rock and industrial music in the 70s, and indeed all independently produced music since the second world war.

So here is the sound of NYC in 1956. These were the groups heard on the radio and echoing from record hops everywhere. This album was issued in late 1957 and is considered to be one of the most desirable doo-wop collectible records, especially in this first pressing incarnation. I’m lucky enough to have owned this since I was a kid. Record geek history will, of course, follow. But first, the music:

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Side 1 Playlist:

The Cleftones – Little Girl of Mine
The Cleftones – Can’t We Be Sweethearts
The Wrens – Come Back My Love
The Valentines – Nature’s Creation
The Valentines – Lily Maebelle
The Harptones – Three Wishes

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Side 2 Playlist:

The Cleftones – You Baby You
The Cleftones – You’re Driving Me Mad
The Crows – Gee
The Crows – I Love You So
The Harptones – My Memories of You (1956)
The Harptones – Sunday Kind of Love

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As promised, Geek History is below the cut. Read about the history of Gee Records, and some little known info about the fabulous house band…

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Label Spotlight: Front and Follow, Part 1

Front and Follow’s knack for tapping into the subterranean level work of artists who have more prominent work either with other artists, under other names or what have you, is a streak of brilliance which will propel them into prominence in their own right. The Manchester, UK-based label’s virgin release, Elite Barbarian, “It’s Only When You Get To The End That It All Makes Sense”, is the work of Benjamin Page and Michael Donnelly who are a part of the well-loved Rothko. Yonokiero have their lineage in the famous Hirameka Hi-Fi, while Andy Nice has been everywhere and done everything, but lately has a seat playing cello with Tindersticks. And the list goes on. Remixes, collaborative projects and other recordings have attracted the best of the best. We will be examining Front and Follow in two parts. First, some reviews and tracks of the label’s first four releases. Then a special report on their recently released interactive project, Long Division With Remainders. Oh, and don’t forget to visit the label’s website.

The label’s visual identity and design sensibility is flawless, with design and illustration by brilliant UK designer Damian O’Hara. The label has learned from so many who have come before that having someone recognize your release on the shelf is part of the battle. For their four initial releases, Front and Follow have packaged their CDs between two slightly oversized slabs of Davey Board, the rear embossd with the label’s logo, while the front sports a custom embroidered patch suitable for stitching to your motorcycle jacket. But don’t. In limited pressings each of 250 or less, these are instantly collectible, and soon will be lusted after with no less fervor than the Instinct Ambient series CDs rendered by Designers Republic in the mid-1990s.


F&F001: Elite Barbarian – “It’s Only When You Get To The End That It All Makes Sense”
Track 6, “Tropic” 7:16

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The label’s meteoric debut from Elite Barbarian immediately sets an intimidating bar. But this is to be expected, for the bravery and confidence with which one must proceed these days to attempt to release something that may very well receive the dreaded “IDM” tag, and therefore fall into an incomprehensibly vast abyss, is something that can only be coupled with the intution the label has shown for the excellence presented throughout its catalog. Hence, there is no band with a more appropriate name to fit such an occasion.

Elite Barbarian is the work of Benjamin Page and Michael Donnelly, who are also members of legendary London band Rothko. Elite Barbarian uses a vast array of sonic weapons to create a range of ambient abstractions and pounding rhythms. Their sound, both on-stage and off, is comprised of hard syntesizers, samplers, percussion and other toys. Benjamin is one half of Rocketnumbernine, with his brother Thomas, and their innovative improvised sets have been making an impact on the London scene since they formed in March 2006. Ben previously released a solo album “Drawn to Light”, recorded as Maps of the Heart, on Unlabel in 2006.

In this case, the band’s proven chops aren’t necessarily a shoe-in, for as dedicated as most Rothko fans may be, we can also be a snooty bunch, and one false move can manifest destiny in the cutout bin. Tropic, the track selected here, is particularly evident of the band’s dexterity. Whereas many bands exploit their inspirations, Elite Barbarian almost mocks them. You might expect the band to venture into deeper explorations of the glitch, and while the glitch and the subsequent rhythm patterns that have evolved around it is certainly a reference point, it is completely abandoned. The gradually evolving and gelling rhythm structures slowly build into recognizable loops and vaguely call to mind Electric Birds and that more eccentric end of the Mille Plateaux roster while avoiding cliche throughout.


F&F002: Yonokiero – “Blue Apples”
Track 8, “Rewound” 3:51

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It’s said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But lately, my notoriously staunch and dismissive reaction to anything even remotely singer/songwriterish has begun to soften. Frankly, I’m worried. I mean, first Mike Dixon (of People in a Position To Know) introduces me to The Graves who are quickly becoming a favorite band and now, Front and Follow hand me this, also zooming up the Jukebox Heart playlist.

So…Yonokiero, a two-piece made up of Chris Baldwin and Tom Coogan, formed after leaving their previous band Hirameka Hi-Fi. They have abandoned the delerious distortion of their past efforts (well, not entirely) and concentrate more on dreamy guitar harmony and vocals here. I’m not used to thinking that is a good thing, but they have a way of coaxing just the right mix out of their well worn acoustic acoutrements. Honestly, that’s not an entirely fair statement, because their are moments throughout Blue Apples that are peppered with the subtleties of feedback and overdrive, they are just not the emphasis. It’s clear that a lot of thought went into this set of songs as they gloriously unfold in a particularly narrative way. The influences of traditional folk pair well with a more modern sensitibilty of a loose, gritty sonica-verite, and the moderately lo-fi basement ambience provides a very focused baseline for all the songs to perch upon in order to tell their varied stories.

There are some obvious reference points here, like Red House Painters, for instance. This isn’t bad (or I wouldn’t have mentioned it), but I’d like to suggest a looser association with bands like Mahogany or perhaps even Movietone, because there are some very common elements there in the minimalism of sound and the economy of lyric. Where other music of this genre can be cloying and syrupy (think Wilco…) this is understated and elegant.


F&F003: Andy Nice – “The Secrets of Me”
Track 7, “Somebody Take Me Home” 4:05

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You may think it’s an odd choice to select the one vocal track from the album to include here, but I am just a sucker for F-Vox in this particular genre of music, especially in the detached melancholy nonchalance of Maple Bee. It is certainly not meant to detract from the wonderful music of Andy Nice’s cello; rather, his cello is a wonderful counterpoint. But enough of this back-pedaling. This is just a wonderful album. As I’ve mentioned, Andy Nice is currently part of Tindersticks, but has played with a wildly diverse array of artists, ranging from Baader Meinhof to Cradle Of Filth to Sade.

Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of “The Secrets of Me” is that the cello unapologetically takes the spotlight. There are countless examples of the cello being included in modern recordings that seem to include it only for its hip factor only to bury it in the mix behind more traditional pop arrangements. Not even remotely so here. The cello is showcased as the diverse instrument it is, providing melody as well as rhythmic structure throughout.

If your breath has ever been stolen by the likes of The Penguin Cafe Orchestra, perhaps as in “The Sound of Someone You Love Who’s Going Away Amd It Doesn’t Matter”, or by the themes in Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio 1610, or perhaps even by the more accessible side of HNAS, and then if you take that and filter it through a more current sensibility, you will understand exactly what is going on here.

Front and Follow have released a Free remix EP that is download-only, available here. It includes remixes by Sone Institute and Elite Barbarian, and also from Yellow 6. You didn’t miss that I said it was free, right? Go get it!


F&F004: Sone Institute – “Curious Memories”
Track 12, “Tea For Four” 1:54

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Track 14, “Sleep Has Its Embers” 1:10

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One thing about Sone Institute is that people either get it or they don’t. There seems to be no middle ground, and nothing is going to change that. But I’m fairly certain Roman Bedzyk, Sole Proprietor of Sone Institute, knew that going in. To simply say his music is sample and loop based electronics is to say something equally vapid as “the air is clear”, when in fact, it is bristling with unstable static and thick with the smell of ozone. Samples and loops are his basic tools, certainly, but so what? He creates music that is vital and full of motion and emotion and dense with dreams and desire. The tools are only important when it is obvious they are the most important aspect of the music and that’s the best there is to say about it. What I am finding so refreshing in his music is the *lack* of irony. It’s easy to raid a thrift shop and snicker at the selection of albums, and use samples to poke fun at the source material. It’s a far, far braver thing to use the samples in a way that respects and augments such source material – and a far more brilliant thing to pull *that* off with a contemporary sounding result. And Sone Institute has done just that, finding himself among the ranks of Ulrich Schnauss and Weschel Garland in the modern world, and the likes of Werner Mueller, Martin Bottcher and Santo & Johnny from a bygone era. Sone Institute is a very welcome addition in the Jukebox Heart archive.

The current complete discography of the label is presented below, with F&F 10 and 11 only at the announcement stage.

F&F001: Elite Barbarian – It’s Only When You Get To The End That It All Makes Sense
F&F002: Yonokiero – Blue Apples
F&F003: Andy Nice – The Secrets of Me
F&F004: Sone Institute – Curious Memories
F&F005: Andy Nice – The Remixes
F&F006: Long Division with Remainders – 14 Versions of the Same EP
F&F007: Doomed Bird of Providence EP
F&F008: Long Division with Remainders – Remainders (free download for those who buy the LDWR box set)
F&F009: Dollboy meets Sone Institute – The Sum and The Difference
F&F010: Yonokiero: Remixes (title, format, release date TBC)
F&F011: The Doomed Bird of Providence – Will Ever Pray (full album, out April 2011)
F&F012: LDWR Wrapping paper (currently exclusively available at Grotto Shop, Manchester)

“Long Division with Remainders” (LDWR) is the label’s Big Buzz, and for most of us has been the introductory release. Jukebox Heart will be presenting a more in-depth review of this release as Part 2 of this label spotlight, but for now a brief overview is in order. LDWR began as a periodic web-based remix project, with individual installments appearing on the LDWR website for free download. Artists were given source material for use in remixing, rebuilding and re-creating new music. Available now is the 4CD box set which includes remixes from Leyland Kirby, TagCloud, Spool Ensemble, The Truth About Frank, Susan Hawkins, Volume = Colour, The Abominable Mr Tinkler, Ken Peel, Barnaby Oliver, Isnaj Dui, Cats Against the Bomb, BLK w/BEAR, Sone Institute and Helen Watson. As a bonus, those who purchase the hard-copy receive a free full-length download of supplemental material. Stay tuned to this space for a much closer look at Long Division with Remainders.

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Incredibly Strange Records: Mother Angelica and Her Nuns…

Is there really anything more that I need to add to these? Mother Agelica and her Nuns sing for you, “I Am God, Not Man”. No date provided, but given the images, the age of Mother herself in the photos and the production EQ curve, I’d guess this is around the 1975 time frame. In the first audio track, Mother Angelia rivals William Shatner in her theatrical skills. In the second, well, this could be the soundtrack for the Nuns Having Fun calendar. Those nuns know how to throw a hootenanny. Or is that hootenunny???

Either you get this or you don’t. *wink*

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Hard Copy: Fear Drop

With the advent of digital download, print media with accompanying free records, tapes or CDs are becoming increasingly rare. In Hard Copy, Jukebox Heart presents one such print media item and its associated audio. This time, the wonderful Fear Drop magazine.

Based in La Ferriere-sur-Risle, in the north of France, Fear Drop was founded in 1993/1994, and after some rather eclectic beginnings, was quickly devoted to various forms of musical experiments. The majority of these experiments lay in that proverbial gray area between abstraction and figuration, and the magazine’s priority evolved such as to seize and preserve these aural passages. Today, the project is articulated mainly around the reflection, description, and the translation of abstract musics. Each issue of the magazine Fear Drop is accompanied by a compilation CD gathering new pieces, the majority of which are composed exclusively for inclusion in Fear Drop.

I first leaned of Fear Drop recently, when a newsletter arrived in my inbox from Touch Records announcing the inclusion of several Touch artists on the CD accompanying the most recent issue, number 15, including BJ Nilsen, Chris Watson, Jana Winderen, and Mike Harding himself. Also included is Black To Comm, whose recent performance at Boston’s Gothe Institut was simply fascinating. So I immediately searched for back issues and scored all the way back to issue 7.

Featured here is Issue 14, issued in late 2008, which is an entire issue dedicated to an analysis of The Cure’s “Pornography” album, originally issued in 1982. Indeed, the accompanying CD reworks and reconstructs the entire original LP with 8 artists coming together to form a compilation, with each artist interpreting one of the 8 tracks on the original LP. Th resulting tracks were then sequenced as on the original recording. Artists include the diverse mix of Nadja, Savage Republic, Troum, Contagious Orgasm and more. The results are varied and range from the faithful to the completely unfamiliar. Savage Republic provides a very faithful rendition of The Hanging Garden, which, considering the bands heavily percussive bent, makes a good deal of sense. One of the most unpredictable tracks is presented here.

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Wild Shades provide a cover of “Siamese Twins”, and the results are gripping, engaging and as amusing and unlikely as the Flying Lizards cover of “Summertime Blues”. Click on the arrow above to hear the track.

The Cure is one of those bands that everyone who grew up in the last 30 years grew up with. So we all have our periods of The Cure which resonate with us. Perhaps, too, we have a well-defined moment when we realized that we may have outgrown them and moved on to bigger and better things. Of course, one never really outgrows The Cure. Oh sure, we may have our fill of self-indulgent music snobbery that evokes the requisite nasal upturn upon the mention of the band’s name. Too pedestrian? Sure, sure. But when those doors close, I’d be willing to bet you have that one guilty pleasure, that one Cure song that no one knows you know about but you that gets your foot tapping where no one can see it, or that makes you cry and blame it on seasonal allergies, or, goddammit, just makes you dance. Period. Sublime moments for me: Seeing The Cure perform Boys Don’t Cry to an audience of 30 people in the basement of a Boston University dormitory. Seeing them again years later performing Primary to synchronized out-of-phase strobe lights. And then again, Shake Dog Shake, once again in Boston. But for me, the magic ended with Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me. Even the title made me bristle and blanched my cool all-black wardrobe. Things would just never be the same, even if the album was a little darker than the title suggested. But gone were the dim, foggy days of Faith and Seventeen Seconds, that was certain. Pornography, of course, was a an entirely different affair. I remember playing it in the living room when it was hot off the press, which prompted my then room-mate to urgently enter the room, saying, incredulously, in a tone which ultimately suggested three question marks, “Is This The Cure???” When I nodded, he just said, “OK, now they are starting to frighten me.” Porngraphy, was, in fact, their grand opus of the time. Not as accessible as the previous two albums I just mentioned, but certainly more to the point. Robert Smith’s hair was getting longer; his eyeliner, darker; his pout; deeper and the cracks in his voice, well, more cracked.

In any case, closet fans of The Cure can now call the date of the release of this issue of Fear Drop their National Coming Out Day. Fear Drop has reclaimed hip street cred for The Cure for their most secretive admirers, and validated those of us who never really cut the strings, even if we pretended to…

To hear the original version of Siamese Twins, as performed by The Cure, click on the arrow below.

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Fear Drop is a non-profit. Please visit Fear Drop and send a little love their way…

Incoming! : Seven That Spells

More and more recently, I’ve been receiving unsolicited promos in consideration for review in Jukebox Heart. These are always welcome. Incoming! is a new category in Jukebox Heart specifically created to address that. I am happy to have recieved a promo from one of my favorite labels, Beta Lactam Ring Records. Under review is the recent release from Zagreb’s Seven That Spells.

Seven That Spells
“Future Retro Spasm”

Track 5, remixed: Death Star Narcolepsy (Jukebox Heart Mix)

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Released 20 May 2010 on
Beta-lactam Ring Records

Tracks:

1. Olympos 08:44
2. G 08:24
3. Terminus Est 05:03
4. The Abandoned World Of Automata 14:30
5. Death Star Narcolepsy 09:42
6. Quetzalcoatl 03:06

Recorded in 2009 @Kramasonik studio
Recording engineer – Miroslav Piškuli?
Mix – Miroslav Piškuli?
Mastering – Steve Thomas
Artwork – Niko Poto?njak

Personnel:

Stanislav Muškinja – drums
Narantxa – bass
Lovro Zlopaša – sax
Niko Poto?njak – guitar

SEVEN THAT SPELLS were formed in Zagreb, Croatia in 2003. The core of the band is Niko ‘Brain’ Poto?njak, who is the guitarist and the producer (and also a member of TIGROVA MAST). The beginnings of the band were rooted in the power trio format but have since then – and after more than 50 musicians passing through the band – evolved to a more modern and aggressive psychedelic sound incorporating polymetrics and occasional viking funeral rites. The band’s psychedelic style is clearly influenced by ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE. The two bands collaborated at one point with Makoto Kawabata and Tsuyama Atsushi, having recorded an album together and toured Japan. But in 2003, the band began as a trio; Poto?njak was accompanied by Tomislav Kalousek on bass and Stjepan Jurekovi? on drums. They released their debut, The Blowout, which was remastered in 2005, and showed their musical potential to their early audiences. In ’05 they signed for the Russian RAIG label, a well known one among the Russian avant/prog circles. The second album ‘My Mommy Wants To Kiss Your Mamma’was released with Hrvoje Niksi? reinforcing the band on synthesizers. The first notable change in band’s line-up happened in 2006, when Tvrtko Dujmovi? took a role of a bassist, Igor Poto?njak swapped place with Niksi?, and Mario Pereti? took the drummer’s seat. They released ‘It Came From The Planet Of Love’ that year, also for the Russian imprint, RAIG.

The key moment happened in between ’06 and ’07, when SEVEN THAT SPELLS met the members of ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE; to sum it up, they released two albums in cooperation, and were touring in Japan. ‘The Men From Dystopia’ was released Beta-lactam Ring in ’07, again in significantly different (and larger) line-up: Stjepan Jurekovi? (drums), Lidija Dokuzovi? (vocals), Tvrtko Dujmovi? (bass), Tsuyama Atsushi (vocals), Kawabata Makoto (electric sitar, tambura, hurdy-gurdy) and of course Niko Poto?njak (guitar, synth). In 2008, there were two more releases; Black Om Rising, and Cosmoerotic Dialogue with Lucifer, both on Beta Lactam Ring. The first one saw the band stripped down to Narantxa (bass), Bruno Motik (drums) and Niko Poto?njak (guitar, synth) but for the first time with a saxophone added (Lovro Zlopasa). Later that year, on the second release, Kawabata Makoto reappeared, this time on guitars. Three drummers participated (Bruno Motik, Milan Bukejlovi?, Damir Simunovi?); Lidija Dokuzovi? and Tvrtko Dujmovi? were back in business (on vocals and bass respectively), while Niko widened his usual duties with (guitar, synth) with electric organ.

The band returns with their third full length for the venerable US imprint, Beta Lactam Ring, whose call to arms, “Mutant Sounds for Mutant People!” brings all the boys to the yard. Seven That Spells will certainly appeal to adherants to the prophecies of Hawkwind, Amon Duul and the afore-mentioned Acid Mothers Temple. But there are also elements of free jazz/industrial fusion of Borbetomagus, the grunting psychout scene from Basel of the late 80s (think Ix Ex Splue, Fluid Mask and Electric Noise Twist), as well as more contemprorary nods to The Mars Volta.

Fierce and relelntless, even in its quietest moments, Seven That Spells is like that heavy downtown Brooklyn traffic that your wicked step-mother always tried to get you to play in. And there you are in the midst of it, lost and disoriented, cursing your own compliance. Yet despite that pummeling, a sublime melodic poetry arises amidst the warm, sweet smell of sun-bleached asphalt.

Seven That Spells puts the AUT back into Kraut and the ACCH into Rock, acknowledging and reinforcing KRAUTROCK’s importance in the evolution of rock. And though they will be thought of as a Krautrock band, they are not, however, an Ohr label cover band. Instead, their legacy will lie along their own newly excavated path.

My personal pick is track 5, Deat Star Narcolepsy, (remixed by Jukebix Heart, above) with its dense, murky, Kraftwerky Motorik looping and continuous buildup until the chaotic, blasting release. It builds into a galactic high-speed chase through magnetic disturbances and perilous asteroid belts peppered by fastidious yet ferocious drum pounding and complex yet cathartic sax wailing.

Simply imperative.

Find it at the Beta-lactam Ring website here.