Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Music Library: Mauricio Kagel, Max Roach, Mayflies USA, MC 900 Ft Jesus, MC5, Mclusky

Mauricio Kagel - Ludwig Van (1969) and Acustica (1971). The avant-garde composer made a good bit more music than I have.  The first of these is the soundtrack to a film Kagel made about Herr Beethoven's music that is fascinatingly as if one of Beethoven's symphonies ran into Brion Gysin's cut-up method of literature.  The latter work is also fascinating, with all sorts of found sounds clashing and clanging their way from din into music.

Max Roach - We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite (1960) and Members, Don't Git Weary (1968).  The former is a pretty amazing piece of music co-written by Roach and Oscar Brown Jr. Roach has assembled an amazing band with Abbey Lincoln singing, humming, and scatting vocals.  Lyrically and musically, this work is about the history of African-Americans in this country, culminating in the Civil Rights Movement that was finally starting to edge ahead at the time of its release.  The latter album has Roach playing a pretty joyous version of modal post-bop jazz.

The Mayflies USA - "You and Me" and "Florida to the Radio." A couple of folky power pop tunes by a North Carolinian group.

MC 900 Ft Jesus - Hell With The Lid Off (1990), Welcome To My Dream (1991), and One Step Ahead of the Spider (1994).  These were a gift that I'd shamefully never listened to prior to this.  Allmusic tells me that this is early trip-hop, which sounds as good as any sort of genre label.  It's clearly influenced by electronica and hip-hop as well as noir music (and fiction and movies) and William Burroughs-style mindfuckery (and that's two Burroughs references in the same group of reviews, if you're keeping track).  Since my only prior exposure to them was their ubiquity in used bins during the 90s, I was surprised by how enjoyable they are.

MC5 - Kick Out The Jams (1969), Back In The USA (1970), and High Time (1971).  MC5 were the original loud and grungy Detroit rockers, mentors to The Stooges, forerunners to punk, pretty much ground zero for rock that sounds loud and dumb but is really smarter than you.  Kick Out The Jams is easily the best of the three, but all three are fantastic.

Mclusky - Mclusky Do Dallas (2002) and The Difference Between Me And You Is That I'm Not On Fire (2004).  Ultra-clever Welsh punk rock band with catchy melodies under the traditional punk start-stop loud-quiet dynamics.  Best track: "Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues."  Now an ex-band, although a couple of these guys have gone on to form the similar Future Of The Left.


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