A fine case in point is this 4-track EP of edits from Hot Casa Records. This compilation features tracks from the West African country of Togo’s disco scene, and it holds its own when compared to heavyweights from the US and Europe during the 1970s.
Ored Recordings produce some of the most unique and interesting music coming out of southern Russia. They straddle the line between being a proper record label producing vital new music and preserving ancient artifacts. Some notes about Zaur Nagoy’s release, courtesy of Ored’s Bandcamp page:
The Red Bull Music Festival took place on September 14-16 in Moscow. Red Bull conducts similar festivals around the world and every time tries to demonstrate the potential of local music and situate local sounds within a global context. The Moscow event was constructed around the same principles, with the slogan: “The unity of musical culture: from tradition to experiment.”
In regard to tradition and experiments, Ored Recordings was invited to give our perspective . Our portion was titled: Experimental Ethnographics, in which we spoke with the French documentarian, our friend and source of inspiration Vincent Moon, and the founder of the Morphine Records label, Rabih Beaini from Berlin. Vincent’s lecture and the collaborative audiovisual performance with Rabih features an experimental approach to ethnography and music and in this showcase Ored presented “original” sounds. For this we brought from Adygea the trio of Zaur Nagoy, Kazbek Nagaroko and Ramazan Daur – famous for their ensemble Zhyu, the film “Bonfires and Stars,” and our releases of their music.
At the last moment, due to a force majeure and only Nagoy reached the festival. For the festival, the label,and Zaur, these logistical changes became a real challenge. it became necessary to change the concept and format of the showcase.
In Circassian music, group performance is canon. In the choir (zhyu / ezhu) there is a saying: “The zhyu is a whip for a song.” The chorus of refrains and vocals largely determines the structure, rhythm and dynamics of a song. Even the outstanding Djeguako (minstrels) of the past have always had a small ensemble to back them up. At the same time, in archival records solo performance is quite common.
To this day, ethnomusicologists have been arguing as to whether or not there was mono-voiced performance before polyphony or that it is instead an indicator of the degradation of the singing tradition. Whatever it was, today, solo performance is a special, albeit not popular style of traditional Circassian music. Given the circumstances, Zaur had to demonstrate it.
For each song Zaur Nagoy gave comments on both the song’s content and context*. He did so not in an official/academic way, but with a liberating tone, reviving the story of the song with vernacular phrases and jargon. Thanks to this form of speech, the performace flet more like a ritual meeting in khachesh (guest room) combined with a stand-up show. And in the context of this release you may hear aspects similar to the genre of spoken-word.
Even if this experience of Zaur Nagoy’s solo release was an accident, we now want to work purposefully with this aesthetics and style in the future.
Canadian composer Bruce Haack is credited with being among the first electroacoustic composers to be influenced by psychedelic music with this Moog-heavy release, just reissued by Canadian record label Telephone Explosion. From his Wikipedia page:
As the 1960s progressed and the musical climate became more receptive to his kind of whimsical innovation, Haack’s friend, collaborator, and business manager Chris Kachulis found mainstream applications for his music. This included scoring commercials for clients like Parker Brothers Games, Goodyear Tires, Kraft Cheese, and Lincoln Life Insurance; in the process, Haack won two awards for his work. He also continued to promote electronic music on television, demonstrating his homemade device encased in a suitcase on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in 1968, where he sampled a song by the Rolling Stones entitled “Citadel”. He released The Way-Out Record for Children later that year.
Kachulis did another important favor for his friend by introducing Haack to psychedelic rock. Acid rock’s expansive nature was a perfect match for Haack’s style, and in 1969 he released his first rock-influenced work, The Electric Lucifer. A concept album about the earth being caught in the middle of a war between heaven and hell, The Electric Lucifer featured a heavy, driving sound complete with Moog synthesiser, Kachulis’ singing, and Haack’s homegrown electronics including a prototype vocoder and unique lyrics, which deal with “powerlove” — a force so strong and good that it will not only save mankind but Lucifer himself. Kachulis helped out once more by bringing Haack and Lucifer to the attention of Columbia Records, who released it as Haack’s major-label debut.
As the 1970s started, Haack’s musical horizons continued to expand. After the release of The Electric Lucifer, he continued on Lucifer’s rock-influenced musical approach with 1971’s Together, an electronic pop album that marked his return to Dimension 5. Perhaps in an attempt to differentiate this work from his children’s music, he released it under the name Jackpine Savage, the only time he used this pseudonym.
Thanks to Anton Spice of The Vinyl Factory for hipping us to one of the rarest Afro-Psych albums to ever come out of Brazil, this gem by Tribo Massáhi.
You can pick this up at Rush Hour Records in the Netherlands for a reasonable price, if you’re so inclined.
On January 7th, Marc Masters of Bandcamp Daily posted a very interesting synopsis of experimental music coming out of Indonesia these days. I was aware of the amazing progressive rock, jazz and fusion coming from the region, but it’s good to see Hasana Editions shepherd the experimental scene out of obscurity. Adding to the ‘cool’ factor is that the first four releases have been published as cassettes.
Kino were the closest thing the Soviet Union had to a new wave band, and they were pretty damn good at it. Co-led by singer and part-time actor Viktor Tsoi, his death in 1990 from a car accident ended the band’s career.
By the time this album had come out in 1985, the band were nearing their peak, selling two million units (though receiving hardly anything for their efforts). Amazingly, they also managed to sell around ten-thousand records in Southern California, both for the quality of the music and the novelty of being one of the first rock records ever released in the West by a Soviet band.