My friend Henning Küpper is the impresario of Lollipope Shoppe, perhaps the first indie label whose work introduced me to everything from psychedelic music and weird Russian rock. For this, I owe Henning a massive debt.
Continuing his amazing curative abilities, he released an album New York-based psych-folk band Ocean. This mellow folky freakout was released in 1969, but the stereo tapes were lost thanks to their label, Apostolic Studios, went under. Thankfully, guitarist John Townley saved a mono recording, and after Lollipope Shoppe polishing, it is available again after 51 years.
Meticulous Midgets is a magazine out of Russia who did me one of the kindest honors by doing a sketch on the blog. I am delighted to return the favor by covering their survey on not only the Russian electronic, avant-garde, experimental and indie music, but a few tracks from the United States, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Croatia, The Netherlands and Great Britain as well. This is a compilation whose broad scope equals that of my colleague Raffaele from Unexplained Sounds Group.
I expected to hear good headphone music, and I am happy to say that the comp delivers handsomely. There are three standout tracks for me:
The whole comp makes for solid listening, but just by hearing these three tracks, you can hear the depth and scope of the sort of music Meticulous Midgets covers. They have made a fan out of me.
It’s hard to believe a band which now sounds like a contemporary of Neil Young or other rock stars at their most reflective (and yes, that’s a compliment, as I still have a healthy respect for rock & roll music’s transformative powers) began their career as an utterly brutal agit-punk band, A Subtle Plague, whose first demo was produced by Beastie Boys legend Adam Yauch, if memory serves.
This particular song has a rather personal meaning explained to me by my dear friend and damn near older brother, Ekke. It’s perhaps too personal to get into here, but let’s say it’s a song based on the oldest of topics – love and loss.
The core members of The Durgas, Christopher and Benjii Simmersbach, have managed to maintain high music quality despite many personnel changes, genre changes, location changes and more. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting them, and of course, I wish them continued success. They’re good lads from a good, good family.
The Passepartout Duo are pianist and keyboardist Nicoletta Favari and drummer/percussionist Christopher Salvito. For such a minimal setup, they manage to put together a sound that is cinematic in scope. There are elements of contemporary classical music, but a bit of jazz slides in there as well. Quite a profound release from them.
As an aside, the artwork was made by a Chinese company, as the Bandcamp website indicates:
This item is produced in China by the arts organization AnyOne Workspace, and all the proceeds from this sale go to the artists Yannis Zhang and Yumo Wu.
Though the limited edition set is a bit out of my price range, it’s going to a worthy cause. As someone who is currently residing in Beijing, it’s good to see local artists collaborating worldwide. There is a wealth of talent locally, and they need exposure.
Conrad Schnitzler was a legendary electronic music composer who passed away in 2011. Four years beforehand, he collaborated with a young fellow German musician called Bernhard Wöstheinrich, who was well over 30 years his junior. The collaboration produced one hour-long track which builds, grinds, throbs and swells in a way that is abrasive, yet pleasant.
Cranioclast were from Hagen, Germany, and were one of the most interesting of the German cassette label projects I used to collect. They ventured into making a couple of vinyl records and CDs, but then disappeared into the ether. They’re a group crying out for a reissue campaign, definitely.
Berghain, February 3d at 10 pm
Ana – Maria AVRAM
Tim HODGKINSON, Yoni SILVER Tijana STANKOVIC, Diana MIRON, Zsolt SÖRÉS, Albert MARKOS, Andrei KIVU, Shmil FRANKEL, Laurenţiu COŢAC, Guillaume OLLENDORFF Cătălin MATEI, Gilly MOCANU, Colin HACKLANDER, Eduard GABIA