American composer Charles Wuorinen passed away a couple of days ago. Here is a sample of his compositional prowess, along with a rather well-done interview. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1970 for the purely electronic piece, Time’s Encomium. Rest in peace, Charles.
Very little information on this weird, yet funky, Pinoy band. It seems the Philippines was a hip, funky place during the 1970s! Freaky, but fun.
M. Efekt (Blue Effect) were a massively influential jazz-rock band out of the former Czechoslovakia.
I have to give a lot of credit to Elvis Costello. His collaborations always surprise me. And in this case, both he and guitarist Bill Frisell do wonders to an already avant-romantic work in Charles Mingus’ staple, Weird Nightmare.
You haunt my every dream
Tell me what’s your scheme?Can it be that you’re a part
Of a lonely broken heart?Weird nightmare
Why must you torment me?
Pain and miseryIn a heart that’s loved and lost
Take away the grief you’ve causedCan’t sleep at night
Twist, turn in fright
With the fear that I’ll live it all again
In my dreamsYou’re there to haunt me
When you say she doesn’t want me
I’ve been hurt
Do you know what that means?Weird nightmare
Take away this dream you’ve born
Mend a heart that’s tornThat has paid the price of love
A thousand fold
Bring me a love
With a heart of gold…Weird nightmare
Living in China, one can see that, despite the façade of wealth, this is a land of missed opportunities, even when it comes to music. Excepting the underground music scene in places like Shanghai, Dalian, Hong Kong, and here in Beijing, to a point, thanks to Fruity Shop and other amazing record stores, pop music here is garbage. It was bad during the 1970s as well. Taiwan, on the other hand, had music that was funky, lively and energetic.
Yu Ying Ying is a fine example of this. She released scores of albums in Taiwan, and this treasure came into my feed last night. How I didn’t discover this cherry before is anyone’s guess, but Yu’s work is definitely worth hunting for.
During the 1970s, Japan was home to an amazing jazz and funk scene which has been poorly documented in the West. Thankfully, some amazing crate-diggers are putting a few lost gems into the forefront of the reissue market. This album is by drummer Akira Ishikawa, and the album blends funk, jazz and his love of African rhythms.
Very sad news today. Andrew Brough, guitarist of one of New Zealand’s coolest indie bands, Straightjacket Fits, passed away today. His guitar work can be heard on She Speeds, perhaps the band’s masterpiece.
Flying Nun Records announced his passing on their Twitter feed.
We’re shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Andrew Brough. Our hearts and thoughts go out to his family, friends and all those who knew him.
We’re so lucky to have been touched by his music and he will be deeply missed.
— Flying Nun Records (@FlyingNun) February 4, 2020
2020 is shaping up to be a brutal year, isn’t it?
Merry Gregorian Christmas!
In 1995, I was approached by the owner of MA Recordings (a kind man whose name I have since forgotten) to sell some of his CDs on consignment. Among the releases was an album performed by Bulgarian pianist Milcho Leviev. He had several releases on this imprint because he was living in Los Angeles at the time, and it is one of my life’s regrets not having the chance to meet him.
Milcho passed away this week, and we bid him a fond farewell and a pleasant afterlife. Here he is collaborating with Bulgarian multi-instrumentalist and a friend of this blog, Theodosii Spassov.