Herbie Hancock live!

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Whenever my music listening gets on the jazz train, as it has been for the past week or so, I find myself gravitating to the Kozmigroov Konnection to see what albums I may still be missing. “Kozmigroov” is one of those descriptive terms that sounds awkward but is nevertheless useful for framing an idiom that would otherwise go undefined: “a transgressive improvisational music which combines elements of psychedelia, spirituality, jazz, rock, soul, funk, and African, Latin, Brazilian, Indian and Asian influences culminating [in] an all encompassing cosmic groove. At its most accomplished, Kozmigroov is both expansive and highly rhythmic, and simultaneously finds connections with the mind, soul and body.” (more)

If you like this kind of thing then the Kozmigroov Konnection is an essential guide, especially when you’re faced with discographies by artists you know only from their contributions to releases by bigger names. Herbie Hancock isn’t exactly an unknown quantity but I hadn’t noticed before that his Kozmigroov listing features a number of live recordings that I was sure I hadn’t heard. Could they be found anywhere? The answer is obviously yes, thanks to the trove of live recordings archived at Never Enough Rhodes. The post there is an old one but the links for all the Herbie Hancock recordings were updated a few years ago, and all the ones from the essential years up to 1979 are still active. Not only are they active but there are far more concerts from the Mwandishi/Head Hunters era than I ever expected to find in one place. And many of these are from FM radio broadcasts so they don’t suffer from the cassette-recorder-under-the-seat syndrome that spoils so many rock bootlegs from the 1970s and 80s. Amazing.

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Sleeve art by Nobuyuki Nakanishi for one of the few official live albums from Hancock’s Head Hunters period (but only in Japan until it was reissued a few years ago). I love everything about this cover: the Cosmic Coelacanth, Mr. Hancock’s NASA helmet, the Stop typeface, the waterspout nod to Mati Klarwein’s cover for Bitches Brew… Earth, air, fire and water.

The performances range from extended extrapolations of album compositions—a 43-minute version of Hornets (Boston Jazz Workshop, 1973) featuring a lot of synth freakery from Patrick Gleeson; a 57-minute performance of Sleeping Giant (Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, Detroit, 1972)—to later concerts that capture the post Head Hunters group playing to wildly enthusiastic audiences. The thumping version of Palm Grease that opens the Kansas City show makes the studio version sound very restrained. The only disappointment is a rather noisy recording of the FM session from the Ultra-Sonic Recording Studio, a Long Island venue that in the early 1970s hosted many studio appearances by rock, blues and jazz artists. An Ultra-Sonic session by Dr John from 1973 has circulated for years in exceptional quality so I was hoping the Hancock set might sound as good. This is a minor quibble, however, the recording is still decent enough, and the performances are fantastic.

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Musikladen, 1974.

The only concert on the list that I had heard before is an audio rip from a 1974 appearance by the Hancock ensemble on Musikladen, a German TV series. I linked to a copy of this in one of the weekend posts years ago but nothing lasts on YouTube so the link is now defunct. There is another copy here, however. For the time being… The person who was running Never Enough Rhodes complained about having to keep reposting concerts when file hosting services were shut down. Always download things of interest, you never know how long they may be available.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Miles and Miles

Weekend links 468

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“The atom shall work for peace…” Soviet poster promoting the benefits of nuclear power.

• RIP Mac Rebennack aka Dr. John Creaux, The Night Tripper. Dan Auerbach remembers the man whose return to funky form, Locked Down, he produced in 2012. Elsewhere, Michael Hurtt details Mac Rebennack’s pre-Dr. John exploits; some of his music from that period is linked at the end of this post. Entries at YouTube are inevitably skewed to the present but among the older clips you’ll find these: The Doctor and his band in full voodoo regalia miming to Zu Zu Mamou on the Something Else TV show; audio extracts from a Dutch festival performance in 1970, here and here; more quality audio from a 1972 concert in Syracuse, NY; and an hour-long Chicago TV show from 1974 featuring Dr. John, Professor Longhair, The Meters, and Earl King.

• More Tangerine Dream: all the soundtrack music for Vampira (1971), a drama-documentary directed by George Moorse for German TV. Recommended to those who like the group’s Ohr period.

• More Chernobyl: a photo-essay by Tom Skipp featuring survivors of the disaster, and from 2013, Hari Kunzru‘s report from the Exclusion Zone.

• At The Quietus: Lottie Brazier on The Strange World of Stereolab, and Ned Raggett talking to Liz Harris about her Nivhek project.

• The sixth edition of Wyrd Daze—”The multimedia zine of speculative fiction + extra-ordinary music, art & writing”—is out now.

Clark Ashton Smith: The Emperor of Dreams, a DVD of the feature-length documentary by Darin Coelho Spring.

• Moon Wiring Club is back this month with fresh releases at Bandcamp, a YouTube post, and the EVP MVP Mix.

• Once the “Swingingest Street in the World”: Rob Baker on pictures of Carnaby Street 1924–1975.

• New video footage of Coil playing live at All Tomorrow’s Parties, 6th April, 2003.

Dean Hurley explores life after death on Philosophy of Beyond.

Tom Walker on Harry Clarke’s uncanny visions of Ireland.

Alex Barrett on where to begin with Alain Resnais.

• Martin Parr’s Soviet space dog collection.

Dennis Cooper winds you up.

Storm Warning (1959) by Mac Rebennack | Morgus The Magnificent (1959) by Morgus & The 3 Ghouls | Sahara (1961) by Mac Rebennack & His Orch.

Weekend links 438

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Seishu Hanaoka’s Wife (1970) by Awazu Kiyoshi.

Hoodoo, Conjuration, Witchcraft & Rootwork: a colossal new addition to the Internet Archive, being a 5-volume, 4766-page collection of folkloric material gathered by Harry Middleton Hyatt in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia between 1936 and 1940.

• Edward Gorey is the theme du jour, so here’s some more: Gorey’s 1977 appearance on The Dick Cavett Show is revelatory, especially if you’ve never seen him talking before. Meanwhile, Laughing Squid has a previously unpublished interview in which Gorey discusses his love for his disruptive cats.

• Jeff Nuttall’s mid-century survey of the aesthetic underground, Bomb Culture, receives a fiftieth anniversary republication by Strange Attractor. The new edition is edited by Douglas Field and Jay Jeff Jones, with a foreword by Iain Sinclair and an afterword by Maria Fusco.

I have always questioned identity politics with my work. I often have characters that engage in homosexual sex but do not identify as gay (hustlers, neo-Nazi skinheads, extreme left wing revolutionaries, gerontophiles, etc.). But my films have also always been inclusive in terms of race, class, and gender. I find that the new emphasis on identity politics has really narrowed creative expression. It demonstrates a profound ignorance about sexuality, history, and human experience.

My sexual identity is pretty much fixed—I’m a Kinsey 6, if not a 7—but I acknowledge that this means I’m sexually repressed. I believe, after Freud, that everyone has some bisexual potential, and the tendency to increasingly entrench gender identity as innate and immutable is really preposterous. It also leads to strict rules about sexual representation—how gays, lesbians and transgender people “must” be portrayed, the policing of representation, a kind of proprietary stance about who is allowed to portray these characters.

It really boils down to a naivety about sexuality, and a complete failure of the imagination. It discourages people who may have the potential for some kind of sexual fluidity to express themselves. I’ve always been a “bad gay,” but now this political correctness has made me feel even more alienated from the notion of “gay identity”—particularly since the new assimilationist model is so conservative and dull.

Filmmaker Bruce LaBruce discussing art, porn and politics with Hoçâ Cové Mbede

• “Who is Barbara Baranowska? Despite the so-called Polish Poster School’s fame, certain people were seemingly forgotten. Perhaps they even wanted it that way…” Daniel Bird on an elusive artist. Related: Selected works by Barbara Baranowska.

• “I don’t think I’m ever mean-spirited and I try to understand human behaviour even though it’s impossible,” says John Waters.

Nine Dimensional Synod Of Oblique Pleasures is a very welcome new release by The Wyrding Module.

Galerie Dennis Cooper presents…The Resplendent Illegibility of Extreme Metal Logos.

Apocalypse Burlesque — Tales of Doomsday Eros: a new book by Supervert.

Rare booksellers rallied against an Amazon-owned company and won.

B. Alexandra Szerlip on the 80-year history of the ballpoint pen.

Anjelica Huston: how we made The Addams Family.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 270 by Okkre.

The Cabinet of the Quay Brothers

Hoodoo Man Blues (1965) by Junior Wells’ Chicago Blues Band | Evil Hoodoo (1966) by The Seeds | I Been Hoodood (1973) by Dr John

Weekend links 202

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Figuras Miticas: Bailarin II (1954) by Leonora Carrington.

• The 26th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists have been announced. Ghosts in Gaslight, Monsters in Steam; Gay City: Volume 5 made the LGBT Anthology list, so congratulations to editors Evan J. Peterson & Vincent Kovar, and everyone else involved. I illustrated and designed the cover of that volume which also contains a piece of my fiction, Study in Blue, Green, and Gold.

Music in School (1969), episode 4: “A New Sound”. Amazing BBC TV programme for schools showing children playing avant-garde compositions using bowed metal sheets, tape loops, and primitive electronic equipment. I was at school then, and can’t help but feel a little jealous. Related: Delia Derbyshire Day approaches.

Voices Of Haiti (1953), recorded during ceremonials near Croix Des Missions and Petionville in Haiti by Maya Deren.

These days it’s hard to remember that Whistler’s Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl caused a bigger uproar at the Salon des Refusés of 1863 than Manet’s Déjeuner sur l’herbe, or that Monet was more influenced by Whistler than vice-versa. The delicacy of Whistler’s perceptions and his willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of harmony make for an art less bracing than that of Degas or Pissarro. And yet how much life there is in his little Thames riverscapes. Perhaps we need another major exhibition—there hasn’t been one for twenty years—to re-evaluate him.

Whistler’s Battles by Barry Schwabsky

• Mix of the week (and a very good one it is): Abandoned Edwardian Schoolhouse by The Geography Trip.

Morton Subotnick tells Alfred Hickling how recording Silver Apples of the Moon blew his mind.

• The fantasy artwork of Ian Miller. A new book, The Art of Ian Miller, is published next month.

Queen for a Day by Alison Fensterstock. A look at the Mardi Gras Queens of New Orleans.

Tex Avery (1988): A 50-minute BBC documentary about the great animation director.

• The Gentle Revolutionary: Peter Tatchell talks to Joseph Burnett about Derek Jarman.

The Soaring and Nearly Forgotten Arches of New York City.

Dennis Hopper‘s photos of American artists in the 1960s.

Vodun at Pinterest.

Litanie Des Saints (1992) by Dr. John | Dim Carcosa (2001) by Ancient Rites | Far From Any Road (2003) by The Handsome Family

A Reverbstorm jukebox

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Another in a series of posts that supplement the forthcoming Reverbstorm book. Music, especially the rock’n’roll of the mid-50s to the mid-60s, was an important motor in Reverbstorm‘s creation: the title comes from the lyrics to Paul Temple’s song, and the song itself was included as a CD-single with the first issue. Each issue opened with a playlist of ten pieces of music offered as a complement to the narrative. We alternated the choices: David Britton chose the first ten, I chose ten for the second issue and so on. Dave’s choices were mainly the rock’n’roll he’s been listening to all his life while I tried to balance this with a more eclectic selection. But in Reverbstorm itself it’s the rock’n’roll that’s referenced the most, and it was this era of music we were both listening to a great deal during the composition of the series.

What follows is a guide to some of the songs and instrumentals referred to in the book, together with some of my favourite tracks from a compilation tape I used to play repeatedly while I was drawing. A few of these tracks are very obscure one-off singles so this list serves an additional function in saving people the trouble of hunting around.

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Bo Diddley (1955) by Bo Diddley
Part 3 of Reverbstorm, “The Big Beat of Apes”, is subtitled “Bo Diddley meets William Hope Hodgson”, and it’s to the Bo Diddley Beat that we’re referring. Diddley recycled his highly influential riff/rhythm many times, and inspired many cover versions, pastiches or outright thefts. A heady mix of these may be heard on one of the key albums for the creation of the series, a 1989 vinyl-only compilation entitled Bo Did It! which gathered seventeen obscure Diddley Beat singles. A couple of these are listed in Lord Horror’s radio playlist seen in part two, while others are present in this list. But this Bo Diddley song is where it all begins.

Bottle To The Baby (1956) by Charlie Feathers
Classic hiccoughing rockabilly and a favourite of Savoy cult band The Cramps who covered Feathers’ I Can’t Hardly Stand It. Bottle To The Baby gets a mention in part 3 while Charlie himself is quoted in part 8.

The Monkey (Speaks His Mind) (1957) by Dave Bartholomew
A moral tale from Mr Bartholomew, also quoted in part 3.

Esquerita And The Voola (1958) by Esquerita
Often cited as the guy that Little Richard stole all everything from, the very flamboyant Eskew Reeder Jr had an erratic career which yielded this berserk highlight, the B-side of his Rockin’ The Joint single. I first heard this when Dave played it in Savoy’s Peter Street shop one day and couldn’t believe how crazy it sounded. It’s also hard to believe it was on a major label. Play loud.

Hootchy-Koo (1958) by Larry Williams
Larry Williams was the prince of big bawdy numbers like this, and a favourite of The Beatles who covered three of his songs. The version I used to listen to was a slightly different demo recording (not on YT, unfortunately). Lucy Swan liked Hootchy-Koo so much she mentions it in her Lord Horror-related novel The Adventures of Little Lou.

Rumble (1958) by Link Wray
The ultimate swaggering riff and the moment where the guitar takes over from the saxophone as the locus of menace in popular music. Most people have probably heard this in the background of the Jack Rabbit Slim’s scene in Pulp Fiction but you’ll find it elsewhere, notably a Ry Cooder cover version in Streets of Fire, the highlight of an otherwise lacklustre film.

Alligator Wine (1958) by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
The witches’ recipe from Macbeth gets reworked by Leiber & Stoller as a swampland love potion for Screamin’ Jay.

Storm Warning (1959) by Mac Rebennack
Before a bullet ruined one of his fingers, Dr John was guitarist Mac Rebennack whose early career produced some impressive singles such as this Diddley Beat instrumental. That title is now impossible to disassociate from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Tall Cool One (1959) by The Wailers
The Wailers, a Seattle group, are often listed now as The Fabulous Wailers to distinguish them from Bob Marley’s group. They had a knack for catchy instrumentals; in addition to this there was also Mau Mau.

Wang Dang Doodle (1960) by Howlin’ Wolf
Given a choice between this version of Willy Dixon’s song and the later Koko Taylor recording (which includes Dixon on vocals) I’d probably choose Koko’s but the Wolf came first, and this was the one Dave listed in the first issue of the series.

I Want Some of That (1961) by Kai Ray
One from the Lord’s playlist in part 2.

Let There Be Drums (1961) by Sandy Nelson
Sandy Nelson made a career out of recording drum instrumentals. This thundering opus is his finest moment.

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Bo Did It! (1989)

Boom Stix (1962) by Curley and The Jades
Who the hell were Curley and The Jades? Don’t ask me but this obscure single from the Bo Did It! collection manages to weld a Sandy Nelson drum break to the Diddley Beat.

Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow (1962) by The Rivingtons
One of the great nonsense hits, and endlessly imitated afterwards, the title gets a mention in part 2. Kim Fowley had something to do with the release so it’s fitting that he’s wound up with Savoy as well, having written the insert notes to the recent Fenella Fielding album.

Surfin’ Bird (1963) by The Trashmen
Of all the copyists and imitators that chased The Rivingtons’ success none can approach these two minutes and twenty seconds of demented genius.

The Fourth Dimension (1964) by The Ventures
I find a little of The Ventures’ twanging instrumentals usually goes a long way, like many of these groups they work best on compilations. But I do like The Ventures in Space which is where this spooky David Lynch-style number originates.

Strychnine (1965) by The Sonics
Psycho would have been the obvious choice here but I tried to avoid being predictable. Everything The Sonics recorded sounds cranked to the point of distortion, and this is no exception. Garage punk at its wildest.

Bop Diddlie In The Jungle (1966) by Tommy King and The Starlites
Another track from Lord Horror’s playlist found on the Bo Did It! collection, this is Bo’s Diddley Daddy relocated to a jungle setting.

Electricity (1967) by Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band
The whole of Reverbstorm is dedicated to Trout Mask Replica but this was a track from one of my playlists. A compelling argument for why there should be more theremins in pop music.

I Wanna Be Your Dog (1969) by The Stooges
Lust For Life was the album I was playing a lot whilst drawing but this song was another of Dave’s choices. One of the Savoy “Lord Horror” singles in the 1980s was a cover of Raw Power.

Garbageman (1980) by The Cramps
And another of the Savoy “Lord Horror” singles was a cover of this unstoppable beast from The Cramps. “Do you want the real thing, or are you just talkin’?”

Previously on { feuilleton }
Reverbstorm: Bauhaus Horror
Reverbstorm: an introduction and preview