Thursday, August 29, 2013

the age of the shrug vol.1

hullo hullo hullo! a quick interruption to post something my brother & i have done together. a mixtape of exotica, funk, soul, jazz, kosmische synths, & heavy psych rock. if you were a fan of my young person's guide to mountaineering mix, then you'll dig this amigos!

much love to my comrade for steering this ship through some heady waters. yr dedication & selection never ceases to impress & inspire me. keep on fighting the good fight.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

The disgrace in bringing in the Fado

Amália Rodrigues' music is often mistaken for Fado itself, such was her importance to the wailful, beautiful Portuguese genre. How fortuitous was destiny to put her and tenor sax giant Don Byas together for a recording session. A single recording session.

That's right, it is said they recorded the entire album -- a superb one, if I may add -- in just one take. Jazz fans will be probably disappointed, as Byas' respect towards Amália's performance made his somewhat timid, but I figure no musical instrument would be a match for the powerful voice of the Queen of Fado.

pw: spooked

Monday, August 19, 2013

It's wrong to create heroes; it's not possible for them to fit the perverse folds of one's imagination.

Well, this marks my 10th post and I'd love to hear some feedback from you guys. You must be tired of Brazilian music, amirite? If so, fortunately I've decided to divert from it a little and dedicate this one to my jefe and accomplice, ryan (I hope you haven't listened to this one already, buddy).

Acknowledging I'm far from being literate in North American music history, it's quite evident, though, how essential John Fahey's sub-chapter was, whether ethnomusicologically or compositionally -- in a similar fashion to Lomax, even though each one excelled in a different field.

I was starting to really get into Cul De Sac (one of my favorites bands until today) when I first heard this album, and having listened to one thing or another from Fahey, I thought it would blow my brains out.

Yeah, I'll admit It wasn't quite like that. This is something you'll probably read around there: at a first listen, the album doesn't sound exactly a collaboration, but a Fahey/Cul De Sac split, with no real interaction between them. I listened to a couple of songs and kinda gave up.

But just like with alcohol, when I got older -- and after getting more in touch with Fahey's works -- I gave it another try and suddenly felt something very compelling about it. And then I would find the missing jigsaw piece [for those who owned a physical copy of the disc *cough*, this was no secret at all]: Glenn Jones' liner notes on making the album. One would argue that music should speak for itself, which I agree in some extent, but sometimes music simply isn't big enough to embrace the life which surrounds it. As Fahey would put, through Jones, "recording is an opportunity to be in touch with his inner self and his emotions", and likewise, notes are somewhat a more intelligible way to translate the relationship between the artist and his work.

I'll go so far as saying that reading the piece is equally inspiring as listening to the album, so go ahead, print it, frame it and place it over yr bed.

pw: spooked

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The scoutmaster of awesome music

Since my last post was about Dominguinhos, I thought it would be nice posting something of mr. Baden Powell de Aquino too (in august 6th it'd be his birthday). If there's something in my life I deeply regret is missing the opportunity of seeing him playing in my town, as he would eventually become one of my top artists of all time.

Despite being usually associated with bossa nova -- quite demeaning, IMO -- , he was proficient in countless styles, with a rare combination of compositional and technical prowess. This record, his first album I've heard, gives a glimpse of that -- you'll know when you hear his rendition of Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring and Consolação's utter madness.

The tracklist is close to perfection, which makes me consider this one of the best live albums ever recorded.

pw: spooked

Friday, August 9, 2013

Little sundays that will be missed

 A friend recently told me that Baião, with its characteristic upbeat, accordion-driven rhythm, is arguably the most Brazilian of all musical styles -- Bossa Nova had Classical music and Jazz infused in its Samba, which in its part was largely derived from African rhythms, and so on. I've had never thought of it, but didn't even bother to do a research. In fact, like in many folk traditions, one of the most definite (and unfortunate) indication of its "purity" must be the lack of a suitable liege to represent its legacy. And that's exactly what happened a couple of weeks ago: we lost the great Dominguinhos (Wikipedia translates literally to "Little Dominic", but I find"Little Sundays" to be more colorful), pupil and protegé of the one appropriately regarded as "The King of Baião", Luiz Gonzaga.

Unfortunately indeed, unlike his master, Dominguinhos never clearly passed the crown to any of his pupils, probably because he just couldn't find one that deserved it. Or perhaps his and Gonzaga's mission, to make Baião known around the world, was already accomplished. Nonetheless, it's not like we won't miss him, eh?

About the album, I've gladly discovered it while writing this post. It's from a popular live TV show -- there are short interviews between songs --, with Dominguinhos on the accordion, one playing the triangle and another on the zabumba drum. Raw and heartwarming, just like you'll still hear in the remotest desert-like corners of the Brazilian northeast.

pw: spooked

ps. this song he co-wrote with Gilberto Gil is one of the most beautiful Brazilian songs I know. It's a shame there isn't a remotely proper way to translate it.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Una palabra de cuatro letras

This one's a personal favourite, a perfect soundtrack for the earliest hours of the day. Even though the good-looking Eydie Gormé doesn't have any Spanish heritage -- Italian Jewish dad and Turkish mum --, she managed to record a top-notch bolero album, with an aid from the legendary Trio Los Panchos. A charming and pleasing album, romantic but not too corny -- very appropriate for making an impression on las chicas, of course.

pw: spooked