Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 1 in D Major (1884-1888)

Arpad Joó conducts the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in this performance of Mahler's first symphony. What can I say about this that Wikipedia can't? The third movement stands out for the dirge-like version of Frère Jacques.

1. Langsam, Schleppend - Im Anfang Sehr Gemachlich
2. Kraftig Bewegt, Doch Nicht Zu Schnell
3. Feierlich Und Gemessen, Ohne Zu Schleppen
4. Sturmisch Bewegt


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bathory - Blood Fire Death (1988)

Sacred shrine of life and death
Apharamons gold key
The raping of holy interior
And all concealed
Now masturbated upon is throne of gold

The lyrics come from "The Golden Walls Of Heaven", and if you read the first letter of each line, it spells SATAN (I learned this thanks to Encyclopaedia Metallum). Is this taking it a step further than spinning the record backwards? Bathory is the project of one man, Quorthon, and is considered a part of the first wave of black metal. Listening to this album you can hear the profound influence Bathory had on the coming second wave of black metal in Norway. Some of the songs are short and thrashy, with fast, noisy, and rad guitar solos/spasms. But a few tracks, for example "A Fine Day To Die", are so fucking brooding and epic. "A Fine Day To Die" is a segue from the synthy album opener, starting with sounds of a storm and whinnying horses. A dreamlike whisper over acoustic guitars for a few minutes, and then Quorthon smacks you in the face with such a fantastic shriek and guitar playing. It almost sounds like Ride the Lightning-era Metallica, but heavier and way cooler.

1. Odens Ride Over Nordland
2. A Fine Day To Die
3. The Golden Walls Of Heaven
4. Pace 'Till Death
5. Holocaust
6. For All Those Who Died
7. Dies Irae
8. Blood Fire Death
9. Outro


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cecil Taylor - Unit Structures (1966)

Apologies for the diminishing amount of posts in the past few months. Summer was distracting, to say the least, but now 'Caine and I will be more on top of things. I'm going to stop writing (320) at the top of every post, I think it's getting a little redundant. Everything is in 320 unless marked otherwise.

I'd like to end the hiatus with a Cecil Taylor Blue Note release. I had the pleasure of seeing the free jazz legend at Seattle's Earshot in 2008. He came out in long rainbow socks, holding a large bundle of loose leaf paper. I had heard that Cecil would open up performances with his poetry, but it looked like he had enough paper to last the whole night. I swear one of his poems was him just screaming vowels and different volumes. Art, man. His solo piano playing was wild, atonal, and all over the place. But through his violent smashing chords was a master's control of the instrument and a very real sense of musicality. Check out this section from All The Notes below to maybe...better understand the man and his theories. "Sound has color. I have 6 different colors...which most human beings cannot perceive. But animals can perceive..." Real talk. Only Cecil tells it like it is. (By the way, bassist Henry Grimes has been featured on Shhh before on a few Albert Ayler releases.)


1. Steps
2. Enter, Evening (Soft Line Structure)
3. Enter, Evening (Alt. Take)
4. Unit Structure/As Of A Now/Section
5. Tales (8 Whisps)


Eddie Gale Stevens, Jr., trumpet
Jimmy Lyons, alto sax
Ken McIntyre, alto sax, oboe, and bass clarinet
Cecil Taylor, piano and bells
Henry Grimes, bass
Alan Silva, bass
Andrew Cyrille, drums

Produced by Alfred Lion
All compositions written by Cecil Taylor
Produced for release by Michael Cuscuna
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studios in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on May 19, 1966
Recording Engineer: Rudy Van Gelder
Digital Transfers by: Ron McMaster

Blue Note Records
CDP 7 84237 2