Sunday, January 20, 2008

Library Haul - Black Cover Edition

Albert Ayler
Live at Greenwich Village: The Complete Impulse Sessions

Sometimes I think Albert Ayler was one of the last people to really understand what jazz was really about, not simply a refinement of its own tradition, but a vehicle in which one can take the whole of popular music on a trip that it is ill-equipped itself to undertake. Also, I love the old spartan Impulse album covers. I once half seriously considered getting a tattoo of their "i!" logo, which would now be the most pretentious tattoo a music critic could have.

Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia
Friday Night in San Francisco Live

God, this album is about as gorgeous and sensuous as a guitar nrrd's delight can be. These three titans create torrents and swells of jazz and rock and samba and everything, culminating in a strange but delightful interlude of the "Pink Panther Theme" at one point. The person that turned me on to this record is currently being a big idiot and this record might serve to soften some of the anger I have toward him, because all situations are complicated and it serves me well not to judge so harshly.

Einstürzende Neubauten
Strategien Geoen Architekturen

I am forever shocked at what kinds of sonic weirdness turn up at the library. I am getting ready to review the new EN album, where they have all but discarded their industrial racket strategies in favor of Leonard Cohen-esque moody AOR, so I wanted to listen to the old stuff - back when they used shopping carts and air compressors as their instruments to find the threads (or perhaps lengths of razor wire) that stretch from them then to then now. I once agreed to hire someone based partially on the fact that he threw them out as one of his favorite bands, when in retrospect, I should have viewed this as a warning sign.


I looked at the stack of CD's in my hand and noticed they all had black covers, so I looked for an anti-chromatic counterpart to complete my usual quartet, and there was Gene Simmons practically biting my face. I have never personally owned a KISS record, and surely have not purposely listened to one in over two decades (nothing against KISS, mind you, but I move on from things) but am editing an old story about watching the HBO KISS Alive II concert at my babysitter's apartment, spazzing the hell out over dripping blood and breathing fire while said babysitter had the preacher over to talk about baptizing her kids, so this is conceptually the perfect fourth in this set. In the post-KISS tradition of extreme metal bands donning similar kabuki makeup and giving themselves demon names, I find it rather charming that all old Stanley Harvey Eisen just dropped his surname and went by the slightly more sinister "Paul" with but an innocuous star in, and on, his eye.

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