Monday, May 9, 2011

Hifana – Channel H [2005]

Hifana is a Japanese breaks duo notorious for their live shows in which they trigger all samples by hand.  I imagine that they must cut a lot of studio tracks based on that kind of live improvisation as well, as you won’t hear a lot of intricacy in the layering of sounds in the tracks on Channel H.  Instead, a few carefully-selected samples are cut and collated into continuously shifting phrases that can be intuitively understood.  I’m surprised at the mileage the duo can get out of something like a few bars of shamison music or whatever the bamboo-sounding percussion is in track five.  Generally I prefer music that feels more carefully composed, as opposed to “jammed,” but the good source material and playful feel make this easy to recommend.

 [YouTube] Hifana - Wamono

[Artist Website]

01 - Channel Push Breakin'
02 - Wamono
03 - Mr. Beer
04 - See'em
05 - Tanglang
06 - Now Thinking
07 - Nampooh
08 - Now Playing
09 - Ryukyu Long Board
10 - Akero
11 - Raggachin H
12 - Waiyandub
13 - www.Hifana.Com
14 - Peeteejay
15 - Asalato

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Machines of Loving Grace [1991]

By the mid nineties every major label had an industrial pop rock band in their back pocket, cleaning up the disposable cash of NIN and White Zombie fans.  Not all of the bands probably deserved the attention they received.  Machines of Loving Grace benefitted modestly from that trend, if mostly from track they had on The Crow soundtrack.  Really, Machines of Loving Grace is a rare case of a 90s industrial rock band that should have – and, I think, could have – been bigger. 

I like this album the best, their 1991 self titled debut on the then-still-indie Mammoth Records.  It’s easy to draw comparison between this album and Pretty Hate Machine.  Hard rock guitars, programmed drums, samples, synth, occasionally processed vocals, check, check, check, check, check, but beside the point.  What makes the albums kindred is the quality of pop songcraft.  While most of their peers were reveling in the mechanical coolness of electronic music production, MOLG created not necessarily warm, but at least human sounding music, with real hooks and catchy choruses.  And, unlike a lot of studio-based artists of the time, it sounds like an actual band.
Rumor has it that the demo submitted to Mammoth Records consisted of the very same audio tracks that were released as this record.  That may explain why the recording lacks a robust bottom end, but otherwise sounds good for an 8-track garage recording.

01 - Burn Like Brilliant Trash (at Jackie’s Funeral)
02 - Cicciolina
03 - Rite of Shiva
04 - Lipstick 66
05 - X-Insurrection
06 - Content
07 - Weatherman
08 - Terminal City
09 - Number Nine

Friday, April 29, 2011

Ulver – A Quick Fix of Melancholy [2003]

So Ulver just came out with a new album and it’s pretty good!  Thing is, those guys are so talented, I can’t help but be a bit disappointed at “pretty good.”

It reminded me that I haven’t posted any Ulver on this blog, so here: A Quick Fix of Melancholy.  This 2003 EP is has been described as neoclassical, but that’s just because it makes heavy use of symphonic pads and some string samples.  The melodic line of each song isn’t explored or expanded, but left to unreel into the dark and cavernous space around each track.  Too repetitive and dynamically sparse to be classical, but too eventful to edge into ambient territory, I guess this could be triangulated by Nico, Coil, and Arvo Part. 

01 - Little Blue Bird
02 - Doom Sticks
03 - Vowels
04 - Eitttlane

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Strength in Numbers – The Telluride Sessions [1989]

First, I’ll let the lineup speak for itself:

Sam Bush - fiddle/mandolin
Jerry Douglas – dobro
Bela Fleck - guitar/banjo
Edgar Meyer – bass
Mark O'Connor - fiddle/guitar/mandolin

Strength in Numbers was a one-off project for some of the most highly regarded current blue/newgrass musicians. Yet for all the star power, the music never feels like there are too many cooks in the kitchen.  In fact, save for a few somber numbers, the album is surprisingly breezy and relaxed, though the careful listener will quickly appreciate the firm structure beneath each track.  It’s a testament to the collaboration that for all the virtuosity on display, it never becomes overbearing, and individual ego seems to take a back seat to making good music.

01 - Future Man
02 - Texas Red
03 - Pink Flamingos
04 - Duke and Cookie
05 - One Winter's Night
06 - Macedonia
07 - The Lochs of Dread
08 - No Apologies
09 - Slopes
10 - Blue Men of the Sahara

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ferrari Mediafire

Oh hi there.   I've decided to pull this blog out of cryogenic stasis.  THIS FUTURE WORLD IS FRIGHTENING AND UNFAMILIAR.  I've also decided to switch to Mediafire for hosting my files.  Still using zip files, though.  If you don't like it, feel free to bite my frozen ballsack.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice IX Compilation

Presenting Ferrari Naptime's first seasonal compilation! This is a roundup of tracks from each of the artists featured on this blog from the previous season.  At my current rate of output, The vernal equinox compilation will be an EP.

For the uninitiated, simply click on the album title above the tracklisting, choose "free user," wait the required 95 seconds, and then click "download." Unzip and feel free to lambaste my musical tastes!

Winter Solstice IX
01 - Guillaume Dufay - J'ay Mis Mon Cuer
02 - Soil & Pimp Sessions - Crush!
03 - Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins - Rise Up With Fists
04 - Grace Jones - Private Life
05 - Needle Sharing - Yellow Pages [task force mix]
06 - Old Crow Medicine Show - James River Blues
07 - Meg Lee Chin - Heavy Scene
08 - Kaki King - Close Your Eyes And You'll Burst Into Flames
09 - Trollfest - Der Jegermeister
10 - Screamin' Jay Hawkins - Little Demon
11 - Maruosa - Death Stretch
12 - Error - Nothing's Working
13 - Cubanate - Vortech I
14 - Carpathian Forest - Start Up The Incinerator (Here Comes Another Useless Fool)
15 - Blind Lemon Jefferson - Matchbox Blues
16 - Gridlock - Cramp
17 - The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble - Munchen

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gridlock – Further [1999]

As the nineties drew to a close, a lot of electro-industrial acts headed for the greener pastures of IDM. This would eventually contribute to a glut of middling rhythmic noise projects, but a few gems were created in the flux of bands who remembered their Skinny Puppy roots while reaching for the erudition of Autechre. Of these gems, Gridlock’s Further might be the crown jewel. Some of the songs consist only of wintry synth washes that evoke a tone of desolation, while other tracks are obliterated by blasted, broken beats of sculpted white noise. Gridlock’s later work would emphasize this ambient aspect while using a more conventional midtempo rhythmic structure, but here the beats are ugly and extravagant.

It’s hard to believe this was released ten years ago. Unfortunately, the intervening years have seen Gridlock’s ambient/noisy duality contribute to the dumb powernoise cliché of alternating soft and loud tracks on an album. Parties guilty of following that trope should take another listen to this album and hear how it's done.

Gridlock – Further [1999]
01 - From Zero
02 - Ash
03 - [Untitled]
04 - Sever
05 - [Untitled]
06 - Cramp
07 - Without
08 - [Untitled]
09 - Here
10 - Further
11 - Egeszeges
12 - Scrape
13 - Under
14 - Ash [KSP remix]
15 - Enzyme [Dryft remix]

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blind Lemon Jefferson – King of the Country Blues [1990] (Compilation of songs from the late 1920s)

In the first few decades of this century, most commercial blues singers were women – Bessie Smith and Ma Rainy are two well-known examples.  Noted for his intricate guitar technique, Blind Lemon Jefferson was one of the first men to find success in the style, and served as inspiration several other noted Texas bluesmen, including personal favorites Leadbelly and Lightnin' Hopkins.  While other musicians have adopted similar playing techniques, few choose to imitate his high, almost ghostly singing.  That’s a shame, as that lonely-sounding timbre is an appropriate fit for his mournful subject matter.
This compilation was released by Yazoo records, who at the time refused to filter the 78 RPM sources in order to minimize the hiss and pop of the records.  This means that each song emanates from beneath a light haze of noise, but in my opinion it only adds to the character of the songs.

[YouTube] Blind Lemon Jefferson – See That My Grave is Kept Clean

Blind Lemon Jefferson – King of the Country Blues
01 - That Crawlin' Baby Blues
02 - Bad Luck Blues
03 - Matchbox Blues
04 - Hot Dogs
05 - One Dime Blues
06 - Shuckin' Sugar
07 - Rabbit Foot Blues
08 - Corrina Blues
09 - See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
10 - Easy Rider Blues
11 - Broke And Hungry
12 - Black Horse Blues
13 - Lonesome House Blues
14 - Oil Well Blues
15 - He Arose From the Dead
16 - Beggin' Back
17 - Prison Cell Blues
18 - Rambler Blues
19 - Gone Dead On You Blues
20 - Wartime Blues
21 - Booger Rooger Blues
22 - Right of Way Blues
23 - Big Night Blues

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Soil & "Pimp" Sessions - Pimp of the Year [2006]

I've got a terrible, dirty secret....  I don't like jazz.  As far as western music is concerned, it's the only major genre that I haven't yet "cracked."  For some reason, I never found the band or artist that I could listen to long enough to temper my ear, to give me the ability to read other jazz artists.

That may have changed.  Soil & "Pimp" Sessions (I don't know what that means either) is a group of Japanese kids who play fast and tight, using considerable melodic and harmonic dissonance without losing a sense of tunefulness.  I wish I could provide a more apt description, but as I said, Jazz is a new world to me.  All I know is that this is a badass album.

01 - Memai
02 - Summer Goddess
03 - Worldwide
04 - Crush!
05 - Sabotage
06 - Scoop Out
07 - Sahara
08 - Ha Hen (Splinter)
09 - The Black Widow Blues
10 - The White Widow
11 - I-Rony
12 - Last Long
13 - Satsuriku New Wave

Friday, October 23, 2009

Cubanate – Barbarossa [1996]

Marc Heal and Phil Barry, the duo that make up Cubanate, marry high speed techno to industrial-influenced metal, and makes a glorious racket in the process.   Guitar riffs, played both on real electric instruments and by synthesized pads (though it can be difficult to tell one from another), are cranked up to a punk rock tempo and underpinned by a furious dram machine assault.  It's notable that, at a time when most of Cubanate's coldwave peers were programming drum machines to a simple and speedy rock or dance beat, the duo were creating some brutal but complex and refined techno.

[YouTube] Cubanate – Barbarossa

Cubanate - Barbarossa
01 - Vortech I
02 - Barbarossa
03 - Joy
04 - Why Are You Here
05 - Exultation
06 - The Musclemen
07 - Come Alive
08 - Vortech II
09 - Lord of the Flies