Friday, March 27, 2009

Ash Ra Tempel - Ash Ra Tempel

Ash Ra Tempel - Ash Ra Tempel

Ash Ra Tempel, "Amboss" (YSI link) 320

Time to fly our German freak flag, as we begin to dip into the krautrock pool. I want to first have us worship at the Ash Ra Tempel, one of the most influential of the genre. Formed in the 1970s from the ashes of the Conrad Schnitzler's short lived group Eruption, the band featured Manuel Gottsching on guitar, Hartmut Enke on bass and Klaus Schulze on drums and keys. Those are some serious names, so it's not surprise that they would create some of the spaciest, most cosmic music ever made.

This track is the A side to their first self-titled LP, released in 1971. The only word that comes to mind is epic. Or is it massive? Or is it psychedelic? Ah, who cares? This is an amazing 20 minute journey that takes you through various stops, from quiet contemplative to loud shredding. It starts off with a drone-y soundscape that slowly but surely builds, as the drums get more active. You're nearly 6 minutes in until Gottsching's guitar starts to take the lead with some jams. I'm not gonna say too much more about this, other than to say that some of the most amazing moments come after the 15 minute mark, when the heaviest, sludgiest rock band ever shows up. Put it on, head to the park, lie down and drop out.

Go immediately and cop this album at Forced Exposure, as I promise it will be out of print soon. It's already gone at Aquarius and these krautrock gems come quickly and disappear for long stretches. Much more to come on this front, please send along any recommendations you have for me, as I am far from an expert.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Grateful Dead - Fillmore East 2.27.69 Set 2

Grateful Dead Fillmore West 1969

Grateful Dead, Live at the Fillmore West February 27, 1969
Set 2

Dupree's Diamond Blues (YSI link)

Mountains of the Moon

Dark Star
(YSI link) --->

St. Stephen --->

The Eleven

Turn On Your Lovelight
(YSI link)

Cosmic Charlie

Here's the conclusion to the first night of the epic four-night run, the late show from February 27, 1969. This is classic 1969 Dead, the classic tunes from that year, when the band was playing right on the line of psychedelia and the blues, when Jerry Garcia began to take the reins of the band and made them into one of the most amazing improvisational acts around.

One of the things that has always interested me in the Dead's live music has been that tension between form and chaos. "Dark Star" is the perfect example, with its distinct opening bass melody and two verses which descends into an improvised jam that could go anywhere, oftentimes into a deep, space-y, tune-less music, which is eventually reined back in with the return of the final verse. It should appeal immediately to anyone who likes jazz, that world where standards become vehicles for free jazz debauchery. Like jazz, there's always a chance for these jams to become awful, noodling garbage, but that's the fun part. You never know what could happen, which is incredibly rare in music, especially today in the world of over-production and lip-synching.

I want to dedicate this post to MC, a.k.a. RV. That's right, the return of the prodigal daughter (or ex-girlfriend, whatever). She was the main reason this blog took in the way it did, as I pretty much wrote it so that she would think I was cool. She was the first muse, before Scarlett Johansson, Merilyn, Christy Marks, JH-B or anyone else. She bought the boxed set that features this music for me and so these posts would not happen without her. It's nice to come full circle and get back to a good place. Yeah!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Grateful Dead - Fillmore East 2.27.69

Grateful Dead Fillmore West 1969

Grateful Dead, Live at the Fillmore East February 27, 1969

Good Morning, Little School Girl (YSI link)

Doin' That Rag (YSI link)

The Other One (Cryptical>Drums>The Other One>Cryptical) (YSI link)

Over the coming months, I want to start adding a more psychedelic edge to the blog, take things back to the late 60s and early 70s to those weirdo sounds that sound so good today. I can't think of a better way to get started than commemorating one of the greatest weeks in the history of live music by the greatest of psychedelic warriors, the Grateful Dead's run at the Fillmore West from February 27 to March 2 1969. I know that the Dead's music is not what we call psychedelic today, but let's not get lost in semantics. This was music written and performed in the midst of the acid wave in San Francisco in the 1960s; these guys took rock, blues and folk, splashed LSD on it and made some of the best music ever.

I'm going to put up more discs from this limited edition 10CD boxed set over the next few days and will discuss the music more then. But, I want to first deal with the whole Deadhead thing and the hate these guys generate from people. Simply, get over yourself. Yes, some people only liked the band because of the drug association; some were annoying people who listened to nothing but the Dead; blah blah blah. These dudes created an entire alternate world, which had its own values, values like sharing, love and fun. Sound familiar? Does it sound similar to a lot of the same inspirations for the dance music that we love? There's a very straight line imo between the spinners at a Dead show to the ones who took over lofts of NYC in the 70s and the beaches of Ibiza in the 80s. Give it a chance and I promise you that this music will melt your face.