Recent events have given me cause to reevaluate a great many things, chief amongst them just whom I can depend upon to be, not just erstwhile friends or counted amongst those who are part of my community in a larger sense, but whom I can count upon being allies in what I am sure will be troubling times ahead. Directly related to this  point,  I must also consider where to expend my own energies so that I can be an ally to others. Additionally, to be honest, I just haven’t been getting the same amount of joy from putting out this blog as I used to. Composing posts have become a chore, and most of the people who are near and dear to me pretty much know what of import is occurring in my life without this space anyway.

Absent events which I feel represent an existential threat to various aspects of being of not just my family and me but also the majority of my circle of friends, I might have been content to let this go on in autopilot mode for a bit longer, but things being as they are, I’ve decided to cease publication of this blog effective immediately.I will be taking this site down sometime in late December. I won’t be contributing any new content; any articles that are scheduled to be published prior to the  end of December, though, will be posted.

This isn’t to say that this will be my last foray into writing. I am currently working on a literary project that I fully intend to share. The forum in which I choose to publish this work has yet to be determined; if you are in close contact with me, chances are that you will know where and when that work is to be released. Until then, there is always Facebook, email, text – or just dropping by / picking up the phone, and saying hello🙂

Thank you for reading. Many wishes for the best of luck;

-Charles

(21 November 2016, Vancouver)


Drive Time Selections
: Where I pick a random release from my collection and perform a close listening, or as close of one as I can achieve while driving to and from work🙂

Artist:Trans Am
Release:Thing
Year:2010
Label:Thrill Jockey
Track Listing:

  1. Please Wait
  2. Black Matter
  3. Naked Singularity
  4. Thing
  5. Bad Vibes
  6. Heaven’s Gate
  7. The Silent Star
  8. Arcadia
  9. Apparent Horizon
  10. Interstellar Drift
  11. Maximum Yield
  12. Space Dock

From:AllMusic:

With Thing, Trans Am returns to its robot rock ways after the often brilliant detours the group took on Sex Change. Despite the album’s cryptic title, the band sounds more straightforward than they have in years: “Black Matter” is a quintessentially Trans Am track, all vocoders and drummer Sebastian Thomson’s masterful rhythms, with a name that reflects the album’s fascination with the darker side of science fiction and science fact. But this band rarely sounds predictable, even when it explores familiar territory (the time they spent on other projects in between albums, including playing with Jonas Reinhardt, probably has something to do with this). Thing may be Trans Am’s most prog rock-influenced album yet; it comes complete with the majestic fanfare of “Please Wait” as well as plenty of drum solos and spooky atmospheres. Electronic textures that blur the line between eerie and sleazy dominate tracks as far-flung as “Arcadia”‘s pretty-yet-creepy dance-punk and the viscous “Bad Vibes,” which boasts squealing and streaking synths that recall the earliest electronic recordings and dark, blobby tones that suggest lava lamps filled with tar. But when Trans Am brings the guitars, they make them count, whether it’s on “Maximum Yield”‘s zero-gravity stoner metal or the epic “Heaven’s Gate,” a six-minute grind that gets slower and more expansive as it unfolds. The band even leaves room for a few pretty moments, like the aptly named “Interstellar Drift” and the portentous finale “Space Dock,” which mixes whooshing and burbling synths straight out of a ’70s documentary with new age-inspired acoustic guitars and drones. Despite all these nuances, Thing feels surprisingly lean. This may not be an expectations-defying album, but it is a satisfying and well-rounded one that shows once again what a well-oiled man-machine Trans Am is.

From me:

I like how this recording sounds like the soundtrack to a wonderfully dated Science Fiction film, veering between lush orchestral arrangements, heads-down gritty rockers, and sparse interludes. This release is well on the way to beccoming a new favorite of mine.

Today, so far, has been a quiet day, maybe in a “calm before the storm” sort of way. We here in the PNW are facing the threat of a windstorm that has the potential to be more serious than is the norm for early-fall storms in these parts. The kids are sitting in the living room pre-dinner silently playing with Legos while a mix of Led Zepplin, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Alexi Murdoch and Judas Priest plays in the background. Absent any serious power outages, I’m planning on taking the kids to Pacific Science Center, since Seattle Public Schools is out today.

Carrie is in Spain having an amazing time with her friends, eating, drinking, walking the city. I’m jealous of and happy for her. But I miss her dearly. Saturday is supposed  to be when she returns back home, but it is also supposed to be the day during which the worst of the storm is supposed to pass over us, so we shall see what that day holds for all of us here at Casa Gaboli.

second_edition

I first heard this recording back in the late eighties and was pretty impressed by how uncompromising and – well – hypnotic the entire effort was (and still is, almost 30 years after my own first exposure). All of  the tracks just seem to elide (in a sometimes pleasantly jarring sort of way) from one to the other. I’ve certainly not heard anything like this ever since🙂

I’ve chosen a tall boy of PBR to go along with this recording for two reasons:

  1. I’m here on day 5 of being #dadsolo, preparing a dish of slow cooked brats with onions and cabbage topped off with a delightfully cheap beer; and
  2. I’ve fond memories of PBR in social settings, beginning with a party that I attended during my Navy days in Berkeley where refried flash-frozen potstickers and PBR were the only sources of nourishment to a late night post-SIFF crawl that started in Belltown, wound its way through downtown Seattle and ended up in Capitol Hill. Both times, if I recall correctly, ended up as unintended sleepovers on my part🙂

pbr.jpg

Metal Box is the second album by Public Image Ltd, released by Virgin Records on 23 November 1979. It was reissued as Second Edition in February 1980 by Virgin Records in the United Kingdom, and by Warner Bros. Records and Island Records in the United States. The album was a departure from PiL’s relatively conventional debut First Issue, released in 1978, with the band moving into a more avant-garde sound characterised by John Lydon’s cryptic vocals, propulsive dub-inspired rhythms led by bassist Jah Wobble, and an abrasive, “metallic” guitar sound developed by guitarist Keith Levene.

Metal Box is widely regarded as a landmark of post-punk. In 2003, the album was ranked number 469 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

PiL managed to avoid boundaries for the first four years of their existence, and Metal Box (issued in the U.S. as Second Edition) is undoubtedly the apex. It’s a hallmark of uncompromising, challenging post-punk, hardly sounding like anything of the past, present, or future. Sure, there were touchstones that got their imaginations running — the bizarreness of Captain Beefheart, the open and rhythmic spaces of Can, and the dense pulses of Lee Perry’s productions fueled their creative fires — but what they achieved with their second record is a completely unique hour of avant-garde noise. Originally packaged in a film canister as a trio of 12″ records played at 45 rpm, the bass and treble are pegged at 11 throughout, with nary a tinge of midrange to be found. It’s all scrapes and throbs (dubscrapes?), supplanted by John Lydon’s caterwauling about such subjects as his dying mother, resentment, and murder. Guitarist Keith Levene splatters silvery, violent, percussive shards of metallic scrapes onto the canvas, much like a one-armed Jackson Pollock. Jah Wobble and Richard Dudanski lay down a molasses-thick rhythmic foundation throughout that’s just as funky as Can’s Czukay/Leibezeit and Chic’s Edwards/Rodgers. It’s alien dance music. Metal Box might not be recognized as a groundbreaking record with the same reverence as Never Mind the Bollocks, and you certainly can’t trace numerous waves of bands who wouldn’t have existed without it like the Sex Pistols record. But like a virus, its tones have sent miasmic reverberations through a much broader scope of artists and genres. [Metal Box was issued in the States in 1980 with different artwork and cheaper packaging under the title Second Edition; the track sequence differs as well. The U.K. reissue of Metal Box on CD boasts better sound quality than the Second Edition CD.]

  • Track Listing:
    1. Albatross
    2. Memories
    3. Swan Lake (Death Disco)
    4. Poptones
    5. Careering
    6. No Birds
    7. Graveyard
    8. The Suit
    9. Bad Baby
    10. Socialist
    11. Chant
    12. Radio 4

Head_Hunters_Album

First off all, I know that this post is late. Just when I seem to catch up on these, time flies by, I’m not able to find time to relax with a drink while listening to some tunes, and another month just rolls on by. So, I’m splitting  the difference here; while Carrie’s in Spain and I’m doing the #dadsolo thing, I’m popping open a tall bottle of Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic, doing some light chores and getting dinner ready for the oh-so-rambunctious Gaboli.

Now then…

This entry is one of my big three Jazz recordings, the other being the one that kicked this series off, Bitch’s Brew by Miles Davis, and Time Out, by Dave Brubeck (which is also on this list).

lindemans

  • Name: Headhunters
  • Artist : Herbie Hancock
  • Year / Label:1973 / Columbia
  • Track Listing:
    • Chameleon
    • Watermelon Man
    • Sly
    • Vein Melter
  • From Wikipedia:
    Head Hunters is the twelfth studio album by the American pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, released October 13, 1973, on Columbia Records. Recording sessions for the album took place during evening at Wally Heider Studios and Different Fur Trading Co. in San Francisco, California. Head Hunters is a key release in Hancock's career and a defining moment in the genre of jazz. In 2003, the album was ranked number 498 in the book version of Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2007, the Library of Congress added it to the National Recording Registry, which collects "culturally, historically or aesthetically important" sound recordings from the 20th century.
  • From Allmusic:
    Head Hunters was a pivotal point in Herbie Hancock's career, bringing him into the vanguard of jazz fusion. Hancock had pushed avant-garde boundaries on his own albums and with Miles Davis, but he had never devoted himself to the groove as he did on Head Hunters. Drawing heavily from Sly Stone, Curtis Mayfield, and James Brown, Hancock developed deeply funky, even gritty, rhythms over which he soloed on electric synthesizers, bringing the instrument to the forefront in jazz. It had all of the sensibilities of jazz, particularly in the way it wound off into long improvisations, but its rhythms were firmly planted in funk, soul, and R&B, giving it a mass appeal that made it the biggest-selling jazz album of all time (a record which was later broken). Jazz purists, of course, decried the experiments at the time, but Head Hunters still sounds fresh and vital decades after its initial release, and its genre-bending proved vastly influential on not only jazz, but funk, soul, and hip-hop.

Notes:

  • Chameleon – It’s been over 40 years since this track has come out, and it’s still amazingly fresh and thick.
  • Watermelon Man – A massively reworked version of one of his older classics; it’s as essential a track as both the original and the lead-in to this recording.
  • Sly – Sad to say, this track feels like filler😦
  • Vein Melter – The awesomely delicious counter to Chameleon, this one is a slow, sensual burn rather than a funky groove. Chameleon gets you in the mood; Vein Melter is the shared cig after the act😉

This morning, Gaboli and I dropped Carrie off at the airport; she’ll be spending the next six nights in Barcelona with friends. Meanwhile, here in sunny rainy Seattle, the kids and I will be starring in the next few episodes of #dadsolo. In todays installment: pizza, creating trophies with Uncle Brad, lots of TV and napping, and a trip to Full Tilt for an evening nightcap of ice cream and video games🙂

IMG_1067.jpg

Can you guess whose is whose?

 

More later🙂


Drive Time Selections
: Where I pick a random release from my collection and perform a close listening, or as close of one as I can achieve while driving to and from work🙂

Artist:Rush
Release:Roll the Bones
Year:1991
Label:Anthem / Atlantic
Track Listing:

  1. Dreamline
  2. Bravado
  3. Roll the Bones
  4. Face Up
  5. Where’s My Thing
  6. The Big Wheel
  7. Heresy
  8. Ghost of a Chance
  9. Neurotica
  10. You Bet Your Life

From :Wikipedia:

Roll the Bones is the fourteenth studio album by Canadian rock band Rush, released in 1991. It was recorded at Le Studio in Morin-Heights, Quebec and McClear Place in Toronto, Ontario with Rupert Hine returning as producer. The album won the 1992 Juno Award for best album cover design. Roll the Bones became Rush’s first US Top 5 album since 1981’s Moving Pictures, peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200. It also achieved an RIAA certification of platinum, the latest Rush album to date to do so.

From Allmusic:

From a lyrical perspective, 1991’s Roll the Bones is quite possibly Rush’s darkest album (most of the songs deal with death in no uncertain terms), but from a musical point of view, the record treads territory (highbrow melodic hard rock) similar to its recent predecessors, with only a few surprises thrown in for good measure. These include an amusing rap section in the middle of the title track, a welcome return to instrumentals with “Where’s my Thing?,” and one of the band’s finest songs of the ’90s in the gutsy “Dreamline.” “Neurotica” is another highlight which lives up to its title, and though their negative subject matter can feel stifling at times, fine tracks like “Bravado,” “The Big Wheel,” and “Heresy” feature wonderful melodies and arrangements.

From me:

More so than most other groups, Rush had spent the late eighties and early nineties attempting to balance out the more organic elements of their music with the electronic ones (as well as attempting to recapture the artistic success of “Moving Pictures”), and achieving that balance rather nicely, albeit inconsistently. While more than a few brilliant examples of said synergy exists on releases such as “Hold Your Fire,” “Power Windows,” and “Grace Under Pressure,” no one release is as consistent as “Roll the Bones,” which not only shows Rush at it zenith in this stage of their existence, but also serves as yet another jumping-off point for the band; after this release would come two other, uneven ones, “Counterparts” and “Test for Echo,” which would show the band departing from their synth-n’-guitars sound for the harder, more organic sound of yore. It’s because this is a watershed release for the group – and it happened to come at a point when they weren’t releasing that many recordings anyway – that this is the best Rush recording of the 1990’s.
Excuse the less-than-stellar title track (marred not by the psuedorap, but rather by a lackluster arrangement) and the excessive secular lyricism (I prefer to be browbeaten by neither side of the pulpit), and what you get is probably the fourth or fifth most enjoyable Rush release to date.

AV Slug!

I was able to find this (subtitled) video on YouTube. Enjoy!