Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bonus nerd round pt. 39: the revenge of the chaste

Crucis, "Pollo Frito," Los Delirios de Mariscal (Argentina, 1976)

A record that I've never quite been able either to leave altogether, like the Independent Woman that I know lurks inside my fragile but fecund masculine shell, or to embrace fully: I believe I've previously posted its leadoff track, "No Me Separen de Mi," which is some true cracklin', but I always find myself yawning with the lethal Distracted Prog Ennui at least twice during any runthrough of Los Delirios de Mariscal. Crucis is generally considered the top-flight Argentinian prawg group par excellence, but they do tend to lean a bit hard on certain Romantic/Wagnerian clichés and some good-but-uninspiring bluesy guitar monotony. What a thoroughly equivocal reading I've just given you, the Impressionable Viewing Audience! This one's a bit more in the Area/Czeslaw Niemen bugged-out fusion realm and thus commands more of the sinthome energy I slam into the Assassination Mainframe (that's how people talk in my apartment, I swears it), and the Stravinsky/Bartók time-dislocation motif of portentous synth/organ chords against a polyrhythmic bit of guitar crunch is Louis-Ferdinand Céline-gnarled and -spiked.

Honoré Avolonto, "Na Mi Do Gbé Hué Nu" (Benin, ?)

Interesting stuff from the recent Legends of Benin comp (this year, eye think): maybe it's just my desperate Occidental mind trying to differentiate and define, but in this clearly Fela-feeling Afrobeat framework, I get a bit more of the Latino-Carib interchange with so many of the rhythms and structures of arrangement that we call either "Latin" on the one hand or "African" on the other than I do with Mr. Kuti. After the first exploitation of African slaves in Latin and Caribbean America, the lines between Native Latin/Caribbean American-, Spanish-, and African-influenced music become impossibly multivocal and recursive, and what most of us would readily identify as, for example, inescapably Congolese (Staff Benda Bilili or Konono Nr. 1, for example) is as deeply Cuban/Haitian as African, per se. A bit of history toward a chicken-scratch guitar and shekere groove that, as ever, hides its true history always, always elsewhere ...

Belisama, "Belisama (Deuxième Partie)" / Georges Garvarentz, "Nues dans l'eau" (France 1960s)

Je ne sais pas beaucoup des origines de ces chansons; je les ai trouvé par un disc «bootleg» qui s'appele Psychedelic Yé-Yé après l'epoque de la musique pop Français aux années '60s, une musique trés bien connue au Continent mais assez inconnue aux États-Unis ... pour quelqu'un qui sait tant de la culture Français, il faut qu'il sache Serge Gainsbourg, Brigitte Bardot, Chantal Goya, et cetera. Ces sont des artistes, à l'autre main, dont je ne sais presque rien: la première, Belisama, est un bon exemple de la musique de rock «psyché-fuzz», commes nous disons en anglais, mais je n'ai rien d'info historique de cette chanson; l'autre, Georges Garvarentz, a ecrit plusiers chansons pour et avec Charles Aznavour, le chanteur français très célèbre (il a mari la soeur d'Aznavour, aussi), et il a composée la musique pour approximativement 150 films. God, I'm a pompous twat.

Alessandro Alessandroni, "Manhattan Disco" / "Duke Soul Jazz" / "Skyscrapers" /"Sbirro in Fuga (Reprise)", from Sangue di Sbirro (Italy, 1974)

Alessandroni woz in fact none other than the whistler on many of Ennio Morricone's most famous scores, including the immortal The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars, and For a Few Dollars More; his score for the B-grade 1976 Italian cop-flick Sangue di Sbirro (something like A Cop's Blood and known by a different title in each country that saw its release, which doesn't usually bode too well for yr standards of cinematic achievement -- it even appears to have been flogged for re-release by retitling it Pour un dollar d'argent in France in some marketing hack's attempt at a tie-in with the Eastwood/Morricone/Leone flix) is about 50% shameless Shaft-'sploitation (the title theme manages to lift wholesale both the arrangement and the chord changes while altering the melody jesssssssenough to avoid copyright law), but the three first tracks here are gloss-dripping, coke-sniffing, chest-hair-ruffling Eurotrash (no offence, Alessandro) pseudofunk at its very, very finest, and "Sbirro in Fuga (Reprise)" is some legitimately eerie, unsettling minimalist drama-stabbing that sounds like a Dario Argento score done by David Axelrod.

The Maxwells, "Esther," Maxwell Street (W. Germany, 1969)

You'll see this rekord trumpeted in the blog-o-dise as a lost classic -- don't buy it. It's largely white blues and faux-soul of a thoroughly mediocre rank, but the leadoff track "Esther" summons visions of Tim Buckley as produced by Robert Fripp and Pete Sinfield c. King Crimson's Lizard, all ghostly hints of eroded medievalism and uncomfortably close-mic'd vocals, with a pure Nick Evans trombone solo in the back half. Pity about the rest of yr album, boys ...

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