sound and fury (recommendations)

Apropos of nothing, ten musical works to challenge your ears (and that thing in between them). Keyword: fringe.

cLOUDDEAD – “Jimmy Breeze” [2001] – A surreal elegy for a suicidal classmate penned by underground hip-hop’s psychedelic auteurs, with sounds lifted from old-school Nintendo and older-school gospel.

King Crimson, “Starless” [1974] – Prog-rock meets jazz, mellotron meets sax, and rock drums go tribal in 13/8 time.

John Adams, Nixon in China [1987] – A minimalist opera that shows Chairman Mao and the Nixons first as their historic personages and then, in the meditative third act, as human beings lost in their own pasts.

Boredoms, “Cory & the Mandara Suicide Pyramid Action or Gas Satori” [1992] – The Japanese metal pioneers welded reggae and rap to their explosive brand of metal in a ten minute assault on the idea of musical genre.

Konono No. 1, Congotronics [2005] – Three electric likembe pluck out melodies over percussion instruments salvaged from junkyards, the sounds jacked up through hand-carved amplifiers.

Sonic Youth, “Sister” [1987] – The legendary art-rock band had released all matter of weird, heady, and innovative material by this point, but “Sister” was all of that and an honest-to-goodness pop song besides

Herbie Hancock and V.S.O.P, “Clutch” [1980] – Hancock remains one of jazz’s most adventurous visionaries. On this entry, a multi-tracked calliope creates ambiance for the quintet’s funky fusion.

My Bloody Valentine, Loveless [1991] – The greatest indie rock album of the 90s presents walls of guitar drenched in reverb and distortion, churning, twinkling, and wailing their druggy melodies beautiful enough that they still produce awed consensus in a scene known for fractious nay-saying.

Iannis Xenakis, “Metastasis” [1955] – 61 instruments perform on this composition, which illustrates Einstenian time by changing intensity, register, and density of scoring as analogues for mass and energy.

Prefuse 73, One Word Extinguisher [2003] – Abstract rhymes folded into cutting edge hip-hop, lush instrumental samples and glitchy techno beats might sound obtuse, but this also an incredibly affecting record about a failed relationship.

Funkadelic, “Maggot Brain” [1971] – Eddie Hazel’s greatest guitar solo is Hendrixian blues pushed to brain-melting frontiers of heaviness.


~ by staticandme on March 31, 2009.

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