Tuning In – A Film about Karlheinz Stockhausen was produced for the BBC in 1981. Directed by Robin Maconie, who authored The Works of Karlheinz Stockhausen, this documentary is a lively and informative introduction to the work and process of a man who shook music and consciousness up.
And when they encounter works of art which show that using new media can lead to new experiences and to new consciousness, and expand our senses, our perception, our intelligence, our sensibility, then they will become interested in this music.” Karlheinz Stockhausen
Stockhausen once said he was using music as a “flying device.” I like that.
Composer/arranger Edward O. Bland’s 1958 quasi-documentary short, Cry of Jazz was one of the first films to examine Black culture. Made during the Eisenhower era when that concept hardly had a meaning to the general public, it was also perhaps the first time that assumptions of white cultural supremacy were challenged by an African-American director in cinema history.
Today the little-known film is considered a lost classic and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2010:
“[N]ow recognized as an early and influential example of African-American independent film-making. Director Ed Bland, with the help of more than 60 volunteer crew members, intercuts scenes of life in Chicago’s black neighborhoods with interviews of interracial artists and intellectuals. “Cry of Jazz” argues that black life in America shares a structural identity with jazz music. With performance clips by the jazz composer, bandleader and pianist Sun Ra and his Arkestra, the film demonstrates the unifying tension between rehearsed and improvised jazz. “Cry of Jazz” is a historic and fascinating film that comments on racism and the appropriation of jazz by those who fail to understand its artistic and cultural origins.”
Scenes of the Arkestra were filmed at 5 or 6 club gigs between 1956 and 1958. This was before the band and its leader began wearing the distinctive Egyptian and science fiction-styled headdresses and costumes they would later become known for.
The Arkestra performances that provide the soundtrack for The Cry of Jazz underline and accent Bland’s relentlessly didactic story line and offer vivid visual contrast to the extended narrative scenes which depict a group of collegiate jazz enthusiasts heatedly engaged in a profound intellectual discussion centered on the politics of music and race and the definition, meaning and future of jazz.
Bland’s passionate, well-ordered polemic extremely advanced for the late 50s presents a systematic economic analysis of the social forces which produced and shaped the music called jazz, carefully relates them to the shape and form of the music then prevalent, and boldly forecasts what he calls the death of jazz that will be administered by a new experimental movement led by creative artists and composers (here typified by Sun Ra) who are dedicated to freeing the music from its historical strictures, reflecting the social conditions of the present, and projecting and interpreting the world of the future.
At first the story proceeds with excruciating slowness: A college jazz society meeting breaks up, leaving behind a group of stragglers a pair of white women, a white man and two black men who continue the discussion among themselves and soon reach sharp disagreement on the issues of where jazz originated, what forces shaped its development and why it sounded the way it did. Then one of the black men seizes center stage and carefully unfolds his increasingly radical analysis until his listeners are left virtually stupefied and without coherent response.
Sun Ra & the Arkestra lay down a pulsating track of sound under the narration and serve to punctuate the protagonist’s long, engrossing lecture with appropriate segments of performance footage and musical counterpoint. It’s easy to picture Sun Ra enthusiasts editing together these Arkestral appearances and eliminating the talking parts altogether, but inquisitive viewers may gain immensely from exposure to Bland’s fiercely iconoclastic exposition on the state of African American creative music on the historical cusp of the modern jazz era and the free jazz, avant garde, New Black Music movement of the 1960s.
A young Herman Poole “Sonny” Blount, before he properly understood his intergalactic roots and legally changed his name to Le Sony’r Ra
I noticed this CBGB gingerbread house has been making the rounds on Facebook. I’m not exactly sure who made it, but from my incredibly thorough Google sleuthing it appears Lizz Trudeau‘s Flickr stream may be the original source.
The Bowery bums give it a nice, historically accurate touch…
A rather festive number, considering he’s best known for the most haunting rendition of an American murder ballad ever recorded… and his violent criminal record.
If you’re familiar with Leadbelly’s life, this isn’t actually very surprising. In addition to stabbing a man in a fight and killing a relative over a woman, he recorded a large repertoire of children’s music.
Here’s my annual Christmas mix set to Rene Cardona’s holiday classic Santa Claus Vs. Satan.
This year I avoided any Christmas tunes and went for songs that had a festive lite psychedelic and bubble gum vibe. If you’re sick to death of the same ol’ same ol’, then this might be a nice alternative for you to listen to while decorating the tree. Or instead of a Yule log on the TV, put this in your DVD player on repeat and watch the wild tale of jolly old Santa and the devilish Pitch while tripping to some hippie dippy tunes.
Here’s the Wikipedia description of the film in case you have problems following the surreal plot:
On December 24, Santa makes preparations for his yearly journey at his Toyland castle in outer space. He plays the organ while his children helpers from all over the world sing. Meanwhile, in Hell, Lucifer instructs his chief demon Pitch to travel to Earth and turn the children of the world against Santa.
In a busy marketplace, Pitch attempts to convince five children to “make Santa Claus angry”: Lupita, a poor girl; Billy, the son of wealthy but negligent parents; and three troublemaking brothers. Pitch fails at convincing Lupita to steal a doll from a vendor but succeeds in convincing the brothers to break a shop window. Santa’s child workers alert him to these events.
Unable to travel to Earth before nightfall on Christmas Eve, he instead uses equipment to watch Pitch and the children. One device allows him to view Lupita’s dream, induced by Pitch, in which she is tormented by life-sized dancing dolls who entice her to steal. He also listens as the three brothers plot to break into Billy’s home and steal his presents. They also attempt to write a letter to Santa claiming they have been good, but Santa’s voice informs them that he can see all they do.
Merlin the Wizard, Santa’s most trusted assistant, gives Santa a sleep inducing powder and a flower that allows him to disappear. He then retrieves a magic key that will open any door on Earth from Vulcan and prepares his mechanical reindeer. On Earth, the three rude boys plot to capture and enslave Santa. Meanwhile Lupita and her mother say a prayer and Lupita says that she has wished for two dolls, one of which she will give to Baby Jesus.
During Santa’s journey, Pitch makes several unsuccessful attempts to sabotage Santa’s delivery of toys in Mexico City. Santa succeeds in reuniting Billy with his parents, who had left him alone to go to a restaurant. On a city rooftop, the three brothers prepare to capture Santa and steal his toys. They see Santa’s sleigh in the sky and hurry indoors to find that they have only received coal. After a failed attempt to steal the sleigh, Pitch succeeds in emptying Santa’s dream powder bag while Santa drops the disappearing flower.
Santa’s trip is nearly complete when he is chased by a vicious dog outside a large house in Mexico. Finding himself without the powder or the flower he climbs a tree to escape the dog. Pitch appears and proceeds to wake the household and calls the fire department to report a fire at that location, so Santa will soon be seen by many people. With dawn approaching, Merlin assists with a last-minute escape and Pitch is defeated after being doused with the spray from a fire hose.
Before returning to the castle Santa makes one final stop, leaving a doll for Lupita. His labors now completed, Santa steers the sleigh back to the castle, content in the knowledge that he has brought happiness to all of the Earth’s children
01. Paisley Teddy Bear - The Hello People
02. Pancake Trees - Jefferson Lee
03. Golden Kite - Cinnamon Ship
04. Freak Street - Roy Harper
05. Psychiatric Case - Dead Sea Fruit
06. Good Dream - Rockadome
07. Bottom Of The Soul - Bonniwell Music Machine
08. Soda Pop Man - The Back Alley
09. The Laughing Man - John Carter and Russ Alquist
10. Press Right Here - Martin and Martin
11. Confusion - Randy and The Rest
12. Oh What A Good Boy Am I - Damon
13. Dream Machine - Svensk
14. Man In The Moon - Village
15. Moontalk - Tommy Roe
16. In My Mind Lives A Forest - Rainy Daze
17. Wispy Paisley Skies - Fraternity Of Man
18. Green Plant - Cherry Smash
19. She - Tuesday’s Child
20. Joyride - The Bright Green Pleasure Machine
21. Thank You Very Much - Scaffold
22. Que Coisalinda - Os Incrives
23. Strange Walking Man - The Mandrake Paddle Steamer
24. Dogs In Baskets - The Geranium Pond
25. Behold The Lillies - Neighborhood Children
26. No More Lollipops - Peter Sarsted
27. Sign Of The Queen - Noel Harrison
28. Somethings Happening - Last Friday’s Fire
29. It’s Wonderful - The Young Rascals
30. Jam Up Jelly Tight - Tommy Roe
31. Finders Keepers - Salt Water Taffy
32 Quick Joey Small - Kasenetz and Katz
33. Captain Groovy and His Bubble Gum Army - Captain Groovy
34. Dancin’ - Bobby Blue
35. Garden Of Love - Randy Johnson
It’s been a good week to be Paul McCartney. His hook-up with former members of Nirvana re-kindled his rock ‘n’ roll cred in the minds of many people, young and old, who had written him off as an irrelevant old fart. Suddenly we were re-meeting the Beatle all over again and I think he may have been doing the same.
Here’s some McCartney history from 40 years ago: Broadcast in the US April 16th, 1973 on ABC and a month later on May 10th on the BBC, the “James Paul McCartney” television special is a mostly fun mix of live music, variety show shtick and man-on-the street, cinema verite goofiness (Liverpool pub scene).
Featuring the original Wings line-up:
Paul McCartney – vocals, bass, keyboards, guitar
Linda McCartney – vocals, keyboards
Denny Laine – vocals, guitar, bass, piano
Henry McCullough – guitar, vocals
Denny Seiwell – drums, percussion
Big Barn Bed, Medley: Blackbird / Bluebird / Michelle / Heart Of The Country, Mary Had A Little Lamb, Little Woman Love / C-Moon, My Love, Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey, Gotta Sing Gotta Dance, Live And Let Die, Beatles Medley, The Mess, Maybe I’m Amazed, Long Tall Sally, At The End Of Another Day, Yesterday, Hi Hi Hi
Some bits are silly, some are sublime. Overall, if you’re a fan, you’ll probably dig it. Always the showman, here’s Paul McCartney and Wings (with Linda looking like David Bowie):
UPDATE: The winner is Richard Swanson! Congratulations!
Thanks to the kind folks at the Universal Music Group, Dangerous Minds will be giving away TWELVE, that’s right, TWELVE Frank Zappa CDs, personally selected by yours truly, the arch Zappa freak who is sitting beneath a painting of Frank and the Mothers of Invention above my desk as I type this.
Did I say twelve? I meant THIRTEEN Zappa albums (and some selections contain multiple discs)!
My selection concentrates on my favorite era of Zappa’s vast oeuvre, the early years when he worked with his best collaborators, in my opinion at least, the original Mothers.
“These Mothers is crazy. One guy wears beads & they all smell bad.”—Suzy Creamcheese
The lucky winner will receive:
Freak Out! Absolutely Free Lumpy Gravy We’re Only in It for the Money Uncle Meat Hot Rats Burnt Weeny Sandwich Weasels Ripped My Flesh Ahead of Their Time You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 5 The Lost Episodes Mystery Disc
Plus one glorious example of Zappa’s admittedly sketchier, mid-period: the sprawling 3-CD set, Läther, making this prize a BAKER’S DOZEN of Zappa goodies for one lucky reader!
To enter, it’s simple: First you must be signed up to receive the Dangerous Minds Daily Newsletter via email (look for the sign-up widget in the top toolbar of this page) and “like” the official Frank Zappa Facebook fanpage. Then you have to leave a comment below, telling us why you deserve to win. (If you’ve already commented on the earlier post, it’s not necessary to do it twice).
One newsletter subscriber will be chosen by the editors of Dangerous Minds to receive this musical bounty. The winner will be picked on Monday, December 17th, 2012. Good luck!
Below, a fantastic 1971 Dutch documentary that spends a day with Frank Zappa from Holland’s VPRO.
In 1968, tabla player Sam Gopal started a band with Lemmy Kilmister (guitar/ vocals), Roger D’Elia (guitar) and Phil Duke on bass. Together they recorded the album Escalator, which is sitar-less raga-rock with typically vague mystical lyrics and a stoned vibe. On a psychedelic scale of purple to brown, I’d rate this one maroon.
Strange to see Lemmy this mellow. Though, as you see in the following quote, Lemmy was spending a lot of time on speed. I love the fact that he keeps referring to tablas as bongos.
That was in 1968. It was very rushed, obviously. But the speed was very good in those days. I sat up all night and wrote all the fucking songs. Eleven of them, I think.
Honestly, I have never been able to get into this record, and it’s entirely due to the drumming being bongos instead of a conventional drum set. I realize that Sam Gopal is the bongo player, so the whole project is based around him, and I’m totally missing the point. But I just want to hear some real drums behind these songs, damn it!
No one will ever mistake this dreary rain-drenched b&w clip for Yellow Submarine.
Behold “The Bloom,” the latest synapse-melting video from Lumerians.
Their new Horizon Structures EP (Knitting Factory Records) comes with Lumerians 4D portal viewing glasses with instructions for watching the video which was shot in Chroma Depth High Definition. Directed by the group and Kerry Laitala.
WARNING: Viewing may cause 4DHD (4th Dimensional Hyperspatial Disorder).
The funky Bay Area spacerockers are playing with Psychic TV tonight and tomorrow night in Oakland, CA.