Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ennio Morricone - Metti, una sera a cena [1969 - Italy]

Being so productive, successful, yet unconventional, it's no surprise Ennio Morricone is cited as a major influence among so many contemporary artists. Crank up "Terrazza Vuota," one of my favorite Morricone songs. It totally sounds like some of the indie rock that you hear coming out nowadays.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ars Nova - Sunshine & Shadows [1969 - USA]

Ars Nova were a classical/progressive rock band from New York that only existed for two years. Here's their second and final album, I hope you dig it.

My favorite Ars Nova song "Please Don't Go Now" is the sample source for one of my favorite Sole songs, "Year of the $exxx $ymbol" (produced by Scott Matelic).


Monday, April 27, 2009

Bossa 70 [1970 - Peru]

A funky Latin selection. Sure to get you dancin'.

Amália Rodriguez - The Art of Amália Rodriguez II [2005 - Portugal]

Here's a great compilation from Portugal's "Queen of Fado" that I found at the Cupertino Library. Although this was released in 2005, I believe these songs were recorded anywhere between the 40s and 50s.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Gal Costa [1969 - Brazil]


The Cyrkle - Red Rubber Ball [1966 - USA]

Great sing-along folk rock. Cyrkle were a two-hit wonder back in the 60s. Both of those hits, "Red Rubber Ball" and "Turn-down Day" are on this album. Thes One of The People Under the Stairs makes great use of "Turn-Down Day" by isolating the vocals on the left channel and echoing the loop for his track "The Turndown" off The Next Step.


Morita Doji - A Boy [1977 - Japan]

About as melancholy as music gets. Morita Doji is one of Japan's most obscure female acid folk musicians. Supposedly, she began her career as a musician in her 20s after the death of a close friend. But you don't have to understand Japanese to feel the perpetual sorrow in her music. The song structures and production are unique and well-orchestrated. Her songs often have a cinematic feel to them, most likely a Spaghetti Western influence. This is the third of her seven albums that she released between 1975 and 1983, after which she completely vanished from the face of the Earth. To the best of my knowledge all of her albums are now out of print. It appears as though she wants to erase those sad years from her life.

Thanks goes out to Jay for introducing me to the genius of Morita Doji.


Gabor Szabo - Magical Connection [1972 - Hungary]

Another great Szabo album. Ant, of Atmosphere, surgically samples the title track "Magical Connection" for his song "Vampires" off God Loves Ugly.


Gabor Szabo - Dreams [1968 - Hungary]

My top discovery of 2008, Gabor Szabo has truly changed the way I think about music. Combining mysterious folk melodies of Eastern Europe with Western jazz, he creates a unique style of his own.
I decided to check out Gabor Szabo after realizing that some of my favorite hip-hop tracks featured samples from him. He has loads of albums, but Dreams is the one that got me hooked. Check out the first track "Galatea's Guitar," it's beyond sick! Once the beat drops, it sounds like a hip-hop instrumental written 30 years ahead of it's time. And the final track "Ferris Wheel" is just beautiful, it makes my heart heavy every time I listen to it.
Gabor Szabo passed away in 1983, but I'm glad that his music has now become part of my life.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Assagai [1971 - South Africa]

Funky, happy, and fun. What really makes this album for me is their "cover" of "Hey Jude" which is sure to brighten anyone's day. In fact, their version sounds almost nothing like the original Beatles' version of which I don't even really like.


39.4 [1972 - Mexico]

If James Brown, Blood Sweat and Tears, and the Doors moved to Mexico and formed a band they might have sounded a little like 39.4. I discovered this gem off of one of my favorite music blogs Hippy DJ-kit a couple years ago; far before I even considered moving to Mexico. Coincidentally, I now live in Guadalajara- 39.4's hometown. Perhaps, discovering this great band had a little subconscious influence on me. But even down here in Mexico, I'll never be able to hear them in person. 39.4 is one of the many yet now forgotten rock bands that began sprouting up all over Mexico in the 70s. This is their one and only LP before breaking up in 1976 and forming Bandido.


Françoise Hardy - La Question [1971 - France]

Françoise Hardy is incredibly talented and sexy! Although I love most all of her albums, this one is by far my favorite. It incorporates elements of folk, psych, and pop. I can best describe this album erotic lullaby.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

David Axelrod - Marchin' [1980 - USA]

Not to be confused with Predident Barack Obama's Senior Advisor, David Axelrod is a living legend in the world of jazz-funk and hip-hop. Some cite him as being the originator of trip-hop decades before it was labeled a genre.
Axelrod began his career in the early 60s as a producer for Capital Records working with artists such as Cannonball Adderley, Lou Rawls, David McCallum, and the Electric Prunes. From 1968-1980 he released 9 brilliant solo albums, but was frustrated that they never received the recognition or financial success they deserved. Not atypical of a brilliant musician that is not willing to dumb his music down for the masses, he sank into a episode a depression, torment, and substance abuse. It wasn't until 1996 when DJ Shadow released the trip-hop classic Endtroducing that he was rediscovered among a new generation of DJs and producers. Shadow's powerful track "Midnight in a Perfect World" features a sample from Axelrod's song "The Human Abstract" off his 1969 album Songs of Experience that made beat miners' heads spin. Since then, nearly all of his records have been re-released (but not this one) and Axelrod is finally getting the recognition and cash he deserves.


Fat Clark - Happy Punches! [2004 - USA]

The first of my famous Happy Punches! compilation series. I put this one together back in the sunny Spring of 2004 at Chico State. At the time, my friends Nic and Manny were up visiting from So-Cal, and I remember giving them the first copy for their long car ride back. Later on they told me they had an amazing time blasting it on the open road. After that, I made a ton of copies to give out to friends and family. For me it became my theme music for the rest of that spring and through the summer. When putting together Happy Punches! I try to picture the ideal music for a ride on a blue bird day with the windows open and the wind in your face.


Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir - Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares [1975 - Bulgaria]

Powerful, beautiful...incredible. This is one of those albums I can only listen to once in a while simply because it's just so emotionally exhausting. I recommend listening to it lying on the floor in a quite room.
The music of the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir has been used in dozens of movies, movie trailers, and commercials; including the classic Japanese anime film Ghost in the Shell. They have also been samples and remixed by producers and DJs, especially in trance music.
This group was discovered by Swiss anthropologist/music producer Marcel Cellier during one of his excursion through Eastern Europe in the 70s. This is the same guy who discovered the Romanian pan flutist Zamfir. If that name doesn't ring a bell, you might recall his song "Lonely Shephard" that was used in Quentin Tarantino's film Kill Bill for that beautiful fight scene in the snow.
My favorite track has got to be number 3, "Kalimankou Denkou." That lead soprano gives me the chills!


Sabicas & Joe Beck - Rock Encounter [1966 - USA, Spain]

Sabicas, one of Spain's greatest flamenco guitarists combines forces with jazz guitar legend Joe Beck on this rock/flamenco fusion album.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Milton Nascimento & Lô Borges - Clube da esquina [1972 - Brazil]

One of my most memorable discoveries. I dug this one out of a cardboard bargain bin stuffed under the CD racks at a restaurant/music store called VIPS in Madrid, Spain back in the winter of 2005. Something about the picture and the Hemisphere logo in the corner told me to pick it up. I was totally blown away once I popped it in my computer. And when I got to track 8 "Um girassol da cor de seu cabelo" couldn't believe my ears. Club da esquina is one of my all time most favorite albums. I hope you enjoy it!


Clark & Jay [2006 - USA]

My and Jay's debut album. We got started on this project our senior year in high school and continued to work on it up until our junior year in college. We lived in separate cities- at times separate countries, so we mainly collaborated via the internet. I decided to head off to Chile to study in the Fall of 06 so we decided to finally bring it to an end and release it. I'm proud of our final product, and I hope you enjoy it.