Saturday, December 03, 2011
The Faerie Princess & Other Poems
Sloow Tapes – CS 50
Eddie Woods (aka 'the Gangster Poet') was born and raised in New York City. In 1960 he joined the US Air Force for a four-year stint in order to see Europe and experience an earthier way of life than was possible in America. Throughout the 1960s and 70s he lived and traveled in various parts of the world, East and West. Since 1978 he has resided mainly in Amsterdam. That same year, together with Jane Harvey, he started the literary magazine Ins & Outs and later founded Ins & Outs Press. Among the many writers and artists they published were Allen Ginsberg, William Levy, Ira Cohen, Rachel Pollack, Jack Micheline, Diana Blok & Marlo Broekmans, Mel Clay, Jan Kerouac, Harold Norse, Heathcote Williams, Hans Plomp and Simon Vinkenoog.
Inspired by both Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and the Shakti power of the Hindu goddess Maha Kali, in 1977 (in London) Eddie wrote "The Faerie Princess," an erotic fairy tale in verse depicting the fantastical adventures of a lovely wood nymph in a future primeval setting. By contrast, his "The Second Coming of Kali" is a quasi-surrealistic sexual autobiography until age 37. Begun in Kathmandu in early 1976, worked on in San Francisco later that year, it was completed in London in 1977. Wholly dedicated to Divine Mother, it also portrays an intense spiritual journey and awakening. This is its first-ever public recitation. The other 11 poems are equally sensual. Edition of 100 copies.
Another fantastic addition to Sloow Tapes on-going documentation of fringe/counter-cultural poets that sits nicely on the shelf alongside the Louise Landes Levi and Simon Vinkenoog cassettes. Eddie Woods aka “The Gangster Poet” is a world traveller, poet and publisher now based in Amsterdam, best known for his 70s journal Ins & Outs and his Ins & Outs Press that published works by Jack Micheline, Jan Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Ira Cohen, Simon Vinkenoog, William Levy and more. This cassette consist of a series of readings – he still has the voice of a Soprano – of variously dated poems, kicking off with his amazing fantasy/fable of enlightenment and sexual gnosis The Faerie Princess which combines Tolkein-esque imagery with a libidinous commitment to the joys of fuck. Indeed, the bulk of his poetry is centered around a sensual reengagement with the world on its own terms and it feels so completely liberated, so Babalon-ian, it’s enough t make you wanna quit your dumb job yesterday and tickle your asshole with knee-high grass. The flip side of the cassette features “The Second Coming Of Kali”, a “surrealist sexual autobiography until age 37” begun in Kathmandu in 1976 and dedicated to Divine Mother. Fantastic and highly recommended. (Volcanic Tongue)
Under The Radioactive Fallout
Sloow Tapes – CS 54
Japanese Deadheads who have been tripping since the late eighties. Back in the day Michio Kurihara used to jam with these guys, but in recent years the band has been orbiting around the mellow guitarsolos of Yukotopia's Roku. Outraged by the Fukushima accident in march this year, this tape is a collection of protest songs against nuclear energy. 100 copies.
It’s no secret that around these parts we rate Sloow Tapes as perhaps the premier underground cassette label and you gotta hand it to them, their recent form has been completely off the chain. This latest release from Japanese underground psych legends Ha-Za-Ma represents another amazing turn-up, a new studio set from these Deadheads who at one time boasted Michio Kurihara (White Heaven/Ghost et al) as lead guitarist. It’s easy to imagine Kurihara’s endless, rippling style coasting over these amazing jams but current guitarist Roku Yukotopia ain’t no slouch and he peels off beautiful, clean post-Garcia ecstasies with alla the force and feeling of your favourite west coast pilot. The songs are simply gorgeous, with that perfect lost-in-translation feel of Rob Jo Star Band or even Brush and a vocalist who sings with such feeling – mostly raging against nuclear power in the fallout from the Japanese earthquake – that it’s enough to make you crease and comes over as wide-eyed as anything on Ainigma’s equally stupe Diluvium LP. This is quite simply a classic and timeless Japanese psych release and one that would sit equally well alongside first generation bombs by Flower Travellin’ Band, Rallizes et al as it would with the whole Tokyo Flashback scene. Somebody has to re-do this in a swank vinyl edition but in the meantime, here’s the original pressing in a run of only 100 copies. Can’t stop spinning this. Highly recommended! (Volcanic Tongue)
Stay Away From The Towers
Sloow Tapes – CS 84
Two long synth hallucinations by Jurgen De Blonde, Belgium’s premier Cosmic Courier. Projecting Klaus Schulze and Jean-Michel Jarre through multi-dimensional molecular clouds and spiraling black holes, these broadcasts from beyond turn the brain on to deep space circuits. 100 copies.
Two long synth navigations from Belgium’s Jurgen De Blonde: heavy overloaded circuitry feel here, with planet bombing analogue overload married to busy, bubbling 20th century electronics, monolithic slow-moving melodies ala Conrad Schnitzler and even some of the synth violence of Hiroshi Hasegawa/Astro. Edition of 100 copies on our favourite tape label. (Volcanic Tongue)
One thing I was wrong about when reviewing M. Geddes Gengras’ massive The Empty Space was the assumption that the whole lot was recorded during one or two live performances. It was not, and as Ged Gengras himself jokingly noted on his Facebook, if that cassette was a documentary of one performance, he probably wouldn’t have left the venue alive. The case is different with Belgium’s synthesist Jurgen de Blonge, who’s been crafting electronic soundscapes since the 1990’s. Stay Away From the Towers is a documentary of two live performances conducted in clubs in Belgium and the Netherlands. No edits, no overdubs, no post-production. Final destination.
The comparison between MGG and Kohn is not accidental: both tapes are equally massive and stunning – both clock at around 90 minutes and both take quite liberal cues at the previous eras of electronic music. While for Ged Gengras it was the raw, glitchy electronics of Morton Subotnick, Fifty Foot Hose (minus the psych rock element) or even Karlheinz Stockhausen, Jurgen de Blonde looks at the Berlin School era and progressive electronic masters of the 1970’s and the 1980’s. Each side of the red, unlabeled tape is a lengthy, ever-changing jam of rhythmic electronics and snakelike melodies treated with a pinch of outsider synth weirdness. De Blonde crafts intense cosmic voyages of the best kind: the ones in which the listener gets truly lost and loses the track of time, where seconds stretch into hours and hours into seconds, where the change in the ever-flowing rhythm or melody can be noticed only after several minutes, where one gets zoned out even with deeply focused listening. Once one gets over the slightly abrasive drones that de Blonde likes to put in certain places of the recordings, the world of emotions, images and scenes unfolds as a reward.
One of the best elements of this cassette (apart from its head-spinning length) is the perfect balance de Blonde keeps between the Berlin School worship and the more abrasive, abstract experimentation. The melodic, progressive parts and the reverbed hiss, crackles and drones are kept in equal proportions, serving as interludes or, in a great prog fashion, “movements” of one track. I can almost imagine a projection screen behind Jurgen while giving performances with various animations as he enters different phases: abstract, psychedelic animations of non-defined shapes or oscilloscope going haywire during the non-melodic sonic bricolage and fragments of films like “Fantastic Planet” or “The Holy Mountain” during the melodic, proggy parts. A great record of two great performances by a somewhat overlooked European synth wizard.
Copies still available at Sloow Tapes, but knowing their stuff is all killer no filler, they might be gone in no time. Be quick! (Weed Temple)
This is a tape of dark synth explorations that are on the more abstract side of cosmic. On the first side we’ve got drippy type sounds at different pitches which echo around until they’re accompanied by a synth drone and a low pulse and some lasery noises. This is headphone music, I think. Yet more late night headphone music. It’s bleak but not particularly abrasive, and it takes its time to evolve. At one point during the second side there’s some kind of repetitive klaxon/alarm type noise that’s actually strangely hypnotic. If you’re into that kind of thing, this is more of it. Fill your boots. (Norman Records)