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Cool and Strange Music, Ephemeral Media, Found Sounds, Private Press and Outsider Music.
April 30, 2021: Aquarius Records Vol. 1: Exotica/Novelty, Found Sounds, Field Recordings, Oddities - Letter A
Due to a hectic week, I'm taking a break from the usual and paying tribute to LMA's favorite record store (R.I.P.) New episode art by Michael Brunelle (2021).
Listen to this show: Pop-up player!
|Artist||Track||Album||Comments||Images||Approx. start time|
|Your DJ Attempts to Speak|
|(Various Artists) Conceived and Produced by Michael John Martinez||3:14 to 3:44 PM GMT 29 September 2001||3:14 to 3:44 PM GMT 29 September 2001||"CDR release. Here eight people around the world record for 30 minutes at the same world time, in the UK, USA, India, Japan, New Zealand and Brasil. The time runs continuously, and never more than 2 of the recordings are heard together. Birds, buses, crowds, interiors, water, Indian television and the human body. An interesting project with an engaging, rather hectic, but mysterious result. Lets the sounds be." - RER Megacorp (CD sent to me by the artist during my days hosting Oddity Rock Radio on KWCR in 2001. Later used as part of an art exhibit on simultaneous recorded media in San Antonio, Texas 2003. http://www.cactusbraspace.com/mmartinez/index.htm) - Your D.J.||0:02:46 (Pop-up)|
|Ron 'Pate and His Debonairs (featuring Rev. Fred Lane as MC.)||Concerto For Active Frogs||Raudelunas 'Pataphysical Revue||...There's even a performance of Concerto For Active Frogs, that should MOST DEFINITELY appeal to aQ customers, a piece composed for taped frogs, featuring a frog soloist, a frog chorus and various complimetary instruments. Pretty cool stuff. While there are some cringeworthy moments, some of the stand-up is BRUTAL and there's definitely a you-had-to-be-there-and-maybe-it-would-also-help-if-these-were-your-friends vibe, this is still pretty amazing and weird and well worth your time. And definitely try and track down the Fred Lane release on Shimmy Disc for a blast of the weirdest, skronkiest, big band creepiness you will ever hear." - Aquarius Records (Aquarius was selling the CD release. I only have the 1979 LP re-issue. This track was written by Anne LeBaron, who seems to have been part of this band at the time, according to the liner notes. Her own version of this "song" was later released on her own album "Rana, Ritual And Revelations" in 1992. - Your D.J.)||0:32:33 (Pop-up)|
|a kombi||moonlight serenade part 1||Music to Drive By||"As featured in the latest Bananafish magazine, this Australian artist created this cd using only the sounds made by a Volkswagen." - Aquarius Records (date of review unknown)||0:38:23 (Pop-up)|
|A Journey To...||Side 1||Happiness Island||"A children's album of sorts! As its creators Malcolm Felder, Gabe Boyer and company envisioned it, A Journey... is "not so much a parody of children's music, as in fact an exploration of the style of production that goes into the creation of a children's album." That said, it features characters who go by names such as leading man Mr. Tadpole, narrator/dermatologist (?) Dr. Esophagus, Mr. Chipmunk, Mr. Jeebee and the Sunflower Cabaret. The sounds are playful and quirky. Fun for a wider age group than you might expect! A side note: If you dig this lp you might wanna check out the cd called The Textbook Tapes which is a tweaked, lo-fi sci-fi concept album created by the same folks." - Aquarius||0:39:39 (Pop-up)|
|Acama||Temple Of Love (slightly shortened)||Tibetan Temple Bells||"Great recording of giant Tibetan Buddhist bell-ringing. Yes, an hour or so of deep resonating "chimes", making for an incredible deep drone document! Fans of cosmic/ambient sounds need only turn this up and vibrate." - Aquarius||0:59:44 (Pop-up)|
|Aavikko||Back From the Futer||Back From The Futer||"Wow! A new Aavikko full length! This just might be the year of the Aavikko. When we first slapped this aluminum disc on our system we must admit we were a little taken aback: Hi-Fi Aavikko? Could it be? For so long these Casio-crazy Finns have championed the most primitive of production aesthetics with a sound only once removed from a ring tone. But here they were in crystal clarity and using the entire spectrum of the audible sound range. Did they get a sponsorship with some big keyboard company? Sources close to Aavikko are keeping tight-lipped about the group's new cache of keyboard equipment. Okay, let's put this in perspective before we go any further: a "hi-fi" Aavikko is still "lo-fi" by most standards, so don't expect any enormous shifts in the Aavikko sound. Bigger than their production changes is perhaps their new-found love of exotica and classic space-age bachelor pad music as a launching pad for their new compositions. Andee pointed out that a lot of the tunes on Back From The Futur sound like a lo-fi Tipsy. Their retro-futurist vision also smacks mightily of Kraftwerk (vocoder makes its way into a couple songs as well), Gershon Kingsley with bubbling and arpeggiating synth lines, catchy melodies and upbeat tempos, and maybe even the soundtracks for Roger Corman sci-fi flicks. We love it!" - Aquarius||1:24:25 (Pop-up)|
|ANTHONY WALKER||Manicaland — Zimbabwe De L'Est, Concert De Grenouilles Et Crapauds Le Soir / Eastern Zimbabwe, Frogs And Toads (Segment)||Nuits Africaines / African Sounds At Dusk||"THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY." - Aquarius||1:26:15 (Pop-up)|
|Aavikko||Eye of the Leopard||History Of Muysic||"At long last, back in stock!! Here's our review from list 207... *$&@! That's always a great way to start any decent review here at Aquarius. #@&*! Yeah! That's even better, and certainly more appropriate for a disc we've been lusting after for so long. Aavikko is one of those elusive bands that we never seem to be able to keep in stock long enough to escape becoming a mere legend and a fading memory. The problem seems to reside in a lifetime of poor distribution and lackluster label attention. But now Aquarius has secured a direct pipeline to the band in the hopes of rectifying this shortage. Aavikko, for those who've yet to experience their magic, are easily the reigning kings of "electronic instrumental rock" (their own genre?). Hailing from Finland -- that in and of itself should be a clue -- Aavikko have honed a lo-fi electro-punk sound that's oft imitated, but never equaled. Using only cheap electric organs (most notably the Yamaha PSS Home Organ), drums and archaic analog recording technology, Aavikko compose Slavic disco, garage surf punk with rumba beats and insanely catchy pop tunes that bring to mind soundtracks to 8-bit videogames of yesteryear. History Of Muysic is an impressive collection of both no longer available Aavikko classics and unreleased tracks dating back to the group's inception in 1995. The latter includes their first rehearsal demo, outtakes from the Derek! ep sessions and their theme for the Kumman Kaa TV series (which has become one of the most popular ring tones in Finland!), among others. In the long lost and now out of print category, we're most excited by the inclusion of the eight tracks from the first, self-titled Aavikko 7". These are a veritable holy grail of primitive electronic rock and expose imitators for the slick hi-fi hucksters they really are. Probably recorded direct to cassette, you can even hear the tape drag and occasional drop outs. Fellow lovers of Bjorn Olsson will be excited by this and all analog anomalies indelibly pitted into the digital realm. All under three minutes in length, the tracks on the eponymous debut are tight and gritty pop ditties, completely trimmed of fat: the words 'overproduced' and 'Avvikko' will never be found in the same sentence but for this one. Also included on this anthology is the entire Oriental Baby CD, their collaboration with Mono Pause "Of Stomping Men", an unreleased live recording off of the beloved WFMU in NJ, their contribution to the Team Yamaha compilation and last, but in no way least, their most recent single, for the first time on CD, the amazing Eye of the Leopard with Kabar. Really folks, do yourself a favor..." - Aquarius||1:33:25 (Pop-up)|
|Giulio Aldinucci||The Hermit||Spazio Sacro||"Time Released Sound remain one of our favorite labels, a local boutique imprint that never fails to surprise and impress with every release, each one delightfully unique, from the over the top handmade packaging, to the mysterious abstract ambience and pastoral electronic alchemy that lurks within. And while at this point, there is definitely a TRS 'sound', one that we, and apparently lots of you, can't seem to get enough of, the music is surprisingly diverse. Some are subtle and sublime, hushed and dreamlike, others are more abstract, more experimental and yet somehow manage to retain much of the blurred beauty of their less obtuse compatriots. And while we've yet to dislike a single release, we do tend to lean more toward, perhaps not surprisingly, the weirder release, the the grittier, noisier forays into hazy, druggy drift, the fractured sonic collages that seem to smear before our very ears, the looped, and stuttery, wooziness that transports us to some prismatic, fractured otherworld. Which is precisely the case with Spazio Sacro, the first we've heard from audio alchemist Giulio Aldinucci, who has collected a series of field recordings sourced from sacred locations, and then used these skeletal frameworks for stunning dronescapes, and lush layered sonic swells, cinematic almost Arvo Part sounding choral shimmer, and more minimal, droning drift. The field recordings lend a strange vibe to these recordings, almost as if the music was captured in a similar fashion, wandering through the city, the thrum and clatter of passersby, cars, and shops, when all of a sudden some huge colored cloud of sound, comes whirling from above, wrapping itself around streetlights like some alien fog, the sound organic and alien all at once. the more hushed pieces not that far removed from the moody minimalism of Stars Of The Lid, the addition of strange rhythmic sputters, and fractured skitters, brings to mind the turntablescapes of Philip Jeck. It's a truly haunting landscape of sound, gauzy and indistinct, softly pulsing and strangely granular, as of whatever bonds holding these songs together is truly tenuous, and as such, songs don't start and stop as much as bleed into each other, crumbling into nothingness, only to slowly surface in another form, that form in constant flux, billowing and ethereal, dense and ominous, whispery and serene, all the while, the artifacts of life, the sonic detritus of everyday life, lay beneath these undulating swells of chordal thrum, of tranquil mesmer, of haunting, harrowing loveliness. This just might be our favorite TRS release yet. As always, there are two different versions, the deluxe, which in this case is limited to just 75 copies, and comes in a hardback book style cover, wrapped in a fabric shroud, with a 3D collaged landscape inside, made from pages from an ancient Italian book, 150 year old hand written musical scores and mysterious engravings, along with a vintage religious medallion. And as always, there's a slightly less limited, significantly more affordable, standard version, limited to 150 copies, housed in the usual swank TRS style digipak." - Aquarius||1:38:47 (Pop-up)|
|AAVIKKO||Torpedo Girls||Multi Muysic||"At last, we've gotten some import copies of the latest full-length from this beloved Finnish band! We'd heard rumors of its release for some time, so we were thrilled to finally track it down. At first listen, while the Casios and '80s video game noises are still in full effect, this album is much less frantic and frenetic than the Aavikko we remember -- which means, it's *still* fairly frantic and frenetic! But they're learned some new swanky, suave moves as well. Their old "maniacal monkey jazz" tag doesn't quite fit anymore (the maniacal part, anyway). Maybe they've mellowed into something sort of like a stranger, more disturbed Jimi Tenor? And much as we loved the kooky, chaotic sounds of their old Bad Vugum album "Derek", sometimes change is good and this is a smooth shift from one eccentric realm to another. Even slowed down a bit, they're still our favorite tripped-out instrumental lounge exotica group! Utter smile-inducing retro fun." - Aquarius||1:44:44 (Pop-up)|
|Alva Noto||Haloid Xerrox Copy 4||Xerrox||"Like most Raster-Noton releases, the latest from Alva Noto begins with plenty of stutter and squelch, sinewaves and dog whistle tones, subterranean rumble and digital clips, but it's actually kind of misleading, as the rest of the disc exists in a sonic landscape much closer to the Kompakt sounds of Pop Ambient, or the hissy soft focus ambience of Tim Hecker, than the lowercase world of glitch and squeak. The first three tracks are strange minimal sonic experiments, plenty of hiss and scrape, static and hum, but it's track four, "Haliod Xerrox Copy 3 (Paris)", where suddenly things get downright pretty. Soft distant swells, mysterious slow motion loops, hard to say whether the sounds are synthesizers or tape loops or field recordings, although according to the liner notes all the sounds here are drawn from airports, in flight announcements and telephone hold music, but by 'xeroxing" these sounds over and over, and letting each copy degrade just a little, Alva Noto takes those degraded sounds and shapes them into lovely blurred dronescapes, eventually wrapping them in soft prickly layers of digital hiss, which only adds to the soft focus romance and dreamlike otherworldliness. The tracks are named and grouped thematically. The ultra short "Astoria" tracks seem to act as brief respites, tiny sonic events separating the longer more song based tracks. The focus seems to be on those particular songs, each named "Haliod Xerrox Copy" and numbered or given an extra title in parentheses, these are gorgeous fuzzy, blown out dreamy drifts, all reminiscent of "Haliod Xerrox Copy 3 (Paris)" but each, with its own distinctive flow, seemingly drawn from the same sonic template and utilizing a similar melodic theme, but softly molded into subtly different shapes. In "Haliod Xerrox Copy 2 (Airfrance)" it's all warm fuzz and muted white noise, a dense buzz, that is more soothing than abrasive. Moments later, in "Haliod_Xerrox_Copy_6" the buzz becomes washed out, pulsing louder and then quieter, while off in the distant, we are able to observe gentle lilting sonic events, as if alva notojourney, a much heavier drone element. This is intense, brooding, beautiful too, but haunting and ominous, a gorgeous minimal sonic smear of M83 fuzz, Tim Hecker-ish sepia toned blur, and Basinski-esque looped dreaminess, all wrapped in Noto's thick fuzzy ambient buzz. The cd comes packaged in another striking and strange oversized Raster-Noton package, a multiple panel fold out sleeve, with die cuts holding the disc in place." - Aquarius||1:48:21 (Pop-up)|
|AAVIKKO||Novo Atlantis I||Novo Atlantis||"Electronic. Muysic. Finland. When we see those three words, which appear in small type on the top right corner of the cover to this album, we get pretty excited. Even when Music is spelled Muysic. ESPECIALLY when it's spelled like that. 'Cause that's means it's an Aavikko album. The mostly instrumental Finnish synthesizer/synthesizer/drums trio's new disc, Novo Atlantis, is finally here! Now, each album of theirs has always been a little bit different, but we've always loved Aavikko, from their early "maniacal monkey jazz" days as a lo-fi Casiocore band circa 1997's Derek to their more recent and polished productions of space age bachelor pad exotica like 2005's Back From The Futer. So what's in store for listeners on Novo Atlantis? Initially we were struck by this album's even MORE electronic sound, taking Aavikko into techno-disco territory, more computery, less live band sounding. Though human metronome Tomi Leppanen (also the drummer for AQ faves Circle) is still behind the drum kit, there's plenty of purely electronic beats and rhythms on here it seems. Yet at the same time, this album also features French horn, trombone, trumpet, tuba, and even church pipe organ!! So while on one had it's all very futuristic (in a spaced out cosmic disco way), this also takes inspiration from way way back, the pre-electronic, classical music era in fact. You could call Novo Atlantis the "switched-on Bach" version of Aavikko, or more precisely, "switched-on Hoppel", Egil Hoppel allegedly being an obscure Finnish composer of the baroque period, discussed in the sleeve notes of Novo Atlantis. Supposedly he was some sort of child prodigy (he only lived 1722-1737!), an organist whose music has apparently become a major influence on Aavikko's new direction. We say allegedly and supposedly since we halfway suspect they made him him up, that he's a hoax much like those "funerary violin" fellows. Probably some quick Googling would resolve the question, but we prefer not to know for sure. If Aavikko invented him, they certainly were thorough about it - there are two purported Hoppel compositions included on the cd format as a hidden bonus track (we won't tell you how to find it, but check out our review of the most recent Agoraphobic Nosebleed disc for a clue!). And having heard those, it does seem like you can hear Hoppel's purported influence right in this disc's very first track, "Syntaksis", which definitely has an Aavikko goes classical feel, like a lot of the stuff here having shades of the "classically trained" approach of all those Moog-laden '70s prog keyboard bands a la ELP and krautrockers Novalis... But don't let that make you think this is somehow stuffy, over-serious or highbrow or whatever, nope not at all, far from it as any Aavikko fan would guess. While it's got its moody moments, most of Novo Atlantis is percolating, infectious electronic fun. Super groovy, quirky, krauty - in the Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder sense of krauty. The album ends with what must be Aavikko's longest track ever, the 15 minutes of "Novo Atlantis II". Wow, quite an epic, with echoes of Joe Meek's "Telstar" in its melodies, and long mesmeric burbling sequencer trance-outs, something like early '80s Tangerine Dream, Wolfgang Duren, or Zombi's "Sapphire". A Lindstrom remix seems to be in order, where is it? Certainly Aavikko's new album fits nicely into the current disco craze. It also goes well with our obsession with skweee, too. Electronic muysic Finland, hooray!" - Aquarius||1:51:59 (Pop-up)|
|ANTHONY WALKER||Manicaland — Zimbabwe De L'Est, Concert De Grenouilles Et Crapauds Le Soir / Eastern Zimbabwe, Frogs And Toads (Reprise)||Nuits Africaines / African Sounds At Dusk||Thanks for listening!!!||1:55:51 (Pop-up)|