Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: The dual-minded Akron/Family.
Arriving in New York City three years ago, quartet Akron/Family immediately set to work in their Brooklyn apartment documenting the various paths they traced with their seemingly all-encompassing musical reach. After recording a couple albums worth of folk/noise/improv/pop oddness, they came to the attention of Young God's Michael Gira. The band's self-titled debut for Gira's label features some of the fruits of that home-recorded labor, in addition to some nicely edited, fine-tuned jams. So impressed was Mr. Gira that he tapped Akron/Family to form the backing band for his new Angels of Light disc, The Angels of Light Sing "Other People," which was also released this week. Live, Akron/Family strikes a neat contrast between moments of composed beauty and fits of inspired improvisation that is truly a sight to behold. Oh, and they also have beards! This week's listed was a group effort.
--------The Radically Dual top 10----------
No. 1 Cover Song: Nina Simone covering "Suzanne" by L. Cohen
Covering "Suzanne" is no easy task. First of all, the limitless approaches that one could take are dizzying, second of all the original is what I would call pristine. Who else could be worthy of taking up such a challenge? Nina goes immediately for the throat, changing the color completely right from the start, bringing in a down right danceable shuffle with bouncy strummed guitar and drums/bongosÂ… Vocals enter and develop flawlessly, burning hotter and hotter with each verse. Her voice, compressed by the tape, sometimes takes over every bit of sonic space. When the last verse comes in, the percussion is fighting back, pushing forward just in time for her to make your spine tingle as she almost whispers the last chorus, her voice quivering softlyÂ…Hot damn!
No. 1 CD Â“Kabbalah DaveÂ” gave me: Terry Riley - The Persian Surgery Dervishes: Los Angeles, April 18, 1971 (Newtone Import)
I am currently obsessed with this disk (has been in my CD player for two months straight). Terry Riley is in top form here. Solo organ (I think) with some analog delays. Two tracks, each clocking in at somewhere like 20 minutes each. Track 2 is whirling with intensity, 7 minutes in my brain now resembles soggy cornflakes but the steady pulse is still buried in there speaking DIRECTLY to my heart, sucking me deeper and deeper into inner space!!!! Whooooohooo!
No. 1 Inspired use of kitchen apparatus to make interesting sound: Cannon's Jug Stompers - The Complete Works 1927-1930 (Yazoo)
We're all suckers for some good jug action. It's enough to make anybody sad about our current lack of regionalism. Could you imagine never having heard any recorded music and just hanging out with your friends and playing jugs? Grab a jug, lose yourself.
No. 1 Soft spot for post-Graceland Paul Simon: Rhythm of the Saints (Warner Brothers)
Everyone here is on board for "Obvious Child." The production is oh so much darker then Graceland. It's the rainforest, everyone. I just realized recently that this guy is singing. Until then I just thought his voice and words just were.
No. 1 Music DVD: The Band - The Last Waltz
Levon at the Helm's beyond outstanding with his soul pouring from every orifice on "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." His playing is second to none. Of course, complement the ultimate song drummer and Robbie's semi-humble guitar ripping Â“OOOO faceÂ” with a ridiculously tightly clad Van exposing some serious chest and just killing to death with his boot kick Caravan, a hidden Joni Mitchell OOOOOing (so much OOOO!) all over. Another total Akron/Family favorite, Neil Young's "Helpless," and then Bob shows up, starboard, aft, helm straight into the cosmosphere.
No. 1 CD guaranteed to change traffic lights into lightning bolts and laser beams: Sun Ra - Heliocentric Worlds Vol 1. (ESP)
What can really be said about the intergalactic, hyper prolific, man of many headpieces. Wear a trout on your head, tune in, enjoy all 360 degrees of the best space music out there.
No. 1 Music DVD: Woodstock: Jimi Hendrix live
One wordÂ…"Voodoo Chile." Dana has the complete sore spot for Jimi's over-the-fretboard hand sweep. This is the apollo at the end of the universe.
No. 1 favorite Bach Goldberg Variations: Piere Hantai on Harpsichord
You were expecting Glenn Gould weren't you. Well, lose the harmonics and jump on board for the straight to the counterpoint purity of the harpsichord. Woooooaaaaa! (Honorable mention: Glenn Gould performing the Consort of Music by Byrd, Gibbons, and Sweelinck).
No. 1 member of the Phillip Glass ensemble: Jon Gibson - 2 solo pieces (Chatham Square)
Some of us love the drone, some relate to the Peter Pan frolic through the woods, and sometimes I feel like I'm the only one that likes Einstein on the Beach. But who wouldn't love Gibson's music?
No. 1 music DVD: The Grateful Dead movie
Psychedelic skeletons driving through the foots of the mountains with a space pinball game before jumping out of prison into the live dead show waving their flag and bearing the sounds only they can weave through our ears with much acceptance. Of course.
------------The Radically Non-dual top 10-------------
1/10 : Lubavitcher Chassidim - Chabad Nigunim
Wonderful, dancy numbers, almost everyone I played this for in the coffee shop dropped their bags, began to dance, and forgot that they weren't normally into "joy." And then there are the wrenching, trenchant, beautiful heartbroken numbers like the 4th track, "Y'min Hashem"Â…You can almost hear your heart breaking with all the hearts around the world. Our Kaballah teacher had to be sent on secret mission by a Tantric Rinpoche to find this one in Burrough Park.
2/9 : Bablicon - The Orange Tapered Moon (Misra)
How do these guys do it? It's got everything. Distorted grooves, psychedelic crooning, Hungarian melodic themes, free jazz solos, electronic manipulation, the drummer from Neutral Milk HotelÂ…I only wish they were still around, so we could beg them to take us on tour.
3/8 : Grateful Dead - Anthem of the Sun (Warner Brothers)
How ahead of the curve were these guys? They were a bunch of dorks playing freak folk almost 40 years ago. Semi-out of tune vocals, strange mixes, long rambling forms, Phil is still ripping the avant garde, and Â“Born Cross-EyedÂ” is, as Broccoli Rob would say, "the killer"Â…Let them test your patience...pleeaase, and enjoy. (Honorable mention: American Beauty for the true and deep Akron/Family love of "Attics of My Life").
4/7 : Arvo Part - Fur Alina (ECM)
Jumps and flies straight through the world of sentimentality and into this still world of beautiful sadness. Wonderful! The version I have alternates between two pieces ("Spiegel Im Spiegel" and "Fur Alina"), playing the first three different times, and the prior twice. Perfect. You want to hear it again and again anyways.
5/6 : Bob Dylan - Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 Disc 2
This is one of those CDs that just ended up at the coffee shop I work at, and I realized the other day that I must have listened to it close to 100 times this year. No burnout in sight, though. How could you? The guy makes it hard to be completely comfortable merely being yourself. He raises the super human. The simple psalm-like out of tune crooned "I Shall be Released," "Idiot Wind," "Seven Curses"....I could write down every track. They're all stand out! Forget it...you all know..
6/5 : Walt Whitman - Leaves of Grass (First Edition 1885)
This guy was Brooklyn Beard Rock way before any of us were bornÂ…damn, check that out, he was even writing the book on beard rock before the Dead were born. The ultimate in visionary Brooklyn Beard action.
7/4: Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Master and Everyone (Drag City)
The simple psychedelic power of one true heart in the world should be able to power a single family home for at least a year.
8/3 : The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Axis: Bold as Love (Experience Hendrix)
The William Blake of guitarÂ…he turned the beard of Whitman upside down, placed it on his head and used it to navigate into the depths of universal love. Truly Bold as Love. No one else was offering our 13-year-old selves any bliss experience like this. (Honarable mention: everything else he did, including "May this Be Love," that song is incredible!).
9/2 : Keith Jarret - Handel: Suites for Keyboard (ECM)
Say what you will about the Koln Concert, but he nails the Handel. Supposedly Handel was a temperamental guy, too. Maybe that's why they connect so clearly. It really is stunning crystal light blue.
10/1: Funkadelic - Maggot Brain (Westbound)
Not only can you get your serious money's worth on a juke box playing this and Machine Gun, but the production on this album = the sound.