Saturday, March 27, 2010


Yeah, not really that much to report on right now. I guess the recent snap of cold weather has put my ambitions, whatever they may be, on hold making me wonder if spring will ever arrive or if this will be another one of those perennial badweather years that just seem to go on from late winter into mid-autumn. And you know that when I start getting gooshy mooshy like that I better get my head back in order pronto!

Fortunately I do have some hotcha news to spread that you just won't find on cable tee-vee (or any other newz outlet for that matter...first off, I know that some of you will be glad to hear that none other than Von Lmo is back in circulation after spending a few years of taking up residence at Riker's Island. He's now living in Harlem where he's getting a new band together, and naturally we at BLOG TO COMM extend hearty congratulations to Mr. Lmo and good luck with your current endeavors!

Another item that may be of interest to all of you manic high energy rockism fans out there is that there is going to me a two-Cee-Dee collection of old Josef Vondruska material heading our way within the next few months! Yes, this is the same Vondruska guy who was co-founder of Umela Hmota and later went on to form and lead Umela Hmota 3, and reports have this double set consisting of nothing but UH 3 numbers as well as tracks from his late-seventies group Dom, a band that reminded me of Bryan Ferry leading the Cramps! Umela Hmota 3 were nothing to sneeze at either, putting out a good proto/avant-punk rave in Communist Czechoslovakia at a time when such things weren't quite conductive to the government in charge who were more interested in pushing disco on the masses! In case you're still nonplussed, Umela Hmota 3 have been describled as having a Detroit rock inspiration and I can only hope that this set will include "I'd Rather Be Made Out Of Stone" which was a show-stopper reportedly in the tradition of the Stooges and MC5!

In case you're interested, let me tell you that I've had the honor (thanks to the permission of Mr. Vondruska himself) of having released tracks by both of Vondruska's groups on the Cee-Dee that came with the twenty -second issue of BLACK TO COMM, and although that particular mag is pretty much gone for good I do have a few disques left that I'm willing to part with. If you'd like a little "preview" of what's in store on this epochal release just drop me a line via the comment box below (I will refrain from printing your missive if you so desire!) and I'll wing one your way for a good five smackers plus postage of course which I will have to figure out in advance just so's you or I don't get stuck with a humongous-sized bill! And the proceeds do go to a good cause, mainly my stomach!

Bill Altice got mad at me (not really!) because I forgot to mention this particular upcoming release in last Saturday's NECROSCOPIX pre-release hoopla. So in order to make amends let me also clue you in to this particular piece of Virginian Underground Crank that should be hitting your boom box before the shouting is through. The group's name is (now get this...) KARENCOOPERCOMPLEX, and this early-eighties underground aggregate is pretty much what had become of the Richmond-area proto-punk group Big Napter (again, see last Saturday's post) by the time music like this was being accepted as the hot new direction for young and precocious youth to head in, altruistic sots they may be.

But this sure ain't no gnu wave bandwagon jump the kind you used to see plenty of back then...naw, like Big Napter and of course Titfield Thunderbolt (whose Key Ring Torch provided "electronics" for Karencoopercomplex) these ozobs were into a total avant freak noise approach to the "new sounds" that were taking Ameriga by storm. Lead singer Karen Smith (haw!, you thought it was Cooper, right?) does nothing but choke out these truly epoglottal talkscronky type syllables that sometimes come out like actual words (more Joan LaBarbara than Yoko Ono) while the rest of the group keep up in a total choppy atonal fashion. Rather smart approach to the early-eighties underground if you ask me, and a type of punk-addled approach that I'm sure a few fanzines would have taken note of if this had only gotten around back then. Definitely a southern-kinda sound that reminded me of Pylon, and believe-you-me I hadn't given thought to those Athenites in nigh on twenny-five years!

Unfortunately Karencoopercomplex broke up (Karen got married) before they actually played any public gigs, but at least they've left this pretty good document in their wake that might enlighten a few of you readers (which you can actually download if you so desire!). But then again given the Quindenesque nature of most of you dolts it's be better that you just stay in your bedrooms (notice how I left the descriptor "fart encrusted" out as to not irk Brad Kohler?) and rub yourselves off to your favorite SST album. At least you're not annoying anyone, or hurting anything other than your wrist.

Bobby Beausoleil/Arthur Doyle split picture disc LP (Qbico, Italy)

For a guy who's been in stir for the past forty years this Beausoleil guy is sure keeping busy trying to maintain some sort of relevancy with whatever there is of a psychedelic stoner element interest in late-sixties rock. Or at least the kind of rock that he was involved in. These efforts being just two of 'em, the first one being a double set of old Orkustra recordings and the second a pic disc (featuring his artwork) where the Orkustra take up one side and give the other to Arthur Doyle who as you know is one of the leading survivors in the seventies post-Ayler bop sweepstakes which is certainly an honor in itself.

OK, you're probably wondering why I'm giving this convicted murderer as much space as I have already. Well, I'm more concerned with the historical nature of these recordings that were laid down back when San Francisco had yet to become a dirty word long before hackdom ensued. The Orkustra were but one of the hundreds of groups making their presence known in that burgh back then, and although I'm sure a good portion of them aren't worth the effort to (re)discover and were probably hell-bent for the nearest needle park, at least the Orkustra were a unique diversion from some of the more hippified offal that could be found in the Land o' Wenner. Besides, I gotta say that, for some inexplicable reason, I do have a soft spot for a guy who laid to waste a fellow with the surname HINMAN.

But all kidding aside (after all, if we can't kid the people we loathe who can we kid?) this attempt at "serious" chamber rock doesn't fall into the gulcheral abyss. In fact, the Orkustra remind me of perhaps a slightly more swinging Third Ear Band with a trap drum set and a more West Coast approach to their Eastern Spells. Add a few touches of some classic '66 SF jazz moves via Big Brother and whatcha got here's a pretty good "period piece" that doesn't tend to bog you down like the rural Marin County drek that eventually came outta these musings a good two years later.

The double set on Mexican Summer is an eye opener. Not only does this come in a classy gatefold sleeve containing a nicely-rendered painting of the group but there's also an enclosure featuring the Orkustra story in Beausoleil's own prison-stationary handwriting amidst some pretty nice snaps and posters from back in the good old days. Just the kinda whipped-cream and cherry topping one could wish for these days. Kinda reminds me of when I was ten and I'd rip the shrink wrap off of albums just so's I could peek inside those gatefolds on the hunt for all sorta curiosity-seeking record thrills!

A nice variety too, which (I believe) has nada overlaps with the previous Orkustra album and an equally clear sound quality, considering that the tapes these came from are almost 45 years old and you do get to hear a few crinkly crunchies here and there. The results are mostly nice and downright spooky, like something you would expect to have heard on the 1966 SF cusp between the hippie love and flowers cult and the Anton LeVey occult trip. At times it might get a little too much into the former's hippydippy altruistic jive, but there seems to be just the right amount of energy (mixed with a few swipes from the current jazz scene) that keeps this from being just another backdrop to downing Boone's Farm Apple Wine.

The Qbico pic disc is yet another wonder, though the Orkustra side here just seems to be an edited take from the aforementioned album (the track entitled "Flash Gordon") lasting but a good twelve or so minutes I would guess. Good enough, but the main reason you'd really want to get this platter is for the flipster where free jazzer Doyle's working out with one of this current aggregates on a hot live session that kinda delivers full force on a lot of the promise that free jazz had been giving us these past fifty years. Doyle heaves on his sax-o-net like the spirit of Ayler and spawn of Roscoe Mitchell were upon him like hellhounds and it doesn't matter that Ornette's 80 because this music is way fresher than anything that pretends to be an art or soundtrack for the edgy way of life. It's also sure refreshing to hear Doyle once again return to that familiar "Nature Boy" theme which he obviously has taken as his own trademark if you can believe anything that I write!

Attention should be paid to the disc art which, like I said, was done by Beausoliel himself since I guess there's nothing much else to do when you're stick in prison for life. Pretty nice job you did Bobby, though for some perhaps not-so-strange reason I don't think that looks like Doyle at all. Could be wrong, but it's still a very nice effort on Beausoleil's part. Nice touch his portraying Doyle expurgating his horn of all those evil demons...I mean, if anyone should know about those things it would be Beausoleil himself!
Rashied Ali/Frank Lowe-DUO EXCHANGE CD (Survival/Knit Classics)

While waiting to open up the recent batch of UGexplode offerings that have been sent me I just happened to chance upon this old moldy in my collection that just doesn't get the spin time that should be afforded to it. I've mentioned this disque that was originally released on former Coltrane drummer Ali's label back in '75 a few months back but haven't had the time to play this mad session as much as I should have given its all-important scronk quotient. Lowe plays like the complete madman he was (think BLACK BEINGS, FRESH and THE FLAM) before he began to take his reviews too seriously while Ali proves why he was one of Coltrane's all-time fave drummers with his free-form between the beat stylings. And when ya put 'em all together they spell TOTAL HIGH ENERGY FREE-SPLAT ERUPTION that really does lay the groundwork for the entire mid/late-seventies underground loft jazz scene that never did seem to get the press and popularity that the Bee Gees did, but then again we're talking musical triumphalism here, not Antipodean coke snorters.
Rocket From The Tombs-"I Sell Soul"/"Romeo & Juliet" 45 rpm (Hearthan/Smog Veil)

The first bit of all-new material from the reformed Rocket From The Tombs which is great, but with an unrecorded backlog like "Redline" and "Gasoline" maybe they should dish some of that stuff out first. Actually the a-side sounds just as much of a swipe of the Spades' "We Sell Soul" as I thought it would be with a mere reverse of the riff, while "Romeo & Juliet" is a downbeat offering that oddly enough reminds me of "My Dark Ages" perhaps mixed with the "Just Like Romeo & Juliet" that I was thinking Rocket copped for this side.

It's hokay actually, dare-I-say punk rock-y in that great mid-seventies fanzine sense and a repeated spinner, but I fear that the heavy crunch of the original "dumb metal" group is gone for good. Rilly, what I could go for right now is a Rocket From The Tombs Rocket From the Tombs - I Sell Soul / Romeo & Juliet. that was the same kinda group they were back during the '74-'75 season with that high energy pounce and total abandon, y'know when they were singing old Stooges songs and David Thomas was still Crocus Behemoth and had that tangled hair and beard that looked like he groomed 'em with an egg-beater. None of this "maturing" stuff (y'know..."now that I'm thirty I see things differently than I did when I was fifteen"!---sheesh, I still look at things the same was that I did when I was three!) that only seemed like a bad reason for the Who and Iggy to make alla those duff albums. Yeah, I know you "can't go home again", but maybe you can move next door or something, y'know?


Serena WmS. Burroughs said...

That guy's named is spelled Beausoleil, AIIC.

Serena WmS. Burroughs said...

If Crocus Behemoth is involved, that Rocket b-side should probably really be "Falstaff and Juliet"...

Christopher Stigliano said...

Wait, it's "i" before "e" except after "c", and "e" before "i" as in "neighbor" and "weigh", right? Except for "weird" because it's a "weird" word as some kid said in the fourth grade.

Serena WmS. Burroughs said...

It's "i before e" in English; "Beausoleil" is most likely French, and not like French the butler in "Family Affair," who was English...

Christopher Stigliano said...

Leave it to the French to screw up the English language!