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Zodiac (Pure Pleasure)It's impossible to talk about this album without acknowledging the spectre of death that hangs over it - not only is it the third entry in Strata-East Records' Dolphy Series, a collection of archival recordings from some of the label's close associates honoring the recently deceased multi-instrumentalist, but it is actually dedicated to two members of the band, Wynton Kelly and Kenny Dorham, who died in between the recording sessions and its release. The point is driven home even further by the fact that the album begins with a tribute from Payne to the fallen Martin Luther King, Jr., a piece that acts as a de facto solo for Dorham - his playing all rosy elegance and regal warmth - before shifting into the lighter (though equally coolly-paced) I Know Love, a showcase for Payne's sax. While not the most somber jazz track ever recorded, this opening suite is a low-key and mournful way to open the affair, but thankfully the album really picks off and shows these musicians more in their element the rest of the way.
Girl, You Got a Home is a funky piece, beginning very soulfully with some tight interplay among the rhythm section of Kelly, bassist Wilbur Ware and drummer Albert Heath. Ware is in especially fine form on this track, tying together the disparate passages of the piece by grounding the more ponderous moments in a deep funk, while Kelly's playing is especially ear catching in the way he stabs at his piano like it's an organ. After the first two tracks take up nearly twenty minutes, the four-minute Slide Hampton feels almost impossibly brief, a feeling that's enhanced by its quick, jittery, and infectious rhythm, driven by some really dexterous work from Kelly. The final track, Flying Fish, may be the album's highlight, a Caribbean-inspired composition that casts the rhythm section as flighty ground for both Payne and Dorham to vamp on. The track is oddly danceable for something released on Strata-East, maybe the most fun moment ever for the label, and relentlessly uptempo. Though this release may be in part defined by the deaths that preceded it, it's clear that the recording process was actually a lot of fun for everybody, as their enthusiasm and energy jumps right out of the speakers. This is one of the first Strata East records I really got into and is still one of my favorites, a must-hear for any fans of the flightier moments of Dorham or Kelly's career, and a fitting tribute for both master musicians.
- Kenny Dorham (trumpet)
- Cecil Payne (bassoon, alto saxophone)
- Wynton Kelly (piano)
- Wilbur Ware (bass)
- Albert Kuumba Heath (drums)
About Pure Pleasure
At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Pure Pleasure all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records.
During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s - or employed existent tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.
A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.
We should like to emphasize that Pure Pleasure Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle.
We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production.
To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.1. Martin Luther King, Jr. / I Know Love
2. Girl, You Got A Home
3. Slide Hampton
4. Follow Me
5. Flying Fish$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Sonic ChildSONIC CHILD the new record from Germany's Blues Rock leaders ZODIAC is mixed, mastered and sounds amazing. Martin MeinschÄfer (Megaphon Tonstudios) comments about the recordings: There is some massive energy coming out of the speakers! In terms of production technology there where no boundaries. The game was: awesome wins! It didn't matter if it was an old deluxe guitar sound or a moog solo. It had to give the song something special, an organic sound and it had to reflect the unconditional love for music. Just the right level of natural room is again featured in the production as it did in the late 60ies and early 70ies records!" Vocalist & Lead Guitarist Nick Van Delft comments, "The idea behind SONIC CHILD is actually very simple: As a child, you hear music in its purest form. You do this without caring about a certain image, without looking at the band pictures, without thinking about fancy clothes or any other parameters; you just listen to the music and create your own vision of it. Nowadays, it seems for many bands that music isn't the most important element anymore. That's why we wrote a concept album about the love for music in general. It is our "Sonic Child", and we hope you'll cherish it as much as we do.1. Intro - Who I Am
2. Swinging On The Run
3. Sonic Child
4. Holding On
5. Sad Song
6. Out Of The City
7. A Penny And A Dead Horse
8. Good Times
9. Rock Bottom Blues
10. Just Music$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Year Of The HareFucked Up are one of the most prolific hardcore punk bands of our generation. Since their 2001 inception, they've challenged listeners with thoughtful artful chaos and a seemingly limitless drive for musical experimentation. Because of this, they've also become a record collectors worst nightmare; releasing over 80 recordings and collaborations on countless labels that include Arts & Crafts, Matador, Jade Tree, and more.
Fucked Up "Year of the Hare" is the latest installment of their Zodiac themed releases. Over a two year period, it was recorded and constructed at Electrical Audio, Key Club Studios, and Candle Studios. Title track "Year of the Hare" is a 21 minute epic that frantically mixes traditional instrumentation, piano/synths, flutes and sax, experimental editing/soundscapes, and guest vocals from great Isla Craig into one dizzying experience. While B-Side "California Cold" slowly builds and deconstructs over an 8 and a half minute stretch. Organically shifting from jangly melodic-punk anthem into a fuzzed out psychedelic jam session. Eclectically blending musical styles and voices in the most, well, Fucked Up way possible.1. Year of the Hare
2. California Cold$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Primitive And Deadly
Contains Vinyl Only Exclusive Track: Badgers Bane
This deluxe vinyl version of the new Earth studio opus comes in a thick Stoughton old style tip-on jacket with a soft-touch UV varnish.
Primitive And Deadly, is EARTH's tenth studio collection. Dylan Carlson and long term cohort, drummer Adrienne Davies, manage to pull off the trick of completing an Ouroborean creative cycle, twenty-five years in the making, whilst exploring new directions in their music. For the first time in their diverse second act, they allow themselves to be a rock band, freed of adornment and embellishment. As much as Carlson's guitar has always been the focal point of EARTH's music, it's been surrounded by consistently diverse instrumentation. Here the dialog between Carlson and Davies drumming remains pivotal, underpinned by the sympathetic bass of Bill Herzog (Sunn O))), Joel RL Phelps, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter) and thickened by additional layers of guitar from Brett Netson (Built To Spill, Caustic Resin) and Jodie Cox (Narrows). Perhaps the largest left turn on Primitive And Deadly, though, is prominence of guest vocalists Mark Lanegan and Rabia Shaheen Qazi (Rose Windows) who transform the traditionally free ranging meditations of EARTH into something approaching traditional pop structures.
On Rooks Across the Gates, a song stylistically the closest to the folk inspired modality of Angels Of Darkness, Carlson stretches out into some of his most lyrical playing to date, creating an almost symbiotic relationship between his performance and the vocals of old friend Mark Lanegan. From the Zodiacal Light, meanwhile, takes the late 60s San Franciscan/freaked-out jazz-rock transcendence of The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull and quickly re-appropriates that sound into a musky torch song for the witching hour.
This contradictive tension between a band pushing itself ever-forward whilst surveying their history is reflected in the albums twin recording locales. The foundation of the record was laid in the mystic desert high lands of Joshua Tree, California where EARTH recorded hour after hour of meditations on each tracks central theme at Rancho de la Luna. Upon returning to Seattle these were edited, arranged and expanded upon at Avast with the help of long-term collaborator Randall Dunn (who was previously at the helm for the Hex, The Bees Made Honey In The Lions Skull and Hibernaculum sessions).
Thick, dense and overdriven, melodically rich and enveloping, Primitive And Deadly is EARTH reaffirming their position as a singular point in the history of rock.
produced by earth
recorded at rancho de la luna, joshua tree, ca by mathias schneeberger, assisted by dave catching
additional recording and production at crackle & pop and avast, seattle, wa by randall dunn
mixed at avast, seattle, wa by randall dunn
mastered at chicago mastering services by jason ward
dylan carlson - guitars
adrienne davies - drums and percussion
bill herzog - bass
brett netson - additional guitars
jodie cox - additional guitars
mark lanegan - vocals
rabia shabeen qazi - vocals
randall dunn - moog synthesizerLP 1
1. Torn By The Fox Of The Crescent Moon
2. There Is A Serpent Coming
3. From The Zodiacal Light
1. Even Hell Has Its Heroes
2. Rooks Across The Gate
3. Badgers Bane (exclusive vinyl only bonus track!)$25.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now