The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Friday, May 2, 2008

Sun Ra - Space Is The Place (1974)

1. Space Is The Place
2. Images
3. Discipline
4. Sea Of Sounds
5. Rocket Number Nine
Space Is The Place opens with its title track, a twenty-minute freeform freak-jazz-psychedelic-soul-funk meltdown, a thundering acid-bop meltdown full of squirming melodies, dramatically repurposed instruments, head-splittingly chaotic vocals, solos that seem to spin off in multiple directions at once, and layers of percussion that'll make you dance and have a seizure at the same time. It sounds primitive and futuristic and progressive and playful and high-minded and juvenile and logical and psychotic all at once, and it's a masterpiece. And that's just the first song on the album.

Flip the record over, and you've got four more gems. "Images" is the sound of post-bop teetering on the edge of free jazz. Led by Sun Ra's oceanic piano, the song swerves from a gorgeous theme into regions of near atonality before spiraling back into beauty again, with the kind of high-minded grace reserved for geniuses. "Discipline" is a rolling, apocalyptic drone, and "Sea Of Sounds" is sheer scorched earth freeform noise. "Rocket Number Nine" is willfully cheesy, utterly irresistible space-age jazz pop.

Classic freak jazz. Get it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bernard Purdie - Lialeh (1974)

1. Lialeh
2. Touch Me Again
3. Conscious
4. Easy
5. All Pink In The Inside
6. Pass Me Not
7. Hap'nin'

Seventies porn soundtracks are rarely the reservoirs of deep-cut funk that stand-up comics make them out to be (“So the girl takes off her top, and it’s like wacka-chicka-wacka-chicka— wah-WAHH!”), so it’s a real pleasure to discover that this CD is a genuine stone groove. It helps that drummer Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, who provided the boom-bap for everyone from James Brown and Aretha Franklin to Steely Dan, composed its seven cuts, and hired the cream of jazz and soul session players to work out their languorous rhythms, including horn players Seldon Powell, Garnett Brown and Jimmy Owens, bassist Wilbur Bascomb Jr, and Ernest Hayes on organ (with Horace Ott overseeing all arrangements). The cuts have the loose, playful swing of late ‘60s funk, especially the title track and “All Pink On The Inside,” which lope along on Bascomb’s thumping bass and Purdie’s spare, tasteful beats. Lyrics sound like the scrambled-headed mutterings of popper-fueled guests at an uptown swing party (“Touch…me…again—where it FEEEELS GOOD!”), but vocalist Sandi Hewitt manages them like a trooper. Hardcore soul, funk and jazz collectors will either be horrified or ecstatic over this reissue; less uptight types might find its mellow grooves a fun and friendly soundtrack for their own personal skin shows.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Charley Cuva - Pound (1970)


1. Lame Motherfucker
2. Godboy
3. Theme From Pound
4. Guided

 Maverick director Robert 'Putney Swope' Downey Sr. (father of Robert Downey Jr.) directed this crazy movie about a dog pound featuring talking dogs in 1970. An R-rated cult classic, some of the voiceovers were provided by respected actors, but unlike Putney Swope this movie is (undeservedly) almost forgotten. This private pressing white label soundtrack (with hand-stamped cover!) is extremely rare, and incredibly funky. 'For God's sake do not broadcast!', the cover states, and you can hear why - the lyrics are very funny and completely obscene. Half instrumental and half vocal, it's a small group raw funk monster, filled with huge beats, choppy guitar and big horns. Remortgage the house, sell the car, cash in your stocks and buy it - superb stuff.

has put in his 10cents uncovering this records mystery. He reveals that this is a 10" record.

Anonymous has finally provided the final clues to unravel it's mystery. Now we all know what we hear. Thanx!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Jose Feliciano - Aaron Loves Angela (1975)

1. Angela
2. I've got a feeling
3. Sweet street
4. Nirvana (part 1, part 2)
5. Why
6. Michaelangelo
7. Salsa negra
8. As long as I have you
Hit guitar crooner Feliciano in blaxploitation soundtrack shock? Yes - Jose Feliciano actually did write the music to Aaron Loves Angela, on his album called simply 'Angela'. He also had a cameo in the movie. The music is surprisingly funky - there are some solid beats on here, and a couple of the tracks genuinely get in-the-pocket in a short of blaxploitation-lite feel. Note that the brass section includes Tom Scott, and Willie Bobo also guests. Well worth a relatively cheap dig - you might be surprised.

Movie Review
Aaron Loves Angela (1975)