SONG OF THE DAY The Qualitons – A.C Blues

Having been around for nearly two decades, I ask myself why it is that I’ve never heard of the Budapest-based, Qualitons before? Especially given their worldwide acclaim? Oh well, I guess I’m here now! Inspired by the sounds of mod-beat, funk, soul, psychedelia and afrobeat (to name but a few), this melting pot of sounds proved to be a very foundation from which this band have grown!

Named after the living memory of the former Hungarian Recording Company “Qualiton” (a record label which existed from the late 50s up to the 70s), this band came together in 2007. Initially their repertoire was mainly orientated around covers, albeit it some of them rare Hungarian 7” singles, but it didn’t take long before all their material was original! Ever since their first concert in 2008 they have received massive national and international support.

Their debut album Panoramic Tymes was released in 2010 by the wonderful Tramp Records, and after some line-up changes it was followed by Tomorrow’s News in 2014. Since then they have issued a couple more albums and a few 45’s.

A.C Blues appears on their first LP and delivers a mellow and wholly nourishing listening experience. I love the glistening afrobeat melody lines as they unravel into cosmic, otherworldly shapes. Beats are free-flowing and spacious, pathing a feeling of openness and wandering. There is a warmth to this sound and it’s hard not be affected by it. This is heady and absorbing! I also can’t help but mention a comment I’ve just read on their Youtube video for this song….it read: “Absolutely fabulous, even the Sooty & Sweep sounding keyboard half way through…” I can’t unhear Sooty & Sweep now!

Chuckles aside though, this is a cool track! Listen above and if you fancy hearing the rest of Panoramic Tymes, you can find that here! Enjoy!

Posted in Afro beat, Funk, Instrumental, Psychedelic, Soul | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY The Outcasts – Loving You Sometimes

outcastI know this song is filed under psych-rock (and of course it undoubtedly is), but there are golden streaks of soul emanating from this tune too, don’t you think? I love how the vocals are bright and beaming, offset by that simmering fuzz-guitar in the background that keeps this song from being completely clean cut and sparkly. I like how the melody bends and curves too!

Loving You Sometimes b/w Sha-La-La was issued by The Outcasts in 1968 on the West Virginian label, Plato Records. Regretfully, this was to be the only release that the Ashland, Kentucky band ever put out, but what a beauty it is! The Outcasts consisted of Nick Wickware on drums, Dick Hall-Hawkins on bass, Ronnie Gibson on lead guitar, Ralph Morman and Al Collinsworth on vocals – with the song writing credits listed to Collinsworth and Hall. It’s such a shame they never went on to record anything else, but this little gem is certainly an unforgettable moment of psych-history! One I will forever be happy to revisit!!..and it looks like I’m not the only one because this track is apparently really popular amongst hip hop artists!! DJ Shadow for one!

I’ve just had a quick look to see how easy it would be to grab an original of this single and was rather gutted to see how much its currently fetching! I’ve found two copies, both of which are on the market with an asking price of £800+!! Yes, I did mean to put those two zero’s there too!! Eight hundred pounds!!!..and that’s the cheaper of the two!! The good news, however, is that this track was reissued in 2007, so you can grab one of these for the slightly better price of nearly £50!!

Check it out above. I’ve also found a little write-up about the band which is an interesting read, you can find that here   Enjoy!

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SONG OF THE DAY Akira Miyazawa & Soul Leon -Chinese Lion Peony (唐獅子牡丹)

PrimaryToday’s song was discovered in one of those moments when all things appear aligned. I happened to be in the right place at the right time and along came this intriguing and enriching listen!…What I didn’t realise, however, was that (spookily) this random find had also been recommended to me a week or so ago as well (thank you), so it was obviously meant to be!!  I love sharing music, it’s the next best thing to actually discovering something fantastic and new, so here I am, basking in the fulfilment of what makes me happiest!

Today’s song (I believe) translates as Chinese Lion Peony and can be found on an album entitled Karajishi Peony – Again, I believe this is the correct translation from 唐獅子牡丹?  The record was released in 1969 on a Japanese label called King Records and looks to be one of those rarities that, should you be lucky enough to find, you should definitely keep a hold of it!! Though I wouldn’t imagine it wouldn’t be a thrifty purchase as copies seem to have fetched over £100 in the past!

As is often the case, I am working my way though this discovery for the first time as I type (I have pasted the whole album below) and am really appreciating its subtle richness! Those glorious beats are just crying out to be sampled and the melodies are full of groove and flavour, with ample choice in textures to deliver such tuneful variety!! It’s something I’d recommend playing in its entirety, though I appreciate I have singled today’s song to feature on its own, but you will see what I mean if you play the Youtube link below! 

The great mind(s) behind this record are two artists called Akira Miyazawa & Soul Leon. Akira Miyazawa was a Japanese saxophonist, active in music for (what I can gather) nearly two decades. He also played the tenor sax, soprano sax, flute and recorder and issued his debut album, Yamameo, in 1962. Soul Leon on the other hand is something of a mystery and I cannot locate any information about this artist anywhere – and this record seems to be his only release?

Today’s song is a fine example of what this great album has to offer and I hope you not only enjoy this, but that you check out the rest of the tracks from the record – this you can do below? Enjoy!

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SONG OF THE DAY Roger Roger and Nino Nardini – Malaysia

PrimaryThere is no record quite like this one, and any fan of so-called lounge music or exotica should own this. For those fans of hep sounds and po-mo kitsch, you should have it too, but for those interested in the finest sounds the ’70s had to offer, this is a necessity”. (Allmusic)

The above statement is something I wholeheartedly agree with after spending the afternoon listening to this mighty fine record!! Jungle Obsession does exactly what it says on the tin!! It brings the exotic sounds, textures and mysterious realms of the jungle to life in what is a non-stop thrill of sounds.

Released in 1971, this album was written, produced and conducted by two innovative and somewhat underappreciated French composers, Roger Roger and Nino Nardini. The pair were childhood friends and often worked together, collaborating on many musical pieces. In the circumstance of Jungle Obsession, the concept for this collection of songs came about as a commission for a society of sound professionals who wanted something “unified” and “exotic”.  This they certainly got!!

Whilst exotica was definitely not pioneered or created by this pair (you have the likes of the great Les Baxter, Martin Denny and Dick Hyman to thank for that!), what they did so wonderfully master was an evolution of this sound! The arrangements of of Denny and Baxter all derived from simple themes (easily recognized by Western audiences as a way in), whereas Nardini and Roger created far more technical and complex compositions. They took rock, classical, bossa. jazz and easy listening and wove them together with polyrhythmic invention and an imagination-full of sound effects.

What came out of this has been described as “one of the true masterpieces of pop exotica: musically sophisticated, sensually lush, and technically innovative…” Hmmm….I can’t argue with that!!……and those rhythms!!! GLORIOUS!

Malaysia is taken from this record and if you like the sound of this, you should definitely stick around to hear the whole album…which I’ve pasted below! Enjoy!!

Posted in Easy listening, Exotica, Experimental, Jazz, latin world, Lounge | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY José Larralde – Quimey Neuquén

PrimaryIt’s taken me a while to locate the actual original version of this song as there seems to be an abundance of edit’s and remixes out there – including the very cool Chancha Vía Circuito Remix, but the one I’ve featured is the 1967 original…and what an absolute beauty this is!! It really reminds me of Robbie Basho!! 

Canta José Larralde was the debut album of José Teodoro Larralde Saad, better known as José Larralde. Issued in 1967 on the RCA label, this record launched what has been a hefty discography for this artist; one that has stretched over 40 years! It should come as no surprise really that this prolific artist started out very young! At the age of 7 he had already written songs with social content and as he grew, his music reflected the people and places he had stumbled upon in his life. Such was the vibrancy of his sound, he could probably write a song about paint drying and make it sound stunning!

A descendant of Arabians and basques, his heritage is rooted in his compositions and if the life of being a musician wasn’t crowded enough, José Larralde has also juggled with being a bricklayer, a rural worker, a solderer, a mechanic and a guitarist and songwriter!!..The latter being his greatest achievement to date, no doubt! He is a varied man to say the least!!

Quimey Neuquén opens Canta José Larralde like an invocation and its hard not to fall under its spell! It’s a gorgeous song! I’m now working my way through the rest of the album (which I’ve also pasted below) and am finding José Larralde’s voice rather charming! Enjoy!

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SONG OF THE DAY Jeremiah Chiu & Marta Sofia Honer – By Foot By Sea

Is it pure coincidence, or am I subconsciously emitting some sonic receptor that is picking up these textured sounds of nature lately? Following (accidentally) in a likeminded vein from Neal Heppleston’s concept album, which plays homage to the vastness of the ocean through sound, today’s song works in a very similar way. In fact, the whole album from which it comes is inspired by a landscape that has literally shaped this sound!

There is a great deal to explain about the process in which LA violist/violinist Marta Sofia Honer and synthesist Jerimiah Chiu went through to compile what is an album collaboration from the pair. I have, therefore, extracted some information from their Bandcamp page to simplify my job of detailing their experience (I, too, am only just discovering what this is all about as I write). This is their story:

“A couple of years ago LA violist/violinist Marta Sofia Honer and synthesist Jerimiah Chiu travelled together to the Aland Islands an archipelago that is host to around 6,500 islands) in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland.  They headed to the islands with the intention of helping two friends (mother/daughter duo Jannika/Sage Reed) barn raise a small inn named Hotel Svala in Kumlinge (a municipality consisting of a small group of islands and a population of about 320). The idea was that, once completed, Svala would host artist residencies and workshop programs, creating a direct link between the islands and the USA.

The concept of recording music there came about as Honer & Chiu learned more and more about the islands. They were taken by the serene and strange quality of the place. The sun doesn’t set in the summer (and barely rises in the winter). The network of miniature islands is traversed by ferry which, according to Chiu, “casts a surreal horizontal movement through space and time, with islands shifting into and out of periphery, totally still and calm, yet always in motion.”

n 2019 they were awarded a grant from the Department of Culture to return and perform a concert at the Kumlinge Kyrka, a 14th century medieval church adorned with incredible frescos. The concert was recorded and became source material – along with improvisations on viola and electronics, pipe organ, pump organ, piano, synthesizers, field recordings and voice memos, all captured across both their trips at various locations on the archipelago – from which they meticulously crafted a post-script in the form of ‘Recordings from the Åland Islands’.”

The accompanying write-up on their Bandcamp page goes into more detail, for which you can read fully here, but for now I want to focus on the sound and textures I am hearing as I play their album for the very first time!

Recordings from the Åland Islands, is such a curious listen! Not an album you would skip though to hear one song, but one you need to play in its entirety. It’s transporting nature is really quite mesmerising and has captured my mood in a place where this sound has really resonated. I’ve never been to where this pair have travelled, but this is the next best thing? Through trickles of piano, synth, viola and the songs of birds, water and sounds of nature, this record captivates. I also like how allows my focus to dip in and out, homing in on the delights of a bird song one minute and cascading melodies the next. This is not a demanding listen but, like the realms of the natural world, will draw you away from the bustle with its subtle grace. Described as “dream-like”, I can see how this gentle voyage can transform the mind. It’s not your average music-listening experience, but an experience it is!

By Foot By Sea came on today amidst a radio show of mixed music and it lingered in my mind! This is the song that introduced me to Jeremiah Chiu & Marta Sofia Honer and I’m really enjoying how this feels as much as an inner exploration as an outer journey! I hope you see/feel what I mean? I’ve pasted the whole album below and I’d like to see if you find this equally as intriguing as me? Enjoy!

Posted in Ambient, Experimental, Synths | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Denson-Parris Sacred Harp Singers – The Good Old Way

Music always resonates on so many different levels and I marvel how it strikes when you least expect it – what I mean by that is if you leave your self open to anything, then everything has potential to appeal? I love how my taste has evolved, even more-so since the LP blog came into fruition. This is an escape and delivers supreme fulfilment! Anyway, back to today’s song which, like many of the other tracks I’ve featured this week, is a random find I stumbled upon earlier!

Again, I’ve only really heard today’s song, but am investigating more of this music as I type! I am struggling to find anything out about the band behind today’s song, but this could be because this music is relatively obscure and rather old! The Good Old Way could’ve been recorded anytime between the late 1920’s and the mid-1930’s! What I have found out is that Sacred Harp singing is a form of Southern gospel music that appears to be rather mysterious and not so well-known?  The music “is characterized by mass participation, full-voiced singing, lack of instrumental accompaniment, and rotation of song leaders.” 

So far, I’ve found two interesting compilations, both documenting and exploring this old sound. The first is an album that was in 2006 (courtesy of Dust To Digital) entitled, I Belong to This Band: 85 Years of Sacred Harp Recordings. The second is another album called,  Im on My Journey Home: Sacred Harp Singing, 1928​-​1934  which was issued in 2016 on London’s Death Is Not The End label!

Both albums includes today’s primitive, melodic delight, but both don’t really outline details of featured individual bands/artist unfortunately. This trip into the (almost) forgotten sound of America’s folk roots digs deep and though I’m not religious, I do find that a little bit of this tugs at the old spirit, don’t you think?

Posted in Folk, Folk roots, gospel, World | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

SONG OF THE DAY Hugo Blanco – Cumbia Con Arpa

PrimaryHugo César Blanco Manzo, better known as Hugo Blanco, was a Venezuelan musician, composer, producer and arranger whose musical style earned him worldwide recognition. Combining a sizzling fusion of Cuban music, salsa, merengue and joropo (a musical style resembling the fandango), he also pioneered “the orquidea!, his own style of sound and named this unique genre in honour of the Venezuelan national flower.

Born in Caracas in 1940, Blanco took up the Cuatro at the age of 15, and taught himself how to play just by listening to the radio! By the time he was 18 years old he had written one of his most famous and popular compositions, Moliendo Cafe , which has since become one of the most recognised Venezuelan songs in the world!!

In the 1960s, Blanco composed many popular gaitas (Venezuelan musical style) with Simón Díaz called Gaitas de las Locas. He also founded what is widely considered to be the first Venezuelan ska group, Las Cuatro Monedas.…Venezuelan ska is definitely a new one for me!!! He didn’t stop there either and in the 1970s he founded the Venezuelan group Los Hijos De Ña Carmen. His career spanned over decades and his repertoire is just as lengthy!

Cumbia Con Arpa (translating as Cumbia With Harp) was written and released by Blanco in 1965 and issued on the Polydor label. This little tune is a blessed burst of sunbeams! The striking melody unravels its vibrant grip and envelops you with pure goodness, its as simple as that. The rhythm is understated, but by no means secondary and those rolling beats hit like a woodpecker, their contrasting tone an enriching accompaniment. This is a nice way to end the day! Enjoy!

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SONG OF THE DAY Neal Heppleston – Ghost Ship

I have only just heard this track, but had to and share! As I write this, I’m on my second listen and I’m liking it! In fact, so much so that the 3:48 seconds of its duration seemed to pass far too quickly and I wanted so much more!

Based in West Yorkshire, Neal Heppleston is a bass player and double bass maker and a musician in great demand! His repertoire has seen him work with the likes of Jim Ghedi, Sharron Kraus, Big Eyes Family Players, Cinder Well and Nick Jonah Dav. He has also played with the Magpies, The Big Eyes Family Players, The Contortionist and the Wandering Boy Poets and The Purgatory Players – alas I’ve not heard these acts, but will check them out soon!!

His latest works have been solo releases, the first of which was entitled Folk Songs For Double Bass and released in 2019. Reading briefly about this album, it looks an interesting listen as it primary concept was to “transpose traditional folk melodies onto the double bass”, thus (as described by Heppelston himself) “creating soundscapes around them, building world for them to live in”

His second solo record is the wonderfully titled Plankton and the Whale Shark, which was released in November last year. Listening to it now, the rest of the album is a VERY different to Ghost Ship, (and definitely not what I expected), but understanding the concept behind these works really does help ignite a deeper appreciation of what these musical pieces are about…this being the ocean! Who doesn’t love the ocean or, at least, who isn’t intrigued by the ocean? As Heppleston describes: “There’s a great wonder about the vastness of it but there’s also a sadness – and it can be scary, chaotic and peaceful all at the same time.” This music completely captures the essence of that mysterious, aqueous body and I really like the way the way this music absorbs you! Plankton and the Whale Shark is an interesting listen, one that has taken me down a sonic avenue I hadn’t anticipated I’d be wandering down tonight!

Heppleston goes into great depth on his Bandcamp page when explaining the inspiration and ideas behind the record. So much so, I’ve decided to copy and paste the whole write-up below, for who better to explain this music than the person who created it!!

Check out the lively sounds of Ghost Ship above and read more about the rest of the album below…oh yes, and if you want to grab a copy of this record, you can find that here..but don’t expect it all to sound like Ghost Ship (as I did/had hoped).  This is a mysterious and ethereal experience, and one that will intrigue and envelop! If you love the ocean, let this wash over you and see what happens?

Discover more below…

“Each track was created as an imaginary soundtrack. I came up with a concept for each track and tried to envisage music to fit the feeling or the movement of the idea..

It really grew into something else as atmospheric and cinematic mix with elements of minimal jazz, ambient, avant-garde, psychedelic rock and post-classical.

The variety of tones and textures – sculpted by numerous instruments including flute, harp, double bass, piano, lap steel, harmonium, cello, clarinet, drums and violin – results in a record, despite being instrumental, that is rich in narrative. The album is a series of stories related to the ocean. I wanted to convey different emotions and stories about the ocean. There’s a great wonder about the vastness of it but there’s also a sadness – and it can be scary, chaotic and peaceful all at the same time.

For ‘Siphonophore’ I’d seen some footage of a Siphonophore – which looks like a string of bioluminescence, but is actually multiple organisms joined together – gliding through the dark ocean, and I wanted to capture the essence of that imagery. On ‘In Fathoms’ I was trying to capture the sadness of the ocean, whereas ‘Ghost Ship’ is about the imagined events leading to a ship becoming adrift with no crew.

I have always been fascinated by the ocean. I found the concept of the largest fish on earth surviving off some of the smallest creatures an interesting idea. I wanted to create a piece of music that told the story of the plankton, unaware of a giant fish slowly getting closer. The idea, as with the other tracks on the album, was to have specific instruments representing different things, in this case the harp was the plankton and the double bass was the whale shark. The title is then linked back to the final track ‘Ebisu’, who is the Japanese god of whale sharks.” (Neal Heppleston)

Posted in Alternative, Ambient, Avant-garde, Classical, Experimental | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

SONG OF THE DAY Lord Fuzz – The Freak

Ahh, this is BLISSFUL chaos and was kindly recommended to me last night – thank you!! The raw energy with which this track explodes makes my head buzzy! What a treat!! In 2016 L.A label, Cleopatra Records reissued a very rare garage track from the late 1960’s. Released on a limited 7″ run, this pressing features two extremely scarce studio recordings from New York’s Avant Garde rock experimentalist, Gary Wilson. Alongside his band, Lord Fuzz, these two tracks echoed the strange delights of a time when DIY ethics were at a peak!

Joined by Al Lababara (drums), Carmen Putrino (guitar), Tom Lababara (lead vocals) and Tony Raspanti (guitar), Gary Wilson (on the organ) recorded these tracks at a small studio in Binghampton, New York in 1967. On one side we have Move On (listen below), a wild and zippy ride that scurries along to the thunder of gloriously heavy drums and the jingle-jangle swirls of an Eastern-tinged guitar melody. I love how the vocals erupt in a frenzy of manic power, the intensity is beautiful!!

On the flip side we have today’s song (it was a tough decision between the two), which is entitled The Freak. Offering five minutes of delirious mayhem and wackiness, I’m loving it!! Guitars snarl in discordant harmony and vocals howl “I’m a Freak” in such a way that they leave no question in your mind as to the truth in that statement! It’s beautifully unhinged!

A the time, the songs were pressed onto at least one acetate disc, but nothing more came of the material. The singer of Lord Fuzz eventually quit, and Gary took over, embracing the experimental direction of The Freak. Sadly, the group called it a day in 1968 and it wasn’t unitl 2016 that Cleopatra Records issued the Lord Fuzz recordings!!

Gary Wilson went on to record an album in the late 1970’s, but I’m not sure about the rest of the band. In an article I’ve just found, the author interviewed Wilson and he had this to say of the band:

“When I was twelve years old, I joined various local garage bands, playing Farfisa organ. I ended up in the band called Lord Fuzz. We were very good. We played every weekend at local teen centers (there were more places for teen bands to play back then). Our parents would drive us to the gigs. Lord Fuzz cut a record when we were thirteen years old. I wrote the songs.”

Well, if I was writing music like this as a teenager, I’d be pretty chuffed!! What a sound! What else can I say? I hope you enjoy and if you do, you can purchase a copy of both songs on Cleopatra Records’ page, here! 

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