Monday, March 22, 2010


So it's been a tough week for reviewing records, not least because my aurally focussed time has been taken up in the main part by reassessing the first three Metallica albums on CD. Much as I would like to tell you about how well certainly 'Ride the Lightning' and 'Master of Puppets' have stood the test of time and how Cliff Burton shits all over Phil Lynott I can't, for the simple reason said listening pleasure was had by means other than vinyl. Stupid I know but without rules what are we? I review a CD and we are one step closer to total chaos, just like on that film about the guy who is trying to escape from that futuristic prison island. I think it's called 'Escape From Futuristic Prison Island'.

Anyway, so we've touched on what I am not going to talk about, so what pray tell am I going to fill the next four or five paragraphs with? That my friend is a fucking good question. Now would be a good time to wax poetic about Big Star and the late Alex Chilton but I'm not really in the mood for analysing the lyrics of 'Feel' or going on about what a shame it is they were overlooked or misunderstood for so long.

I could fill some space with an update on Germanic noise pollution or talk about how due to mystery illness I have been bed ridden and snot covered for the majority of the past week, but I won't. I will however get more than a little excited about Rahsaan Roland Kirk's 'Prepare Thyself To Deal With A (Motherfucking) Miracle'. I picked this up from 'Jump Jump' records in Portland a couple of years back and for some reason didn't get around to listeining to it. I think it was part of a bulk purchase and it just got forgotten about.

It came back to light after the middle of last week saw me taking an hour out of my busy schedule to re-sort my records into 'genre' order (really? fuck yes.) Now this jig around was not for practical listening based reasons but rather an attempt to truly sort the wheat from the chaff, to purge myself of that Asmus Tietchens record that nobody needs and to iron out some of the creases in my record 'accumulation', to make sense of it all. Anyway, in doing so this ended up being found and played.

Things we should all know about Roland Kirk...

1.) He was born Ronald but changed his name to Roland after a dream told him to
2.) Roland was blind
3.) He often played as many as three saxophones AT ONCE
4.) After a stroke he lost most of the use of one side of his body, he modified his instruments and still managed to play two saxophones AT ONCE

This record is painfully good. It's an adventure like all good music should be. You don't know where it's going or quite what is going to happen next. It's heavy on the drone and the instruments commanded by the genius Rahsaan Roland Kirk include 'Black Mystery Pipes' and I shit you not ...'Nose Flute'. I'm a long way off having heard everything put out by Roland Kirk but for me, this stands out more than anything else of his that has passed my ears. It's more enchanting than 'The Inflated Tear', as listenable and more intreaguing than 'Blacknuss' and shows just how far Jazz came in under a decade. 1964's 'We Free Kings' sounds as if it is from a time before space ships, which I suppose it did.

Without wanting to touch on individual tracks too much, 'Saxophone Concerto' touches the cosmic awesomeness of Sun Ra's better work and needs to be heard to be believed. It's a crying shame to think that merely four years after it was recorded he would be dead from a second stroke and although I am sure he tried, this time no ammount of instrumental modification could get our crazy fat cheeked skronking God to make another sound.

Great album.

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