Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hecho En Venezuela, part 1

Chelique Sarabia - selections from "Revolución Electrónica en Música Venezolana" [Promus, 1972]

Although this is a collection of typical Venezuelan themes and songs, Sarabia makes use of contemporary recording systems/effects to give them new form. Alongside traditional instruments, these recordings were constructed with inverted vocal elements, synthesized frequencies, and M.R.A.A. equipment (based off of the principles of the Moog). The result is a beautiful, psychedelic-folk journey filled with delayed synth horns, echoing electronic strings, and layers of rhythmic live instrumentation.

Ambar - selections from "Love Maniac" [Polydor, 1979]

Some of you might remember Maria Conchita Alonso as Schwarzenegger's love interest in The Running Man, but this Cuban-born, former Miss Venezuela contender, had a recording career before focusing on acting. Her debut release was a spacey, disco-driven collaboration with Italo-Venezuelan producer Rudy La Scala. The "Sweet Lover" trilogy is a passion-filled tale of a woman who coldly dismisses her current suitor only to dream and sing about "the first, and only one, who ever had my body and soul."

Grupo De Experimentacion Sonora Del ICAIC - selections from "Grupo De Experimentacion Sonora Del ICAIC" [Integra, 1979]

The only reissue of this 1973 release was produced in Venezuela, in 1979. The GES collective formed in 1969, as an extension of the Cuban Institute of Art and Film. Aside from scoring films, the GES focused on re-inventing Cuban music, built on the foundation of their roots and heritage. With an emphasis on traditional song structure, as well as the avant-garde, the GES was a platform for experimentation in composition and arranging. Many of the musicians involved, like Silvio Rodríguez, went on to nurture careers as influential Nueva Trova artists.


Monday, July 16, 2007


Our friend at FREEGUMS was recently commissioned to create artwork for the United Trade Show. The result was a labor-intensive, hand drawn fantasy scene (pictured above). FREEGUMS will be showcasing his new line at both the NY and Las Vegas shows, and there's a chance to cop some free gear.

Please check out his artwork and clothing lines -- we highly recommend the hand drawn, tile-able poster.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mr. Toast

I just got these two pieces from Mr. Toast, and I'm loving them!!!

This little book, called "Parade," is a collection of Dan Goodsell's art, featuring all of his food caracters: Mr. Toast, Lemonhead, Joe The Egg...
And, I got this little painting called Sleepy Joe. Beautiful!

He also has an amazing collection of food packaging from the 20th Century.
I am more than proud to invite you to visit his website and his store.

ROM - Reach For The Thighs

Our good friends from ROM have released a new online EP.

Beautiful stuff...

Get it here.

JAHBITAT - Harpy Lights The Canopy

Our good friends from Jahbitat just put out a new LP with our good friends from Project: Mooncircle.

Some musical goodness from Venezuela/Spain.
Listen and purchase HERE.

Good Synth, Bad Synth...

1.) Mirage - "Weasel's Choice" [self-released, 1986]: this one's for the Jax crew. Hailing from the largest city in the contiguous United States, Mirage sounds like their picture looks (see above).

2.) Karat - "Le Doyen 1" [Pool, 1980]: here's a soft, sad little syntherlude from a German symphonic prog group, recorded at Spliff Studio Berlin.

3.) Tonto's Expanding Head Band - "Cybernaut" [Atlantic, 1975]: this jam was created on the first and largest multitimbral polyphonic analog synthesizer... to fully grasp what we're dealing with, please go here and here.

4.) Ian Tescee - "Jupiter Part 2, Hunters" [E-N Records, 1984]: Tescee's website says that this music describes "the terrifying beauty of the most volcanically active world in the solar system," Jupiter.

5.) Rick Telli - "The City In Motion" [KGB, 1977]: taken from San Diego's fundraising compilation, Homegrown V. The sleeve notes call this song a "Brian Wilson-Stevie Wonder trip."


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Covers, part 2

1.) Clockwork - "Think" [James Brown]: this 1975 release, on Hialeah's Sound Triangle Records, sometimes has the feel of listening to a wedding band. But, Clockwork (pictured above) gives a worthy stab at The Godfather of Soul's classic tune. The drums are pretty nasty, but that doesn't make them the hardest working band in show business.

2.) Shango - "Sunshine Superman" [Donovan]: on the 1969 release from this four-man hybrid band (made up of musicians from St. Croix and California), there are a number of Caribbeat/rock covers. Steel drums, vibes, and locomotive rhythms make for an interesting interpretation that doesn't stray too far from the original.

3.) The Micronotz - "Scarborough Fair" [Traditional]: taken from their "40 Fingers" album (1986, on Homestead), this is a straight-forward, melodic punk cover of Simon & Garfunkel's rendition. Their sound has been described as falling somewhere between Hüsker Dü and The Ramones.

4.) Giorgio - "Knights In White Satin" [Justin Hayward]: this is mister Moroder's 1976 version of The Moody Blues "Nights In White Satin." Like a slow disco mindfuck, Giorgio whisper-sings Hayward's lyrics over a bed of percussive string delays, guitar rhythms, digital harpsichord, and synth washes.

5.) The Family - "Nothing Compares 2 U" [Prince]: this track is sort of a reverse cover. It's the rarely recognized original recording of the Prince-penned song, made famous by Sinéad O'Connor. The Family was formed by Prince, and the band "performed" songs written, recorded, and produced by The Artist (apparently, Paul Peterson's voice was just dubbed over the finished tracks). The song was released in 1985, on their only album. {thank you, Pres, for sharing this one}


Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I would love to own this. It's an ultra-rare 7", limited to 1000 pressings... More importantly, it's a fantastic record.

Thanks to www.minimal-wave.org, I was able to discover a long-forgotten local band.

Futurisk was from South Florida. They formed in the early 80's, under the leadership of Jeremy Kolosine. Sadly, they disbanded in 1984, but left us with two amazing releases.

This is incedibly dynamic and driving synth pop/rock, supported by a recording that is both raw and warm (apparently, they tracked the drums in a bathroom).

You can find a nice bio here.

It's the kind of record that makes me wish I was old enough to have experienced the SoFla new wave scene...

*** If anyone knows where to find a copy of "The Sound of Futurism 1980/Army Now" EP, that would be greatly appreciated.


Monday, July 9, 2007

Covers, part 1

In response to the omission of the "Gloria" cover from the Stratosferic Band post, I have included it here.

So, I figured that this could be the first in a series of posts about cover songs that I have found...

1.) Rosebud - "Money" [Roger Waters]: this track is the B-side to a 1977 disco 12" on Warner. This jam kicks off with sweet synth bass, (synth?) harmonica, and spaceship soundscapes. Guits, bleeps, clavs, and key stabs surround the layers of female vocals echoing "goody good bullshit."

2.) Idris Muhammad - "House Of The Rising Sun" [Traditional]: This version came off of a 1976 Kudu promo 7" for Muhammad's album of the same title. Frank Floyd sings over this R&B/funk rendition, with David Sanborn on the sax and Eric Gale on guitars. This is a pretty tight little number, with a little bit of drama and some jazzy chops...

3.) The Stairsteps - "My Sweet Lord" [George Harrison]: This is taken from a 1971 Buddah Records release. It's a warm and emotive R&B/soul variation of the song. It has a slight gospel approach in the vocal call and response, while showcasing a slick rhythm section (there's even an occasional nod to Harrison's guitar stylings sprinkled amongst the sounds).

4.) Gogi Grant - "Somebody To Love" [Darby Slick]: This song sounds like everything Jefferson Airplane was trying not to be. But, there is something endearing about it. Gogi tries very hard to convince us that she is free... "Miss Grant is still performing, currently she headlined with The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies in Palm Springs, California (from Wikipedia)."

5.) The Moments - "I'll Be Around" [Thom Bell and Phil Hurtt]: This 1978 version (of the Spinners' 1973 hit) amazes me every time I hear it. It speeds up the tune into a soft, breathy, driving, soul-disco track. Every copy I've found sounds like a low-quality pressing, but I think it lends to the charm of the Iight synth work, slightly-present drums, and floaty vocals.

6.) Stratosferic Band - "Gloria" [Van Morrison]: The missing piece in the Stratosferic Band's Splash-terpiece...


Friday, July 6, 2007


I found this sweet little 7" under a bridge, at the downtown market in Caracas... A French release from 1977, on Crocos Records. It's kind of a cosmic, sleazy, disco/funk, synthy, 2-track jammer.



A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this intergalactic Italian disco gem. It was one of those great dollar-bin discoveries...

A 1977 release on Italy's Voom Voom Music label, this is one of only a few records put out by the Stratosferic Band.

The little bit of internet info I could find tells me a few things:

1) on eBay Europe, it's mainly going to DJs and vinyl collectors
2) it's popular with obscure, dance-heavy online radio shows and music blogs
3) there's very little explanation of how it might have ended up alone and unloved in a used record store in Boulder, Colorado.

Regardless, this record is awesome. It's cosmically-themed, which is always a plus. The production is synth-heavy, with incredibly precise live instrumentation. And, with titles like "The First Galaxy," "Cosmic Show," and "Mexican Space," you can't be misled.

If anyone has more information or releases by the Stratosferic Band, it would be greatly appreciated.




Is anybody there? This is our blog, let's see if we can be serious enough to keep it alive...