Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mort Garson - Electronic Hair Pieces

As ridiculous as this may sound, this is an electronic re-imagining of the Hair soundtrack by the same mastermind that brought us "Lucifer - Black Mass." For the most part it's another kitschy electronic artifact from the late sixties, but Walking In Space is a legitimately great track. And come on, that artwork is awesome!

Download "Electronic Hair Pieces"

Friday, March 20, 2009

More Eddie Harris/Melvin Jackson

This is a video of Eddie Harris performing "Listen Here" at Montreux in 1969. You can actually see him flip on the Echoplex at around 3:20 in the video. Just listen to the difference it makes in the texture of the song. The track goes from being a funky soul-jazz number to a spacy--even avant garde--excursion. Harris' bassist for the Montreux performance was longtime collaborator (and fellow electric jazz pioneer) Melvin Jackson. Jackson's Funky Skull album was thankfully reissued by Dusty Groove in 2007. If you enjoy Harris' work, you'll love this:

"Funky Skull, Pts. 1 & 2" - Melvin Jackson

"Dance of the Dervish" - Melvin Jackson

Thursday, March 5, 2009

John Martyn

John Martyn was originally an English folkie active in the late 60s/early 70s scene that birthed Pentangle (bassist Danny Thompson was a lifelong collaborator) and Nick Drake (one of Martyn's best friends). At some point in the early 70s, however, Martyn discovered electronics and began experimenting with phase shifters, fuzz pedals and the Echoplex. Martyn's experimentation came to full fruition on 1973's Inside Out which combined his virtuosic acoustic guitar technique with cutting edge electronic innovations. The first track on that album ("Fine Lines") is a subtle, quiet beginning that embodies the record's seemingly idiosyncratic combination. Martyn's slurred vocal and acoustic guitar continue throughout the entire song, but an electrified guitar solo (at about 1:35) lets us know that this isn't exactly Pink Moon.

Martyn's experimentation with spacy electronics continued throughout the decade. He even collaborated with Lee "Scratch" Perry on the seminal "Big Muff." Martyn's interest in world music and electrified jazz is particularly evident on "Root Love" from Sunday's Child (1974), a track which (to my mind, anyway) shows the influence of Miles Davis' On the Corner album. Also, I absolutely adore this song's gritty guitar riff.

Sadly, Martyn died earlier this year. He will be missed. Take a listen:

"Fine Lines" - John Martyn

"Root Love" - John Martyn

Also, check out this video of Martyn performing "I'd Rather Be the Devil." Note his rhythmic use of the Echoplex: