Electric Junkyard Gamelan

12 05 2010

This Brooklyn based homemade musical menagerie is the brain child of composer Terry Dame. The name is very much descriptive of what this group strives for artistically. Terry and company are part of a growing movement of musicians who only utilize self-made, found and/or modified objects from ordinary life in their performances. The premise is that not only are you reusing, reducing and recycling but each instrument is absolutely unique. Which means that the player must learn to play on that specific instrument because the particular item may not be “tuned” perfectly or it may require some special technique to get a certain timbre out of it. The other element of their name that is very fitting is the fact that they specialize in Gamelan music from Indonesia. It’s an interesting style that utilizes overtones from resonating notes to create ambient harmonies. While it’s not the poppiest of music, these guys are not to be missed. Between their stage presence and the trance like effect of the Gamelan music, it’s a hell of a performance. This clip below will help you learn a bit more about who they are and what they do. Plus, it delves deeper into what the instruments are made of, how difficult they are to master and the resulting music that’s part chaos, part composition and 100% cool.

If you haven’t had enough, here’s some nice live footage of the band in action. It’s an interesting sound and the performance is truly an unique experience.

References:

Electric Junkyard Gamelan live on NPR

Learn more about Electric Junkyard Gamelan

Visit Electric Junkyard Gamelan on MySpace

More info on Handmade music

More info on Gamelan music

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NEW! Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

12 04 2010

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings just released a new album this past week. Recorded for Daptone Records in their modest Bushwick (Brooklyn, NY) studio, the new album, I Learned The Hard Way, continues the tradition of beat heavy, groove-based soul music reminiscent of that which was coming out of Stax and Motown in the 60’s & 70’s. Not only does the material bring you back to this amazing era in American music but the sound of the recording is true to the classics. Recorded on a Ampex 8-track tape machine in Daptone’s analog studio, it’s remarkable how great this album sounds. There is an amazing  warmth and richness to it that harkens back to the old days of real soul music. As good as the songs and performances are the sound of the recording is truly the standout for me. I’m a sucker for that old school sound and there are very few folks out there today who are able to capture it so well. This album is available on vinyl too so you can really appreciate the nuances of what they are doing out there in Bushwick. That being said, when it comes to the material and performance Sharon and the gang did not take this 4th studio effort lightly. I Learned The Hard Way is without a doubt among their best releases thus far. Between this and their previous (2007) album, 100 Days, 100 Nights, it’s a close call.

The whole album makes for a great listen all the way through but I particularly like the title track “I Learned The Hard Way” as well as “Better Things”, “Mama Don’t Like My Man” and the bonus track “He Said I Can”. I was surprised to see that there is an instrumental on here given Sharon is such a presence in this sound, but I really dig it… it’s called “The Reason”.

“I Learned the Hard Way”

“Better Things”

https://thegreengorilla.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/03-better-things.mp3%20

“Mama Don’t Like My Man”

https://thegreengorilla.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/12-mama-dont-like-my-man.mp3%20

“He Said I Can”

https://thegreengorilla.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/13-he-said-i-can-bonus-track.mp3%20

“The Reason”

GG fans may already know I’ve been into Sharon & The Dap Kings and Daptone Records for years. For those that are not regulars, you can take a look at an earlier post on Sharon  and the boys HERE. There is also some more really cool Daptone stuff HERE.

If you want to learn more about Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings visit their site. Once there, you can sample music, check out tour dates and learn more about the band and the label. You can also buy their albums on CD, LP or MP3… which ever suits your needs: www.sharonjonesandthedapkings.com.

Here is a link to a PBS interview that showcases Sharon’s amazing personality and offers a little background on the band, the label and music. : Sharon on PBS








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