Swedish duo Korallreven premiere a twinkling hyper-pop cover of the singular piano power-ballad of my 9th grade year (Daniel Tjäder‘s, too, apparently) and possibly of all time, Guns N’ Roses’ sprawling ’90′s classic “November Rain“. Heartfelt and beautifully restrained, which means no epic, self-indulgent guitar solos, for better or worse. Korallreven’s Second Comin’ is out now on Cascine.
Johnny Jewel unveils the original 8 track version of “Candy“, “recorded in a haze of nyquil & tequila”, as well as a beautifully seamless mashup/collision of two Chromatics classics:
Olivier Messiaen was one of the great composers of the 20th century, and is one of those people who led a life so unbelievably fascinating that it almost seems like it must have been fiction.
Blessed with the gift of synaesthesia, Messiaen experienced sounds as colors. He was also fascinated with birdsong, and often used melodies in his compositions that were borrowed from various bird species. He was so serious about birdsong that he became an ornithologist, traveling the world looking for exotic birds and their songs, which he would record and transcribe. He was kind of like a birdsong crate digger.
He was also a pioneer of electronic music; “Oraison” was perhaps the first piece of music ever written entirely for electronic instruments. It was written for six Ondes Martenots. The Martenot was an early synthesizer that had wonderfully expressive capabilities, notably a heartbreaking portamento sound that was more similar to a violin than to the continuous portamento of the Martenot’s close relative, the Theremin. “Oraison” is a hauntingly beautiful piece, insanely ahead of its time when you consider that it was written for the Paris World Fair of 1937. It wouldn’t sound out of place on a Boards of Canada record.
“Oraison” was later repurposed for one of Messiaen’s signature works, “Quator pour la Fin du Temps,” a chamber music piece which was composed by Messiaen in a POW camp where he was held as a prisoner by the Nazis. He wrote the piece on scraps of paper and a pencil that were smuggled to him by a sympathetic guard, and it was performed in 1941 by a quartet on dilapidated instruments in front of a rapt audience of prisoners. He was released shortly after the performance and lived a long and productive life as a composer and teacher. Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen were two of his more notable students. — Joe Kennedy
Michel Polnareff is one of my heroes. He is a true great with a heck of a life story. He is as grand and as glam as it comes. His body is made up of 60% hair and 40% sunglasses and he happens to be one of Ariel & Don’s heroes too, so we share a mutual love for The Permed Prince of Parisian Pop. SO much so, that when we were in Palm Springs last year, we were delighted to discover a Cafe that he frequented and (through some excellent sleuthing) proceeded to Celebrity Stalk our hero. After one member of our covert team (A Rad dude who shall remain nameless…) got cold feet and demanded (perhaps wisely) that I “get back in the van”, we decided that maybe Polnareff didn’t want to come for a jam down at The Ace.
More renown for his sparkling garage pop hits, Polnareff’s soundtrack work is unheralded but as good as any work he’s done. As you will hear here in ‘Lipstick Montage’ from The film ‘Lipstick’. The single ‘Lipstick’ is one of the first Disco hits. Side B is a Dark Avant-Garde / Proto Minimal-Synth exploration. ‘Lipstick’ is also the name of my favourite track from Pom Pom. — Shags Chamberlain
“Pliny states that on the 6th day of the moon, Druid priests dressed in white robes would prepare a banquet beneath the tree and bring up to it two white bulls. A priest would then climb the tree and cut down a branch of mistletoe with a golden sickle. The white bulls would be sacrificed while the attendants prayed to a god; the mistletoe was then given to livestock in a drink which, it was believed, was an antidote to all poisons and would make any barren animal fertile.” — Jorge Elbrecht
I acquired this from a big collection of jazz records that a friend of mine got a hold of from an english teacher of ours who was using the records as research for a book. This is one of my all time favorites. The sloppiness of his playing. Simple and direct. — Kenny Gilmore