Posts by Ethan Simonoff

This song comes from the 1996 album Temple IV, released on Kranky. Roy Montgomery hails from New Zealand, but this album was recorded during a 9-month stay in New York. He first started out playing guitar in 1971 in small New Zealand garage groups including Psychedeliks, Compulsory Fun, and Murder Strikes Pink. In 1980, he founded The Pin Group, along with Peter Stapleton and Ross Humphrey. Their first single, “Ambivalence,” was the first single released on the New Zealand label Flying Nun. Flying Nun, along with Xpressway, would go on to release most of the underground music coming out of New Zealand at that time.

Roy Montgomery, along with Stapleton, formed Dadamah in the early 90s, and released a few singles and an album,This Is Not A Dream, on Majora, later to be rereleased on Kranky in 1994. Montgomery has worked with many bands and musicians, including two improvised albums with psychedelic drone band Bardo Pond under the moniker Hash Jar Tempo (a play on Ash Ra Tempel). He also played guitar in the band Dissolve and collaborated with British experimental rock band Flying Saucer Attack on the 1997 album Goodbye/And Goodbye/Whole Day. Everything Montgomery does is fantastic, and if you are unfamiliar with any of his work, Temple IV is a perfect place to start.

[Discogs]
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I had known this song as being by the the X-Visitors (later known as the Rojas Band), before discovering that it was a cover of a track by English New Wave group New Musik. This version of the song is an edit taken from the 1981 single. The track would later appear on their 1982 album Warp.

New Musik was officially formed in 1978, but Clive Gates and de-facto frontman Tony Mansfield first met and started making music in 1972, under the name Reeman Zeegus. Mansfield is perhaps best known as a producer—his work during the ’80s included bands such as A-Ha, The B-52s, Aztec Camera, Yukihiro Takahashi (of Yellow Magic Orchestra fame), Captain Sensible (of The Damned), and Naked Eyes, among others. He was responsible for Naked Eyes’ 1983 hit, “Always Something There To Remind Me”.

After recording Warp, Mansfield started concentrating more on production, and New Musik effectively broke up. However, Mansfield, his brother, and Rob Fisher, recording under the name “Planet Ha Ha,” produced one more post-Warp-era song with Mansfield given songwriter credit. The single, “Home,” was recorded to be in the movie E.T., but legal issues with EMI kept it from being properly released, along with an entire album’s worth of material from the same recording session.

Warp was released on Epic Records, but their first two albums, From A to B and Anywhere, were on GTO. All three are solid New Wave albums, and I definitely recommend them.

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This elusive hip-hop group consisting of Honey B and Sandy D released only the one single, “Dancing Heart.” I can’t help but believe that to be true, as the single was released under the moniker Universal Two, even though they clearly refer to themselves as the Universal Three right at the start of the song. This was originally released back in 1981 on Golden Flamingo Records, and in the past few years has been featured on a handful of compilations and DJ mixes. I first heard it on the Big Apple Rappin’ compilation, which features 2 CDs full of early New York hip-hop gems. Golden Flamingo, run by Peter Brown, was active in the late-70s and early-80s and put out some incredibly solid socially conscious disco and hip-hop. Peter Brown also ran many other small disco/funk/hip-hop labels including Clarence Music, Destiny, Funk Groove Records, Georgia Peach Records, among others.

The track was produced by none other than Patrick Adams (who contributed to Golden Flamingo quite regularly, both as producer and musician), an honestly prolific musician/songwriter/arranger/producer that worked with groups such as Bumblebee Unlimited, Universal Robot Band, Gladys Knight, Eric B and Rakim, R. Kelly, Salt-N-Pepa, The Shades of Love, Rainbow Brown, Eddie Kendricks, and was responsible for the Musique hit, “Keep On Jumpin’” in 1978. As a producer, Adams was way ahead of his time. His experiments and innovations in the studio continue to be extremely influential to pop music.

[Discogs]

2004 saw Boredoms return from a 5-year hiatus with the release Seadrum/House of Sun, switching up their lineup and calling themselves V∞redoms. In addition to drummer Yoshimi P-We (of OOIOO, performer on and subject of Flaming Lips’ 2002 Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots), Kazuya Nishimura and E-Da were added to Boredoms’ lineup as drummers. Drumming is not something that Boredoms take lightly: in 2007, they curated the 77 Boadrum concert which included de-facto frontman Yamantaka Eye and 77 drummers—and on August 8, 2008 at 8:08 PM, they topped that by performing an 88-minute composition with 88 drummers. (Check out the incredible list of drummers for both events here and here.)

Accordingly, Seadrum contains lots and lots (and lots) of percussion. Some of the drums were set up at a beach on wooden planks and recorded right up next to the ocean. As the tide came in, and the drums started to get wet, they started miking the drums sounds from under the water. If you are familiar with their previous work, then this album/song could most closely be compared to the droning, tribal drumming and krautrock-influenced sound of their 1999 release, Vision Creation Newsun. If you aren’t, then this is a perfect place to start.

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This track comes off the 1978 release Cochin Moon, which gives composer credit to Haruomi Hosono. The idea for the album came after Hosono returned from a trip to India and was inspired to make an album that captured the luxury and exotic character of the country. Looking at the liner notes, contributors included Hiroshi Sato, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Hideki Matsutake, Tadanori Yokoo, and Shuka Nishihara––people who, if you know your Japanese music history, are all pretty big deals.

Shuka Nishihara was an alter-ego for Hosono, himself. Tadanori Yokoo was a pop-artist active throughout the early-70s; he was responsible for the Bollywood-inspired cover art. Hiroshi Sato was a gifted producer and also released some great funk under his own name (you can check out a track from an album he produced with Wendy Matthews here). Ryuchi Sakamoto and Hideki Matsutake, along with Hosono, would go on to form Yellow Magic Orchestra, a pioneering band in the world of techno pop (check out YMO’s “Rydeen” here).

Though this album finds these musicians at the start of their careers (save for Hosono, who played bass in the garage rock band The Apryl Fool circa 1969), the album carries strong elements of the funk and electronica that they would go on to produce, albeit in a more experimental setting. If you can find it, I definitely recommend checking out the whole album.

[Allmusic]
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