Discover the strange ways in which almost all music can be interconnected with a back-to-back-set where one track will be the inspiration of the next one. *Less a consistent thematic playlist, but rather an experiment between two music lovers. Our journey took us from famous Jazz venues in the States and massive beards over to Marrakesh field recordings and down to hard live jams in Japan. Side A with Don and Mathias. Tape it easy …
Ray Bryant — C Jam Blues
Don: This morning, for some reason, I woke up with this jazz standard in my head. Originally composed in 1942 by Duke Ellington, Ray Bryant’s version feels more energetic. Looking forward to what Mathias will come up with this early-day inspiration.
Ray Charles — Come Rain Or Come Shine
Mathias: Thanks, Don, what a smooth start to our first Beyond Inspirations ping pong set. Fortunately, you chose the recording Live At Basin Street East, which was a famous Jazz Venue these days. It even had a Club on the West Coast, which gradually migrated towards rock before it eventually closed in 1973.
Anyways, looking at the setlists in San Francisco, a love song with beautiful lyrics got my attention, potentially performed on a summer night in 1971 by Ray Charles.
I’m gonna love you, like no one loves you, come rain or come shine. High as a mountain, deep as a river, come rain or come shine.“
Bizimkilər — Roadhouse Blues (Doors Cover)
Don: I have to say I’m only aware of those epic songs Hit the Road Jack, I Got a Woman or What’d I Say from Ray Charles, which are of course some of the best R&B and soul classics.
The first thing that crossed my mind was finding the best cover version for this legendary first song that everyone really knows and loves. And there are literally thousands!
I found a super somehow different & fun version of this song by Bizimkilər, a musical project/orchestra from Azerbaijan.
Kourosh Yaghmaei — Gol-e Yakh
Mathias: Priceless, especially the guy with his red guitar! Three years after Morrison’s death and a few kilometers south of Azerbaijan the young Yaghmaei published his first song, which became his biggest hit and made him one of the first rock musicians in Iran. Enjoy the music video of Gol-e Yakh, which means ‘Winter Sweet’.
Grateful Dead — Turn On Your Love Light
Don: What a beautiful beard in this wonderfully romantic winter landscape. This reminds me somehow of Jerry Garcia’s lush facial hair. I wouldn’t call myself a deadhead, but I really like the song Turn On Your Lovelight. The Grateful Dead first performed it live in August 1967.
Without a warning you broke my heart, takin’ it baby, tore it apart. And you left me standin’ in the dark, said your love for me was dyin’
Big Brother & The Holding Company, Janis Joplin — Ball & Chain
Mathias: Rockin off, didn’t take too long to end up at the American West Coast those days. As The Grateful Dead was THE resident band in Haight-Ashbury, the Big Brother And The Holding Co. took also a big part of the San Francisco Sound in the era between 1965–1967 especially when they found their new singer, a young blues singer from Texas, Janis Joplin.
The Summer of Love’s climax and probably the beginning of its end was the Monterey Pop, one of the first Music Festivals ever. Afterward, the kids came from all over the US to Haight-Ashbury and imploded the place. Get your heart ripped out at:
Björk & PJ Harvey — (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Don: Without a doubt one of the best voices in rock history, thanks for sharing!
I was going through the list of exceptional female singers and I found quite a few: Big Mama Thornton, Janita Haan (from Babe Ruth), Wendy Rene, Grace Slick, Beth Gibbons, Annie Lennox, or Donna Summer to name only a few.
Check one of the best live performances from 1994 of the remarkable Björk & PJ Harvey with their interpretation of the famous Stones-Song.
REM feat. Thom Yorke — E-Bow The Letter
Mathias: When I think about live collaborations this performance is my all-time favorite: R.E.M. at the Tibetan Freedom Concerts 1998 in Washington D.C., joined by a seemingly overwhelmed Thom Yorke, who sings Patty Smith’s part in E-Bow The Letter.
Air — La Femme d’Argent
Don: When I recall 1998 I remember listening to Air‘s debut album throughout the whole year, making it the longest and sexiest summer, musically speaking.
The Velvet Underground — Femme Fatale
Mathias: That was my on-rotation-album that year, too. Let’s switch from Femme D’Argent in ’98 to *Femme Fatale *in ’66. Andy Warhol, the first manager of the band, asked Lou Reed to write a song about his muse New York „It-Girl“ Edi Sedgwick. It was released on their debut album and sung by Nico, who later kept the song in her program during her live performances after her departure from The Velvet Underground.
Talking Heads — Slippery People
Don: Just like Velvet Underground also the Talking Heads were formed in New York. Without hesitation, I would name the band around versatile and ingenious David Byrne in a 25-all-time favorite list. Choosing one song from their discography is somehow hard because they just have so many good ones, so I’m picking the one I heard last.
What about the time?
You were rollin’ over
Fall on your face
You must be having fun
Think of a time
You’d best believe
This think is real
Javelin — Winchesters
Mathias: David Byrne is truly a busy artist. For me, his most appealing project is his label Luaka Bop, founded in 1988. Since then he has released mostly extraordinary works from all over the world, for example, Os Mutantes, William Onyeabor, or Javelin. The duo from New York enthused me with their 2011 Canyon Candy. The album is a sound collage of country songs, quirky and obscure samples that always sound untouched and vintage. The band was inspired on a southern tour together with the Yeahsayers, according to their statement especially by national park signs like Crater of Diamonds.
Maalem Mahmoud Guinia & Floating Points — Mimoun Marhaba
Don: Luaka Bop is an excellent label and this song is just great, thanks!
One of the extraordinary artists on the label is the 30 years old Sam Shepherd from Manchester, a neuroscientist who turned to the finest electronic music and is better known as Floating Points. Shepherd finds it frustrating that he is often made out to be some sort of techno Einstein.
Apart from DJing around the world, he is also co-running the respected Eglo label and doing radio shows.
In March 2014, James Holden and Floating Points were invited to the Fellah Hotel near Marrakech, to participate in a week-long residency collaborating with the legendary Maalem (Master) Mahmoud Guinia from Morocco’s Gnawa musical tradition. The four tracks you see before you are the product of Holden and Floating Points’ makeshift open-air recording sessions by the hotel pool with the Maalem Mahmoud Guinia and his band, featuring the Maalem on his three-stringed guembri instrument and lead vocals and accompanied by the trio of Guinia’s brother-in-law and two sons who provide the vocal chorus response and complex krakeb and clapping percussive rhythm cycles that characterize the Gnawa tradition. (Please read the full review at bordercommunity)
Sawt/Sur — Sawt 11
Mathias: I didn’t know that project from James Holden, mesmerizing and such a good story behind it. So, I’d like to spend some more time in Marrakesh. Since I saw Wim Wenders’ Lisbon Story, I am fascinated by sound engineering and especially field recording. The internet is full of records from all over the world, marketplaces, nature sounds, street music sessions …
In my research, I found that record from the experimental polish label BDTA on Bandcamp (who also releases awesome and sick art like How Not To Play Guitars And Other Instruments). It’s a collection of field recordings and fragments from vinyl records and cassettes from Morocco, made by three very interesting people: Łukasz Jędrzejczak, Rafał Kołacki and, Ela Schulz, who is a photographer for bands, but I couldn’t find any website of her. I recommend checking out their bio and music, it opened up a whole new world for me.
And now, put your earphones on, close your eyes and start diving. Immersion is all!
Hakobune — In Arboreal Whispering
Don: Field recording is in fact one of those basic and straightforward types of art. From time to time I also like to listen to city or countryside sounds at home or even while working. If you want to see what people around the world are recording I can really recommend listening to aporee.org, which has been online since the year 2000.
There is a nice interview with the inventor and developer Udo Noll behind this sound map.
The project describes itself as follows:
It is a global sound map dedicated to field recording, photography, and the art of listening. It connects sound recordings to its places of origin, in order to create sonic cartography, publicly accessible as a collaborative project. It contains recordings from numerous urban, rural and natural environments, disclosing their complex shape and sonic conditions, as well as the different perceptions, practices, and artistic perspectives of its many contributors. This makes it a valuable resource for art, education, and research projects, and for your personal pleasure.
Going from Field Recordings to atmospheric ambient music I would like to drop one of my favorite ambient artists, the Japanese hakobune with his spheric/repetitive track from his album in arboreal whispering.
Deep Purple — Child In Time (live in Osaka, Japan – 1972)
Mathias: Sorry for this harsh break from serene Japanese Ambient to UK-Hard-Rock live in Japan. From a time when the idea of a live album was still in its infancy, Deep Purple agreed to the recording tour, even though they were not confident about the recording quality. They even didn’t seem not interested in the result anyway, but in delivering a good show. And that’s what they did, they kicked ass.
The album is characterized by instrumental frenzy and long improvisations of especially Machine Head’s pieces. Glover remembered „twelve or thirteen thousand Japanese kids were singing along to Child in Time“ and considered it a career highlight, as did Gillian … and me.
I mean, jamming is Deep Purple Made in Japan, you know? I mean, that’s jamming, the rocking out.“Fabulous Dean Ween in a podcast interview about few bands that really jam.
DJ Shadow — Organ Donor
Don: Killer track! Actually one of my favorite progressive/hard rock and definitely one of the most influential songs in music history in general. Thanks for sharing.
Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, Ian Paice on drums, Jon Lord on Hammond, Roger Glover on bass, and Ian Gillan singing are such a dream team, they are also called the “Mark II” lineup (recording/performing from July 1969 — June 1973).
There are plenty of other fantastic rock organ songs around which I’m sure you will all know and love. I’ve stumbled over the Ultimate Hammond Organ Solo Collection made of three parts: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
One of the best-remixed organ songs is from magnificent DJ Shadow from his 1996 album DJ Shadow – Endtroducing….. which had and still has a big influence on me: Many of his tracks feature dozens of samples from a wide array of styles and influences including rock, soul, funk, experimental, electronic and jazz. He has a personal record collection of over 60,000 records.
Buckethead — Soothsayer
Mathias: Very cool scratch.
The reason why DJ Shadow picked that stage name for himself, is that the idea of staying in the background as a DJ attracted him. So does Buckethead aka Brian Patrick Carrol. He is as silent and mysterious as he is a guitar genius, known for performing on stage while wearing a white mask and a hat made from a fast-food chicken bucket. His looming stage presence and insane and incredibly fast playing brought him a lot of attention. In the early nineties, he was already in conversation with the Red Hot Chili Peppers as John Frusciante’s successor before Axl Rose called him to Guns n’ Roses in early 2000 as Slash’s replacement. He can be heard on 12 tracks on their belated 2008 album Chinese Democracy.
Steve’n’Seagulls — Seek & Destroy (Metallica Cover)
Don: Weird appearance and extraordinary playing style, a sure guarantee for success!
When I think of the early 90’s one of the big guitar superpower bands and also my very first concert I attended was: Metallica!
There are actually so many cover bands around, one of the best being the Finnish Polka-Metal band (file under Folk Metal) Steve’n’Seagulls.
The band became famous in summer 2014 through their Bluegrass versions of well-known hits from AC/DC, Iron Maiden, or Metallica on YouTube. Their version of Metallica’s Seek & Destroy from their debut studio album Kill’Em All (1983) is my favorite.
Bob Dylan — This Wheel’s On Fire
Mathias: These guys are without question great musicians, but the living-room-remote-cabin-setting is the crowning glory.
Thinking of that I am taking you back to one of my favorite years in music history, 1967, to a place that would later become famous as The Big Pink. Bob Dylan, already a superstar, had a dreadful motorcycle accident that took him out of the business for a while. He retreated to his farm in Woodstock and invited some members of a rock group called The Hawks or The Crackers or so, who became The Band from then on. He wanted to take some material for other artists to record and made these guys play traditional material for the first time. Most simple recording gear, wandering the forest between the sessions, a dog on the cozy carpet, and Woodstock Festival just a few miles away (Dylan had no desire to be a part of it). Afterward, they all spoke of extraordinary conditions to make music because no one expected anything from it.
What if we record a song, that could never been released? What would they sell then? That’s what you’re hearing.”Bob Dylan
Well, it took 8 years and many rumors about the secret session before Dylan finally decided to release The Basement Tapes in 1975! In fact, it became a massively important album for US Americana-Folk-Rock-Music.
We found almost all of the above songs on Spotify and collected them in a handy playlist.
Thanks for reading, there’s more 🏓 on page B:
The second part of our musical ping-pong begins in New York and swings through the underground clubs to unusual 5/4 time, tells of a blind multi-instrumentalist, abandoned nuclear power plants and finally floats through folky Turkish-Ottoman soundscapes.