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Dark Was the Night
Daze of the Underground
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Down in a Mirror
Dry Lungs
...E Tu Vivrai Nel Terrore

Exult1
Festival Lagu Populer
Freaked!

Freezone
Gainsnord
Great Jewish Music


DMDK

'DMDK'

DMDK  (2006,  42.57)  ***/½

Tiger Baby:
  Strangelove
Figurines:
  Dreaming of Me
Marie Frank:
  It's No Good

The Gospel:
  Personal Jesus
eop-555:
  Stripped
Diefenbach:
  Policy of Truth
Mikael Simpson:
  Det er Ligemeget
Track 72:
  Monument
Moi Caprice:
  Any Second Now
Lake Placid:
  Everything Counts
Sterling:
  Nyt Liv
Cph Jet:
  Just Can't Get Enough

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

DMDK, or Depeche Mode Denmark (DK) is a tribute to the band featuring exclusively Danish artists, most of whom, to be bluntly honest, mean nothing to me, probably because they work in the mainstream pop spectrum, as against the Danish artists I do know. Are any of their versions any good? It doesn't help that I'm fairly ignorant of DM's career in the first place, but The Gospel's Personal Jesus (known to me from Johnny Cash's version) and Lake Placid's Everything Counts are the two things that stood out for me, amongst the clumps of electro-by-numbers that clutter up most of the disc.

Nicolai Land plays Mellotron on Marie Frank's It's No Good, with a background flute part that is impossible to verify: the most easily-sampled Mellotron sound low in the mix? Forget it. If you're a Depeche fan, you may wish to hear what's been done to their songs; the rest of us may not. An acceptable tribute album, as far as they go, but not especially exciting for the non-fan.

Dark Was the Night

'Dark Was the Night: Red Hot Compilation'

Dark Was the Night: Red Hot Compilation  (2009,  130.23)  ***/½

Dirty Projectors & David Byrne:
  Knotty Pine
The Books feat. Jose Gonzalez:
  Cello Song
Feist & Ben Gibbard:
  Train Song
Bon Iver:
  Brackett, WI
Grizzly Bear:
  Deep Blue Sea
The National:
  So Far Around the Bend
Yeasayer:
  Tightrope
My Brightest Diamond:
  Feeling Good
Kronos Quartet:
  Dark Was the Night
Antony & Bryce Dessner:
  I Was Young When I Left Home
Justin Vernon & Aaron Dessner:
  Big Red Machine
The Decemberists:
  Sleepless
Iron & Wine:
  Die
Grizzly Bear & Feist:
  Service Bell
Sufjan Stevens:
  You Are the Blood
Spoon:
  Well-Alright
Arcade Fire:
  Lenin
Beirut:
  Mimizan
My Morning Jacket:
  El Caporal
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings:
  Inspiration Information
Dave Sitek:
  With a Girl Like You
Buck 65 remix feat. Sufjan Stevens & Serengeti:
  Blood Pt 2
The New Pornographers:
  Hey, Snow White
Yo La Tengo:
  Gentle Hour
Stuart Murdoch:
  Another Saturday
Riceboy Sleeps:
  Happiness
Cat Power & Dirty Delta Blues:
  Amazing Grace
Andrew Bird:
  The Giant of Illinois
Conor Oberst & Gillian Welch:
  Lua
Blonde Redhead & Devastations:
  When the Road Runs Out
Kevin Drew:
  Love vs. Porn

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

2009's Dark Was the Night (named in honour of the Blind Willie Johnson composition Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground) is the twentieth Red Hot compilation, a series designed to raise awareness and funds to help AIDS victims, with which it's difficult to argue. Its two hours-plus are filled with what appear to be exclusive tracks, mainly from current indie acts along the lines of Sufjan Stevens, Cat Power, The New Pornographers and The Arcade Fire, which is fair enough, as it's intended to sell. And sell it has, having raised over a million dollars at the time of writing.

But is it any good?, I hear you cry. Do you like modern indie? Do you yearn to hear unreleased tracks by the likes of Antony (without his Johnsons), Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), Iron & Wine and Grizzly Bear? Then yes, it's brilliant. Would you rather never hear another thing by anyone even remotely describable as 'indie'? Then no, it isn't. As one sitting nearer the latter camp than the former, I found the set harmless, if overlong and dull, Buck 65 Remix Featuring Sufjan Stevens & Serengeti's Blood Pt 2 being the only thing here that actually had me reaching for the 'next' button. No, I didn't find it very interesting, even The Kronos Quartet's take on the title track, but it isn't aimed at me and has raised a shitload of cash for its chosen charity, making my opinion entirely irrelevant. Did I actually like anything here? Do you care? Riceboy Sleeps' elegiac Happiness is excellent, although it turns out it's actually by Sigur Rós side-project Jónsi & Alex, so that explains that one.

Mellotron? TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek adds some strings to his version of The Troggs' With A Girl Like You, albeit to rather mundane effect, not to mention that I can't tell whether or not it's real. To be honest, while this has been an amazing fundraiser, I really couldn't recommend it to anyone not into the current crop of indie outfits or to anyone hoping to hear a reasonable helping of Mellotron. The star rating above is more for the thought than the deed.

See: David Byrne | Antony & the Johnsons | Grizzly Bear | Spoon | Arcade Fire | My Morning Jacket | Sigur Rós | Bright Eyes

Daze of the Underground

'Daze of the Underground: A Tribute to
Hawkwind'

Daze öf the Undergröund: A Tribute tö Hawkwind  (2003,  145.09/154.40)  ***/T

Tim Blake:
  Spirit of the Age
Litmus:
  Paradox

Amorphis:
  Levitation
Spacehead:
  The Right Stuff
Meads of Asphodel:
  Utopia
Enchanted:
  Song of the Sword
Bedouin:
  Sword of the East
Silver Machine:
  Silver Machine
Murkins:
  Psi Power
Quarkspace:
  Quark Strangeness and Charm
OverMars:
  Magnu
Alpha Omega:
  Reefer Madness
ST37:
  Orgone Accumulator
History of Guns:
  Magnu Reprise
Brainstorm:
  Master of the Universe
Sigh:
  Psychedelic Warlords
Farflung:
  Robot
Spirits Burning:
  High Rise
Huw Lloyd Langton Band:
  Moonglum
Marshan:
  Hurry on Sundown
Circle:
  Donít Understand
Darxtar:
  The Watcher
Acid King:
  Motorhead
Beggars Farm:
  We Took the Wrong Step Years Ago
Sloterdijk:
  Golden Void
Harvey Bainbridge:
  Acid House of Dreams
Acid Mothers Temple:
  You Know You're Only Dreaming
[3LP version loses four tracks and adds:
Northwinds:
  Images/Ejection
The Black:
  Fahrenheit 451
Jet Jaguar:
  Lord of Light
Simon House:
  Hall of the Mountain Grill
Universal Totem Orchestra:
  Alien (I am)]

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

I don't know when the first single-artist tribute album appeared - probably far earlier than any of us would expect - but the genre hit top gear in the '90s, showing no signs of slowing down yet. 2003's Daze öf theUndergröund: A Tribute tö Hawkwind (umlauts optional) is by no means the first of its kind (1995's Assassins of Silence/Hundred Watt Violence may or may not be the first Hawks tribute), but it may be the longest, available in 27-track 2-CD and 28-track 3-LP versions, with a total of 32 tracks spread over the two issues, irritatingly.

Like pretty much every tribute album ever, Daze öf the Undergröund's something of a mixed bag, highlights including Acid King's half-speed Motorhead, Spirits Burning's excellent High Rise (it actually sounds like Calvert on vocals) and the Universal Totem Orchestra's jazzy vinyl-only Alien (I Am), while with no fewer than five members/ex-members (membership of Hawkwind has always been a rather fluid matter) between the two versions, Tim Blake's Spirit Of The Age and Simon House's vinyl-only Hall Of The Mountain Grill are worth hearing, although I'm not so sure about Alan Davey's Bedouin's take on Alan's Sword Of The East, featuring Davey's best (cough) Lemmy impersonation. Other 'known' artists include Finland's Circle, Sweden's Darxtar (who have actually collaborated with Hawks members as Hawxtar), Japan's very own psychedelic warlords Acid Mothers Temple, Australia's Brainstorm and Britons Spacehead, who've subsequently provided Hawkwind with current bassist Mr. Dibs. The other ex-Hawks present are Huw Lloyd-Langton, with a decent enough studio take on his own Moonglum (there's only a live Hawkwind version) and Harvey Bainbridge, albeit only on the CD.

And why is this here? Litmus, of course... I played in the band from 2001-7, our version of Paradox being recorded the year before our debut album. I think we did a pretty decent job, listening to it several years on, harder than the original, my Mellotron strings higher in the mix than on some of our own material, although, as you'd expect, it's the only Mellotron use on the album, few people even equating the machine with Hawkwind, despite Warrior on the Edge of Time's mighty Assault & Battery/Golden Void twofer.

So; assuming you're a Hawkwind fan, do you buy this album? And if so, which version? Most of you will default to the CD set, but the four tracks chopped for the vinyl version are four of the least good, making it appear, at least to me, that the triple-LP is regarded as the 'real' version, the CD being produced for the sake of commercial restraints. I'm not sure I can actually fully recommend either version, with too many half-arsed takes (Brainstorm's Master Of The Universe, Marshan's Hurry On Sundown) or lumpen, straight copies (UK tribute Silver Machine's, er, Silver Machine, Spacehead's The Right Stuff), but it's an awful lot better than many similar efforts I've had the misfortune to hear, so if you love the original band enough to own thirty or more albums (not that difficult a feat), you may wish to add Daze öf the Undergröund to your collection, our one genuine 'Tron track merely being the icing on the not-that-tasty cake.

See: Hawkwind | Litmus | Spirits Burning | Circle

Disco Sound

'Disco Sound (Hits in Instrumentalfassung)'

Disco Sound (Hits in Instrumentalfassung)  (1978,  42.36)  **½/T

Gruppe "Kreis":
  Sie ist Immer Noch Allein
Puhdys:
  Alt Wie ein Baum
Stern-Combo Meißen:
  Der Alte auf der Müllkippe
Engerling:
  Mama Wilson
Orchester Hartmut Schulze-Gerlach:
  He, Kleine Linda
City:
  Am Fenster
4 PS:
  Ich Würde, Wenn ich Wüßte, Daß ich Könnte
Veronika Fischer & Band:
  Und Sprach Kein Wort
Gruppe "Excentra":
  Komm Doch

SBB:
  Nervöser Nikolaus

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

It's difficult to work out exactly what purpose 1978's East German various-artists collection Disco Sound (Hits in Instrumentalfassung) is supposed to serve. My cynical guess would be that since 'disco' was popular in the dissolute, capitalist West, Amiga reckoned that they might as well try to slip a little of that capitalist spirit past the Stasi and shift a few copies of a compilation with 'disco' in the title onto their unsuspecting public. It appears to consist of otherwise-unavailable material, going by Stern-Combo Meißen and SBB's contributions, although perhaps four of its ten tracks actually have any real four-to-the-floor action, amusingly including SBB's Nervöser Nikolaus. Best track? No contest: Stern-Combo Meißen's fab, synth-heavy Der Alte Auf Der Müllkippe, which would do very nicely as a bonus track on a future reissue of, say, Der Weite Weg.

Gruppe "Excentra"'s Johannes Schlecht plays an upfront Mellotron flute melody on their vaguely danceable Komm Doch, but that's it on the Mellotron front. Long out of print (of course), if you really must, you might be able to find this on download sites, which is where I, er, found it myself.

See: Stern-Combo Meissen | SBB

Down in a Mirror

'Down in a Mirror'

Down in a Mirror: A Second Tribute to Jandek  (2005,  77.27)  ***/T

Jeff Tweedy:
  Crack a Smile

Live Show Rabbits:
  You Painted Your Teeth
Eric Gaffney:
  The Dunes
Okkervil River:
  Your Other Man
Brother JT:
  Message to the Clerk
Six Organs of Admittance:
  I'll Sit Alone and Think Alot About You
Home for the Def:
  Cave in on You/European Jewel (incomplete)
The Marshmallow Staircase:
  Down in a Mirror
The Mountain Goats:
  White Box
George Parsons:
  Aimless Breeze
Lewis & Clarke:
  Nancy Sings
Jack Norton:
  Naked in the Afternoon
Rivulets:
  Sung
Makoto Kawabata:
  Babe I Love You
Wayside Drive:
  The Spirit
A Real Knife Head:
  Just Die
Ross Beach:
  Van Ness Mission
Multi Panel:
  I Found the Right Change
Dan Melchior:
  Babe I Love You
Pothole Skinny:
  You Painted Your Teeth
Dirty Projectors:
  With U Icon (an Homage)

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

When it comes to outsider musicians, Jandek (probably, but not definitely a.k.a. Sterling Richard Smith) possibly has your Wesley Willises and your Daniel Johnstons beaten hands down, if only on grounds of anonymity and prolificity (?). Prolificness? Whatever. I think a man who only began to play live twenty-five years into his career, having released well over thirty albums, is a pretty suitable candidate for a tribute album, so he gets two: 2000's Naked in the Afternoon and, five years later, Down in a Mirror.

The artists on the album (few of them well-known) tackle the material in a variety of styles, from straight sort-of-Americana to fairly 'out there' interpretations (possibly closer to the originals?), the more listenable to the non-fan including Wilco's Jeff Tweedy's Crack A Smile, Eric Gaffney's The Dunes and Okkervil River's Your Other Man, although I'll admit that list is relatively conservative (it's not often I'll admit to being a conservative anything, either). Tweedy adds a unison Mellotron string and flute line to Crack A Smile, although that's your lot on the tape-replay front. I can't honestly recommend this to anyone hoping to hear filthy great slabs of Mellotron, but fans of Jandek and/or some of the artists concerned may wish to splash out.

See: Wilco | Okkervil River

Dry Lungs

'Dry Lungs II'

Dry Lungs II  (1986,  45.09)  ***/T

Croiners:
  Untitled
Jeff Greinke:
  Uprising
Randy Greif:
  The Hole to Heaven
Monochrome Bleu:
  Ballerinas of Manaus
Tim Story:
  Untitled
Controlled Bleeding:
  Letters To The Life Cycle (Part 3)
Severed Heads:
  Clairaudience
If, Bwana:
  Beauty and the Beast
Un Drame Musical Instantané:
  French Resistance
Asmus Tietchens:
  Medienlandschaft 2
Jarboe:
  A Song in the Dark (excerpt)
Ybo²:
  Trash! Crash!

Hijoh Kaiden:
  Deschapelles Coup

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Paul Lemos of avant-noiseniks Controlled Bleeding compiled the Dry Lungs sets in the mid-'80s, involving like-minded musical experimentalists including Japanese lunatics Ybo² and members of Swans. Dry Lungs II was released on the Placebo label, its contents veering between Croiners' electronica, Jeff Greinke's ethno-experimentalism, the dark ambience of Swans' Jarboe, Ybo²'s manic jazz-insanity and the feedback frenzy of Hijoh Kaiden's Deschapelles Coup, rounding the set off appropriately.

Ybo² provide the set's one Mellotronic moment, with a skronky string part on the brief Trash! Crash! from Masashi Kitamura. This is long-unavailable, of course, although you'll find downloads if you look hard enough. I've also found Ybo²'s track added to a file of one of their full releases, should you only be interested in their contribution.

See: Swans | Ybo²

...E Tu Vivrai Nel Terrore

'...E Tu Vivrai Nel Terrore'

...E Tu Vivrai Nel Terrore  (1998,  156.58)  ****/T

Eugenio Mucci:
  Intro
Death SS:
  Ave Satani
Tenebre:
  Where Dreams and Nightmares
    Collide

Northwinds:
  Mask of Satan
Malombra:
  Devils
Akron:
  Il Mulino delle Donne di Pietra
Al Festa:
  Candles in the Night
Wounded Knee:
  Phenomena
Presence:
  The Exorcist
Iconae:
  Mater Tenebrarum
Sun Dial:
  Theme From Psychomania
God.Zilla:
  I Compagni di Baal
A Piedi Nudi:
  La Casa dalle Finestre Che
    Ridono

Standarte:
  Necropolis incl.Verso l'Ignoto

Claudio Simonetti:
  LV-426
Ars Nova:
  Ainsel
Lingam:
  Devo Ma Non Posso
Helden Rune:
  Nocturnal Voices
Humus:
  El Vampiro
Morte Macabre:
  Irrealtà di Suoni
Abiogenesi:
  Belfagor
Il Segno del Comando:
  Macabro Suite
Bevis Frond:
  Dead of Night
Somnambulist:
  Laudenam
Una Stagione all'Inferno:
  La Ballata di Carini
The Black:
  Suspiria et...
Nekropolis:
  The Curse of Tut-Anch-Amun
Mottorismus:
  Klub 99
Maethelyah:
  Outro

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

...E Tu Vivrai Nel Terrore is the excellent Black Widow label's 2-CD tribute to the whole Italian horror movie genre, with nearly 30 contributing artists, from the (relatively) well-known (Death SS, Sundial/Sun Dial, Bevis Frond) to "who they?" territory (Wounded Knee, Helden Rune, Nekropolis). Contributors have based their tracks on specific films (although most have steered clear of using music from the film), mostly Italian, although both the British and American genres are represented, too, with efforts such as Ken Russell's The Devils, Friedkin's overrated The Exorcist and Ridley Scott's Alien all honoured. Although most contributing artists are Italian, ArsnovaJapan), Sundial (UK) and Somnambulist (US) fly the flag for their respective countries, amongst others.

Unusually for a various artists project, the standard of music on ...E Tu Vivrai Nel Terrore is almost universally high, maybe because every band involved is 'pulling in the same direction', and the shared subject matter appears to be particularly inspirational. Highlights include Northwinds' almost NWOBHM-style hard rock epic, Mask Of Satan, Presence's The Exorcist, complete with samples from the film (a tactic avoided by most contributors) and A Piedi Nudi's La Casa Dalle Finestre Che Ridono. You'd be hard-pushed to find anything of unacceptably low quality anywhere in the set's 2½ hours, although The Black's Suspiria Et... is a little tedious, and the Bevis Frond's track, while perfectly good, is likely to be an acquired taste. And I haven't even mentioned the accompanying book... 80 A5 pages, with several essays on the subject in Italian and English, a detailed track-by-track run-through, including lineups and a resumé of each one's inspirational film, loads of pics, both artists and film stills...

Standarte are one of two credited Mellotron users here, with plenty of flutes,strings and choir on their track, Necropolis Incl.Verso l'Ignoto, while Swedes Morte Macabre's Irrealtà Di Suoni (also the bonus track on the vinyl version of their sole album, Symphonic Holocaust) features choirs and flutes from Niklas Berg (Anekdoten) and Reine Fiske (Landberk/Dungen); aren't those choirs heavily over-extended, chaps? I know you were using a real 'Tron, so I can only assume you used the technique I've also developed, where you take advantage of the fact that the male voices drop an octave ⅔ of the way up the keyboard, and you can effectively sustain the same note for ever? Anyway... Sundial's Theme From Psychomania has an uncredited cello part, though it's hard to tell whether or not it's 'Tron (given that they own one), and Abiogenesi's Belfagor has strings and choirs that sound like they're not only samples, but possibly not even of a Mellotron. Somnambulist (also 'Tron users, though whether real or not is unknown) are definitely using samples and The Black's choirs sound more like generic samples than anything, so it seems it's just the two tracks.

So; a somewhat dour listen, especially if you sit through the whole thing in one go (I didn't), but with this much quality music on one double CD, you really can't go too far wrong. Most of the tracks seem to be otherwise unavailable, too, so if you do that hardcore prog fandom thing, I rather suspect you're in need of a copy of this set. Not much 'Tron, but that's not why you'd buy it. Excellent.

See: Sundial | Standarte | Goblin | Arsnova | Morte Macabre | Abiogenesi | Il Segno del Comando | Bevis Frond | Somnambulist

Exult

'Exult1'

Exult1  (2015,  47.55)  ***½/T½

Throne of Galaktus:
  Disco Infernal
Zoltan:
  March of the Psyclos

Necro Deathmort:
  Furor Teutonicus
Grump:
  Despondent
Cremator:
  Alien Funeral

Throne of Galaktus:
  Dread Transmitter
Paul Catten:
  Bedwetter
Dead Fader:
  Lepflop

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

I believe the cunningly-titled Exult1 is the first release from cassette label Exult, a compilation of previously-unreleased tracks from the likes of Throne of Galaktus (Chrome Hoof/Cathedral/Guapo connections) and Necro Deathmort, not to mention Zoltan and Cremator, both featuring my brother Matt. The material ranges from Grump's filthy, rhythmless ultra-distorto guitar through Throne of Galaktus' two fucked-up space jams to Dead Fader's hissy electronica, with more synths than you can shake a stick at and next to no vocals. Although March Of The Psyclos is credited to Zoltan, it's actually Matt's demo for the end section of The Tall Man from our debut album, while Cremator's superbly-titled Alien Funeral sounds not unlike parts of Matt's first album under that name, all analogue bleeps and sequencer runs.

Matt plays my Mellotron on both of his contributions, with choir chords and discordant strings on March Of The Psyclos and a relatively brief pitchbent string part on Alien Funeral. All in all, then, a pretty decent collection of synth weirdness; think: 'a robot's nightmare' and you won't be too far off the mark. While the highly limited cassette version has long sold out, the music is still available from Bandcamp.

See: Zoltan | Cremator

A Fair Forgery of Pink Floyd  see: Samples

Festival Lagu Populer

'Festival Lagu Populer Tingkat Nasional VIII/'80'

Festival Lagu Populer Tingkat Nasional VIII/'80  (1980,  37.54)  *½/TTT

Bob Tutupoly:
  Symphony Yang Indah

Hetty Koes Endang:
  Pra
Geronimo V:
  Indahnya Musik Kami
Berlian Hutauruk:
  Kau, Dia, Aku
Marini:
  Senja Merah
Gito Rollies:
  Sederhana Tapi Nyata
Zwesty Wirabhuana:
  Mistery
Harvey Malaiholo:
  Surya Khatulistiwa
Melky Goeslow:
  Bulan di Atas Telaga

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

Indonesia's Festival Lagu Populer Tingkat Nasional (National Popular Song Festival) ran from 1973-91, its object being to find the song to represent the country in the World Pop Song Festival, which, although I've never previously heard of it, sounds like some hellish South-East Asian version of Eurovision. So, an Indonesian version of the UK's A Song for Europe, then? Just what the world needs, I'm sure. To absolutely no-one's surprise whatsoever, the music is utterly anodyne, cheesy, mainstream Western-sounding pop of the era, albeit sung in Indonesian. Are there any best tracks? No, of course there aren't. Worst? Er, all of it? Geronimo V's Indahnya Musik Kami is particularly bad, sounding like an unholy cross between Cliff Richard's Congratulations and open heart surgery, while Melky Goeslow's Bulan Di Atas Telaga made my eyes bleed. Does that give you some idea?

Given the obscurity of the location, my guess is that we're hearing the same Mellotron as used on the Harry Sabar Friends album of the previous year, not least due to its odd sound, kind of like and yet unlike a Mellotron, although I can't imagine what the hell else would make that sound at that point in time. Anyway, we get strings all over Bob Tutupoly's cheesy Symphony Yang Indah and Berlian Hutauruk's Kau, Dia, Aku (alongside string synth?), a mental flute part, plus strings on Marini's Senja Merah, strings and cellos on Zwesty Wirabhuana's Mistery and more strings on festival regular Harvey Malaiholo's Surya Khatulistiwa and Melky Goeslow's Bulan Di Atas Telaga. Do you need to hear this? Even for the Mellotron? You do not.

For a Few Guitars More  see: Samples

Freaked!

'Freaked! A Gotee Tribute to dcTalk's "Jesus Freak"'

Freaked! A Gotee Tribute to dcTalk's "Jesus Freak"  (2006,  60.10)  **½/0

The Showdown:
  So Help Me God
The Gotee Brothers with Ayiesha
  Woods & John Reuben:
  Colored People
4th Avenue Jones:
  Jesus Freak
Sarah Kelly:
  What if I Stumble?
House of Heroes:
  Day By Day
Grant Harrison:
  Mr. Tobin
Relient K:
  Between You and Me

Fighting Instinct:
  Like it, Love it, Need it
John Reuben & the Gotee
  Choir:
  Jesus Freak Reprise
Storyside:B:
  In the Light
Liquid:
  What Have We Become?
Family Force 5:
  Mind's Eye
The Gotee Brothers:
  The Gotee Brothers Interlude
Paul Wright & Ayiesha Woods:
  Between You and Me
Chasing Victory:
  Jesus Freak

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

For an outfit dubbed 'the most popular overtly Christian act of all time', I have to say, I've never heard of DC Talk/dc Talk/dcTalk. It seems they were a Christian hip-hop trio who slipped into a more pop/rock sound towards the end of their career. 2006's Freaked! A Gotee Tribute to dcTalk's "Jesus Freak" is what it says on the tin, a track-by-track reinterpretation of the original album, although not having actually, y'know, heard said opus, it's difficult for me to meaningfully compare the two. Actually, I have to say, going by not just the performances, but the songs themselves, I suspect it might be quite listenable, at least within its genre, although at an hour, it's considerably too long. The best tracks on the tribute disc are probably The Showdown's opener, So Help Me God, Fighting Instinct's Like It, Love It, Need It and, above all, Grant Harrison's amusing Mr. Tobin, a spoken-word piece standing in for the original album's Mrs. Morgan.

Relient K's Matthew Thiesen allegedly adds Mellotron to their take on Between You And Me, although I have no idea in what role, as it's completely inaudible. This isn't the most exciting tribute album you'll ever hear, but, despite its overtly Christian lyrics, it's actually very listenable in places, in a pop/rock kind of way. Not that good, but not awful, either, which is a nice surprise.

See: Relient K | TobyMac

Freezone

'Freezone'

Freezone (Seven is Seven is)  (2001,  125.32)  **/T

DJ Venom:
  Neon Dawn
Cibelle:
  Álcool

Fauna Flash:
  Coast to Coast
Sonar Lodge feat. Max 404:
  Celsius
Bigga Bush:
  Soulsisters
Landslide feat. Victor Davies:
  Tumbling (Land Mark mix)
Quant:
  Mahbah
Baby Mammoth:
  Frank's Angels (Tetris remix)
Juryman:
  East of Here
Sebo K vs. Kosma:
  El Niño
Robert Hood:
  And We Build
Kid Koala:
  Prelude and the Kiss
World of Apples:
  Prairie Oyster
Audiomontage vs. Shur-I-Kan:
  The Freezone
Ananda Project feat. Terrance Downs:
  Justice, Mercy
dZihan & Kamien:
  Nargileh
Detroit Escalator Company:
  Stitch
Tim "Love" Lee:
  Big Love Hunter
Companion feat. Nicola Hitchcock:
  All or Nothing
Burnt Friedman:
  Obscured By 5
Earthbound:
  Sleight of Hand
Nubian Mindz vs. Nu Era:
  Meeting of Mindz
Supadread:
  Smile

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

I believe 2001's Freezone (Seven is Seven is) is a 'mix album', a genre wholly unto itself, meaningless to most outsiders, consisting of mixes, remixes, re-remixes... Why not simply produce a new piece of music, guys? In fairness, I get the impression that a lot of this two-disc set is actually original material, while its twenty-plus tracks cover a lot of stylistic ground within the electronica field, almost certainly making this a good listen for genre fans.

Brazil's Apollo Nove doe his usual Mellotron thing on Cibelle's Álcool, further persuading me that he actually owns a real machine, although the strings on Juryman's East Of Here are presumably sampled. But do you actually need to hear this? Probably not, no.

See: Cibelle | Apollo Nove

Gainsnord

'Gainsnord: Serge's Songs Revisited By Bands From the Lowlands'

Gainsnord: Serge's Songs Revisited By Bands From the Lowlands  (2009,  56.17)  ***/T

Juicebox:
  Chatterton
Suarez:
  Sensuelle et Sans Suite
Eddy De Clercq Quartet:
  Sea, Sex and Sun (bossa 2009 mix)
Tom Barman & Guy Van Nueten:
  Le Poinçonneur des Lilas
Yaso:
  Requiem pour un Con
Leine:
  Ford Mustang
Liquid Spirits:
  Couleur Café
Marine Boréale:
  Une Chose Entre Autres
Zeker Weten:
  Hoe Moet Dat Nu (Shush Shush Charlotte)
Monsieur Dubois:
  Pauvre Lola
Saule:
  La Chanson de Prévert
Sioen:
  Initials BB
The Spinshots:
  Qui Est "in", Qui est "Out"
Benjamin Herman:
  Indian Hay
Lilli Mono:
  Comment Te Dire Adieu/Metra Tutino (Barbarella mix)

Janne Schra:
  Les Amours Perdues
Flux:
  Jane B.
West Hell 5:
  Je T'Aime... Moi Non Plus

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Serge Gainsbourg is yet another 'iconic' artist of whose work I am largely ignorant, mostly because it operates with a pre-rock'n'roll sensibility, which doesn't sit comfortably with my taste. Anyway, everyone says he's brilliant, so I'll have to take their word for it. 2009's Gainsnord: Serge's Songs Revisited By Bands From the Lowlands is pretty much what it says: Gainsbourg as played by Dutchmen. Any good? Well, the bulk of the material here probably doesn't sound too wildly different from the originals, so anyone expecting a Belgian gabba version of Melody Nelson should probably head elsewhere, although to where, I'm not entirely sure. More obviously listenable versions herein include Zeker Weten's reggae Hoe Moet Dat Nu (Shush Shush Charlotte), the all-out dub of Monsieur Dubois' Pauvre Lola and West Hell 5's Dylanesque take on the infamous Je T'Aime... Moi Non Plus.

Of all people, Paul Weller plays Mellotron on Benjamin Herman's Indian Hay, with background flutes and occasional upfront strings, although you can also hear the flutes on the following track, Lilli Mono's Comment Te Dire Adieu/Metra Tutino (Barbarella Mix); whether or not Weller's responsible can only be a matter for conjecture, however. Anyway, one for Serge fans who'd like to hear a slightly different slant on their hero's work or Wellerites who have to have everything.

See: Paul Weller

Give the People What We Want  see: Samples

Great Jewish Music

'Great Jewish Music: Burt Bacharach'

Great Jewish Music: Burt Bacharach  (1997,  86.26)  ***/T

Wayne Horvitz:
  Close to You
Marc Ribot:
  Don't Go Breaking My Heart
Dave Douglas:
  Wives and Lovers
Guy Klucevsek:
  Who Gets the Guy?/This Guy's in Love With You
Kramer:
  Walk on By
Erik Friedlander:
  Promises, Promises
Joey Baron:
  Alfie
Zeena Parkins:
  Freefall
Marc Ribot Ensemble:
  Don't Go Breaking My Heart
Fred Frith:
  Trains and Boats and Planes
Medeski Martin & Wood:
  Do You Know the Way to San Jose

Elliott Sharp:
  The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Marie McAuliffe:
  I Say a Little Prayer
Mike Patton:
  She's Gone Away
Lloyd Cole & Robert Quine:
  I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself
Anthony Coleman/Selfhaters:
  A House is Not a Home
Yuka Honda & Sean Lennon:
  The Look of Love
Shelley Hirsch:
  What's New Pussycat
Bill Frisell:
  What the World Needs Now is Love
Eyvind Kang:
  I Took My Strength From You (I Had None)
'Great Jewish Music: Jacob do Bandolim'

Great Jewish Music: Jacob do Bandolim  (2004,  52.37)  ***½/½

Cyro Baptista:
  Noites Cariocas
Ben Perowsky:
  Perolas
Rob Burger, Mauro Refosco:
  Assanhado

Rashanim:
  Reminiscenscias
Anat Cohen:
  Migalhas de Amor
Pharoah's Daughter:
  Sapeca
Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz:
  Santa Morena
Davka:
  Receita de Samba
2 Foot Yard:
  Falta-Me-Voce
Tim Sparks:
  Sempre Teu
Carol Emanuel:
  Mimosa
Jamie Saft:
  Ciumento

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

Avant-gardener John Zorn's NYC-based Tzadik Records are chiefly dedicated to releasing experimental music in a variety of hues, which isn't to say that everything they release is in the avant-garde line. A subset of their Radical Jewish Culture series, Great Jewish Music, seeks to reinterpret the catalogues of various famous Jewish musicians, alive and dead, artists covered to date including Serge Gainsbourg and Marc Bolan.

1997's two-disc Burt Bacharach targets a fairly obvious recipient of the honour, in, to be blunt, a fairly obvious manner, most of the twenty versions of Saint Burt's work here being deconstructions of his trademark style. Erik Friedlander's almost-avant take on Promises, Promises is fairly low-key compared to some of the tracks to come, not least Joey Baron's Alfie, reinterpreted as a drum solo, for reasons known only to himself. I don't like to be down on inventive covers, but a good few of the contributions are simply hard work. One Mellotron track, with Medeski Martin & Wood's John Medeski's typically skronky, distorted string and flute parts on Do You Know The Way To San Jose.

A less widely-known recipient of Tzadik's patronage is Brazil's Jacob do Bandolim, "Mandolin Jacob", born Jacob Pick Bittencourt. Bandolim (who died in 1969) was a master of the indigenous choro style, a Brazilian form of jazz, which might not, you might think, immediately lend itself to the radical New York treatment, but Great Jewish Music: Jacob do Bandolim actually works rather well, although most of the participants stick fairly closely to Bandolim's original template. The two glaring exceptions are Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz' avant-metal take on Santa Morena and Jamie Saft's detuned upright piano take on Ciumento that closes the album. Perversely, Blumenkranz' piece is one of my favourite tracks here, along with the gentle Sapeca (beautiful tonalities) and Tim Sparks' guitar piece, Sempre Teu. Rob Burger adds Chamberlin flutes to his and Mauro Refosco's Assanhado, although that seems to be it on the tape-replay front. Overall, this is less an album for fans of Tzadik's approach and more one for those looking to expand their knowledge of South American music, without wishing to dive straight into hearing the originals (there are plenty of Bandolim titles available on CD). Good, yet strangely inessential.

Bacharach Online

Instituto Jacob do Bandolim

Tzadik

See: Marc Ribot | Kramer | Zeena Parkins | Fred Frith | Medeski Martin & Wood | Cibo Matto | Sean Lennon | Cyro Baptista | Rob Burger | Jamie Saft


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