Sunday, March 03, 2024

Abstract Natural: 3 Phases of Damo Suzuki

Can - Paperhouse (WDR 1971)

Let's March with the first missive of the month, fittingly made in tribute to a kind of itinerant musical mover that parachuted from city to city, spreading his message of The Eternal Now in which we all, like it or not, must dwell.

I met him once, or should I say he met me? Back in 2009, I think it was.

A friend/musical cohort and I were sitting around with The Devil's Lettuce one day and saw online he was gonna play in a few hours, not two miles from our Oaklandish-ish location.

We got down to the venue in about the time it took for me to type that last sentence, only to find we were early and the thing was just being set up. It was inside this sort of hardwood gymnasium, ringed by basketball hoops, in a school as I remember it.

Everyone filed in and a long table was set up for our hero to sign autographs and so forth. My friend and I stood off to the side, watching the queue go by.

Notoriously accessible as he was, once the line was gone and everybody had their stuff signed, he pointed right at my buddy and I and motioned for us to join him at the table.

We did a sort of classic "Moi?", dumbfounded as to why he wanted to talk to us. It took years for me to understand what he was up to, but in the moment he grabbed a poster and signed it to me whilst asking what brought us out to see the show.
Autographs and celebrity hunting aren't really my bag, but this remains the only time in 57 years of life that a famous person has ever insisted on giving me theirs.

When I was researching this post, I came across an interview with him from the 2000s, where he goes into the way he tries to personally vibe an audience before a gig, and how speaking with the people who come to see him informs the content and tonality of his improvisation throughout the concert.

Decades before that day -- and nearly 55 years ago now -- this man, by pure hippie happenstance, was afforded the opportunity to join an up-and-coming German band called Can, whose rhythm section saw him performing on the street and asked him, right off the strasse, along to sing on their show that very night.

Once informed there would be zero rehearsal, he improvised with them for the next four nights at the club in 
Köln at which they were then booked. The rest, as we know, is pretty essential music history that all kids should be taught about in the classroom, and not just in the gymnasium.

He stuck around with them for three world-altering years, before taking a 10-year break to start a family and then -- in the mid-1980s -- embarking on a career odyssey that saw him sitting in with a different band in almost every city on Earth, flying hither and yon to announce his gospel of emotional immediacy coupled with a trademark, mystifying abstraction.

Kenji Suzuki -- whom the world shall ever know as, simply, Damo -- is gone now, from the colon cancer he battled for a decade before succumbing a few weeks ago at 74.

His physical body notwithstanding, an astounded appreciation for the vocal dexterities he possessed -- as widely imitated across all popular music today as any vocalist of our lifetimes -- will be passed along to future generations and be a part of this world long after everyone we currently know, including ourselves, is dead.

So this one's for Damo, whose entire, pulsating being was a living masterclass of The Moment.

3 Phases of Damo Suzuki

"Soundtrack Sequel"
on film, radio & TV

01 The Inner Space/One (Inner Space 1972)
02 Mother Sky (WDR 1970)
03 Deadlock (WDR 1970)
04 Halleluwah (WDR 1971)
05 Paperhouse (WDR 1971)
06 I'm Too Leise (Inner Space 1972)
07 Vitamin C (Inner Space 1972)
08 Bring Me Coffee Or Tea (Inner Space 1972)
09 untitled improvisation (BBC 1973)
10 One/Shikako Maru Ten (Inner Space 1972)

Total time: 1:19:54

Damo Suzuki - vocals & percussion
Irmin Schmidt - keyboards
Holger Czukay - bass
Michael Karoli - guitar
Jaki Leibezeit - drums

Tracks 01-08 & 10: assorted TV & film segments, 1970-72
individually remastered by EN from the best available sources, February 2024
Track 09: recorded for the BBC @ Paris Theatre, London UK 1973
unknown gen off-air cassette capture remastered by TomP in 2020, with additional +2dB volume boost by EN, February 2024
465 MB FLAC/link below

Munich, Germany 

01 Keine Python
02 Radio Belfue
03 Serial Number
04 Shadogs
05 For Munich -- Improvisation
06 Beside the Light
07 Distant Drums
08 SO 36
09 Watch On My Head
10 Sunday Morning
11 I See Your Smile
12 closing jam

Total time: 1:14:11

Damo Suzuki - vocals & percussion
Dominik Von Senger - guitars
Rike Gratt - bass
Matthias Keul - keyboards
Olek Gelba - percussion
Reiner Linke - percussion
Stefan Krachten - drums
Wolfgang Schubert - saxophones

master off-air FM cassette from analog cable
edited, declipped & retracked -- with 1st 5 tracks boosted +2dB to match remainder -- by EN, February 2024
cover thumbnail drawing by Damo
489 MB FLAC/link below

Damo Suzuki & Jelly Planet
Burg Herzberg Festival 2002
Hof Huhnstadt
Hessen, Germany

01 introduction/Damo+JP I
02 Damo+JP II
03 Damo+JP III
04 Damo+JP IV

Total time: 49:44

Damo Suzuki - vocals & percussion
Alex Schoenert - guitars
Stephan Hendricks - keyboards
Felix Gutierrez - bass
Jens Kuechenthal - drums

alleged to be a MiniDisc capture from the soundboard, but there's no evidence of MD lineage I can see
this music is 100% spontaneously composed
edited & slightly remastered by EN, February 2024
direct link to folder with all 3 phases of Damo

I worked for days spiffing these shows up -- the (oh my, it's impossibly killer) 1985 set was taped 39 years ago today! -- and I meticulously created the Can volume from scratch as its own kind of monster movie, so if Damo is your guy this post has you written all over, up and down and across it.

I shall return soon with a monumental measure of March music madness, but I had pull out a few stops to say farewell to Damo Suzuki, who was as nice to me for the five minutes we spoke as any major figure has ever been.
And whose life, beyond that mere five minutes, left an indelible mark that will never fade. Farewell, but not goodbye... because as long as humans have a sincere song to sing, Damo can never die. {{{cries}}}--

1.16.1950 - 2.9.2024

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Leap Into T. Marrow


Ice T - Ricochet

The extra day brings extra flavor to February, as we close out Black History Month with a bang.

I don't do nearly enough Hip-Hop so for today we will time machine back to the Golden Age, when LA rap was rising ramping up to the riots in 1992.

He may play the police on television now, but there was a time when the roles were very much reversed.

Probably the alpha/omega figure for the late 1980s Los Angeles rap scene when the genre was just beginning to dominate the world, it was when he went Punk Rock that the authorities really got in a twist.

When his rock band hit in the early 1990s and he added that ensemble to his arsenal of artistic weapons, he got into the crosshairs of the Culture War machine in a big way.

They were called Body Count, and their song Cop Killer really got the authoritarians way up in their feelings, even though it was just a song on a record.

The authoritarians really had it in for Hip-Hop back when it was unhomogenized.

Here's a wild set from the East Coast from during that time, really well captured too. Which is sadly not the norm for most ROIOs of this kind of music, all too rare as they are.

This set features Ice-T -- born Tracy Marrow 66 years and a couple of weeks ago -- at the height of his powers doing the rap thing and the rock thing.

Unfortunately, the security for the show gets out of hand during the second portion so he quits the stage midway through the Body Count segment, before they can play the controversial track.
Fortunately, before that happens he makes it through almost 74 minutes of prime aggression and mosh pit mayhem.
Capitol Theatre
Port Chester, New York USA

01 intro
02 Ricochet
03 You Played Yourself
04 High Rollers
05 I'm Your Pusher
06 Ice talk
07 Girls L.G.B.N.A.F.
08 Ice talk
09 The Iceberg
10 Power
11 6 'N the Mornin'
12 Drama
13 Peel Their Caps Back
14 Ice talk
15 O.G. Original Gangsta
16 Ice talk
17 New Jack Hustler
18 Colors
19 Ice talk
20 Body Count intro
21 Body Count's In the House
22 Body Count Anthem/band introductions
23 Bowels of the Devil
24 KKK Bitch

Total time: 1:13:38

Ice-T (Tracy Marrow) – vocals
DJ Evil E (Eric Garcia) - turntables & vocals
Afrika Islam - vocals
Sean E. Sean – sampler & vocals
Sean E. Mac (Sean Thomas) – vocals
Body Count (Tracks 21-24):
Ernie C (Ernie Cunnigan) – guitars
D-Roc the Executioner (Dennis Miles) - guitars
Beatmaster V (Victor Ray Wilson) – drums
Lloyd "Mooseman" Roberts III – bass & vocals

1st gen DAT from the soundboard
recorded, edited and remastered by RB in 2020
slightly edited, volume adjusted and retracked -- with beginning of show somewhat repaired and reconstructed -- by EN, February 2024
423 MB FLAC/direct link

I'll be right back on Sunday, with a big anniversary tribute to a recently fallen icon.

But before I did that, I wanted to utilize Leap Year to jump on this Ice-T anniversary special from The Golden Age of Hip-Hop, one of only three of 13,000 concerts I have that was recorded on February 29th!--J.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Rest In Bass: Family Leave

We'll midpoint the weekend with another passing, including a tasty related bonus concert because I felt like it.

Because a couple of days into February, we lost a Reggae icon for the ages.

Far more than just "Bob Marley's bass player," in fact.
Truth be told, without this guy, Bob probably doesn't have the goods all sewn up and arranged to take over the world like he did, when the opportunity presented itself.

Because in essence, this guy was Bob's right hand man and the person responsible, as Wailers musical director, for the arrangements of all of dude's songs.

When the CIA decided it was time for Bob to go, his legacy was largely left to be carried on by today's dearly departed hero.

The Wailers carried on for several decades after 1981, with Aston Barrett -- famously called "Family Man" -- evolving into a global Reggae ambassador.

It's no exaggeration to say that the position of the bass in Reggae -- arguably the central instrument in the music -- owes in extremely large part to Fams.

In fact, you could say that every person who's ever picked up the bass since he came on the scene owes some sort of cosmic debt to Aston Barrett.

That's a mighty impressive shadow to leave upon your departure.

Anyway here he is, leading those mighty Wailers through their first performance in Jamaica after Bob died.

The Wailers
Jamaica World Music Festival
Bob Marley Performing Arts Center
Montego Bay, Jamaica

01 Marching Through Creation
02 Well Pleased
03 Preacher Man
04 My Friend
05 Rastaman Vibration
06 Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)
07 Redemption Song
08 Exodus

Total time: 42:57

Aston "Family Man" Barrett - bass
Carlton "Carly" Barrett - drums
Junior Marvin - guitar & vocals
Denval Darrick - guitar
Tyrone Downie - keyboards
Earl “Wya” Lindo - organ
Alvin "Seeco" Patterson - percussion
The I-Threes (Marcia Griffiths, Rita Marley & Judy Mowatt) - vocals
with The Zap Pow horns:
Glen DaCosta - saxophones
David Madden - trumpet
Stephen Marley - additional vocals on Exodus

master soundboard cassette, transferred & mastered by Charlie Miller, 2011
slightly edited for dead air, denoised and retracked -- with volume boosted +1 dB throughout -- by EN, February 2024
250 MB FLAC/direct link

You'll notice that I've placed another treat into the folder -- recorded 16 years ago today, actually --  which I felt was relevant to Family Man, Bob Marley and Black History Month.

This would be Sonoma State University Professor of Reggae Harrison Stafford's tribute project --  which I think delivers the Wailers vibe as well as anything out there in this century -- falling like petals on Petaluma in 2008, turning in a smokin' two-hours-and-change set of BM&TW album tracks.

I shall return midweek with some more BHM bombshells, you can bet your last money on it like Don Cornelius would say.

But before that happens I wanted to make sure I got a proper tribute in to Aston "Family Man" Barrett -- his friends called him Fams -- and commemorate both his passing and his eternal contribution to the music of our age.--J.

11.22.1946 - 2.3.2024