Member Since: 7/1/2005
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Other Mixes By abangaku

CD | Rock - Prog-Rock/Art Rock
CD | Theme - Road Trip

Phenomenana America

Artist Song Buy
Adolph Hofner  Happy Go Lucky Polka (2:56)  buy on itunes
Bob Dylan & The Band  Million Dollar Bash (2:35)  buy on itunes
William Winant Percussion Group  Fugue (3:46)  buy on itunes
Philip Glass Ensemble  Resource (6:39)  buy on itunes
John Cale  Caravan (6:43)  buy on itunes
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band  Moonlight On Vermont (3:59)  buy on itunes
Xtatika  Taking The Angel (5:25)  buy on itunes
Sharon Burch  Mother Earth (2:57)  buy on itunes
The Microphones  Solar System (3:38)  buy on itunes
University of Illinois Musical Ensemble, cond. John Garvey  Visions Fill The Eyes Of A Defeated Basketball Team In The Shower Room (4:22)  buy on itunes
Neil Young & Crazy Horse  Danger Bird (6:54)  buy on itunes
Murvyn Vye  Blow High, Blow Low (1:25)  buy on itunes
Tom Waits  Gospel Train (4:45)  buy on itunes
Charles Bukowski  I Was Born To Hustle Roses Down The Avenues Of The Dead (3:22)  buy on itunes
Jean Ritchie  Black Waters (4:09)  buy on itunes
The Western Wind Vocal Ensemble w/ Robert Maloney  Mexico Fell√°heen (4:16)  buy on itunes
They Might Be Giants  Mr. Me (1:52)  buy on itunes
Mr. Bungle  Sweet Charity (5:05)  buy on itunes
Albert Ayler  Love Cry (3:55)  buy on itunes


If my previous mix "American Tunes" was America's ego, this is its id. Whereas the other one was organized strictly by subject, this one is uncompromisingly compiled by mood. "American Tunes" might as well be wrapped up in the Stars and Stripes; "Phenomenana America" (no artists in common) might not have ever seen it.

The working title for this one was "The New Old, Weird America", and the idea for it is indebted to several books along the way: in addition to Greil Marcus's The Old, Weird America (about the "world" of Bob Dylan and The Band's Basement Tapes, from which the archetypal "Million Dollar Bash" is drawn) the literary inspirations include Robert M. Pirsig's classic philoso-folksy American travelogue, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance; The Starship and the Canoe, Kenneth Brower's dual biography of the 20-year-old treehouse denizen George Dyson, who, thanks to his self-built monster canoe, considered the entire Pacific Northwest coast his home, and of his barrier-breaking astronomer father, Freeman Dyson; and one of my personal all-time favorites (doomed to languish in ridicule, I'm sure), W. Haden Blackman's The Field Guide To North American Monsters. We're far, far away from the White House lawn and the Capitol's hallowed steps; this is an America that's seems as if it's existed in the land longer than anyone can remember.

Take the example of Harry Partch, composer of the modestly titled "Visions Fill The Eyes Of A Defeated Basketball Team In The Shower Room", and in many ways the perfect Phenomenana America symbol. At first manifestation merely the crotchetiest of old men, he had the creative credentials to back up his eternal railing. Insisting on working in a 43-note scale of his own design, he spent years literally bumming around America before anyone would take him seriously enough to record his music, which requires not only an all-new collection of instruments (his autobiography Genesis of a Music contains detailed instructions for transforming an ordinary piano into a "Chromelodeon") but, as it was always a sticking point for Partch that music had lost its ancient, essential sense of ritual, a full-scale theatrical production for each piece. His liner notes to "Visions Fill The Eyes"'s source album/ballet, The Bewitched, are filled with barbs out of the blue; the (wordless) predecessor to "Visions" on the album is even titled "A Soul Tormented By Contemporary Music Finds A Humanizing Alchemy"!

... Well, that's what Phenomenana America trades in; and of all my mixes the spirit of this one is the hardest to describe: America's dark recesses, perhaps. We have a modern Native American song, "Mother Earth", from the beautifully titled Yazzie Girl album; "Black Waters", a modern Appalachian folk tune with lyrics that could be out of Lovecraft; the brilliantly disorganized alto sax paean/glossolalic chant "Love Cry" from visionary saxman/Coltrane worshipper Albert Ayler, the black sheep of 60's jazz; and two tracks that find quite the spiritual home in the Pacific Northwest, the Microphones' "Solar System" from an album, Mount Eerie, named after a hill that seemed to have a practical 2001-monolith-type effect on Microphones leader Phil Elvrum, and the all-percussion "Fugue" by one Lou Harrison, spiritual kin of George Dyson, percussionistic kin of Partch, and beatitudinal kin of the Jack Kerouac who wrote the lyrics to "Mexico Felláheen". ... "Taking The Angel" seems as well like a slow, possibly perverted witches' prayer in a midnight forest; why the original version of Xtatika, comprising Diamanda Galas-alike singer Haena Kim and three Korean percussionists, split up after recording only one album, the totally unique Tongue Bath, must puzzle even the American folk gods, and perhaps Harry Partch in heaven, too.


Date: 9/19/2005
very interesting!
p the swede
Date: 9/21/2005
yes, very impressive
Date: 1/20/2006
I'm really down with this idea and content, now I have to check out it's companion!

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