So this one is a little different in that it marks the recent passing of two key musical figures Mark Stewart and Ahmad Jamal. There is a selection of music from across both their careers by way of tribute. In between there are new releases from Ramdat, Dead Sea Apes, Legless Trials, Hashishian, Massimo Magee, and Seven Rivers of Fire, plus some live Van Der Graaf Generator, and newish Manchester band Threads who have a Fall connection. As usual the emphasis is on music which doesn’t fit neatly in any contrived genre box.
I will not take up your time with lengthy comments about Mark or Ahmad, suffice to say they were highly individual artists who broke the mould, the music should speak for itself
Mark Stewart And The Maffia – Radio Freedom – Kiss The Future
Ahmad Jamal – Milan – Rossiter Road
Ramdat – Into Storm – Maat Mons
Ramdat formed as a trio of guitar, saxophone and drums in Spring 2016 exploring their wide variety of influences to create an abstract combination of out rock, jazz, ambient and experimental music.
A year later they started performing as a quartet with the addition of keyboards, expanding their sound and they currently operate as a trio or quartet, depending on the circumstances. As of now they have four records released (two studio and two live recordings) and theyhave just released their next studio record “Maat Mons” on Ramble Records.
The quartet combines jazz rock, punk, groove, free improvisation and ambience on this new release that culminates in an immersive deep space experience and will sit nicely in a collection next to King Crimson, Larry Coryell, Sun Ra, Herbie Hancock, and Miles’ electric era.
The Pop Group – We Are All Prostitutes – For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder
Ahmad Jamal – Theme From M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) – Night Song
Dead Sea Apes – Dead Zone – Rewilding
Dead Sea Apes are back with a passion to deliver their most essential and cohesive album to date. Formed in 2009, they have become a fixture of the modern-day psych scene, sharing stages with the likes of Part Chimp, The Heads, Acid Mothers Temple and Mugstar while producing a distinctive body of work, ranging from psychedelic punk to experimental dub, from freeform jams to constructions of loops and drones. Following a slew of collaborations and split releases, Rewilding sees them return to a ‘power trio’ of Brett Savage (guitar), Jack Toker (bass) and Chris Hardman (drums). The album is unrelenting, taking in blown-out guitar wails and jet black psych noise while the irrepressible rhythm section moves from claustrophobic motorik beats to a thunderous rolling juggernaut. The album is released by Cardinal Fuzz (UK/Europe) and Feeding Tube Records (USA) as an edition of 750 on black vinyl on 28th April 2023
Mark Stewart – The Lunatics Are Taking Over The Asylum – Kiss The Future
Ahmad Jamal – Ghetto Child – Jamaica
Legless Trials – Run Naked – I Wanna Do Me / Run Naked (Single)
Hashishian – Let Us Reason – Weedian 420
Hashishian is a mysterious Meditative Psych/Doom/Stoner Metal band that travels through the same riff-filled land of UFOMAMMUT, OM, SLEEP and HAWKWIND. This track is taken from their 2022 Debut album.
Mark Stewart and the Maffia – Learning To Cope WIth Cowardice
Ahmad Jamal Trio – I Love Music – The Awakening
Massimo Magee – Membrane – duo with Thomas Milovac – Networking
The album that became Networking started out on 20 December 2020, when, in one day, Magee recorded a series of alto saxophone solos whilst thinking of particular musical friends and collaborators. The atmosphere of continuing pandemic-induced isolation from group music-making was weighing on his mind and he resolved to do something about it through the most powerful tool available to him at the time: the internet. Each of the solos he recorded was intended for its specific recipient. After a short solo statement to mark the departure point, the tracks explore a progressively broadening approach to the possibilities of the alto saxophone as instrument/object across their span, with a brief solo coda to close the loop (and then some). The resulting music has something to say about the importance of musical communication even in trying circumstances, and the inextinguishable imperative to keep striving to push exploratory music into new realms of possibility, no matter the difficulties.
The Pop Group – Trap – We Are Time
Ahmad Jamal – The Gypsy – Live In Marciac, August 5th 2014
Seven Rivers of Fire – They Are Calling/Exodus – Way Of The Pilgrim
At the forefront of the burgeoning experimental psych scene in South Africa, and after the success of the double LP ‘Hail Star of the Sea’, Seven Rivers of Fire continues to inspire and impress.
Way of the Pilgrim is a gorgeous and haunting slab of experimental, devotional fingerstyle freak-folk drone that would suit fans of Six Organs, Jack Rose, Robbie Basho and Sunburned Hand of the Man. Limited copies available on recycled gatefold card.
The Pop Group – Amnesty Report – We Are Time
Ahmad Jamal – Children of the Night – ‘73
Van Der Graaf Generator – When She Comes (Live Amsterdam 2005-remastered 2022) – Interference Patterns (originally on the Real Time Album)
Threads – Primitive Cinema
Brought to my attention by John Warmisham. Their drummer is Paul Hanley (no not that one, but his son, the elder Paul mixed and mastered the track however) – emerged around three years ago. The influences are pretty obvious. Apparently very good live according to John. It only seemed sensible to follow this and conclude the show with
The Fall – Solicitor In Studio – Solicitor In Studio
One of those cobbled together live albums which plague Fall completists – a track from Room To Live originally – this one is either from New York or Dallas on the 1983 US tour – I could work out which but I can’t be bothered digging out the bootleg original discs. One of the few tracks in existence in the wide world of music, if not the only one, which mentions barking mad TV Scientist Magnus Pyke (you have to be a certain age to understand that reference!). Paul senior is on this one and I think may well be playing keyboards rather than drums? Notably played a year earlier at the end of Granada TV News – although disappointingly cut short. Terrible artwork!