Recent Vinyl Rotation: In here, out there!

In the last weeks, the weather has been alternating between being super sunny and laid back, wild stormy rain falls and challenging temperatures. Laid back, mellow, wild and challenging: my latest vinyl rotation reflects all of that.

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Afrodyssey Orchestra (2016, Altercat Recordings)

Afrodyssey Orchestra is an instrumental ensemble based in Athens, Greece and features seven members from very diverse musical backgrounds. The album incorporates those backgrounds and delivers a beautiful blend of Jazz, West African percussion and traditional music, Funk, Psych and Greek music culture. There are several traditional Greek and African pieces re-invented here. Tenor and Alto saxophone and prominent percussion lead us through this highly enjoyable Jazz and World Music hybrid. The lovingly made die-cut cover fits the vibe of this limited release perfectly.

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Amon Düül II – Wolf City (1972, United Artist Recordings)

This might be Amon Düül II’s most well known and consistent album – but it is a Krautrock monster nevertheless.
“Surrounded By Stars” is a furious introduction and features Renate Knaups quite out of tune singing, which adds to the atmosphere of the record. “Jail-House Frog” and “Deutsch Nepal” are the more experimental tunes on here, the latter having quite bizarre spoken words performed by the actor Rolf Zacher.
“Wie Der Wind am Ende Einer Strasse” and “Sleepwalker’s Timeless Bridge” feature some Indian influences and contrast the more wild parts of the record perfectly.
Even though the songs feel less improvised than the songs they made before, the experimental and creative qualities of the band make this album one of my favorites in their discography.

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Clear Light – Clear Light (1967, Elektra)

This is the only studio album the L.A.based psychedelic rock band Clear Light ever released. Being label mates of The Doors, they could have had a great career in front of them, but for some reason, it did not work out. The record alternates between mellow, almost pop like psychedelic pieces and more dark and rough tunes, with “Sand” and “Street Singer” being my favorites, as well as the more experimental, spoken word version of Tom Paxton’s Folk song “Mr. Blue”.
The band created a great Psychedelic album here and with two leading drummers on the songs, a unique atmosphere is created.

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Michael White – Spirit Dance (1972, Impulse!)

Michael White is a Jazz violinist and worked together with Pharoah Sanders on “Thembi” before releasing this album, his first on Impulse!. With spiritual and free vibes, this record fits the Impulse! catalog perfectly. While the first tracks are really calm, harmonic and composed – with prominent percussion – on “John Coltrane Was Here” and “Ballad For Mother Frankie White” free form and dissonance break through. “Unlocking The Twelfth House” builds up a very eerie vibe which shows the versatility of Whites violin play. The album ends in the most adorable way: White is singing on the last track together with his two daughters. Since I just have a few Jazz violin records in my collection, this one is a superb addition.

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Brian Eno – Another Green World (1975, Island Records)

I have mentioned my obsession with Brian Eno before, and this album is definitely an essential in my books. It is the third solo album Eno made after leaving Roxy Music and it is foreshadowing the trademark style his future recordings will possess, being way more ambient than its predecessors. This album burst with creativeness and it has not lost it freshness in the 42 years after its release. If you listen to “The Big Ship”, it is even more incredible that this was made in 1975 – it is a beautifully layered and transcendental ambient tune which is guaranteed to give you goosebumps. Well, at least I get them every time.
“Sky Saw” is a killer introduction, with a badass sawing groovy bass played by Percy Jones and fantastic drum play by Phil Collins. I read somewhere that it sounds like the alien machines from War Of The Worlds got together and founded a heavy Funk band, and this is absolutely fitting. Eno’s Art Rock qualities still shine through on terrific tracks like “I Come Running”, with the chorus “I come running to tie your shoes” being a prime example of Enos adorable playful lyrics.

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Fill Qui Mousse – Trixie Stapleton 291 (1970-1973/ 2013 Monster Melodies Records)

Fill Qui Mousse were a Psychedelic Underground band from France, active from 1970-1972 and lead by Henri-Jean Enu, with him being the only consistent member since their cast changed a lot throughout the three years. This album was never released back then, even though they were signed to Futura – the label went bankrupt before the album was released.
In 1994 this album surfaced due to a CD release, and thankfully this unique piece of the “French Faust” is now also available on vinyl. The first and the last track on the album are captivating Psychedelic Space Jazz rock gems and sheath the really avant-garde and experimental tracks in between: you have sawing violins, spoken words performed by a female voice being accompanied by dog barking, field recordings, minutes of unidentifiable noises, free piano play and other obscurities there. This makes this a truly far-out and intriguing record.

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McCoy Tyner – Atlantis (1972, Milestone)

This is another stellar outlet of the McCoy Tyner quintet. It was live recorded at the Keystone Korner in San Franciso and features Azar Lawrence on tenor saxophone and soprano saxophone, Joony Booth on bass, Wilby Fletcher on drums and Guilherme Franco on percussion. Besides some interpretations of Duke Ellington and Guy Wood, Tyner presents some unique and fresh sounding originals, such as the side-long title track. The harmony between Tyners sometimes even furious piano play and Lawrence mesmerizing sax play adds a spiritual quality to the record which makes it stand out.

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Frankenstein’s Ballet (2014, Toztizok Zoundz)

The German group Frankenstein’s Ballet consists of the members of a theatric ensemble, while some members have played and toured with Krautrock greats like Embryo and Damo Suzuki.
The Krautrock influence is very prominent on this experimental, avant-garde and ambient record: spacey electronics meet fuzzy heavy guitars, while distorted and bizarre vocals add to the trippy atmosphere. If you are into the more heavy Krautrock experiments, this might be right up your alley.

And last but not least I would like to present the perfect picture disc ever made:

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Audio88 – Sternzeichen Hass (2017, Normale Musik)
I am not a picture disc fan at all, but this fortune cookie plate is the most creative one I have ever seen. Audio88 is a German Hip Hop artist, and one of the few Hip Hop artists that get a spin here nowadays. It’s not that I am not listening to Hip Hop anymore, I still love the old stuff, but there are rarely new released that captivate me.
With lyrics thick with irony and dark humor while talking about socially and politically relevant themes as well as fitting heavy beats, this record just hits a nerve.

Check out the needle drops of the records above in the video below:

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