Archive for December, 2008

Got To Get Over the Hump Day (Searching Galaxies Far & Wide For Funky Remedies)

Posted in Art, Music, Photos on December 31, 2008 by trapperKeeper

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Last night I partook in some electronic music.  Some of it was good and some of it didn’t know what it wanted to be confusing noise for music; button pushing and knob twisting for variety.  The Bass was not properly brought last night.  That is of the time called past, so lets leave to the year of last.  Interspersed throughout are more touched up photos.

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Previously, I posted a track off of Neco’s Star Wars & Other Galactic Funk (1977).  A disco-funked out cinematic score perfect for the boner pill popping populace Pzifer imagines us to be.  Add epicness to your commute just by plugging in.  It is perfect easy listening for another “rockin” new years eve with wheelchair ground bound Dick Clark.  Get ready for blast-0ff America!  To where?  To the bottom.

Here are the facts, courtesy of allmusic.com, about the man behind the moniker Meco.

Producer and studio musician Meco marked a confluence of the two dominant pop-culture preoccupations of the late ’70s, shooting to fame on the heels of a chart-topping disco rendition of the theme to Star Wars. Born Meco Monardo in Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania in 1939, he took up the trombone at the age of nine, and later earned a scholarship to the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. There Meco formed a jazz trio with fellow students Chuck Mangione and Ron Carter, later enlisting with the West Point Army Band. From 1965 to 1974, Meco worked as a studio player, and also landed a number of arranging gigs, most notably on Tommy James’ “Crystal Blue Persuasion.” He additionally arranged and performed the music on a series of television commercials.

Meco’s breakthrough arrived in 1974 when he co-produced the Gloria Gaynor smash “Never Can Say Goodbye,” followed by the Carol Douglas masterpiece “Doctor’s Orders.” In 1977, Meco saw the George Lucas film Star Wars on the day of its release and quickly became obsessed, seeing the picture numerous times; while admiring producer John Williams’ score, he felt the music lacked commercial possibilities, and soon contacted Casablanca Records chief Neil Bogart about the possibility of a disco version. Working with veteran Broadway arranger Harold Wheeler, Meco recorded Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk; soon the first single, “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band,” rose to number one. Although he recorded similar music inspired by films including The Wizard of Oz and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Meco remained most closely associated with Star Wars, even recording a highly successful Christmas album based on the movie; he retired from music in 1985, later working as a commodities broker in Florida.

Here is the track listing:

1. Star Wars (15:49)
* Title Theme
* Imperial Attack
* The Desert & the Robot Auction
* The Princess Appears
* The Land of the Sand People
* Princess Leia’s Theme
* Cantina Band
* The Last Battle
* The Throne Room & End Title
2. Other Galactic Funk (12:31)
*Other
*Galactic
*Funk
3. Star Wars Theme – Cantina Band (7″ Edit) (3:32)
4. Star Wars Theme – Cantina Band (12″ Disco Mix) (7:34)

Meco created an interesting disco funk suite using the symphonic elements of the Star Wars score.  Star Wars & Other Galactic Funk certainly contains its’ share of cheese, but then so does pizza and pizza is good.  Pizza=good, thus cheese=good, thus Meco Star Wars=good.

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The original piece “Other Galactic Funk” emphasizes syncopation and dense drums, which channel a martial edge at times.  The “Galactic” section features some funky horn soloing.

It is too late in the evening to be dwelling in such pleasant, but turgid moods.

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http://www.divshare.com/download/6219095-c6a

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Return of the Biter! Security Threat: High

Posted in Art, Music, Photos on December 30, 2008 by trapperKeeper

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I got a chance to edit some photos recently and here are some of the results.  I really like the one above.

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Oh Mona Lisa

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http://www.divshare.com/download/6212322-56a

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http://www.divshare.com/download/6212351-2e4

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Funkiest hearse in the universe.

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Watch out he isn’t biting for blood or brains.

Happy Parliafunkadelicment Thangday! May We Board You? (Flat Earth Theory)

Posted in Adventures, Music, P-Funk, Photos on December 30, 2008 by trapperKeeper

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This past week when back in the home of the successful Detroit Lions.  0-16,  I believed!  I discovered a previously untapped lode of P-Funk, including some unreleased material from 1973 and 1976, and many of the spin-off releases.  I am still missing a few albums and recordings where significant Funkateers were the session musicians.  A quest not as grandiose as the latest, not so greatest Indiana Jones movie, but much more rewarding.

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I finally arrived home today after a long day of flying and busing.  Crying babies on planes are an essential reason for carrying headphones.  Headphones are necessary if you are using public transit; you never know when someone will try to engage you in a conversation you have no desire in engaging.  The attempt is inevitable, but with Boy Scout readiness one can deflect the conversation.

Headphones effectively block conversation attempts even if your mp3 player is dead.  The illusion of listening to something is generally enough.  Other times a cell phone conversation can be initiated or, in the case of not being able to get hold of anyone, hold a fake cell phone conversation.  I  have never actually had to get that creative before.

Anyhow, today’s as a good as time as ever to finish up with the Brides of Funkenstein discography.  When the Brides were opening for Parliament-Funkadelic on 1978’s Anti-Tour, a live album was recorded during the two shows, occurring November 1 and 2, 1978, at the Howard Theatre in the Chocolate City, aka Washington, D.C.

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The performance thankfully includes a version of “Birdie.”  “Birdie” is one of the greatest songs ever!  I just came back to the studio version of the song after a couple of weeks away, and was blown away as much as before.  The sultry female vocals at the end are pants tent inducing.  The bass dances all over in a way that means usually means one thing.  Bootsy, but Rodney “Skeet” Curtis is credited on the album.  Credit is due, for the studio performance is dripping with the funk juice provided by ball of tits from outer space.

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Everything on this song works so well individually and collectively.  The musicians often get overlooked in the glare created by GC, but true heads know how important the musical invasion force was.  Clinton greatest gifts were at breaking down boundaries, realizing the potential in others, melody, and processing and synthesizing concepts and information.  He also managed the circus, while mythologizing the Funk through verse and vibrations.  The man could not have slept much during the 70s, or since.  The man isn’t wired to sleep, and crack is his fuel.

Chaos was the method to the madness of the P.  Funk wouldn’t exist without it.  Living in chaos on the line between genius and insanity can provide a clarity not allowed by staying in the cozy confines of the artificially flavored center.  Once you get outside the box, you see how tiny that box really is.  P-Funk was able to channel chaos better than probably any other group in history, which is one reason they were successfully able to smash genres and transcend boundaries.

It also helps explain why the discography of P-Funk is the greatest.  Motown certainly had more hits, and even got slightly psychedelic, but P-Funk’s output tops all due to the diversity of sound, inventing a whole new way of funkin’ different from the James Brown model, satirical wit, pushing the trends .  Although the truly psychedelic Motown soul was recorded on side labels.  Berry Gordy peddled his music to white pop radio, which should not be taken as an indictment of the music or man.  This decision influenced the sound and themes of material.  Motown transformed over to political-influenced releases and harder sounds on a little later on.  P-Funk was conducting mad scientist sonic experiments on the level of the Beatles, one of their influences, but had a sound, style and background much different than the shaggy headed quartet.

George Clinton witnessed the riots in Newark and Detroit and was transformed profoundly like Saul when he was blinded by the light.  Morphing from a barbershop doo wop trying to land on at Motown to the early Funkadelic combination of vocal harmonies, Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix-inspired rock, the grimy rawness of MC5 and Iggy & the Stooges, studio experimentation, and the Funk that rested within.  P-Funk was ever evolving and exponentially expanding throughout the seventies.  The eighties got a bit synthed out and stale, but George can still bring it, just not as often or on nearly the level as the golden age of P-Funk.  The musicians surrounding GC in the Incorporated Thang during this period is the most impressive cast of musical talent ever assembled, so the difficulty reaching previous heights is understandable.

Anyways, the official live release of the Brides of Funkenstein finds a  comfortable and hungry band ripping through a well-paced stellar set.

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After the band introduction, the  “War Ship Touchante,” one of the most whacked out P-Funk songs begins.  Electronic blips and bleeps roam throughout the song.  It begins with the Wedding March theme, until jumping into a straightforward take on the song.  Although, the live version is spiced up with some horns.  “Razor Sharp” goes crazy on the keyboards extracting otherworldly noises.

“Birdie” follows up the mood set up by “War Ship Touchante,” which serves as a fitting intro.  “Birdie” is about embracing the Funk.  The tempo really picks up around the halfway mark, allowing Blackbyrd to shred over a hard tempo.  Then, it all drops off and the vocalists are given a minimal groove to float over.  The keyboard plays brilliantly around the space provided by the groove.  And none of it could be done without the foundation laid down by the drums and bass.

Beginning with a Chocolate City shout out, the bass and horns take you on a funky “Ride On.”  There is a lack of flow between “Birdie” and “Ride On” indicating a chop.  Funk commandments are further proselytized.  The consistent excellence of the P-Funk horns is most impressive.  Jeff “Cherokee” Bunn plays some dirty slap bass.

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“Brides Maids” is a direct sequeway over from “Ride On.”  The synth bass rumbles like Jackie in Hong Kong.  The choruses of “Good to Your Earhole” and “Mothership Connection” are smashed together with walloping drums.

The Brides take Bootsy’s “Vanish In Our Sleep” out for a spin.  Out in the front at the beginning, Dawn and Lynn don’t disappoint.  Maceo also provides some delicate flute at the beginning.   Eventually, the minimal backing music builds as the song progresses.  Bootsy’s is a spacey, mostly mellow affair featuring bizarre keyboard effects and space bass.  The Brides “Vanish In Our Sleep” isn’t nearly as spacey and finishes with a more spunk than Bootsy’s.

“Together” is a song off of Chocolate City.  Faster and slower tempos are intermixed, while horns are given ample space for soloing.  “Kush” gets a chance to really go off.  Crowd participation takes over the second half of the song.  A seething ball of energy is created, bringing the Mothership down.

The live version of “Disco To Go” is even more potent than the studio.  Popping with energy from the get go, including crowd participation, “Disco To Go” has outstanding horns and a groove that hits harder than the studio version.  Halfway through the song turns into an outro jam.

James Wesley Jackson, aka the “Environmedian,” finishes the set with some  humor and insight.

The support lineup for the Brides, who consisted of Lynn Mabry and Dawn Silva, was impressive.  The studio sound was replicated with the aid of the Bridesmaids, who were Sheila Horne, Babs Stewart and Jeanette McGruder.  Horne and McGruber became full-time Brides when Mabry left just before the recording of the second album.  The band consisted of long-time Bootsy associate Frank Waddy (drms), Joel “Razor Sharp” Johnson (keys), Jeff “Cherokee” Bunn (bass), DeWayne “Blackbyrd” McKnight (gtr).  The horns consisted of the talented trio, Maceo Parker (flute, sax), Fred Wesley (trombone), and Richard “Kush” Griffith (trumpet, band leader).  So there was some fresher blood in this smorgasbord of talent.

Today’s post will end with a shout to an old roommate living in Korea who recently had a P-Funk sighting:

when i was watching the lights down at the stream here last night a kid with a blaster came up to the bench and starting dancing a jerky, funky, ugly, energetic, flexible wierd ass improv dance. i just let him do his thing while listening to the funkadelic tracks echo over the iced water and concrete walls. After sir nose d. had made a long speech i had to talk to this kid whose response to the words:
” funkadellic?”
“Parliment ?”
funk music ?”
“george clinton ? ”
was : ” no english” so i said “Funky music, funky dance” and smiled at him. he said ” Funk dance ! funk dance !” and split a huge grin and gave me a hug.
I never thought that would happen to me while bird watching at the led lit concrete creek in my district, but it did. even if they don’t know what they are listening to, you can’t keep the funk away from the youth.

Once the Funk was unleashed there was no containing it.  Like herpes, the symptoms of funk infestation can remain dormant, but just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean that it’s not there.  Funk flows even if mostly unknown, as this story illustrates.

Happy Parliafunkadelicment Thangday!  Enjoy the music.  I am off to roadie for a friend  A sound scientist divinely born with the sonic equivalent of the Hubble Telescope for ears.  A Funkateer even before he was a Funkateer, Forrest is an artist in the truest sense.  You can check out some of his stuff at:

http://www.myspace.com/deliciouspeeps

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewProfile&friendID=41630221

Where is my Blowfly?

Posted in life on December 27, 2008 by trapperKeeper

I apologize profusely for not delivering the Blowfly XXX-mas album on Xmas.  I left the files in Seattle, but I will be delivering posts once I arrive back in the PNW tomorrow night.  Late.

Bird Watching

Posted in Photos on December 23, 2008 by trapperKeeper

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Our House was a Very Fine House/Our House is a Very Fine House

Posted in life, Photos on December 23, 2008 by trapperKeeper

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These lovely flowers  grew right outside of the door of my old house.  Just before departing it for the last time I snapped a few quick photos.

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These ones are from the front steps of my residence.  I am a big fan of looking all around, but particularly at the sky.  Clouds and their interaction with the sun, trees, power lines, planes, buildings, etc.  Skewing perspective is fun.  Plus, it is just about impossible to take a photo of the sky in Seattle and not capture a power line or three.

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This photo was recently tweaked to spectacular effect.  I will have to upload those pieces soon.

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This is another image from this day that I have been experimenting with.  Poppin’ rays!

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These last three were from an early morning at the new place.  The massive blanket of clouds was penetrated.

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Walking in a Winter Wonderland (Hey Frosty Quit Being a Peeping Tom!)

Posted in Adventures, Photos on December 23, 2008 by trapperKeeper

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The frost ended the growth of more fungus, but after the snow landed I locomoted out to the Arboretum to see what it would look like all covered in virgin snow.  I went a little too late in the day to take advantage of the light from the sun and I did not remain too long for it was cold and I lack proper snow footwear.  The pond was frozen, which trapped some lilypads.

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These ones had been fruiting very heavily on a patch of grass nearby some Oak trees.  They were extremely brittle due to the cold.

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Some later afternoon sun was shining across the water on the UW Huskies football stadium.  Unfortunately for Husky fans, their teams season wasn’t so bright.

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