I saw Carol Reed's 1949 noir classic The Third Man the other day, and was enchanted by the zither music played by Viennese wine bar musician Anton Karas. Story goes that as Reed was preparing to shoot the film, he discovered Karas in a heuriger in Vienna and recruited him to score the movie. (though he may have discovered him at a production party in London instead!)
At any rate, after the film’s release Karas became immensely popular, touring everywhere from Vegas to Japan, playing for queens and emperors, even the Pope. But fame didn’t suit him, so he returned to Vienna to open a wine bar himself, where he might play amongst friends and locals who understood his music. His fame was already so great that he was unable to hide even there, and so he largely withdrew from public performance in 1966.
recorded live February 19, 1974, BBC Studio Four, London
Amazing version of this Here Come the Warm Jets track with Eno’s short-lived touring band, the pub rockers The Winkies. I say short-lived because Eno only performed five shows with them before he was sent to the hospital with a collapsed lung. This recording comes from a broadcast on John Peel’s show—it was later released on several unofficial LPs.
I grabbed it from this great Music for Maniacs comp of Eno b-sides, which focuses on his poppier 70s material.
Like it or not, New Age music is making a comeback. And in shedding the trappings of its former life (crystals, incense, massage tables), it’s easier to recognize this music for what it really is—fantastically inventive electronic music, focused more on tone and texture than rhythm and structure.
Nowhere is this more evident than on the new compilation from Light in the Attic, I Am The Center. Was thrilled to get my copy in the mail today. It’s minimalist but indulgent, and yes, sharpens your focus—no doubt why so many new age albums aim to facilitate meditation and relaxation.
This track comes from multi-instrumentalist Peter Davison's album Glide, released in 1981 on Davison’s own label, Avocado Records. If you like what you hear, go grab the compilation—many treasures await…
Smithsonian Folkways just dropped this nice career-spanning 3-disc set of Dave Van Ronk material, including the Big Boy Crudup song ‘Mean Ol’ Frisco.’ The album title refers to the fact that Van Ronk was the king of the Greenwich Village folk scene, the guy little snot-nosed kids like Bob Dylan and Don Bikoff looked up to.
And I love that cover photo of Dave on some dock in Jersey. Too cool.
Transcendent set with shimmering synths, electric autoharp, and yes, chanting. This is ambient/new age artist Laraaji performing last December at the Body Actualized Center in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Rewards patient, repeated listening.
All Saints just re-released a load of his old albums—find them all at Other Music.
I listened to a few of Nilsson’s earlier albums some years ago and they never really hooked me. (Pandemonium Shadow Show and Aerial Ballet) They were a little too light, a little too poppy—the way I feel about Rubber Soul compared to John Lennon's solo stuff. There's a certain depth that only age can bring.
Here, then, is Harry Nilsson, a little bit older (30), still loopy, but more doubtful, more questioning than a young man would be. I’ve always thought he can sing lullabies better than anyone… here’s one of his best.
I’m not sure why, but Italy seems to be a hotspot for psych-rock groups—and Dumbo Gets Mad is one of the best. The paisley pair dropped this delight earlier this year on Bad Panda. Grab it at bandcamp.
When this album came out a few years ago, it was presented as an archival find from the late 70s, accompanied by a lengthy history describing a German doctoral student in oceanography, Jürgen Müller, and his passing interest in synthesizers. This album was supposed to be the result.
But if you read carefully, you’d have noticed that the album was remastered by Norm Chambers—this guy. He records as Panabrite, and has a not-insignificant interest in nature film soundtracks and marine-themed music.
Well you can see where this is going. Chambers is the real musician behind the fictitious Jürgen Müller… though if you still half-believe in the apocryphal story, you might sense an extra layer of time on the record, more crackle and hiss. And there’s nothing wrong with that. This is a beautiful album, no matter when it was recorded—or by whom.