Friday, August 29, 2014

Elvin Jones's Right Hand

Class, your homework assignment is to listen to the Art Farmer Quintet's 1956 post-bop recording "Farmer's Market."

Please pay special attention to the INSANE triplet/16th note (faster?) cymbal work of drummer Elvin Jones, as he dives, dodges and jumps over Art Farmer's trumpet, Hank Mobley's tenor sax, and Kenny Drew's piano.

Bishop and bassist Addison Farmer lock down the tempo with the mind-blowing ease of all great jazz rhythm sections -- blindingly quick and maddeningly sure-footed -- like two dancers so in tune with each other, they glide around as if floating.

[courtesy JckDupp]

Here's a picture of the man himself, in a photo culled from his website:

Friday, August 22, 2014

Howard and Ray

The American writer of weird fiction, Howard Phillips Lovecraft, would have been 124 years old on Aug 20, if here were still alive. And who knows, maybe he is? The mythology he created has become so deeply ingrained in the fantasy and horror cannon, it might as well be scripture -- or, y'know, the truth.

Look at this great cover for one of his more terrifying novellas The Dunwich Horror:

The water color inks and psychedelic slant of the artwork reflects the story quite well, with beings that defy Earthly biology and cosmic magic that's only hinted at in the dark bottom portion of the cover. Read some Lovecraft, will ya?

A nice complement to this news is that Aug 22 is Ray Bradbury's birthday. Unlike Lovecraft's bleak, sometimes depressing horror, Bradbury had an inhuman gift for balancing moments of terror with genuine sweetness.

His work stands acts like a boilerplate for many screenwriters and filmmakers who have attempted (and a few succeeded, though never quite like Bradbury) at tapping into the mind of gentle, introspective protagonists thrust into unbelievable situations.

Check out this vintage cover art for Bradbury's novel Something Wicked This Way Comes. It's loaded with intrigue and hints of unforseen danger:

If neither of these makes you want to read even one short story from either of these authors, well buddy, you're on the wrong end of the internets.

Let's close this catch-up post with a bit of music appropriate to the topic. Windand formed in 2009, a five-piece playing stoner/doom metal with a real gift for atmosphere and bluster. The quintet wields dynamics for more than just sonic impact, with a gift for shading and mood that falls from the grasp of many bands working in those genres.

Their latest album Soma, was released nearly a year ago. And now there's a video for the song "Orchard." The visuals work well with the song, and demonstrate a great re-purposing of (what we assume is) public domain footage with newly photographed sequences. Let's get eerie:

WINDHAND - "Orchard" (Official Video) from Relapse Records on Vimeo.

[Editor's note: We're trying to track down the names of the artists who painted those book covers. If we can find them, we'll give credit.]

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mad History

Hey kids, we're kind of on summer hiatus here.

Okay, we admit it. We've closed the offices down in favor of an epic bender. Fine. We said it. Are you happy now?

While we're gone, you should make time to read Jeff Weiss' history of the album that made Stones Throw: Madvillainy by Madvillain. Don't know what we're talking about? Read Weiss' blow-by-blow of how it came about and you'll be sold. It's hyperbolic, but that's standard for Pitchfork. And really, if it's not filled with purposely frilly sentences, it wouldn't be music writing, would it?

And now: "Searching for Tomorrow: The Story of Madlib and DOOM's Madvillainy"

We're going back to sleep for now. See you soon!