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MODERN HARMONIC

Sun Ra

Excelsior Mill - 2024 Reissue

    It might thrill you; it might unnerve you; it might strum your heartstrings; it might spook the living daylights out of you. Most likely you'll experience all of the above before the jolting musical jeremiad is done.

    Pressed on violet vinyl! When you're Sun Ra, you don't need synthesizers to evoke apocalyptic visions and interstellar excursions. You don't even need a band. Ra is most widely known for working with various iterations of his Arkestra, but he was no stranger to unaccompanied keyboard expeditions. His discography contains solo piano albums, solo Fender Rhodes records, and solo recordings on conventional organ, the latter going as far back as his home recordings from the 1940s.

    But none of those instruments ever offered Sun Ra the kind of sonic artillery that waited beneath his fingers and feet when he sat before the keyboards, pedals, and multicolored constellation of tabs controlling the Wurlitzer pipe organ. Mystic and magisterial, Ra comes off here like a cross between a demonically riffing '50s horror movie villain and a futuristic congregation leader delivering the interplanetary gospel. Brassy stabs provide the kind of punctuation that could be graphically rendered as an endless string of exclamation marks in 500-point font. String- like swoops and swirls dance across the top of the carnage, cooling the flames just enough to keep the whole thing from combusting (for a while at least) but never dousing the fiery fury that Ra draws forth from the instrument.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Beyond Hiroshima
    2. Excelsior

    Sun Ra

    Thunder Of The Gods - 2024 Reissue

      Humanity's path since then makes his message even more urgent today. Years after Herman Poole "LeSony'r Ra" Blount "left the planet" he's still trying to reach us, to wake us up and to change our destiny.

      Sun Ra and the Arkestra weren't a traditional studio band, and every star in the vast galaxy of their discography reflects this. The origins of these records can be hard to pinpoint at times, but when it comes to Thunder Of The Gods, it's a bit easier. "Calling Planet Earth - We'll Wait For You" was discovered on tapes from Ra's, Universe In Blue, believed to be recorded in '71. The raucous title track and "Moonshots Across the Sky" are unearthed from the '66 Strange Strings sessions. Modern Harmonic has once again paired Ra's sonic art with the visual art of "The Father of Modern Space Art," Chesley Bonestell, whose 1952 work "Formation of the Earth's Continents" spralls across the front and back covers.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Calling Planet Earth - We'll Wait For You
      2. Moonshots Across The Sky
      3. Thunder Of The Gods

      Nico

      Drama Of Exile - 2024 Reissue

        Nico’s iconic post-Velvets return to rock! As one critic memorably put it, when Nico spoke it was like coffin-lids creaking. When she sang it was like listening to ravens taking off 13 at a time.

        Nico was like nothing rock music had ever seen or heard before or since. Features originals along with stoic takes on Bowie and The Velvet Underground.

        TRACK LISTING

        Genghis Khan
        Purple Lips
        One More Chance
        Henry Hudson
        Waiting For The Man
        Sixty Forty
        The Sphinx
        Orly Flight
        Heroes

        Sun Ra

        Haverford College, Jan 25, 1980

          Soothing Sounds for Saturnians! Sun Ra, notorious for his aggressive keyboard attack and seemingly schizophrenic stylings, here offers a unique selection playing the celeste-like Fender Rhodes electric piano, which has a distinct sound (think Doors' "Riders on the Storm") and an interesting history.

          This is Ra sound at his most relaxed and contemplative state.

          This Sun Ra 1980 solo set at Haverford College has been kicking around the internet and in the digital libraries of Ra collectors for years, though it has not previously been properly mastered or commercially issued. Like many events in Ra's history, this gig has a story that goes beyond the music. Ra's presence onstage that night came about through an unforeseen chain of events that unfolded up until concert time.

          This is a very unique performance. Sun Ra is notorious for his aggressive keyboard attack and seemingly schizophrenic stylings-- which can musically rocket from A to Z and back without transitional bridges.

          This set offers a marked contrast. Ra's instrument here is the celeste-like Fender Rhodes electric piano, which has a distinct sound (instantly recognizable in the Doors' "Riders on the Storm") and an interesting history. There are few pyrotechnics in this performance, and much restraint. Ra sounds relaxed and contemplative. It's Soothing Sounds for Saturnians. - Irwin Chusid

          TRACK LISTING

          LP Tracks:
          Love In Outer Space
          Haverford Impromptu 1
          Rhapsody In Blue
          St. Louis Blues
          Medley: Intro- Space Is The Place- Over The Rainbow
          Haverford Impromptu 2
          We Live To Be (previously Unissued)
          Take The A Train (previously unissued)

          CD Tracks:
          Love In Outer Space
          Haverford Impromptu 1
          Rhapsody In Blue
          St. Louis Blues
          Medley: Intro-Space Is The Place-Over The Rainbow
          Haverford Impromptu 2
          We Live To Be (previously Unissued)
          Take The A Train (previously unissued)
          Haverford Encore Duet (Featuring Walt Dickerson)

          Sun Ra

          Space Is The Place

            Allow yourself to envision or feel a world away with this deluxe package of 3LPs, a BluRay Disc & DVD or 2CD Bluray & DVD Discs of the film, and lots more! The audio portion contains the original music composed for the film, which was eventually released as a soundtrack in 1993. It also features The Mathematics Of The Altered Destiny a third previously unissued LP recorded in the same soundtrack sessions but is finally being released half a century after it was recorded. This newly discovered LP is heavy on the prose of Sun Ra, as he and June Tyson bestow countless bits of information and inspiration onto the listener.

            The film soundtrack is an entirely different journey than the 1973 Blue Thumb LP it shares its title with. We suggest you take both journeys. These recordings were sourced from the Sun Ra tape vault, then were digitally restored to make an album this special sound the best it possibly could.The BluRay contains the entire glorious film complete with film artifacts, and was sourced from the restoration prepared by Rapid Eye Movies of Germany. The bonus features on the BluRay are composed of Ra and Ra-centric material from the Modern Harmonic archives, including video from the Outer Space Visual Communicator footage.An additional track from these sessions, "The Idea Of The Greater Age" can be found on the CD version of this album or on the album Some Skin: A Modern Harmonic Bongo & Percussion Party.

            Various Artists

            Some Skin: A Modern Harmonic Bongo & Percussion Party

              Bongo Bongo Bongo! The mere uttering of the word conjures up dreams and images of parties, beaches, tropical vacations, beatniks and poets, goatees and cha-cha heels, drinking espresso in coffee shops, and of the freedom of the road while getting your kicks on Route 66.

              Fuzzy dice, bongos in the back. Bongo Rock! Bongo Fury! Bongo Madness! Beat on a pair of bongos and watch the party begin! SOME SKIN is designed to get that party started. Just throw the platter on the Hi-Fi and let it spin. We've put together a group of rare selections, the majority of which are previously unreleased and come from quite possibly the most diverse group of individuals to ever metaphorically step foot onto a bongo comp. Dig?

              TRACK LISTING

              Inspector Bongo - Jack Costanzo
              Wild Percussion - Tak Shindo
              Singing Bongos - Rena Hall
              Where's Tim Schellenbaum's Violin? - Jill Kroesen
              Cinco Sin Titulo - Herb Schoenbohm's Quintet Ipanema (Ft. Manfredo Fest)
              Escuadron De Policia - Jack Costanzo
              Why Don't You Go To Hell! (Quero Que Va Tudo Pro Inferno) - Herb Schoenbohm's Quintet Ipanema (Ft. Manfredo Fest)
              Cigarillo - Jack Costanzo
              Bongo Birthday Surprise - Nicholas Carras
              Trinidad Blues - Rena Hall
              Where's Tim's Guitar? - Jill Kroesen
              Boyle Heights - Jack Costanzo
              The Idea Of The Greater Age - Sun Ra & His Arkestra

              Rahsaan Roland Kirk

              Here Comes The Whistleman

                All Analog Roland Kirk, Pre-Rahsaan?! Sightless, peerless, multiinstrumentalist, Roland's Kirk's 1967 debut for Atlantic is a monster of a live set from '65 featuring pianists Lonnie Liston Smith and Jaki Byard, bassist Major Holley and drummer Charles Crosby- all put to tape in Atlantic Studios NYC


                TRACK LISTING

                1. Roots
                2. Here Comes The Whistleman
                3. I Wished On The Moon
                4. Making Love After Hours
                5. Yesterdays
                6. Aluminum Baby
                7. Step Right Up

                James White And The Blacks

                Melt Yourself Down - 2022 Reissue

                  Manic No Wave sax frenzy! James White tore up the city blueprints and charted his own map through the sonic sprawl of New York, perfecting a jittery, manic attack on sax and vocals and adopting the persona of a lounge singer in the waiting room of Hell - A maelstrom of chaotic transformations of funk, jazz (et al ) with equal parts James Brown and James White originals that rank among the most incendiary in his repertoire.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. Super Bad (James Brown) 
                  2. Melt Yourself Down 
                  3. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams (Standard) 
                  4. Hot Voodoo (Standard) 
                  5. Cold Sweat (James Brown) 
                  6. These Foolish Things (Standard) 
                  7. Hell On Earth

                  Something Weird

                  Spook Show

                    Something Weird has exhumed a crypt full of classic Spook Show promos and radio spots monstrously mashed together with fiendish rare surf and garage rock instrumentals. Includes a delightfully deranged DVD featuring Monsters Crash the Pajama Party and more bone-chilling freakouts of fright! LP includes a zine style liner note insert!

                    From the 1930s until the 1970s a popular form of entertainment, quaintly called, The Ghost (or Spook) Show, enthralled America. Traveling magicians and illusionists went on the road and added horror elements to their regular (often predictable) stage acts. This appealed to youngsters eager for cheap thrills and chills. The advertising campaigns promised to “scare the yell” out of those “brave” enough to attend, and performances took place mostly at midnight in movie theatres that were decorated with outrageous lobby displays publicizing the shocking and scary things about to be seen - ghosts, ghouls, monsters, gorillas, mad doctors, and some things “so terrifying” that they couldn’t even be mentioned. During the course of the night, classic horror movies were shown, and there were contests with corny gimmicks and silly prizes.

                    How does Something Weird fit in? Well, during 2001 SWV compiled what was to become one of their most popular and beloved DVDs, Monsters Crash the Pajama Party Spook Show Spectacular. It featured over three hours of rare Ghost Show shorts and trailers, radio spot audio, galleries of memorabilia, and commentaries with legendary living Ghostmasters. The folks at SWV were huge Spook Show fans and collected anything related to the subject including original 35mm film trailers as well as radio spots on promotional 45s and magnetic tape. So this was a dream project for them, and something near and dear to their bloody hearts.

                    Since its release, audio bits from the MCTPPSSS have popped up on radio stations and music compilations. People love them. So it just seemed logical that Something Weird do a Spook Show album. And like our old pal, Jim “The Mad Doctor” Ridenour, we’ve always believed that horror and rock ‘n roll go hand in hand, so what better way than to combine some rarely heard, fiendish surf and garage rock instrumentals with the trailer & radio spot audio and incidental music from the DVD? Now all groovy ghouls and goblins can time travel and have a Spook Show A Go-Go Party! (Just add your own ghosts and gorilla suits...)

                    TRACK LISTING

                    Something Weird Sound Effect • On With The Show • Young American Mystic Cult Of Horrors • Cemetary Stomp - The Essex • Dr. Evil And His Terrors Of The Unknown • The Morgus Creep – Daringers • Friday The 13th Jinx Show • The Mad Daddy Shock Theatre & The Great London Ghost Show - Incidental Music • Halloween Convention Of Spooks • Count Dracula - The Rockin’ Continentals • Asylum Of The Insane - Radio Spot • Dr. Satan And His Shrieks In The Night • Hey Weirdos • Haunted House - Oscar & The Majestics •A Real Dead Body Giveaway • Monsters Crash The Pajama Party – Opening • Monsters Crash The Pajama Party - Radio Spot • The Giggler - Pat And The Wildcats • The Crawling Thing Plus The Creature Of Evil - Radio Spot • Friday The 13th Midnight Show - Incidental Music • Kara-Kum Of Hollywood - Mortuary Of 18 Living Nightmares • Trial Of The Dead - Radio Spot • The Guillotine - The Executioners • The Teenage Psycho Meets Bloody Mary - Radio Spot • Monsters A Go-Go - Radio Spot • Night Beat - The Night Beats • Dr. Silkini’s Giant Triple Scream Show - Garganta Alive In Person! • Fantastic Horror Frolic - Incidental Music • Dr. Macabre’s Frightmare Of Movie Monsters • Marathon Of Fright • Transylvania - The Mysterions • A Man Buried Alive

                    Alexander "skip" Spence

                    I Want A Rock & Roll Band / I Got A Lot To Say / Mary Jane

                      Skip leaves his hotel. Its a cold day in Nashville, climbing to only 43 F in the afternoon. It may be Sunday, but on this day a 22-year-old musician is working at Columbia Recording Studios. Over the past few days, hes recorded a slew of new songs and today will be no different. On December 7, 1968, Skip Spence will record no less than 8 different songs. He has only 3 more days left to finish the album. It's been fast and furious and its also been tough, recording every instrument on every track, layer after layer, song after song, overdub after overdub.

                      In a sense, Skip is now a one-man rock & roll band. A few months ago, he was in a band, but now hes on a different path. On one of today's tracks, he opens with a low growl, "I want a rock & roll band." He then sighs, perhaps wishing he didn't have to do it all himself. After repeating the phrase, he adds, "One that spits fire and chews blood!" Skip was in that sort of band just a few months earlier the talented but jinxed Moby Grape. It's like he was writing a note to himself, thinking about his old band, thinking about himself as a band, and perhaps thinking about other bands as well. Maybe he was also writing a reply to the Byrds, who once sang, "So you want to be a rock & roll star." Like the Byrds, Skip was grounded in folk music. Twenty months ago, Moby Grape opened for the Byrds at the Fillmore and Winterland in San Francisco. They’d rehearsed tirelessly for days-on-end beforehand. But Skip doesn't want to go back to his past. "I don't want the Fillmore," he roars, "I want a rock & roll plan."

                      While his future may be unclear, Skip is on a mission to record everything he has in his body & soul. For a part of that Sunday so long ago, that included, "I Want a Rock & Roll Band” a song that features so many of Skips hallmarks, wit, spontaneity, wordplay, a mixture of intricate & percussive guitar, verve, & a beautiful falsetto. It's a rollicking snapshot of where Skip Spence was at, smack dab in the middle of his Oar sessions one cold Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee.

                      Sun Ra And His Arkestra

                      El Is A Sound Of Joy / Black Sky And Blue Moon

                        Shining sounds from the dawn of the Sun Ra Arkestra. "El is A Sound of Joy" was recorded in 1956 and appeared the following year on the very first Saturn LP, Super-Sonic Jazz. Incredible is the fact that saxophonist Charles Davis, here providing the soulful baritone anchor line (counterpoint to Ra's formidable left hand), remains in the front-line of today's Sun Ra Arkestra directed by Marshall Allen. Shuffle swing breakdown jets leisurely, casually, masterfully, painting lush, post-modern impressions of ancient future worlds, of space, of time … of Chicago's elevated trains … Reaching for the sky, for Joy …. The “Joy” coda dovetails magically into the intro theme of "Black Sky And Blue Moon," before downshifting into another dimension of romantic outrospection. We follow The Nu Sounds, aka Cosmic Rays, on a faraway journey to the land of late-50s Chicago singing groups, the Arkestra supporting with quiet grace, pulsing in Nubians of Plutonia mode. An uncanny blend of antique blackness and bright satellites, ethereal voices perfectly in tune; thanks to Ra's disciplined coaching (plus Modern Harmonic's expert re-mastering), their sweet dynamics and exact harmonics are crystal clear. Flute solo from Marshall Allen. Hearts swelling like the full moon, ripening in the darkness to the point of bursting.


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