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SURVIVAL

The Ogyatanaa Show Band

African Fire Yerefrefre

The Ogyatanaa or Burning Fire Show Band was one of the more esteemed of the funky highlife groups that rocked the Ghanaian music scene during the 1970s. The band was formed in 1971 by diplomat-turned-composer, musical arranger, organist, vocalist and record producer Kwadwo Donkoh (a former member of the Uhuru Dance Band), with guitarist and bandleader Nana Ofori-Atta (AKA Ahomansia Wura) and other members that later left the group. The Ogyatanaa Show Band made a rapid impact, scoring second place in the National Dance Bands competition after being together for less than a year, thanks to their superlative arrangement of the oft-versioned highlife classic, “Yaa Amponsah,” a tale of a mythical woman which became a popular single when issued on Donkoh’s Agoro record label. After issuing a number of other popular singles, the band’s debut album African Fire – Yerefrefre was finally released in 1975, the line-up now composed of Donkoh and Nana Ofori with drummer and assistant bandleader Ocloo Jackson, bassist Kobina Gardiner, keyboardist Ofori Frimpong and vocalists/percussionists Kwaku Dua and Pa Oweridu, plus Nakai Nettley on additional percussion.

This outstanding LP begins with the unprecedented extended highlife medley of over twenty minutes duration entitled “Yerefrefre” which revisits highlife gems of the past; for instance, noteworthy material by giants such as E.T. Mensah, C.K. Mann, Nana Ampadu, E.K. Nyame, King Onyina, Jerry Hansen, King Bruce and Dr. K. Gyasi are all referenced, with E.T’s anthem “All For You” and The Black Beats’ “Lai Momo” getting special attention. “Mmobrowa” (or “The Downtrodden”) was another popular single issued prior to the album’s recording and listening to the slowly unfolding groove of the rendition included here, it’s again easy to understand the song and group’s enduring popularity in its homeland. Similarly, “Yaa Amponsah” and the religious praise song “Agya Nyame” are total highlife killers encompassed in rousing melodies and complex propulsive rhythms.

Matsuo Ohno

Roots Of Electronic Sound

Futuristic synthesizer specialist and sound designer Matsuo Ohno was responsible for the sound design of a broad range of film, television and radio soundtracks, most famously the animation series Astro Boy, which he began working on in 1963, together with his assistant, Takehisa Kosugi. Ohno was born in the heavily-populated Kanda district of central Tokyo in 1930 and was heavily affected by the repeated bombing raids on the city enacted in World War II, which took place during his formative years. After the War, deeply motivated by philosophy and Surrealism, he was largely unaffected by popular music, other than the electronic abstractions of Karlheinz Stockhausen; the left-wing filmmaker Fumio Kamei was another early influence. Ohno began immersing himself in the realm of sound effects while working with the Bungaku-za modernist theatre troupe and he performed a similar function at NHK, Japan’s national broadcasting corporation, but became so frustrated by the rigidity of the restrictions imposed on him there that he quit his prestigious post at the broadcaster, although his skills were such that he remained in high demand as a freelancer, which allowed him to refine his sound effects techniques with evolving analogue synthesizers. The five suites of tracks that make up the album Roots of Electronic Sound album were recorded between 1963 and 1966; initially released on the ALM label in 1975, it is comprised of brief tape experiments, the cover artwork fittingly representing Astro Boy, from which many of the audio interludes are taken.

Various Artists

Self Discovery For Social Survival

    Since the genre’s birth in the early 1950s, the surf film has involved a synthesis of image and music. Typically these two key ingredients are sourced separately, mixed together only after the visual fact. Self Discovery for Social Survival subverts this recipe. Just like the osmotic waves that run through the film, the visuals and music of SDSS coexist and permeate as one to reinvent and reimagine what surf films can look, sound, and feel like. SDSS works as a triptych - In Mexico, Los Angeles psych ensemble Allah Las, join surf historians and professional surfers from the US and Australia in sipping tequila, hanging ten across winding waves, and stumbling upon a super-secret surf break (the location of which they will never reveal). Allah-Las then return to their home studio to set off to record with their analog equipment, this time ripping on the sound waves. The five songs by Allah Las on the soundtrack, entirely instrumental and all aligned by different variations of fruit jams, lay the foundation of classic surf aesthetic: tingling guitars, sporadic yet attentive percussion, and rolling bass lines. In the second vignette, remotely held in the southern atolls of the Maldives Islands, Los Angeles electronic pop dub duo Peaking Lights (Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis) carve their mark on the waves with a group of progressive young Australian surfers.

    While the gentle yet upbeat electronic echoes of Peaking Lights, reminiscent of Broadcast or Arthur Russell, bounce across the screen, breathtaking aerial views of wipeouts and vast underwater ocean shots take flight. Leaving bobbing heads tread-ing ocean waters that carry the whitest shade of blue, Peaking Lights move on land to their home studio to delve into their two contributions to SDSS, “Mirror In The Sky” and “Hold On.” A near-silent symphony ending in Iceland, kiwi neo-psych musician Connan Mockasin and MGMT’s Andrew VanWyngarden encounter slate grey waves, active volcanoes, euphoric hot springs, massive glaciers, and wild mushrooms. Surrounded in alien landscapes, dramatically darker in tone and movement than other scenes in the film, SDSS emphasizes a side to surf that avoids stereotypes. Heading from The Northern Lights to the north of Brooklyn, Mockasin and VanWyngarden finally settle into Gary’s Electric (Mexican Summer’s in house studio) exhorting a surrealist, emerald ending to mark a unique display of the neo-surf film. Mexican Summer stable staples Dungen and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma provide additional music and sound design to elevate the soundtrack to unknowable stratas.

    When Unwound broke up in 2002, the pioneering post rock band left a hole in the musical firmament that dozens of acts have been trying and failing to patch up in the years since. Try as they might, they could never quite reach the perfect balance of tension and release, spiny and smooth that made the Olympia-based trio’s work so damn powerful.

    Bringing together two ex-Unwound bandmates Justin Trosper and Brandt Sandeno, Survival Knife is another bracing and energetic shot to the dome by these singular songwriters and one that they are eager to embrace.

    Getting to this point, however, took some doing. Unlike all of his former musical brethren, singer / guitarist Trosper didn’t have any interest in music after Unwound split. Instead, he moved to Los Angeles for a stretch, going to school and helping other bands with recording projects. After returning to his hometown of Olympia, the itch to take up his guitar against the world returned and, with the help of longtime musical companion Sandeno and his friends Kris Cunningham (drums) and Meg Cunningham (bass), Survival Knife was born.

    The first major statement to arrive from Survival Knife is ‘Loose Power’, the band’s debut full length, released on Glacial Pace Recordings. Recorded with Stuart Hallerman (Soundgarden, Earth) and Matt Buscher, the album ably weds the riffage of classic rock outfits like Blue Oyster Cult and Led Zeppelin with the feverish angular pulse of contemporaries such as Fugazi and Blonde Redhead.

    The quartet have already garnered a great deal of attention. The West Coast has already had a taste of what Survival Knife has to offer thanks to plenty of NW dates and a tour the band did last year with Modest Mouse. And the world has been wellprimed thanks to the band’s 7” releases on Sub Pop and Kill Rock Stars. Once ‘Loose Power’ is in the world, there will be little hope of holding back and soon we’ll all be following Survival Knife into the abyss.

    Survival are a New York trio featuring Hunter Hunt-Hendrix (Liturgy), Greg Smith, and Jeff Bobula.

    This self-titled debut was recorded by Colin Marston (Krallice, Dysrhythmia) at The Thousand Caves and mastered by Heba Kadry at Timeless Mastering.

    ‘Survival’ is an album of dark and meditative heavy rock. Syncopated riffs, intricate rhythms and atypical time signatures create dramatic and complex melodic lines that provide a bed for chant-like lyrics. The group operate as a collective, writing lyrics, riffs and singing with one voice. The album is a unique document that harkens back to post-hardcore, Black Sabbath, Magma, Aphrodite’s Child, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Aaron Copeland, The Smashing Pumpkins, and the first wave of math rock.

    Survival were formed out of the ashes of Birthday Boyz, whose 2007 tour of China was documented by Vice TV for an instalment of the Music World show ‘Rock Under The Red Flag’.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    CD Info: CD version packaged in a 4 panel mini-LP style gatefold package.

    Survival Knife

    Traces Of Me

    Survival Knife hail from Olympia, WA, and this is their first release (if you don’t count a soundboard recording of their first show that has been gathering praise all over the internet).

    The band, which features two of the three founding members of Northwest legends Unwound, pull together elements of Drive Like Jehu / Hot Snakes, Black Flag’s mid-period mathematical lurch, King Crimson and, of course, Unwound, for a taut and catchy post-hardcore crunch.

    Since their live debut in March 2012, they have shared stages with the likes of METZ, Bitch Magnet, Kinski and Hungry Ghost.


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