Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Top 10 of 2004 thingy

I notice the lag between posts is growing longer, so one of my New Year's resolutions is to do my best to keep the pace from slackening...and hereby vow come hell or highwater (a saying freighted with a chilling resonance after recent tragic events) to post at least two a week.

Herein is a Top 10 list I was asked to submit to Dusted Magazine, it was really done on the spur of the moment and like all such lists I could have provided alternate choices to the nth power (same is true of the blogger profile I was asked to submit to help personalize these postings, I could list an infinite number of favorite things, and have resisted the temptation to modify or update my first choices on the theory that you the reader should hopefully get the general drift of my sensibility from my music first and foremost)...bear in mind there is no hierarchy involved:

Top 10 of 2004

1. SCTV Vols. One and Two on DVD--the best palliative for existential pain I know
2. "Vampyres" on DVD--superb little known 1974 UK bisexual vampira sex and gore romp starring the fabulous Marianne Morris and pet of the month Anulka, not much in the plausible narrative department but delivers the goods nonetheless
3. "Blood on Satan's Claw" on DVD--this slipped under my radar when it was released by Tigon in the 70's-- one of the greatest of English withcraft films, right up there with "Witchfinder General"-- an exercise in controlled erotic horror featuring superstar Linda Hayden as demoness Angel Blake, only available through Amazon.co.uk unfortunately, but if you invest in a...
4. Phillips DVP 642 DVD player, you can render this cheapo machine (70 bucks) into an all-region DVD player with a couple pushes of the remote control buttons and knowledge of the secret code (surf the web, you'll find it) --and voila! you can then play
5. "Culloden" on DVD--Peter Watkins (The War Game, Privilege) directed this unforgettable 1964 black and white faux documentary re-enactment of the brutal 1746 battle which tore the Scottish highland clan system apart, the last major battle to be fought on English soil--saw this in 1967 and it haunts me still, available from BBC Films (amazon.co.uk)...the well known Monty Python opening of the mad derelict Scotsman careening down a hill was probably inspired by this film (the "if she floats, she's a witch" routine from Monty Python and the Holy Grail was definitely inspired by a scene from "Blood On Satan's Claw")
6. "Popular Electronics--Early Dutch Electronic Music" by Kid Baltan and Tom Dissevelt--a beautiful boxed edition on Basta of the trippiest most haunting and creative electronica I know, from the early 60's ...I was weaned on this music and to hear it again and have it available in all its glory (plus out-takes, film and commercial music, work tapes etc.) has made this a banner year for music lovers
7. "Smile"--Brian Wilson (and Van Dyke Parks!)...as good as the legend would have it, this album would have kicked Sgt. Pepper's ass if it had been released on schedule in 1967--I've seen the live show thrice (at Royal Festival Hall and Carnegie Hall), go and see it if it comes within a thousand mile radius, it is that transcendental, and can make grown men and women weep for joy
8. Super 700--amazing Berlin-based band fronted by the incredible vocalist Ibadet Ramadani and her 2 lovely sisters, check out their website at super700.com and go to projektdemo.com to hear their hypnotic songs
9. "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama" (Lenox 1012)--this has been out for awhile but what the hey... a compilation devoted to obscure electric blues that features little known 50's r&b dude Sly Williams doing Guitar Slim one better with a yowliing psychotic vocal and a manic, twisted guitar solo that sends me every time on the magisterial "Boot Hill" (a re-write of "Look Over Yonder's Wall")--you should buy it just for this track, you also get a couple choice Earl Hooker sides on it as well
10. "Seven Steps: The Complete Miles Davis Columbia Recordings 1963-1964"--what can I say, beautifully recorded ensemble playing featuring Victor Feldman, Herbie Hancock, George Coleman, Tony Williams et al....gorgeous package, lush sounds, slip it on and make the world go away...

Gary Lucas

ps What a weekend for live music here in NYC, both playing and listening!--Gods and Monsters played a couple of excellent, well-attended shows in town--our Bowery Poetry Club on Friday was graced by the presence of my sister Bonnie as well as Ambassador Martin Palous and Consul General Ales Pospisil from the Czech Republic (I will play my arrangement of Dvorak's "Largo" next time, guys, I promise!). Young turk singer Michael Schoen returned after performing with me for the John Lennon tribute in the same cosy venue recently to guest on an incendiary version of "Mojo Pin", the song I co-wrote with Jeff Buckley from an early incantation of Gods and Monsters circa 1991. Saturday Caroline and I went out to check this year's Globalfest offering at the Public Theater and heard beautiful incandescent sets by Juana Molina and Rokia Traore. And last night Gods and Monsters opened the Winter JazzFest at the Knitting Factory and played our hearts out--and then I wandered up and down the club's stairs for hours lost in all the great music spilling out of the club's 3 venues, and was especially taken with NoJazz, a French electronic trance/dance/jazz ensemble that grooved l.a.m.f....lovely to see so many old friends there, and to make so many new ones--it really makes me glad to be alive and making music in this year of our Lord 2005.




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