Review: Avant-garde composer and guitarist Glenn Branca appears on the archival-focused Superior Viaduct, a label based out of San Francisco that trawls deep to release rare recordings from the likes of Devo, Talking Heads and Ramones affiliate Craig Leon, and San Franciscan punk band The Avengers. This release from Branca, whose label Neutral Records released the first few tracks by Sonic Youth, provided Superior Viaduct with three jangly guitar tracks of his own, spread across two discs. "Lesson No 1 For Electric Guitar" has the slightest of Celtic touches (and Cagean titles) in a progressive and emotionally strummed guitar-lead composition, while "Dissonance" almost sounds like a cheeky reinterpretation of the Batman theme. It's "Bad Smells", though, that will strike a familiar chord with fans of Silent Servant to the aforementioned Sonic Youth. Rock on.
Review: John and Alice Coltrane's Cosmic Music has long been considered one of spiritual jazz's greatest moments. The album was recorded in 1966 and '68, features amongst its backing players the mighty Pharoah Saunders, and was initially released as an ultra-limited "private press" record by Alice Coltrane following her husband's death. It was, of course, later brought to wider attention by an official Impulse Records release, though this reissue boasts Alice Coltrane's original private press artwork. Variously out-there, discordant, effervescent and hugely atmospheric, tracks like "Lord Help Me To Be" and "Rev. King" still sound groundbreaking and mind-altering all these years on.
Review: Faust stand among the most influential creative forces to have emerged from Germany in the late '60s and early '70s. Along with Can, Agitation Free, Neu! and others, they rejected the Anglo-American norms of rock 'n' roll to start a back-to-basics and uniquely Teutonic revolution in sound - later dubbed by the UK press as 'Krautrock'. Comprised of twenty odd tape manipulation experiments and freak-out jams, this LP stashes away some of the band's best-known songs.
Review: Superior Viaduct receive another hats-off from us here at Juno HQ, and it's safe to say that these guys are the best archivalists of the last 5 years, having licensed everyone from Craig Leon to Alice Coltrane, and now one of the most sought after bands of the no wave...wave. Richard McGuire and the gang appear here as both Liquid Idiot and Idiot Orchestra, two monikers they used during their formative years, a small pocket of time during the late '70s where the band would play at cult NYC venues such as CBGB's and Mudd Club. The LP is split in two parts, according to the alias, and this rare bundle of songs spans furious flurries of free jazz improvisations, raucous guitar experiments, and shards of noise coated in a jazzy layer of instrumentation. The Idiot crew are bound to resolve any of your outsider needs because this is the absolute tip top. Hotly recommended.
Review: Along with the extended retrospective detailing their earlier music escapades that's surfaced this week, U.S. based reissue gods Superior Viaduct have masterfully relicensed Liquid Liquid's final iconic Optimo single, originally out on 99 Records in 1983 and still a heavily coveted four tracker from all corners of the digging spectrum. "Optimo" - an utterly break-ridden, funked-out monster - "Scraper" and "Out" are all full bodied and sublime on the low frequencies, but it's "Cavern" that gets all the attention on here, bass-heavy roller filled with wavy vocals, a heavy percussion swing and a penchant for being mastered by the kings of hip hop and house. Totally essential 12" in our books.
Review: Raul Lovisoni and Francesco Messina's seminal LP from 1979 Prati Bagnati Del Monte Analogo not only introduced the world to the work of two gifted composers, but is also notable for being produced by electronic pioneer Franco Battiato. Both central figures within the Italian avant-garde, they were part of a generation of artists who contributed to a radical rethinking of musical practices and composition. They reveal Minimalism as it's rarely known: with delicate melodies, subtle harmonic interplay and incorporating diverse creative traditions - slowly giving way to an ever-expanding open space. Skirting the outer edges of ambient, new age and experimental music, the LP has a transformative beauty unlike anything else.