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tom moody

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Here's a first stab at mixing some analog music (from vinyl) for a downloadable mp3: the Tuxedomoon Mini-Mix [.mp3 removed]. It's approximately 18 minutes, a 17 MB file. This favors broadband users, and I'm sorry, I've really been trying to keep this page surfer-friendly. Just consider the mix a bonus to the online music-crit below (yeah, I know, right).

Tuxedomoon was a kind of art-punk-cabaret band that emerged from late '70s San Francisco, specifically the scene around the Mabuhay Gardens and the Deaf Club: a time and place band member Blaine Reininger described as "our own Belle Epoque." Principal instruments were bass (that's a pun, sort of--the bassist is Peter Principle), sax, violin, keyboards, and rhythm box. Adjectives used to describe the band would be "innovative," "psychedelic" and "angsty." Three vocalists alternated on the singing chores and all sounded tortured, or suffering from post-breakdown ennui; all members were accomplished musicians downplaying their talent at the height of garage band streamlining. The band flowered during the postpunk era with a recording contract on the Residents' Ralph label, then relocated to Belgium before eventually drifting apart in the mid-'80s. In this selection I've somewhat slighted sax-and-keyboarder Steven Brown's contributions in favor of violinist Reininger's, but I love both. Here's the track listing; all songs are by the band unless noted:
"Volo Vivace" from Half-Mute (1980). Jazzy chamber music anchored in organ-and-synthesizer gloom. Principle's ultracool bass, playing counterpoint to a sequencer, supplies the rhythm.

"Incubus (Blue Suit)" from Desire (1981). Trippy scifi lyrics sung by Reininger, and you gotta love that beatbox.

"Crash" (flip side of Ralph 45 rpm "What Use") (1980). With its flailing drums, repetitive piano refrain, and filtered acid guitar, this is like proto-breakbeat techno. Never made it onto an album, but this is one of my favorite TM tracks. Guest guitarist Michael Belfer resurfaces on Reininger's solo LP described below.

"Birthday Song," from the Reininger solo outing Night Air (1983). Very '80s noir. Steven Brown's charmingly almost-inept sax makes an appearance here.

"Next to Nothing," 1977 rehearsal recording (from the Pinheads on the Move compilation, 1987). Singer and performance artist Winston Tong popped in and out of the TM lineup: his emotional vocals are featured here. The raw use of the analog synth here is inspiring, from the lurching, stop-and-start notes underneath the vocals to the ending where the sound hisses away in ever-rising pink noise increments. Gives me chills.

- tom moody 2-14-2004 6:05 am [link] [5 comments]