Bernard Stollman, founder of the influential, otherworldly ESP-Disk label, has passed away this week at 85. New York Times obituary. The independent label was home to blazing, provocative recordings from avant-jazz greats like Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, and Sun Ra, as well as underground rock outsiders like the Godz, the Holy Modal Rounders, and the Fugs. The label's discography is deep, strange, and still largely unexplored by everyone but hardcore music geeks (who tend to be highly passionate about it). From Stereogum: Remembering Bernard Stollman: 10 Essential ESP-Disk Albums.
An effortless melding of Malian and western styles topped off by the gorgeously smoky voice of Fatoumata Diawara. The infectiously brisk tempo, chiming guitar artistry and tight, rapid fire harmonies of Shirati Jazz. The warmly grounded choral expression of South Africa's Black Umfolosi. The delicate, calmly unfolding wellspring of melody (starting off with a classic Morricone spaghetti-western quote!) of kora master Toumani Diabate. The loping, balafon-driven groove over which the majestic, declamatory voice of Oumou Sangare soars. The classic, Cuban-inspired rhumba (but with the distinctively African feel and sound) of Orchestra Baobab... all these modern treasures of African music and much, much more from Africa and beyond at the World Circuit Soundcloud page. Enjoy the ride!
Rock band Def Leppard has decided upon a unique solution to the problem of making their music available for electronic distribution despite conflicts with Universal Music Group: Re-record their entire back catalog as accurately as possible. They're calling the songs 'forgeries.'
The Heavy performing on Late Night, with "an unprecedented encore by request from Dave." (second video courtesy CBS, including off-air encore) [more inside]
I love seeing a well established offline brand bring their image and experience to the web. Tonight, I stumbled upon Blue Note Records' site for the first time. Blue Note is famous for producing both wonderful jazz records and beautiful album artwork. The splash page shows a random artist and the graphics are reminiscent of their covers. They're even cool enough to offer live streaming music from their library, which sounds great over my cable modem (although it's done through windows media player).