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Recent Faves from the WFMU Record Library
March 2004

Reviewed by Music/Program Director Brian Turner

From the Swedish label that brought us the amazing Arbete Och Fritid release comes another knockout; this Swedish group was formed in 1972 by youngsters whose idols were Trad Gras, Terry Riley and Don Cherry (the first of whom was Swedish, the latter two of having spent time in Sweden teaching and helping a whole new generation discover sounds they had yet to experience). Cherry has been often cited as one of the pioneers of so-called "World Music", and in his disciples in Archimedes Badkar, the idea of incorporating influences from all over the world and blending it into an exciting mix of free-jazz, reptitive drones, and exotic instrumentation took on a new, beautiful meaning. Jim O'Rourke succinctly states in the disc's notes that the group reminds him of a time when it was seemingly easier to hear something you hadn't heard before that could bowl you over. This group definitely charted some unsailed waters.

LFO / Sheath (Warp)
Been out for a little while, but finally had a chance to let this one sink in. LFO were the duo of of Mark Bell and Gez Varley and were among the first acts on the fledgeling and now massively influential Warp label back in the early 90's. They helped pull the trigger on a pretty widespread interest in Chicago & Detroit techno amongst Europeans, and had some Tommy Boy distribution here in the states as well. Fractured, weird-ass, looped keyboards went hand in hand with some damaged sensibilities that Aphex and his ilk shared, though LFO never quite gathered the commercial momentum of Richard James and the gang. This, LFO's third disc, now finds Bell solely behind the name, amd still trying to re-capture some Acid House glory. The result is that Sheath manages to actually pull it off, without sounding kitchy or out of place (especially with today's resurgence of electro's blat). There's some distorted funk workouts, some moments of ridiculously over-the-top analog craziness, but all in all it remains pretty cohesive, heady, and lots of fun to listen to.

AFRI-RAMPO / I Wanna Live in Kyoto (CDR)
I was in LA this summer and was told in very-over-the-top fashion by a scenester that I had to see this Japanese duo playing in town; I passed on going, but then was scolded the next day by my friend telling me that everyone's jaw was on the floor. Well, two months later, Thurston Moore wrote about being there in ARTHUR, and used the exact phrase "jaws on the floor" too, so I guess, well, they were. Lo and behold, a video and CDR arrives, and it sure is puzzling. Afri Rampo are, without doubt, a sexy pastie-wearing female duo on guitar and drums, and while that sounds like a formula for some kind of cute Beat Happening type scenario, the sounds and sights are indeed weird and from some other planet. They instead seem to take cues from some kind of hybrid of Mars and the Boredoms, thrashing and bashing while bubbling up big vats of echo and reverb and crawling inside for spells. Their on-stage mannerism seems to both invite the audience into their world then totally revel in clubbing them like seals, only to start all over again. They're supposed to be in NYC this summer to do a Tzadik LP and probably some shows, so be curious to check this strange duo out some more.

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