Now available: Ira Cohen – The Subliminal Cassette (2015). Counter Culture Chronicles is an independent label run from The Hague, The Netherlands by René van der Voort and Manuel Padding. In the past they have released on vinyl and cassette rare recordings of Angus MacLise, Jack Kerouac, Timothy Leary and others. In their cassette series they have now released as Counter Culture Chronicles #6 selected poetry readings and an interview of artist, poet and publisher Ira Cohen. The interview of Cohen was conducted in 1992 by writer and musician Cor Gout for Radio Mondain, The Hague. Only several copies of this exquisite release are available from Sea Urchin.
Sea Urchin has launched a series of slim editions dedicated to young and promising artists. The series is called THE BACON MIRAGE. The first edition contains drawings by RUTGER BLOM (1994) done between the ages of 14 and 18, most of them during various lessons at Rutger’s secondary school in Rotterdam. The Bacon Mirage #1 brings together this fine collection of school dirt for the first time. Only 30 copies available for retail.
“10 o’clock in the morning, an Amsterdam hotel room. Sheet music littered on the floor, a synth in the windowsill. Sun Ra gets his make-up done by Arkestra singer June Tyson, fresh henna for his beard. Preparations for the concert that night at the Bimhuis. A few questions asked, a lengthy monologue the result. Fragment of a universal mind.”
On this obscure recording the listener hears Sun Ra elaborating on a number of themes of his all-embracing Astro-Black Mythology: life on earth and the need to leave the planet, God, Satan, language, death, music, and Sun Ra’s own role in this mythology. “God is the enemy not Satan”, Sun Ra explains at a given point, “God is Death, not Life. There has never been a God on this planet except Death”. And: “Death is radiated through the crucifix”. Sun Ra, an angel from Saturn, claims to have been sent to do the impossible and bring another kind of happiness to the planet, where “words have been confused and have chained people up”. His space music and teachings reach out to everybody, black or white: “I’m dealing with the dark side of black, the dark side of white, the dark side of reality, the dark side of myth, the dark side of knowledge.” Open your mind and cast off your chains, brothers and sisters: this cassette is your ticket out of here.
The album Detroit Invasion documents Kim Fowley‘s last USA performance with a live band. In March 2012 Kim Fowley’s Psychedelic Dogs reunited friends who had met fifteen years earlier in Detroit during the making of Fowley’s ‘Michigan Babylon’ album. Matthew Smith (Outrageous Cherry) is one of the musicians who played with Fowley on both occasions,so are Troy Gregory and John Nash. ‘Detroit Invasion’ contains recordings at The Magic Stick in Detroit, The Polish Alliance Hall in Hamtramck, and in Matt Smith’s studio. The gigs and the studio session were memorable occasions, Smith remembers, and took place only a couple of days after Fowley had undergone cancer surgery in his hometown Los Angeles; cancer which would eventually kill him early in 2015.
Kim Fowley was the embodiment of rock ‘n’ roll as producer/songwriter of Gene Vincent, Them Belfast Gypsies, The Runaways, the Germs and many other musicians and bands, and as an outstanding improvisational solo artist himself. Fowley lived rock ‘n roll to the extreme and even managed to give his sickbed and deathbed a rock ‘n’ roll edge. ‘Detroit Invasion’ was Fowley’s last album. According to Cary Loren (Destroy All Monsters), who supplied the artwork and photos for the sleeve and released the album on The End Is Here, a first copy of the LP was sent to Fowley in hospital, where he died of bladder cancer shortly after.
Recently released on Bart De Paepe’s Sloow Tapes label from Belgium and available from Sea Urchin: Brion Gysin – Back In No Time, a reissue of a box set which originally appeared in the Staaltape Documentatie Series in 1988. One cassette contains an interview of Gysin by Dutch artist and poet Harry Hoogstraten at Schiphol airport, 21 June 1981 and the other The Master Musicians of Joujouka, recorded live in France.
British/Canadian artist and writer Brion Gysin (1916-1986) moved to Paris in the 1930s where he briefly joined the Surrealist Movement until having the honour of being expelled by André Breton. After World War II he moved to Tangier where, in 1954, he opened ‘1001 Nights Restaurant’ with his friend Mohammed Hamri, to whom he had been introduced by Paul Bowles. Hamri’s uncle was the leader of the Master Musicians of Joujouka and through Hamri Gysin got acquainted with the music of this group. In his turn Gysin introduced Burroughs (and later Brian Jones) to Joujouka music. Like Paul Bowles and William Burroughs Gysin traced this Sufi trance music to the ancient Rites of Pan. Gysin and Hamri invited the musicians to play in their Tangier restaurant throughout the 1950s to a largely Western audience. After having lost the restaurant Gysin returned to Paris in 1958, where he took lodgings at the Beat Hotel with William Burroughs and helped develop the cut-up technique and the dream machine. Gysin stayed in Paris to work on his art and writings until his death in 1986. Last remaining copies of this cassette set!