Aural Innovations Staff Top Picks For 2002
NOT limited to 10, or just music

Jerry Kranitz (in no particular order)

1. Escapade - "Rule #3"
2. The Liquid Sound Company - "Inside The Acid Temple"
3. Farflung - "9 Pin Body"
4. The Spacious Mind - "Live Volume One: Do Your Thing But Don't Touch Ours"
5. Marcos Fernandes - "Hybrid Vigor"
6. ST 37 - "Down On Us"
7. Greg Segal - "In Search Of The Fantastic"
8. Floorian - "What The Buzzing"
9. Present - "High Infidelity"
10. Solace - "13"
11. Steve Lawson - "Not Dancing For Chicken"
12. Heavy Liquid - "Skag & The Dust" (Yet to be released but you gotta be on the watch for it)
13. Lamp Of The Universe - "Echo In Light"
14. Purple Overdose - "The Salmon's Trip Live"
15. World Of Tomorrow - "Global Citizen"
16. Pseudo Sun - "Atomic Dogs Don't Bark"
17. The Dipsomaniacs - "The Tremelo Of Her Mind - The Strings Of Her Soul"
18. Skye Klad - "II"
19. Jet Jaguar - "Free Space"
10. TVBC - "Gone"
11. Litmus - BEST NEW SPACE ROCK BAND
12. All the really cool shows that Larry Marotta has organized in Columbus, Ohio even though I didn't make it to all of them

Jeff Fitzgerald

1. Lamp of the Universe - "Echo In Light"
2. Escapade - "Rule # 3"
3. Naked Elf - "Yi"
4. Fu Manchu - "California Crossing"
5. King Black Acid - "The Mothman Prophecies Soundtrack"
6. Porcupine Tree - "In Absentia"
7. Acid Mothers Temple - "Electric Heavyland"
8. The Shalabi Effect - "The Trial of St. Orange"
9. Landing - "Fade In/Fade Out"
10. Yume Bitsu - "The Golden Vessyl of Sound"
11. Godspeed You Black Emperor - Yanqui U.X.O.
12. Sigur Ros - "( )"
13. Cul de Sac - "Immortality Lessons"
14. Dm - "Clonazepam Stochastic Panic Pedictor"
15. Singularity - "Between Sunlight and Shadow"

Favorite Re-issues (in no particular order):
Floating Flower - "1st + 2nd"
Mushroom - "Analog Hi-Fi Surprise (Extra Tracks)"
Tangerine Dream - "Alpha Centauri"
Ozric Tentacles - "Swirly Termination" (Ok, not exactly a re-issue, but first released in 2000, not officially endorsed by the Ozrics until 2002)

Chuck Rosenberg

1. Exit Terra "ST'd"
2. Scattered Planets "Andromeda Keg Party"
3. ST 37 "Down on Us"
4. Church of Hed "ST'd"
5. Escapade "Rule #3"
6. Liquid Sound Company "Inside the Acid Temple"
7. Loopian Zu "Valley of the Brains"
8. Alien Dream "Dogon Dance"
9. Tom Byrne "The Last Druids"
10. Quarkspace "Drop"
11. Farflung "9 Pin Body"
12. Spacehead "Explode into Space: Inhalations '98-2000"
13. Plexus "ST'd"
14. Absolute Zero "Crashing Icons"
15. Floating Flower "1st + 2nd"
16. Ashqelon Quilt "The Event"
17. Shape of the Rain "Prev. Unrel'd Recordings '66-'73"
18. Lightning Bolt "Ride the Skies"
19. "Mullholland Drive" Soundtrack
20. Mushroom "Foxy Music"

Most of all: Making a great new friend and turning her on to Hawkwind, Pressurehed and a few other things.

Louis Hesselt-van-Dinter (in no particular order)

1. FSOL - The Isness
2. 1000 Year Warranty - Granville Island
3. Univers Zero - Rhythmix
4. Rare Blend - Evolution Theory
5. Ozric Tentacles - Pongmasters Ball
6. John Edmonds - subzerosonic
7. Infra - crepuscule

Keith Henderson

1. Acid Mothers Temple - Univers Zen ou de Zero a Zero
2. Circle - Sunrise
3. Farflung - Nine-Pin Body
4. Floorian - What The Buzzing
5. Hawkwind - Canterbury 2001
6. Hidria Spacefolk - Symbiosis
7. Porcupine Tree - In Absentia
8. Pseudo Sun - Atomic Dogs Don't Bark
9. Star Nation - The Silver Age
10. ST 37 - Down on Us

Archival releases:
Faust - Patchwork 1971-2002
Galaxy - Visions
Guru Guru - Essen 1970
Hawkwind - Live in Nottingham 1990
Nektar - Unidentified Flying Abstract
Stereolab - ABC Music (M.H., RIP)

Scott Heller

1. WE - "Dinosauric Futurobic" (Black Balloon Records). This is finally out and rocking the world! Incredible psychedelic stoner rock LP!
2. Ole Lukkoye - "Horse-Tiger" (Klangbad) Yet, another amazing studio CD.
3. Ole Lukkoye - Loppen, Christiania 10/31/02. The best audio-visual show I saw all year and one of the best ever. They totally put you into a trance.
4. Liquid Visions - "Hyptnoized" (Sysyphus Records)
5. Gov't Mule - "The Deep End Vol. 2" (Capricorn Records) The amazing 2nd volume with more of the best bass players in the world, but not really enough to fill Allen Woody's shoes!
6. Alrune Rod - Loppen, Christiania 12/21/02. This is a Danish band from the 70's who play psychedelic rock with a true 70s sound and feel and a lot of jamming. Amazing to see them!
7. Ozric Tentacles - "Live at the Pongmasters Ball" (Snapper)
8. Hidria Spacefolk - "Symbiosis" (Silence)
9. Sula Bassana - "Dreamer" (Nasoni-Records)
10. Gas Giant - Colourhaze October Tour. Totally amazing to travel around for a week in Belgium and Germany and play concerts. What an experience! Read the tour report!
11. Seid - "Amongst the Monster Flowers Again"

Doug Walker (in no particular order)

1. Linda Lewis "Reach for the Truth" Reprise Years 1971-1974"(2002)
2. Alan Silva "Seasons" (1970) 2002 BYG Reissue)
3. Sun Ra "Music From Tomorrow's World" (1960) issued 2002
4. Gunter Hampel "Survivor" (2002)
5. Brotherhood of Breath "Travelin' Somewhere (1974. Issued 2002)
6. Richard Pinhas "Repetitions and Events" (2002)
7. Soft Machine "Fairfield Hall, Croydon" (1970 2002 Reissue)
8. Phil Corhan.."Afro/Ethnic Heritage Ensemble" (1968 2002 Reissue)
9. Gil Evans "Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix" (1974 2002 Reissue)
10. Jimi Hendrix "Isle of Wight"(1970 2002 Reissue)
11. Tangerine Dream "Alpha Centauri"(1971), 2002 Reissue
12. Tangerine Dream "Zeit" (1972) 2002 Reissue
13. Daniel Carter Quartet Mysterious Travellers Quartet (2002)
14. Tangle Edge "Sumerian Kings & Joyful Doubts"(2002)
15. Ozric Tentacles "Live at PongMaster's Ball (2002)
16. Hawkwind "Yule Ritual 2000 Live" (2002)
17. Klaus Schulze "Cyborg"(1973) 2002 Reissue
18. Steve Reich "Drumming"(1975) 2002 Reissue
19. Pink Floyd "Electric Factory" (9/26/70 .2002 Bootleg)
20. Hawkwind "Notting Hill"(1970 Unknown Date Bootlegged)
21. Miles Davis "In a Silent Way Sessions" (1967-1969) 2001 Reissue(Too late to make 2001 list)
22. The Who Complete Live at Leeds(1970 2002 Reissue)
23. New CDs by Scattered Planets, Church of Hed, Absolute Zero
24. Magic Sam "Live 1963-1965" 1980, Reissued 2002
25. Bootleg CDs by John Coltrane, Soft Machine, Material, Tony Williams' Lifetime, Miles Davis, King Crimson, Charles Mingus, Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, Hendrix/McLaughlin, Tangerine Dream, Robin Trower, Henry Cow
26. Globe Unity Orchestra 67-70 (2002)
27. The Muffins "Bandwidth" (2002)
28. Peter Brotzmann "Fuck de Boere" 68-70 (2002)
29. Imhotep Gary Byrd "We want What we Want (Reparations)" 2002
30. Spontaneous Music Ensemble "Challenge 66-67" (2002 )
31. Soft Machine Ronnie Scott's Club 4/24/70 (Bootleg 2002)
32. Dewey Redman ."Tarik" 1970 (Reissue 2002)
33. Steve Reid Nova 1976 (2002 reissue)
34. Matching Mole 3/72 Live (2002 issue)
35. Weather Report Live In Japan 1972 (!972 issue, 2002 Japanese reissue)

Noted Deaths: Peter Kowald (FMP/Schlippenbach Orchestra Bassist), Michael Karoli (Can Guitarist founder), Mal Waldron (Billie Holiday's pianist, made LPs w/Embryo, Steve Lacy, Charles Mingus), Arvell Shaw (Bassist for Louis Armstrong), John Entwhistle (Who Bassist/Founder), Joe Strummer (Clash Guitarist/founder), Tomannie Walker (Housed many members of Alien Planetscapes & was my Mom), Zal Yanovsky (Lovin' Spoonful Guitarist), Sonny Carson (NYC Political Activist), George Harrison (Beatles Guitarist), Strange Daze Festival(RIP), "Bullet" Bob Hayes, James Dewar(Robin Trower Bassist/Vocalist), Phillip Berrigan (Peace Activist), Sir Roland Hanna(Pianist), Christian Boule(Guitar/Synthesist)

Noted Events: Richard Pinhas touring the USA (November), Hugo Chavez turning aside the CIA inspired coup attempt in Venezuela (April), the reemergence of the Zapatista Party in Mexico (July), Continuing overvalue of NYC real estate forcing both the Knitting Factory and CBGB to make plans to close doors in 2003(October), Discovery of a Well-stocked CD bootleg store in Philadelphia (March), PK Dick's short story "Minority Report" being rendered into a decent mainstream movie by Steven Spielberg (May), the continuing good health of Science Fiction Literature despite the reduction of printed materials world-wide, return of Gil-Scott Heron to live work(Sept), Richard Orlando doing an AP gig Solo(November), Dr. Synth obtaining an EML 200 Synthesizer (October), Journalist Greg Palast making it to "Nightline", debating Rush Limbaugh (He Won!!!)(Sept), North Korea confronting US Imperial Power(Dec), The "Axis of Good"(Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba declared by Hugo Chavez in Dec)

Rashad Salahuddin (There is no strict order to the list as there are many quality recordings to select from. This just happens to be a list that comes to mind at the moment due to my current state in music.)

1. Last Exit's 1986 Release "Last Exit"
2. Gunther Hampel's 1969 Release "The 8th of July 1969"
3. Maurice McIntyre's 1969 release "Humility in the Light of the Creator"
4. Jazz Composer's Orchestra of America 1968 Release "Communications"
5. Patty Waters 1965 Release "Patty Waters Sings"
6. Revolutionary Ensemble's 1972 release "Manhattan Cycles"
7. Freddie Hubbard and Quintet's 1971 release "Sing me a song of songmy"
8. Sugarconnection's 1994 release "Plays Alien Cakes"
9. Acid Mothers Temple's 2000 release "La N˛via"
10. Octavius and 4AM's 2002 release "Electric Third Rail"

Last Exit: This 1986 "Last Exit" release is one of six proper releases by the group (virtually all releases were live recordings). The members include Ronald Shannon Jackson (Decoding Society), Bill Laswell, Peter Br÷tzmann, and Sonny Sharrock. This group provides the foundation for future avant-garde/metal and improvised noise bands Naked City, Pain Killer and others to build upon. Members of Last Exit accent their personal fiery vision poignantly. Look back to Sharrock's "Black Woman" and Br÷tzmann's "Machine Gun" for a future yet to come. Last Exit is a band that is tough as nails. This is not to be played at maximum volume!

Gunther Hampel: "The 8th of July 1969" is a notable accomplishment for Euro free-jazz composers. Though the release is one-half American, it displays clarinetist/vibraphonist Hampel as a leader early in his improvising career. The album indicates an emerging European avant-garde jazz roster that begins to finally mobilize outside of America with potency and direction. A great point about this album is that it boasts tyrannic moments while uniquely expressing morose textures that crawl and wane. This interplay rears itself in rather unexpected fashion. "Crepuscule" is by far the standout on this release. It is minimal, dense, brutish, freaked-out (especially toward the tail end when Braxton and Breuker vie for position with their reed screeching and Hampel and the late McCall percussively battle it out). The late Jeanne Lee's pioneering and far-ranging vocal work also gives another reason for this work to be listed as it is mostly found in the company of Gunther Hampel. This is probably to be the case since Hampel and Lee were married and shared a child together.

Maurice McIntyre: Tenor Saxophonist Maurice McIntyre's (Kalaparusha Ahra Difda) leader work on this release derives its energy from parts of Africa and Asia but is thoroughly diverse and regimented improvised music that an AACM (The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) member is typical of bringing. Vocalist George Hines is a standout addition to the compositions on this release. Hines creates emotional improvised renditions of what appear to be indigenous evocations hurdling forth with his expressive technique in full motion. Hines begins "Life Force" with his vocal impressions and then a few moments into the piece everything goes off as Thurman Baker axes the track with his drum burst and McIntyre with his sax playing.

Jazz Composer's Orchestra of America: Jazz Composer's Orchestra of America (JCOA), Carla Bley and Michael Mantler's outgrowth of the Jazz Composer's Guild created by Bill Dixon, could not go wrong with the line-up featured on the double album. It's a lengthy list of giants from the experimental, free, and creative jazz realms. Every single cut on this double album is captivating. This release is about featuring soloists and allowing them to bring everything, they have to the table. The orchestra (the remaining roster of musicians) backing the soloists do so at times with the greatest fervor imagined. The soloist approach to this double album was likely an idea Mantler and Bley came up with in order to garner a wider arts support for the independent efforts of the JCOA. One of the two giant solo exhibitions on this player of players release are dictated by the hands of Cecil Taylor and come rushing out of his piano composition in two parts; it's complete brilliance to say the least. About Pharaoh Sanders' solo, "Preview," he plays at the most high and makes his sax communicate anguish all while the orchestra feeds off of him and blazes powerfully. Sanders instills the point that he has something to state to his America. Put plainly, Sanders plays so emotionally hard against the orchestra that it will make you cry.

Patty Waters: Patty Waters walks schizophrenic territory in her '65 release. 7 out of the 8 songs are her solo work singing and playing piano. Listening to the 7 rather short macabre love ballads yields an uncertainty about the song's emotional intentions. Your never too sure how "together" Waters really has it throughout these brief durations but at the same time, this is what makes it appealing. When concluding your listening experience with the 8th and final track "Black is the color of my true love's hair," with Waters now backed by Burton Greene (piano), Steve Tintweiss (bass), and Tom Price (percussion), you are now convinced that something is clearly not straight. Waters begins this tune even more derailed sounding than before and has instrumentation backing her to accentuate it. Though the first minutes still create drab feelings for the listener, it soon breaks the mold and documents Waters' dedication to wail and moan the infamous and cultishly glorified words "black, black." To a knife-like cadence and shooting pitch, she repeats this over the lambasting of piano keys, raked piano strings, and bashed percussion. Out of nowhere, all of this unnerving emotion came from a macabre, meek, and halfway straight jazz vocalist. Is this possibly an answer to Jeanne Lee?

Revoultionary Ensemble: Revolutionary Ensemble's "Manhattan Cycles" is more of a gem because it's an artistic rarity. Many people, improv jazz fans, avant-garde devotees, etc, have not been afforded the opportunity to listen to the work combining the forces of LeRoy Jenkins, Jerome Cooper and Sirone. In all of this you have Jenkins improvising with violin and viola, Cooper using a tape recorder and playing drums among other things and Sirone plucking and bowing bass. It's the side of jazz experimentation and free playing that says that you don't have to squeal or summon viciously erratic sound to be interesting or powerful, rather you can accomplish this without and still be unique and creatively demanding. This is not academic improvisation nor is it unskilled pretentious behavior, it is a live recording on December 31st, 1972 that exhibits the respect for space, sound (the lack of) and multi-instrumental interchange. This is a release about challenging the instinct of each player. Cooper makes a fine choice in playing old tape-recorded commentary and classic jazz numbers at subtle points in the trio's sound exploration.

Freddie Hubbard and Quintet: "Sing me a song of Songmy" is a really obscured and unassuming venture for hard-bop musician Freddie Hubbard who hinted at the avant-garde but never took the full-fledged walk into it's realm until now! Those who have heard this release of his may feel it was a mistake on his part or just an artistic point in time to forget about. Ilhan Mimaroglu teamed up with Hubbard and added tape manipulated effects and a chorus of reciters to the existing mix. Yes, this is Ilhan Mimaroglu the Turkish avant-garde electronic composer. This album assumed political and social statements at the same time creative ones. There were the late sixties and early seventies themes such as the Sharon Tate murder, Kent State shootings, anti-war sentiments, racial injustice, etc. Sonically it is a mixture of a very lazy and increasingly off-kilter Freddie Hubbard and Quintet weaving in, out, and over the collaged social commentary of the album's reciters. Mimaroglu left to his own electrical devices overdubs pre-recorded remarks on top of the commentary led by the album's lyrical reciters. In addition to this, classic "computer generated" glitches bounce off waning trumpets and bass lines that at times oddly groove with a "head bobbing" feel. This is just one of those recordings where you have to witness it first-hand. For instance, Mimaroglu produces the album's track "Black Man," which contains charged emotion and commentary about this individual's grim reality when forced on the tumultuous front lines of a warring America. Hubbard's "Threnody for Sharon Tate" and Mimaroglu's "Black Soldier" speaks mountains. It's a product of its time, though a moment that has undeservedly flown beneath the radar. This is a hard find and is an outing that finds itself elsewhere, to say the least.

Sugarconnection: Sugarconnection, this is the grouping of delightful and ever so creative vocalist Anna Homler and instrumentalists Frank Schulte and Axel Otto. This recording contains studio and live recordings. Everyone on this release shares duties in using toys or objects of some type but Schulte's gadgets of choice tend to be tapes and records that give this release an unexpected deconstructive edge with the turntable effects putting a whole other face on matters. Homler evokes her seemingly manipulated vocal layers (though she is creating these effected sounds from within her arsenal) as if Schulte was "cutting" up her vocals on a piece of wax (vinyl record) with stylus and mixer in hand. Schulte is not doing this of course but Homler's indescribable vocal techniques make you believe so. Otto is left to his devices of tapes, toys, plastic and anything else he can get his hands on. "Plays Alien Cakes" may be a look into the mind of a child prodigy via Homler's interpretations of an eerily innocent yet madcap world.

Acid Mother's Temple: Acid Mother's Temple has never been more brilliant than on this release. La N˛via is the release the core Acid Mother's fan, and other listener alike, have begged for. It rides the edge of psychedelic overspill without tipping. It's lovely to see this become a reality. This work nurses different European folk themes and related medieval musical components. These elements overlay beautifully with the traditional Japanese folk melodies and psychedelic grandeur as a provided backdrop. Though this is the case, the mode claimed by Acid Mothers, unquestionably blends its American psychedelic/avant-garde influences, eastern folk tales and traditional themes of Europe into one richly dynamic tale. It permeates through this 40 minute, two-part, ride that commands the audience to strap-on and endure all that comes its way. The ending to this episode is one that gorgeously calms itself right into Kawabata Makoto's soothing bouzouki playing. It's a very unexpected way to descend but well worth its landing.

Octavius and 4AM: Octavius and 4AM's "Electric Third Rail" EP are just the right combination of artists at the appropriate moment in creative time. There are enough elements to answer your thoughts and to satisfy your ideological concerns. It doesn't wander off into the fray of lyrically or vocally typical themes, though this isn't to say that there aren't concerns for the album. Nothing usually achieves a personal balance but at least work like this can clearly say that it gave it's curious listener a diverse blend of percussion, lyrics, dense soundscapes, etc plus allowed one to retreat into what was comfortable territory (a rather accessible level of territory). Some may wonder what type of musical material this is, after all. For this recording, you can assume what this is and end up a bit surprised at the finish of the work or not assume what this is and still be surprised and content with what was heard. The choice for this release to be on this list is that it has enough of a different approach than the majority of people that attempt to create music with similar backgrounds. This outing is a great deal more believable than many others coming from a similar school.


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