“Spoon” by Can

Across five albums and five years Can rendered the categories meaningless and set the bar for the kind of rock future that would make stars out of bands like Radiohead; there’s probably an argument that theirs is still the standard.  Like the better so-called “krautrock” bands of the era, Can’s music sounds like little else, … Continue reading “Spoon” by Can

“Sowiesoso” by Cluster

Keith Jarrett‘s success in his tours of Germany in the early 70s owed some debt to the burgeoning, radical art scenes taking over that country’s larger cities.  German audiences supported a fiercely independent free rock culture that drew heavily from American jazz — particularly the extended, disciplined jams of In a Silent Way-era Miles Davis — and that pushed Hendrix‘s electric sorcery … Continue reading “Sowiesoso” by Cluster

“1970” by the Stooges

Three months after Miles Davis unleashed Bitches Brew on the rock and jazz worlds, the Stooges second record, Fun House, appeared.  Like Davis, like a lot of music in 1970, the band was looking for the elemental, pushed by psychedelics to the fringes of structure, open minds creating extremes of focus.  For the Stooges that meant … Continue reading “1970” by the Stooges

“Isle of View (Music for Helicopter Pilots)” by Penguin Cafe Orchestra

One of the great tragedies in twentieth-century music was the death of Simon Jeffes, age 48, in 1997. As leader for 23 years of the classically-pedigreed Penguin Cafe Orchestra, his music was sly, mostly wordless, and while greedily snapped up by advertising firms and public radio stations looking to set a mood fast, in long form the melodic … Continue reading “Isle of View (Music for Helicopter Pilots)” by Penguin Cafe Orchestra