black midi - schlagenheim

black midi: Schlagenheim (2019)

Day 24 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks for an impulse buy: a record you just had to have. For me there aren’t a lot of albums I relentlessly crave or “have” to have, but I impulse buy a lot. The most recent example of this was when I was listening to “Welcome to Hell” the new single from UK post-everything black midi. Being so caught up in older music it’s always great to hear something new that strikes a nerve, and as I was listening to the new song I realized I didn’t own the band’s 2019 debut Schlagenheim. That was a problem quickly rectified, and so here we are to talk about it.

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john coltrane - a love supreme

John Coltrane: A Love Supreme (1965)

Day 9 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks for multiple formats of an album. I’m only too happy to oblige with one of my favorite records of all time, A Love Supreme by John Coltrane. I went from a taped cassette to an original cassette to a CD to the complete masters on CD to vinyl, and that’s not including the multiple version I have of the album performed live in Paris, not to mention the recently unearth expanded performance in Seattle. or the t-shirts, hoodies, and books. And it’s not even my favorite John Coltrane! But I do love it unequivocally, so while I have a few minutes before my flight leaves, let’s talk about it.

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miles davis - live evil

Miles Davis: Live-Evil (1971)

You can say someone is your favorite artist or musician, but in the case of someone like Frank Zappa or, in this instance Miles Davis, it’s near impossible to be well versed in every aspect of their discography. How do you gain a level of understanding broad and deep enough to qualify/quantify the man is your favorite when there are literally troves of live, alternate, and side performances to sift through? I often find myself settling back to the 10 or so “home base” recordings that solidified my love for Davis, but the beauty of someone with as many records as he has is the joy of returning to less tread waters, exploring albums you’re not nearly as familiar or comfortable with. Hence Live-Evil, which ironically was the first Miles I found and purchased on vinyl.

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Dwyer, Sawyer, Coates, Zoby, & Renteria: Gong Splat (2021)

Back from vacation and happy to see some more vinyl coming in from Castle Face Records. This time it’s the latest from John Dwyer and his constantly rotating assortment of musician friends creating more fuzzed out space jams that emphasize rhythms and soundscapes that harken back to krautrock while simultaneously pointing to distant, futuristic horizons. Call it Gong Splat, call it whatever you like, but know that like all of Dwyer’s collaborative projects there’s an undeniable pulse that will take you to points unknown in the universe.

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kamasi washington - heaven and earth

Kamasi Washington: Heaven and Earth (2018)

Day 11 of the #mayvinylchallenge is the Best Total Package, and the fact is that in my relatively brief time collecting vinyl (about three years) I never purchased any box sets. It’s only recently that I started focusing on new vinyl at all; most of my vinyl was purchased used. So I’ll twist this a little bit to talk about the wonder I experienced with Heaven and Earth, the massive multi-record set from jazz saxophonist and composer Kamasi Washington. Beautiful packaging, and a sweet surprise I never would have known about hidden in the seams.

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archie shepp - four for trane

Archie Shepp: Four For Trane (1964)

Much as I enjoy a good cover song, I don’t own a lot of cover albums. Usually it’s a little too much of a good thing, but Day 6 of the #mayvinylchallenge demanded either a cover or a sample, so I dug around until I realized that from a covers perspective jazz really fits the bill: artists are constantly covering each other’s material, re-interpreting, extending and improvising off of melodies and chordal/modal progressions. All of which led me to the work of Archie Shepp, whose debut as a solo leader (he had a few co-lead records with Bill Dixon and Lars Gullin) for Impulse! was his homage to the saxophone king, Four For Trane.

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