Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Marc Ribot post script

This is a p.s. to this post. [Most song titles link to mp3s at Undomondo - let me know if that's unethical or illegal!]

Undomundo says the Marc Ribot tracks posted are from Ribot's "more accessible projects" but "Kalmiya", from Asmodeus (the second Masada songbook) is actually very hard to listen to, in that John Zorn thrash/free jazz way; much as I want to like it, as it resonates with my passions so closely, I just can't. "Kedem", another Zorn/Masada piece, works for me because it is slower and quieter: maybe I'm getting old. (Soundsandtexts compares it to Bert Jansch.)

Similarly, "Midost" from Ceramic Dog is hard-going hard rock. "Yo I Killed Your God" from his Shrek project is more accessible, if you are into, say, the Dead Kennedys, but not my cup of tea, despite its cool lyrics. "Black Trombone" from the very hip Tzadik record Great Jewish Music: Serge Gainsbourg is also not so hard work,

"The Wind Cries Mary", from Ribot's his debut 1990 album Rootless Cosmopolitans is much better: a deadpan and very New York David Byrne-ish punk/funk/pop take on the Hendrix classic.

I first became aware of Ribot because of his role in Tom Waits' music, including Rain Dogs and Franks Wild Year. More recently, he was involved in Robert Plant & Alison Krauss's uneven but interesting Raising Sand. (Listen to "Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us" or "Stick with me Baby".) He has worked with the great Susana Baca too (listen to "Another collaboration is with Alessando "Asso" Stefana (listen at Polaroid), another is Shahzad Ismaily (who has also worked with the Master Musicians of Jajouka and Tom Waits), and another is Jenny Scheinman.

But my number one Ribot recommendation would be his Cubanos Postizos work - check some out, again with Undomundo. And for a Tzadik/Zorn thing that really works, listen to "Shadrakh", his awesome contribution to Rashanim, which is kind of ancient Aramaic ritual music meets spaghetti western surf rock meets Andalucian flamenco.

Links: Marc Ribot's homepage; WFMU's field guide to modified guitars; Art Decade: Masada Guitars.

Related: Don Byron Spins the Dreidel (via Mickey Katz).


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